Category Archives: Nutrition

Healthy Vegan Meals Before a Workout

Healthy vegan meals before a workout can keep energy levels high, support muscle building and increase weight loss. For all my fellow exercise lovers who deal with stomach problems and fatigue mid-workout this is important info so hear me out! Timing is essential so be sure to eat 1-2 hours before the workout to allow time for partial digestion. Try these pre-workout meals to amp-up your results and beat that mid-workout belly ache.

Meal Idea #1:  perfect for breakfast

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats or 1/4 cup steel cut oats, 1 medium banana, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, and topped with cinnamon.
  • 1 cup of coffee or green tea for a pre-workout boost

Meal Idea #2: can be a great lunch or dinner

  • Rice or whole grain tortilla, 1/2 cup mashed pinto or black beans, vegetables of your choice, salsa or hot sauce
  • Handful of grapes

Meal Idea #3 – More like a snack

  • Rice cakes, 1 medium mashed banana, and topped with cinnamon. Cinnamon Oatmeal

***For on your own meal prep work, think about the following tips if you want to try to a build healthy pre-workout meal.

  • Healthy fats are so important in your diet but go easy on them before a workout. They are slower to digest which could give you a little stomach ache mid-workout.
  • Healthy carbohydrates are important to our energy stores before a workout. So be sure to include them in each pre-workout meal.
  • Protein full of branch chain amino acids is essential to protect all of your hardworking muscles during your exercise but is even better to help rebuild after your workout. Ex. protein powder, tofu, edamame, beans, whole grains, spirulina.
  • Water is also essential to keep in mind for your pre-workout, during, and post-workout routine. Try drinking half your body weight in ounces to stay hydrated enough during your workout.
  • Caffeine is smart as long as you make the right choices. Choose plain and sugar-free options; preferably green tea or black coffee, which would benefit your energy levels without adding extra calories and stomach aggravations.

Please let me know if you have a question about this topic or anything else health and fitness related. Nutritious gossip would love to hear from you!

Maintain-Not-Gain this Thanksgiving

Tis’ the season of weight gain! Thanksgiving than Christmas, setting us up for New Year’s resolutions we desperately need after months of diet destruction. What do you think about getting a jumpstart on your NY resolution? Would it be nice to avoid the usual 5 to 10-pound increase? Join me in making a dedicated goal to maintain-not-gain over the holiday! Here are my tips to help you avoid the unwanted thanksgiving day weight gain!

1. Be prepared for party temptations!

  • Before a party, have a healthy fat and protein-packed snack. This will help you avoid cravings and indulging in the unhealthy plates. I recommend a handful of trail mix or apples with almond butter.
  • If asked to bring a dish to the party, prepare a healthy one. If you arrive at a house full of unhealthy items you know you can fill up on your dish. My favorite veggie dish is always brussel sprouts and you can’t beat a beautiful kale salad. Both are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Double or triple recipes if you have a big party to attend.

2. Limit alcohol consumption.

  • Watch your alcohol intake. Its loaded with extra calories and sugar. Worst of all, whatever you eat while drinking will get stored away until it processes through the alcohol. Stick to one or two alcoholic drinks with a lot of water in between.

3. Set up a workout schedule…and stick to it!

  • Make a workout schedule for the entire week, month or next couple months and stick with it. (This will get you ready for your New Year resolutions). If something comes up and gets in the way of a workout, then make up for it the next day.
  • Make exercise a priority and you might just maintain-not-gain or even better, lose fat this holiday season!

Homemade Purple Vegetable Broth – and what I did with it! Rice and Mung Bean Burrito

The homemade vegetable broth was my latest experiment and the purple part was just a fun accident!

This was my first time making vegetable broth. I used odds and ends I had cut from the grilled vegetables I had made previously. I also added some of the vegetables I had more than enough of and knew I couldn’t finish before going bad. I’m working on eliminating food waste from our household and broth is a great place to start. Here is a list of items that went into the crockpot.

