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Summer Sangria + The Perfect Party Side {or Main Dish}

Happy 4th of July Weekend, loves!

If you’re like me, when we hit this holiday, it finally feels like summer. I’m ready to be outside every night, eating on the porch, grilling and keeping my kitchen as cool as possible (it’s a for real struggle when you don’t have A/C, right?). By this point, I’m fully ready to transition to eating more raw salads, go overboard on all the herbs and welcome the simplicity (and decreased kitchen time) that brings.

When I am cooking (and eating), two things are always really important to me: flavor and color. Beautiful food that looks as good as it tastes, that gets my mouth-watering by looking at it, before I get to eat it. Afterall, digestion starts with your senses (did you know 30-40% of digestion actually begins + happens in the mind?) and then is increased with the pleasure and presence that we bring to the table.

So, this weekend, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite summer recipes – a summer sangria and the perfect (BBQ, picnic, party or backyard) side or main meal that gives you a little taste of what celebration (small + big) look and feel like around here. Both of these are recipes from my new (and first!) Living FULLy E-Cookbook (available for purchase HERE): the salad is actually in it and thishealthy cocktail is a the special {surprise!} bonuses I send as a thank you for purchasing it (along with 5 others upgraded version of your favorite cocktails – like the Moscow Mule, Margaritas (traditional + beet), Mojito and a La Paloma or Grapefruit Nirvana).

I hope you enjoy these sneak peeks (and send me a pic of or tag me in your pretty creations, would you?). Happy cooking + sipping, loves!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans + Raw Summer Veggies

Inspired by Susie Middleton, this salad makes a great side or can stand-alone as a meal. If you’re looking to make it heartier, I love adding grilled or sautéed organic sausage. This salad is super easy to assemble because of all the raw veggies, especially if the quinoa is pre-cooked (and you can omit the quinoa too, as pictured!). If possible, always soak the quinoa overnight. Doing so is an ancient practice that helps make the grains more digestible, and reduces anti-nutrients for better nutritional value. It’s also great over lettuce or spinach or with microgreens + sprouts added.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Zesty Southwest Dressing
  • ½ cup quinoa, soaked overnight then drained + rinsed (optional)
  • 1 bell pepper, seeds and inner white parts cut out then sliced into strips and diced finely
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 small container cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
  • 1 medium zucchini, ends cut off + sliced in half, laid flat, sliced diagonally and then diced horizontally into small pieces
  • 1 (15 oz.) can organic black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 2 organic sausage links (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add ½ cup quinoa to 1 cup water and cover. Cook until water comes to roaring boil, then turn off (leave on heat).
  • If you’re adding sausage, slice 2 links horizontally into coins then sauté until browned, stirring occasionally (can also grill then slice).
  • While sausage is cooking or as your second step: prepare all your vegetables – pepper, zucchini, corn and tomatoes.
  • Drain + rinse black beans.
  • Blend dressing ingredients.
  • Toss all ingredients with the dressing and garnish with cilantro.

 

Zesty Southwest Dressing: Add all ingredients to a small blender and blend until smooth.

  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice from ½ blood orange (juiced with a fork, regular/Valencia orange okay too)
  • Juice from ½ lime (or 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. cumin + coriander
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. raw honey

 

Summer White Sangria

A light, fruity white sangria screams summer to me. This one is great for making ahead – taking to a fun function or having as a pre-made cocktail when you’re hosting company. Feel free to swap out any fruit as desired. You can choose any dry, crisp and unoaked white wine, but I like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Vinho Verde (a little sweeter). You’ll mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher, except the sparkling water. Let sit together overnight (ideally) or for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, fill glass with ice and fill ¾ of the way full, topping with sparkling water.

If you’d like to make individual cups: add 4 ice cubes, then ¼ cup of fruit. Fill 2/3 full with wine, then top equally with kombucha + sparkling water. You can either omit the ginger or Microplane grate it into the fruit.

  • 1 bottle of dry white wine
  • 1 bottle of ginger or berry kombucha (I recommend the GT Synergy brand)
  • Juice from 2 valencia or blood oranges
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 small frozen bag of cherries, pitted
  • 1 peach, sliced into bite-size pieces with pit removed
  • 1 plum, sliced into bite-size pieces with pit removed
  • 10 strawberries (or 1 small container), sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into horizontal coins
  • Top with sparking water or club soda
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A New Way to Spark Postpartum {and All} Weight Loss

Last week I had the honor of being featured as a specialist at an event called Mother Soulstice. The event was created to provide a space for women to find power in their journey of postpartum healing and change the conversation of how we view and treat ourselves. #inspiration I was asked to share my work in postpartum fitness and nutrition as a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and while this was written for the women who attended, I couldn’t help but share this with all my followers {and beyond}. Because this information is relative to all mamas [and all women for that matter], and I hope it can make an impact on your life as well!

