Lean Up Challenge FINAL WEEK

We are coming up on the last few days of the challenge. Next week will be the time to re-measure and benchmark progress in body composition. Now is when the healthy new practices you have been adopting over the last several weeks should start to become habit.


The various tips outlined on this site have hopefully helped kept you on target, giving some insight into what makes a healthy lifestyle for you and where you should focus to make the best choices for your future success. The recipes provided should be a kick off of further exploration into the endless possibilities of whole food cooking and nourishment.


The information here can always be re-visited, for motivation and continued support in reaching your goals.


Last words of wisdom:


Eat wholesomely, move often, and enjoy your health!



Oatmeal Bake:

Bring 1 ½ cups water to boil, add ½ cup dry steel cut oats and 1 tablespoon (Tb) chia seeds; stir, cover and turn off heat. Let sit covered for 20 minutes. Remove lid and, while still warm, add 2 Tbs coconut oil, 1 Tb honey, ½ cup crushed walnuts, 1 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon; stir to combine. Beat 2 eggs in a separate bowl, add to the oatmeal mix and stir until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture over the bottom of a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Let cool, cut into squares or wedges to eat.


Egg, salmon, tuna or chicken salad:

Mash 2 hard boiled eggs or 3oz fish or chicken (leftover or canned) with ½ avocado, OR 3 Tbs hummus OR ½ leftover baked sweet potato. Add paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Use as dip with raw veggies or spread on slice of bread or tortilla.


Potato Salad:

Bake 1 sweet potatoes and 2 regular potatoes (oven at 375 F until can easily stick a fork in them, about 40 min). While they are cooking, boil 4 hardboiled eggs. Once cool enough to touch, cut the potatoes into chunks, whatever size you want, and place in large bowl. Chop up the eggs and add to potatoes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil (cold pressed olive, walnut, grape seed or sesame). Add 2 cloves chopped garlic (powder okay if don’t have fresh) and 1-2 Tbs of any fresh or dried herb of your choice (parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary…); 1 tablespoon ground mustard or 2 teaspoons mustard powder optional. Plus salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss until combined.


Slow Roasted Tomatoes:

Cut in half 1 carton of cherry tomatoes or 4-6 roman tomatoes. Place them in a large mixing bowl and gently toss with 3 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil, 1 tablespoon dried basil and a dash of pepper and salt. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 250 F for 2 hours, flipping/stirring the tomatoes half way through baking.



Mash 4 ripe bananas in a mixing bowl. Add 4 lightly beaten eggs; mix thoroughly. Add ½ cup almond or peanut butter and beat until well combined. Grease the bottom of a skillet, heat on medium. Scoop ¼ cup of batter at a time on the skillet to cook. Let the pancakes cook almost all the way through before flipping.Flip gently (no gluten means these pancakes have a higher potential to break apart).


Lean Up Challenge Week 6: EAT GREEN

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

In light of the Irish holiday celebrated today:

Eat your GREEN, don’t just wear it






Brussel’s sprouts



Bok choy


pea dip








Green beans


Green pepper

Green olives








Snap peas

Wheat grass


Braised Cabbage:   brcab

Slice a medium size cabbage (any kind) and an onion into long strips or chunks. Layer the cabbage and onion over the bottom of a cast iron or oven proof baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons butter or 2-3 strips of bacon diced into small cubes dispersed throughout. Pour in ½ cup water. Drizzle honey over the top, followed by a few shakes of salt and pepper, and a hardy pour of balsamic vinegar (about 3 Tbs). Top the pile off with some pickled or fresh jalapenos (optional). Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 325 F for 2-3 hours. You can add carrots to this dish too, if you wish.

Lean Up Challenge Week 5: Vegetables

Yeah yeah, eat your veggies, old news. But why? What’s the big deal anyway?


First off, across the board, veggies fill space in your belly while providing very few calories. If you are looking to drop a few pounds, replace other foods with veggies.

Fiber. The substance of vegetables. This is why they fill you up and have little caloric value. We can not digest fiber and therefore it directly contributes no nutrients. It grabs hold of some unwanted extras within your gastrointestinal tract to carry out of the body, as well as keep things moving along. Constipated? Try fiber. Especially raw veggies will provide indigestible materials from the stems, leaves, flowers and seeds you consume. If you do not already have much fiber in your diet, however, don’t go too crazy. Ease into it, a little at a time will be more comfortable on your bowels. 

Next, vegetables are the vessels for a multitude of nutrients that assist in every body process.

Muscle recovery, immune system, bone health, energy metabolism, clear skin, digestion…

Phytochemicals. Plant chemicals that work to protect us from damaging substances in the body. Phytochemicals are among the vitamin and minerals provided by vegetables and are only found in plants. They are responsible for the pigments of vegetables, with each color representing a different combination of these microscopic particles. There are thousands of these chemicals in vegetables. Some examples include lycopene, beta carotene, isoflavonoids, and resveratrol.

