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Fit in '15

Vanessa McLaughlin, The Butterfly Effect, 21 Day Fix

New Year’s Resolutions.  How many times have you made the same resolution to achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle? Year after year, I would make the same ones: lose weight, exercise more and eat healthier. Maybe you’re considering a gym membership.  Maybe you’re considering an extreme diet plan. I was in the same boat, until I found a LIFESTYLE change that worked for me.

After I made my resolution, I would join a gym or go on a crash diet, completely eliminating certain food groups and think this was the perfect plan to quickly get in shape. However, after a few weeks, my days at the gym would grow further apart, and I would just have a slice of cake, or chocolate, because I just needed a treat! I deserved it, after three straight weeks at the gym, for over an hour on the cross-trainer and treadmill, right? I couldn’t stick with the extreme plan. Maybe you’ve had the same experience?

What I eventually learned is that change in fitness and nutrition comes at a slow and steady pace.  I knew this in my mind, maybe you know it too, but I needed to experience it. In September I started the 21 Day Fix challenge group, lost weight and began to experience health and fitness lifestyle changes.  I made small, livable changes, like 30 minute daily workouts, and I learned to prevent the state of hunger where I would grab the closest junk food and scarf it down! I had a coach who would tell me what to do and hold me accountable when I felt like quitting. It’s motivating to start a new fitness and nutrition program in the New Year, but then the excitement wears off and that’s when you really need someone to push you. 

I am starting a brand new 21 Day Fix challenge group on Monday, February 16th for everyone that wants to be fit in 2015 with a healthy lifestyle! NO GYM. NEEDED! Let me ask you, what happened when you joined the gym last year as your New Year’s Resolution? Was the gym packed and then you got sick of going after three weeks?  Did you get the results you hoped for? Or did it all fall to the wayside?

I provide meal plans, workout programs, a month supply of Shakeology, motivation, support and accountability. I will push you even when you don’t feel like it, and I will support you for as long as you need. Being surrounded with like-minded people and striving for the same goals is what makes our challenges successful. Are you ready to be Fit in '15?  Are you ready for a lifestyle change? If you are interested fill out this application below, and I will reply within 24 hours.
Make 2015 your year! Come join me!

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Festive Healthy Holiday Dessert

Clean Eating, Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin

This is an old recipe of my grandmother's, and while she passed away over 15 years ago, she is always with me and my family, whenever we get together. My family has made it for every holiday and family get-together for as long as I remember. It used to be my grandmother making it.  Now, as we've all grown and started our own families, far from one another, we make it for our own gatherings, and text each other photos of how it looks this year!

I brought this to a holiday party the other night, and everyone who was there commented on how delicious it was.  Best of all: LOW CALORIE and HEALTHY, and everyone still loved it. Fruit and Jell-O are the focus of this dessert, making it sweet and light, while Greek yogurt adds a tart creaminess, and packs in a bit of protein!

The recipe calls for Jell-O.  Usually, I don't use this, as it is a packaged processed food. For this recipe I use the sugar-free kind, which is made with sugar substitute.  However, I never eat sugar substitute any other time, but feel free to use full-sugar jello (this will increase the calorie count), the recipe doesn't change. Otherwise, there are just 6 ingredients!

The Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin, Healthy dessert

2 large boxes .60 oz of red Jell-O (I use a box of raspberry and black cherry, my grandmother used raspberry only)
2.5 Cups of boiling water
1 one pound bag of frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
1  17.6 oz container of plain 2% or full fat Greek yogurt
2-3 mashed bananas
1  8oz. can of crushed pineapple in its own juice (no sugar added)
1 non-stick bundt cake pan or other type of round pan with a whole in the middle

Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin, Jello-Mold

1. Boil water.
2. Open packets of Jell-O and place powder in large bowl.
3. Pour 2.5 Cups of boiling water over the Jell-O powder.

Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin, Jello-Mold
4. Stir until all Jell-O is dissolved.5.  Add frozen berries, mashed bananas and pineapple (with the juice) to the liquid Jell-O and stir.
6. Ladle 1/3 of the Jello/fruit mixture into the bundt pan.

Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin, Jello-Mold

7. Place pan in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to let Jell-O mixture set.
8. While this is setting, keep the bowl with the other 2/3 mixture in it over a burner on the lowest heat setting, so that it does not set, but stays liquid.
9. When a half hour or more is over, spoon yogurt over the set Jell-O in the bundt pan, and spread evenly, making sure it touches the outer and inner edges.
10. Slowly ladle the rest of the mixture over the yogurt.
11. Let set for at least 2-3 hours.
12. To remove from pan, fill kitchen sink about 1/3 full with hot water.
13. Place pan in the water (jello side facing up).
14. While the pan is in the water, run a knife around the inner and outer edges.
15. Take a plate larger in circumference than the pan.
16. Take pan out of the water, and place plate on top of pan.
17. Quickly flip pan and plate over, keeping them together, in one swift motion.
18.  Jell-O mold should slide out of the pan.
19. Decorate on the sides and middle with fresh berries if desired.

