Some days it feels like my mirrors are slightly different. Almost like they were taken from a funhouse and put into place, just to play tricks on me. In one storefront reflection I’m looking trim and the next I’m not. So, which reflection is the real reflection? Which one is actually what I look like? What do other people see when they look at me? Does it even matter?Read More
I crave chocolate, a lot, so healthy ways to satisfy my cravings are absolutely necessary. Ever since I invested in my Vitamix, I try to get as creative as possible with it...Meaning, I try not to limit my blending to smoothies.
I'll be honest it's been forever since I've had chocolate pudding. I remember when I was shedding pounds I would buy those sugar free, low calorie pudding cups to satisfy my chocolate needs, but the ingredients are gross! They look something like this:
WATER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, XYLITOL, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, CONTAINS LESS THAN 1.5% OF MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COCONUT OIL AND PALM KERNEL OILS), SALT, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE (FOR SMOOTH TEXTURE), CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM ALGINATE, SUCRALOSE, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ARTIFICIAL COLOR.
You absolutely do not need that in your body. So next time you go to grab a pudding cup just blend up some avocado's instead. I promise it doesn't taste like avocado AT ALL!
This recipe makes about 4 servings - ish. I'm loosey goosey with that stuff...I also write things like loosey goosey and don't delete them...shame on me.
1/4 milk (any kind of milk will work)
2 large ripe avocados
3 Tbsp of cocoa powder
5-8 dates (depending on how sweet you like it / whether or not it still tastes like avocado)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend that sh*t til it's smooth. Taste it, if it tastes a little like avocado - add a bit more cocoa powder and or dates and blend some more.
*WARNING! - This pudding is good, like really good! So good that I may or may not have eaten the whole batch of pudding in 1 sitting...Okay I did. I don't feel good about it, because it's still made from Avocado and although it's a healthier pudding it still has a lot of fat. So you(read I) can't eat 2 avocado's in one sitting! (that's my way of scolding myself) So as much as you (I) hate sharing...you (I) need to share!
SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:
Making healthy food choices is extremely important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, but it also includes exercise. If you're in the Toronto area hit up my classes this week at Elle Fitness and Social.
Thursday March 23rd
6AM Bodies By Elle
7AM Bikini Bootcamp
Friday March 24th
7AM Bodies By Elle
8AM Bikini Bootcamp
Saturday March 25th
9:30AM Core & Cardio
Sunday March 26th
10AM Bodies By Elle
11AM Bodies By Elle
Tuesday March 28th
6:30AM Bodies By Elle
Wednesday March 29th
4:30PM Bodies By Elle
5:30PM Bikini Bootcamp
Pita Pizza is a regular go-to in our house. It's ridiculously easy to make and can help curb your pizza cravings while consuming fewer calories. It's a great lunch or dinner option - or breakfast, you're an adult you can make your own decisions. Today I made a simple side salad to go with it and a few days ago I had it with a side of green beans. Just like any pizza you can choose to put whatever you want on it. For me it's usually whatever I have in the fridge. Here's how I did it today...
Ingredients: (2 servings)
2 Whole Wheat Pita's
1/2 Red Onion
1/2 Red Pepper
12 Cremini Mushrooms (approx)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 ounces of mozzarella cheese
4 Tbsp Tomato Sauce (I never worry about it being pizza sauce. I use the same stuff I would use on pasta. If you don't have sauce you could use canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes blended and sauteed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375
2.Slice onions, red pepper and mushrooms
3. Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute onions until they're soft, add mushrooms and peppers. Cook until desired tenderness. salt and pepper to taste.
4. Put the pita's on a baking sheet and spread 2 tablespoons of sauce on each one. Then add the mushroom mixture and cheese on top.
5. Cook in the oven until the cheese is melted to your desired meltiness (try to tell me that's not a word)
6. Remove from the oven, use scissors to cut the pizza into 4 slices and eat it up!
**As always, these ingredients can be changed to be absolutely anything. If you love feta cheese - hit it up. If you hate mushrooms and would prefer spinach - delish! If you want avocado as your sauce and a fried egg on top for a breakfast pizza...drool.
Show me your creations on Instagram! @alicia.rose.wood
I'm working on core stability with high plank and pike combo on a bosu and stability ball. Both pieces of equipment are throwing off my balance so much that my core is forced to work overtime to stop me from falling over. Crunches, back extensions, planks, mountain climbers, bicycles are all amazing ways to strengthen your core.
