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Wellness Wednesday: Your New Favorite Baking Ingredient

Happy hump day friends! I hope you are enjoying your week and continuing to get things accomplished so you are closer to a care-free holiday weekend. I am concentrating on work and continuing to tackle my Pilates teacher training hours while also giving some of my attention to MSF projects, all exciting stuff I can’t wait to share!

In the meantime, I want to talk about the ingredient highlighted this week on Wellness Wednesday. I’m always searching for interesting trends in the health and wellness space and this is one that fascinated me.

DSC_2633.jpgThere has been a lot done in the past with the coffee plant. Green coffee beans were found to be helpful with metabolism so you started seeing them in weight-loss products. Coffee grounds applied to the skin helped with circulation and reducing the appearance of cellulite (see more here) so they were included in lotions and scrubs, and now there are studies out that show the benefits of using coffee flour instead of the common varieties we are used to (oat, white, wheat, brown rice, etc.).

DSC_2632.jpgI of course had to do some digging and first find out a) what it was, b) what was so great about it and finally c) create a simple recipe so we can enjoy this new trendy flour.

I have to say after doing all the above, I really got on board with coffee flour. My favorite thing about coffee flour is not necessarily the nutritional value but rather the change in the production of coffee.

Before coffee flour was a thing, billions of pounds of coffee fruit were discarded as a byproduct of coffee production (that’s the amount in just one year). Now coffee flour is made by converting the otherwise discarded fruit of the coffee plant into flour. Just by purchasing coffee flour you are ensuring there are more jobs for farmers and protecting the environment at the same time!

DSC_2643.jpgSo what is so great about coffee flour health-wise? Besides being non-GMO and naturally gluten-free, coffee flour is high in fiber, protein AND antioxidants. It is also rich in iron and potassium.

There is a little caffeine in coffee flour but in no way equates to the level in a cup of coffee. Think more along the lines of chocolate or mildly sweet desserts. Below is a yummy way to incorporate coffee flour into your day, simple and decadent truffles.

dividerMSF Coffee Flour Truffles

Ingredients

2/3 c coconut flour

½ c coffee flour

½ c cacao or cocoa powder (more for coating)

¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt

¼ c raw almond butter

¼ c maple syrup

¼ c melted coconut oil

2 TBL dark chocolate chips

Directions

In large bowl, whisk flours, cacao powder, and salt in bowl. Place remaining ingredients in food processor except chocolate chips and pulse so combine. Add flour mixture and pulse until dough forms. Add chocolate chips and pulse until incorporated. Roll mixture into balls and place in lined baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and roll in remaining cacao powder. Enjoy! Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to one week.divider

DSC_2648.jpgWishing you a great rest of your week whatever you’re up to and hoping you get to whip up a batch of these truffles or find another fun way to treat yourself. If you do make them tag me on Instagram @mysimplyfit so I can check them out!

Off to watch some Ellen while I prepare for the rest of the week. Have a great Wednesday!

❤ Megan

Motivation Monday: Long Weekend Prep

This is a busy week, probably for you as well because of the holiday weekend coming up. I LIVE for long weekends and I think a lot of it has to do with the productivity that comes with preparing for one less workday.

No one wants a mess when they come back from a long weekend and having the carefree attitude to enjoy time with friends and family gives you extra incentive to tie up loose ends and walk away feeling less stressed.

DSC_2651That being said, I want to keep this post short and simple so you can get on your merry way to do whatever you need to do to get after it this week. Thinking of all the warm weather clothing (and perhaps even bathing suits) we will be rocking this weekend, I wanted to include some posts relevant to getting us fit and ready.

Today I am including a quick arm workout that you can do anywhere. Whether you are traveling for Memorial Day or crunched for time at home, this routine is just the thing to get those arms toned and fit.divider

MSF 10 Minute Simply Sexy Arm Routine

Warm uppush-ups on hands or knees. Do 5-10 reps.

Bicep curl-stand with feet shoulder-width over the resistance band (can do in kneeling position for less tension). Holding on to each side of the band, start with arms straight down by your sides then with palms facing towards you, pull arms upwards to your shoulders bending at the elbow and slowly release back down. Do 15 reps.

