PiYo Review: Sticking to something till the end!


I have been filled with such an incredible sense of accomplishment these past couple days. Yesterday I completed the two month PiYo program. I have never ever completed a workout program from start to finish. Even though there were ups and downs throughout the past two months, I did each workout every day and completed the program! 





I am so grateful to God that, even though these past two months have been nuts, He gave me the motivation and determination to finish this program!! I am definitely going to incorporate PiYo into my weekly workout schedules because it has been the best thing I have ever done for my mind, soul, and my body. 

Let me first say that I used to hate anything low impact, and I especially did not enjoy yoga or Pilates. This program completely changed that for me! I looked forward to pressing play every single day, and I felt amazing during PiYo. So if you think you are not a yoga person, you should try this program because you may surprise yourself!  

I also got great results! The left photo is from week 3, and the right is from my final week, week 8! 





I have never had definition in my abs, let alone the confidence to post my abs! This workout gave me confidence in so many aspects of my life. I finally completed a program in its entirety, which is such a huge confidence boost! I also became a beach body coach in the process, because I wanted to be able to coach others through this program so they can experience what I have. Now, I feel like I can do anything I set my mind too! 

To close, I know you all are interested in details. So here is it. I lost 10-12 lbs during PiYo, I stuck with the workout calendar, and I also added about 2-3 cardio days consisting of slow run/walks ranging from 20-40 mins. Most importantly, I stuck to a mostly clean eating lifestyle. I never starved myself, I did indulge on Easter and a few other occasions, and for about 80% of the 8 weeks, I ate whole, real foods, lean proteins, tons of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a good amount of healthy fats. Nutrition is the most important part of the entire equation! We cannot workout enough to outweigh a poor diet...that's for sure! 

If you would like me to coach you through this fitness program and help you get on your way to living a healthier lifestyle, please contact me! I have a passion for helping people reach their health and fitness goals and would love to work with you. Email me at TveenRD@gmail.com to get started! 

Redefining the Snack!

I love snacking and have always been a snacker! When I was younger, I would look forward to my afternoon snacks, which would usually consist of goldfish crackers while watching "Little House on the Prarie." (Loved that show!) Throughout the recent years, I have found that my nostalgic love of snacking still rings strong and true. I would much rather snack throughout the day than have 3 square meals a day. But, since most snack foods tend to be processed, high in salt and sugar, and not the healthiest of options, snacking has gotten a bad reputation. The action of snacking also stimulates us to eat more by triggering that mindless "put food in mouth, repeat, repeat, repeat" action, which makes it easy to ignore our satiety signals (aka your brain screaming "I am full so stop feeding me!!!") Makes you almost feel like a crazy cooke monster, huh?? images

I read an interesting article this week entitled "Half of eating occasions are snacks." Here is the link below!


A new report by the Hartman group states that more and more people are eating on the go, snacking, and replacing traditional meals with more snack foods. The authors stated that people are eating "on a whim" and "according to cravings," making them more likely to go through the drive thru, stop at a grocery store, or pick up a yummy baked good from the local bakery on their way home from work, school, or any function. The report also stated that half the time, people eat alone, which means that smaller portions are even more necessary. The report states that these snacks have become replaced meals, and some people are even starting to snack at home when they are too tired to make a full course, nutritionally balanced meal.

My opinion:

I am a healthy eater, but also love to snack. I completely understand the need to eat something on your way home, or the feeling of being too exhausted to cook a full meal after a long day at work. But, there are some healthy ways to prevent a snack attack that leads to an all day eating fest! Planning and prepping your meals and snacks are the key to establishing healthy meal and snacking patterns, leading to a happier and healthier life! Check a few posts back if you need some meal planning ideas, and keep reading for some snacking tips!

Since I get off work at 5:45pm, have a 45-50 minute commute home, I know that I will get hungry on my drive. I always make sure to either pack a quest bar or some nuts for my drive home.

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The combination of nuts with either veggies or fruit is also very satisfying and filling!

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In my experience, the key to being a healthy snacker is to PLAN your snacks. Most people plan meals, but simply leave the snacks up the chance. This usually leads to overeating snack foods such as chips, popcorn, candy, etc. The reason why these foods are SO easy to overeat is that they are full of sugar and very devoid of nutrition, which leads to these foods having addictive qualities. Think about it, have you ever eaten 4 plates of steak or grilled chicken? Your body just screams NO and physically doesn't let you because of all the nutrition and protein in these foods. But, have you ever polished off 4 baskets of chips and salsa without even thinking about it?? Be honest, because even I can answer that question with a  resounding YES! As delicious as some of these snack foods are, they have no internal mechanisms that make us say STOP EATING. Most snack foods do not contain adequate protein to keep us full and do what snacks are intended to do: keep us full enough till our next meal. Which is why, I recommend, redefining the snack!

