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Creamy Garlic Dressing

This creamy garlic dressing tastes rich and decadent, but it is completely dairy free! I got the recipe from the Ultimate Reset, but I've been using it for every salad, and even make it when I have guests!
Lately, I've been using it for my chopped microgreen salads, which I'm eating for lunch on my 30 day elimination plan
It totally makes the salad! Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup) - I did not use sweetener, because I don't like sweet dressing.
DIRECTIONS

1. Place oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, salt, mustard, and honey in a blender or food processor; cover with lid.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Refrigerate dressing if not using immediately. 
4. If dressing solidifies when cold, hold at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir before serving.

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Breakfast sausage crumbles

Turkey sausage crumbles, whole 30, 21 Day Fix, gluten free, paleo, clean eating, tosca reno, autumn calabrese, vanessa.fit, vanessa mclaughlin
This recipe was adapted from Dr. Amy Myers' Book "The Autoimmune Solution" AND "The Whole 30" book. I took both recipes and made a few changes. Below I have the variation I made. I'll also add that you can form this recipe into patties when the meat is raw, and then cook them. Because it saves time, and I don't like touching raw poultry or meat, I cook the ground meat, loose (without making it into a patty), with spices, which is also a time saver. I measure out the quantity per serving, with my 21 Day Fix containers.
Serve with Hearty Sweet Potato Hash.
This recipe is gluten free and paleo.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 pound ground meant (turkey, pork, beef - I use turkey)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional - but helps decrease inflammation)
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion and cook 2 mins or until translucent.
3. Add garlic, ground meat, and spices. 
4. Cook until meat is cooked through. 
5. Serve!

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30 Day Elimination Plan - Week 1 Review

Vegan Vanilla Shakeology everyday!
Week one. No cheats. Down 6 pounds.
Realizations:
If I actually nourish my body with wholesome food and cut out sugar completely- it takes me about 4 days to feel normal. Detox is real. Sugar addiction is real.

Seems like there is something to be said about what we fuel ourselves with... how it almost masks what we really need. Sugar has been a total mask. Drink it, eat it, spike of energy- crash.

I am sleeping well. But craving more of it. So each night I’ve allowed myself about 8 hours. I need this and ya know what- I’m gonna give myself the grace of it.

But then I got to thinking when advertisers talk about these amazing quick fix solutions about having more energy and getting great sleep... umm this actually the same solution. But like legit natural. No mask.
The 30 Day Elimination Plan program:
Sunday (day 1)
My knees are in a lot of pain, and I am limping, barely able to walk. This is frustrating, because I've been to many doctors and practitioners and no one has been able to diagnose the problem, or even have a hypothesis about the cause.

So, I took today as a rest day.

I am excited for this new program, so I spent the day meal planning and prepping. I read the first two chapters of the Goddess Revolution, a book about learning how to really love your body, and break your addictive habits with food. While I already love my body, no matter what the number is on the scale, I realize I've been carrying these extra pounds and just don't FEEL good - I feel physically weighed down.

There's a difference. I don't hate my body. It's a beautiful, strong, healthy being. But because my clothes have been tight, and my knees are in pain, I've felt uncomfortable.

And while I eat healthy, I haven't been able to adhere to a meal plan for more than three days without a cheat

Time to change.

At 9 pm was a live video face time call with Beachbody nutritionist Melissa McAllister. She talked about intermittent fasting, which I've tried before. However, she also talked about eliminating inflammatory foods for 30 days.

After listening to her, I tweaked my meal plan to eliminate my daily sweet potato, and replace it with avocado. Sweet potatoes aren't inflammatory themselves, however, too much natural glucose could cause inflammation. So, I reduced my carbohydrates, which are converted into glucose in the body, and upped my healthy fats.
Monday (day 2)
Microgreens Salad
Slayed my workout at noon, but because of my knees, which are sore and stiff, I modified any leg movements. Autumn is doing live workouts on the West Coast, and begins at noon EST. Today, this fit in my schedule, and I LOVED the Core workout. Different moves, new and fresh, kept me motivated. I have a bit of workout ADD, because I love new workout moves!

