Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie

Last night I was really craving something sweet and creamy after a weekend of hiking, carrying people, and horseback riding in the mountains.

On the sugar detox, though, I’m only allowed one green apple or one green banana all day. I already had an apple in my morning smoothie, so I went to bed and made this creation just now:


Here are the ingredients for my sugar detox, sweetener free pumpkin cheesecake smoothie:

1/2 c cottage cheese
1 green tipped banana, peeled and frozen
1/4 c canned pumpkin
5 ice cubes
1/2 c coconut water
1/4 c milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice

Blend until smooth to make two big glasses of creamy “dessert” shake. All that cottage cheese gives this smoothie a big dose of protein, making it a suitable replacement for protein shakes using sweetened protein powders.

If you’re not sugar detoxing, I encourage you to add 1 tsp of your favorite sweetener. This shake was just below my threshold for sweetness, so I bet the tiniest amount of sugar, agave, honey, or stevia would really bring out the flavors. Enjoy!

How to travel on a sugar detox

During this mystery trip, several people are assigned to cook each meal. I feel a little embarrassed bringing some of my own food and snacks for the sugar detox, but I think it will help my performance in the training tomorrow. I don’t want to waste 5 good days of sugar detox, either! Here’s what I brought:


Green apples, chicken sausage, veggies, string cheese, pumpkin seeds, almonds, eggs, more veggies, And paleo bread for breakfast sandwiches.

This evening was my first major craving challenge… Pizza!!! SO MUCH PIZZA. And that happens to be my favorite food.


Guess what, though? I stayed strong and had some chicken and asparagus instead. It was hard to pass up the pizza, but I’ll be happy about it tomorrow.

I’m also really glad that my bunk mate, Carrie, brought her vitamix along! I’ll definitely be having a green smoothie with breakfast before our grueling workout.

So far I hear rumors that we will be doing an 8 hour long workout and eating some MRE’s along the way. Good thing I packed snacks.


Broccoli Noodles

If you love noodles but are avoiding starchy foods, I have the perfect swap for you! Trader Joe’s sells organic broccoli slaw in their produce section for about a dollar a bag! The shredded broccoli stalks resemble noodles:


I’ve been trying to think of good substitutes for pastas. While spaghetti squash is the most obvious choice, long shreds of broccoli stalks and strings of zucchini sounded good too.

This recipe imparts a chow mein like flavor and texture to the broccoli:

1. Sauté 1 tsp garlic in 1 tbs olive oil.
Add the broccoli slaw and continue to sauté until it begins to soften.

2. Add a splash of chicken stock,
reduce heat, and cover to steam for about 5 mins.

3. Once the “noodles” have reached desired doneness, season with coconut aminos (or soy sauce), salt, and pepper.


Cucumber Radish Apple Salad

I made this salad for a potluck last week. It’s very refreshing for the summer! The cucumbers are juicy, the radishes are spicy, and the green apples are tart and sweet.

1. Start by thinly slicing 1/2 an English cucumber, 1 green apple, and a handful of radishes. I used a mandolin slicer, but a food processor would get the job done faster.

2. Combine in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine 1 tbs honey, 1 tbs olive oil, and 2 tbs lime juice. Mix with 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint. Toss the salad with dressing and enjoy!

Today I tried to recreate the salad using a different dressing for my sugar detox. Unfortunately, the white wine vinegar, mustard, and garlic called for in my dressing recipe ruined the beautiful flavor of this salad. I’d recommend sticking to the honey, lime, and mint combo!


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be awful or amazing depending on how you prepare them. Here’s how to make them amazing!

1. Toss fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts with a bit of olive oil in a bag to coat. Add salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.

2. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until the outsides are starting to become brown. Remove from oven.

3. Sauté a few tablespoons of chopped shallots or onion in a bit of olive oil. Once fragrant, toss in the Brussels sprouts.


I served them with a piece of rotisserie chicken from the store. So good! I hope you’ll give sprouts a chance!