And vegetables are particularly important for those who exercise heavily.

ROS. Reactive Oxygen Species. Unstable compounds that can hinder recovery from exercise, and other normal body processes. These guys are produced at a higher percentage with exercise and with sickness. The main end product of energy production is water. When we need a lot of energy fast, such as during times of exercise and trauma, some of these end products do not become converted into water but instead stay as free oxygen or convert to other ROSs. Antioxidants are responsible for stabilizing these ROSs. The most abundant antioxidants in the diet are from, you guessed it, vegetables! Therefore, right after exercise, and throughout the day, it is important to consume a bright variety of vegetables. The heavier exercise you participate in, the more important it is to keep an adequate antioxidant intake as well as maintain other healthy lifestyle practices for a strong immune system.

Sneak those veggies in!

Have some with every meal! Spinach in your smoothie, onions and peppers in your scramble, mashed cauliflower with your steak, veggie medley in your casserole. Raw or cooked, fresh or frozen, organic or not. And remember, the darker the color the more nutrients and phytochemicals you will be receiving from your veggies.



Put in blender 5 diced tomatoes (or 1 can diced), 1 chopped squash, 1 chopped cucumber, 1 chopped red pepper, large handful chard or kale, 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 4 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs honey, a couple shakes of cumin, salt and pepper. Blend. Top with yogurt or sour cream if you want (takes the edge off).

Mashed Cauliflower

Cut one medium head of cauliflower into small chunks and steam until soft enough you can mash it easily with a fork. Let cool slightly and place into mixing bowl, blender or food processor with 1 Tablespoon (Tbs) butter, ¼ cup milk and salt and pepper to taste. Optional to add 2 Tbs Brewer’s yeast plus an extra Tbs of milk. Blend to desired consistency.

Shepherd’s Pie

pie, shep

Bake 2 large sweet potatoes and 2 large regular potatoes until soft (375 F for about 45 minute). Let cool enough to handle; peel, cut into chunks and place in mixing bowl. Add ⅓ cup milk, 1 Tbs butter and 2 eggs. Mix with electric mixer, set aside. Set oven to 400 F.

Dice into small pieces and lightly saute on low in 1 Tbs butter:

1 medium onion

2 large carrots

1 red pepper

1 cup sugar snap peas or asparagus

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup chopped parsley

Turn off heat, add 1 cup tomato sauce and dash of pepper plus other spices you want.

In separate sauce pan cook 1 pound ground sausage.

Spread the veggie mix at the bottom of a large glass dish. Layer the meat evenly over the veggies. Make sure the juices from the veggie and meat are added. Spoon the mashed potatoes in small batches onto the meat and then use a spatula to slowly spread them evenly over the top of the dish. Push the potato to the edge so that it creates a seal with the glass dish.

Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and broil on low for 2-3 more minutes.

Lean Up Challenge Week 4: Mindfulness

Mindfulness: Being in the moment without leaving room for past or future thoughts. A way to become in tune with your true values and believes; become focused, resilient and empowered in your daily life.

How does this relate to food and dropping body fat you ask? The more mindful you are of your emotions, the more control you have over them. You will have the power to choose foods for nourishment and pleasure with a true sense of hunger, satiety and enjoyment, without stress or guilt.

Sound too good to be true? It’s a state of being that takes practice and patience. If there is any negative relationship with food in your past, this will be more difficult to achieve, but also more rewarding.


Start by taking 5 minutes daily to work on being completely aware and present. Note how you feel, emotionally and physically, and how this relates to your surroundings. You do not have to be alone, quiet or still during this time. Make it easy on yourself and practice while doing something you enjoy, like exercise! Or, listening to music, playing cards, getting a massage… when you sense your thoughts drifting out of the moment in the five allotted minutes of mindfulness, return to the present and focus there.

Once you feel comfortable with mindfulness during times of enjoyment, try it while eating. Mindfulness while eating will result in truly tasting the food, taking the time to examine its texture, color, odor, as well as how, where and why you are eating. Start with one meal or snack a day while eating alone, then try it with others present. Regular awareness brought to these food occasions will help you better listen to your hunger and fullness and give you the power to more easily control your consumption and be content with your choices.

Don’t believe me? Give it a valiant effort and see for yourself.

For more on mindfulness read here.

Just for fun, here is a recipe for this week 🙂

Chocolate Cake …Mindfully create and enjoy!

(grain and dairy free; shown in picture above)

In a mixing bowl add:

  • ½ cup coconut flour

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 2 mashed bananas (if not dairy tolerant, can use ⅓ cup buttermilk)

  • 3 eggs

Mix with electric mixer until smooth. Pour into greased cake pan and bake at 350º F for 25-30 minutes.