Building up core muscles is key to:
.reducing back pain
.making day to day activities easier
.improving athletic abilities
In the summer I absolutely love stand up paddle boarding. It requires a ton of core strength to stop you from getting wet! #healthyintoronto
Here's a quick 10 minute core workout that you can do pretty much anywhere.
30s: Forward plank with hip dips
30s: Sit ups
30s: Back extensions
30s: Side Plank hold
30s: Side Plank hold
1 Min: Mountain climbers
Chia seed pudding is a new love of mine and I just got a Vitamix, so it's going to become an even bigger love now that I can get my pudding silky smooth.
Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, calcium, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. They'll keep you full longer, strengthen your bones and even make your hair healthier.
With my new Vitamix (well, new refurbished) comes a new love for blending foods and essentially seeing what exactly this puppy can do. So since I have jars and jars of blended things in my fridge right now, I decided to do something more with my Brazil nut milk. Obviously a coconut milk would make this recipe even more coconut-y (yes yes, it's not a word), but Brazil nut milk is what I had and it turned out delicious.
Like most of my recipes, ingredients are interchangeable. Top with berries or banana or dried fruit. Use your imagination or better yet - whatever you have on hand that you think will work together.
COCONUT CHIA PUDDING
Portion: 2 small servings, or 1 large serving (Depending on how much you want to eat, you know?)
1 Cup Brazil Nut Milk (Recipe below)
*Or you can use any milk - coconut, almond, rice, soy etc.
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (half reserved for topping)
3 pitted dates
2 tablespoons of toasted coconut (for topping)
1. In a bowl stir together milk, chia seeds and 1 tablespoon of unsweetened shredded coconut. The amount you see in the bowl will be the amount of pudding you have. If you want to make more, now would be your time to double up your recipe.
2. Let it sit in the fridge overnight.
3. Blend mixture along with dates in to give it a smoother pudding like consistency. If you're using a Vitamix, make sure you're using your tamper to help it along.
If you like the consistency as is, you could always sweeten it with a bit of maple syrup and skip the blender.
4. Top with remaining shredded and toasted coconut.
BRAZIL NUT MILK
1 Cup Brazil Nuts
3 Cups Water
3-6 Dates (depending how sweet you want it)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla extract
1. Soak Brazil nuts in water for 4-8 hours
2. Rinse nuts and blend with water, dates and vanilla until perfectly smooth
3. strain to remove pulp.
Making healthy food choices is extremely important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, but it also includes exercise. If you're in the Toronto area hit up my classes this week at Elle Fitness and Social.
Tuesday Sept. 13th
6AM MORNING BOOTCAMP
Thursday Sept 15th
6AM LEAN MACHINE
7AM BIKINI BOOTCAMP
Friday Sept 16th
6AM CORE & CARDIO
7AM LEAN MACHINE
Summer is not over, and my goal is to take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible. How are you going to take advantage of the rest of the beautiful sunshine?Read More
Sometimes I struggle to stay on track.
Sometimes I don’t want to eat healthy. Sometimes I don’t want to workout. I love the gym, but some days it takes a lot for me to get motivated.
Every now and then (I’d say more often than I’d like to admit) I need to give myself a swift kick in the ass to get back on course. I know my history; I know how easy it would be for me to slip, to go back to my old habits. It’s something that can happen one day at a time so slowly that I don't notice until I’m shocked at how far I let things go.
I’m talking portions getting larger and larger. Letting the 80/20 rule (80% healthy well balanced meals and 20% treat meals) that I live by slip to 75/25, 70/30, 65/35 etc. It happens. I love eating.
Today was the morning I woke up and said – NO MORE! I went for a run to kick off the week, which I haven’t done in a long time. I promise to give it 100% at the gym all week, and I’ll get my eating habits back on track. The good news for the week is, I did my meal prep yesterday to cover my healthy lunches. By getting my workouts done in the morning I have time to prepare some healthy and delicious dinners this week too.
The long weekend is approaching, planning ahead is the only way I’ll be able to tackle it. I can get back on track. I will get back on track.
Summer has taken its toll on me and from what I’ve heard from friends around me – I’m not alone. Lets get back on track together. Come kick some calories to the curb with me at Elle Fitness and Social this week.
