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Sweet Potato

Healthy Body

The Proper Post Workout Meal + Orange Monster Smoothie

January 30, 2015

Working out is hard to do. I’ve been doing it since I was in the 7th grade (6 am volleyball practice!) and I still question my routine.

Is it long enough? Too long? What is the best ratio of cardio to strength? Can I work the same muscle two days in a row? How many crunches DOES IT TAKE to get a six pack?

Good news is I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this year. I think I’ve finally figured out the answer to what works best for me.

My success story? Weight lifting. Yeah, I said it. Metal-bar-bell-strict-lifting-low-squating weight lifting. I absolutely love it. I've never been so strong in my life. And never been happier with my body. My thighs and butt are toned (without being bulky), my butt actually exists (it used to just be a flattened extension of my upper thigh), my abs are tighter than they ever have been (in all my years of endless crunching), and my energy is as high as a kite (I actually look forward to my morning workout). Insert proud beach picture here –>

But enough about my workout. This is a food blog. Which is why I just had to tell you that one of the best adjustments I have made to my workout has been in my Post Workout Meal. No matter how hard you workout, what you eat matters more than anything. ESPECIALLY AFTER YOUR WORKOUT.

Here are the three things I’ve come to know about post workout meals through lots and lots of research, my personal trainer’s advice, and my own experience and success with it.

  1. Timing Matters.
  2. What you eat (and don’t eat) matters.
  3. Where it came from matters.

Let me explain.

1. TIMING: I eat immediately after my workout (i.e. 30 minutes or less).
I am trying to build muscle. Not lose weight. Because of this, I try to eat immediately after my workout. You want to take advantage of absorbing the nutrients immediately to repair muscle tissue.

2. WHAT I EAT: I eat a combination of high protein and little carb.
You need protein to restore muscle tissue. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash and plantains replenish your glycogen stores for muscle growth and increased energy. Although you need carbs, too many will cause an insulin spike so don't go overboard on the sweet potatoes.

I eat VERY LITTLE fat and sugar.
Fat slows down your digestion and inhibits the absorption of protein. Sugar (even the natural kind in fruit), can only be metabolized by your liver. You didn't workout your liver silly; you worked out your muscles. Muscle tissue eats glycogen (that's where those carbs come in).

3. WHERE IT CAME FROM: I eat a whole protein source (or as close as I can get to one).
Protein powder is convenient. But where the protein in your powder came from matters just as much as where the chicken in your dinner came from. Ideally, you want a whole protein source so that you are absorbing as many nutrients as possible and as little hormones and chemicals as possible. There are a handful of protein powders that have gone out of their way to produce antibiotic-free, grass-fed and low in sugar products that I have tried and loved (Tera’s Whey, Amazing Meal, RAW protein).

But I’ve recently discovered an even better source of whole protein that is just as convenient as protein powder: Gelatin.

But this isn’t Bill Cosby’s gelatin (weird how that reference has a creepy meaning now). This is real, unprocessed gelatin from grass-fed cows. It comes in powder form just like protein powder. But its benefits are much greater. Gelatin helps your body repair quicker, helps repair small tears in cartilage, eases stiff joints and helps build muscle. Because I have so much to say about this stuff, I am already working on a follow up post, starring gelatin. So I'll explain more about this super nutrient later (also great for hair, skin and nails). 

Now, for what you've been waiting for… 

What exactly fits into this perfect formula??

THE ORANGE MONSTER SMOOTHIE. Gelatin to build and repair muscles. Sweet potato or pumpkin to restore glycogen. And cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and TURMERIC are all anti-inflammatory spices that will relieve muscle and joint pain and keep your stomach flat. BOOM. It's all there.



  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree OR 1 cup of cooked sweet potato
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • ½ cup of ice
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin – I strongly recommend Great Lakes OR serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder (try to stick to hormone-free and grassfed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash of coconut milk (for taste)
  • Drizzle of honey (if you really need a sweetener, but try to refrain from adding sugar)
  • Spices*

    • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger/pre-chopped ginger/real ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (see this post for why it's awesome)
    • Dash of nutmeg

*Note: Substitute pumpkin pie spice for all of the above spices to save a little time


  1. Have an awesome workout and imagine the delicious smoothie waiting at the end of the tunnel.
  2. Immediately after, toss all above ingredients in a NutriBullet or your blender of choice and power up until it’s smooth as cream.
  3. Stick a straw in it and drink immediately.
  4. Do a happy dance.

As always, thanks for listening to me rave and rant. Keep in mind, this workout and this Post Workout Meal is what works FOR ME. If you're not doing a lot of strength training, it may not work for you. Either way though, it's all good stuff.


Breakfast Rut: Unique Ideas for a Gluten-Free Breakfast

December 30, 2014

I am always surprised and happy to hear when I find that people actually read my blog (besides the ones I beg to read it). The other day, I got an email from my friend Leslie. Not only does she read my blog (woohoo), she has switched over to a grain-free diet and is looking for some ideas (from me!). The problem? A breakfast rut. She has grown tired of eating the same “lame eggs” every morning.  She wanted to know how she can spice it up a little.

That’s a great frickin question. And not an easy one when you’ve gone grain or gluten-free.

I bet I can safely say that most of you have been eating grains for breakfast all your life. At a young age, you were taught to eat a “breakfast of champions” (i.e. Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, Corn Flakes, {Fill in the blank with your favorite}). If your mom really loved you, you’d get to chow down on a toaster treat of some kind – a Pop Tart, a Toaster Strudel, an Eggo. 

