Sweet Potato Soup


Sweet Potato Soup, another yummy one that the whole family loves. I got the recipe out of the February 2017 Southern Living magazine but there were definitely some errors in the print so I’m getting partial credit for this one.

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

– 2 cups chopped Yellow Onion

– 1 cup chopped Carrots

– 1 Tbsp. chopped Garlic

– 3 lbs. Sweet Potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2″ cubes

– 2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2″ cubes

– 1-1/2 tsp. Salt

– 1 tsp. Black Pepper

– 1 tsp. Ground Cumin

– 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

– 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

– 7 cups Chicken Stock

*NOTE* I used my Dutch Oven to make this but any large pot will do just fine.👌🏼

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop everything first (Always. It makes this whole process a hellova lot easier!) I also measured out all my spices and put them in a small bowl so they’re ready to go as well.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch Oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, salt, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute, stirring.
  3. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Strain potatoes BUT, save your stock so put a large bowl under your colander when you strain.
  5. Transfer your potato mixture back into the pot if using an Immersion Blender or put small portions into a blender at a time; blend your potato mixture until smooth. Slowly add the chicken stock to your potato mixture until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. If you’d like, top your Sweet Potato Soup with toasted chopped pecans and plain yogurt. If you’re like me, eat as is because you don’t need all that fancy shit!

ENJOY!

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Baked Chicken Breasts with Whole Grain Penne Pasta and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My least favorite meal prep because it’s SO.MUCH.FOOD. Stupid complaint right? I know. I’ve started taking out some of the chicken and eating it as a snack to help me get it all in during the day.

I should note that I eat A LOT of food to maintain/grow my muscles and my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is about 1750 calories a day. That’s how many calories I burn a day just by being alive, breathing, blood pumping, blinking, etc. I could lay in bed all day doing nothing and burn that many calories. Pretty cool huh!

Meal Prep details….

Baked Chicken Breast with Whole Grain Penne Pasta and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

MY PORTION:

– 7oz Chicken Breast

– 4oz Penne Pasta

– 1 cup Brussels Sprouts

MACROS:

64.5g Protein

86g Carbs

5.6g Fat

605 calories

BBQ Chicken Sliders

I’m not mad at this Meal Prep at all. Insanely easy and 🌺HAWAIIAN ROLLS🌺 Yes, please!

I threw 9 chicken breasts in the crockpot with some water and cooked the chicken low and slow for about 7-8 hours. I shredded the chicken and then added Sprouts brand Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce. The kids (and the hubs) are all over this.

If you don’t have a Sprouts store in your area or you’re not able to find that brand in your local grocery store, try to find the healthiest version of BBQ sauce that you can find. I use Sprouts brand because there is no sugar in the sauce.

You can also make your own BBQ sauce. This Whole 30 approved version is pretty good and can be found here.

MACROS for 1 Cup of Chicken & 2 rolls
Protein – 48g
Carbs – 45g
Fat – 9g
Calories – 435

If You’re Struggling with Your Fitness/Health Goals, or Starving, PLEASE READ!

Confused by the image below? I don’t blame you, it’s a little crazy looking; but scroll down and read the information below the image. You’ll be happy you did.

These printouts are from my personal body scan that I do at a local nutrition shop. I’ve been doing these scans since January 10, 2015 at the same location, using the same machine.

On November 12, 2016 (the left image), I discovered that my calorie counting alone was no longer working because I lost 3 pounds of muscle and gained 3% body fat since my previous scan on October 25, 2016. Please Note: Calorie counting is a GREAT way to lose weight and it worked for me for a very long time.

At the discovery of the fat gain and muscle loss, I decided that it was time to start counting my macros (protein, carbs, fat). I have avoided macro counting for a while for two very good reasons…

  1. I was progressing fine with calorie counting alone, losing fat and gaining/maintaining muscle.
  2. I know how tedious macro counting can be and if I didn’t have to, I wasn’t going to. Because sanity matters people. 😉

I calculated my macros for my protein, carbs and fat and since implementing this new lifestyle change a little over a week ago, I have done pretty good at hitting those numbers. Not perfect, but good.

The printout on the right is from today, December 1, 2016. There is less than 3 weeks between the two images and check out those numbers!!

From November 12, 2016 to December 1, 2016 I gained 2.2 pounds (that doesn’t matter and I’ll explain why below*), BUT my body fat percentage went DOWN from 25.2% to 22.1% and my muscle went UP from 74.5 pounds of muscle to 79.6 pounds of muscle.

In less than 3 weeks I put on 5.1 pounds of muscle and dropped my body fat a little over 3%.

