Saintly Reese’s Shake

Reese’s is my absolute favorite chocolate bar! Anytime there is a combo of chocolate and peanut butter, I’m there!

This Shake has quickly become my favorite post workout recovery. Frozen banana and cauliflower rice make for an extra creamy texture, and you’d think this a milkshake. Just slice up a banana and freeze overnight. And for the caul rice, just blitz half of a head of cauliflower in a food processor until fine.

Full of nutrients to refuel, I will be drinking this a lot! You can purchase any IdealFit product on their site and be sure to use the discount code CARMEL10 for savings (who doesn’t love saving?!).

Saintly Reese’s Shake

Ingredients: unnamed-11.jpg

1 frozen banana

3 heaped tablespoons cauli rice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon honey/agave nectar/maple syrup*

1 1/2 teaspoons cacao powder

1 scoop chocolate protein powder, I used IdealFit Chocolate Brownie

1 1/2  tablespoons IdealFit Peanut Butter Powder

1/2 cup vanilla almond/soy milk*

Method:

Put all ingredients in your blender and bitz, scraping down the sides, until smooth! Drizzle almond butter on the sides of a tall glass, and top with coconut cream, chia seeds, and nuts.

*If you like your Smoothies on the sweeter side add a teaspoon more of your sweetener

*If the frozen bananas aren’t breaking down, add a few tablespoons of water

 

 

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Chia Cranberry Vanilla Bars

Protein Bars, I can never have enough around! Whenever I get the chance, I like to make them at home. This way, I can see what exactly goes into them!

They’re packed with flavor, have no added sugars(well besides a little maple syrup), and they’re pretty filling. I’ve been eating them before I teach, or after I take a class and they tie me over until the next meal.

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Chia Cranberry Vanilla Protein Bars

Ingredients

1 scoop IdealFit Vanilla Protein Powder

1 tablespoon IdealFit Peanut Butter Powder

1 cup oats

1/2 cup cashews

3 tablespoons chia seeds

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup*

2 teaspoons almond butter

6-7 tablespoons of almond milk**

handful of dried cranberries

*see below

Method

In a food processor, blitz oats until fine. Add in the cashews and blitz. Then ad the rest of your ingredients, EXCEPT the almond milk. You will add this little by little, while blitzing and scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture comes together like cookie dough. Scoop the dough out of the food processor and into a mixing bowl. Fold in cranberries.

Press the dough into a square dish (either your usual brownie one, a bread tin, or a tubberware). Chill in fridge for 15-20 minutes. Slice into whatever size you desire, and enjoy!

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*You can add more maple syrup if you like your bars more sweet

**Start with minimal amount of almond milk and add as you go, so start with only 5 to 6 tablespoons. You might need more than 8 tablespoons, just add slowly until dough comes together.

IdealFit Protein Bars

unnamed-2.jpgThese are SO much better than store bought!

I used the IdealFit Vanilla Protein Powder, but the Cake Batter or Chocolate Brownie flavor would be just as amazing. Shop here for all IdealFit products: bit.ly/2trHGG3

Now, you can also go and buy cashew and almond butter and mix the butters and protein powder together in a bowl-but I like making everything from scratch when I can!

Ingredients:

2 scoops IdealFit protein powder

1 cup cashews

1 cup almonds

Teaspoon of maple syrup or honey

Teaspoon of vanilla extract

(have ready a few drops/tablespoons of almond or soy milk)

handful of dark chocolate chips, dried fruits or shredded coconut

Method:

In a food processor, blitz the cashews and almonds until smooth. Add the protein powder, and blitz until mixed. You might need to add a few drops of soy or almond milk so that the dough does come together. Shape dough into bars or balls. Press the dark chocolate chips, or fruit(like cranberries or goji berries) or shredded coconut onto the top of the bars. Keep sealed in the fridge until you want to eat them!

 

I’m an IdealFit Brand Ambassador!

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I have been a Brand Ambassador for a couple of months now, so I’m not sure WHY it’s taken me so long to write this post!

