Tag Archive | Macks Mo

How to Get Mo(re) – From Your Life, Body, Mind + Spirit

Do you want to be feel better in your own skin? Have more energy? Lose some weight? Clear mental fog? Be more connected to your life + body? Whatever your M.O. for living a healthier + happier life, my goal within Macks Mo is to provide you with tools to engage in the journey without deprivation, negative connotations or restrictions. Because I’m of the belief that if you focus on ADDING IN MO(re) good stuff [versus operating from a “can’t do” or “can’t have” mentality], it will create a ripple effect that permeates into all aspects of your life. Meaning more goodness all around.

Which is why I felt compelled to make a list of some of the best things you could add in to start 2016 FULL of feel-good tools that you can keep coming back to. Designed to help you GET MO(re) out of your life, your body, your mind + spirit. Simple + small, but effective and power-packed. Try adding one or a few of these things in today and see what a difference it makes!

  1. Add MO(re) Water. Did you know that cravings for “uppers” like coffee, sugar and alcohol can actually be your body crying out for water? Aim for at least 60 oz. before lunch and 100 total on the day.
  2. Add MO(re) Greens + Vegetables. These are your greatest source of energy and vitality. Try to incorporate them into every meal if possible. The more, the better!
  3. Add MO(re) Chews! Chewing your food starts the process of digestion and makes nutrients more easily assimilated by your body. Try counting 30-50 chews before swallowing and set your for down between bites. Savor, pause and give thanks!
  4. Add MO(re) Gratitude. Recited in your head, written in a journal, spoken out loud to those around you and whenever you think of it – practice being thankful for the blessings in your life. You’ll feel fuller + more satisfed with your life RIGHT NOW.
  5. Add MO(re) Joy + Laughter. Even more important than the food we feed our body is the food we feed our SOUL. Surround yourself with people that make your mouth ache from smiling, belly hurt from laughing and engage in practices that bring you joy. And make it a point to incorporate these on a DAILY basis.
  6. Add MO(re) Self-Care, not Punishment. Shift your focus to how you’re taking care of your body + mind with every decision you make. Ditch the shame + punishment mentality for past decisions and instead think of what you can do NOW to feel your best. {Hint hint, lots of answers are in this list!}.
  7. Add MO(re) Love. Open your heart to giving it without condition. Know you are worthy of any + all love you receive. And definitely love up on yourself and use that love to guide your actions, thoughts and behaviors.
  8. Add MO(re) Quiet + Stillness: Set the device down, turn off the TV, stop the busy {at least for a few moments each day}. Give yourself the space to hear your thoughts and feel your body. Meditate, walk, breathe. Connect with God and create space to live in the highest vibration of your self.
  9. Add MO(re) Intention: Take yourself off autopilot and start tuning in to your body + thoughts. Notice how things + food make you feel and how your mind has the ability to put a positive {or negative} spin on almost any situation. Set the intention to make conscious decisions from a place of self-love with the goal of filling yourself up with all the feel-good’s you can.
  10. Add MO(re) Macks Mo! I am always here to support and lift you up. Because you deserve the very best and you’re part of our family. And it’s my passion to deliver you content, love + tools to live the most vibrant life possible in a body you love.
Sending love to you today and always, xoxo. – Whitney

What It Means to Have Health Freedom

This past Saturday, Regan and I launched the Freedom Prescription (Rx) Challenge – and are so excited to share our newest edition of Macks Mo Nutrition + Workout Programming, along with Lifestyle Coaching Techniques with you.

The Freedom Rx Pic.jpgIn the January 2014 Momentum Challenge, as a group, we lost 318 lbs., 212 inches & had a 48% average improvement on fitness tests in just 4 weeks [check out their stories + our experience here]. Inspired by this and due to popular demand, we created the Freedom Rx Challenge for the season where you want to feel & look your best in a body you’re proud to bare.