*Let’s talk Body Composition. The number on the scale doesn’t tell me how much fat or muscle I have or even how heavy my bones are and how much my organs and blood weighs. And in addition to that, it also doesn’t tell me how hard I work in the gym, how smart I am or what my worth is on this planet. DON’T GIVE THE SCALE SO MUCH POWER! Because I gained muscle and lost fat, my body composition has improved and physically I will appear leaner because although muscle weighs more than fat, it takes up less space. So that increase in the scale doesn’t bother me one bit!

When figuring out what my macros should be, I ended up with an additional 600 calories a day that I could eat. I don’t know anyone who’s on a fitness journey who would hate to hear the words, “Eat More Calories”. I’m sure those words may be scary but it works! And the proof is in the paperwork.

I knew immediately what changes needed to be made in order to correct my muscle loss and fat gain but you may not know what to do. If you’re frustrated and struggling, if you’re hungry and on the verge of quitting all together – DON’T! I can help you. And me helping you doesn’t mean that you have to start counting macros and buy a food scale. Me helping you may just mean that you need an adjustment to your caloric intake. 

Let’s fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and with exercising and patience, you’ll be on your way!

Contact me TODAY!

 

Hello Gorgeous

I’m a little late posting this meal prep but this is what I made at the start of Thanksgiving week.

Baked Chicken Breast with Broccoli and Sweet Potatoes. What’s in the sauce cup? A Sesame Honey Soy glaze. Yum!

I never thought I would be so excited to have disposable sauce cups. FYI, I purchased 100 of them off of Amazon for about $7 bucks!

I know we’re entering a tough time of year to stay on track but you have to keep your goals in mind and STAY STRONG! Having cheat meals or holiday treats hear and there is ok because after all, you’re human and this is a lifestyle not a punishment, but keep moderation in mind.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

31-day Challenge

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Why am I posting a New Year’s Challenge in November? For one very good reason…

This challenge is for those looking for a Personalized workout plan. That means that I will review your current health and fitness level, daily living and personal activities, equipment availability and your goals to create a custom workout plan designed specifically for you.

Because of this, I need time for you to provide me with all the necessary information so I may create your 31-day workout plan. We have Thanksgiving and Christmas and lives to live between now and January 1st so let’s get a jump on those resolutions and get you ready to change your life in the New Year!

If you can only workout at home and you have zero fitness equipment, that’s ok! If you belong to a big box gym and have all the equipment in the world, great! If you’re male, female, interested in fat loss, striving for muscle gain, or if you just want to be able to bend over and tie your shoes again, whatever it may be, I can help you!

WHAT YOU GET…

– Custom 31-day Workout Plan designed to fit your needs, goals and equipment availability
– Trainer Approved Food List and Nutrition Advice
– Meal Prep Guide
– 50 Healthy Snack Ideas
– Unlimited Support and Guidance throughout the duration of the challenge

Email SarahJonesFitness@gmail.com to join or contact me here!

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves w/Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Yesterday I prepped this delicious meal for myself and my husband with plenty of leftovers for our 3 kids, who all loved it too!

The recipe is below for 4 servings but I, of course, multiplied that. I made 17 servings for my husband and I and his are a double serving of the meat loaves (2 instead of only 1) plus all the extras you can see in the photos below.

I used 7-8lbs of Ground Turkey, 4lbs of Green Beans and 10lbs of Potatoes.

Meal Prepping can be quite intimidating at first but I assure you, it is very simple and such a time saver when you don’t have to worry about cooking lunch or dinner for the next 7-10 days.

I’ve created a Meal Prep Guide to help others understand and get started with prepping. It isn’t difficult, it just takes a bit of planning and it can definitely help you hit your goals. If you’re interested in the guide, it is only $5.00 and is in PDF format so it will be sent via email.

MINI MEAT LOAVES, GREEN BEANS AND POTATOES – 4 Servings

Prep: 10 Minutes  Bake: 40 Minutes  Stand: 10 Minutes

  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • 12oz. Fingerling and/or New Potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Fine Dry Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Beef (I used Turkey)
  • 8oz. Green Beans, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15×10 inch baking pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Place potatoes on 1/2 of the prepared pan. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes, stirring once.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine next four ingredients (through Garlic Powder). Add ground beef (or turkey); mix well. Shape into four 3-1/2 x 2 inch loaves.
  3. In a medium bowl drizzle the green beans with 1 tsp. Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place loaves and green beans in the pan with the potatoes. Bake 20 to 23 minutes more or until loaves are done (160 degrees F) and potatoes and beans are tender.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup barbecue sauce over meat loaves; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with potatoes and beans. Makes 4 servings.

PER SERVING:

  • 455 Calories
  • 18g Fat (6g Sat Fat)
  • 100mg Chol.
  • 805mg Sodium
  • 39g Carbs
  • 4g Fiber
  • 34g Protein

Recipe Credit: Better Homes & Gardens One-Pan Recipes

 

Managing Chronic Pain Naturally

If you don’t know by now, I suffer from chronic pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Syringomyelia (SM). I am often asked how I manage to do what I do each day while living with two very debilitating and painful diseases. And in addition, how I manage without the aid of medication.

