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Add Some MOjo to Your Morning

::: Let’s talk ☕ coffee ::: I love it. It’s a ritual I look forward to EVERY morning, and have spent lots of time figuring out how to get the MOst out of it {stay tuned for my MOjo Coffee recipe below}. It’s also something that I want to continue to love, but not *need*. You know what I mean? 

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Before I had my son Will (now almost 2), I would drink a cup of coffee a day. Beyond its buzz, coffee has quite a few benefits — but too much can increase stress + cortisol in the body {too much being more than 8 oz./day}; working against your metabolism and stable energy levels. If we find ourselves in a situation where we crave it or need it, its a sign that our body is actually calling out for authentic forms of energy: like rest, sleep, better nutrition, more supportive exercises or decreased stress, to name a few. See, coffee is kind of this catch-22: it makes us feel alert and on top of our game, when in reality, (when we drink too much) we’re further depleting energy stores we didn’t have to begin with – like over-drafting your bank account and covering up our true exhaustion versus doing something proactive about it.

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If we want to feel our best (which ultimately is the goal), understanding what boosts versus drains our energy is key; and it’s unique for all of us (plus always changing with age, seasons of life, stress levels, etc.). Since Will’s birth, I have drank a lot more coffee, usually at least 2 cups in the morning. I knew to feel better that I needed more sleep, but for a long time, that was out of my control – the “season” I was in. With the possibility of more sleep off the table, I did two things: first, consciously chose to drink more coffee to increase my alertness and ability to feel like a normal, functioning human {#mushymamabrain is no joke} while knowing that ultimately, I was still exhausted regardless of coffee making me feel otherwise; and second, I engaged in daily practices that authentically boosted my energy + health like weekly acupuncture or massage, physical therapy, lots of naps, a diet rooted in whole foods, drinking bone broth + taking grass-fed collagen, Epsom salts baths, practicing stillness + meditation, walks outside + connecting with others, and eventually, gentle movement and working out.

Fast-forward to now and Will’s been sleeping through the night for about 9 months. It’s taken me about that long to take advantage of this new sleeping pattern and not just use it to “do more” {like work more and hack away at the never-ending amount of household tasks}. I’ve also re-implemented a solid morning wake-up and evening wind-down routine that helps focus my mind in the morning and prepare my body + mind for sleep at night – which helps sooo much.

So, as I’m nearing 2 years of motherhood under my belt, I feel as though I’m entering into a new season. A season that requires a heck of a lot less coffee, with more time for rejuvenation and self-care. Maybe you’ve just recently entered into a new season yourself?: New mom or “seasoned” mom, new house or new move, new job or work project, more stress or less stress, new level of connection or awareness to your body and daily actions. Or perhaps you can see yourself deeply rooted into a specific season. Whatever the season, know it is a gift {seriously}. And then get real. First figure out what, at this point in your life, is out of your control (because there’s usually something: be it schedule, commute, sleep when you’ve got a new baby, eating out when you’re on working trips, etc.). Second, decide how you want to FEEL and action from there. I wanted to feel energized and empowered into my new role as a mom and while sleep was out of my control, self-care and other forms of boosting my body were not.

Every season of life is an opportunity to see your path in a new light, with a new perspective and a new challenge. Don’t shy away from the discomfort of a new season or challenge, instead – ask what you can learn, where you can grow, expand or live bigger. Examine what you can “shed” that isn’t/hasn’t been serving you and what you can add-in to boost your energy, stamina, connection and nourishment. Our life is one big experiment to flow with constant changes while drawing closer to our most authentic, energized and vibrant self.

In case you’re wondering, I’m still going to be all about my coffee over here; just filling up cup up with extra sleep and other forms of self-care versus one more pour. 🙂 If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ve probably seen the ways I “soup-up” my coffee {with grass-fed heavy whipping cream + collagen peptides plus organic + cold-pressed coconut oil  – either blended with a milk frother or blender}. But there are a few other things I’ve been doing that helped to make my transition to less coffee easier while additionally boosting my energy + brain power.

