Vegan Lentil Curry Crockpot Soup

Once again, my crockpot saves the day! There’s nothing better than coming home to dinner that’s ready to eat. This Vegan Lentil Curry Crockpot Soup recipe was inspired by a packaged crockpot soup blend that I used to be able to find at the health food store. I couldn’t find it this time so I figured I would just make it from scratch! This is a mild dish, therefore very kid friendly. If you like it spicy, you can add heat accordingly.

Vegan Lentil Curry Crockpot Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c. Red Lentils, rinsed
  2. 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
  3. 1 med. Onion, diced
  4. 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  5. 2 c. Carrots, sliced
  6. 2 c. Kale, finely chopped
  7. 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or apx. 1 c. fresh diced tomatoes)
  8. 1 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
  9. 1 tsp. Garam Marsala sesoning
  10. 1/2 tsp. Tumeric
  11. 3 tbsp. Red Chili Paste
  12. 1 quart Vegetable Broth
  13. 1 c. Water
  14. ________________________________
  15. 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  16. 1 lime
  17. 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  18. Avocado (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients above the dashed line into the crockpot and stir. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.
  2. When soup is ready for serving, add the can of coconut milk, a handful of chopped cilantro, stir well. Taste and add seasoning, if needed. Garnish each bowl with more cilantro, a squeeze of lime and avocado. Enjoy!
Enliven Wellness Works http://enlivenwellnessworks.com/

Let’s Talk About Food Addiction

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Let’s talk about food addiction. This has become a very interesting topic to me recently. At first, I was like, “No, I don’t have an “addiction”. That sounded too harsh. But as I read the book, The Hunger Fix by Pam Peeke, MD I knew I needed to face the reality. Many of us do have food addictions. And we are not solely to blame. The food industry uses our instinctual pull towards sweet, salty and fatty foods to make their products so desirable we literally cannot help ourselves from over doing it.

Dr. Peeke suggests to begin addressing food addictions by first detoxing the body and avoiding all added sugar, processed foods, eating out and any trigger foods that you may have. I decided that now was the perfect time to try the Ultimate Reset 3 week cleansing and rejuvenating system. I’ve just made it through the first week and I’m feeling remarkably light and energized. I’ll be sharing more about this cleanse in a future post.

Here’s an excerpt from Bethesda Magazine that explains some of the science behind food addictions:

“Evidence in recent years has suggested that some foods may, in fact, hijack the brain’s reward system in susceptible individuals, much as cocaine, heroin and other drugs do.

Groundbreaking studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans have demonstrated that when people with food addictions are shown pictures of and/or eat sweet, salty or fatty foods, the pleasure centers of their brains light up and stay lit up much longer than in those without an apparent food addiction. The stimulated pleasure center, in turn, triggers an intense desire for more.

“The brain scans were game-changers because they show that regardless of addiction—whether it’s to drugs, food or alcohol—you see the same changes in the reward center of the brain: The total number of dopamine receptors is way down, allowing only a small amount of this pleasurable brain chemical to get through—and thus, people experience less and less pleasure and reward,” Peeke says. “That’s why addicts of any kind need more and more of their substance to even feel a small amount of pleasure.”

When the brain is continuously flooded with high levels of dopamine, she explains, many of the dopamine receptors shut down. As a result, when you do consume the desired food, “you don’t feel as much reward, and it takes more of a hyper-palatable food to actually enjoy the original pleasure you had when your dopamine-receptor population was normal,” Peeke says. “You need six cupcakes to get the pleasure you used to get from one.” Read the rest of the article here.

If you are curious about whether or not you have a food addiction, take this quiz to find out how you rate.

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

List your top 3 foods that you have a hard time stopping one you start. Or the ones that you have a hard time saying no to if they are in your presence, regardless of how determined you are about your nutrition plan. These foods may or may not also be the ones that cause you to thrown in the towel on trying to eat healthy for the day (or week, or month) once you’ve had them.

Think about your attachment to these foods. How do they make you feel after you’ve eaten them? How do you feel when trying to not eat them? How much energy do you spend thinking about and trying to manage these foods in your life? How would life be different if you didn’t struggle with the decision to eat or not eat these foods on a regular basis?


