A Heart Healthy Month of Love by Carina Sohaili

Vday 2016

Here are some tools for your mind and body to celebrate the month of love in a heart healthy way. From divine dark treats (my warm dark chocolate cinnamon banana bites) to eating out made easy, and the heart healthy benefits of sassy salmon – I have you covered in my step-by-step guide.

Go Dark. Chocolate and the day of love go hand in hand. Deprivation is no fun and leads to the deadly combination of hanger. Not to mention, it is no way to live life. You also will end up overeating then repeating an unhealthy cycle. Instead, I always advise my clients to GO dark and indulge in dark chocolate.

Select Wisely. Many labels advertise “healthy dark chocolate” but really are loaded with processed sugars (defeating the purpose of going dark). Make sure the chocolate is made with a minimum of 70% pure cocoa and read the back of the label. Try to get as real as possible with little added ingredients. I always carry a square or two in my purse whenever I need a 3PM pick me up or post dinner treat (Lily’s Brand is a great choice). Around two to three squares (1/2-1 ounce) is a good snack size. Below are some of the beautiful benefits of going dark and my Simple Warm Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Bites.

Feel good. Dark Chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain. The same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love.

Control Cravings. This delicious delight does not spike your blood sugar levels. What does that mean? You will have more stable energy levels throughout the day, and not have that sudden crash you normally get with other candy. Most candies contain tons of sugars and hidden preservatives that make it very hard to tell when you are actually full. So you just keep munching and suddenly the bag is empty!

Fight the flu. Dark chocolate contains zinc (which most people lack in their diet). Zinc is a mineral superstar when it comes to boosting your immune system. For more Flu Fighting Foods check out my piece here. (You can also check out my featured piece in Beauty High Magazine on why I love dark chocolate for clear skin.)

Focus. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the heart and brain improving your thought processing abilities. Brain food!

Carina’s Simple Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Bites: melt ½ ounce of dark chocolate in a saucepan for around thirty seconds to a liquid texture of your liking. Place half of a small sliced banana in another pan with all natural cooking spray and heat on the stove for around ten-fifteen seconds until the top of the banana slices are a light golden brown. Always spice up your life! Add cinnamon or nutmeg (for more health benefits of spices read my piece here) and if you like things sweet add a dash (1/2 tablespoon) of stevia (an all natural sweetener from the stevia leaf). Drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the warm banana slices and enjoy!

Craving more dark chocolate? Check out two more of my “no brainer” dark chocolate recipes here (that take less than ten minutes to make) and my dark chocolate mud muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. If you are a fan of ice cream you can watch my Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Video Tutorial here.

Sass it up with salmon: salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that the body does not produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. These healthy fats also increase your ability to focus and improve your mood. For a healthy side dish to go with the salmon check out my Avocado Zucchini Pasta Video Tutorial here. If you are eating out, the best way to order salmon (wild caught) is steamed or poached to retain all the nutrients.

Be brave and branch out…by staying in. Instead of going out to an extravagant dinner with your significant other or group of friends plan to cook a meal at home. Home cooked meals are much healthier than eating out and getting comfortable in the kitchen is a great bonding activity. Cooking may seem draining or daunting at first but just like using a muscle that you have not used, it will get stronger and easier with time. Check out my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Meal Makeover Videos here for a library of simple recipes.

Mind. Valentine’s day is a day of love. Show yourself and your loved ones how much you truly care by taking a step to make health a priority. Even if it is a small change, everything counts. If you are feeling alone on Valentine’s Day treat yourself to a delicious healthy meal, massage or activity that YOU enjoy.

Indulge and invest in yourself. Once you start focusing on your own health (mentally and physically) the right people will fill your life. Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here

Remember to have compassion for yourself, always.

Love, Carina

A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

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Super Bowl Sunday Solutions by Carina Sohaili

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Game day is right around the corner! Here is my quick and easy client guide for a balanced, healthy Super Bowl Sunday. Yes, it is possible.

Mental Preparation: When you are hungry your brain is looking for a quick fix to give you energy and you automatically will be attracted to the worst possible food choices. Do not starve yourself all day and then plan on pigging out. Have a smart snack or filling balanced meal before. My three ingredient Southwestern Salsa Scramble recipe was recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and is a great, quick option that combines protein and healthy fat. It also takes less then five minutes to make.

