Sugar-Free Shopping List.

The biggest concern for me the first time I started an added-sugar-free detox was “What the heck am I going to buy at the store?” I was intimidated by the lack of knowledge I had and almost embarrassed to be one of those shoppers looking at the ingredient list on the back of items. But why? Nobody actually is noticing me and if I need to take a little bit longer to pick out my items NO. BIG. DEAL.

Once I started shopping I was relieved by how simple it became and how empowered I felt taking control of what I knew I was putting into my body to fuel it. Over time I’ve came back to my staple items that I know I’ll use up between meals and snacks.

So today I’m sharing that staple shopping list with all of you! I will more than likely be updating this list as I’m exploring new meal ideas in the coming weeks. Feel free to share your additional items with me as well or ask what I use specific items for!

Sugar Free Shopping List

Printable .pdf file available on request: ashraeeiningyoga@gmail.com

No Sugar May.

Do you struggle with bloating, inflammation, or trouble sleeping? Or maybe you wake up most mornings to stare in the mirror with a puffy face and dry eyes? Or maybe you are victim to the afternoon slump most days?

If none of these things resonates with you then congratulations! But this is the definition of my life when my diet contains too much added sugar. Which is why I attempt* a monthly detox a few times a year. 

*Attempt is the key word because our lives still need indulgences. 

Added sugar is a variety of caloric sweeteners or sugar carbohydrates added to food and beverages during their production. This type of sugar is chemically indistinguishable from naturally occurring sugar that we would find in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Added sugars have no nutritional value and are “empty calories”. 

These sugars can cause the body to become inflamed, gain weight, higher blood pressure and can even increase risk for heart attack and stroke. These little punk ingredients aren’t only bad for us but are just as addictive as alcohol, caffeine, gambling, etc. Our bodies become dependent on the need for sugar that we are consistently craving to fill the desire to consume more sugar. This desire than results in withdraw when we detox our body from them. Symptoms of withdrawal are headaches, increased cravings, and mood swings that can result in feelings of anxiety and sadness. The good thing is most withdraw symptoms only occur for a few days or a week. 

You might be thinking, why would I give up added-sugar then? Well, the rewards extremely outweigh the work. All those questions at the beginning of this post… ya, let’s get rid of those!

Cutting out (or for the most part) added sugar from your diet will likely decrease inflammation, boost your energy levels, and improve your ability to focus. You might even lose weight or see more definition around muscles. A low sugar diet also has been known to help with diabetes, heart disease, brain health, mood levels, and even improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. 

An informed diet does take work though. The food industry has a long history of sneaking in these ingredients in ways that do not have to be stated in the nutrition chart as actually added sugar. That means even if you see 0g added sugar, you still need to review the list of ingredients to actually be sure. For example: 

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown Rice syrup
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane Juice crystals
  • Cane Sugar
  • Caramel
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Golden Sugar
  • Grape Sugar
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado Sugar
  • Panela Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Refiner’s Syrup
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Yellow Sugar

The sad part is this isn’t even close to all of the sneaky ingredients the food industry shoves into food. The most effective way to reduce your sugar intake is to eat mostly whole and unprocessed foods. You might be thinking that is way too hard – I thought the same thing the first time I did an added sugar detox. But once you get into a routine of what to eat that is good for you, not too mention how good you’ll be feeling, it becomes a lifestyle that you don’t want to quit. 

If you would like to join me for the month of May, I’ll be sharing tips for shopping, meal planning, and yummy dish ideas here as well as on my Insta account (@ashraeeining). Having a tribe to go through this together, ask questions, and share ideas makes it WAYYYY more enjoyable (yes, it can be enjoyable!)

Like I said earlier, indulgences are still part of life – so have that donut or 3 scoops of ice cream. I know I sure do! Enjoy that margarita on a nice day and the cheesy enchiladas at your favorite Mexican restaurant. But making sure we are monitoring these indulgences so they don’t become a habit is when we start to take control over our health so we can feel all the benefits I stated above. 

So if you would like to join me on this journey for the month of May (or at least attempt* it) then stick around and follow me over on Instagram as well. I like to share some esthetically pleasing, highly edited photos of meals, snacks, and drinks (you can even follow just to creep the photos).  

Let’s get to feeling & living a healthier life!

 

 

 

Fudgy Avocado Brownies.

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I’ve been on a strong produce kick lately. I’ve been gathering a ton of avocados, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and zucchini lately and going crazy in the kitchen with concocting a load of new favorite dishes. The other night before I was about to head out of town for a few days, I had one lone avocado left to eat up before I left. I was over avocado toast and didn’t feel like adding it to my dinner dish that evening and decided to give avocado brownies a try.

