Thursday, August 1, 2019

Top 5 Health Benefits of Dairy

So lately dairy has been getting a bad rap for some reason! And unjustifiably so because, not only is it loaded with nutrients that HELP your body, it’s an excellent source of protein.

Last month, I attended an educational event hosted by Real California Milk, where we discussed the current perception of dairy and why it’s actually an essential part of a balanced diet. Lately I’ve read stories that blame dairy for causing acne, inflammation, congestion and a slew of other issues. This tends to happen when a particular diet becomes popular, such as Whole 30 or Paleo, encouraging the elimination of entire foods and food groups.

Sadly the information that gets shared around, particularly on social media, sometimes lack proper research & can be very misleading. And in this instance, those that are abstaining from dairy because of the health issues it’s accused of causing are missing out on nutrients, healthy fats, protein and not to forget flavor that they can’t get from any other food!

Dairy is not only good for the obvious, strong bones & teeth, it also provides benefits in other areas such as digestion & heart health.

Let’s look at the top 5 benefits of dairy & the sources we can consume to reap these benefits! Then you tell me if dairy is something that should make up your meals & snacks daily

The probiotics in dairy support healthy gut, metabolic function and have also been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease & type 2 diabetes.

Antioxidants and Phytochemicals
Antioxidants help support a healthy immune system & fight oxidative stress. Phytochemicals help reduce inflammation, support optimal metabolism & promote healthy blood vessels. Pair dairy with vegetables & herbs/spices (such as turmeric) and you’ll boost both immune and anti-inflammatory benefits & add flavor to your foods as well.

An integral part of our diet, and dairy foods are great source of high quality protein. The protein in nutrient-rich dairy products doesn’t just improve energy, it also helps build lean muscle and keep you full between meals, incorporated into plant-based and/or vegetarian diets.

Calcium and other Vitamins & Nutrients
We all remember being told as a child to have our milk for strong bones & muscles, but we’re rarely reminded of the other important nutrients dairy provides. Dairy also provides essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B12, and riboflavin1.

So, now that you know dairy is NOT the bad guy, why not try implementing new sources of it into your meals and snacks? Below are some of my favorite ways to consume dairy.

Did you know that California is the number one dairy state in the country? California dairy farmers believe in responsibly produced, nutritious dairy foods that nourish people and foster a sustainable future, making our state an excellent source for quality, sustainable dairy foods. My favorite sources of California dairy are yogurt, full fat cheeses, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream & labne. There are so many ways to incorporate these clean sources of dairy into your diet & I’ll be sharing recipes & creative yet simple ways of doing that soon!

If you have any questions, need serving suggestions or nutritional info or recipes, reach out! Comment below or send me an email ( or a message on IG @fitcopmom / @fit_fluential_mom) and I’d be happy to help.

*This post is sponsored by Real California Milk, but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

No MORE Hypothyroidism & Hashimotos!

Happiness is being off thyroid meds for a year after drs SWORE I'd be on them forever

After reading about side effects of the meds, which include:

hot flashes,
changes in appetite, weight & menstrual cycles,

with no relief whatsoever, I decided to take my health into my own hands & find a holistic way. I experienced most of those "common side effects" & it did NOT make sense to take a pill that CAUSED that! Those were worse than the symptoms of hypothyroid/hashimotos before getting on meds 20 yrs ago

So, w/ an approach solely based on nutrition & fitness, I changed my diet, added a few things I read up on, changed macros & w/in a few months, I was feeling great! At the same time, I also stopped taking all thyroid meds prescribed to me

Needless to say, I was nervous when I was due for my first blood test to check levels after that but I couldn't wait to see results .
Well, I can't say I was surprised when, for the first time EVER, all 3 (TSH, T3 & T4) were NORMAL RANGE! My dr couldn't believe it & neither could I because for over 20 yrs, I dealt w/ constant changes in prescriptions that never solved the problems

My hashimotos lead to irregular periods, infertility, anxiety, depression, puffy face, hair loss, weight gain, memory lapses, constipation, dry skin & so much more. I was tired of getting NO relief from those symptoms &, to top it off, more negative side effects from meds