1.) MINI-MEALS: A snack should really be more of a mini-meal. Think of your snack as a protein, veggies, and some healthy fats. If you have a hard-boiled egg, carrots, and a 1/4 cup of hummus, nuts, or guacamole, I guarantee that you will feel satisfied and full, without feeling the need to have a second, third, or fourth portion of this "snack" or mini-meal. Another idea is 2 oz grilled chicken, some snap peas or mini bell peppers, and a string cheese. This meal would fill you up without stuffing you up, and will keep your energy levels steady for a few hours instead of leaving you hungry and wanting more.

2.) QUICK STOP PROTEIN: When it comes to stopping on the way home for a snack, most people turn to Starbucks, fast food joints, or ice cream parlors. However, in the same amount of time it takes for you to pull into one of these food establishments, it would take the same amount of time to stop at a nearby grocery store with a prepared foods section and pick up a rotisserie chicken. Chicken has good protein, is a fast snack option that you can leave in your fridge at work, and can even be taken home to your family for a quick dinner. Just whip up a salad or some steamed veggies (keep a few bags of frozen veggies on hand for emergencies such as these!) and you've got yourself a nice protein+veggies meal! You can even boil cook up some sweet potatoes or some brown rice as a carbohydrate side as well.

The more our world changes and gets busier, the more our daily habits change as well. As this article has shown, the "traditional" meal is taking a back seat to snacking and eating on the go. Even though we all have busy schedules, don't let health and nutrition take a back seat as well! Use some of these tips, or create your own protein, veggie, and healthy fat meals that will help you stay full and resist the need for salty or sugary snacks. By packing each meal with as many nutrient-dense foods as possible, you will leave your body and brain satisfied and going strong throughout the day, preventing the overeating and mindless snacking that so often occurs when you let yourself go hungry! So go ahead, redefine your snacks, and see how much better your moods, energy, and overall health will be!


Meal Planning Made Simple!

As a dietitian, and an overall planning and organization nerd, I have always loved to plan what I am about to do. I love scheduling and making list, and this habit has spilled over into my eating habits and meal plans as well! This is something I am definitely grateful for. Cooking and planning your meals usually leads to spending less money, making healthier choices, and actually enjoying your meals more! There is something about cooking and preparing your own food that makes you appreciate it so much more when you sit down to eat your meals! :) Since starting work not too long ago (11 days ago to be exact), I have taken my love of meal planning to a whole new level. I have been meal prepping on the weekends and planning my meals like there is no tomorrow, and I love it! Last night, as I was preparing food for the week, I was filled with such joy in my kitchen! I have always been a firm believer of helping people use food to their benefit and not their detriment, so planning and cooking my own meals that benefit my health just fits right in to my philosophy! This practice of mine has also led to WAY less waste money and food-waste, which is always a needed bonus in today's world. I thought I would share some of my meal planning tips and tricks for you all who are crunched on time but still want to plan and pack your meals for work, school, and the like!

I usually do my meal planning and prepping on the weekends. On Saturdays, I assess what I already have in the kitchen to see what I can use up before my buy more food. Based on this, I make my meal plan and write out any additional items I need from the store. On Sundays, I head to the store, stock up, and get to cooking. Trader Joe's has been my go-to grocery store to shop from. A little can go a long way in this store, and they usually carry exactly the foods I am looking for. Prepping most of my meals on the weekends ensures minimal to none meal prep needed throughout the week, which works for a busy schedule! I have included my easy meal planning tool below to assist anyone that needs a little boost to start planning their meals! Just click on the link and save!

Easy Meal Planning Tool

Below are some of my meals from my first few days at work. Most of the recipes are up on the blog, and some of the other meals are just the assemble and pack type!

Breakfast Ideas:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you don't have time to eat something before heading to work in the morning, it is crucial that you have food on hand to grab and go! Eating breakfast helps you wake up and be more alert throughout the day, and also decreases the chances of mindless snacking later on! Eating in the morning also regulates your hormones and helps your metabolism get up and moving! One of my favorite breakfast options are hardboiled eggs. These are so easy to prepare, and you can boil a large quantity at a time and keep them in the fridge (with the shell on) for 5-7 days! You can peel them the night before consumption, or spend 30 seconds peeling them in the morning. They are the perfect nutritious and protein-packed meal option. You can pair an egg with some fruit or even some sweet potatoes. I used my spiralizer to get those sweet potatoes spiraled, and just popped them in the oven on 400 degrees F for 40 minutes, flipping and mixing them around on the pan in between.

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Another breakfast option is to make one of my many famous and healthy baked goods. I have a variety of recipes on this site ranging from gingerbread, pumpkin bread, carrot cake, brownies, and banana bread that are all healthy enough to eat for breakfast! I use protein powder and healthy ingredients to make these baked goods not only taste good, but also fill you up in the morning! Below is my banana oat bread! Check out the rest of the recipes to make as quick and delicious breakfast options!