 If you want to more about how I help people get in great shape through common sense, real food nutrition, fun workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home and ongoing support, motivation and accountability from me and a group of peers, contact me for more info! And, take a minute and make me your FREE COACH over at teambeachbody.com!

jenJennifer Oppelt is a Certified Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner – American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Florida (MA37357). Jennifer has added Beachbody Coach to her list of titles as a way to offer more tools to help her clients reach their health goals. Jennifer is happily married and a mother to two children, Alchemy and Ashton. Jennifer loves spending time with family, cooking real food, fitness and is an advocate of sustainable living.

Jennifer specializes in helping new mothers lose weight and regain their energy and vitality. However, she is open to working with everyone and has a true passion for helping others. Implementing self-care routines and developing a positive body image are also important aspects of the healthy lifestyle that Jennifer advocates and encourages to all of her clients.

Beet and Apple Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I’ve been craving salads and obsessed with beets right now. Especially since finding neatly packaged steamed beets in the Trader Joe’s produce section. Check out what I had for lunch today…a refreshing yet satisfying Beet and Apple Salad with Cilantro Lime dressing! It makes a great side dish or meal. Add chicken or salmon if you desire more protein.

Beet and Apple Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. Mixed Greens
  2. Steamed or roasted beet
  3. Apple
  4. Onion
  5. Walnuts
  6. (amounts vary depending on how much you want to make)
Cilantro Lime Dressing
  1. 1/4 c. orange juice
  2. 1/4 fresh lime juice
  3. 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  4. 2 tsp. honey
  5. 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  6. pinch of sea salt
  7. 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
For the Dressing
  1. Combine orange juice, lime juice, mustard, honey, and salt into a small bowl.
  2. Whisk to blend.
  3. Slowly add oil, whisking continuously until blended.
  4. Finally, whisk in the cilantro.
  5. Shake or stir just before serving.
Notes
  1. Tip: Store leftover dressing in a covered container in the refrigerator. If dressing thickens when cold, leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes and stir before serving.
Enliven Wellness Works http://enlivenwellnessworks.com/
 

If you want to more about how I help people get in great shape through common sense, real food nutrition, fun workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home and ongoing support, motivation and accountability from me and a group of peers, contact me for more info! And, take a minute and make me your FREE COACH over at teambeachbody.com!

Candy Bar Shakeology Recipe

By: Jennifer Oppelt

 

Candy Bar Shakeology
This little recipe saved me from multiple holiday cookie meltdowns and several mid-day Starbucks runs. It's a little on the indulgent side but way better than other choices you could make. With a nice dose of chocolate, peanut butter, coconut and caramel, it makes you feel like you just had dessert...but without the regret!
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INGREDIENTS
  1. 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology (regular or vegan)
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1 tbsp. PB2 of other peanut powder (I like Betty Lou's Just Great Stuff Organic Powdered Peanut Butter)
  4. 1 tsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 1 tsp. Madhava organic salted caramel syrup
  6. 1 tsp. - 1 tbsp. coconut oil (qty. depends on how many calories you are looking to consume)
  7. Ice
  8. Water
DIRECTIONS
  1. Put all ingredients in the blender, add ice and water to get the desired consistency and volume
  2. Garnish with a pinch of shredded coconut and drizzle of caramel syrup if you REALLY need a treat. Enjoy!
Enliven Wellness Works http://enlivenwellnessworks.com/
 Curious to know more about Shakeology? Or want to find out how I help people get in great shape through common sense, real food nutrition, fun workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home and ongoing support, motivation and accountability from me and a group of peers, contact me for more info! 

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

2014-10-15 16.28.55This is the time of year for all things with pumpkin and spice! But, most of the tempting items you see on the market are full of chemicals, sugar and calories. Here’s a recipe for a nice treat to fulfill that sweet pumpkin craving while fueling your body with nutrition. Hint: One thing I learned is that all pumpkin spice seasonings are not created equal! I love Frontier Pumpkin Pie Spice Seasoning Blend.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology or other protein powder of choice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • handful spinach

Directions: 

Blend ingredients in a blender along with extra water and ice to get the consistency you like.

Product Review: 3-Day Refresh

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I’m no newbie to cleanses. I’ve juice cleansed, I’ve master cleansed and I’ve done various food based cleanses including the Standard Process cleanse and an Auyrvedic cleanse. Some with herbs and supplements, some without. Some with food, some all liquid. The longest cleanse I’ve done was 21 days but usually I do 3. Why do I cleanse? It feels good to give the digestive system a break. Whether it’s from bad habits like stress eating that get out of control or a temporary break from your routine like moving or traveling, doing a cleanse can be a great way to get back on track.