Slayed my water, my nutrition; I'm excited and motivated for this plan. I haven't been able to go 3 days without a cheat, or diving into a bag of popcorn, so I'm ready!

I started eating at 11 am and finished all food by 7 pm.

This was what I ate:
Turkey Bolognese over Spaghetti Squash
Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Spaghetti Squash, spinach, red container of ground turkey, purple container of tomato sauce

Mexi-Chicken Spag Squash
Tuesday (day 3)
Down a pound, but my knees are still sore, and stiff. Cardio workout was amazing, and I love using the slides and bands! Stuck to my water and nutrition.
Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Spaghetti squash with spinach and Mexican spiced chicken.
Microgreens salad with pumpkin seeds
Wednesday (Day 4)
A bit grumpy today, and tired. Guess I'm feeling the effects of no sugar!

With today's schedule, I barely had a moment to breathe. I woke up at 5:15 am to go teach Bootcamp, came home and got everyone out the door for dinner. Then I did my own workout. Couldn't do it at noon with Autumn, because I have to hold office hours for students, so I did 21 Day Fix Extreme Upper Fix, and my arms felt like jello!

After my workout, returned to the gym to personal train a client, ran home, changed and went to campus for office hours and teach my two classes. Came back home at 4 pm to quickly eat my lunch, and then went to pick up the kids from after school activities. Brought them home, another quick change to go to my husband's formal work dinner!!

The dinner started with a salad (yeah). Then, I ordered Salmon, which came with a pumpkin cream risotto. I ate the salmon, but this pumpkin loving girl took one small taste of the delicious pumpkin cream risotto and left the rest! I will NOT crack!

Then dessert came: creme brûlée! I am determined - yes, I had one taste, and that was it! Today was a WIN!
Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: see above
Booty Workout
Thursday (Day 5)
Down 5 pounds!!!! Incredible! Feeling great!

The workout was great! It was a booty workout, and I was worried it would be too challenging for my knees. They are feeling much better. But the workout used the sliders and the bands, new fresh exercises, with no impact and no strain on the knees!!
Beef and Broccoli

It was another day with a crazy schedule, one thing after the other. At one point, I came home, and I thought about opening a bag of popcorn, but I knew if I did, I wouldn't stop. I had pre-made my salad for when I got home, sat down and ate it, drank my shake and lots of water. Then I distracted myself, and got back to the busy schedule.
Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Beef and Broccoli with turmeric, black pepper, Everything But The Bagel seasoning, coconut aminos and sesame oil

Friday (day 6)
Down 6 pounds!
Exhausted today, because of the previous two days. Feeling hungry and grumpy, but lighter! The waist of my pants is not tight! The waistband of my underwear is not digging into my hips! My knees are less swollen.

But I'm hungry. By dinner, I looked at my salad and was a little annoyed - this was all the food I had left for the day! For dinner, my husband and my sons ordered pizza. I had my salad - ugh. Was tired. Tired of salad, tired of this plan already....but I stopped and took a breath. I didn't get enough sleep the night before, yes, I was TIRED. That's all. But after I ate my salad, my son's four pizza crusts were on his plate, and I reached over and ate one!

Oh, sweet, delicious, chewy carbohydrate!! It tasted so good.....But then I stopped myself. This is how I had gotten out of control. I was not going to let pizza crust ruin my good feeling.

Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Salad with ground beef, evoo, turmeric, salt and pepper.

Saturday (day 7)
Pumpkin Protein PancakesDown 7 pounds. 
Down 7 pounds.
I know I'm losing so quickly, because I'm losing water and bloat that my body had been retaining. I slept 10 hours last night, and I'm feeling amazing! YES more energy, YES happier, YES less pain in my knees!

