Hormone-Balancing Chocolate Mint Drink

Hormone-Balancing Chocolate Mint Drink

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!

Today feels like a Wednesday, but thank goodness it’s only Tuesday-packed full of organic chemistry! I have decided to finish the rest of the semester up in the next two weeks before I start a new job that I just accepted (more on this later), which means I don’t have much free time. However, I did manage to procrastinate just long enough to whip this baby up.

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I started off this cold, chilly fall morning thinking, “I’m going to make hot chocolate” but it turned into a frothy morning drink thing. We’re going to call thing a “Mint Chocolate Hormone Balancing Drink”.

This concoction has hormone-balancing ingredients like coconut oil and maca root powder. I read several articles on maca and finally ended up consulting pubmed for more conclusive/reliable research. Many of the healthful claims about maca haven’t been scientifically proven [yet], however, maca does appear to be beneficial in elevating mood (1), regulating estrogen levels, especially in menopausal and post-menopausal women (2) as well as serving as a helpful alternative for persistent pain management (3). Until we know more about maca scientifically, take all the “maca will change your life and your energy levels and help you grow strong, Rapunzel-like hair” with a tiny grain of salt. Yes, it’s a great root starch from the Andes mountains, and yes, it does provide health benefits (and I’m hopeful that with more research we will know more). But remember that in most areas of life, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”…so don’t make maca your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner situation.

Okay. Recipe time. This one is quick and easy, and the balance of the nutty flavor of maca with the cacao powder and mint gives such a satisfying taste without being overbearingly sweet. If you do find your sweet tooth in need of some TLC though, just add a couple of tbsp of organic maple syrup to this recipe- I’m sure that would be a treat!

Mint Chocolate Hormone-Balancing Drink

  • Servings: 1-2
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A smooth, mildly chocolatey and refreshingly minty morning drink with hormone-balancing benefits.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1 C water
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder (I bought a bag for $3.99 from Trader Joe’s, right by the hot cereals)
  • 1 ½ tbsp maca powder (also purchased from Trader Joe’s for $3.99)
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (favorite is linked here!)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves, trust me…
  • 1 C ice cubes

Directions

  1. Pour water, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  2. Blend on high until ingredients are mixed well. Note: This will be frothy and smooth, not thick and creamy.
  3. Pour and serve. I like to top with fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

This has been perfect for today’s cold weather. Let me know if you decide to give it a try yourself!


Vega Probiotics

A note on maca powder or cacao powder: make sure the only ingredient on the bag is “maca powder” or “cacao powder”. Sometimes sneaky ingredients like “sugar” will find their way into you pure ingredients, and sugar deserves to be somewhere fun and celebratory-like cake. 🙂

-Stacey

Also note: this isn’t a miracle smoothie that will solve all your hormone troubles. It’s ultimately up to you to eat a balanced diet consistently from whole food sources under the direction of a doctor or a registered dietitian, and I am neither.

Sources
(1)
(2)
(3)

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Weekend Recap + Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Weekend Recap + Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Happy Monday, Friends!

Hope you had a great weekend!

I drove to my hometown near Houston, TX for an impromptu visit this weekend. My dad was in the hospital fighting an unknown bacterial infection in his pinky bone. A couple surgeries and a lot of antibiotics later, the pinky is saved! Hopefully he will be released sometime this week, but infectious disease is keeping a close eye to ensure the infection is contained without spreading throughout his body.

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He was in good spirits, especially after his Astros beat the Yankees to win the pennant! He cried real, happy tears. If you’ve been an Astros fan for your entire life, I’m sure you understand- so many feels.

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View from Dad’s window- Houston has been through too much this year thanks to Hurricane Harvey. So proud to come from this strong, diverse, vibrant community.

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I love the Texas Medical Center- I’ve been a patient here, I’ve worked here, and I’ve volunteered here. There’s no place like it. Truly.