Cha-Cha Chip Time! Healthier options are whole-wheat pita chips, pop chips or air-popped popcorn (for more tips on The Truth About Carbs you can check out my piece here). Baked chips are better than classic potato chips. Why? The hidden preservatives, and addictive ingredients in classic potato chips are what make you want to keep munching (because they spike your blood sugar levels) and make you crave more junk food. Two of my favorite healthy brands (without compromising taste) are Beanitos and Corazonas. You can find these at any local grocery store. They are much more nutritious and delicious than your classic potato chips and will keep your blood sugar levels stable which will keep you more full and satisfied for a longer amount of time.

Bottom Line: when selecting baked chip brands look for chips with the least amount of processed ingredients. Below is my Simple Sweet Potato Chip recipe that takes ten minutes to make. If you like this recipe check out my Skin Clearing French Fry Video Tutorial  here.

Carina’s Simple Sweet Potato Chips: chop a medium or large sweet potato into thin slices, add some spices of your choice (cinnamon is great for sweet and cayenne pepper is great for spicy. For different spice options along with their various health benefits check out my old piece here.) Use an all natural cooking spray, place on a baking tray and toss into the oven for ten-fifteen minutes or until the top is a golden brown. Do not be intimidated by cooking. It can be simple, easy and stress free. But only partake if you are in the mood. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite healthy carbohydrates and skin superfoods. They are loaded with fiber to keep you more full for a longer amount of time, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. Not to mention, beta-carotene, a cancer fighting antioxidant. Vitamin A is fantastic for the bags and dark circles under your eyes. Vitamin C will give your skin a young, fresh glow and is a great immune system booster. Chips that will clear skin, reduce cravings and taste divine in under fifteen minutes? YES PLEASE.

Divine Dips! Get Saucy with Salsa. Salsa and hummus are great, healthy options. Go for these instead of the artichoke dip, or crazy cheese dips. Sweet potato chips with salsa are one of my favorite combinations. Do not fall for the hidden salsa trap. Most store brand salsa is loaded with excessive sugars and preservatives. This actually will make you much hungrier and harder to control your eating (you are going to keep wanting more and more.) If you are not in the mood to dice up your own healthy salsa (onions, cilantro, lime and tomatoes) simply make sure there are no added ingredients in your salsa and you buy real, all natural and non-processed (all you have to do is make sure you can read the ingredients on the label.) Salsa contains capsaicin, the chemical responsible for spiciness. It stimulates digestion and in various studies has been shown to aid in the prevention of stomach ulcers. Capsaicin also helps activate the release of endorphins (the feel good hormone) in the body.

Holy Moly Guacamole! Avocados have incredible health benefits. These guys are loaded with heart healthy fats that help decrease stress and anxiety. They also are a good source of vegetarian protein, have more potassium than a banana and great for banishing blemishes due to the high vitamin content. Remember to keep it simple, there is no need for excessive ingredients (fresh lemon or lime, avocado and a dash of salt-pepper.) It is very easy to get guacamole happy as well. Make sure you eat this divine side in moderation. For another healthy avocado recipe try my Avocado Dark Chocolate Shake recipe here or my Zesty Lemon Mash recipe here.

Carina’s Secret Saucy Protein Dip: mix together avocado (1/8 cup), salsa (1/2 cup) and plain non-fat Greek yogurt (1/2 cup) with a dash of garlic in a bowl or blender for a funky healthy protein packed dip that will keep you full, satisfied and taste great. Experiment with different textures! If you like a chunky dip, simple blend or mix for a shorter amount of time. Adding the Greek yogurt will give you a rich creamy texture along with other benefits such as healthy bacteria for digestion, protein and calcium for bone health. If you are dairy free, simply alter the recipe to make it work for you. (Check out my Energizing Ranch Dip Video Tutorial here for another option.)

Beer? Here are the best tasting light beers according to a recent survey in Men’s Health: Adams Light, Heineken Premium Light, Amstel Light, Kirin Ichiban Light and Bud Light.