Monday August 29th
5:30PM – LEAN MACHINE
Tuesday August 30th
6AM – MORNING BOOTCAMP
Thursday September 1st
6AM – LEAN MACHINE
7AM – BIKINI BOOTCAMP
Friday September 2nd
6AM – CORE & CARDIO
7AM – LEAN MACHINE
Saturday September 3rd
9AM – CORE & CARDIO
Elle's $15 a class promo ends on Wednesday, so stock up while you can!
It seems like I've been eating the same thing for breakfast everyday for forever. A piece of toast with natural peanut butter and jam-ish. Ish being that there's no added sugar in the jam, it's sweetened with fruit juice. Which I loved...for years! Recently I've been getting bored of my regular breakfast, so I'm trying to be a bit more creative.
This yogurt bowl is beyond simple to put together, takes no time. Even with me spending the extra minute or so on presentation it takes like 5 minutes to put together. And the added minute of presentation work somehow makes it tastes even more delicious. It's dead simple, 2% plain Greek yogurt, kiwi, blueberries, chia and almonds. I can't even write out a recipe for this because it's just that simple. Use as much or as little of each topping as you like, or don't use any of the same toppings and go with something you dream up. But lets be honest you're gonna use whatever you have in the fridge/pantry that will work well together.
Combos I look forward to trying:
Yogurt, banana, dates, peanut butter
Yogurt, almond butter, bananas, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds
Yogurt, strawberries, blackberries, ground flax
Yogurt, homemade granola (make your own!), raisins
Yogurt, figs, banana, granola, flax
Yogurt and blueberries smashed together, strawberries & bananas cut on top
Show me your creations on instagram @alicia.rose.wood
Mountain climbers are a top go to exercise for my clients. The reason is that you're getting your entire body involved and at the same time, getting your heart rate up.
A common mistake with mountain climbers is letting your bum creep up in the air. The reason this happens is because your brain is saying "My core is tired, I'm going to take some of the work away from it", so your bum goes up in the air to give your core a break. Buuuutttt, your body is like "No, please let me strengthen your core". Like with most exercise related things, you need to fight your brain and let your body (that's more than capable of doing the work) do the work. Mind over matter. So, drop your hips down so that you have a nice straight spine. The other reason your bum might be in the air is because your shoulders aren't directly over top of your wrists. You may just need to shift your body forward and your bum will come down with that movement.
This video highlights a common way I see people doing mountain climbers and how to adjust your body so that you have correct form.
If you want to step up your climbing game. Try some of these variations that are throwing off your balance, forcing your core to work even harder.
Hey, guess what – I don’t eat healthy all day, everyday. Sometimes I eat not so healthy things because they taste good – and I’m not perfect, who is?Read More
Wouldn't it be perfect if you could just relax on weekends and the food just made itself? I guess that's why going out for brunch is so popular. Another way of creating the illusion that breakfast just cooked itself is to have something that's dead simple to make. Quiche is exactly that thingRead More
If you have deliciously simple ingredients, you can create something amazing with little effort. As my good pal Anthony Bordain says “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food” (for the record we are not good friends, we’ve never met – but if you can make that happen, you and l will be forever friends)Read More
Ahh, fresh juicy flavourful watermelon, it's one of my absolute favourites. Getting home, cutting that sucker open, tasting it and realizing that you've basically just won the lottery, well like a very small lottery, more like a 50/50 draw at the county fair, but winning is winning.
Now on most days I would say, "eat that watermelon straight up, add nothing, because it needs nothing". And on most days I would agree with myself and that statement, but right now I have mint overflowing in the garden and I need to use it for something else. Watermelon, Mint & Feta salad it is - now I know I didn't create this and I'm actually probably 4 years behind this food trend, but I don't even give a care.
The photo is a clear indication of how simple this recipe is, and the only reason that I'm writing it out is because I feel like a recipe needs ingredients and directions. And I'm doing this despite the fact that I can sense the "you think I cant figure out how to make this salad on my own?" vibe that you're throwing out there. We're cool.
Make it, eat it, enjoy it!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cube up your watermelon and remove all of the seeds. Chop up fresh mint, and crumble feta and sprinkle it on top of the watermelon. Finish it off with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and you're done!