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We stopped by Pronto’s on Holcomb Blvd for chopped salad with salmon, one of my all time favorites by the med center. I also got a piece of tiramisu, and I highly recommend.

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Then we popped over to a hometown football game to watch my cousin’s homecoming halftime show performance (how cute is she though?!). LOVE small-town football!

The next morning my sister and I went through old boxes of keepsakes in the garage that my parents stored from our childhood. My mom wanted us to go through everything and decide what to keep…still not sure why…but it was entertaining. I learned that I am not particularly a sentimental hoarder about most things, but I did fall victim to Barbie nostalgia. Not pictured: Scuba Barbie, Shaving Ken, and Dentist Barbie.

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Then we found this quaint little spot right behind my old high school for lunch. WHY did places like this not exist ten years ago?! 421 Coffeehouse was fantastic.

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If you ever find yourself in West Columbia, TX, stop by this place! Their chicken salad was divine.

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I stopped by my older sister’s salon to wish her a happy birthday and updated her pricing board for her:

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And then we drove back to Houston to hang out with Dad some more. Sunday morning we began the long drive back to Oklahoma City. Oh- CHECK OUT MY COPILOT:

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Her name is Sophie. She’s 11 weeks old, loves to play fetch and cuddle, and I want to hold her every day. She’s my sister’s dog, and she did fantastic on her first long road trip!

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This morning I caught up on some (much needed) sleep and managed to whip up a mint-chocolate chip smoothie. I actually used some vanilla pea protein from Trader Joe’s for this recipe that was VERY affordable (but not my very favorite taste). Honestly, you’ll appreciate this recipe much more if you use some sort of chocolate-flavored protein. Because of all the nutritious ingredients like frozen cauliflower and frozen avocado (fear not- these are tasteless additions, I promise!), I was quite full after this smoothie.

Mint Chocolate-Chip Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
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A creamy, nutritious chocolate chip smoothie full of healthy fats, veggies, and tasty goodness.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1 C almond milk
  • 1 C frozen cauliflower
  • 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves, trust me…
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ C frozen avocado (you won’t taste this ingredient, and it adds rich, creamy texture with healthy fats, keeping you fuller longer!)
  • ½ C ice cubes
  • ¼ C deep dark chocolate chips OR raw cacao nibs
  • one-two hefty, violent shakes of the ground cinnamon bottle
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein. (!!!This would taste better with chocolate protein though!!!)

Directions

  1. Pour milk, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  2. Blend on “high” until thick and rich texture is visible
  3. Pour and serve. I like to top with melted deep dark chocolate or cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Let me know what cha think if you give this smoothie a shot!

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Cheers to a productive and great Monday! On the books for today: Organic chemistry, laundry, slow-cooker taco soup, banana bread, a 5k jog, and more organic chemistry.

-Stacey

Monday’s Suck Less with Coffee Chocolate Smoothie

Monday’s Suck Less with Coffee Chocolate Smoothie

Hi, Friends!

Hope you had a really great weekend! We drove to Dallas this weekend for the Red River Showdown: Texas vs. OU- a football rivalry we look forward to all year long. I actually didn’t take one.single.photo. this year- BLOG FAIL! But it was so fun….even though we lost. I loved visiting my sister who lives in Dallas, her boyfriend who gets deployed next week, and my in-laws. All of my favorite people!

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I finally cleaned out the “office” room of our house, and now you get to see what kind of real life slobbery Zack patiently endures ^

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It’s going to be much more when I get done with it, but for now it’s a clean space that Jaxon enjoys, and that’s enough!

Speaking of Jaxon:

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He’s a great cheerleader, deaf fluff and all. Love his enthusiasm.

The real reason for today’s post: I’m going to give you a reason to enjoy Monday mornings, because I like a challenge and Mondays deserve love, too.

