No Added Sugar Challenge!

Time to get serious.  It’s been almost 4 months and I’m feeling great! Been working out fairly regularly between the gym, running, and this box project I just finished but my nutrition has been hit or miss. I often allow myself to use breastfeeding as an excuse…I’m ready to turn that into my motivation! I mean really. What better reason to eat healthy than to provide better nutrition for your little one!

I’m definitely not one to promote “diets” because they’re usually not sustainable. But sometimes you just need a little kick-start, especially when fighting addicting foods like sugar. That’s why I am taking a “no added sugar challenge” for the month of April!

The goal is to cut out refined sugar (white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar) as well as natural sweeteners (honey, molasses, stevia, agave nectar, coconut palm sugar, xylitol, maple syrup, etc.) and artificial sweeteners (Truvia, Splenda, Nutrasweet, etc.). Naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods don’t count. Feel free to enjoy lots of these!

There will be a period of withdrawal with possible side effects including headaches, weakness, and irritability. Don’t worry! It should pass in about 2-4 days.

I am not looking for perfection…sugar is addictive and in EVERYTHING! The idea is to do our best to cut out the obvious sugars and become more aware of and avoid the hiddens ones.  If you consume some added sugar don’t dwell on it…just focus on trying again with your next snack or meal (or beverage)!

These challenge things always go better with a little help from your friends, so who’s with me!?! Please comment below or on this post on my Enlightened Eating Nutrition Facebook page and I will be sure to check in with you throughout the month!

As a little extra incentive, I’m offering 10% off one month of meal planning and nutrition services for anyone that signs up during the month of April!!!

Everything in Moderation

You can eat whatever you want as long as it’s in “moderation” right?

I know I am guilty of saying this pretty regularly…even on this website.  But what does that even mean?  Is really good advice? What if you said this to someone struggling with addiction?  Studies show that at a neurobiological level, sugar can be more addictive than cocaine.  Is it any wonder so many of us struggle with eating foods with added sugar (soooo many foods out there) in moderation?

On the other hand, when you completely deprive yourself of a particular guilty pleasure it can often lead to certain ill effects such as obsessing over eating only healthy foods (orthorexia) or even binging and/or purging on that treat after abstaining for too long.   It doesn’t hurt to reward yourself every now and then for a job well done!  If you have been staying on point with healthy, balanced eating habits, it is ok to treat yourself as long as you maintain proper portion control.  Be sure to read your labels or ask a nutrition expert for guidance.

The bottom line: know your limits.  There may be several guilty pleasures that can satisfy you when consumed in the correct portions.  However, if you lose all control every time a particular food is in front of you, or once you start eating it you have to have it every day, it may be one that you will need to work to cut out of your diet.

I have several trigger foods and beverages that I am working to eliminate from my diet.  I gave in to pregnancy cravings for a breakfast sandwich from a certain fast food place run by a clown with red hair.  After my first pregnancy it was no problem avoiding that temptation, but for some reason I have been unable to kick the habit after the birth of my second.  Again, it is not bad to have one of these types of treats every now and then, but I had gotten to the point where I was stopping at least once a week if not more.  (Ethically and nutritionally speaking I would advise that if you have a craving for this, you should make it yourself.  As I am writing this, I double checked the ingredients and the paragraph of ingredients listed for the “folded egg” is reminding my why it was so easy to kick after Tes was born.)  It is my goal to drive right past that golden beacon for the entire month of March to detox myself from this addiction.  What food addictions do you struggle with?  Set a realistic goal to eliminate one trigger food or beverage during this National Nutrition Month and let me know how you do!


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Orthorexia: An obsession with eating pure.”

Ahmed SH1, Guillem K, Vandaele Y.; “Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit.”  Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Jul;16(4):434-9. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328361c8b8.

Freeland-Graves JH1, Nitzke S; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: total diet approach to healthy eating.” J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Feb;113(2):307-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.12.013.





Four weeks later!  The scale has betrayed me with it’s increasing numbers, but I am starting to see progress!  My waist is coming back and I am feeling so much better.  If anyone out there struggles with this same dichotomy between the scales and your mirror, remember: muscle is more dense than fat (you often hear that muscle “weighs” more than fat) and so one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat. The increase I am seeing on the scale is just a friendly reminder that my muscles are coming back now that I am beginning to work out more regularly!  (As if the soreness wasn’t reminder enough!) Yeeaaay!!

