Personal Training, Fitness and Nutrition Motivation

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What’s All This about Surviving the Holidays

Now This is ME during the Holidays
I mean really…surviving the holidays??? What the heck is this all about…I can see wanting to survive an illness or some other grave situation…but the holidays…really…NOT.  I look forward to the holidays…spending quality time with family and friends…all the decorations, lights, music, the tree, the smells …WOW…this is all GOOD stuff in my book.  It is also my time to create fabulous foods for the Christmas morning breakfast…life does not get better than this.  I am seeing so many articles, tips, commercials, etc…on how to survive the holidays and a big YUCK.  If you have been following my Blog, you know that I am always candid and share my life and thoughts…well what a peeve.  Really a Darla soap box moment here…I do not use any holiday as an excuse to set aside my healthy lifestyle to gorge on unhealthy crap…I mean really…WHY?  Do I sample things, and enjoy treats throughout the season…a BIG YES…but I certainly do not make a 3-month adventure out of it…meaning Thanksgiving to the New Year…Hell to the BIG NO.  My healthy lifestyle is what maintains me and the word “lifestyle” says it all…holiday or not.  If I did not live this way, I certainly do not feel I could walk the shoes of teaching fitness to so many fabulous people…practice what I preach all the way or nothing.   

Christmas Morning Breakfast Table
Am I a scrooge…NO…as I shared, I do sample this and that…but sitting and eating let’s say a whole plate of mash potatoes and gravy…do not think so.  I am really not fond of that anyway, but sampling fabulous home baked Christmas cookies…well…now that deserves a nibble or two;)  Everything in moderation and I do not plan cheat days or even cheat meals.  If the desire strikes me to sample a cookie…well, I sample a cookie…simple as that…tasted, swallowed, DONE…moving on.   Why has it come this far to say that a holiday needs to be survived…what marketing hype…YES…it really is.  Has everyone gone completely off their rocker to not realize the meaning of the Christmas holiday and what really matters in this life?  I am talking about the shopping hoopla as well…I am definitely NOT a black Friday girl or any kind of shop-till-I drop woman…that sounds so overwhelmingly NOT FUN and not the way I want to spend the day…now give me a meet for tea with hubby or girlfriend and having my list in hand to purchase something at a nearby that is fabulous.  I actually prefer the comfort of online shopping in my jammies with no shipping charges or tax…a WIN WIN…plugging Amazon here. My son turned me onto this site and I must say… I am impressed with the savings on the items, not to mention the wear and tear on my vehicle…and the gas prices…NO WAY.  I mean really…the Christmas season is truly not about how much money I can make, spend, most expensive toys,  or how much food I can eat…really???   

The holiday is such a special time for me to spend with my family and friends, to make wonderful memories, look forward to laughter, board games, and cozy fires…this is what I enjoy about my life around the holidays.  Is this something for me to survive….NO…I am a simple girl who is deep into the meaning of being healthy all the way around….so I will not gorge for days on end until I feel sick, depressed and guilt ridden, or spend dollars until I am stressed and worried about how I will pay the bills…IS THIS HEALTHY…NO…so…I guess what I am trying to say in a healthy way is Happy Holidays…join me in taking the time to reflect on all the fabulous things to be thankful for…enjoy that quality time, take some time off from work, sample some goodies in moderation, do not neglect your health, your family, or overburden your  finances…I believe that life is a precious gift and I plan to soak up every meaningful moment I can during the holiday….NO REWINDS IN THIS LIFE AND NO REGRETS! Stay Healthy!

Merry Christmas from My House to Yours

Bake My Stay Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies over the Holiday!!!

Stay Healthy Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

When it comes to chocolate…one of my favorites hands down is a fresh baked scratch brownie…nothing in a box for me.  I believe in quality and the taste has to be out of this world FABULOUS.  I spent the holiday season baking and pureeing pumpkins and set out to create recipes that would satisfy all of the above.  I was so pleased with how these turned out…one of the BEST brownies I have ever eaten…no kidding.  The pumpkin adds the perfect dense moistness necessary and the rich chocolate flavor is incredible.  I utilized Blue Agave Syrup as studies show this natural sweetener to be low on the Glycemic Index.  Also, I was happy to reduce the carbohydrates by omitting any flour, increasing the protein with the egg whites, and adding a few dark chocolate chips for antioxidant…this is a WIN WIN recipe to satisfy my chocolate craving.  I guarantee this will be a keeper in your kitchen!

1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
½ cup almond butter
4 egg whites
1 cup organic Blue Agave Sweetener (Syrup)
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup extra dark chocolate chips (at least 65%)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Step 1 – Into a large mixing bowl, add each ingredient one at a time.  Whisk each ingredient until completely mixed before adding the next.  Continue this process until you have batter ready to pour and bake.  It will be a light and airy batter similar to a cake mix…this will not be thick. 

Step 2 – Pour into prepared oiled square baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. I start checking the brownie at 30 min.  Insert knife into center and when it comes out clean…the brownies are done. 

Step 3 – Let the Brownies rest for 15 minutes before slicing. These will be very moist and light.

Step 4 – Enjoy with some vanilla N/F Yogurt!!!

This recipe along with many others under the “In My Kitchen Tab, Stay Healthy Recipes” at the top of the page!
 Original recipe created by Darla Leal, Stay Healthy Fitness 2011

My Holiday Workout Challenge:
I Have Been Trying This Out: I add in order one exercise for 100 reps per day to complete the challenge within 10 days…so far so good.  



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