This is now my 3rd blood test checking thyroid levels that came back NORMAL RANGE across the board! At almost 43, I now have more energy, regular monthly menstrual cycles, a healthy digestive system, improved skin, tons of energy, controlled weight & look/feel 10x better than I did in my 20s & 30s

So, if you're battling the same, don't give up. If you need help, reach out. I would never tell ANYONE to get off meds prescribed by their doctor, that was my own choice, but changes you make can have a positive impact on you that you may feel better even while on your meds. Then you & your dr can determine your best path

So, email (, send me a message on FB (Ellie Perico) or text me (818-632-6969) and let me help YOU get off those meds and feel better too!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Salted Caramel PB Brownie Sundae

Salted Caramel Brownie Sundae with just over 200 calories! Youncan also do this with a Shakeology mug cake! I'll be sharing that recipe again soon!

😍 When you're craving something sweet & chocolatey, try making this healthier version of a typical brownie sundae which can go for over 1000 calories at some restaurants 🍫

This is a great example to show that you can still incorporate sweets into your regular diet without getting off track or bingeing. Healthy eating definitely doesn't have to be boring and you don't have to give up your treats!

This is a Death by Chocolate Paleo Blender Brownie by Delicious Obsessions topped with 1/2 a serving of sea salt caramel Halo Top ice cream + 1/2 a serving of chocolate PB2. Add extra water to the PB2 to make it more of a sauce. Below is the recipe for the brownie! Enjoy!

1 cup mashed banana (about 2)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I buy my vanilla extract here.)
2 tbsp. coconut milk or coconut water (I buy my coconut milk here and my coconut water here)
½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips* (I buy my chocolate chips here.)
1 cup cocoa powder (I buy my cocoa powder here.)
¼ cup honey (I buy my honey here.)
½ tsp. baking soda (I buy my baking soda here.)

Preheat oven to 355 and grease a 9x9 inch baking dish.
Place everything in blender except baking soda and puree until smooth.
Pulse in baking soda and spread batter into prepared dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until knife comes out clean.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing.
* Depending on the type of chocolate chips you use, there can be a lot of added sugar in them. I prefer to use Lily's brand chocolate chips which are only sweetened with stevia and erythritol. Some people have used an unsweetened dark chocolate bar that has been chopped in place of chocolate chips and then added a little extra stevia or sweetener of their choice to off-set it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Macros & Understanding Carbs!

Understanding carbs is KEY to, not just trimming down, but also healthy weight gain, building lean muscle, more energy, less bloating & feeling better all around

Fats have long been blamed for making us fat but the real issue is an excess of carbs, particularly carbs found in refined processed foods such as pasta, bread, baked goods, sodas, juice & junk food in general.

Balanced healthy diets, what I believe in, are intended to replace high carb foods & refined processed foods, with veggies, meat, fish, poultry, clean low glycemic carbs such as quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, squash & healthy fats too.
The idea is to replace the craving for carbs & sugars by eliminating them or minimizing them as much as possible in your diet.

When you digest foods high in carbs, they convert quickly to glucose (sugar), which your bloodstream transports throughout your body. A rise in blood sugar level triggers the release of the hormone insulin. The function of insulin is to bring your blood sugar back down to normal levels. The way it does this is by using some of the glucose as energy & the rest gets stored as fat.

A key point is that when the body has a choice of using fat or carbs as a fuel source, it always uses carbs first. The reason for this is that our bodies can only store half a day’s supply of glucose, whereas it can store almost limitless amounts of fat.

So its easiest for our bodies to use up the carbs first for energy, but then needs to store all of the extra carbs you don’t burn as fat.

So, when we start the day with a high carb breakfast, schedule cereal, toast, orange juice, bagels, etc, it converts to glucose quickly causing blood sugar to rise. Then insulin levels rise to deal with the rising tide of blood sugar.

We don’t need all of that glucose for energy so the extra gets stored as fat, usually around our mid section (belly).