I honestly don’t think I can say that I’ve had an avocado brownie before! Is that strange? I feel like this dish is quite popular? Or did I just miss this trend? So this was going to be an experiment. But the experiment turned out to be pretty darn tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Avocado or 2 med./small avocados
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 Baking Soda
  • 1/2 semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a glass square pan.
  • Mix all ingredients in a medium-size bowl.
  • Pour mix into the pan and cook for 25 minutes.
  • Let cool & enjoy!

What I Eat In A Day: Weekend.

On weekends, I typically stick to around 2 larger meals and a few snacks in between.

I’ll wake up around mid-morning and usually hit up a work out class. Depending on how I feel, I’ll either have coffee or pre-workout as well as a small snack like a banana or apple a few hours before class.

After class I’ll make sure I get in protein right away with a protein smoothie or a small bar.

Once I get home, I love whipping up a large breakfast. I’ve been really into egg & veggie scrambles or if I need to get in some carbs I’ll make a batch of protein pancakes (I’m obsessed with Kodak Cakes) with a banana and berries blended in. I’m super basic and love a good blended latte but not super into spending $5 on coffee so I’ll blend up my own concoction of ice, vanilla protein powder, almond milk, & espresso.

If I get hungry later in the day, I’ll snack on hummus and pretzel chips or chips and salsa.

Once dinner rolls around, I’m pulling out fish from the freezer because Spring always gets me in a Seafood mood. I’m been pairing my Dijon Mustard Salmon with sautéed veggies and homemade ranch.

Later in the evening, I’ll indulge in either a homemade protein bar or some fruit with sugar free whip cream (also maybe a glass of good red wine ;)).

Ciao.

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup.

This recent snowy weather has put me in the mood for my favorite soup; Chicken Tortilla. Not only is the recipe delicious and pretty healthy but it also can be whipped up in the crockpot in just a few hours. The only work is shredding the chicken!

I was raised in a household that loved soup and my dad could throw together some of the best variations so it is always been a favorite meal of mine and additional bonus; great leftovers!

Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Diced Onions
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Diced Peppers
  •  1 tsp Cumin Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder Seasoning
  • ~3 Cups of Broth (I go between Vegetable and Chicken broth – whichever I have on hand)

Topping Ingredients:

  • Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese

Directions:

  • Place all Soup Ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high heat for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Remove Chicken and shred into pieces and place back into the pot.
  • Cook on low heat for another 3 hours.
  • Dish up into bowls, top with desired toppings, & enjoy!

Namaste.

soup

Caprese Quinoa Salad.

My biggest concern with holidays is the lack of healthy options that are usually available for big meals. We are all prepared to indulge to some extent but I also enjoy balance. I’ve come to an age where I can tell if I don’t get enough vegetables in within a day and trust me, I don’t end up being very pleasant by the end of the day. Which means it is very important for me to have some kind of greens on my plate almost every meal. This dish is an excellent protein packed, healthy side option if you are already a fan of caprese salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 package of Mozzarella Pearls
  • 1/4 cup fresh Basil leaves (torn to small pieces)
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil
  • Half diced Cucumber
  • Salt + Pepper

Directions:

  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil on stovetop. Pour in quinoa and shimmer until water is fully absorbed.
  • Transfer cooked quinoa into medium size bowl.
  • Add in all other ingredients and blend.
  • Chill in the fridge for 3 hours – 3 days. Flavors will intensify and absorb over time.
  • Enjoy!

This is my new favorite sunny day, porch relaxing dish.

Cheeseburger Salad.

My new favorite obsessions: The delicious Cheeseburger Salad.

I whipped this bad boy up last night after hot yoga and it was nothing short of heaven. I’m a big fan of ground beef so am always looking for new recipes to incorporate it in to.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Ground Beef
  • 1/4 c. diced peppers
  • 1/4 c. diced onion
  • 1 c. butter lettuce
  • 1/4 c. Mozerella cheese
  • Homemade Ranch to desire (secret tip: I almost always have a jar of this whipped up in my fridge for almost every meal)

Directions:

  • Brown the ground beef in a pan on medium heat. At the same time, in the same pan, sautee peppers and onions. Cook until desired browning of meat.
  • Top cooked ingredients in a bowl with lettuce, cheese, and ranch.
  • That’s it!

No wonder I am so obsessed with this recipe right now.

Namaste.

Typical Workday Meal Plan.

Hey loves!

I just got done filming this week’s episode of Wine Down Wednesday that will be posted later today. We’re covering some barre moves that really target the lower body and the booooootay.