What are your favourite watermelon concoctions? Tag me in them on social media! #HealthyinToronto
I used to absolutely love fried spring rolls, I would eat them anytime I went out for Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese food. When I decided to commit to a healthier me, I cut back on the fried foods. My healthy substitute was the fresh roll, which is always tasty and never upsets my stomach the way fried spring rolls could. Over time I fell out of love with the spring roll and in love with the fresh roll.
Cold rolls are delicious and lets face it they're much easier to make than spring rolls. It took me two or three times making these rolls before I got the rolling technique down, so if you have a couple of bursting disasters - don't worry, you can always start over. Practice makes perfect. (I wish someone had talked me off this ledge the first time I tried)
Like most of my recipes you can mix and match with whatever ingredients you love, to make the perfect cold roll. I didn't put the amount of each ingredient because you can put as much or as little of each item as you want and serving size depends on how many you want to make. Play around - have fun and enjoy the summer fresh taste!
Ataulfo mango (The yellow skin one)
Rice paper wraps (You can find them in the rice section of most grocery stores)
Large bowl of warm water
First things first, prep prep prep. Chop all of your ingredients up and lay them out for easy access. It's best to slice everything in long thin strips. Once your prep is done, it's time to roll!
Fill a large bowl with warm water, the top of the bowl should be large enough to fit the whole rice paper wrapper. Put your wrap in the water and submerge it. Let it sit for about 20 seconds or so, keep an eye on it though you don't want it to get too mushy. You're looking for soft, yet still a tiny bit of structure to it. Remove it from the water and lay it out on a cutting board. Fill your roll in a straight line with a mix of all of your ingredients and then roll. Everyone has a different rolling technique, for me I like to roll the side closest to me over the straight line of ingredients, and tuck it under tightening it as much as I can without breaking through the rice paper. Next I fold in the outside edges like a burrito and then roll it out. I'm telling you, this took me a few times, so when they burst try not to throw them across the room. (Am I the only one who deals with kitchen mishaps this way?) You'll get better and better each roll. Enjoy!
Take some pics and tag me in them on social media! #HealthyinToronto
Sometimes you just need a good easy on-the-go snack. Most of the bars in grocery stores have additives and preservatives, so I try to make my own whenever I have the time. Here's three simple recipes for you to make, store in the fridge and grab as you're running out the door.Read More
I can’t count the number of times I’ve set out to make a healthy dessert and ended up with a tasteless mess. This recipe has become a favourite of mine when I’m craving sweet, but don’t want to make something with refined sugar. Even without the sugar, they’re still sweet and have an amazing chewy texture. They’re even naturally gluten & dairy free!
2 cups ground almonds (Or almond flour)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp melted coconut oil (measure when melted)
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ cup of honey
½ cup of unsweetened raisins
½ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
*extra sea salt for tops (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together ground almonds and baking powder and salt. Make sure to break down any lumps in the flour. In a separate bowl whisk together water, almond extract, honey and coconut oil. Once combined as well as possible add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spatula. After everything is combined you can fold in the raisins and coconut. Form 8 equal cookies about ¼ cup each, making them flat, not round.
Bake for about 12 minute or until they brown up slightly. Remove from oven and gently place the cookies on a cooling rack.
*If you like the salty sweet combo try grinding a bit more sea salt on top of the cookies before baking.
I spent a great deal of my life closed off from a lot of the world. I pushed people away, was cold, negative and uninspiring. I hated change and would go out of my way to avoid talking to new people. I had a small group of friends who I was comfortable with, but trusting new people was very hard for me.
Looking back I’ve realized that I was scared of getting hurt. I was reverting back to “childhood me”. I remember one devastating day in grade 8 when I went to school only to realize that my four closest girlfriends had unexpectedly turned on me over night. At the time I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. How could we go from being four best friends one minute, to three best friends and me being the one common enemy the next? I felt so alone and scared. It felt like I had nobody and for a 13 year old that is basically the end of the world. I couldn’t understand it; one day we were the best of friends, I was in and the next day I was out.
The hardest part was that I had let myself get so close to them, told them my secrets and trusted them with knowing the true me only to have it all ripped away from me for no reason. It took me a really long time to realize that I didn’t do anything wrong. It was just a group of young people not knowing enough about themselves to make a good judgment.
After that day I was very resistant about letting people get too close to me. I’ve always had a small group of friends who I trust a great deal. Most of which I have been friends with for years and years, but it was the new friends that I’ve struggled to let in.