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This thick, creamy smoothie was created with one of my favorite plant-based proteins, and if you’re a regular around here you know that’s Vega. This recipe has coffee and other goodness, making it a great way to kick-start your day with a boost. Try to fit as many nutritious ingredients as possible into your smoothies, just like you would a meal. Keep in mind that smoothies don’t trigger satiety cues from the brain the same way that food does though, meaning that it’s more difficult to get a sense of fullness from smoothies. They’re great for pre or post workout with a small meal, or as a snack, but make sure they’re thick and creamy if you’re eating them as a meal, that way you can actually sit down and eat them slowly. Also- strive for as much nutrition from your meals as possible, because real nutrition should come from real food, not protein shakes.

Morning Coffee Chocolate Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A rich, coffee and chocolate smoothie perfect for breakfast.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1/2 C almond milk
  • 1/2 C freshly-poured coffee
  • 1/2 C ice
  • 1 C frozen cauliflower
  • 1 handful of fresh kale
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp organic cashew buttah
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1 scoop of Vega Clean Chocolate Protein

Directions

  • Pour milk, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  • Blend on “high” until thick and rich texture is visible
  • Pour and serve. Top with melted deep dark chocolate, or homemade granola for added texture and fun!


If you have a tough time getting the consistency as thick and as creamy as you’d like, add more frozen fruits/veggies or ice. Try just a small handful at a time until it looks tasty. If it’s too solid, add a bit more liquid and blend it up again. Don’t be afraid to play with your smoothie though- a good one is worth the work, and usually all it takes is a few more seconds of your attention.

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Tomorrow morning is a 5K jog, followed by one of these. Let me know if you give it a shot- tell me what you think! Hope your Monday is pretty good for a Monday 🙂


Vega Sport Nutrition System - Better Doesn't Make Excuses

Workout Wednesday + Antioxidant Smoothie

Hi, Friends!

Hope you’re all having a great Wednesday.

I’m starting a Wednesday series called “Workout Wednesday” where I will share a workout. These always seem to help me stay focused when I need to reference some workout inspiration in a pinch, so hopefully they’ll give you some support, too!

Last night’s workout took no time at all but left me feeling accomplished, and here it is:

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I loathe burpees, and today I’m having trouble walking…that’s about all I have to say about yesterday’s workout :). Really good for the legs and REALLY gets the heart rate up.

Antioxidant Smoothie Stuff

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Here’s a great recovery smoothie recipe!

-1/2 C almond milk
-1/2 C yogurt of your choice
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-1/4 C rolled oats
-1 scoop protein of your choice (choose one with glutamine! It’ll  help with muscle recovery. Here’s one of my favorites by Vega).
-handfull of spinach
-3/4 C frozen blueberries
B L E N D & serve

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Enjoy 🙂

We may have our first bout of “severe storms” this week in Oklahoma. How to deal?! Tornados are a thing I have no experience with. Fingers crossed!!! Words of advice welcomed…

-Stacey

Grace & A Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

Grace & A Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

GOOOOD MORNING!

Happy THURSDAY to ya.

Last night I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond for more Keurig coffee for the house and accidentally left with this purchase:

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Takes me back to 2006 in the best way. There’s just something about listening to Sexy Back on a vinyl.

Something that has been on my mind lately is the word “grace”.

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Grace is a gift- not because we earned it or deserve it (1);  it is made strong through our weakness (2), and it replaces shame with purpose. It will restore, strengthen, and establish us (3).

As I was driving the other day I began to think, “WHY am I so tough on myself? What does that accomplish? Have some grace for yourself, Stacey.” So I’m working on self-shaming a little less, and realizing that God’s purpose for my life is made strong through my own downfalls, which is good because I am a hot damn mess most days. When I’m weak, He is strong. And thankfully, there’s plenty of room for opportunity in my life for God to shine His grace on through.