I will first say that each person with MS and SM are very different patients. The way MS attacks one person can, and usually is, completely different from the way it attacks someone else. Same goes with SM and the severity of the syrinx and the speed of progression.

Part of me believes that I am very lucky to feel the way that I do considering everything, and another part of me would like to believe that the mental and physical fight I put up each day is actually helping me feel better.

There are two very important things that I do to help manage my chronic pain – EXERCISE and Reduce STRESS. I’ll also share below a third and fourth option that I don’t personally use/follow to help with chronic pain but ones that I’ve heard have worked wonders for others with chronic pain.

REDUCE STRESS

Try to maintain as much of a stress free life as possible. I know that’s tough in general and even harder when you’re in pain and unable to relax. Stress increases the body’s sensitivity to pain so managing your stress is a natural way to help.

EXERCISE

Another option and one that I’ve followed since 2009, is exercise.

When you exercise you’re boosting your endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while blocking pain signals. I started working out right after my diagnosis in an effort to make my body as physically strong as possible so if/when something neurological were to happen that I couldn’t control, at least my body would be strong and healthy to fight back in the best way possible.

There are so many benefits to exercise and I believe everyone should incorporate some sort of fitness routine into their life, no matter what. I think that’s obvious since I’m a Personal Trainer and live my life helping others feel healthier, happier and stronger through fitness.

I do not follow/use the next two options below but they may help you naturally manage your chronic pain. I have friends who have had great success with each.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

I’ve heard really great things about medical marijuana for pain management. Someone very close to me uses medical marijuana for their pain and was able to stop taking all of their pain medication so I think it’s definitely a good option to look into.

THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet involves eating a lot of veggies and fish, some fruits, limited amounts of dairy and whole grains and very little red meat, flour and sugar. I know many people with MS and chronic pain who follow this diet and have had great success.

Bottom line, this is your journey. Find the path that works best for you and don’t let anyone try to tell you that their way is the best way. We are all different, we all respond differently to medications and natural remedies and we all have the right to choose.

 

Lunch. Easy. Healthy. Good. A quick tip…


Lunch. Easy. Healthy. Good. A quick tip (which ended up being a long tip, sorry) for those who are struggling to eat healthy while at home or when you’re in a hurry and starving.

PLAN FOR SUCCESS

I don’t just mean meal prepping but that helps A LOT! I also suggest you have healthy foods that you enjoy in your home at all times. Don’t run out!

I always have tuna, hardboiled eggs, ready-to-eat salad and a light dressing, protein bars, fruit, rice cakes, all natural peanut butter, protein sweets i.e. ice cream & cookies, no sugar added fruit popsicles and Smartfood or SkinnyPop popcorn.

When I meal prep, that’s usually just for dinner so what about breakfast and lunch?

Breakfast is easy! Eggs, egg whites, oats, frittata, protein pancakes, English muffins, fruit, etc. Lunch can be tough for me. I’m usually coming home from the gym and a few errands and have a cranky baby and (during the summer), two older children who would happily agree to any form of fast food. I CAN’T CAVE, I HAVE GOALS!

That’s when the foods I mentioned above and what you see in the photo, come in handy. I make the tuna when I’m not rushed or starving and I make enough to eat for lunch for 2 or 3 days. These can be done with other foods that are your favorite.

When I’m out and about and I know we may be eating dinner later or maybe I’ll get hungry while driving around or end up stopping for ice cream for the kids (that happens a lot), I ALWAYS have a protein bar with me. My healthier option. My favorite, Oh Yeah ONE in Peanut Butter Pie flavor. I HATE protein bars and it took me about 3 years of trying different ones until I found something I could stand.

If you think you can’t do it, if you think you’ll never like healthier options and always feel like you’re suffering for your goals, it does NOT have to be that way. There are ways to conquer your goals without the misery. Trust me.

My children ate Bagel Bites for lunch today. I LOVEEEEE Bagel Bites! But oddly enough, I was not tempted and I enjoyed my healthy lunch. This is a strange feeling for me still which is why I was inspired to write this insanely long post. (Sorry again)

Lastly, if you need help, accountability, or you want to bounce ideas off of someone, I’m happy to help.

Sports Performance Training

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This handsome young man is my son and my “client” with a goal of increasing his muscle mass while strengthening his performance on the Volleyball court.

His current fitness program includes Strength Training, Plyometrics and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Focusing on form in week one and once perfect, we will start adding weight.

I know he loves his mom but I’m not yet sure how he feels about his trainer. 😉