With a 5 year old and an infant, work, running a business and a home, it is certainly easy to come up with excuses, but self care is so important.  I am working hard to allow myelf to be a priority and make that time to work out and eat healthy.  It’s frustrating sometimes to experience such incremental changes, but quick fixes often will lead to quick relapses.  It is important to develop lasting healthy habits for lifelong results.  Little by little it will get easier!

More pics and progress reports in another few weeks! Maybe I can actually put on make-up and do my hair or something then. ;p

Getting back on track!

It has been a little while since I have written, but I have been busy!  I am working hard trying to complete my personal training certification.  I am hoping to complete this before the end of this month, no later than next month.  I can’t wait to be certified in personal training as well as nutrition so that I can be a better resources to those hoping to reach their health and fitness goals in a sustainable way.

In the meantime, I have officially completed a full 7 days of structured workouts and I feel great!  Since about 6 weeks postpartum, I have gradually been adding more activity.  This week my body has allowed a short one mile jog as well as about 30 minutes of low-impact cardio along with some strength exercises four out of the last seven days.

I am still feeling the frustrated by the impact the pregnancy and complications during delivery have had on my body.  My ligaments are still loose from the relaxin hormone.  My pelvis is still week, but that is improving.  My abs are starting to come back together, but it feels like it is a long ways away from 100%.  I am continuing to listen to my body and modify my workouts as appropriate.

I have been weighing myself periodically and, while there has been very little change there, I believe more in the power of how I look and feel.  I have felt soooo much better and I think I am looking better…I will be posting updated pics this weekend and can compare then.  I do not believe in diets or quick fixes.  Your health and wellbeing is your life and changes should be made so that they will stick. For me, that means I will not obsess over numbers.  I will not follow fad diets.  I will check in with myself periodically to see if I am feeling better or if changes need to be made.  I have been feeling pretty good, so we will see this weekend if there have been any results!  See you then!! 🙂





I tried a recipe from Forks Over Knives today and wanted to share it with you. I certainly would recommend it!  I added too much adobo sauce for my family and so it was a little spicy for the hubby and kiddo, but they thought it was pretty good otherwise!  We felt like we were eating healthy while still enjoying a yummy comfort food on a cold winter night.

Click here for the recipe:

The recipe calls for peeling the sweet potatoes (yams), but I would recommend leaving them on.  They may add a little texture, but the added nutrients are worth it.  The skin is an excellent source of fiber, beta carotene, vitamins C and E, folate, potassium, and iron.  I peeled the skins (mostly) for my first try at this recipe.  Dicing and peeling the sweet potatoes was the hardest part.  While the recipe says that it is ready in 25 minutes, this step takes quite a bit longer.  Once all of your ingredients are prepped, the 25 minutes is more accurate.


Yam Mixture

I made a few alterations to the recipe – although I accidentally added too much adobo, I did leave out the chilis to keep it a little less spicy.  I also substituted the fresh garlic with garlic powder.  I have not been able to digest garlic as easily since my first pregnancy and the powder gives you the flavor without the indigestion.


My Yamadilla!

I added a little sprinkling of cheddar cheese per my daughter’s request and then sliced it into four triangles.  Between the three of us, with my husband and T only taking a couple of bites before the spiciness got to them, this was all we needed.  It was quite filling!  We have plenty of leftovers for the weekend.

The recipe recommended serving with salsa and/or a pea guacamole.  I was running short on time, so I just ended up making a quick guacamole using 1 1/2 avocados, the juice of one lime, about a cup of diced tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.  Just served with a couple of spoonfuls of this and it was yummy!  I will try the pea quac next time.

I am a vegetarian and Forks Over Knives is a plan-based resource.  If you and your family are meat-eaters, feel free to add your choice of grilled lean meat such as chicken or turkey to the “yam mixture.”  Just be sure to account for this addition in the nutrition info below.

I uploaded the recipe into MyFitnessPal in order to get the nutrition info:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 308
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g 5 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 6 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 365 mg 15 %
Potassium 212 mg 6 %
Total Carbohydrate 66 g 22 %
Dietary Fiber 11 g 44 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 7 g 14 %
Vitamin A 10 %
Vitamin C 36 %
Calcium 8 %
Iron 15 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
  Not bad!
If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think!