I’m working on loving people better, too. Does that sound weird? It’s true. People are tough. TOUGH to love, and tough to understand, but I still want to see them where they are and love them as I’m able to, regardless of what comes out of their mouth. This is gonna be hard for me…I don’t like mean people. They’re gross. But I’ve been reading “Love Does” by Bob Goff (amazeballs), and it’s exactly how I see Jesus. JUST LOVE PEOPLE. Stop policing people with the Bible. Stop ostracizing groups that you fear. Stop using religion to justify treating people groups poorly. Stop trying to convict people. Stop hating the gays. Stop. STOPIT. Just love people. LOVE. Simply.

Love is never stationary. In the end love doesn’t keep thinking about it or planning for it. Simply put: Love does. 
SEE? Read the book.

So grace and love, please come to me.

Ernest Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under pressure”. I like that.
Disclaimer: Only read Ernest Hemingway when required to in college.

Okay. Ready for a smoothie? I got ‘chu.

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Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

-1 C almond/coconut milk mix
-1 scoop Vega chocolate sport protein
-3/4 banana
-Handfull of strawberries
-2 tbsp peanut buttah
-1 C ice

BLEND!

Top with remaining banana (sliced), two chopped strawberries, a pinch of chia seeds, a pinch of sliced almonds, and a leeetle pinch of shredded coconut.

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This thing is PACKED with healthy fats and protein. Eat with a spoon and it’ll feel like a whole meal instead of a snack. This was today’s breakfast. Not pictured: coffee.

On the running calendar for today: 4 miles tempo…and it is gawgeous outside.

Hope your day is a good one!

-Stacey

(1) Eph 2:8-9 
(2) 2 Cor 12:9
(3) 1 Peter 5:10

Day 1 Half-Marathon Training Recap + Pick-Me-Up Morning Smoothie Recipe

Today started off with a phone call from my neighbor.

“Are you Jaxon’s owner? He’s in my living room.”

Silly me-thinking we had a morning routine, especially on gorgeous days like these.

fullsizerender Jaxon normally likes to do his business and then sunbathe when it’s a warmer day, just for about ten or twenty minutes, and then he comes to the back door when he’s ready to come back inside. But today, he decided that he needed to explore beyond his monstrous back yard and travel WAY down the street to the neighbor’s house. Thank goodness for dog tags.

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Also thank goodness for friendly neighbors, because I’d be lost without my Jax. 😦

Last night’s run was slow, but it was good. I bought these New Balance shoes awhile back, because they felt so good when I got fitted for them, and I do like them. But my all time faves are still my Brooks Launch 3’s. I also can’t do a run without water. It doesn’t matter if it’s only two or three miles- girl needs her H2O. I’ve tried to train myself out of it, but it’s not worth it to me.

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My absolute favorite part of running is exploring, and since I’m in a new town in a new state, each run has taken me on a new adventure.

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I felt like I was trespassing here, so I didn’t cross the bridge. Maybe that makes me less adventurous than I thought? Oh well.

Check out that sky magic!

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When I got home, I spent some time planking and doing some light abs. I was short on time, but I felt accomplished. It’s so, so tough to get back into movement sometimes…
But it’ll be worth it; it always is.

Reminder: If you’re feeling sluggish and heavy on your runs, push through. Sometimes  Most of the time, the first couple of miles are the hardest. It feels like you’re learning to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time, and your feet feel heavy, and your legs feel uncoordinated, and your breathing feels all off. Just keep going. Your body will find its rhythym, and soon enough you’ll forget how uncomfortable you were.

Then our friends picked us up for “burger night”. There’s a place in town that has half-price burgers on Wednesdays, and we have gone religiously for the past three weeks.

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I always get a chicken breast with avocado and sweet potato fries. This is my favorite beer currently, and if you’re a fan of sours, you’ll love it too. <- sounds like I know what I’m talking about, but really I have no idea. I just know that this is “yummy”.

And today’s breakfast smoothie snack was really just too good not to share, so here’s a “pick-me-up smoothie”.