I recently spent two weeks traveling. A week in Minneapolis for the 2014 National Wellness Institute Conference and a week for our family vacation, visiting some of the hot spots of our home state, Florida. I’ve been very focused on my health goals lately but I knew the traveling would potentially set me back a bit. So, I planned ahead and ordered a new product from Beachbody, the 3-Day Refresh to begin the Monday after our vacation. The 3-Day Refresh, in a nutshell is a vegan food cleanse that is high fiber and high protein, thanks to the shakes and fiber drink that are included. You eat or drink every 2 hours so you never really get hungry. Well, I did get hungry a couple times, but I’ll explain below. What comes with the cleanse is: a guide to the program including recipes, 3 packets of fiber sweep (a fiber drink to help flush toxins and cleanse the digestive system) and 6 packets of Vanilla Fresh (a vegan protein shake). You can order the 3-Day Refresh with or without Shakeology. I ordered without because I already have plenty at home but it is part of the plan. Below I’ll give you a day by day breakdown on what I ate and drank each day, including any small deviations from the plan, how I felt and what my final results were.

Day 1

Starting weight: 153 (weight before leaving on vacation – 150)
Starting measurements: Hips: 42   Waist: 36   Chest: 34   Thigh: 23   Arm: 12

Exercise: 30 min. Cardio Fix video

  • Chocolate Shakeology blended with frozen cherries, spinach, ice and water
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea (you can have caffeinated if you wish)
  • Fiber Sweep
  • Vanilla Fresh Shake blended with banana, ice, cinnamon and almond butter
  • Baby Carrots
  • Raw Juice from Squeeze (I love that raw fruit and veggie juice is an option!)
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea
  • 5 Almonds (Not on the plan, but I was really hungry while prepping dinner)
  • Kale blanched with lime, cilantro, sea salt and sesame seeds
  • Veggie Broth with cilantro
  • Vanilla Fresh blended with ice and frozen berries (whoops, forgot that my dinner shake wasn’t supposed to have fruit in it)
  • 70 ounces of water throughout the day

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Day 2

Weight: 150.6 (you think I lost a little water weight, maybe??)

Exercise: 30 min. Lower Fix video

  • Chocolate Shakeology blended with frozen cherries, spinach, ice and water
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea
  • Fiber Sweep
  • Vanilla Fresh Shake blended with banana, ice, cinnamon and almond butter
  • Raw Juice from Squeeze
  • Baby Carrots
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea
  • Salad w/ spinach, tomato, cilantro, onion, red peppers, olive oil, basalmic vinegar, sea salt and avocado
  • Veggie Broth with cilantro
  • Vanilla Fresh blended with ice and brewed decaf chai (yummy!)
  • 70 ounces of water throughout the day

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Day 3

Weight: 149.7

Exercise: 30 min. Upper Fix video

  • Chocolate Shakeology blended with frozen cherries, spinach, ice and water
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea
  • Fiber Sweep
  • Vanilla Fresh Shake blended with banana, ice & cinnamon
  • Baby Carrots, red peppers and hummus
  • Raw Juice from Squeeze
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea
  • Sauteed kale, onion, garlic and summer squash with olive oil, basalmic vinegar, sea salt and avocado
  • Vanilla Fresh blended with ice and brewed decaf chai (this time I added less ice so it was just a nice cold beverage instead of trying to make a shake consistency out of it. I liked it even better.)
  • 70 ounces of water throughout the day

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Day 4

Weight: 149

Measurements: Hips: 39.5   Waist: 33   Chest: 33.5   Thigh: 23   Arm: 12   Total: – 6 inches

My overall impression of the 3-Day Refresh is that this was the best cleanse that I’ve ever done. It took my 3 lb. weight gain from vacation absolutely made it disappear over just a couple days instead of the weeks that it could have taken otherwise. Plus, I lost an additional pound from my pre-vacation weight! Bonus! I was also very satisfied most of the time. I did have a low point in the later afternoons where I’d get a dull headache, but not enough to want to take something for it and it didn’t stop me from getting things done. I had zero cravings and was perfectly content with my food the whole time. It helped that I was working from home those 3 days and didn’t have any social plans. I did however cook my family a typical dinner but this did not tempt me and make me want what they were having. The only inconvenience was trying to prepare two meals at once and being pretty hungry at that time of day. After having to eat a few almonds on Monday to make it through dinner prep, I started preparations earlier the next two nights. I usually eat dinner around 7 but I found that I needed to eat around 5:30 on this plan. I did however stay satisfied until bed time. I had my shake a couple hours after my dinner to ensure that I wouldn’t go to bed hungry.  I did got to bed by 10 pm all 3 nights which is a good thing! When day 3 was over, I actually wished that the cleanse was 2 more days. I’d absolutely purchase this in a 5 day plan. Beachbody does make a 21 day cleanse called the Ultimate Reset which I’m sure I’ll do one day.