When you got a little bit older and more mature, you respectably ate your bowl of Total, Kashi, Smart Start OR Special K if you were on a diet. Or you happily microwaved a bowl of instant oatmeal to eat at your desk alongside your coffee. Or if you were REALLY lucky, your office brought in bagels and cream cheese (free breakfast, heck yeah).

So once you go grain-free, there is seemingly only one other option. The incredible edible egg. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE eggs. They are nutrient-dense, high in protein, Omega-3s and good fat (please eat the yolks!). But yes, just like any of my food obsessions (I once ate almonds every day for a year straight – Eck), they can get old. 

Let’s spice things up a little and think outside the shell. 

Super Human Smoothies  

For the longest time, I was against succumbing to the smoothie craze. I’m not quite sure why, but it just seemed like a lot of work and a whole lot of noise. Then my mom got me a NutriBullet and I crossed over to the dark side. Soon I realized that it’s the opposite of a lot of work; it’s actually way quicker and easier than any other breakfast I make. And yes, it is loud, but it goes by fast.

The trick is, I don’t just stick to fruits. As good as it can be, fruit alone is not going to keep you going for the rest of the morning. Plus, it can be pretty high in sugar. So I’ve gotten adventurous with my smoothies. I’ve embraced greens, proteins and fat, pulverized into one delicious glass. And I’ve added what I call my boosters for extra flavor and nutrients. I love to play around with different combinations, and I highly recommend you do the same until you find what suits you best. The following are ingredients that will take your average fruit smoothie, and transform it into a protein-packed, energy-sustaining, grain-free super human breakfast.

Greens: Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, Romaine

Good Fats: Avocado, Coconut oil, Coconut butter, Coconut flakes or shreds (unsweetened), Coconut milk, Almond butter, Sunflower seed butter

Protein: Protein powder (I love RAW protein and Tera’s Whey), Brazil Nuts, Macadmamia Nuts, Cashews, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds

Boosters: Flax seed, Chia seed, Cacao powder, Goji berries

Fruits: Beets, Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries

Here is one of my favorite combos of late:


  • 1 cup of greens
  • 1 beet
  • ½ cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder
  • 1 cup coconut water + add more water for desired consistency

    Tip: I don’t like my smoothies too sweet, but if you do, try adding 1-2 dates for a natural sweetener


  1. Throw all ingredients (in order) into your blender or Bullet.
  2. Blend for about a minute.
  3. Stick a straw in it and drink it right away or throw it in a to-go cup and drink it on the way to work.

Buckwheat Breakfast

Contrary to what you may think, Buckwheat actually has no wheat in it. Buckwheat is a seed. It’s related to rhubarb and sorrel and is so very good for you. I wrote about this baby awhile back and I still have a lot of love for it. You do have to prep it ahead of time, but once you’ve made a big batch, it’s very little work in the morning. 

Here is the recipe for my Buckwheat Breakfast.

Sweet Potato Porridge

I always keep a batch of cooked sweet potato rounds in my refrigerator so, for me, this was a quick breakfast idea. I love having them on hand because they keep me from snacking on chips and they are sosatisfying. Awhile back, when I was craving something gooey and buttery, I invented this crazy combination for a snack. But it occurred to me recently that there is no reason that this couldn’t be a perfectly nutritious start to your day. This recipe is very flexible so don’t feel chained to my ingredients below. Anything warm, savory and winter-like would be a great addition. I have a feeling butternut squash would be awesome, but I haven’t tried it yet.


  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree 
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • Toasted pecans


  1. Sweet Potato Rounds: Wash 2-3 sweet potatoes. Slice them into 1/2 inch rounds (I leave the skins on for the extra nutrients), brush with coconut oil, add a dash of cinnamon, turmeric, S&P, cook at 425 for 12 minutes, flip over rounds and cook for 12 more minutes.

    *I strongly encourage you make these ahead of time*
  2. Mash together sweet potato rounds with remaining ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and a bit more cinnamon.
  4. Dig in with a spoon.

Breakfast Salad

So I know I said I’d give you an alternative to eggs. But I almost guarantee that you’ve never had your morning eggs like this. Eggs are good. But they’re even better when you add greens and good fat.

I ran out of lettuce so this is just the avos and the 'matoes, but you get the idea. 


I ran out of lettuce so this is just the avos and the ‘matoes, but you get the idea. 


  • A plate of spinach or greens of your choice
  • 2 fried eggs
  • ½ avocado, chopped into pieces
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Dash of Italian herbs (or fresh chopped herbs if you have the time)
  • Dash of Hot sauce (Some like it hot J)


  1. Fry your eggs – I do them over-easy because I love puncturing them so that the yolk spills out on to the other ingredients.
  2. Plate your greens – I like to chop mine up so that I can put together the perfect bite of greens, egg, avocado and tomato on my fork.
  3. Slice your avocado in half. While it’s still in the skin, make cuts going vertical and horizontal until you have an avocado grid. You can easily scoop it out of the shell from there and spread out the pieces onto your salad.
  4. Chop up your cherry tomatoes and throw those on top of your plate.
  5. Drizzle your olive oil and add your dash of herbs and hot sauce.
  6. Pierce the fried eggs so that the yolk spills over the salad and mix everything together for one ridiculously good bite.


My dearest Leslie – I hope this helps! Please let me know if you give any of them a try. Also, if anybody else has any ideas for Leslie please comment below.

Cheerio! (not the cereal)