I always remind clients to be mindful of their portions. Try not to eat directly from the buffet, kitchen fridge, bag or box. It is very easy to get lost in the game and mindlessly munch on what is directly in front of you. Take a plate and put a reasonable amount on your plate. Remember what you are doing: watching the game and hanging with family or friends (not just consuming ridiculous amounts of food). Live your life and enjoy yourself while being healthy.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here

For more easy recipes swing by my library of Eat Yourself Gorgeous Video Tutorials

Need more tools? Check out my Simple Steps to Change Habits

As always, focus on progress, not perfection and have compassion for yourself.

Love,

Carina

A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

Holiday Party Tools by Carina Sohaili

The holidays are about memories, moments and fun. There is no time for feeling deprived or guilty about food choices (that also is not the answer to a happy life). Below are my simple tools so you can enjoy the holiday season without the guilt. 

Remember, nobody is perfect and everyone is different. Set realistic goals to stay on track so you can truly enjoy this holiday season and start the new year with confidence.

  1. Never go to a party starving. Often times when we are stressed out, tired or cranky it is because we are eating sugary packed junk foods and unhealthy sweets with preservatives. These foods make us crave more unhealthy foods and mess with the hormones that regulate the stress response within the body. By nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods and always having a healthy snack, you will have increased energy, a calmer demeanor and be less likely to lose control at the holiday buffet. One of my favorite snacks that I always suggest to clients this time of year is organic canned pumpkin mixed with plain all natural Greek yogurt, stevia and cinnamon. This is a great combination of a healthy carbohydrate (from the pumpkin) and protein from the Greek yogurt. I call it my special “bliss in a cup” energizing snack. It is quick, easy to make and leaves me feeling like I just ate a slice of pumpkin pie. Moreover, the fiber in the pumpkin is great for your digestive system especially during the Holidays. Watch my video tutorial on how to make it here.
  2. Eat real food before you reach for the sugary sweets. Fill up on protein before you head to the dessert table. Protein will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you more full and satisfied for a longer amount of time. By eating protein you will reduce your cravings for junk food. One of my favorite protein appetizer options is shrimp, which you can find at most holiday parties (if not, be a great guest and bring a healthy appetizer). If you are vegetarian, hummus is normally a party platter favorite and a good source of protein as well as healthy fat.
  3. Indulge in a balanced way. If you are craving a serving of pie have a reasonable portion but do not eat three servings. Do you notice how the first serving of an amazing food tastes the best? The food is not as good the second or third time around. This will prevent you from feeling deprived and then overeating later on.
  4. Volunteer to bring a healthy side to your next holiday party. Not only are you a great guest because you are contributing to the party (the host will love you) but you can ensure that there is something delicious AND healthy for you to eat. Bringing a healthy side does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. Check out my library of Eat Yourself Gorgeous video tutorials from Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes to Skin Clearing Spaghetti Squash here. All take less than ten minutes to make. If you are a dark chocolate fan, you can find two of my “no-brainer” dark chocolate recipes here and my dark chocolate mud muffin recipe recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine here.
  5. Be mindful of your environment. It is very easy to overeat when everyone around you is overeating as well.
  6. Always have a plan. If you know you are going to be around a group of people that overindulge all the time, have a plan going into the situation. Make it clear what you are going to indulge in, what you are going to pass on and other activities you are going to focus on (schedule a family game of cards or talk to that uncle who you have not seen in a while). Focus on friends, family and conversation; not simply stuffing your face with food at the holiday buffet. Remember why you are at the gathering in the first place.
  7. Learn to take a deep breath and slow down. It is okay to say no to certain events if you are feeling drained and overworked. Finding balance, especially during the holiday season is important. Recognize when you are doing too much and be okay with cutting back. You do not have to be superman (or woman). Make choices that are energy inducing as opposed to energy draining. Be smart about your time and how you invest it.
  8. Ditch the all or nothing diet mentality. I always tell my clients to focus on progress instead of perfection as well as never compare themselves to others. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they “let themselves go.” I always hear “I am starting my diet tomorrow.” You should erase the term diet from your vocabulary.

Just like any muscle, the more you practice consistent healthy habits the easier they will get. By implementing these tools you will be less stressed and have more energy to invest in activities you truly enjoy. 

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. 

You can learn more about my team here.