I’ve also been dealing with a mild case of tendonitis on the top of my right foot that I believe might have set in from driving. Reminder: I didn’t have a car while living in San Francisco and depended on public transportation or walking. Now that I am in Colorado, I have my car back (hallelujah!) but I’m thinking the tendons that keep your right foot flexed while driving might be a bit strained. If anyone has dealt with tendonitis of the tendons that attach to the 4 smaller toes, I’d love to hear your insights into how to recover quickly (seriously, seriously).

Anyways, onto the real point of this post: I wanted to share a typical day of meals and snacks with you all. I’ve been giving a brief glimpse into this on my Instagram stories lately but thought I would go a little more in-depth with a series of posts.

I’m starting this first one out with a typical workday. I have an 8-5 desk at a Digital Advertising agency where I work as a Digital Strategist. I do my best to always pack my lunches and mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. I find if I don’t eat healthy snacks throughout the day, in between meals, I have a higher risk of binge eating at the end of the day.

Also, it’s important to note that everyone is totally different. You should eat when you are hungry! I do not recommend you following my meal plan exactly unless that works for your body. Make yourself and your tummy happy!

Ight, let’s go:

Morning

I’ll normally get up in the morning and chug water. Seriously. I work out quite a bit so I find I am the most dehydrated after a night’s rest.

I’ll probably get about 8 oz of water in within the first 10 minutes I am up. If I am feeling bloated, I will heat water in my electric kettle and mix in a few tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Then I’ll make some coffee. I always put a scoop of collagen into my coffee because within out, my nails and hair are pretty weak so it works miracles for me. (If you’re interested in collagen, I can recommend a few of my favorite brands.)  Lately, I’ve been testing out how I do with more protein in the morning to see if that keeps me fueler throughout the day and cuts down on sweet cravings. I’ve been lovvvving the KITU Super Protein Creamer. It is about 17 calories per tbsp with less than 1g of sugar. If I’m making sure I stay fuel for a while, I’ll use a Premier Protein (I prefer the caramel flavor) with ice in my coffee.

Mid-morning hits and I’ll either have a banana, a couple clementines, or a Luna Bar.

Lunch

I like super quick and easy meals for lunch that aren’t going to weigh me down for the afternoon. I have to eat light for lunch! Anything too heavy and I am worthless for the afternoon.

Lately, I’ve been heating mozzarella cheese on a tortilla and top it with a packet of tuna (in water). Super feeling, super delicious, and way lighter than a normal tuna melt.

Mid-afternoon comes around and I’ll enjoy one of my homemade protein bars (recipe to come soon) or an RX bar.

Dinner

My favorite meal of the day!!

This is very I really like to indulge because it is normally after my daily workout. I will try to get this meal in between 6:30-8PM in order to not eat too late.

If I am starving I will increase my carbs by having pasta but if I am pretty full from the day I will whip up a salad or a heavy veggie stirfry.

Dessert

Sometimes it just has to happen!

If I need a little something sweet, I will reach for a mini dark chocolate dove. If I am still really hungry, I’ll whip up my new obsession: Chocolate Protein Frosty Knock-off. So yummmmmmy!

This fake frosty contains one avocado or banana, a handful of ice, a scoop of cocoa powder, vanilla protein to your desire, and almond milk. I have tried with both an avocado and a banana and both ways are uber delicious.

What are you guy’s favorite workday meals? Let me know if you enjoyed this post and if I should continue to share more in this format 🙂

Namaste.

Homemade Ranch Dressing.

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I shared a bit about this earlier on my Instagram story today but yesterday I whipped up some homemade ranch dressing. If you’re looking to cut some of the calories or sugar from salad dressing then you need to try this homemade ranch. I’m obsessed! I like to top salads and meats with it as well as dip veggies in it, so it is obviously an exact substitute for the regular hidden valley. And trust me, you’re not even going to miss the original.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dill, dried
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Parsley, dried
  • 1 can Coconut milk, full-fat
  • Black Pepper (to liking)
  • 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar/Red Wine Vinegar

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a bullet or blender
  • Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Cookies.

These cookies have been my favorite treat for years! I have a strong obsession with the combination of orange and cranberry that I discovered in College and I honestly can’t get enough. Since moving into my new apartment, I don’t have all the baking ingredients and am not the biggest baker but wanted a sweet treat yesterday and decided it was worth a trip to the store.

These cookies are definitely an indulgent but if you do have the option to substitute the flour for almond flour and sugar for stevia.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Orange peel (grated)

Directions:

  1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Combine sugar, butter, and egg in a bowl and mix until creamy.
  3. Mix in flour, baking powder, and baking soda. If content is too dry, add a small amount of melted butter. The mixture might be crumbly, but should be able to roll into small balls.
  4. Stir in cranberries and orange peel.
  5. Shape cookies into one inch balls and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 7-10 minutes until edges start to turn slightly dark brown. Don’t over bake.
  7. Cool for 1 minute.
  8. Enjoy!