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Lunch Ideas:

Lunch is one of those meals that you definitely want to make you feel satisfied and full. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, the afternoon is one of the most dangerous times for me to snack! I have been making sure to have filling and satisfying lunches while at work so I don't have an energy crash and burn, or get those snack cravings in the afternoon! I made a spaghetti squash casserole last week (recipe is posted) which lasted for about 4 days! It tasted delicious! I paired it with veggies or a salad to make it a well-rounded and filling meal!

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My zucchini stew recipe is also an easy one to make in bulk and pack for the week! My recipe below was made with grass-fed beef, zucchini, and a few other delicious flavors. This meal kept me going for hours and equipped me with great energy during the day! Check out the recipe to make some for the week!

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Below is an assemble and pack meal option. I usually cook my own chicken but was short on time this weekend, so I grabbed the prepared Lemon Pepper Chicken from Trader Joe's, which is usually next to the prepared salads. All you do is slit some holes in the chicken container, stick it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes, and viola! This chicken is actually really delicious too, and I am very picky about my meat! I also bought the stir fry vegetable mix from Trader Joe's, which is just a ton of fresh, chopped vegetables! I sautéed these with some olive oil and garlic. Lastly, I used some microwaved, boiled, roasted, or however-you-want-to-cook-them sweet potatoes to add some healthy starch to my meal! I portioned it all in my nifty ziploc container, and this made the perfect lunch for work!

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Snack ideas:

It's a good idea to pack some snacks with you, just in case you do get hit with hunger and don't want to give in to cake, donuts, or whatever else may be lying in the break room. I usually pack some vegetables or high-protein snacks to make sure these snacks will provide me with nutrients, not just empty calories. String cheese is a good option, but my favorite snack combination is carrots with nuts. I don't know why, but this combination tastes incredible! Don't knock it till you've tried it! In addition to how delicious it tastes, it also keeps you insanely full. I usually have some around 3 or 4 pm to make sure I am full and energetic for my long commute home, since I usually don't have dinner until about 7pm on most nights!

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I hope this post helps spur some ideas for planning and packing your foods for your workday! If you carve out a few hours of your weekend and dedicate them to planning and prepping your meals, you will be sure to make healthier choices throughout the week, waste less food and money, and enjoy your meals 10 times more than you would if you were eating out every day! I hope you all have as much fun as I do while planning and prepping your meals for the week! Have a great night everyone! 

Little Beast Restaurant!

So, my boyfriend is pretty awesome at planning dates. No really, he never takes me anywhere that I have been before. He knows how much of a foodie I am, and always tries to pick places that are new, different, and that I would like. He spends time researching, calling restaurants, looking up menus, and doing extensive background checks on all the restaurants in our lovely LA area! Last night, we went to a little spot in Eagle Rock, CA called "Little Beast," and let me tell you, the flavors we experienced here were FAR from little! header

The menu was very extensive and upon being seated we were informed that they change it seasonally, which always makes my ears perk up. Usually this means that the restaurant uses organic, fresh, local produce and supports natural foods. And I was right! The waiter told us their chicken dishes organic, and they had a variety of vegetables offered with every dish. After much deliberation, we decided to get the Burrata and Prosciutto and Crispy Sweet Potato as appetizers, and we also decided to split one of their entree options: Slow Roasted Jidori Chicken.

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The burrata appetizer was broccolini wrapped in prosciutto and topped with this creamy, gooey burrata cheese. This dish was so good and incredibly rich! But, the main star for us was the crispy sweet potato appetizer..

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Words do NOT describe how much I loved this dish. There were crispy sweet potato disks on the bottom, which were then topped with brown sugar sweet apple bacon bits, covered in jalapeño and arugula. Oh. My. Gosh. I could not get enough. The combination of the bacon with the sweet potato was to die for (and I don't even like bacon)! I felt like my mouth was doing a little dance of happiness every time I took a bite. Clearly, we liked both appetizers, but my favorite was definitely the sweet potato one!

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Side note: I also LOVE when restaurants give you cold water in a glass bottle that you can leave ON YOUR TABLE!

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A.) Because I drink a whole lot of H2O and,

B.) Because for some reason water always tastes so much better from a glass bottle!

Finally, our dinner came. They had pre-split the plate for us, so the pictured portion below is technically just HALF of their actual portion.

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The dish was topped with the same sweet bacon as our appetizer was. The chicken was literally falling off the bone. It was cooked perfectly with an amazing au jus sauce covering it. They had placed the chicken on a bed of parsnip mash, which basically exactly like mashed potatoes! The dish also had swiss chard. The combinations of these foods together were basically like one big bowl of comforting goodness. My boyfriend loves comfort foods that are mashed and mushy, so he was definitely a happy camper!

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By the end of the meal, we were both STUFFED. But our stomachs were singing with happiness! This restaurant was the perfect spot for a nice date night, with good food as well as good service and a nice ambiance! We even got to enjoy the patio seating because of their heaters (which worked very well I might add).

Overall, I give Little Beast in Eagle Rock, CA two thumbs WAY WAY UP, as the genie from Aladdin would say! :)

If you live in the area, I highly recommend that you try it out! Have a wonderful Sunday night folks!