20170224_154154.jpgEnter: mushroom extract powder {I use Narturealm’s Sacred 7 Mushroom Powder} and the Anti-Coffee by wolves & sage. The Anti-Coffee is actually a non-caffeinated herbal blend that you can use to gradually to {or eventually, fully} replace some of your coffee grounds. Just start by replacing 1 Tbls. of coffee with the Anti-Coffee and you can slowly add more from there if desired. It has a similar taste to coffee, but includes herbs that energize, boost immunity, promote skin healing and hormone balancing, while helping detoxify the liver. {And BONUS: Sandra of wolves & sage has offered Macks Mo clients at 20% discount off their total order with the code 123MACKSMO – seriously friends, all their stuff is AMAZING}. Mushrooms have so many benefits, a few of which also include boosting energy + brain function, providing Vitamin D {aka coping with winter blues!}, while supporting immunity and skin health. I brew the mushroom powder into my coffee with the grounds {just stir it in and no, you can’t taste it this way!}. Check out my MOjo Coffee recipe below for a How-To on how to soup-up your morning brew!

20170223_184735.jpgMOjo Coffee: This builds off the bulletproof coffee concept, but with the addition of grass-fed collagen peptides and medicinal mushroom powder extract. You can blend everything in a blender (best option for multiple servings), OR for a less loud option, use a handheld milk frother (available on Amazon). Last and best news – this isn’t just for coffee. You can do it with tea too! For an afternoon (less or non-caffeinated boost), brew your tea per usual, then blend (I do recommend blending versus frothing tea) and enjoy! My faves are adding the “individual cup” ingredients below to matcha tea, Yerba Mate or peppermint tea with raw cacao for a peppermint mocha feel!

INGREDIENTS:
FOR BREWING:

  • 1+ Tbls. of the Anti-Coffee {optional} to replace equal amount of coffee beans
  • 1+ Tbls. of medicinal mushroom extract powder (I use Naturealm’s Sacred 7 Organic mushroom powder)

PER INDIVIDUAL CUP:

  • 1 Tbls. organic, cold-pressed coconut oil (option to also add grass-fed butter – between the two, totaling around 1 Tbls.)
  • 1 scoop of 100% grass-fed collagen (I like Dr. Axe or Vital Proteins brand)
  • Organic, grass-fed heavy whipping cream (could also use ¼ can of organic, full-fat canned coconut or almond milk or dollop of coconut cream)
  • 1 cup freshly brewed organic hot coffee
  • Optional: a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg; a touch of raw honey or maple syrup; raw, organic maca or organic, raw cacao powder (mocha anyone?) #endlesspossibilities


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Replace 1 Tbls. {or more} of your coffee beans with the Anti-Coffee, then grind per usual.
  2. Add grounds to coffee filter and stir in the mushroom extract powder.
  3. Brew coffee per usual.
  4. One coffee is finished, add “individual cup” ingredients to blender (increase servings as needed; best for multiple servings) and blend for one minute OR place ingredients in a cup and use milk frother to blend and create desired amount of foam.

NOTE: Sometimes (if I remember), I also heat my heavy whipping cream in my mug for 10-20 seconds on the microwave, then add my coffee, then pour in the blender. Pre-heating the cream can help keep the coffee hotter for longer.

Did you like this post? Please share! I appreciate all your love, time and support!

Gratitude Living – My Newest Challenge to You

Bodies are my business. They have been for over 8 years now. And during that time, working with hundreds of different types of bodies through fitness, nutrition and health coaching, I’m constantly asked two things: “What exercise should I be doing + how much (to change my body/lose weight)?” and “What should I be eating?” Everyone wants to be told what to do. To receive a simple black and white instruction that they can follow and see results. I get it. That way would be *so much* easier. At least, that’s what all the lovelies who’ve asked me these questions think.

But, {spoiler alert} that’s actually not the easy way. Living in the black and white of “best exercise”, “good” and “bad” food makes you constantly at war with your body and real life. This way of moving and eating forces you to override your body’s innate signs + signals in telling you when you’re hungry, what feels good in your body, what foods and movement drive your energy (versus deplete it) and worst of all, it crashes and burns against life’s natural flow. Because life, especially the good parts, are not black and white. It’s colorful, ever-changing, grey even – but definitely not black and white (or certain).