  • Tomatoes – leftovers from a salad
  • Green bell peppers – and pepper ends – I had one too many
  • Sweet potato – extra that wouldn’t fit in grill pan
  • Celery – expiration was a couple days away and didn’t think I would be able to finish them all before then.
  • Mushrooms – extras
  • Onion – ends of onion from previous meal
  • Ginger – can never find enough uses for the amount you have to buy from Trader Joes
  • Garlic – flavor
  • Bay leaves – whole – great flavor for the broth.

I put all of these in my medium sized crock pot. Filled it up with water almost to the brim. Placed it on high and let cook for about 6 hours.

I poured out the water into a bowl then filtered it slowly through a tea filter to get some of the grit left behind.

At the end, I had a beautiful purple broth that honestly looked like grape kool-aid! I was originally planning to just heat it up and drink it but instead decided to make rice! I added mung beans for extra protein. Sprinkled it with cilantro and placed it in a coconut tortilla. Then topped it with avocado and spicy taco sauce!

Consider making vegetable broth from your veggie scraps you collect at home! It will save money from buying vegetable broth from the store and help avoid food waste!

Let me know if you decide to make broth at home, how it turns out and what you did with it!

Thanks for reading!

Justine

5 Ways to Have a Healthy Weekend in Los Angeles

Whether you live in L.A. or just visiting, there are endless activities to keep you moving. Here are a few of my favorites!

1. Hiking is one of the best ways to get exercise, be in nature, and see epic urban views. 

  • My favorite trail is hiking around the Griffith Park Observatory. If you start at the entrance just above the Greek Theatre you can go up above the Observatory and get 360 views.
  • For a slightly more challenging but fun hike is doing the Runyon Canyon hike. This one is gorgeous and surrounded by beautiful Hollywood Hills and views of the city. If you aren’t a fan of crowds I would skip this one! Pic of Runyon Below.
  • For a locals secret, check out Ernest Debs Park and hike to the top for views of Downtown L.A. Also, enjoy a beautiful hidden pond where you can sit and have some peace and quiet from the city noise.

2. Rent a bike in the city or head to the beach.

  • Try the metro city bikes if you are wanting to cruise around town! We took our bikes from 6th and Spring St. to the Arts District near Angel City Brewery. if you do this path you can drop the bikes off and head over to enjoy one of the many restaurants in the neighborhood.
  • If you want to head to the beach to rent bikes try Santa Monica or Venice. I’ve rented bikes from both of these places and it was an easy process. You’ll be on your way in no time. There are a few options on each beach and you can cruise along the ocean between Venice and Santa Monica and beyond!

3. Try yoga or meditation at a Buddist Temple or Yoga studio.

  • Relax your mind and distress with meditation. If you need some meditation guidance, there are a few temples around L.A. Check these out Hollywood  or Hermosa Beach.
  • If you want to try yoga check out Yoga Circle or Evoke Yoga in Downtown Los Angeles.

4. Head to a farmers market.

  • The weekend is the best time to prepare for your busy week. Get fresh produce from the many farmer’s markets around Los Angeles.
  • You can find local fresh produce, flowers, and small business goods in Larchmont, Hollywood, Arts District, Downtown, and Silverlake, every weekend! Here is a long list of places that you can find in L.A. More Farmer’s Markets    photo of Larchmont Farmer’s Market from laweekly.com

5. Try a fitness class.

  • There are numerous fitness centers with group classes throughout Los Angeles and there isn’t a shortage of fitness trainers so take advantage of it! Here are a few to check out.
  • YAS spinning classes in Hollywood
  • Cardio Bar in Eagle Rock
  • JustFit LA in South Pasadena – of course, I had to throw myself in there. If you are looking for something with one on one attention to target your specific goals then send me an email!

Leave a comment to add more healthy items to this list or ask me a question!!

Have a great day!

Justine


I am a personal fitness trainer in South Pasadena. If you are in the area and need any fitness guidance let me know. I would be happy to help! JustFit LA

Kicking Your Soda-Pop Habit

Kicking your soda-pop habit is one of the best dietary choices you can make. Here are a few reasons why you should kick the bad habit now.

Prevent diseases. Many diseases have been linked to soda including heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even liver disease.

Improve dental health. By avoiding the harsh acids and sugars in soda, you can have stronger, healthier teeth.

Lose weight and belly fat. Sugar or artificial sweeteners in regular and diet soda can boost insulin levels and caloric intake, contributing to weight gain, and a wider waistline.