Subtle improvements in these 3 weeks

So here I am!  It isn’t pretty, but it’s the truth!!  I am considering both of these as “before” photos as I have not been cleared to really begin a workout routine yet.  I am still “listening to my body” and it keeps telling me to continue baby steps.

There have been so many times in the last year that I have been frustrated by the differences between expectations and reality:

I expected to run a half marathon at four months pregnant and to continue running through my pregnancy – sidelined by painful pelvic separation less than halfway in.  I expected to carry my son to term – experienced pre-term labor forcing bedrest as of week 36 and then delivered him at week 38.  I expected to have a complication free delivery of my son – went to the hospital requiring a blood transfusion from postpartum hemorrhaging.  I expected a speedy postpartum recovery allowing me to begin walking and lifting light weights within weeks from delivery – was unable to perform even light house work for the first three to four weeks, let alone attempting any meaningful workout routine. Even now at 7 weeks postpartum I struggle to walk less than a mile without feeling tired and sore when I am done.

It is important to establish goals for yourself. What I am learning is that it’s also important to listen to your body, especially if you are recovering from illness or other medical condition or if it’s been a while (or never) since you’ve exercised. Do not listen to the excuses created by fear!  It would be so easy to give into fear and give up – to allow the frustration at the discrepancies between expectation and reality take control.   Push yourself as far as your body will truly allow.  Do not allow fear to hold you back or to make you feel that you can’t do it just because your reality hasn’t caught up with your expectations yet. Expectations and reality may never completely align, but if you honestly listen to your body and do not give onto fear, you will allow the recovery necessary to reach your goals!

I did not want to post those pictures…arm flap hanging down, double chin(s), stretch marks, etc…however, I feel it is important to do so not only to hold myself accountable to my commitment, but to allow myself that vulnerability.  I joke that these pictures aren’t pretty, but I must remind myself that this belly grew and stretched in the process of creating life…TWICE!…and that is beautiful.  It was worth it -just look at my beautiful babes (⤵)! They may have done this to me 😉 but they are also my motivation and inspiration to live the best life possible!


T, 5 years old. Q, 7 weeks old (4 weeks in this picture)

1/20/17 Nutrition Tips

In order to maintain and healthy lifestyle, you do not have to give up what you love! For example, my family celebrates “Pizza Night” on Fridays. There is no reason you should give up this type of tradition…just be sure you keep the pizza to one serving and include healthy fresh veggies (the veggies on the pizza don’t count!) with your meal.  If you are eating delivery or frozen pizza, try switching to homemade pizza using fresh whole food ingredients.  Not only will this bring you closer to your goal of a healthy lifestyle, it will also provide the opportunity for excellent family bonding time as you create your favorite pizza together!


Four days in to the new year and my journey back to health and I already feel frustrated.  I have not been eating as I should and, while I have been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing in my house, I have not gone for the walks as often as I would like.  I am struggling with giving in to my sweet tooth, not drinking enough water, and carb heavy food choices.

Sometimes life gets in the way.  I have to remind myself that it has only been one short month since the birth of my second child and the traumatic events that followed.  That I also have a five year old demanding my attention.  In an ideal world, you plan ahead so you have healthy foods ready to go for when things get crazy.  This is not an ideal world.  I have to remind myself that if I can’t plan ahead or things simply don’t go according to plan, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!

Like Thomas Wayne always said: “Why do we fall?  So we can pick ourselves back up.”  It is ok to have a bad day every now and then.  The goal is to continue to try and string together more good days than bad days until healthy eating and planning ahead is just your way of life!  Do not let your bad days get you down.  Tomorrow is a new day to pick yourself up and do better than before!

New Beginnings

Ok people, you may have noticed that I have taken a bit of a hiatus from the business during this last year while I was pregnant with our second child. It was a rough pregnancy with lots of morning sickness, dizziness, symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD), a three-inch abdominal separation (diastasis recti), preterm labor resulting in 2 weeks of bed rest, and postpartum hemorrhaging which lead to a blood transfusion and an additional 2 weeks of bed rest! But today is the start of a new year and I am four weeks postpartum and ready to ease back in to things!

I have not been released to work out again, yet, but I will be walking, doing some light lifting, and focusing on getting my nutrition back on track (you can follow me on MyFitnessPal under ESquaredNutrition). I will be posting pics of my journey back to pre-pregnancy weight and on to my goal health and weight. I am currently about 10 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight and about 30 from goal weight.

I am also working toward my personal training certification so stay tuned for more details about what that looks like!