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When we become a mother, there is *so much* pressure to act like we’ve got it all together, to be perfect and to get our bodies and lives “back”. But what if we changed the conversation; changed the approach? What if instead of self-loathing our way “back”, we self-loved ourselves forward? Forward into a relationship with ourselves that embraced the changes we’ve been through {physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in every way I can think possibly of} and focused on creating joy, confidence and energy through radical self-love and acceptance? What if the key to feeling good in your own skin RIGHT NOW and postpartum weight loss was by following that exact path? Would you take it?

WHERE TO START:

CULTIVATE JOY DAILY: When we experience a lack of joy at anytime in our lives {which we’re especially prone to postpartum as we step into a new life and way of being}, we tend to seek solace in food and engage in behaviors that aren’t actually supportive to our health + well-being. We crave sweets – namely baked sweets, chocolate, ice cream, soft + filling starches, ice cream and cheese. Behind each craving is a 100% legitimate reason that essentially boils down to an internal need that we’re neglecting; and cravings are one of the body’s only ways of telling us this. We interpret these needs as food-based cravings, so indulge in them, then still wonder why we don’t actually feel better afterwards (not to mention the shame + guilt cycle we enter into). Try this instead – CREATE A FEEL GOOD LIST. Write down as many things as you can think of – big and small – that make you feel good and bring you joy (physically and emotionally). It can be as simple as drinking more water and eating more vegetables at every meal to a spa day, date night (or sex!) with your significant other, meeting up with girlfriends, moving your body, meditating, taking deep breaths or reading a book. Anything and everything that makes you feel good that you could do RIGHT NOW. Then try to do at least one thing from this list every day and be sure to add in at least one thing (just for you) that you can look forward to!

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WHEN YOUR WEIGHT IS STUCK, LOOK AT WHERE IN LIFE YOUR “STUCK”: How often do we women find ourselves “waiting on the weight” before we fully embrace life and do all the things we want to do? Or how much time do we spend imagining how awesome life would be if we were 10 pounds lighter? 40 pounds lighter? Here’s the truth – you’re never going to get “there” – and even *if* you lose the weight you’d like, it doesn’t make your life full. Just as your body grows and regenerates every day, your soul needs growth as well. So I want to ask you – are you truly *living* your life right now or are you just surviving? Believe me, I know there’s definitely an element of surviving those first few months PP, but in order to bring ourselves out of the fog, out of the overwhelm, out of the wallowing in “loss” of self or body, we must (we must!) spend time cultivating the needs of our soul (see below for some ideas on this!) in order to become “unstuck” in negative habits, thoughts patterns and beliefs that ALL stall weight loss efforts. So if you feel like you’ve tried everything and are still struggling, maybe it’s not your outer body that needs addressing. As a fitness professional and health coach, I can tell you with 100% conviction that it’s not the physical landscape (ex. food and fitness) that needs changing in order to make that stubborn weight budge; it’s an honest look at what emotional weight (which I believe we all come to bear in some capacity as a mother) that we’re holding onto; the stories we keep telling ourselves about our bodies and the attitude in which we approach our life and it’s worth. We can’t keep waiting on the weight, waiting for things to slow down or get easier, for life to happen for us – every season has its struggles, every season passes in the blink of an eye. So instead of forcing change through nutrition or exercise, what if we engaged in self-loving practices that made our life full? And by full, I mean that it’s imperative as moms to take time for our own growth and care. Will (my son) fills up my heart in ways I’d never known or experienced, but that’s not a substitute for taking time for myself to recharge all the energy I output (physically, mentally, emotionally and on a soul-level).