Break your sugar addiction. Giving up soda-pop is hard because sugar is so addicting. So are the fake sugars in diet sodas. Here are a few alternatives to help you get through the challenging transition:

  • Squeeze lemon or lime in your water for something more flavorful.
  • Try soda water to get the bubbles that you might be missing from soda-pop. My favorite is perrier and they are now making naturally flavored options also.
  • Zevia is an all natural, stevia sweetened beverage for those moments when you are craving a soda but don’t want to go down the sugar path again!

Go ahead and give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Justine

 

I am a personal fitness trainer in South Pasadena. If you are in the area and need any fitness guidance let me know. I would be happy to help! JustFit LA

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/02/10/10-diseases-linked-to-soda.aspx

https://authoritynutrition.com/13-ways-sugary-soda-is-bad-for-you/

How to have a Vegan Camping Trip

WELCOME TO YOSEMITE!

A vegan camping trip takes a little planning ahead but it’s worth it! Here is how to have a vegan camping trip. This includes meals, snacks, and living essentials I prepared to maintain a vegan lifestyle on a camping weekend through Yosemite.

Breakfast: Warm oatmeal with a spoonful of peanut butter, chia seeds, and cinnamon + instant coffee. For breakfast, if you don’t want to start up a fire, a stovetop burner is handy. We boiled water for coffee and oatmeal easily! Rent a dual burner stove top from REI for around $20.

Lunch 1: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich. You can’t go wrong with Pb&J! Think simple for lunches because you may not be near your campsite mid-day to cook anything.

Lunch 2: Slice of plain whole grain and seed bread, a bag of chopped pineapple, strawberries and kiwis and a Lara Bar.

Dinner 1: Foil packs filled with vegetables that we grilled over the fire. I pre-chopped peppers, zucchini, squash, and onions and placed them in a Ziploc bag. I put the potatoes, mushrooms, spices and olive oil in separate containers so I could add them just before cooking so as not to let the vegetables get soggy. We cooked the potatoes separate because they needed to cook the longest, about 45 minutes. The rest of the vegetables, about 25-30 minutes. I also had a side of my black bean salad with whole-grain crackers.

Dinner 2: Vegan Chili + fire-grilled kale and bell peppers. I recommend chili as an option when camping. It is easy to pack and even easier to make over the fire or on your portable stove top. Pre-make before you leave town or buy the canned version from Trader Joe’s.

Snacks and healthy additions:

  • Trail mix: I made a variety of trail mix with the following ingredients: Almonds, walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, dates, and cashews. I made more than we probably needed because you never know when you are going to get stuck in a traffic jam and need easy-to-reach snacks (which we did). My favorite mixture is almonds, peanuts, raisins and pumpkin seeds.
  • Lara Bars: These bars are packed with fruit and nuts for energy and really delicious. Honestly, they are like dessert but you can feel less guilty about them.
  • Bananas: Easy but make sure they are at the top of your grocery bag or they’ll get mushy.
  • Fruit bags: Chop up the fruit and separate them into Ziploc bags so you can grab and go and eat with a fork. I made mine with strawberries, pineapple, and kiwis.
  • Cold grapes:  Grapes are so refreshing after a hike! Have them easily accessible in a bag or bowl at the top of your cooler.
  • Bean Salad – This is an absolute must!: I made this salad with black beans kale, corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, spices, avocado and lime juice. Put it all in a big container to be munched on at any time. It was so great having this on hand and sat perfectly on the ice staying cold all weekend! (this photo is from a batch that I made at home. The only difference is that I added cabbage instead of kale.)

  • Chia seed pudding: Before we left I made chia seed pudding to scoop into my breakfast for omega 3’s. It’s easy to keep in a cooler and use as needed. Add water, coconut water or plant milk to chia seeds. I added cinnamon to it also. Cover then chill in the fridge. Let them soak up the fluid to become jelly-like. I used mine in my oatmeal every morning.
  • Avocados: These are great to have on hand. They fill you up and give you the healthy fat and fiber you need to maintain healthy digestion during your vacay. I added a little to each dinner we made.

