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Free 7 Day Clean Eating Group

Vanessa McLaughlin, the Butterfly Effect, vanessamc246
It's January and summer feels so far away. Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to get healthier and fitter, but don’t know where to begin. Maybe you started off strong at the beginning of January, but now motivation has waned, as the cold and snow has set in. Summer is 5 months away, the winter blues have set it, and maybe you feel your healthy goals can wait a bit.
Why wait?  Why not tackle them now, and chase away those winter blues! If you need a little extra motivation, inspiration and excitation (or a lot!), join my free 7 day clean eating group. Many people come to me wanting assistance with clean eating basics, fitness and how to get started.  

I really have found my life transformed by clean eating and exercise and I want everyone to find their own formula of what works for you with your nutrition and fitness so that it is indeed a lifestyle and not a one-time crash diet.

I remember back to my first few weeks and even months of clean eating and it was HARD!  It was hard to kick some of my previous bad habits like diet soda, carb overload and pizza addiction!  It was hard to cut out the cream and sugar in my coffee and to find recipes that our whole family enjoyed.  So this was a whole new ball game for me.  Yes it did take me time to understand but I was determined to change my body more than I wanted to stay the same!
So if I can help the process along by giving you a 7 day meal plan, daily accountability, motivation and support then I am all for it!  

What are the requirements?

1.  You must make me your official Beachbody Coach by going to 
my site and creating a free profile.  This way I can send you recipes, meal plans and monthly motivation and tips to keep you on track with your lifestyle.

2.  You must participate for the next 7 days in our online closed facebook group each day!  

3.  Commit to checking in 1x per day, rating your day and charting your progress.

4.  Invite 1-2 friends to join!  Why not bring a few friends along for the ride! There is nothing better than having an accountability partner in the next 7 days!!!!  You are more likely to stick with it if you have someone by your side.

What do you get for joining? 

1.  You get a free 7 day meal plan.

2.  A grocery list
3. A place to check in daily, ask questions, get support and motivation.
4.  Daily tips that have worked for me.
5.  Strategies to handle emotional eating and temptations.

Are you ready to get started?  We will begin the group on Monday, February 2 so please reserve your spot today!

Go to to sign up now, or message me at

Oodles of Zoodles!

Vanessa McLaughlin, the Butterfly Effect,
Zoodles tossed with chunky tomato sauce

I've been promising to write about zoodles for a while now. So many people have asked me about them, as I've posted photos of my different dinners with zoodles. I love them, because I can have a great big bowl, for few calories, get my meal dose of veggies in, and still taste delicious.

Made from zuchhini, these spiraled, shredded zucchini "noodles" or vegetable spaghetti can be paired with any pasta sauce from scampi, to alfredo, to bolognese. A few things to know about zoodles before trying them:

1. They DO NOT TASTE LIKE PASTA! Re-read the previous sentence.  I don't want to lead anyone astray.  Pasta is chewy, carbohydrate deliciousness! I was born in Italy, so the taste for pasta is in my bones.  The problem is, as I grow older, it's also in my hips, thighs and butt!  While I haven't completely cut it out of my diet, it moved into the "occasional treat" column, and instead I eat zoodles regularly.

Vanessa McLaughlin, the Butterfly Effect,
Pre-shredded zoodles

2. Zoodles is short for zucchini noodles.  Anyone can make these using a vegetable spiralizer.  Prices for this kitchen contraption start at $20 for the simplest, manual version, and increase from there. Just Google "Vegetable Spiralizer" to review all the different types. If you purchase one of these, it will come with a booklet, showing all the types of vegetables that can be spiralized. I do not own one of these.