FILL UP ON SOUL FOOD. Our soul foods are what really feed us and drive our happiness. They “fill us up” from the inside so that we don’t seek comfort, solace and fulfillment from the “outside” (in food or superficial things). Your SOUL FOOD includes:

  • being surrounded with loving, deep relationships (with yourself and others)
  • having a fulfilling, balanced work life and career (“career” being an interchangeable word with your life’s work and purpose)
  • self-care – simply put, caring for yourself daily; doing things that make you feel good + recharge your energy, increase your vitality and create mental space
  • engaging in a spiritual practice that gives purpose and meaning to your life

So if you’re frustrated and “stuck”, I encourage you to try these methods and take a look at your soul food. It’s a new path that involves loving yourself (as you are) and filling yourself up from the inside. It’s your answer to ditching diets, extreme exercise and actually getting the results you want. For reals. Let’s take up this new way together; change the conversation of how we treat ourselves so we can bring a fuller, more joyful self to every aspect of our life. You deserve it, mama. Sending love and light. -Whitney

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Did you like this post? Please share! If you can relate to it or have a comment/question, I’d love to hear from you! {whitney @ macksmo.com}. Together mama’s, we are stronger and we deserve MO(re). #macksmomma So much love to you, all my readers!

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. 

WEEKLY Q+A #1: MAINTAINING MOTIVATION

After months of letting our Macks Mo social media presence {including my blog posts} take a small hiatus, I’m super excited to let you in on our *new* free weekly Q+A series that we’re launching on the blog TODAY! Each week, I’ll be answering a question from our Macks Mo Community about how to make you fit for life – physically fit, yes, but even more importantly – emotionally, mentally, spiritually AND physically fit, for anything life throws at you.

This week, we’re talking MOTIVATION. If you’re like myself and so many others during the holiday season {or anytime really}, you might find yourself lacking the motivation, energy or “willpower” to maintain your workouts and eat healthy consistently. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this week’s video, learn how to make both working out and eating healthy a routine practice with 3 strategies you can implement RIGHT NOW!

Sending love to you today and always, xoxo. – Whitney

And now, I want to hear from you… Are you struggling with motivation? Do you want to make healthy eating and moving your body a routine habit? I’m here to support you. In the blog comments, let me know the biggest barriers that stand in your way and we can work together to find a solution that fits YOUR life.

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Do you have a fitness, food or health-related question you’d like me to answer? Email me anytime at: whitney@macksmo.com. I’m passionate about bringing you relevant content that adds ease, simplicity and love to your life; and even MORE excited to connect with you weekly.

*Did you like this video? Please share and help spread our MOvement to make you [and your community] fit for life!*

Creating a Healthier You {5 Tips}

Today I came across an article from a fellow graduate of mine from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition {click here to read her original}, Robyn Youkilis that inspired this blog post. Her “5 Tips to a Healthier You”, featured in the Huffington Post, are foundational principles for our 2015 Celebration Challenge that just ended. But I wanted to share + expand on them for you so you can get a better idea of what you can expect and learn what we help you cultivate through our various Macks Mo programs {nutrition, lifestyle coaching and fitness-based}.

Creating a Healthier You#1: Declare Yourself Healthy NOW – unique to our Challenges + programs, we include lifestyle programming that helps you address internal roadblocks holding you back from experiencing vibrant health now {most of us tend to focus on external factors like food + fitness, but this is just one piece of the puzzle!} In our programming, we take you through creating present-tense affirmations {mantras} to help you manifest what you want right now instead of pushing it off into something you “want to do” but are “unable to”. We firmly believe in the Law of Attraction and the power of the thoughts you hold on a daily basis – whatever you believe will find a way to manifest itself into your life, both positive and negative. So, by focusing on how you want to FEEL, holding that close and using it as a compass to guide decisions, we can create what you want immediately versus seeing it something you’ll “get to” eventually. While creating vibrant health is a process, focusing on the now and affirming what you want in the present-tense works with your subconscious to make this your reality.

#2: Get Support – Health is a very personal journey. I both understand this and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with our clients on an intimate level along their journey, in whatever capacity s/he needs + desires. The truth is, it’s hard to go-it alone. Having support around you makes the journey and your long-term success so much easier. Over the past few years, I’ve worked to cultivate a supportive community in my own life {friends + family} and it’s made sustaining my health more fun, simpler and even more enjoyable. Community is also what Regan and I have built our business on – both in our work in Seattle and online; because we know that there is power in numbers. And if you’re struggling with something, it’s likely that others are too. That’s why I LOVE our group Challenges and group Health Coaching Series – because the support is built-in. Regan and I can support you on an individual level, providing the framework for your transformation, while the buzz, excitement and honest discussions of the group can help accelerate your own progress exponentially.