Below are a few other ways I had a vegan camping trip!

Skin care products: These products are something to pay attention to if you want to live a vegan lifestyle and avoid supporting animal testing.

  • Yes to Grapefruit and Yes to Tomato wipes: If you are camping without showers you will need wipes to clean up. I ordered all my Yes To beauty items from amazon.com.
  • Yes to Grapefruit moisturizer and SPF: To keep my skin protected and moisturized during the trip I used this on my face, neck, and hands. (There is a Yes to Carrots Conditioner in the photo also. I didn’t take that on the trip but I definitely recommend it if you want to go vegan with your hair products too!)

  • US Organic Nature for Nature Bug Spray: Fend off mosquitos with this spray. It was so much better than the chemical bug repellants. It smells natural and pleasant. It doesn’t keep all of the gnats away but it seems to do pretty well against mosquitos.
  • Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen: This is my favorite sunscreen ever! It smells so fresh and drys within a few seconds of applying. I didn’t have the slightest bit of burnt skin during this trip and it felt good to know that I had healthy ingredients soaking into my skin.

Vegan wine: Did you know that some wineries use animal products during production? I’m not going into too much detail but if you are vegan for the animals, then you should pay attention to your alcohol too. Here are a few wines I took on the camping trip.

  • Underwood Canned Wine: Looks just like a beer can, fits perfectly in the cooler and in a beer koozie too. You can find this at World Market or order it online.

Santa Margherita:  pinot grigio and Chianti (the half bottle size fits easily in cooler) The pinot grigio is super refreshing after a long day of exploring and the Chianti is perfect to enjoy while cozying up next to the fire.

The Vegan Vine: Try this wine with or without a camping trip. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Let me know if this was helpful in planning your vegan camping trip.

If you aren’t much of a camper but want to stay close to the park, try a local Airbnb. Hotels near Yosemite are just ok so take advantage of this link. $40 towards your first stay and it will help me make more of these healthy travel blogs. Thank you!

Thank you sincerely for reading and please send me emails with comments and questions!

XO,

Justine

Black Bean Salad – Sunday Meal Prep Idea

This salad is so perfect for the beginning of the week meal prep or to take to weekend bbq’s. You can munch on it anytime and it stores in the fridge or cooler really well. It’s a fun salad because you can make it different every time with a variety of spices or added vegetables. Here is the salad I made this weekend!

1 can black beans
1/2 medium white onion
1 tomato
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 can corn
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 chopped jalapeno – use pickled nacho jalapeno’s for less spice
1 Tbsp garlic
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste
Top with avocado

Mix together and enjoy!

Improve your Fitness Mindset

…AND Try These Small Changes that can Lead to Big Results

Committing to a healthy lifestyle takes consistency and dedication. You have to find what makes you happy in an active lifestyle and go for it with everything you’ve got. Try these steps to improve your fitness mindset.

1. Set small goals and have a game plan to get you there. For example, make a realistic weight loss goal for one month and make small changes to get there. To get you started, try switching to stevia from sugar to eliminate extra calories, and parking your car far away from the grocery store entrance to burn extra calories.

2. Pick exercises and foods that make you happy and feel great. Do you love yoga but not cross-fit, then don’t do cross-fit! Commit to your yoga practice and go regularly to reap the benefits. If you want to up the intensity try a hot yoga or power yoga class for extra toning benefits.

3. Have a family member of friend join you on the journey to a healthy lifestyle. Having someone or a team will keep you accountable.

4. Try adding supplements to your diet to improve mood and energy. Discuss with your doctor about what you may need to supplement with. Below I also attached an article to help you learn more about different vitamins and minerals.

More info regarding vitamins and minerals:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins

My favorite supplements:

  • Plant protein – I use this once a day for a post workout drink or add to a smoothie for a meal replacement.
  • 5HTP – improves mood and helps control appetite.
  • Vitamin D – I use a liquid form for better absorption.
  • Probiotic – gut health and digestion are important in overall health.

Check out my Instagram@sojustfit

April Discounts!

The month of April is almost here and it is bringing us wonderful spring weather. It’s also reminding us how close summer is and how we want to feel confident and ready for beach attire.