Now before you write off the idea of taking it on [because you have no time to “fit it in”], let me tell you we created this Challenge precisely to meet you there – in the midst of your busy social calendar, with Memorial Day + 4th of July, the end of school and fun in the sun.We created it for all the moments you’ll be traveling and the times spent at weddings and summer BBQ’s with drink in hand – this Challenge was designed to help you achieve vibrant health, in a way you’ve never experienced, without having to compromise any other important areas [or events] in your life.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You’re 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 want to upgrade or spice up your food choices and/or find a balanced exercise routine that WORKS.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You’re sick of yo-yo dieting and feeling out of control with your food choices + emotions.
  • 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.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” but instead VIBRANT health. You see, at Macks Mo, we don’t believe that the absence of disease or an “illness” = health. We don’t even think that exercising hard or eating real, whole foods fully constitutes health or makes you “healthy”.

We believe vibrant health stems from an inner energy that doesn’t stop. It 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. And who wants to live a life that’s no fun? Even if you fill your life with “fun things”, living in a body that’s weighing you down – physically, energetically and emotionally, will always limit the amount of true happiness you can experience. 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 Freedom Rx Challenge.

Check out this promo video to learn more here, then check out these extra details below:

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT BY MERELY PARTICIPATING IN THE CHALLENGE (Level #1):

  • Coaching videos + handouts with exercises and information to set you free of health barriers holding you captive and bring you towards vibrant health from the inside-out.
  • The tools to create a richer, more meaningful life lived in the freedom of boundless energy and rooted in radical self-acceptance & love.
  • Macks Mo Skin Care 101 – a guide to transitioning your beauty products from toxic to ones that support glowing skin and healthy hair.
  • Food Rules – the “skinny” on need-to-know food information to empower your decisions behind knowledge that makes sense and is applicable into your busy life.
  • Learn how to live a life that supports goals for your body + life without the need to compromise, but instead teaching how to get MORE out of your life while shedding excess physical + emotional weight.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMMING (Level #2A):

  • 6 weeks of nutritional programming – including over 40 new, seasonal new recipes from Macks Mo and featuring recipes from local Seattle chef Aubrey Jenkins of drumbeets.com – we’re talking breakfast, lunch, brunch, party + BBQ favorites, dinner, snacks, drinks and sweet treats.
  • 6 weeks of grocery lists + prep to set you up for success every week.
  • Gain confidence in the kitchen and freedom from low energy, wasted food and stubborn weight – all while eating delicious, real food combinations that make you feel amazing!
  • Macks Mo Pantry Basics – a guide to having the food you need on hand at all times so you can whip up a healthy meal in record time without needing to run to the grocery store.
  • Making Meals Work – a guide to repurposing leftovers; cooking once, but reaping the benefits of that effort to recreate two to three different meals beyond that; meaning less time over the stove for you.
  • The Macks Mo Plate – a guide to understanding how the things we bring to the table [food + more] affect the way we assimilate that food into our bodies. Leads you through the process of intuitive eating and understanding portions.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE WORKOUT PROGRAMMING (Level #2B):

  • 9 New Macks Mo workouts that can be done anywhere – your home, at the gym, in a park, at a track or in your hotel room that take 30 minutes or less and require just your body weight or dumbbells.
  • The workouts vary in intensity and are designed to meet you where you’re at, regardless of fitness level. Each full-body workout was created to build balanced muscle definition, a stronger core, while challenging & increasing your strength and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Online video tutorials for every workout so that you understand form + posture on exercises and know which muscles you’re targeting. This allows you to maximize your time + effort into efficient movement that WORK every time.
  • Written guidelines to understand the workout formats + journal to track your results and progress.
  • Videos and articles to support you in learning how to maximize your metabolic turn while teaching you the Macks Mo Method of getting the most out of your workouts.
  • Increase your body awareness, improve your posture, gain confidence and experience the freedom of moving your body in a balanced way that leaves you feeling taller, more tuned in and energized.

The Challenge has 4 Levels to Enter:
   – #1: Level 1 includes challenge entry [which makes you or your group eligible for prizes] and also the “what you can expect” material for just joining the Challenge. A $500 value for just $40.
– #2A: Level 1 + Online Nutritional Programming. An $700 value for just $125.
– #2B: Level 1 + Online Workout Programming. A $650 value for just $125.
– #3: Level 1 + both Online Nutrition + Workout Programming. An $800 value for just $220.