Live workouts with Autumn are only Monday-Friday, so today I completed a 30 minute functional core workout, and walked for 45 minutes on the treadmill, as it is 20 degrees out today!
Relaxed and spent time with my family.
Today's menu:
Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
Breakfast: pumpkin protein pancakes - SO GOOD!
Lunch: Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
Dinner: Spinach and onion frittata, salad

This week I practiced what I preach to all my clients.
I gave my body loving foods, I gave my body loving movement, I gave my body sleep, and I gave my body love.

So maybe this is kinda my gut check: "Vanessa- if you want to love your job and do your job amazingly- dude take care of you first."
Like duh, Vanessa.
I've legit fallen in love with it all over again!

Thanks for all your love and support this week! Let's go Week 2!!

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30 Day Elimination Plan

Finally able to share the BIG NEWS!!!
I have been selected for a special project: a 30 day elimination program to create a new curriculum for nutrition and fitness with TWO of my most favoritest celebrity trainers and top nutritionist!

To be part of this Test Group, I had to commit to 30 Days of no alcohol, a balanced nutrition plan, my superfoods, and daily exercise. It's only 30 days!

Check out my first week on the 30 Day Elimination Plan, and follow my journey!

I've been having problems with my knee that have sidelined all my intense workouts, and I've had to modify any moves involving lower body and give up most of my cardio.  BUT, I haven't modified my nutrition to match my workouts, and the pounds have started creeping on, and I'm just feeling like I can't move as well as I used to.

vanessa.fit, vanessa.fitness, autumn calabrese, 80 day obsession, elimination diet, tosca reno
My Week 1 Meal Plan
I know this 4 weeks will challenge me and this will go through Thanksgiving as I am equipped with some amazing plan approved recipes (don’t worry I will share some) and sparkling water with a lime will be my cocktail of choice.

I know it won't be easy, but we are going into one of the busiest season of the year, where I tend to lose control, eat all the food, drink all the drinks, because hey, it's the holidays!
But, I am committed to be in control of my thoughts with nutrition and exercise. LOVING MY BODY and teaching my mind to respect it!!

So, this is to eliminate toxic foods, toxic habits, and toxic stress (a bit redundant, I know)!
THEN, when the 30 days are done, I get to share this new program when it is released in December!

​I'll be blogging about this experience weekly, and daily on Facebook and Instagram, and I'd love your support! 

Took my "before" photos and measurements, made my meal plan and I'm ready to go!! 
Wish me luck! 
elimination, toxic habits, tosca reno, autum calabrese, vanessa.fit, vanessa.fitness, vanessa mclaughlin

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Loaded Nachos - healthified!

21 Day Fix Nachos, Autumn Calabrese, Healthy Nachos, Loaded Nachos, Tosca Reno, Clean Eating, Vanessa.fit, vanessa.fitness, vanessa mclaughlin
I made these nachos made with my own freshly-baked tortilla chips - which are SO EASEY to make!! They’re topped with lots of good stuff, like pinto beans, jalapeños, tomatoes, avocados, and—of course—cheese! Add any other fresh veggies you want, like shredded lettuce or cabbage, radishes, or green onions.

CONTAINER EQUIVALENTS
1 Green
1 Yellow
½ Blue
1 tsp.


Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp . olive oil
  • ½ medium lime
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • Sea salt (to taste, optional)
  • ½ cup cooked pinto beans , warm
  • 4 oz cheddar (or jack) cheese, shredded
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • ½ medium onion , finely chopped
  • ½ medium green bell pepper , chopped
  • ½ medium jalapeno , seeds and veins discarded, finely chopped
  • ¼ medium avocado , chopped
  • 4 fresh cilantro sprigs , chopped
  • 2 Tbsp plain Greek Yogurt

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. 
  3. Take a pizza cutter and cut tortillas into 4 triangles each. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp.
  4. Squeeze lime over chips. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt (if desired).
  5. Arrange half of the tortilla chips in a medium baking dish. Layer with half the beans and cheese. Repeat.
  6. Bake chip mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese melts.
  7. Top with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, and yogurt.
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Halloween Fit Tips, Tricks, and Treats!

Even if you hung up your trick-or-treating tote many full moons ago, Halloween is still a fun holiday for the conscious splurge (emphasis on conscious).