#3: Take Your Time – As I said earlier, health is a journey. One where the deeper we dig, the more benefits we gain. One where the more patience, acceptance and grace we practice for ourselves, the easier changes stick. And certainly one where time is on our side. I can personally tell you that in regards to my own health, the years have been good to me – the more I learn about myself, the more open my heart is, the more willing I am to listen to my body’s needs – the more my vitality has grown, the clearer my head is and the more consistent my energy is. I believe that’s SO important to know and embrace. The less in a rush you are and the more focused you can be on how you want to feel, your inner power grows.

10389467_636560177046_1740788755850607128_n#4: Create Your Non-Negotiable’s – To me, non-negotiables mean defining your “normal”. Normal meaning the things you do on a daily basis because you just know they make you feel better. For me, I have three:

  • Daily affirmations and visualization {my meditation practice} that are included within my morning wake-up and evening wind-down routines.
  • {Almost} daily movement. We use the word “movement” because exercise is just a piece. We believe that the workouts you do should help cultivate energy, strength, body awareness, a deeper inner connection, balance {both physical + emotional} and both develop and maintain muscular + cardiovascular health, but movement also includes all the ways to move your body that you love – biking, skiing, hiking, chasing after your kids, walking or running, playing sports – not just hitting the gym for your usual 30-60 minute workout.
  • Eating food that makes me feel and look good inside and out. For me personally, that’s vegetables and greens whenever and wherever possible I can put them. It also means a variety of local, organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meats and wild seafood, whole grains and an assortment of healthy fats. It means real, seasonal food that I cook in my kitchen and buy locally.

These are my “normal”, things I do {almost} daily and are an integral part of my life; essentially the foundation for my health. I practice them as daily self-care because I know their significance. It’s this shift – defining or perhaps re-defining your NORMAL to include the things you want to do because you know the difference in how they make you feel, think and act.

#5: Accept Yourself – Our 2015 Celebration Challenge in particular was built-on accepting yourself as you are RIGHT NOW and looking at each day as an opportunity to act based on how you want to feel – in this current moment. Living in the now brings your focus away from vanity and into vitality – and all the small changes and decisions you make in order to feel great will add up to lasting vibrant health. If you commit to cultivating it in your now, from where you are, any weight you’re holding onto {physical, emotional or otherwise} will begin to melt away without resistance. We believe that you are a gift and you are enough – regardless of how you look, what job you hold, what habits you’d like to kick or what changes you’d like to cultivate in your life. And through our Celebration Challenge and all Macks Mo programming, we help you celebrate that so you can grow from a place of self-love and nourishment.

If you missed the Challenge, but are still interested in the content, you’re in luck! The 5-week programming is still available for purchase. We decided to keep the program available because the content and concepts are near + dear to my heart and ones I am passionate about sharing with you because I want you to know how special you are {as you are} and to help you cultivate the health you desire. If you’d like more information about the Celebration Challenge content, visit www.macksmo.com/celebrate to get all the details and then shoot an email to whitney@macksmo.com to get started. Sending love.

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!

What’s Food Got to Do with It?

When it comes to creating vibrant health and feeling great in your own skin, what you eat {and how you move your body} is definitely imperative; crucial in fact. The food you eat literally becomes your body – your blood, your cells, your tissues, your organs, your skin, your hair and even your thoughts. In essence, movement facilitates a flow of energy that permeates into all aspects of your life and your body is a compilation of everything you’ve taken in [all the food you’ve eaten] up to this point in time.

Celebration Food Collage #1Our 2015 Celebration Challenge is all about helping you cipher through all the confusing [and misleading] information about both food and movement, to find what works best for YOU. It means stepping outside any exclusive diet, way of eating or method of exercise and simply asking yourself – “how does this make me feel?” In the Challenge, I guide you through this process so that you can begin to create your own unique blueprint of vibrant health. From that, you’ll experience a ripple effect of positive energy + vibrancy that permeates into all aspects of your life – far beyond food and fitness.

The Celebration online nutrition programming provides you with a starting point, but it’s no diet plan. In it, you’ll find over 40 brand new recipes and guidelines that teach you the optimal foods for vitality + digestion,  how to shop and set up your kitchen for ease + quick go-to meals, along with tons of supporting articles +support to improve your real food IQ and make you the expert of your own health {so you can stop worrying about everything you “should do” and instead tune in to what makes you feel best!}.