Group ShotHOWEVER…we know it’s more fun to work in groups or with a partner – not to mention the added accountability + support that comes with working towards to same goal, so for this challenge we are excited to offer PARTNER + GROUP DISCOUNTS. Get together with your significant other or make a group of 3+ people and receive 30% off whichever level you choose. And group members can participate at different levels – some could just enter at Level #1, while others choose #2 or #3. It doesn’t matter what level you choose or where you’re at – everyone in your group gets 30% off their total purchase.

At checkout, enter “getmosupport” to receive the Group Discount or “sexyrexy” for the Couples Discount [please note that couples need to purchase an additional Level #1 on top of whatever level they choose to participate in].

Like always, we determine Challenge Winners based on measurements [inches lost], weight loss and the percentage improvement made on fitness tests [for couples and groups, we combine your team’s improvements for a total percentage]. We will be offering over $750 worth of prizes to:

  • The #1 and #2 individual finishers
  • The Top Couple
  • The Top Group

We hope that you’ll join us and make the decision to finally free yourself from the things holding you back from experiencing vibrant health. It’s our passion to share this message with you – and we look forward to sharing in your journey!

Visit macksmo.com and join by clicking “Sign Up”, then selecting your Level of Choice. If you’re participating in a group or as a couple, make sure to send us a note to let you know whose on your team! Please email with questions. Challenge begins Monday, May 19th as a “prep week”. If you’re participating in Levels #2A, #2B or #3, you’ll receive the materials to get you started on Saturday, 5/17. Everyone participating will receive your “Freedom Rx” packet on Monday 5/19. Challenge ends on Wednesday, July 3rd.

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!

The Weight Loss Secret No One is Telling You

There is something I have to tell you. And it’s what no one else in the weight loss, fitness or health industry is telling you. Why? Because it would mean the eminent death of the “big business” that is health today. shape magHave you ever stood in line at the grocery store and read all the headlines for various health, fitness and weight loss magazines:
– “Lose Stubborn Belly Fat Once and For All!
–  “Love Your Lower Body – Lift & Tone Your Way to Shapely Legs”
– “The 5 Day Diet – The New Foods Plan to Help You Lose Weight FAST”
– “Slim for Life – 7 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss”

Or gone to your local bookstore and been bombarded with the countless number of diet books that all claim to be the be-all, end-all “scientifically-proven, only way to lose weight and keep it off”? Sound familiar? I have to say, I pity the writer who has to constantly come up with these “hot new stories” every month or write the newest diet fad, must be exhausting. But let’s be real – if these mags, books or other media sources didn’t make these catchy claims, would you buy it? Why did you decide to read this blog I am writing? Because of the title? In truth, every media headline and corresponding article like those written above, every marketing claim made on packaged food, every “guaranteed” solution to your fast weight loss is a farce. And in most cases, a flat out lie.

For all my clients [past, present & future], friends, family and everyone I know – I want you to able to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health, so in order to do so, I want to provide you with the knowledge. And you can only have knowledge if you have the whole truth – the big picture. More Important Than FoodMoving your body and what we eat is definitely important. The food we eat literally becomes our body – our blood, our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair and even our thoughts. In essence, your body is a compilation of everything you’ve taken in – all the food you’ve eaten up to this point in time.

But here’s the truth – even more important to health + happiness are the things that feed us on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Believe it or not, all the organic, non-GMO broccoli, kale and spinach won’t make a world of difference if you don’t address what’s going on in your heart and your life. kale The reasons why diets, weight loss plans and our best intentions to make workouts part of our daily life don’t stick is because they all fail to address the elephant in the room – the “WHY” behind what we do.