Same thing happens at lunch since it’s typically a sandwich, wrap, pasta, rolls etc. The high sugar spike/roller-coasted, i.e. carbs converted to glucose in our blood, release of insulin, storage of excess glucose as fat, continues all day. Our sugar levels dip too low, causing the typical afternoon slump that can leave us feeling tired, in a bad mood & craving more carbs. And as a result our body never gets to use our fat stores for energy.

For someone on a low carb/low sugar diet, the level of carbs in the diet are low so the sugar spike doesn’t happen & insulin is not triggered. The carbs that you do eat are in the form of high-fiber whole foods, which convert to glucose relatively slowly so your body uses fat for fuel instead. A nice side effect of this is that you lose weight, burn fat & lean out! And because you don’t have the sugar spikes & carb crashes, your energy levels hold steady.

So do you notice this pattern in your diet? Do you think you can cut some of the refined processed foods like breads, pasta, etc & if you notice a difference? Do you need help doing this? Comment below or send me a message if you do

Monday, June 3, 2019

Portion Fix Lunch: Simple Spaghetti Squash Pasta — and Dessert!

It’s hard to believe that a few simple ingredients can combine to make a meal that will leave you feeling full for hours. (Did I mention that it includes chocolate?)

What’s in our Ultimate Portion Fix containers:

Measurement for each container is below

1 Green: spaghetti squash
½ Green: roasted broccoli
½ Purple: marinara sauce
½ Purple: apple
1 Red: ground turkey
1 Yellow: chocolate-covered almonds
1 Blue: Parmesan cheese
1 tsp.: olive oil (not pictured)
Roasted spaghetti squash stands in for pasta topped with jarred, all-natural marinara sauce and cooked ground turkey.

Roast broccoli with a teaspoon of olive oil for about 15 minutes and finished it with shavings of Parmesan cheese (you could sprinkle some of the cheese over the pasta, too).

Start or End the meal with apple slices and chocolate covered almonds!

Red = 3/4 cup
Yellow = 1/2 cup
Green = 1 cup
Blue = 1/3 cup
Purple = 1 cup

Monday, May 20, 2019

Low Cal Low Sugar Skinny Cocktails

Who says you can’t enjoy sumner, stay in shape and have an adult beverage too 🍸🍹🥃? Here are some of my faves

And remember, I don’t condone diet sodas, energy drinks, etc BUT it’s ok once in a while, just like anything else (i.e., 🍩🍔🌮🌭🍟🍦🍭🍫). I usually opt for plain soda water in my drinks but below are some other options too

Opting for diet sodas lowers the sugars, which is what makes cocktails so high in calories so you’re swapping one evil 😈 out for the other but it’s ok 😉. Soda water when you can & when you can’t, enjoy one or two w/ diet & call it a day .
Here ya go:

🍹Skinny Margarita🍹
Tequila (duh!), soda water, fresh squeezed lime , a packet of stevia & ice. Most bars & restaurants use agave but by adding stevia instead it’s only about 75-100 cals & 5 grams of sugar vs over 500 calories & 40+ grams of sugar in the reg margs

🥃Rum & Diet Coke🥃
Run, Diet Coke or Pepsi & ice. That’s it. Same as rum & coke but about 150 fewer calories & 25 or fewer grams of sugar

🍸Diet Red Bull & Vodka🍸
Diet Red Bull, vodka & ice. Yes, I know, an energy drink. No they aren’t good for you, but neither is diet soda, dessert, bacon, etc. Once in a while AND moderation (1 not 5 lol) won’t kill you & if you’re going out when you’ve had a long day & you’re tired, this will help

🍸Vodka Gimlet🍸
Rosie’s like juice OR simple syrup, vodka or tequila & ice. That’s it, guilt free, clean & about 150 cals

🍸Classic Martini🍸
Vermouth & gin with an olive & that’s it! Only about 175 calories & minimal sugars from the alcohol

Soda water, sugar, muddled mint leaves 🌱 & 🍈 like. About 160 cals & 10-15 grams of sugars depending on the amount of sugar added. Ask for lightly sweetened