XX,

Carina

For more easy winter recipes and health tips connect with me and the VHL community:

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 Happy Holidays!

Turkey Time Tools by Carina Sohaili

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and memories to be made – not a time for feeling guilty about food choices or depriving yourself of certain foods. Below are my Turkey Time Tools so you can be healthy and enjoy yourself. My tips were also featured in Fox News Magazine.

Preparation before the meal:

  • A huge mistake my clients tend to make is eating very little until the big meal. This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have a solid breakfast and lunch filled with a good combination of protein and healthy carbohydrates. When you starve yourself during the day in preparation for a huge meal your body has a much harder time acknowledging when you are actually full. You also will get much more intense cravings for sugary and carbohydrate heavy sweets.
  • Ditch the all or nothing diet mentality. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they “let themselves go.” I always hear “I am starting my diet tomorrow.” You should erase the term diet from your vocabulary. Indulge in a balanced way; if you are craving a serving of stuffing have a portion but do not eat three servings. Do you notice how the first serving of an amazing food tastes the best? The food is not as good the second or third time around.
  • Remember why you are at the Thanksgiving table in the first place. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be grateful for the people you are surrounded by. Focus on friends, family and conversation. The dinner is only one part of the equation.
  • Whether it is a morning jog, a brisk family hike or a football game do something to get your sweat on. Make time for physical activity even if it is a twenty minute fast walk around the block before dinner. Everything counts and something is better than nothing. Make it a friend and family event. Everything is better with a buddy.

What to eat:

  • Fill up on protein! Go for the light meat instead of the dark meat and skip the skin. Light meat has less saturated fat (unhealthy fat) than the dark meat. Filling up on protein increases your feelings of satisfaction, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and will keep you more full for a longer amount of time. If you are vegetarian make sure there is a healthy protein option at your dinner so you do not just overeat stuffing or marshmallow yams. (Check out my Meal Makeover Spaghetti Squash video tutorial here for a healthy vegetarian option.)
  • Get creative! So many people are closed-minded when it comes to healthy alternatives and ignore the idea before they even try it. I always teach my clients to find some healthy swaps that they can enjoy. Instead of marshmallows add Greek yogurt (with stevia) to the Yams. Spice up your dishes with cinnamon, garlic and nutmeg instead of extra butter and excessive oils. Spices are incredible; they are huge metabolism boosters, help curb cravings and increase post meal satisfaction levels. Not to mention transform the taste of dishes.
  • Get your greens on! There is always a healthy basic side dish at Thanksgiving whether it is steamed green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts. Just make sure it is not soaked in extra butter or excessive oils.
  • What about dessert? Easy breezy! If you are unable to bring a healthy dessert like my warm pumpkin cranberry parfait then simply indulge in a balanced way. Guess what? If you did fill up on protein you will 100% not crave the same amount of dessert you do normally. Take time to visit, play card games or watch a movie with the family. Always have an activity besides just eating dessert. If you have a love affair with pumpkin pie, have a slice, enjoy it and move on. I also am a huge dark chocolate fan! Check out two of my favorite “no brainer” Eat Yourself Gorgeous dark chocolate healthy desserts here.

Have a plan for the day: what you are going to indulge in, what you are going to pass on and how you are going to get your sweat on. Everyone is different so it is really important to understand what your weakness is and be aware of it. If it is eating too much stuffing to avoid talking to that relative who you have nothing in common with or having one two many helpings of marshmallow yams.

Remember to have compassion for yourself.

Simply keep yourself in check and focus on the bigger picture of why you are together in the first place. 

Small consistent steps overtime is how lasting change occurs.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

XX,

Carina

Join the community for holiday tips all season long

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Indulge and Go Dark! A Heart Healthy Halloween by Carina Sohaili

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Halloween and the numerous holidays coming up are a time for friends, family and memories to be made. Depriving yourself of certain foods tend to lead you to overeat the foods you forbid in the first place and then deprive yourself of them again; an unhealthy cycle. How do you enjoy yourself while being healthy? Become a fan of dark chocolate!

I also have included two of my client favorite “no brainer” Eat Yourself Gorgeous healthy dark chocolate recipes: my warm dark chocolate pumpkin puree and my divine dark chocolate apple crisp sandwich.