Anyone in the world who has [including myself] struggled or currently struggles with weight loss all have perfectly good and justifiable reasons for eating the way we do. And it’s not “the what” [FOOD] we’re eating that matters SO much [although it’s of course an important piece of the puzzle], but what’s making us eat the way we do that counts. And those “what’s and why’s” are all wrapped up in our individual lifestyle choices + habits, along with our emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.Essentially – every diet, fitness or weight loss plan out there doesn’t address YOU. You in all your uniqueness, beautiful imperfections and meet you where you’re at in your life right now. food-fill-you

So the fact is, you can upgrade your food all you want, but it doesn’t feed your soul and it doesn’t make you happy. Don’t get me wrong – as a Board Certified Health Coach and ACE + AFFA certified fitness professional, I firmly believe and advocate that eating true, clean food [grown from the ground or humanely-raised on green grass in pastures] will definitely upgrade your life – increase your energy, help you lose weight and create a positive ripple effect into other areas of your being. But what stops those changes from “sticking” and what holds you back from achieving all the happiness possible for your life goes farther than fork to mouth.

There are many “food associated” factors that lead to weight gain – such as inadequate nutrition, chronic dieting, poor digestion and really, just consuming too much processed, chemicalized, toxic junk. But changing those doesn’t eliminate the stress, change your limiting beliefs, alleviate your emotional suffering. It doesn’t fill in for the lack of a fulfilling career, substitute for a spiritual practice, change lifestyle habits, create meaningful connection & relationships in your life OR help you find a form of movement you enjoy that works for your body. Upgrading your food choices can be revolutionary, but what makes those food upgrades life-altering is by actually addressing all the “lifestyle concerns” first. uprading your food

Every BODY is different – we have different physical needs [fitness and food-wise]. We carry around different emotional “stories” that sabotage our progress and limit our potential for happiness; and we certainly all have different demands placed on our lives + time by various people and situations. And there is only one person who can truly know what works best for you – and that is YOURSELF! To me, that’s exciting. To some, it’s overwhelming [okay, it’s overwhelming to me sometimes too] – because it means that instead of the quick-fix, you have to do a little digging. You have to be a detective and you have to decipher through all the headlines and “personal stories of success” to figure out whether or not the healthy habit, fitness plan or way of eating serves you.

It ultimately means that you have to slow down and get to know you. It takes time, effort and sometimes, tough self-reflection and choices – which some people aren’t ready for…yet or maybe ever. But IT IS the weight loss secret that no one is telling you. My school – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls these essential lifestyle pieces your “primary food” – they are fundamentally the real food that will transform your life. Being fulfilled in your primary food means having [or at least actively working towards]:
– meaningful relationships
– a rewarding career
– a spiritual practice
– engaging in [almost] daily physical movement you enjoy

…and it’s where the magic happens – where your ability to lose weight is super-charged by your focus on figuring out what really makes you happy and being willing to address and let go of the real “life weight” that’s been holding you down.   It my passion and life’s mission to support clients in finding this for themselves. And it’s my desire in wanting to help you too.

So I am writing this article to share the truth with you and perhaps shed some light on why your efforts to lose weight or find a maintainable healthy lifestyle haven’t been successful in the past. I encourage you to stop “waiting on the weight” to find your happiness and begin living your life. Instead, shift your focus to addressing your primary food and weight loss will become a non-issue…it just happens. Sometimes it happens right away – depending on where you or any of our the clients are at in his/her life and sometimes it happens months down the road. But like I said earlier – I want you to know the truth, to have the knowledge and the tools to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health. And that’s what our 2014 Momentum Challenge and all our programs are about was about and why we create them – and truly what ALL mine and Regan’s work is about – about you getting to know YOU and what works FOR you; while having our support and guidance in the process. And we’re learning right alongside you. I can tell you that I learn more from my clients every day than I ever could’ve imagined. We are in the journey together. So whether it’s via social media, coaching, in classes + training or through one of our programs, I hope this blog can move you away from “media-driven solutions” and towards a road of life-transforming self-reflection as you dig deeper into your own primary food.

— If you liked this blog, share the love! And connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. If you have questions about programs or offerings, feel free to email me at whitney@macksmo.com or check out our website www.macksmo.com to sign up today! — 

WARM COCONUT CHICKEN + BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE

Image

I am so excited about our 2014 Macks Mo Momentum Challenge that I just had to give you a “taste”! 🙂 Part of our “saute” series in the nutritional programming, this is one of my favorite go-to “flash” meals (it only takes a flash to make!), featuring seasonal vegetables and some seriously good flavor. Enjoy!