And when we try to force rigid black and white rules onto a body that’s neither, you’ll find yourself in a constant spiral of defeat, shame + guilt, chasing results but never achieving or maintaining them, your body at war with your head. Sound familiar?

img_2795What most people don’t know (or fail to realize) is the depth of factors at play when it comes to losing stubborn weight and creating a life and body you love (because the two are one in the same, in case you didn’t know). Your metabolic potential (literally the efficiency of your metabolism) is impacted by a confluence both inner and outer conditions. To name just a few, these can include: the food you eat, the way you move, your stress levels and sleep, what you’re thinking and feeling when you’re eating or exercising, the amount of joy and purpose in your life, your fulfillment in areas I call soul food – relationships, career, spirituality and self-care – how much water you drink, how fast-paced your life is and how much time you spend in gratitude.

And that last one – GRATITUDE – is a big one. Maybe even *the* big one. Because living in a state of the opposite (being ungrateful) is the root of unhappiness (and a good majority of the metabolism busters mentioned above too). Lack of appreciation blinds us to all of life’s goodness, ultimately impeding the exact progress we’re trying to make.

  • We cannot uncover what works best for our body (food, fitness and otherwise) if the language we use always conveys that we not enough. As is. Right now.
  • We cannot hope to lose weight if we’re ungrateful for the signs + signals our body sends to lovingly convey that what we’re currently doing isn’t working. It does this in host of ways, like: stubborn weight, injuries, poor sleep, scattered focus, mental fog, skin issues, digestive issues, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, inflammation, chronic diseases…(and more!).
  • We’ll remain (wholly) unfulfilled in this life if we’re constantly searching for the “next best” instead of being grateful for our selves, our body, our soul, our life in this moment. As is. Right now. And know, gratitude doesn’t mean we can’t move forward towards goals, it only means we are content with and present to the goodness right now.
  • No one and nothing will EVER be enough if we don’t start living gratitude on the daily in all facets of our life – those we see as both positive or not ideal. I cannot self-loathe my body into change (you know this, we’ve all tried it and failed), but I can self-love it forward.

It’s for this one big reason – gratitude – that I was inspired to create a new Challenge (after admittedly “forever” resigning from them 20 months ago)…

After Will was born, I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in my own skin. Regardless of the amazing feats of my birth and growing Will, I had to get used to my new body. Because let’s be honest – my postpartum body was very different then my pre-pregnancy body {physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in every way I can possibly think of}. And something that I had to get used to living and loving in.

gratitude-collage-3My appreciation for my body runs deep, built over time through a commitment to engaging in practices that make me feel good. I knew that the one constant source of feeling good in my skin, increasing energy + “lightness” in my body, while creating ease + connection was rooted in my real food foundation. And it’s from that foundation that I was able to grow into gratitude living in a whole new way.

Because believe it or not, the first (and best) place to start – when we want to feel better in our body, have more energy, be more connected to our life – is with food. I’m not talking about eating in straightjacket fashion with rules and restrictions, but rather with an open heart + mind to uncover what vibrant health looks like on you. When we make eating real food our baseline, with the pursuit of feeling good as our guide, the barriers of what we “can”, “cannot”, “should” and “shouldn’t” eat fall away. They lose their power and become irrelevant. We can begin to move through the rest of our lives with more ease and joy (in life and around food) and less to no worry, shame + guilt.

The difference? Being in tune with your body – versus overriding its intuition, being open to discovery – versus trying to force change, is rooted in gratitude and love where we become the expert of our own body. There is no right or wrong, good or bad food, black or white, instead we have choice: The choice to pursue that which makes us feel, look and be our best. The choice to heal our relationship to food + body and take that first step in self-loving forward action. Because it’s the only way we really can move forward and create lasting shifts – in weight, in our lives, in inspiration, in fulfillment.

And so the GRATITUDE CHALLENGE is just that. A starting point – to guide you in establishing your own real food foundation, while offering inspiration through delicious recipes and building momentum via 8 weeks of practice in meal planning, tuning in to your intuition and learning optimal foods for vitality. We’ll talk real food, eating psychology (more on what effects your metabolic potential), gratitude and at the end of the day what really fills you up {spoiler: it’s not food}. I hope you’ll join for me this wonderful 8 week journey. But let me warn you – your life will be forever changed if you complete it. This program is not a quick fix and certainly not a diet. It’s a real food plan for real life and real, lasting shifts – rooted in gratitude, created with love. A different path, you might say. Because in order to change your results, you have to be willing to change the approach, right?

