Stuff Your Turkey~ Not Your Stomach This Thanksgiving!

From Fitness Expert Jaime Brenkus:

Thanksgiving celebrations are a fun time to celebrate and give thanks for all the good things in your life. Thanksgiving holds traditions that date back centuries. Turkey Day traditionally is centered on a bountiful feast. This year, use the guide that’s attached in this email to help you indulge in all the great offerings that come with the holiday without going overboard.

Most men need about 2,000 calories a day, and most women need about 1,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight. Your Thanksgiving meal should make up about one-third of your daily calories if you plan on eating three meals on that day. In other words, women should aim for a Thanksgiving meal consisting of 500 calories and men for one consisting of 700 calories.

Simple Solutions:

1.  Divide your plate into thirds :  One third of your plate -vegetables, one third grains or starches, one third with protein.

2.  Enjoy smaller portions of the food your really want–Shouldn’t be ‘all or nothing.’

3. Eat regular meals the day of a holiday party.  Saving up the day’s calories doesn’t work because you end up so hungry –that you overeat.

No one sits down at the Thanksgiving table expecting a light meal. But between drinks, dinner, seconds and a slice of pecan pie, you might unwittingly be downing more calories than most adults should in an entire day.

LOOK: Can You Guess How Many Calories Are On Your Thanksgiving Plate?

1,144 calories 

“Keep stuffing portions under one cup (the size of a baseball),” Blatner says. “Traditional recipes contain a stick or two of butter.”

937 calories

“Instead of filling your plate with every side option, pick your top three,”

861 calories

“This dessert sampler contains more calories than a typical Thanksgiving meal. Variety stimulates appetite.” Try to choose one favorite instead of taking bites of everything.

Try these great tips and ENJOY Thanksgiving without that awful “can’t move I’m so full feeling!”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yours in health and resiliency,


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Nutrition is the King. Exercise is Just a Pawn.

  • Some people think exercising for three hours a day will get them the body they want. First of all, who has the time to do that? Second, if the person goes home and eats a large pepperoni pizza, that workout was sort of a waste of three hours.

  • If you want to lose weight, tone your body, and create definition, nutrition is key. 80% of your physique is dependent upon your nutrition, and only 20% is dependent on exercise. So, no matter how many hours of exercise you pack into one day, it’s still not going to dismantle the harmful effects of a poor diet.

 Think about it this way:

  • Your physique will look like and your body will feel like the food you consume. So, if you want to look like an egg roll, greasy pizza, or one of those KFC fried chicken sandwiches, go right ahead. But, keep in mind the ramifications poor nutrition has on your body, your confidence, self-esteem, and overall wellness. If, in a day, you make a healthy choice 8/10 times, you are on the right track. I think that is a reasonable goal, don’t you?

3 Awesome Ways to Use Apples

It’s not fall without apples, right?

Apple cider, apple pie, caramel apples… Hold up, I need to keep it healthy here! 😉 (Even though apple cider is oh so delicious!)

Tip 1:

Use apple butter or applesauce to replace the margarine, butter, or oil when baking. It adds just a little sweetness and the moisture needed to make what you are baking just as soft and delicious….. with way less fat! I do this with any kind of boxed cake or dessert, with graham cracker crusts, or even for homemade cookies (if it’s a fruit-based cookie).

Tip 2:

Add apples into a salad with chicken for a little sweet/salty combo. Or, try putting some thin apple slices on your boring old turkey sandwich to liven it right up. In the morning, nothing feels more like fall than warm healthy oatmeal with some apple pie spice and fresh apples mixed right in. Try it, you’ll love it~

Tip 3:

If you pack it, you’ll eat it. Before you go to work, take an apple with you for a snack. Or, if you have kids, make sure to throw one into their lunch bags. Apples are at their best this time of year, so get as many fresh ripe apples while you can! Apples are great in the morning too because they give you ENERGY! Some research has shown they provide more energy than reaching for that extra cup of coffee….. Plus, they have a lot of fiber to make your stomach happy too…. Convinced yet? 🙂 I hope so!

Pumpkin Roll Protein Bars —– Perfect for the fall!

These Pumpkin Roll Protein Bars taste just like the cake part of a traditional pumpkin roll, only less calories/sugar/fat and more protein! They are so delicious and packed with wonderful fall flavors. With only 45 calories per bar, who could possibly pass these up?? They were a huge hit! 