Tricep kickback-standing in lunge position with right foot in center of band, hold each side of band with palms facing back, bend at elbows and extend to full straight arm position (parallel to floor). Do 10 reps.

Upright row-feet shoulder width apart over the center of the band, grip each side of band and with palms facing each other pull band straight in front of body parallel with your shoulders, slowly lower back down. Do 12 reps.

Overhead press-stand with feet apart shoulder width on the center of the band, grip each side of the band at shoulder level with palms facing each other. Press arms straight up to the ceiling rotating palms to face forward as arms extend straight. Lower back down slowly to start position. Do 10 reps.

Lateral (T) raise-stand with feet shoulder width apart on center of band, grip each side of band with palms facing your outer thighs. Slowly raise arms out in a T position and slowly lower back to starting position. Do 10 reps.

Cool down-stretching in crisscross position, stretch one arm long and resist with opposite arm (switch sides).

dividerWhat are your thoughts on long weekends? A tease, or an opportunity to get after it? Let me know your thoughts!

DSC_2654I am off to observe some classes at a local Pilates studio and am solo for dinner since Tyler is working late so it may just be simple leftovers and getting into my book club book. Hope you have a fantastic week!

❤ Megan

Fit Friday: MSF Kale-Basil Pesto

We are rounding third base, headed for the weekend and I am ready for a weekend of celebrations beginning with tonight at the Padres stadium where a dear friend of mine will be honored on the field. I can’t wait to watch some baseball with some of my favorites!

DSC_2603It’s been a little while since I’ve done a YouTube video and even longer (maybe ever?) that I’ve shared a simply fit savory recipe so I decided to start with one of my favorites. Pesto. Tis the season for grilling, summer veggies and of course pizza-all perfect avenues for pesto!

I chose to do a dairy-free version which is a little different than traditional pesto as it doesn’t involve cheese and I don’t stick to just basil, I add kale for a nutritional punch and rich green hue. By eliminating cheese I had to incorporate something that gives the same creaminess so I subbed pine nuts with cashews and it did the trick. I promise you will not miss any of the usual suspects and appreciate all the added bonuses you get from these whole, clean ingredients.

DSC_2605Without further ado, here is the link to YouTube where you will find my how-to video for this pesto recipe.divider

MSF Kale-Basil Pesto

Ingredients

2 c de-stemmed kale

1 c of basil

½ c raw unsalted cashews

1 clove garlic

½ c olive oil (added 1 TBL at a time)

black pepper and salt to taste

Directions

Place kale, basil, cashews, garlic, 1 TBL olive oil, salt and pepper in food processor. Pulse 1-2 minutes until well blended. Slowly pour olive oil in top while processor is on low. Push sides down with spatula and continue to pulse and add olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Enjoy! Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to one week.DSC_2598divider

Well I hope you all have an amazing Friday and incorporate some health and wellness in your weekend. There is so much to be grateful for that it’s easy to come away from that after a long week…but keep your chin up and focus on the POSITIVE and ways to keep happy moments scattered throughout your day.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

❤ Megan

Wellness Wednesday: Pearl-tastic Beauty

No longer reserved for classic necklaces and earrings, pearls are being utilized in a variety of interesting ways. While the notion of using this remarkable ingredient is nothing new (most things are cyclical if you think about it) it has been a popular ingredient used in health and wellness products lately.

You can find pearls on the ingredient list of powders, supplements, beauty products and more.

DSC_2625So what is it about pearls that would make us want to ingest them and spread all over our faces?

Well let’s first delve into where they come from. Pearls are formed inside oysters as some sort of defense mechanism. In a very simple explanation, when the oyster detects a foreign particle inside it’s shell it secretes the same nacre substance used to form it’s shell to cover the particle and over time this creates a pearl.

DSC_2620Pearls contain beneficial minerals including calcium, amino acids, protein and much more, all things that contribute to healthy, youthful looking skin. So it’s no wonder we think skin care and beauty when we think of all pearls have to offer.