NOTE:  If making in advance, keep Jell-O in bundt pan until at least an hour or less before serving.

Here is a copy of my grandmother's handwritten recipe, well used!

Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin, Jello-Mold

If you’re looking for some new recipe ideas, or meal planning tips or maybe just some accountability to stay ON TRACK especially when times get tough – then join my next online Health & Fitness accountability group! My next group is now forming and I am looking for more women who would benefit from the support network and accountability of achieving their goals TOGETHER! Fill out the form below to reserve your spot.

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6 Clean Eating Hacks for Dining at Holiday Parties

This time of year, there is food and parties everywhere I look!  These next two weeks I have an office holiday party, an office holiday luncheon, my husband's holiday party, a gingerbread house making party for my kids, and then my family comes for Christmas with all sorts of treats and family favorite recipes to eat.  To navigate these parties and stay true to my clean-eating principles, I follow these principles:

6 Clean Eating Hacks for Holiday parties, The Butterlfy Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin

1. Bring an eat clean dish. For every holiday party, I always volunteer to bring a fruit or vegetable tray, or a healthy fruit or vegetable based dish, like roasted veggies, to share. This way, I'm guaranteed to have some healthy food to eat.

2. Skip or go easy on the dips and condiments. I go easy on the mayonnaise and cheese based dips and even the guacamole and the hummus.  While guacamole and hummus are healthy foods, they are also high in calories which can quickly add up.  So, I put just a spoonful on my plate to eat with veggies, or skip these dips all together.

3. Drink lots of H20. I drink lots of water before, during and after the party. It helps me feel full and hydrates me, so I quench my thirst, which can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.

4. Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and will-power.  After a few drinks, I'm more tempted by the sweets and calorie-laden foods. I take a few sips of my drink, and when I've reached the halfway point, then drink a glass of water. My goal is to drink two glasses of water for each alcoholic beverage, which I limit to two.

5. Start small and take it slow. I start with the fruits, vegetables and clean proteins.  After filling up my plate with these, I eat them and don't go back to the buffet table until I've chatted and visited with my family or friends for half an hour. This gives me time to digest and feel full.  When I'm ready to go back for some treats, I make sure it's a dish I really love and will enjoy.  Then I eat it slowly, savoring each bite.

6. Back to business the next day. The day following a party, I go right back to eating clean and get on a good sweat! 

Simple Roasted Vegetables

roasted vegetables, butterfly effect, vanessa mclaughlin

Roasting takes vegetables to a new level.  I think it makes even the veggies I don't like, delicious.  Don't like brussel sprouts? Roast them. Roasting gives vegetables a nutty, sweet goodness. Add some herbs and olive oil, and let the flavor party begin! They are also EASY to make! Anytime someone comes over my house for dinner, I roast vegetables as the side.  This is a simple recipe. Get crazy and add dijon mustard to the olive oil for drizzling or balsamic vinegar! Alter it to tempt your taste buds! Use the seasons to your advantage and roast root veggies in the winter and use fresh herbs when roasting summer veggies.  Enjoy!!

Any mix of vegetables you like - the more colorful the better!

My standard:
Red Peppers
Purple Onion

Other great additions:
Butternut Squash
Green Beans
Brussel Sprouts

Olive oil spray
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to drizzle
Cookie sheet
Garlic cloves (for a full cookie sheet, at least 3)
Lemon zest (optional)
2-3 TBSP Variety of herbs you like (I use thyme, sage, lavender)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Roughly chop vegetables into large chunks (or buy pre-chopped fresh vegetables, but not frozen).
3. Chop garlic or put through garlic press
4. Spray cookie sheet with olive oil spray.
5. Place veggies on cookie sheet in single layer.
6. Spray veggies liberally with olive oil spray.
7. Sprinkle crushed/chopped garlic over veggies.
8. Sprinkle herbs over veggies.
9. Zest lemon right over the veggies.
10. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes.
11. Take out of the oven when veggies are light brown at the edges.
13. Cool for approximately 5 minutes.
14. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with EVOO.


New Year, New You!!

accountablitlity group, challenge group, clean eating, Vanessa McLaughlin, The Butterfly Effect

Start the year off right with me, striving for your health and fitness goals before the New Year!   I’m kicking off a 30 day accountability group to a healthier lifestyle on Monday, December 29, 2014. This puts you about a week ahead of everyone else setting New Year’s resolutions. We will start what is called “pre-season” that Monday and will start your workout programs the following Monday January 5th. During the pre-season week we will come up with a plan to get you on track and start taking deliberate measures to put your new lifestyle into play.