Southwestern turkey stew

Today is Day 3 of the sugar detox and no cravings yet! I’ve had a good amount of energy for working out, too.

I teach an exercise class at work every day. It’s nice to have a break from seeing patients to lead the class for our employees. I’m always pretty hungry after class.

Here’s what I usually pack for lunch:


It’s a recipe I came up with after buying a ton of ground turkey at Costco. I call it southwestern turkey stew- it’s similar to chili.

1. Brown 1 lb ground turkey in a pan and season to taste with taco seasoning or chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic.

2. In a separate pan, sauté 1 chopped onion with 1 chopped green bell pepper in a bit of olive or coconut oil.

3. Add a can of diced tomatoes and a can of roasted green chilis to the onion and bell pepper and simmer until bubbling.

4. Add the browned turkey to the vegetable mixture and cook through.

This recipe makes 4-5 servings and is ready in 20 minutes! It’s a great weekday lunch because you can whip up a whole week’s worth on a Sunday night in no time. Serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and shredded cheese!

Perfect grilled chicken breast

Day 2 of the sugar detox is officially over! No major cravings yet, but I’m bracing myself for days 3-5. I hear those are the tough ones.

After a long day of filming a cooking video at work and meeting with a group of ladies from church after, I was exhausted and didn’t feel like cooking. Luckily, this dish is healthy and comes together quickly.

To make perfect, juicy grilled chicken breast, start by pounding it out nice and thin. Doing this will help it cook evenly.

Next, place the chicken breast in a ziplock bag with salt water (about 1 tbs salt for 1 cup water). This will further tenderize the chicken breast. Allow it to soak for about 5 minutes, then remove and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat your grill, grill pan, or foreman. If you want to keep your grill clean, seal the chicken breast in an aluminum foil packet with your favorite seasonings.

Grill the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Turn down the heat and allow the chicken to rest and reach a final internal temperature of 165 degrees. Do not overcook- nobody likes dry chicken! Don’t undercook either- nobody likes food poisoning ;)

I served my chicken with some cheddar cheese and a side of baby heirloom tomatoes. It’s amazing how sweet tomatoes taste after just 2 days of cutting back my intake of sweet foods! Enjoy!


“Beet” the heat smoothie recipe

Today’s green smoothie is a simple twist on the basic recipe from yesterday. Instead of using a whole green apple, use half and replace the other half with a few slices of frozen beets.


1. In a blender, combine 1/2 green apple, 1-2 cups fresh spinach, 3-4 slices frozen beets, 1 cup water, splash of lemon juice, and several ice cubes.

2. Begin on low speed and increase to high speed. Whirl until smooth. Allow the smoothie to settle for a minute if you prefer it to separate.

This is what it looks like well blended:


This is what it looks like after settling (even yummier!):


What’s your favorite “green” smoothie recipe?

Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash Recipe

My coworker made the most amazing sugar detox meal! I’m pretty excited to share this genius idea of hers.

Over the weekend, she went out to Cheesecake Factory and really wanted to try the shepherd’s pie, but decided to make her own healthy version at home. Here’s the result!


This dish is so good, I could eat it every day! Thanks for letting me have some and for sharing the recipe:

1. For the cauliflower mash: steam cauliflower florets until tender. Mash them with 1/4 cup of cream and butter to taste. Add a bit of shredded mozzarella and one egg to get the mixture to bind. Season with a bit of garlic.

2. For the base: brown 1 lb of ground turkey in a pan. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. In a separate pan, sauté shredded carrots, shredded green beans, shredded onions, and shredded tomatoes. All this shredding can be done in a food processor! Combine the turkey and veggies in a casserole dish.

3. Top the meat and veggie mixture with cauliflower mash and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Broil to get the cheese golden and bubbly for the final 2-3 minutes.

Can’t wait to make this! It’s so satisfying and you won’t even miss the potatoes.