Select wisely. Many labels advertise “healthy dark chocolate” but really are loaded with processed sugars, excessive ingredients and preservatives (defeating the purpose of going dark). To get the most health benefits make sure the chocolate is made with a minimum of 70% pure cacao and read the back of the label. Try to get as real as possible with little added ingredients. I always carry a couple of squares in my purse whenever I need a 3PM pick me up or post dinner treat. I also love munching on a small handful of dark chocolate chips (Lily’s brand is a great choice) instead of that afternoon cup of coffee. If you are looking for an easy but healthy Halloween treat – this is it. Trader Joe’s has great pre-portioned snack bars. Balance is key. 1/2 ounce (around 2-3 squares) is a good snack size.

BEAUTIFUL benefits of going dark:

  • Beat cavities. Dark chocolate contains Theobromine, a compound that hardens your tooth enamel, lowering the risk of cavities.
  • Feel good. Dark Chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain. The same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love.
  • Control Cravings. This delicious delight does not spike your blood sugar levels. What does that mean? You will have more stable energy levels throughout the day, and not have that sudden crash you normally get with other candy. Most candies contain tons of sugars and hidden preservatives that make it very hard to tell when you are actually full. So you just keep munching and suddenly the bag is empty!
  • Fight the flu. Dark chocolate contains zinc (which most people lack in their diet). Zinc is a mineral superstar when it comes to boosting your immune system and also great for smooth clear skin. (More Filling Flu Fighting Foods can be found here and Skin Clearing Smart Snacks can be found here.)
  • Focus. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the heart and brain improving your thought processing abilities. Brain food!

Eat Yourself Gorgeous Divine Dark Recipes (all take fifteen minutes or less to make with under four ingredients):

Divine Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Sandwich: Slice up an apple and bake in the oven for around five-ten minutes until the top is a golden brown. Spice up your life and add spices of your choice (cinnamon is a great one). Apples are nature’s candy but if you like things extra sweet sprinkle on some stevia (an all natural sweetener). Then melt ½ ounce of dark chocolate, spread and smack together to make your baked apple dark chocolate sandwich. If you like this recipe, you can find my Cinnamon Almond Butter Apple Sandwich recipe here.

Quick tip: practice planning! Take an hour on Sunday and make a batch of dark chocolate apple sandwiches for the week ahead so you can have a delicious, divine treat whenever that craving hits. I have a client bring these babies to work and she shares them with the entire office instead of her normal weekly crispy cream run.

Warm Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Puree: Use 1/2 cup of organic canned pumpkin that you can find at any local market, and is the same price as normal canned pumpkin. (For another easy pumpkin recipe check out my Pumpkin Spice Pancake Video Tutorial here.) Blend the pumpkin with ½ ounce of melted dark chocolate and heat up in a saucepan for around one minute. Mix in one tablespoon of stevia an all-natural sweetener from the stevia leaf and as always, spice it up with cinnamon or nutmeg. For more dark chocolate recipes check out my Dark Chocolate Avocado Shake Recipemy Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Video Tutorial and my Dark Chocolate Muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur magazine here.

For more pumpkin recipes and healthy comfort food options check out my Fall Video Series

 Learn more about my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Custom Programs and for more health tools check out my Simple Steps to Change Habits

Remember, everyone is different, has different tastes, preferences and goals. As always, focus on progress not perfection. Every small change counts. 

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

Love always,

Carina

Flu Fighting Fall Foods by Carina Sohaili

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Food is the best medicine around and nobody likes being sick! The time has come to start eating your way to radiance…

Here are two of my favorite foods to help protect you against the flu, curb unhealthy cravings, boost energy levels, and get that skin glowing. Not to mention a way to make your favorite comfort foods a bit healthier.

Pasta please! Instead of your traditional pasta, go for skin clearing spaghetti squash. This sassy squash is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Need some energy? Hello magnesium! This mineral is responsible for energy production within the body. It also helps slow down the aging process which will minimize those pesky crows feet and fine lines.

