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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. 

Coconut Pear Green Smoothie

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If you’re always on the go, looking to add more greens and vegetables to your diet or just looking for a scrumptious way to start your day, then this smoothie is for you.

Smoothie Tip #1: Prepare your ingredients the night before. Put everything except water & ice in the blender, then store in the fridge. In the morning, all you do is put the blender on the base, add W&I, blend and go.
Smoothie Tip #2: Make 2 portions; 1.5 for breakfast and the other .5 for a snack later that day. Kill two birds with one stone. Boom.
Smoothie Tip #3: If you or someone you know is just beginning to delve into the world of real food, adding in more vegetables to your daily intake or have kids/husband/wife that you’re trying to encourage to eat more vegetables & greens, smoothies is a GREAT way to do it. However, depending on where you’re starting from, you might want to start using this smoothie with an added kiwi to sweeten the flavor. Ideally, one sweeter fruit to 2-3 vegetable servings is my goal when concocting smoothie recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pear, sliced
  • ¼ cup each of: dried, shredded & unsweetened coconut, oats + hemp seeds
  • ½ avocado
  • Handful parsley leaves, stems discarded
  •  1/2 cucumber
  • 3 leaves of kale, stems discarded & leaves ripped
  • ¼ to ½ cup water – enough to blend to desired consistency
  • 5-7 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS: Prepare ingredients in your blender the night before. In the AM, add water and ice. Puree or liquefy until smooth. Add ice and any more water if needed until you have your ideal blend. This smoothie will have a creamy texture because of the avocado.
*As always, if you have questions, please ask!

Grapefruit Smoothie Explosion

Grapefruit Green Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

1 grapefruit (with juices), peeled and sliced

1 pear, cored & sliced

1 frozen banana, halved

3 leaves of kale, stems discarded

1-2 tsp. fresh grated ginger

3 celery stalks, sliced into 1/3’s

 

Combine all ingredients in blender. With the frozen banana, mine was the perfect consistency, but feel free to add ice and/or water to get your ideal blend. This smoothie was the most delightful burst of citrus and gave me so much energy all morning – no coffee needed!

 

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

One of my all time favorites – banana, peanut butter and chocolate. Great for breakfast, lunch or post-workout snack if you’re on the go.  You will need:

1 banana
5-7 ice cubes
½ cup organic whole coconut milk (homemade or store-bought)
1 organic, free-range egg yolk
1 tsp. each of: cacao powder, ground flaxseed and raw honey
2 Tbls. hemp seeds
1 Tbls. peanut or other nut butter (can also do 1/3 cup of raw nuts)

Put all ingredients in blender, then mix. If it’s too thick, can always add some water or a touch more coconut milk. Enjoy!