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img_2713You might be wondering — what kind of recipes would you be eating? All recipes are naturally gluten-free, mostly dairy-free [with options to adjust based on your needs] and vegetarian-friendly. They are loaded with seasonal + fresh vegetables and rooted in real, whole foods created to energetically warm you up from the inside-out. Expect lots of crockpot {make-ahead} dishes, soups + chowders, one-pot meals and warm salads. There is no going to the grocery store to get tons of ingredients you’ll never use again – each recipe consists of simple ingredients you always have on hand. There are no restrictions and no extremes. I believe that keeping space for the things you love is not only imperative, but crucial in creating a balanced lifestyle where you both enjoy your food AND feel awesome all the time. To get your tastebuds watering, here’s a sampling of what you’ll see:

  • Zoodle Pizza Pie
  • Ginger Maple Glazed Salmon
  • Cumin Grilled Fish Tacos with Fiesta Mango Salsa
  • Nourishing Homemade Bone Broth
  • Curry Cashew Cream Chicken Salad Wrapped in Collards
  • Crunchy Sesame-Almond Fish Sticks
  • Roasted Stuffed Peppers
  • Heart-Warming Vegetable Minestrone
  • Peanut-Thai Stir Fry over Summer Squash Noodles
  • Open-Faced Shredded Pork Yam-Wich with Cashew Aioli
  • Simple Garlic-Ginger Stir Fry
  • Melt-In-Your-Mouth Fajita Yoodle Bowl
  • My Mom’s Famous Spaghetti {Squash} Pie
  • Beef Root Vegetable Stew
  • Roasted Pesto Fish + Green Vegetable Goodness – Tin Foil Dinner
  • New Age Chicken Soup
  • White Bean + Pesto Kale
  • Coconut Fish Chowder
  • Cream of Broccoli Chowder
  • Roasted Cauliflower Panzanella
  • Cucumber, Heirloom Tomato and Olive Anitpasto
  • Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
  • Coconut Creamed Yams
  • PLUS over 20 Breakfast + Brunch Recipes like the Quinoa + Pumpkin Parfait, Bom Dia Muffins and Almond Butter Cacao Nibs Chia Seed Pudding!
  • And Snack, Dessert, Appetizer + Drink Recipes!

Learn more about the Gratitude Challenge Challenge as a whole by CLICKING HERE. Early bird sign ups (15% off) run until Sept. 15th. Challenge content for Week #1 gets sent out Friday, Sept. 23 and we offically begin Monday, 9.26!

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Did you like this post? Join our email list to receive inspirational posts like this one and stay up-to-date on new recipes, workouts and get the inside track + specials on Macks Mo upcoming programs [CLICK HERE]As always, I’d love to hear from you – post any questions, comments or feedback below and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook andTwitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

Nourishing + Blood-Building Bone Broth

*Almost* every week, I make a bone broth. I was inspired to start making it by my acupuncturist Elisa Berquist two years ago and haven’t looked back since. At the time, I went to see her to help balance out my hormones after 10 years of birth control. The wisdom she imparted to me in the process has shaped my view on how to “build my body up” when I’m feeling depleted and keep it nourished year-round. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, bone broth is blood- and qi-building. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), “blood is an essential fluid.  This means that without blood, your body will not be able to perform its usual functions.  When blood is used throughout the day, it has to be replenished so you don’t become blood deficient.  Stress, exercise, work, and studying are just a few ways that your body uses blood.  Bone Marrow is where the body makes both red and white blood cells.  By using bones filled with rich marrow, we are able to extract this property and infuse it into our own cells.  By drinking nutritious bone broth, you are giving your body what it needs to heal itself” (sourced from urbanherbs.com).

As women, “building up” our blood is even more important because we actually lose blood once a month. This period (see what I did there? : ) of blood deficiency can lead us feeling run-down, depleted, low energy and experiencing cravings to “boost” us back up. Elisa taught me to prepare for this time by consuming blood-building food + drink the week before my period. This included drinking bone broth (or use it in home-cooked meals) + consuming iron-rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, spirulina, sprouts, whole grains, richly colored foods like beets, dried apricots, dark grapes, blackberries, raspberries and organic, grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and eggs. Oh – and one other time we lose a lot of blood? When we have a baby! In addition, TCM views breastmilk as an extension of the mother’s blood and therefore it’s important that breastfeeding mama’s also eat foods that build their blood.