What do you do in an accountability group? I guide you through a health and fitness program and teach you how to create a better healthier lifestyle for yourself. We all hold each other accountable and help us keep to this lifestyle even when we may not always feel like it. Sometimes all we need is a little motivation! I have worked with women and men in all different professions and it seems that regardless of your education, income level or even fitness level sometimes we all just need someone else to cheer us on, and help with ideas for recipes and exercises. Let me be that person. Let me motivate you and put you in contact with others who are working at the same goal.

The group will run for 30 days. In it you will receive daily motivation, recipes, Shakeology recipe tips as well as fitness and clean eating tricks. After the 30 days are up, you can decide if you want to continue on your journey with me, or if you are ready to conquer this lifestyle on your own. I am here for you as long as you need me.

Please contact me today if you would like to be considered for a spot in the New Year -New You Healthy Lifestyle Accountability Group. Fill out the application below and I will be in contact with you within 24 hours. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shakeology

Chocolate chip cookie dough shakeology, Vanessa McLaughlin, The Butterfly Effect

Shakeology comes to the rescue at that moment when I am craving something sweet and I want to raid the pantry for candy, cookies or something sugary and fatty!  So, I grad a Shakeology and make this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough shake.  This way I stick to my nutrition plan while I curb my sweet craving in a healthy way!!  Crisis averted and tummy is full!  This is one of my favorite reasons to drink Shakeology: it keeps me on track!

Crispy Garlic-Chili Roasted Broccoli

Clean eating crispy roasted garlic broccoli

I can't even remember where I found this recipe, but for the past 10 years, it's been a winner in my whole family...and I don't just mean in my immediate family, but my mom, my sisters, my cousins, and other extended family members make this too.  It takes healthy ingredients, and blends their flavors together to make this vegetable irresistible!  When I make it, I eat at least half the batch myself, so I have to double the recipe! My kids love the sweet, roasted garlic, chili flavor.  And just in case the word "chili" scares you, it's not spicy-hot.

One large head of broccoli, with the stems chopped off, so only the florets are left, or one package of fresh florets.  This recipe WILL NOT work with frozen broccoli.
1/2 C. of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or pushed through a garlic press
1 Tbsp. poultry/chicken seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine EVOO, garlic, poultry seasoning and chili powder, mix well.
3. Add broccoli florets to the bowl and coat florets with seasoned oil mixture.
4. Spread the broccoli on a cookie sheet in one layer.
5. Place in oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes.

Serves 2-4 people.


Calling all Insanity lovers! Look what's new! MAX:30

Thirty minutes a day, five days a week!  I can do that!  Beachbody and Shaun T (creator of Insanity and T25) just launched Insanity Max: 30.

Insanity Max: 30 Base kit includes:  

  • There are low-impact modifiers that are there to help ease you in (but don't worry-- they will still kick your butt). 
  • There are 150 NEW moves 
  • Only 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week (Saturday – optional core workout or rest day, and Sunday is a rest day) 
  • The nutrition is focused on portion control just like the 21 Day Fix! 
  • It is a balance of cardio and strength training that will utilizes Tabata Training for strength!
  • There is the "No time to cook guide" that will help keep you on your nutrition track. This is your fast food, convenience store, frozen foods, and restaurants guide. 
  • Love 10 minute abs from the 21-Day Fix? Insanity Max has Ab Attack: 10 to achieve that six pack! 
  • Sweat Fest: Network Exclusive Bonus Workout 
The mission of Insanity Max: 30 is to have you max out on every workout! It won't be easy and you will for sure need the mental willpower to push yourself to the max during every single workout. 

This is a 30 minute workout. I can spend 30 minutes a day working out.  By the time I start, it’s almost over! This workout requires no weights, and still provides a hardcore workout that will push you to your limits.  
I tried Insanity, but never finished the program. Why? Each workout was too long to squeeze into my day. But 30 minutes is nothing. I can easily squeeze in a 30 minute workout, just by waking up an extra half hour early, working out during lunch  or even a half hour before bed. Like most people, I am a busy person and my daily schedule is crammed full, but when it comes to my health and fitness, I'm worth it and I'm going to put myself first so I can better care for my family. I can spend 30 minutes a day on! 

If you are interested in the program or finding out more about what YOU can do in ONLY 30 minutes a day, feel free to contact me by email. If you are ready to take the plunge and to order your copy of Insanity Max: 30, visit my Beachbody site to make your purchase!


Healthy for the Holidays - Holiday Fitness Challenge

The trend is we gain on average 5-10 pounds over the holidays, but it doesn't have to be that way unless you let it!  Starting Dec. 10, I'm hosting a 21-Day Fix Holiday Fitness Challenge Group for new challengers ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle.  Be the first to break the trend of the 5-10 pound weight gain.  I'll be giving three weeks of meal planning, holiday recipes, fitness tips, support and motivation to keep you on track of your goals! Join me and fill out the challenge group form below!

Butterfly Effect, Vanessa McLaughlin, Challenge Group

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