WARM COCONUT CHICKEN + BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE
IN THE MORNING: SET CHICKEN OUT TO THAW
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 organic, free-range chicken breasts (local if possible), cut into strips
  • 8 small purple beets, scrubbed with brush, ends chopped off & cut into ¼’s (make sure these are cut small)
  • 1 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends chopped off, then cut in ½
  • 2 Tbls. coconut oil
  • ¼ cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 handfuls of organic spinach

DIRECTIONS:
#1:  Cut the chicken breasts into strips and add to a large sauté pan with the coconut oil and coconut, cooking on medium heat.
#2:  Prepare, wash and chop beets + Brussels sprouts.
#3:  In a large sautoir pan:

  • Add vegetables + ½ cup water and cover. Steam for 12 minutes (while chicken is still cooking). Check “doneness” with fork – want beets to be soft in middle.
  • Once timer is up, drain water from vegetable pan and add in the chicken mix, plus ½ cup sunflower seeds + 2 handfuls of spinach. Cook together for 2 more minutes, then serve! Season with sea salt + pepper to taste.

The Sauce IS Boss.

Some of you know this, but I live with two boys. Yep, not one, but two – this being the case for basically the last year and a half. My husband [obviously] and my brother-in-law, Andrew. You may also know that boys – or men, rather, tend to have different “dietary” preferences and demands than women. I love vegetables. Love them. I don’t need to sauce them up, I love them “as is” – cooked or raw. My “boys” however, are a different story. A good meal means a good sauce. The sauce — is BOSS in my house. Can you relate?

One other thing you may or may not know – most sauces aren’t healthy or nutrient-dense [two guidelines for most food choices in my household]. Whether store-bought or borrowed from a blog, they are generally loaded with salt + sugar, and generally make no designation between high-quality, good-for-you fats and over-processed, nutrient-void ones. Marinara, BBQ, ketchup, Alfredo — you know the list.

In the summer, we don’t crave “heavy”, warm foods. The temperature is warmer, so our body desires light and cooling foods – like salads and smoothies. Come fall and winter though, our cravings for comfort and warm foods awaken. So, in the summer, creating dishes loaded with vegetables and fresh salads isn’t met with “too much” challenge from “my boys”. However, with the change of season, returns the desire for…sauces. So, what’s a girl to do? Create BOSS sauces, of course.

Below is my collection of what I’ve been working on. Each recipe blends seasonal foods and “traditional” recipes with my cleaned up, “health-ified” twist. I hope they’re as big of a hit in your home as they were in mine. Accompanied by the quote coined by my brother-in-law regarding every meal I cook — “Wow, this is actually really good.”

ImageAcorn Squash Alfredo:
– Disclaimer: We eat high-quality dairy products and use them as a great source of good fat and protein in our diet. High-quality meaning it is #1: pastured (very different than pasteurized; meaning the cow was raised on grass in an open field) and #2: raw (which would be unpasteurized). Pasteurization (heating) actually destroys the enzymes present in raw milk: lactase – which digests and absorbs milk sugar lactose, lipase – absorbs & digests milk fats and phosphatase – used to absorb calcium (which allows allows lactose digestion).
Ingredients:
2 cups each: raw milk and vegetable broth (or homemade stock)
1/2 cup raw whipping cream
1 cup raw sharp cheddar cheese
Juice + zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. each of nutmeg, salt & pepper
2 Tbls. raw butter
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 acorn squash, seeds & “guts” removed [could also use butternut]

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, add 1″ of water. Place the half of acorn squash face down, then cover with saran wrap. Microwave to steam for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add butter and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes [careful not to burn]. Have milk & veg broth handy and add to pan when garlic’s done. Add lemon juice, zest and seasonings at this time also.
  3. Whisk sauce constantly for 4-5 minutes, until it starts to boil. Add cream and continue to whisk until it returns to a boil, then stir in cheese and mix until “dissolved”. Remove from heat.
  4. When done steaming, scoop squash meat out of shell into blender, then add sauce. Blend to puree all sauce ingredients together.