Grapefruit juice, soda, lime 🍈 & ice 👌🏼. Simple & easy & only about 160 calories. Skip the sugar around the rim to minimize sugars & cals

🥃Old Fashioned🥃
Bourbon w/ a splash of bitters for flavor & ice + a bit of sugar IF desired only

🍸Vodka Soda🍸
Just soda, vodka & fresh squeezed lime 🍈. Less than 100 cals

Only 90 cals! Less than wine 🍷 & most mixed drinks

🍸Gin & Tonic🍸
Like the name says, just like the name says

Enjoy 🥂

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Crock Pot Kale, Feta and Veggie Frittata

Love this recipe because I can make it ahead and have breakfast, lunch or dinner ready to go in the fridge. I seriously eat this for any meal of the day, throughout the day! And it's so versatile. If I have other veggies, such as normandy veggies, in the fridge, I toss those in there as well. And if I have some ground turkey, I may add that too (cooked prior to adding). The possibilities are ENDLESS!

I used my Ninja Cooker, which made it easy to saute the kale right in the slow cooker, but if you don't have a Ninja you can use a 5 or 6 quart oval slow cooker.

1 - 2 tsp olive oil to saute the kale (only 1 teaspoon for the Ninja, but 2 teaspoons to saute on the stove.)
5 oz. baby kale
non-stick spray or oil (to spray the slow cooker if you don't use the Ninja)
6 oz. roasted red pepper (from a jar), diced fairly small
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4-5 oz. crumbled Feta
8 eggs, well beaten
1/2 tsp. Kirkland organic no salt (or other all-purpose seasoning blend)
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Greek yogurt for topping (optional, but good)

Wash kale if needed, and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Heat the oil, either in the Ninja Cooker on the Stovetop/High setting or in a large frying pan on medium-high. When the oil is hot, add the kale and saute until it's softened into a flat layer, about 3-4 minutes in the Ninja Cooker and slightly less in a pan. If you're using a regular slow cooker, spray it well with non-stick spray or oil and transfer the cooked kale to the slow cooker. If you're using the Ninja Cooker, turn to Slow Cook/Low setting.
Drain red peppers and chop into fairly small pieces. Slice the green onions and crumble the Feta. Add the chopped red pepper and sliced green onion to the slow cooker with the kale. Beat the eggs well, pour over other ingredients in the slow cooker, and stir so all ingredients are well-combined. Season with Spike Seasoning and black pepper, then sprinkle on the Feta.

Cook on low for 2 - 3 hours, or until the frittata is well set and cheese is melted. (I cooked mine for 2 hours and 45 minutes and it was perfect, but I got distracted with a phone call and it may have been done slightly sooner than that. I think the Ninja cooks a little hotter than other slow cookers, so it may take slightly longer if you don't use the Ninja Cooker.) Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.

This will keep well in the fridge for several days and can be reheated in the microwave. (Don't microwave too long or it will get rubbery.) 
(Makes 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from several cookbooks and food blogs where she saw egg dishes cooked in the slow cooker.)
21 Day Fix Breakdown: 1 green (kale & peppers), 1 gray (olive oil), 1 red (eggs), 1 blue (cheese)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Benefits of Green Tea

Messy hair, tired eyes but don’t care! What I DO care about though, is feelin’ good! And green tea helps me do that, especially after a late night out

It’s part of my morning routine after my ACV shot & warm water with  lemon. And in the colder months, my afternoon pick me up too

So many benefits to drinking it, not to mention the little boost the caffeine gives you
Below are just a few of them! Pretty sure after reading them you’ll be incorporating it into your daily routine also! You’d seriously be foolish not to!