On top of all this wisdom, Elisa also dropped a bomb on me.

She told me that when our bodies are in balance, we shouldn’t really experience any of the awful period symptoms we’ve come to think of as “normal”. Our periods should actually involve little to no cramping, little to no bleeding, no back pain, no huge dips in energy levels and no crazy cravings.

Yep, you just read that right. And if you’re like me, you are thinking, “yeah {freaking} right”. Not possible.

At the time I went to see her, I had recently had my IUD removed and had had 2 months of rough periods, including serious low back pain + cramping. So, as you likely are now, I was skeptical. Even non-believing. Because everybody has painful periods, right?

Oh friends. I ate my words….or thoughts, rather (because I never actually told Elisa at the time that I thought she was cray-cray and full of it). But it’s true. Within two months of seeing her, taking her prescribed TCM herbs, practicing increased self-care and implementing her blood-building recommendations, I had periods with absolutely zero cramping, zero pain, zero discomfort. In fact, only a paper-thin pad was needed as primarily bled only when I went to the bathroom. And it lasted 3 days. No joke.

And until I got pregnant, I experienced this month after month. I wanted to share this with y’all today because I always think it’s important that we examine societal “norms” – especially when it comes to our health (or UN-health). And if there is a way to experience more comfortable periods AND gain better health in the process, I believe it’s something all us ladies should be looking into, right?

So, needless to say, I’m a believer in this bone-broth drinking + blood-building stuff. And whether you’re a believer too or not, the good news is that aside from all the amazing health benefits we can incur in consuming it, it tastes great and seriously ups the deliciousness factor of all recipes in which it’s used. Win win. And today, I’m sharing my personal bone broth recipe {and process} on the blog:

IMG_20160107_103652BONE BROTH: 99.9% of the time, I start my bone broth process by cooking a whole (organic + pasture-raised) chicken in the crockpot. It’s super easy – chop an onion and place in the bottom of the crockpot, then place the chicken on top. Cook on low for 8-12 hours. BOOM. On top of the chicken carcass, I usually use grass-fed + organic beef bones, but you can substitute buffalo, veal, lamb, goat; and can also add chicken and/or pig’s feet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 2 grass-fed bones {knuckles, marrow, shank or other bones}
  • Optional: carcass of crockpot chicken
  • Enough water to fill the crockpot after all ingredients are in
  • 1 – 2 onions, peeled and chopped roughly {if you’ve done the crockpot chicken with onion on bottom, no need to do another onion unless desired}
  • 3 carrots, option to chop – but I usually just break + toss them in
  • 2 celery stalks,option to chop – but I usually just break + toss them in
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbls. sea salt and 1 Tbls. black peppercorns
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme {or 1 Tbls. dry}
  • Big handful of fresh parsley {can put in “whole”, stems + leaves}
  • 2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger
  • Optional: egg shells from farm raised chickens
  • Veggie scraps: throughout the week, any scraps you cut off {like leek stems, broccoli stems etc}, store in Ziplock bag in freezer. Then toss into your broth to cook with other vegetables

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. IF YOU’VE DONE CROCKPOT CHICKEN: after pulling chicken off carcass, add bones + skin back into the crockpot with the “juice” that’s there {water + onion}.  
  2. Add all ingredients and cook on low for 10-18 hours. The longer you cook the stock the more concentrated it becomes.  
  3. When done, strain liquid, discard bones and vegetables.  
  4. Place liquid into the refrigerator and fat will congeal overnight. Skim off fat.  
  5. Pour stock into freezer-safe containers {careful not to fill to the top} as stock expands as it freezes. You can freeze stock for up to 3 months or keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. 

Say Goodbye to Sugar Cravings!

Winter blues can tend to bring sweet cravings – as we miss the energy, lightness and joy of summer – but did you know that these can often be helped or eliminated by increasing our uptake in sweet vegetables? God knew what he was doing when he made most winter vegetables hearty (comforting) and sweet!!! I’m talking squash, yams, parsnips and beets baby! And speaking of… THIS. My newest winter salad.

So. Freaking. Good.