I’m offering $25 off of my intro package for clients who live in the Los Angeles area and are looking for fitness guidance.

Please check out my website to find out more about my program. Learn more

 

 

 

Small Changes can Lead to Big Results – Black Coffee

Whether you are just beginning, hit a plateau in your routine or looking for the next edge in your nutrition regimen, think small changes. Small changes can be the jump-start to get your journey back on track. If you need some help deciding on a small change, try this out!

Choose Black Coffee!

Instead of drinking a sugar and calorie loaded coffee beverage, try drinking black coffee!  I myself and many of my clients have made the switch and have had fun with it.

Try these steps:

1. Skip Starbucks and try roasters like Stumptown, Coava, BlueBottle. It may be little more expensive but so worth it. If you don’t have these options close by, order online from the images below!

2. Try coffee beans from different countries such as Guatemala, Mexico and my personal favorite Costa Rica.

3. Explore light, medium, medium-dark and dark bold roasts. There is a change in flavor, spice and even caffeine content between these variations. I attached an article at the bottom for more details on this!

4. Last but not least try these in iced and hot coffee to find out how you prefer it. 

There are so many more options for you to explore but start with these and then branch out. Before you know it you may just appreciate its pure flavor and realize you don’t need the extra calories to have an enjoyable drink.

Let me know if you have any questions about this. If you need another small change idea, keep an eye out for next weeks tip!

Roast Information: http://www.coffeecrossroads.com/coffee-101/coffee-roasts-from-light-to-dark

coavablue-bottlestumptown

Juice Cleanse Review, with journal log: Earth Bar

I usually do a mild cleanse cutting caffeine and alcohol or cutting dairy or grains out for a week, a couple times a year.  This year I am trying a one day juice cleanse. I have had many questions from friends and clients about cleansing and one in particular is the juice cleanse. I honestly have never thought highly on the idea of it but to give it a fair and honest assessment, I must try it.

I researched some of the local juice shops to see what they had to offer. I found that Earth Bar had a cleanse that offers a little more product than most places and is affordable. They have two options and I chose the one with food, fiber pills and boosting shots. Here below is a list of all that is included and the order they recommend them.

Earthinstruction-web

Journal Log: Please feel free to skip ahead if you don’t want to see entire journal log. I bullet pointed the areas that are most important to read on. Be sure to catch them all!

5:00am- I woke up this morning excited, energized and ready for a challenge! A fridge full of goodies and looking forward to a refreshing day of cleansing!

Earthfullshot

5:30am- Total Greens with AM Pills- There is really something about the taste of liquid celery that just doesn’t do it for me. But I managed to drink almost all of it.

7:30am-  Liver cleanse juice- The liver cleanse tasted like heaven compared to the first juice. But still couldn’t finish the entire thing. It’s just SO MUCH juice!

9:30am-  Wellness Shot- I was pretty nauseated by the time I got to the shot.  I took one sip of the wellness shot and it immediately had me feeling better. It is extremely spicy and sour so I was only able to finish about half of it.

1130am Veggie Power-

  • Four juices in…Well, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life but I did what I felt I had to do to make me not feel sick. I had just got doing some of the following exercises (below) and really felt weak and exhausted. Keep in mind these were really light exercises that they recommend you do to help with cleanse. Anyway, I blended 1/2 the juice with 1/2 cup of greek yogurt. The protein helped me so much but I know I broke the cleanse already. Oh well, keep going.

*Side Notes added in, Activity for the day:Walked 10 minutes in early A.M,Then 20 minutes before noon,Yoga for 20 minutes.Then, I did an addition 30 minutes of walking but spread out throughout the afternoon and evening.

1230pm: Next is E3 Live Shot – This is weird tasting but surprisingly enjoyable. I liked how it wasn’t sweet and didn’t taste like a liquid vegetable either. THis was the first thing I actually was able to finish all of. Earthshot

130pm: Vegan wrap -or what I made instead-

  • They offer a wrap for you but instead I opted for another juice that I can just enjoy tomorrow and help with the transitioning period. Instead of the wrap, I made a veggie patty made from garbanzo beans and vegetables and ate that with mushrooms, sprouts and dijon spicy mustard. Light and refreshing and didn’t include a tortilla which is why I skipped the Earth Bar wrap option.