I remember walking on a beach in Thailand with my now husband and talking about why I am the way I am. Why I push people away. Why I try so hard to act tough, but really breakdown with guilt and anxiety after any sort of altercation. I remember asking him: “Do you think I put up a tough exterior to stop myself from getting hurt?” And he looked at me slightly confused and said “Yes, I thought you knew that”. Clearly I didn’t. From that day on I’ve been working on myself in order to break down the walls and let people in.
I have completely transformed both physically and mentally over the years. By training my body I was also able to work on my mind. I would be lying if I said that my confidence didn’t stem from the fact that I was feeling good about my body and my health. I’m truly inspired by so many people around me now. It’s amazing what can happen when you allow yourself to drop your guard and let love into your life. I try to find the good in everyone I meet, and honestly it’s not hard. I now have a strong bond with so many more women in my life. Now more than ever we women are working with each other instead of against. We’re encouraging, lifting each other up and cheering each other on.
Those girls who turned on me in grade 8 didn’t stay mad at me for long. We were friends the next week with no explanation for what happened. The fact that such a short period of time in my life affected me for years just proves that everything we do affects the people around us.
As you’re walking down the street today make an effort to brighten someone’s day. A simple smile at a stranger can do the trick. I always feel uplifted when I see other people smiling whether it’s directed at me or they’re just remembering something funny that happened. Happiness is infectious, so why not let it infect you? Let your surroundings inspire you to be kind and let kindness in.
When I was growing up Kraft Dinner was considered a meal - like, an entire box of the stuff to myself. I wasn’t eating it as a side dish and I wasn’t even eating vegetables with it. It was just one big, heavily processed meal. When I was younger my metabolism could handle it so it didn’t really phase me. Over the years my metabolism slowed down, and I started to progressively gain weight. Overeating was just one of the many bad habits I had picked up while I was growing up.
When I was 15 I gave smoking a shot for the first time and I hated it. I remember coughing over how disgusting it was. But, I don’t give up easily so everyday after school I gave it another go even though I was hating it and hating it and hating it until I was hooked. I smoked pretty consistently for someone who wasn’t old enough to buy cigarettes or have a job. I eventually got up to a pack and a half a day. I had one with my morning coffee, on my walk to work, before I started work, on break, at lunch, on break, on break again, on my walk home and at home at home at home at home. Jeez, thinking about it makes me wonder how I had time to do anything but smoke.
And after 12 years of getting my nicotine fix on, I was finally ready to kick the dirty habit to the curb. As most smokers know from the number of times they’ve tried to quit, nothing works. This time was going to be different for me though because I was ready, so I went cold turkey. Man was I a nightmare, and I’m sure my husband wouldn’t hesitate to agree. I was extremely moody, and the only thing that made me feel better was food. So we went out for meals a lot. Every craving for food that I had, I fulfilled. I wasn’t a healthy eater before I decided to quit, but as soon as I quit it got way worse – fast. If I was going to quit smoking, I was going to eat my way through the struggle. In two months I gained 15 pounds, bringing my weight up to 175 pounds (standing just 5 feet tall). That was when I decided that I needed an even bigger change!
I was overweight, out of shape and extremely sluggish. I decided to join a weight loss program to help me meet my health goals. Okay okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; when I joined the program it was all about weight loss for me – not in the least about improving my health. My desire to be healthy evolved over the time I spent on my weight loss journey.
I followed the program exactly. As soon as I put my mind to something I give it 110% until I have achieved my goal. (IE: Getting myself addicted to smoking in the first place) The weight started to drop and I was starting to feel better about myself. Next up, the program started to encourage exercise, which had me thinking “Uggghh I hate exercise”. I knew that if I wanted to really get in shape, I also needed to up my fitness. I started with online workout videos. I would do 20 minutes a day a couple times a week. Then I got a gym buddy and started going for hour long classes once a week on top of my 20 minute videos. I slowly kept adding more and more to my exercise calendar.
Eventually I fell in love with eating healthy and exercising almost daily. I no longer needed the program to help me. I had changed my lifestyle enough that it all became second nature. After 15 months I lost 60 pounds and I've successfully kept it off ever since.
Becoming a trainer was the next step in this crazy transformation. I was able to learn so much over the years and it would be a shame if I couldn't pass on my knowledge to other women like me. I love setting and achieving goals for myself, but watching other people achieve their goals with my support is even better.