The Sweet Winter Wonder Salad. Please, please make it today. ‪#‎winnerwinnerHEALTHYdinner‬.

20151215_182136INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 bunch roasted beets + 2 parsnips + 2 carrots, all organic, all peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Quinoa, soaked, sprouted and cooked
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed by cutting pom in half, placing face down in bowl of water and opening/pulling seeds out)
  • Feta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Currants
  • 1/2 cup sliced Almonds
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Dash of Coconut Oil to toast almonds
  • Olive Oil + Sea Salt for vegetables
  • Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar whisked for dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Toss vegetables with EVOO + salt. Roast for 60 min.
  3. Combine {cooked} quinoa, pomegranate, currants and feta.
  4. Toast almonds, add to salad.
  5. Toss finished vegetables and dressing with salad, then top with fresh basil.
  6. Be prepared for your tastebuds to die and go to heaven. 🙂

Banana Peanut Butter Cookies {GF + healthy}


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Every once in awhile, I just want a cookie. But not one that makes me feel awful. I am of the belief that real-food goodness + satisfying sweet treats CAN be created with ease. However, more often than not, when searching for recipes, I never find just one that 100% completely satisfies my real-food requirements. So, in the end, I usually create my own — enter these delightful Banana Peanut Butter Cookies. Gluten-free and a healthy option for a sweet treat, might I add. Enjoy!

DRY Ingredients::
– 1+3/4 cup brown rice flour [you could also use almond flour – but sub out 2 Tbls. of the flour for coconut flour]
– 1/4 c.+ 2 Tbls.  ground flaxseed
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– Sprinkles of salt

WET Ingredients:
– 1 older banana
– 1/2 c. maple syrup
– 1/2 c. applesauce [I make my own – just boil an slightly chopped apple with enough water in bottom of pan to cover the bottom, then blend in a food processor]
– 2 tsp. pure organic vanilla extract
– 1 c. peanut butter

DIRECTIONS:
#1: Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl [not your electric mixing bowl].
#2: Mix wet ingredients together in the electric mixing bowl.
#3: Add dry to wet ingredients gradually to mix well.
#4: Add 1/2 cup oats {if you’re intolerant to gluten, be sure to use GF oats} and 1/2 c. 65%+ dark chocolate chips.
#5: Place a sheet of parchment paper down on a baking sheet and place cookie batter on top. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or to desired doneness! Side Note: cookies can be shaped as desired — I just “dropped” them on the cookie sheet.

If you like this recipe — share the love with your friends + family! And if YOU have any recipe [an old family favorite, comfort food or one you saw/ate somewhere] that you’d like “health-ified”, send it to me {whitney@macksmo.com} and I’ll see what I can do!

How to Increase Energy + Focus, While Creating MO(re) JOY in Your Life

AZIf you’re like me, the drear of winter seems to become more present by the time February rolls around. For this reason and the fact that within our business we always do a group challenge at the beginning of the year, Regan & I have made it a habit to schedule yearly sunny getaways in February. This vacation I had one prerogative – to actually recharge my batteries so I could come back with more enthusiasm & passion for my work. I was coming off of 8 weeks of intense working hours – writing, conducting and wrapping up our 2014 Momentum Challenge. We stayed in a condo rented through VRBO.com and went to the grocery store to load ourselves up with good food [mostly fresh fruits + veggies] for the week. The daily routine went like this – sleep in [like a serious, extra 5 hours more than usual sleep in], enjoy a cup of coffee together, move our bodies then cool down/stretch in the sun, eat breakfast, then head to the pool until we lost the sun – doing a little work, a little reading, a lot of relaxing. Then, in the evenings we would pretty much repeat the daytime, except with a fireplace instead of sun.

I have to say, this vacation, felt totally different than any other vacation we’ve taken, because I actually came back in better spirits, shape and frame of mine then when I left. So, my goal since I have been back is to recreate this nourishment every day in some way. Because who says we have to go on vacation to actually take good care of ourselves every day? Can you relate to working yourself “to death” for the weekend or an upcoming vacation? Then find you’re just exhausted all weekend or all vacation? Or maybe feeling the need to pack everything in and live it up because Monday is looming just around the corner?

recharge moreIf your answer is “yes”, I have a challenge for you – to schedule into your day, [at least almost] every day, something that you look forward to. A moment, an activity, a meal, a meet up – whatever. But something that you really can’t wait to do; and hold yourself accountable for doing it. Treat it like a mandatory meeting with your boss; you have to show up. Sometimes in order to be more productive, we don’t need to work more, we need to recharge more {tweet it if you agree – @macksmo}. And I am not talking about doing something for anyone else [even if you do receive joy in doing things for others], I am talking about doing something for YOU. Even if you love your job [like I do], we all need to step away from the work and recharge.