*I served this once over spaghetti squash for myself, brown rice pasta or fresh linguine for Regan. Flavor suggestion: Regan thinks that if you cook a “flavorful meat” like organic sausage that the sauce is fine “as is” – if you cook it with a milder meat, say organic, free-range chicken, he likes to add a little “heat” – cayenne pepper. I also served this over farro and kale [I cooked the farro, then in a separate pan, cooked organic sausage with kale added in the last 2 minutes].

IMAG0674Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo
*Inspired by Kris Carr’s Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight in 1 cup water
1 (15 oz. can) organic coconut milk [more if desired to make “thinner”}
1 cup organic coconut or regular water
1/3 sugar pumpkin, seeds & “guts” removed [stem cut off]
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. each: sage and thyme
1 tsp. each cinnamon and chili powder
Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, add 1″ of water. Place the half of pumpkin face down, then cover with saran wrap. Microwave to steam for 10 minutes. If desired, you can steam the whole pumpkin and use for other recipes like a pumpkin soup or smoothie through the week [I did this!].
  2. Once pumpkin is cooked, scoop the meat out of shell into a large food processor.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency.

* This, I served on raw zucchini noodles with grilled game sausage over top [a mix of elk, venison & antelope].

IMAG0675Master Marinara Sauce
I got this recipe from a fellow instructor and friend’s husband, Mark Caggiano. I followed his recipe to a “T” the first time and the boys swooned over it. The second time, I add a few extra ingredients to make it more of a “vodka” sauce and they loved that one too! So this is really a 2-for-1 recipe deal!
Ingredients:
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes [Mark tells me these make all the difference; and I now agree!]
1/4 cup extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
1 Tbls. each of oregano & basil
1 tsp. each of: thyme & red pepper flakes
Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook garlic in olive oil 1-2 minutes [careful not to burn]. Have tomato can open & ready to go.
  2. Poor tomato can over garlic and reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, then cover and cook 20-40 minutes [I did 30-40].
  4. Blend sauce in blender.

*The second time I made it, I added 1 Tbls. red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup raw whipping cream.

How Do You Get “Those” 6-Pack Abs?

6-Pack Abs are perhaps the ultimate buzz word in the fitness world. The most sought after physical trait, the holy grail of fitness. And everyone wants to know the secret on how to get them. To solidify this argument, just check out the buzz over the 2013 Calvin Klein Super Bowl commercial. ABC News ran an entire piece called “Abs-olutely Fabulous! The Best Abs in the World?” Tuesday all dedicated to the advertisement. And it’s this segment that got me thinking – or rather, got the attention of my client Anne, which sparked this discussion. And from such, comes the inspiration for this blog post.

Calvin Klein

So, back to finding the answer you’re waiting for — how do you get those 6-pack abs? First, I’ll let you in on one little secret…(drum roll and spoiler alert, please). It’s not what you think and it’s ten times better…

You already have them! 

Really. We all do. Anatomically, the rectus abdominis muscle’s Imageshape IS a “6-pack” (reference the picture to the right). All the muscles you see defined on Mr. Terry above are all visible on our anatomical figure as well. Problem is — most of us just have too much extra padding over top to let the muscle show it’s true form.  😉 Not the answer you were looking for? Don’t worry – just keep reading.

If you’ve trained with Regan and I before, you’ve heard us talk about engaging the core through every movement – be it a squat, lunge, plank, crunch, sprint, bent over row, push up; literally EVERY movement. When we first start working with people, most don’t fully get what this means – both in terms of muscle activation and the limitless potential of muscular strength & development.

In the post-Super Bowl media frenzy that Matthew Terry’s ab-tastic commercial caused, everyone wanted to know his secret. His answer? Plank. You might be thinking, “What?! But there is no movement in plank. There’s no way that’s how he got all that definition!”

And so in comes our second secret to a creating a strong and defined core — the most important function of the core during movement or exercises is not to move at all. In an article written for our Macks Mo Get Mo(re) Challenge, Regan explains:

“When we exercise, we typically move at our JOINTS, including the: hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow and wrists joints. These movements allow our body to travel through space. In all exercise aside from rotation, keeping the spine completely still while our arms or legs move should be a primary focus. As an anti-mover, a stable core allows you to transfer energy and power between your upper and lower extremities safely and efficiently. In this respect, all power, quickness and even strength starts and ends with a strong core.” By stabilizing the spine against movement, the core is creating resistance for your extremities to move against and vise-versa. When a force is applied to the core (through movement of other body parts), it grows stronger – and accordingly more defined, through this resistance.