Feeling a bit bloated? Potassium helps flush the body of excessive toxins and waste that is fantastic for de-bloating. Vitamin C and vitamin A protect your skin from dry, flaky, rough patches and is key in strengthening your immune system (two of the best vitamins for fighting the flu around.) Squash is a healthy carbohydrate high in dietary fiber, which will keep you more full for a longer amount of time. This will help prevent you from reaching for that office donut. The rich warm flavor of squash is a flu fighting favorite of mine; it will warm you without filling you out. Not to mention, tastes divine! Check out my simple video tutorial on how to make it here.

Precious pumpkin! Pumpkin is one of my favorite skin super foods loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Not to mention, beta-carotene, a cancer fighting antioxidant. Vitamin A is fantastic for the bags and dark circles under your eyes, while vitamin C will give your skin a young, dewy glow. These two vitamins are also great immune system boosters. Here is my pumpkin pancake taco recipe that is a client favorite and takes less than 10 minutes to make. 

More information about my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Custom Programs can be found here

Remember to focus on progress, not perfection & DO YOU.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

Love always,

Carina

 

Drink up! The Feel Good Shamrock Shake by Carina Sohaili

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Drink yourself beautiful…

Life is too short for deprivation. You should be able to have your cake and eat it to. In this case, have your SHAKE and drink it too. It is quite simple really. When you start eating better, you start feeling better. I put together the perfect energizing breakfast blend or 3PM pick me up to prevent hanger (hunger-anger) and overeating later on. I have used my favorite ingredients in the shake specifically to keep you more full for a longer amount of time, give you lasting energy without the crash and curb unhealthy cravings. Not to mention, reduce stress, increase feel good hormones AND get your skin glowing (you can check out my most recent television appearance for more smart snacking options in the video section of my site). Yes, it all sounds too good to be true. Try it and then let me know how you feel.

Carina’s Dark Chocolate Mint Shamrock Shake:

  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cacoa powder (Trader Joe’s brand is great) or 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chips (I love Lily’s).
  • 1 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I love Chobani) OR a frozen banana (if you are dairy free)
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ tablespoon of mint extract
  • 4 tablespoons of stevia
  • ¼ cup of sliced avocado
  • 1 cup of ice

Blend together and enjoy. Everyone is different. If you like a sweeter flavor then go for the frozen banana instead of the Greek yogurt. If the cacoa powder is too strong for you then try dark chocolate chips. Make sure the cacoa powder is non-processed to get the best health benefits. (More information and dark chocolate health tools can be found in my piece here.) Get creative and find a healthy formula that tastes good and works for you.

Quick tip: if you are on the run or at work (because that is life) simply do a little planning in advance. Blend together the night before and put your sassy shamrock shake in a container for the next morning. It will take ten minutes tops. Just like any muscle, the more you practice planning the easier it gets.

My tips on how to be healthy at your desk were recently featured in the Huffington Post, you can find them here.

A bit of nutrition while you drink because I just cannot resist:

  1. INDULGE & GO DARK! Dark Chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain. The same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love. For more health benefits of dark chocolate and two of my easy “no brainer” recipes check out my piece here or my Creamy Dark Chocolate Ice Cream video tutorial here. If you are a fan of mud muffins you can check out my healthy dark chocolate mud muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur Magazine.
  2. Greek Yogurt has double the amount of protein than normal yogurt, healthy bacteria for digestion as well as immunity and calcium for bone health. Check out my energizing ranch dip video here using Greek Yogurt or my Stress Reducing Avocado Pasta video here.
  3. AMAZING AVOCADO (I am a huge fan of healthy fats)! Avocados are packed with heart healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats have been proven to reduce stress as well as increase post-meal satisfaction levels. Moreover, avocados contain plant protein to keep you more full for a longer amount of time, give you lasting energy and curb unhealthy cravings. Avocados also contain Vitamin-E. Vitamin-E fights off damaging free radicals that contribute to aging. Vitamin-E also gives your skin an overall smoother tone, which will help reduce fine lines and those pesky crows feet around your eyes. Need some skin clearing snacks? Check out my Satisfying Beauty Bites here, or Skin Clearing French Fry Video Tutorial here.

More information on my Custom Eat Yourself Gorgeous programs can be found here

If you need simple steps to change old habits, check out my piece here

As always, focus on progress, not perfection and DO YOU. Focus on your goals, instead of comparing yourself to others because that is all that matters.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can sign up and learn more about my team here.

Love always,

Carina

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