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I know you’re probably like, “This girl loves the crap outta some smoothies.” <- Not untrue, but I am also taking a protein prescription from my doc to help my immune system, and I have found this has been the easiest way to hide it in a breakfast snack. Normally, I’d scramble myself eggs or make an omelet for breakfast…but since life has brought me here for now, a recipe:

Pick-me-up Morning Smoothie

-1/2 cup coffee
-1/2 frozen banana
-1 cup (lactose free yogurt for Low FODMAP), or yogurt of choice
-1 handful of greens
-2 tbsp pb
-dash of cinnamon
-1 scoop chocolate Vega Sport protein (1/2 scoop if Low FODMAP)
-1 C ice (add this last if the coffee you’re using is still hot)
Blend, serve, and enjoy 🙂

Pro-tip: Top with 1/4 C granola, and thank me later.

* you’ll notice that I like my smoothies THICK, because I like to eat them with a spoon, so it feels like I’m EATING. Feel free to add more yogurt and ice to make it creamier, or use less ice than I recommended to make it more watery, depending on your preference.

Let me know what cha think! 🙂

-Stacey

Vanilla Berry Smoothie Recipe

Vanilla Berry Smoothie Recipe

CHECK OUT THAT BLUE SKY!

For the past few days it has been gorgeous outside! Seriously. Wow.

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View from the top floor of a parking garage in OKC. Am I the only person who always parks on the top floor of the parking garage so I don’t forget where I parked my car? I am a grandma.

Last night dinner wins:

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I found a low FODMAP friendly version of delicious shrimp scampi from here (THANK YOU), and discovered that garlic infused olive oil is permitted on low FODMAP- PRAISE!!! I was about to lose my mind (up in here, up in here) over the no garlic rule. Give.Me.Gahhlic. Also, all the brown rice pasta (in moderation). I actually had two heaping helpings- serving sizes be damned.

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Sides were arugula salad with olive oil and lemon drizzle and some walnuts, green beans, and peppered tomatoes…because I was craving them. Zack thinks I’m weird *whips hair*.

Low FODMAP update:
-I have stopped counting how long I have been enduring life without salsa.
-Update: 3 weeks since I started over after eating my body weight in chicken fried steak a few weekends ago (but in my defense, it had been 4+ years since the last time I ate chicken fried steak at all)
-Symptoms are still happening, but I’m in pain far less often- WIN!
-I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN AND THIS IS A HUGE DEAL
-Energy levels…slowly, ever so slowly, increasing! 🙂
-Also on new meds, so shoutout to those bad boys

You can’t win, ulcerative colitis.

Today I made a smoothie thing in an effort to disguise my enteragam protein from the doc.

I’m going to call it this thing a vanilla berry smoothie. And in case you haven’t had granola on top of your smoothie, you are missin’ out. View this post for a homemade pb granola recipe.

Here’s a new smoothie recipe:

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-1 scoop vanilla Vega sport protein (1/2 scoop if you’re low FODMAPpin’)
-1 C water
-2 tbsp pb
-1/2 C frozen raspberries
-1-2 C frozen blueberries
-1/2 C plain Greek yogurt (lactose free yogurt if on low FODMAP/ maintain dairy free diet)
Blend!

Top with granola, eat with a spoon
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Fun facts:
-smoothies should be consumed as snacks, rather than replacement meals, because drinking your calories doesn’t register in the brain the same way food does. You could be drinking more calories than you would be consuming if you were eating them, because drinks just aren’t as satiating as food. You can read more about this here
-Try to blend your smoothie to a consistency where you CAN eat it with a spoon, and make them full of protein and fats to make you feel fuller, creating a more satisfying snack
-Also, be careful not to add TOO much fruit, because it will turn to sugar!
-I wasn’t intentionally doing any sort of marketing by using their glasses, but Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston is worth checking out. They’re big supporters of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and their beer is good.

Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday 🙂 Keep moving forward! YAY WEEKEND!

-Stacey