You might be wondering — what kind of recipes would you be eating? All recipes are naturally gluten-free and mostly dairy-free Celebration Collage #2[with options to adjust based on your needs]. They are loaded with seasonal + fresh vegetables and rooted in real, whole foods created to energetically warm you up from the inside-out {and keep you in harmony with your environment}. Expect lots of crockpot {make-ahead} dishes, one-pot meals and warm winter 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. Regan and 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:

  • Crockpot Coconut Red Curry Soup
  • Maple Glazed Salmon
  • Honey-Lemon Crockpot Chicken
  • Marinara Baked Eggs over Wilted Chard
  • Adobe Shredded Pork in Yam Sammies
  • Crunchy Sesame-Almond Fish Sticks
  • Spicy Sausage, Chard + White Bean Chowder
  • Heart-Warming Vegetable Minestrone
  • Macks Mo Gum-balaya
  • Rosemary + Garlic Coconut Cream Sauce over Spaghetti Squash
  • Simple Garlic-Ginger Stir Fry
  • Carrot Ginger Soup
  • My Mom’s Famous Spaghetti {Squash} Pie
  • Beef Root Vegetable Stew
  • Pear, Butternut Squash + Crab Bisque
  • Toasted Brussels Sprouts Saute with Shittake Mushrooms
  • White Bean + Pesto Kale
  • Asian Stir-Fried Broccoli with Arame
  • Cauliflower Pilaf with Currants + Almonds
  • Warm Winter Slaw with Tahini Dressing
  • Creamy Garlic Mashed “Potatoes”
  • Roasted Root Vegetables over Balsamic Beet Greens
  • PLUS 13 Breakfast Recipes
  • And 10 Snack Recipes!

Learn more about the nutrition program {+ online workout programming} and the Celebration Challenge as a whole by CLICKING HERE. We offer 4 different levels at which you can join based on your needs.

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!

Why It’s Important to Celebrate You.

In my line of work – as a fitness professional and holistic lifestyle + nutrition coach, the New Year brings about a time of business excitement and growth. People have “made it through” the holiday season and are ready to commit [or re-commit] to a healthy lifestyle rooted within daily movement and eating “better”. Although, I enjoy the renewed excitement around health, most of the propaganda and language that surround the beginning of a new year just rubs me the wrong way.

Little SecretWhere Regan and I differ from a great majority of fitness and health businesses is that we believe that any action you take towards health should serve your life in a functional, positive way. I’m going to let you in on a little something the fitness and health industry don’t want you to know — working out doesn’t really help you lose weight. It definitely helps create energy and can certainly aide in your efforts to build muscle definition, but the constant state of “killing yourself” at the gym and punishing yourself for food eaten will never, ever help you lose weight. And dieting certainly won’t help you keep weight off in the long haul either. The only way to create lasting health is to find movement you enjoy that supports your body to make you feel better and to eat from a place of self-love vs. self-loathing. And that’s where most New Year’s diet + exercise programs fail you. They draw you in with the language that “you’re not good enough” as you are right now – capitalizing on the fact that you believe you’ll be happier when you’re slimmer with a different body than you have right now. And I have a problem with that.

Why? Because if we’re constantly seeking to change ourselves from a place of belief that we’re not beautiful and enough as we are right now, then we will never be able to create lasting health and happiness. It’s this belief that the diet + exercise industries are banking on in order to continue to generate revenue – you believing that you need them to help you create health because you can’t do it on your own and you’re not enough as you are right now. At Macks Mo, Regan and I are on a mission to change that. And it’s what this year’s annual group challenge is all about. Celebrating you as you are right now, nourishing your body from the inside out with self-love and empowering you to become the master of your own health. No one knows what feels and works best in your body better than you – and trying to force dietary changes or exercise modalities that don’t feel good will never last. So in creating this Challenge, it was our goal to give you to the tools to love + listen. To celebrate you – as you are and also empower you to wherever you want to go, but in a supportive and lasting way. The 2015 Macks Mo Celebration Challenge equips you with the knowledge + support to take full responsibility for your own health + happiness, instead of having to rely on or even pay attention to the latest diet or exercise trend.

You are a GiftWhen we sat down to create this year’s challenge, our main goal was to show our clients that the pursuit of their own health didn’t need to come in extreme ways. And in fact, engaging in extreme measures is often counter-productive to long-lasting changes. We wanted to demonstrate that in order to truly create a life you love – where you’re fit to handle anything life throws at you [physically, emotionally + mentally] – that you have to stop waiting on the weight and instead start celebrating all you can do right now and who you are right now. You are a gift and you are enough — regardless of how you look, what job you hold, what habits you’d like to kick or what changes you’d like to create [physical or otherwise]. And this Challenge is our way of throwing you a New Year’s party to celebrate that.