Healthy halloween, clean eating, tips for halloween, tosca reno, autumn calabrese, 21 Day Fix, clean halloween
The problem is that, for many of us, Halloween kicks off the first of three months of far too much sugar… Sugar that, in some cases, wasn’t even that good (stale tootsie rolls anyone?). I get it, because I have a huge sweet tooth!! Bowls full of candy are super tempting, especially at work. So I’m here to offer my suggestions for kicking this holiday season off right, starting with Halloween…

Go opaque.
If you have any control over how the Halloween treats are displayed at work, do yourself a favor and avoid clear containers. Studies suggest that environmental factors like visibility and convenience play a major role in how much we consume. In fact, researchers at Cornell University found that participants in a study ate twice as many Hershey Kisses when they were in clear containers than when they were in opaque ones. Makes sense, right?

Avoid the “fun-size” trap.
Let’s face it: Most of us aren’t being honest with ourselves when it comes to “fun-size” candy. Despite being adorable, bite-sized treats can make it all too easy to indulge mindlessly. A tiny Twix with your morning coffee, a couple Snickers at 4pm when emails start piling up, and sure, why not one for the road. The biggest issue is that when we convince ourselves that fun-sized candy is so small it barely counts, we lose track of the individual bites and can wind up eating a whole candy bar or more. Tip: Save your wrappers on Halloween to keep yourself accountable throughout the day!

Treats.
I’m not the kind of person that’s going to recommend celery sticks in place of chocolate. I LOVE sweets and I LOVE chocolate! In fact, I encourage you to make a mental note of your all time favorite Halloween treat and to enjoy it during this holiday, consciously, sans guilt. Let it melt on your tongue and take in all the goodness. Eat it, enjoy it thoroughly, and then move on. Making this mental note also helps weed out the not-so-worth-it sweets—the sweets you eat because they’re there and you’re hungry, stressed or tired. In short, you’ll be better off saving up for the good stuff.

Self care.
Speaking of being hungry, stressed and tired, these states will most definitely make you more likely to seek out sugar. Be aware of how you’re feeling. Making sure you aren’t going too long without eating—particularly protein, healthy fats and fiber—is a really great way to thwart sugar cravings. And know your sugar triggers… If you didn’t sleep great the night before, or you’re having one of those weeks at work, cortisol (the stress hormone) will likely be contributing to intense sugar cravings (as if you needed more on your plate). Knowing this provides some perspective. It helps us take a step back and realize we’re not craving sugar because we need it to fuel us. So here’s to pacing ourselves this holiday season, starting with All Hallows’ Eve.

Exercise
This is really part of "self-care." Exercise is a TREAT for your body. You don't have to workout for hours, but just add some intensity to your workouts. Do a minute of high intensity cardio between exercise moves, or add in some extra walks around the office throughout the day. Need suggestions? Contact me.

Better-for-you options.
Make your own candy. Here's my recipe for sugar free Freezer Fudge.
Of course if you are indulging, I’m always going to recommend going for the highest quality options. Shakeology has helped me control my sugar cravings, and is a sweet treat to my day! When I drink my shake, I don't need to eat candy. Especially when I can drink it as a chocolate almond fudge or pumpkin pie!

And there you have it! I hope these tips and tricks will help you this holiday season. Just remember that whenever you feel yourself starting to cave, you can always come back to this post for a refresher and a little dose of motivation to keep you on track.

What’s your favorite Halloween indulgence?

Let me know in the comments below.
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Sugar Free Freezer Fudge

Pop a cube when you have a sweet tooth and need a treat.

INGREDIENTS 
1 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
8-10 drops liquid stevia
1/4 -1/2 cup Almond Butter (Optional if you desire a thicker consistency)
Maldon or Pink salt (Optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
Melt Coconut Oil in glass pyrex bowl.
Whisk in coco powder and stevia. (and almond butter if you don't love coconut oil consistency)
Pour into ice cube tray.
Sprinkle with Salt
Freeze. 
Fudge is ready in 20 minutes
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