Coming full circle and back to #1 washboard abs & #2 plank, let’s experiment in your body. First take a look at the picture of your core’s anatomy (above) so you have a visual of what the muscles look like. Now, try these two exercises to train maximal core activation through compression and an isometric (non-moving, but active) contraction:

  • Supine Compression: Lay flat on your back, feet on the ground under your knees. As you visualize the different layers of your core with eyes closed, press your sacrum (bony triangle at the base of your spine, inside your hips) and bottom of your rib cage into the ground, leaving the natural pocket of air underneath your spine. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders into the floor. As you exhale, first kegel the pelvic floor up, then compress (pull in + down) through your abdominal wall – drawing the belly button towards the ground. Think of your core like a shoe’s laces and pull the two sides of the core IN like you’re lacing up the bottom to top of your shoe. Take 10 deep breaths and with every exhale, try to contract the core tighter 360 degrees around the spine. Imprint this feeling of compression into your mind.
  • ImageMoving on to plank, once you’re set, make sure the shoulders are over wrists and feet in line with hips. Create length in the body by reaching both the crown of the head and legs away from the belly button. As you do this, take a deep breath. On the exhale, press your foundation points (hands & feet) into the ground then lift “up” through the abdominal wall + postural muscles of the upper back, again compressing the core towards the spine and drawing the two sides together and in. Soften the shoulders down the back away from the ears and imagine being suspended in space just by your core – as if your arms and legs weren’t there. Hold for a count of one-one-thousand to 30. Every breath focus on getting lighter on your hands/feet and tighter through the core. Try to emulate the SAME contraction you had when you were lying on your back.

Okay, now it’s go time. How your core felt in both the supine compression exercise and plank is how your core should be engaged 100% of the time – during every exercise and throughout your day. Try it – right now. See if you can do a squat or a lunge and focus on engaging and moving from the core first. Can you feel a difference? If you do this, it means your core is working ALL the time. And this will take your fitness and body to the next level, while intensifying every workout.  When you layer on movement – like a lunge, etc. to the already intense “plank” contraction of the core, you get…BINGO! The developing strength, definition and power of your abdominals. You don’t need to do 1000 crunches per day.

Instead:

  1. Learn to stabilize through the core, practice the two exercises above until you’ve mastered the contraction without changing your posture or bringing tension to anywhere else in the body.
  2. Practice breathing while holding the core in these isometric contractions. Always exhale on the “effort” – the push or pull of an exercise.
  3. Start every exercise movement or daily activity by engaging the core: front, side and back. Move with intention. Power and initiate all movement from the core and then transfer that energy out through your extremities.

And last (you may have guessed this was coming) – you must master your nutritional habits. Like I said earlier, we all anatomically have a 6-pack. It’s the layer of fat over top that’s hiding our most coveted asset. My one rule: eat 100% real food. Food you can make in your own kitchen, not a science lab. No matter how hard or how long you exercise or what your movement of choice is, your body composition will not budge if your eating isn’t on track. 90% (or more) of how you look isn’t done in the gym, it’s that “fork to mouth” exercise that is the game-changer. I’m not talking about a diet, I’m talking about a lifestyle of eating delicious, good-for-you food that nourishes you from the inside-out.

And THAT, my friends is the winning formula –>

Take your plank with you every day in every way you can + eat 100% real food

= YOUR MACKS MO SIX-PACK ABS FORMULA.

Image

And no, that’s not the Calvin Klein model – that’s my Regan. Un-enhanced by any photo program or color (just saying – check out the difference between the advertisement picture and the video where Matthew Terry shows his abs on camera – slightly different I’d say). These are just the results of using the said Macks Mo Formula.  🙂  And you can find yours too! If you need help, we can get you there. Shoot any questions our way: whitney@macksmo.com or post below.

– Put Mo(re) In, Get Mo(re) Out. In your workouts, through your nutrition and into your life. –