For many of us, we don’t realize how joy-less, stressed or over-worked we are until we take a step back and get committed to slowing down. Believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between the above three factors and poor health, lack of energy, lack of mental clarity + focus, cravings for anything – especially sweets/caffeine/salt and the inability to lose weight. So if you’re feeling “stuck”, like you can’t get ahead or perplexed as to why you can’t lose weight or never feel rested, I have a proposition for you – to embark on a 30 Day commitment to creating more joy in your life.

What would happen if you took a bath and turned on some relaxing music instead of watching your usual Tuesday night TV show line up? Would you sleep better? Instead of forcing yourself through another high-intensity workout when you’re tired & sore, what if you gave yourself permission to attend a soothing yoga class? Or instead of your usual Friday night happy hour, what if you and your gal pals met up for a cardio striptease class [just sayin’…]. Buy some flowers at the grocery store, call your best friend back, walk to the grocery store, play hookie from work, get a massage, learn to make a new recipe [click here for our newest!] or try a new restaurant, do a date night with your partner, pamper yourself with an at-home spa day [try searching Pinterest for DIY facials made from real food!], go to bed 30 minutes earlier – the options are endless! And I promise, the more you start taking care of you – in little ways, every day, the more energized, focused, clear and happy you’ll feel. Are you in? To help you with this, I created this Get More Joy Challenge chart for you to record your daily joys. At the beginning of each week [I suggest Sundays], write out one thing [or more!] each day that you can look forward to and keep it in a place where you can see it every morning – posted on the fridge, inside your closet door, your office, whatever works. I mean, come on – who doesn’t want an excuse to have a little more fun?
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If you like this blog post, but would like more support, we’re here to help! Last week we announced the re-launch of our Momentum Challenge for March in 3 separate flights (you could join 3/3, 3/10 or 3/17). Our January group of 50+ participants lost a total of 318 inches, 212 lbs. and had an average of 49% improvement on their fitness tests. And beyond the weight loss, they all increased energy, joy, self-love and gained a piece of their lives back. And we want to meet you where you’re at, so created 3 separate levels to participate based on your needs: 

  • Level 1 – $30: Includes Building Momentum [opening] and Maintaining Momentum [closing] packets that provide you with the tools to transform your world, while creating a body and life you love. Plus bonus articles, along with group support and discussions created through our closed Facebook group and online access to myself and Regan 24/7 to answer your questions and help facilitate a personal experience for you; complete with individualized check-ins and health coaching.
  • Level 2A – $75: NUTRITION PACKAGE includes Level 1 + plus 4-week complete Nutrition Program with grocery list, 30+ new recipes and articles to change your relationship with food and increase your knowledge ($75 savings from typical Macks Mo pricing!).
  • Level 2B – $75: WORKOUT PACKAGE includes Level 1 + 4-week Online Workout Program with exercise video tutorials and tools to create body-transforming results. All workouts take under 30 minutes, require only dumbbells and are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your home ($25 savings!).
  • Level 3 – $150: MOMENTUM COMBO includes both Nutrition + Workout Programming and 2 Challenge Packets ($30 savings!).

*If you’re ready to take the steps towards transforming your life all while creating a life and body you love, the Momentum Challenge is waiting for you, just click here: SIGN ME UP!

Italian Lamb Stew + Apple Thyme Muffins {YUM!}

italian lamb stewNothing warms the body and soul like a savory soup and hot-outta-the-oven muffins, am I right? My kitchen has been stew-possessed lately and there’s nary an ingredient that hasn’t been thrown into the pot lately. And I figured it was time to spread the love. So, fresh from my oven to yours, you’ve got to try this Italian Lamb Stew + Savory Apple Thyme Muffins!
*Options for stove top or crockpot. If cooking on the stove – preheat the oven then start the stew. While stew cooks, make the muffins, they should finish around the same time!