Pumpkin Roll Protein Bars


1/2 cup Ideal brown sugar

1 4 oz snack size unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

1 15 oz can of raw pumpkin


2 ¼ cups whole wheat oat flour

1 ½  scoops vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Combine and mix the first 11 ingredients with hand or stand mixer

  3. Combine oat flour and protein powder in separate mixing bowl

  4. Slowly add to batter, mixing thoroughly

  5. Add almond milk and mix until batter is smooth

  6. Spray 9 X 13″ Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.

  7. Spread batter into the Pyrex dish

  8. Bake for 30 minutes

 **Makes 24 bars**

Nutritional Information – 1 bar

Calories: 45

Fat: 0.7 g

Carbohydrates: 8 g

Protein: 3.7 g

pumpkin roll protein bars





No, No, GMOs!

I had heard of the term, “GMO,” seen “Non-GMO” on various food labels, and even read articles that referred to “GMOs.” But, I never really KNEW what a GMO was until I did some research.


What are GMOs?

GMO stands for “genetically-modified organism.” Sounds delicious, right? According to the World Health Organization, GMOs are organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been changed in a way that does not occur naturally in the world. They are found in animals and plants that have been genetically altered through the addition of bacteria, viruses, or DNA from other animals and plants of different species. In fact, they were first used by pharmaceutical and medical research companies. Now, they are most prevalent in the agricultural industry. Eek.


Are GMOs Harmful?

Now, keep in mind, this is what I’ve read. My intent is not to make anyone completely paranoid on his or her next grocery shopping trip. In the book, The Athlete’s Plate (Kellinson, 2009), it was stated that the danger lies in having those modified food genes transferred into our own bodies and genetic make-up. Also, there is a potential risk that the DNA from GMOs can be transferred into a developing fetus via the placenta. Plain and simple: Avoid these foods as much as you possibly can. Eat whole foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats, eggs, and milk, and stay away from processed foods. Think of processed food as food that can’t be found in nature. They don’t occur naturally. You can’t pick them off a tree. So, just to name a few, Oreos, hot dogs, many cereals, and, yes, potato chips should be crossed off the grocery list! No crying. They’re not healthy anyway.


Why are people on a “Non-GMO” mission?

Even though surveys have shown that Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing has GMOs, biotech lobbyists have succeeded in keeping the public blind to this information. Basically, lobbyists are preventing the FDA from requiring companies to put labels on their food products that contain GMOs. Talk about unethical. Because of this, groups like the Non-GMO Project were created to provide consumers with the information they need and deserve to make healthy choices. Companies are now joining the movement and giving you peace-of-mind when purchasing quality food for you and your family. Lists of participating retailers in your city/state can be found on the Non-GMO project website.


How do I find products that are Non-GMO? How do I know if a certain food has them?

I’m not going to lie; avoiding GMO foods is time-consuming and will definitely be challenging at times. I’ve found that if you eliminate processed foods, you lower your chances of consuming food with GMOs. What is an easy way to find food without GMOs? Choose USDA certified organic products- GMOs are prohibited, so there is no guessing. If you go to the Non-GMO Project’s website,, you can enter products and brands into the “Find Non-GMO Choices” generator to see if they are verified Non-GMO products. On their site is also a list of verified Non-GMO grocery stores and even an iPhone app which helps you determine if a product has GMOs. Here’s the amazing part- People are so passionate about keeping GMOs out of food that the Non-GMO Project is completely non-profit. Its funding comes from donations and fundraising. So, all of these resources, research, and tech tools have been provided to consumers for free.

Here’s my thing: I always say, the more obsessed people get about certain foods, the more stringent they are about straying even a hair away from their standards, and the less they enjoy life and food. When you go to your grandma’s house, are you really going to tell her you refuse to eat the food she has slaved over to cook for the past 5 hours? I think not. Our society is very social, and usually those gatherings revolve around food. Make recommendations or ask if the group wants to go to a restaurant that you know serves Non-GMO verified food. However, I think it’s overkill if you refuse to go out to a restaurant and spend quality time with friends or family once in a while. That’s just how I feel about it. Live and love your life. In order to do that, you have to take care of your WHOLE being, which means making sure you fulfill the human need for love, support, conversation, and honestly, human contact!