I broke it down in MSF style with a top 5 list of benefits I found to be interesting and reason enough to consider dousing yourself with this gem of the sea.divider

Top 5 Benefits of Pearls

  1. Boosts collagen-the presence of pearl in the body boosts the production of collagen and coupled with skin lipids reduces the amount of moisture we lose through our skin.
  2. Antioxidant rich-pearls are a rich source of antioxidants, which can help eliminate free radicals and promote cell turnover.
  3. Skin renewal-polyacrylic acid present in pearls promotes blood circulation while taurine (an amino acid found in pearls) helps the regeneration of skin cells.
  4. Exfoliates-pearls contain enzymes that can aide in resurfacing or exfoliating the surface of our skin. Removing the dead skin cells and outer layer of skin helps product absorption and keeps skin looking fresh and feeling soft.
  5. Skin brightening-a natural way to even skin tone and reduce the appearance of sun spots and dark aging spots can be done with the help of an enzyme found in pearls which slows the production of the enzyme responsible for the production of excess melanin (skin pigment).divider

While applying crushed pearls to the skin has been done for centuries we can still incorporate this traditional practice into our modern day beauty routines by using products that spotlight this special ingredient.

I will report back once I’ve had some time to use the products I purchased with pearl.

I hope you are having a great first half of your week and are ready to end it with a bang! I will see you back here on Fit Friday for a savory simply fit recipe perfect for summer and a new YouTube video for MSF TV.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

❤ Megan

Motivation Monday: Mind Cleansing

Happy Monday everyone and happy fresh start to the week! I have to say this past weekend got me REALLY inspired and I can’t wait to continue to share all the great things with you. I love this platform for so many reasons but I’m also getting into Instagram and particularly Instagram stories because of the interaction. I love the fact that I can connect with you instantly and it brings us closer on this journey, so fun!

One of the things I came across I found in a magazine I was reading, they were discussing mind cleansing. It’s something they have been implementing for quite some time in England (props to England for always being ahead of the health and wellness trend!). There are actual resort style retreats set up across the countryside of England that cater to mind cleansing and are spreading in popularity.

DSC_2614I love to travel, and my favorite way is with my husband who is as equally down to walk the entire city we are visiting looking for local fare, treasures, culture and history—and maybe the occasional local beverage 😉 But I have to say after looking more into this mind cleansing thing I am thinking of a possible trip in the future that is for the sole purpose of a mind detox.

Let’s talk about what mind cleansing is and why you may consider at least a mini version.

There are many forms of “mind cleansing” and you can attribute many popular things as forms of mind cleansing-yoga, meditation, acupuncture, therapy, massage, etc. What the English are talking about is a bit deeper because lets face it, we are a busy society and it can be extremely challenging or impossible for most to just turn it off.

DSC_2618At a retreat for mind cleansing, there are multiple practitioners each specializing in an area that is designed to clear your mind of all that white noise and to go deeper into what may be causing your anxiety, irregular sleep patterns, or stress.

Think of a period of time (can be anywhere from a long weekend to a month) where you are forced to slow down, come to terms with your past, and are taking measures to heal your body, mind and spirit from anything that has been negatively impacting you. VERY on brand with MSF ❤

If you can’t commit to a pilgrimage to England don’t worry, instead I invite you to take 5 easy steps that will give you more clarity, focus and contentment in your day, week, month-depending on your diligence and practice.divider

5 Simple Ways To Cleanse Your Mind

  1. Stretch-set aside five minutes each morning and night to stretch your body. Try feeling the difference in your body when you stretch in the morning versus when you are stretching at night. Pay attention to those areas that need a little more time and focus on breathing into each moment.
  2. Eat mindfully-I talked about mindfulness before and how it can be beneficial when trying to lose weight or be more aware of what your body is telling you, but committing to at least one meal a day where you are mindful will also cleanse your mind and leave room for other things.
  3. Exercise-try sweating more days than not per week. Besides the physical benefit, getting all those wonderful endorphins and keeping your body active will contribute to a fluid and healthy mind.
  4. Meditate-you can find more on meditating from an earlier post but for the purpose of this list try to incorporate a few minutes each day where you are still, alone with your thoughts and focused on your breathing-game changer.
  5. Daydream-it’s easy to forget how beneficial it is to daydream (some people may have even discouraged you against it when you were little). So many magical things happen though when we let our minds wander, if half the pioneers before us didn’t give themselves an opportunity to daydream we would be inhibited in a lot of ways.

dividerSo there you have it. Mind cleansing, it’s a thing and one I encourage you to get on board with. Have you heard or this or tried it before? I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

DSC_2615I am off to spend some time with this husband of mine, we are watching The Leftovers, have you seen it? SO good!

Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Megan

Fit Friday: Simple, Satisfying, Tahini Squares

Happy Friday friends! I am keeping this short and simple today, this is a follow-up to my Instagram stories (if you watched a week or so ago I made these bars on a Friday night and said I would make again & MEASURE so I could tell you the recipe). Well here they are! Honestly these are crazy addictive, a little salty and sweet, the perfect texture and of course involve chocolate. The tahini has protein too which helps you digest slowly and feel satisfied.

DSC_2586

If you try them let me know what you think! I am having a super girly Friday night complete with Pilates, a face mask, and possibly a glass of rose 😉 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and get out in this beautiful weather!

dividerMSF Tahini Layer Bars

Base

1 c chopped walnuts

3 TBL raw organic honey

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

optional 1 tsp water (if dough is not sticking together)

Middle

½ c organic tahini

pinch himalyan pink salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 c pure maple syrup

Dash of cinnamon

Top

½ c unrefined coconut oil

1/3 c cacoa powder

Directions

Combine all base ingredients in a food processor and process until dough forms (add 1 tsp of water if not coming together). Press dough into a square baking dish lined with parchment. Cut square of parchment paper and use between a mug to press dough in even layer. Place in the freezer while you make the other layers. Process the middle layer ingredients with only a few pulses until just combined, you want to maintain a smooth texture. In bowl melt coconut oil and stir in cacao powder, mix until smooth. Take out pan and layer with middle caramel layer, pour chocolate over top and freeze at least one hour. Enjoy! Store in the fridge or freezer in airtight container for up to one week.

dividerDSC_2589Let me know anything you’re craving, I’m busy in the kitchen making some concoctions, maybe savory next time? Happy weekend!

❤ Megan

Wellness Wednesday: Toxic Beauty, What Are You Applying To Your Skin?

I am a creature of habit and one thing I do not skip is applying a daily moisturizer. For as long as I can remember I have applied lotion all over my body post-shower EVERY single time no matter what.

I have a thing with dry skin, it’s itchy, doesn’t look great and I’m convinced it ages you faster.

DSC_2593While I’m consistent with the application and pride myself for being on top of this self-care ritual, I can’t say I was always careful with checking what ingredients were in my lotion.

Lotion doesn’t just sit on top of our skin, we absorb it through our skin rather quickly. If you’re like I was, you really didn’t give too much thought as to what you were slathering all over your skin.

The truth is we were/are literally applying a toxic substance to our largest organ, letting it become absorbed into our bodies without even thinking about it! In most of the brand name lotions we use there are dozens of ingredients that have been found to be toxic or potentially hazardous.

DSC_2596While it’s a good general rule to stay away from non-gmo ingredients and look for all natural products, it’s extremely important to read the ingredient list of what you are using daily on your body or around your home.

But don’t panic, I’ve broken it down to a simple list of what to look out for when shopping for your lotions and beauty products.

DSC_2592I’ve also included a super simple DIY lotion recipe that is affordable and versatile so you can tailor it to meet your needs and maybe make a couple batches to give as gifts to friends and family.divider

Top Toxic Ingredients To Avoid 

  1. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  2. DMDM Hydantoin
  3. Fragrance or Parfum
  4. Parabens
  5. Retinyl Palmitate
  6. Triethanolamine
  7. Polyethylene glycol

dividerMSF Coconut Oil Lotion

Ingredients

1/3 c Shea butter

1/3 c coconut oil

1 tsp vitamin E (for additional skin benefits)

8-10 drops essential oil (I used lavender for calming properties)

DSC_2591Directions

Warm Shea butter to soften (1-2 min in microwave), mix with room temperature coconut oil with a hand mixer until smooth. Add vitamin E oil and drops of essential oil. Pour into desired container and place in refrigerator to solidify.divider

Happy hump day friends! I hope you’re having a great week 🙂 I am off to watch some Ellen I recorded and catch up on e-mails. I’m hoping to get some more recipes tested the next few weeks before we get ready for our trip to Greece in June.

Is there anything you are craving or want me to make? Are you traveling this summer? Would love to hear your plans!

❤ Megan