Unique to Macks Mo programming, the 2015 Celebration Challenge contains lifestyle + health coaching videos that center around deepening your connection to your body’s intuition, empowering you to become an expert in your own health while shedding excess [physical + emotional] weight along the way. We’ll teach you to live more fully by tuning into the bio-individual signs + signals your body sends, which helps create your own unique blueprint of what vibrant health looks like.

As always, our Challenges consist of online nutrition + workout components. Regan and I do this because we understand that sometimes we all need a little help to begin our journey and add ease to the process of stepping into better health + creating lasting, positive habits. The nutrition program is rooted in delicious, seasonal recipes that create glowing energy and support your body’s needs. The programming is vegetarian-friendly and primarily gluten- + dairy free [with modifications to make it completely so if needed] with weekly grocery lists and guided prep work to maximize your time. For our workout programming, Regan wanted to guide you in the process of finding what movement feels best in your body. As such, he created 8 brand new workouts [complete with beginner’s modifications] of varying exercise modalities – there’s yoga, strength training, high-intensity power circuits, full-body endurance training and even a safe Crossfit-style workout – each workout complete with exercise video tutorials + written guidelines. There’s also specific challenges at the end of each workout that give you a baseline to measure progress and get you out of your comfort zone, into the heart-pumping space of feeling alive in the strength + possibilities your body has right now.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You’re tired of trying {fad} diet after diet with no lasting results. Sick of the yo-yo diet cycle, you’re fed up with feeling out of control in your food choices + emotions.
  • Negative emotions – like worry, guilt, shame, stress and fear are an integral part of your daily life, along with negative self-talk. You beat yourself up for how you look, how you eat + decisions you make, then punish yourself with extreme exercise or restrictive measures.
  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You know you’re irritable and moody, unmotivated and lack mental focus but can’t seem to get “out of the funk”.
  • You feel like you eat well and know you workout hard, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. You’re frustrated and constantly beating yourself up for not being able to “get it right”.
  • You “know what to do” to be healthy, but struggle with finding the motivation to consistently follow through.
  • You’re confused and overwhelmed by all the exercise + diet information out there and need help deciphering the information to create a plan of what physically works for you.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices, learn to eat seasonally and experience the difference of eating in line with food energetics that support your body.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You want to increase your productivity + mental clarity.
  • You’re tired of feeling heavy and bloated or suffering from other physical issues like indigestion, gas, headaches + overall body fatigue.
  • You’re always thinking about food – categorizing it as “good” or “bad” and are constantly worried about the repercussions of your food decisions.
  • You feel like a teenager again, but not in a good way – suffering from acne or other skin related issues.
  • Cravings rule your life – you have a “sweet tooth that’s out of control” or images of carbs that dance in your head. You need coffee in the AM to get you moving and PM to keep you going.
  • You want to make health an integral part of your life, but not have it “rule” your life and suck up all your time.
  • You feel like “something is missing” from your life, but can’t figure it out. You want to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • You struggle with balancing the “fun” in your life – eating out, hanging out and eating healthy don’t fit together.
  • You “do good” during the week, but struggle to maintain balance on the weekends – thus feel like you’re starting over every Monday.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” as you know it now, but to instead create a dynamic balance in your life that shifts and changes as you do, unique to your individualized needs. You see, at Macks Mo, know how important it is to make you fit for life and all it throws at you. We understand our circumstances change and we go through various stages of growth + stressors. And you need a health plan that’s meant to weather all the seasons of your life — allowing you to have vibrant energy amidst both the easer and more challenging times.

Celebrate Who You Are and Where You're GoingCreating this vibrant energy involves a whole health approach that encompasses your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It focuses on changing your inner landscape so that the external changes you make [like eating healthy + working out] actually stick and make a difference. We want you to be inspired and full of energy all the live long days – because if you’re always tired, feeling like crap or frustrated with where you’re “at”, then life is no fun. That’s why we think it’s time to approach the New Year from a different perspective — time to celebrate where you’re at and where you desire to go, not to loathe the process of creating it with extreme measures that don’t even last through January. So if you’re ready to finally let that go – let go of the control you’re trying to exercise on your life to “be” healthy and instead learn the steps to actually LIVE it, then I would love to have you join us for the 2015 Celebration Challenge.

To sign up for the Challenge and learn more about the various levels at which you can enter [based on your needs], CLICK HERE! The Challenge begins Wednesday, January 7th when you’ll begin receiving your material and officially kicks off Monday, Jan 12th, running 5 weeks to Saturday, Feb. 14th.


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 and Twitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!