I get it, organic products are expensive, trust me. But, fresh fruits, vegetables, even bread or pasta can be purchased for much less at a farmer’s market. Try to buy locally! Also, keep in mind foods with these ingredients almost ALWAYS have GMOS: soybeans, canola oil, corn oil, and sugar made from sugar beets. So, by avoiding those foods, you are taking the first step towards living a GMO-free life.

Teriyaki Luau Tuna Steaks

Well, Good Friday is soon approaching, and just like every other Friday during Lent, that means no meat! So, if your family has lived on some not-so-healthy fried fish sandwiches every Friday, surprise them with this delicious (and easy!) meal idea.


2-4 tuna steaks (depending on family size)

1 plastic Ziploc gallon bag

1 packet McCormick Hawaiian Luau marinade mix

¼ cup water

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

(*quinoa or sweet potatoes and steamfresh vegetables of your choice on the side)


  1. Take tuna steaks (about 4 ounces each) and place in a plastic bag (note: I get my tuna steaks at Trader Joe’s. They are waaaay less expensive than going to a fish market, and are wild caught without any additives. So, if there’s a Trader Joe’s nearby, it’s a good way to save some money!)
  2. Mix marinade packet with water and apple cider vinegar. Add to the bag with tuna steaks
  3. Add teriyaki and hoisin sauces to bag.
  4. Sit and let marinate on a plate in the fridge for at least a half hour.
  5. Meanwhile, whip up some quinoa or sweet potatoes and cook the vegetables in the microwave.
  6. Heat a non-stick skillet at medium on the stove top.  Add spray oil if needed.
  7. After 30 minutes, take out tuna and place in skillet.
  8. Tuna is typically cooked to taste:
    1. Some people like it seared on the top and bottom and uncooked on the inside. Others like it cooked all the way through.
    2. So, cooking times will vary from about 30-45 seconds on each side to about 4-5 minutes on each side. Cook the tuna how you like it. *pay attention to the warning about eating uncooked meat and seafood, however!
  9. Serve on plates with a small portion of quinoa.  Fill the rest of the plate with vegetables. Enjoy!



Chocolate Protein Brownies

Brownies….Everyone loves them~ Maybe a little too much sometimes… 😉 First of all, if you have a brownie, a made from the box Betty Crocker brownie, don’t hate on yourself. It’s one brownie, on one day. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to “derail” you from living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it might even help keep you on track. When we deprive ourselves of something (like one brownie) over and over and over, it leads to behaviors such as binging, irritation and displaying anger towards others,  and can even, down the road, lead to symptoms associated with eating disorders. But I digress….

So, if you’re the kind of person that needs a brownie or chocolate every day, here’s a great alternative to the traditional brownie. They are packed with protein, don’t have chocolate fudge/milk chocolate, margarine/butter, or high-fat dairy. They are so easy to make, and can easily be thrown  into your lunch for a midday treat. Enjoy!! ❤


Chocolate Protein Brownies



  • 1 cup whole wheat oat flour
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Stevia
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 scoops high-quality chocolate or vanilla protein powder         (I use Shakeology or Muscle Milk Naturals because neither of them have dairy. However, you can use one with whey if dairy isn’t a problem.  I would not recommend a soy protein or plant-derived protein powder for these)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 oz. baby food      (yes, you read that correctly 🙂 I use two of those little jars of baby food, Pears and Raspberries)
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In small bowl, combine: oat flour, baking soda, salt, protein powder, and cocoa

In medium bowl, combine: egg whites, stevia, water, and baby food

photo (7)

Ready to bake!

Put contents of small bowl into medium bowl and mix well.

Spray 8×8 inch glass baking dish with Pam. Pour batter into baking dish.

Bake for 22-28 minutes, depending on how gooey or “cake-like” you want the brownies to be.

Take out of oven and let cool before cutting. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. (I put a damp paper towel over them to keep the brownies moist in the fridge). **These must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer because they have no preservatives and will spoil.


Yields: 16 brownies

Nutrition Information (per 2 brownies):

Calories: 95

Fat: 1.5g

Carbs: 11g

Protein: 10g


Remember, if you make healthy food choices 80% of the time, you’re on the right track. Now, you can count brownies into that 80%. 🙂 Happy baking!