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What’s next? Well, I went back to my 21 Day Fix meal plan, which I love for a daily well balanced diet. The first 2 days I didn’t feel the need to eat all of my portions, so I didn’t. I listened to my body and eased into eating meat and grains again. Now that I’m back up to my normal calorie range, I’m living my super active lifestyle as a working mom while fitting in my workouts! I have started PiYo for a great low-impact strengthening and lengthening workout and I still like to take the kids to the YMCA a couple days a week or find other ways to get a bit of cardio in 3-4 days a week. Vacation was fun, but man, I’m glad to be back in my routine!

Interested in trying a 3-Day Refresh yourself? Or maybe you’d just like a little help figuring our how you can improve your health? I can help. As a coach, I can assist you with achieving your health goals. Contact me for more information: jennifer@enlivenwellnessworks.com or visit my page at: www.facebook.com/getfitwithmamajen.

Jen headshot 2013Jennifer Oppelt is a Certified Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner – American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Florida (MA37357). Jennifer has added Beachbody Coach to her list of titles as a way to offer more tools to help her clients reach their health goals. Jennifer is happily married and a mother to two children, Alchemy and Ashton. Jennifer loves spending time with family, cooking real food, fitness and is an advocate of sustainable living.

Jennifer specializes in helping new mothers lose weight and regain their energy and vitality. However, she is open to working with everyone and has a true passion for helping others. Implementing self-care routines and developing a positive body image are also important aspects of the healthy lifestyle that Jennifer advocates and encourages to all of her clients.

 

 

 

 

 

Burger Night Done Light

2014-04-02 19.18.05As a follow up to Spaghetti Night Done Light, let’s do burgers! Another not so typically healthy meal that can be completely made over for some guilt free fun. This recipe skips the bun and uses a lettuce wrap which saves on major calories and keeps the meal clean and full of nutrition boosting veggies. And what’s burger night without fries? You won’t find any oil soaked white potatoes in my home but we will put away some nutrient dense sweet potato fries any day! And sorry but, the sweet potato fries that you can get in the freezer section at the grocery store may be tasty but they are loaded with oils and sugar. It’s best to make your own. My kids love them and always ask for more.

The Burger: I’m a busy mom, so for this one I’ve found a super quick way to pull it together. Murray’s Mini Chicken Burger Sliders are hormone and antibiotic free, all natural and certified humane Murray's Chicken burgerraised. And they make dinner super easy! They sell full sized burgers too but these sliders are big and they work just great for me and the kids. My husband needs two but that’s OK because there’s 6 in the package, plenty for everyone! I use a grill pan to cook them, they’re even better if you want to fire up the grill. You can also patty up your own burgers from ground chicken or turkey, if you like.

Once cooked, place on a Romain lettuce leaf and add your toppings. I like ketchup, tomato, onion, avocado and sprouts. Fold the leaf over so you can pick it up and keep your hands somewhat clean.

The Fries: Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrition. They are a great source of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C and all kinds of good stuff.

Ingredients:2014-04-02 18.23.08

  • 3 large sweet potatoes – sliced into long strips
  • Tbsp. olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Cumin

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place cut sweet potatoes on the pan. Brush or spray with olive oil (get both sides). Sprinkle with sea salt and cumin. Bake for 25-35 minutes, flipping every 5-10 minutes.

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Jen headshot 2013Jennifer Oppelt is the President and Founder of Enliven Wellness Works, a company specializing in workplace wellness and personal wellness based in St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay FL. She is a licensed massage therapist in the state of FL (MA37357), a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach program and a Certified Workplace Wellness Specialist and Program Manager through the National Wellness Institute . She is happily married and a mother to two children, Alchemy and Ashton. Jennifer loves spending time with family, cooking real food, fitness and is an advocate of sustainable living.