I buy mine in a box of 100 and it’s green tea + matcha, another very beneficial herbal tea ingredient that I’ll be blogging about next so stay tuned. But in the meantime, here are some of the many benefits of green tea alone

Green tea is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, including a catechin called EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). These antioxidants have various beneficial effects on health including helping prevent various types of cancer (i.e., breast, prostate & colorectal), fight cell damage & reduce inflammation

Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, not making you jittery, but enough to produce an effect and provide more stable energy. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work together with caffeine to improve brain function. L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects

Green tea has been shown to boost physical performance, metabolic rate & fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree & confirm. It has also been shown to reduce fat in the abdominal area, the most dangerous place to carry excess weight & fat. This varies by individual but it’s yummy & good for you so whether it really does this or not, it’s definitely worth it anyway

Green tea has bioactive compounds that can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer's & Parkinson's, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders. Studies show that catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes & animal models, potentially lowering the risk of Alzheimer's & Parkinson's

Green tea contains catechins that may inhibit the growth of bacteria & some viruses, including influenza. This can lower the risk of infections & lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of cavities & reduced bad breath

Green tea has been shown to cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels & improve insulin resistance in several studies, hence helping lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Green tea has been shown to lower triglycerides in the blood as well as total and LDL cholesterol. It has also been shown to dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood, protecting the LDL particles from oxidation. Studies show that, because of this, green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease

***See for more detail and additional benefits of green tea

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sweet Potato Crust Spinach, Feta & Egg Frittata 

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1.5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 350°, then peel and slice sweet potatoes. I sliced mine using a mandoline, but a knife works great as well. The mandoline speeds up the process significantly and gives you even slices. Coat a pie dish with cooking spray, then fill the bottom of the dish with a layer of sweet potato slices. Cut the sweet potato rounds in half and fill around the edges of the pie dish; round side facing up. Once the entire dish is filled, coat one more time with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat up to 375°.

2. For the filling, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.

3. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Arrange spinach mixture in crust; pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with feta. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into 4 wedges.

Each serving( 4 total) contains the following:
CALORIES 196 FAT 8.5g (sat 3.5g, mono 3.2g, poly 1.2g) PROTEIN: 12g CARB 18g FIBER 4gCHOL 197mg IRON 2mg SODIUM 562mg CALC 155mg
Via Cooking Light 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Healthy Version of Alfredo Sauce 

Who says Alfredo sauce can’t be healthy? It absolutely can! And if you replace the pasta noodles with spaghetti squash it’s even better

Try the alfredo sauce recipe below & let me know howyou like it!

Makes enough for about 4 people. Takes about 5 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook so it’s easy to make anytime!

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup broth vegetable or chicken
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup non fat plain greek yogurt room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

(1) Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
(2) Sprinkle with cornstarch and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
(3) While whisking, slowly add in broth and milk.
(4) Continue whisking to combine until smooth.
(5) Raise heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a simmer.
(6) Once simmering, simmer for about 2 minutes, until it starts to thickened, again, whisking constantly.
(7) Remove from heat and little by little, whisk in greek yogurt.
(8) Once combined, place back on the heat (medium) and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
(9) Bring to a simmer and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
(10) Serve over pasta OR baked spaghetti squash (directions for spaghetti squash below) immediately. If you let it cool, it will thicken up a bit
If not using immediately, store in airtight container in the fridge.

Nutritional information is for 1/4th of the entire sauce recipe.
*This makes enough sauce for about 1/2 - 1 pound of pasta/ spaghetti squash depending on how saucy you like your pasta!

Baked Spaghetti Squash

(1) Preheat oven to 400. Bake spaghetti squash for about 10-15 min to make it easier to cut.
(2) Split/Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds
(3) Drizzle the center of each half of split and seeded spaghetti squash with 1/2 tsp olive oil or use olive oil spray. Using your fingers, rub oil evenly into squash. Season with your favorite no salt seasoning.
(4) Place spaghetti squash in a large baking dish center down, and bake for 1 hour. Spray the baking dish or pan so it doesn’t stick
(5) About 30 minutes into baking, begin your sauce (directions above)
(6) When spaghetti squash is finished (center should be tender and come apart when scraped lightly with a fork), use a fork to scrape out the insides. They will come out looking just like spaghetti.
When the sauce is done, either transfer the squash "noodles" to your sauce and toss to coat the squash thoroughly or pour it over the squash.
When ready, serve and top with fresh parsley for garnish.