I really had no knowledge of supplements: protein, preworkout, and BCAA shakes. But it’s more than a shake or vitamin- it’s fuel for my body. Idealfit has shown me what my body is really capable of. As I’ve gotten stronger, I don’t want to wear and tear, or exhaust my muscles and joints. By implementing Idealfit products into my day to day eating habits, I can give every workout my all and feel fantastic.

Besides making me feeling amazing, the taste is GREAT(as someone who’s always around food, it gets a big thumbs up from me!)! I tried a couple of different protein shakes, and Idealfit really does stand out. There’s no bloating, and there’s no gross chalky texture. I LOVE the Cake Batter and Chocolate Coconut Protein Powders.

Being an Idealfit Brand Ambassador has been so exciting and rewarding! The community of IdealFit has been so supportive and I have learned A LOT from other ambassadors, from workouts to nutritional tips! They have so many delicious recipes on their site, which I’ve been putting my own spin on, which you can find on my Instagram @cookinwithcarmel. I’m actually just about to start one of their FREE workout challenges this weekend, which you can find on their site.

Go check out all the deals(there’s always a great offer) at http://www.idealfit.com, and use CARMEL10 on your order! Or just click my quick link: http://bit.ly/2trHGG3

My Weight Loss to Wellness Story

In the past 8 months, I’ve lost ~35LBS! Although my weight loss journey began just that, a weight loss journey, it has turned more into a Wellness Journey.

I’ve never been an athlete, or even really interested in working out or nutrition. I grew up playing the typical grammar school(3rd grade-8th) sports: volleyball, basketball and soccer; then in high school I ran cross country for a year. After high school, I did yoga and Zumba(which I still LOVE), here and there, and went on the treadmill.

My third year into college,  I left for Italy on study abroad. There, I had a mindset of ‘I’m only here for a short time, so may as well eat this gelato for breakfast!’, and within three months my jeans were much tighter. I don’t regret those bowls of pasta, but I do regret neglecting to take care of my body.

I never really was able to tackle that 10LB or so weight gain, well because I was lazy and didn’t care. And I’ve always loved food.

Three years ago(and three years after my trip to Italy), I attended culinary school in Ireland. During culinary school, I just had to sample everything more than once. Instead of two cookies, I ate ten. Instead of just one plate of dinner, I almost always went back for a second helping.

I knew I was going to gain weight in culinary school, it’s almost a given. What happened after culinary school is what sent my health out of my control.

I couldn’t land a job for several months, now, this was sort of my decision, I wanted to get work experience in each part of a professional kitchen. But the amount of peer pressure I got while job hunting/choosing internships over ‘real’ work, combined with my own pressure, made my anxiety creep in. I turned to food and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

After almost a year of hopping up and down Ireland taking part in internships in kitchens, I landed a head cook role! But a month into it, I slipped and broke my ankle. Breaking my ankle shattered my self confidence. It took me so long to land this job!

The months following the break drained me physically and mentally. I was unemployed; I felt lost and felt like a failure. I turned to food and alcohol more than ever. I gained a ton of weight, lost all of my esteem, and was on the road to some SERIOUS health issues. 

I decided to move back to San Francisco, back to my siblings and parents. I was so sick of feeling sick, and at the end of the day, my family are my biggest supporters. I knew I had to change my lifestyle.

I hired one of the best trainers in the Bay Area. It was really hard at first, and I doubted I would stick to it more than a couple of weeks. When I changed my nutrition it got much easier(tips to follow, for now check out my Saintly recipes). And even though I still struggle some days, fitness and feeling good has become part of my day to day routine.

Hiring a trainer was/is the best decision for me. I have accountability and my trainer is such an inspiration. Working out is my therapy. I’m gaining strength, confidence, and living life to the fullest(in the healthiest way). There’s something really empowering see what our bodies are capable of.

I am not a personal trainer or a nutritionist/dietician. But I hope my story will inspire you! And if you’re just starting out, and need help/support, message me!