3.  I'm lucky enough that my supermarket has them pre-shredded (spiralized).  If you live near a Wegman's, the zoodles reside in the produce department, near the pre-cut vegetables.  I work at a full-time job, am a Beachbody coach, a mom and a wife. One of my shortcuts is to buy pre-shredded zucchini/pre-made zoodles. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than just buying zucchini and spiralizing them myself, but time is money, and I would rather spend that time with my husband and my sons. Also, at Wegmans, the zoodles are also mixed with spiralized onions, red peppers and yellow squash, giving a delicious medley of vegetable flavor to my zoodles.
Vanessa McLaughlin, the Butterfly Effect,
Zoodles with red onion, red pepper and yellow squash

4. Cooked or raw? Some people eat them raw, and just top with their favorite pasta sauce.  I might try them raw, with tomato sauce in the summer, but I enjoy them cooked.  I place about half the package in a saute pan on high heat with a tablespoon of coconut oil and one minced clove of garlic. The cooking time depends on the eater's texture preferences. The longer the cooking time, the softer the zoodles get. I like them well-cooked, and even crisp them up a bit in the pan.

Vanessa McLaughlin, the Butterfly Effect,
Zoodles Alfredo

5. Toppings: I've topped zoodles with shrimp scampi, avocado-basil cream sauce, pesto, bolognese made with ground turkey, butter and cheese and any sauce I crave or want to try. What do you put on top of your zoodles? If you try something different and delicious I'd love to know!


Avocado Basil Cream Sauce - no oil

vanessa mclaughlin, the butterfly effect, avocado cream sauce
When I eat pasta or spaghetti, I LOVE creamy, cheesy sauce, clinging to each noodle and tasting the velvety, cheesy, salty flavor with each bite. Loads of cheese and cream can raise cholesterol levels, comprise more that the daily recommended amounts of fat (and not even healthy fats), and derail healthy eating.

While browsing Pinterest one day, I saw a recipe for avocado cream sauce, to pour over pasta and noodles. This is a brilliant idea!  Avocados are full of healthy, heart loving fat, can lower cholesterol levels and are delicious!  However, when I clicked on the recipe, the three main ingredients were avocados, olive oil and cheese.  The first two fall into the category of healthy fats, but together in one sauce, also increased calorie levels.  If my goal is to lose weight, then this is still too much healthy fat for one meal.

So, I experimented to remake this sauce where it still contained the healthy omegas in avocados, and maintained the calorie count at a level to allow me to lose weight.  Of course, it had to taste delicious on pasta, as well!

On my second try, it resulted in a smooth, creamy, velvety sauce, full of flavor!  Even my 11-year old and my husband loved it. Give it a try, and toss it with multi-grain or brown rice pasta, or even toss with zoodles!

vanessa mclaughlin, the butterfly effect


2 ripe avocados
1/2 lemon - squeeze for juice
1 clove of garlic (or more if you like it garlicky)
2 large handfuls of spinach
8 fresh basil leaves
3 TBSP grated parmesan cheese (I use pecorino romano, still flavorful, but less expensive)
1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.
2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Pour over your choice of pasta, zoodles or spaghetti squash.

Makes 4 servings.  Add chunks of grilled chicken or grilled tofu if desired for protein, or serve alongside favorite protein.


NEW! 21 Day Fix Extreme! Coming Feb. 2

Launching on Feb. 2 is the 21 Day Fix Extreme! Eating healthy is not about being on a diet, or a fad or eliminating complete food groups. It's about eating the right foods according to your goals and changing your lifestyle! That's why the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan gives you maximum variety. However EXTREME is a more focused food list for more focused results.

This new program is about pushing your limits. The new workouts are hardcore, intense, and use weights with the goal of shedding fat and gaining muscular definition. Time to shed those last few pounds and get serious. You don't starve on the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan , and you won’t with EXTREME either. However, they are different. 100% clean eating on EXTREME – NO wine and NO treats. It will be a challenge, but I'm up for it!  Are you? It's only 21 days! What is your goal? I'm putting together an accountability group for people who want to go EXTREME. We start on Feb. 9th. Let’s go EXTREME together for just 3 weeks! Watch the video to learn more. Message me to join or fill out the form below.!

Fill out my online form.
Online contact and registration forms from Wufoo.