ITALIAN LAMB STEW:

Ingredients:
1 package organic, grass fed lamb [for crockpot = stew meat, for stove top = ground]
1 leek, washed & chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 cups organic vegetable broth
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can San Marzano diced tomatoes
Cannellini beans [for crockpot = 1 cup dried & soaked overnight, for stove top = 2 (15 oz.) cans drained & rinsed)|
1/2 lbs. small fingerling potatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bunch of kale [recommend Lacinato, but any kind works; spinach or chard great too]
1 Tbls. each: oregano + thyme
1 tsp. each: rosemary + red chili flakes [latter optional]
Sea salt + pepper to taste

  1. In a dutch oven [or large pot], add olive oil, leek + garlic and saute for 1 min – making sure not to brown the garlic. Then add the ground lamb and cook until browned.
  2. Add remaining ingredients [minus kale] and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes.
  3. 5 minutes before done, add kale or leaf green of choice!
    FOR CROCKPOT: Use lamb stew meat vs. ground and add all ingredients minus kale in together. 5 minutes before ready to serve, add kale to soften. Eazy breezy! 🙂

apple thyme muffinsSAVORY APPLE THYME MUFFINS: Original recipe from our fabulous client Heather and one of her Paleo cookbooks. I tweaked it by adding nuts, carrots and oats + adjusting flour ratio and swapping out some other ingredients. These muffins are dense like brownies vs. fluffy like a cake [my personal preference] and to die for. You will need an electric mixer (I use my Kitchen-Aid) and a food processor.
Ingredients:
DRY: 2 cups almond flour [you can process whole almonds in a food processor to make the flour – go until it becomes “flour-like” consistency], 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. each of: ground ginger + sea salt, 1 Tbls. thyme
FOOD PROCESSOR #1: 1/2 cup each rolled, organic oats + cashews (pecan or walnut yummy too) and 1 peeled/washed carrot
FOOD PROCESSOR #2 [WET INGREDIENTS]: 1 medium, cored organic apple [Gala or Pink Lady] – chopped a bit, 1/2 cup organic maple syrup or raw honey, 2 large eggs, 3 Tbls. coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place food processor #1 ingredients in a food processor and chop into fine chunks. Add to electric mixing bowl.
  3. Add other dry ingredients to mixing bowl and combine.
  4. In the same food processor [no need to clean], add the wet ingredients and blend until all liquid.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir on low until all mixed.
  6. Divide the batter into 12 lined muffin cups [I have reusable silicon ones that are amazing] and cook for 20-25 minutes.


*If you like this post, share the love and don’t forget to tag us “@macksmo”.  And in case you haven’t heard — as of last week, we re-launched our over-the-top successful Momentum Challenge and you still have 2 chances to join [beginning either 3/10 or 3/17]. 
Our January group of 50+ participants lost a total of 318 inches, 212 lbs. and had an average of 49% improvement on their fitness tests. And beyond the weight loss, they all increased energy, joy, self-love and gained a piece of their lives back. And we want to meet you where you’re at, so created 3 separate levels to participate based on your needs: 

  • Level 1 – $30: Includes Building Momentum [opening] and Maintaining Momentum [closing] packets that provide you with the tools to transform your world, while creating a body and life you love. Plus bonus articles, along with group support and discussions created through our closed Facebook group and online access to myself and Regan 24/7 to answer your questions and help facilitate a personal experience for you; complete with individualized check-ins and health coaching.
  • Level 2A – $75: NUTRITION PACKAGE includes Level 1 + plus 4-week complete Nutrition Program with grocery list, 30+ new recipes and articles to change your relationship with food and increase your knowledge ($75 savings from typical Macks Mo pricing!).
  • Level 2B – $75: WORKOUT PACKAGE includes Level 1 + 4-week Online Workout Program with exercise video tutorials and tools to create body-transforming results. All workouts take under 30 minutes, require only dumbbells and are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your home ($25 savings!).
  • Level 3 – $150: MOMENTUM COMBO includes both Nutrition + Workout Programming and 2 Challenge Packets ($30 savings!).


*If you’re ready to take the steps towards transforming your life all while creating a life and body you love, the Momentum Challenge is waiting for you, just click here: SIGN ME UP!