230pm: Citrus cleanse- This one tasted the best and and was light and refreshing. I could only drink about half of it though before I felt bloated full of liquid.  So I put the other half back in the fridge with the rest of the unfinished business.

330pm: Almond Milk- Oh wow delicious. Seriously so good and worth trying if you only go for one item at Earth Bar. I still can’t finish it though. . .

430pm: Yellow Jacket-

  • 7 juices in…Dread crept in… I just couldn’t fathom the idea of drinking another juice. I decided here that I am not going to force the next two juices down if it’s going to make me sick.

Yes I admit, I threw in the towel. But I kept myself in check!

  • In this case, I decide to have a snack/meal that is vegan, low calorie and still nurtritious. I had a portioned size bag of trail mix,12 slices of seaweed and 1 cup of brussel sprouts drizzled in vinegar for dinner. After I ate, I felt like a new woman!
  • The one day didn’t go as planned but I have 3 more juices left and a few leftovers for tomorrow. All in all the cleanse will just continue into another day but with less juice. Cheers to day two!

*Side Notes: I also sat in a hot sauna for 10 minutes after one of my walks. I took a salt bath after hot sauna to help with detox and used a couple of lavender oil drops to help with soothing any stress or tension.

Journal Log Continued Day 2:

530-630am: Lemon greens- Just forced it down.

830-930am: Citrus Cleanse-

Earthbarcitrus-web

This was my favorite from yesterday and I had half left. It was a delicious snack on a work break! Thumbs up to citrus cleanse.

1030am: Wellness shot- I also had half left from yesterday. I loved these shots; they ease any hunger pains and boost my energy instantly!

1130am: Veggie power juice that I turned into smoothie– I blended this with ice, blueberries and 1/2  cup of the greek yogurt that I didn’t use yesterday. This again was perfect! Adding that extra protein made me feel 100% better. 

1230-130pm: Vegan meal- I had the exact same thing as yesterday in place of the vegan wrap.

330pm: Trail mix with sweet potato- THat’s right I am over the juice.  

*The Gimme Greens  and Yellow Jacket juices were sent to work with my boyfriend because sharing is caring!

530pm: Vegan dinner- Had same as last night.

730pm: Almond Milk:

EarthBaralmond_milk-web

Delish! Again, I highly recommend trying this.

Activity for Day:  Walking 10-20 minutes at a time totaling 60 minutes. Didn’t have much energy for more than that.

  • Conclusion: Positive Notes: It was a challenge and I like challenges. I like them more when I fully succeed at them but I am not mad about turning my one day cleanse into two. There were a few drinks that you can see in my journal log that I thought really tasted good and gave me bursts of energy (Citrus Cleanse, Almond Milk and the two shots).
  • On the downfall though, I actually have cravings for things I don’t normally have cravings for like… fries! It was mentally challenging, physically challenging and way to much juice and sugar for me. Things like mental clarity and energy were also highly lacking.
  • A response to the question that I know some of you are asking. Well you didn’t do the cleanse exactly how you were supposed too. If you would do the one day cleanse as is, would you have gotten a good results? . . .Probably not, at least not much different of a feeling than I got after my two days of cleansing. Lets think about it, you are drinking juices all day. Spiking your blood sugar over and over and over. You will feel many highs and lows like I did. Bursts of energy then fatigue, fine then nauseated, happy then grumpy. You are only doing it for one day so you won’t have time to get used to it anyway. I believe that cleansing your body needs to be a gradual, gentle process and be done with healthy eating that you do consistently for a long time. I did this cleanse to be able to say that I’ve tried it. I really did give it my all and I was hoping that it would prove me wrong! But it’s not for me.
  • I would like to note, I am not saying anything bad about Earth Bar. I actually love their juice shop. They have great smoothies and fruit bowls. I continue to go back for the ginger shots and love the clean friendly atmosphere. They sometimes offer a free coffee with purchase in the mornings during the week which is an added bonus. I do recommend you at least walk in and check out their shop. They have so many healthy items to choose from that could suit your needs.

Earthbox2

I hope this helped you with any future decisions on a juice cleanse.

Peace,

Justine