Friday, December 6, 2019

Lemon Garlic Shrimp + Zoodles

    Delicious, low carb, clean & keto friendly! 

  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whole medium/large zucchinis (spiralized)
  • 1 small/medium lemon (juiced with seeds removed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (more to taste if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan (if desired)
  • 20 Cooked, peeled tail off shrimp (amount optional, I prefer a LOT of shrimp!)

You can either buy zoodles premise or purchase a spiralizer & make them yourself with zucchini squash. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan and add garlic, stirring and heating for 1-2 minutes until lightly golden. Add zoodles and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until noodles are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Gently sprinkle in salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes then toss to combine. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.

I like to take shortcuts when I can so I get the Costco cooked, peeled tail off shrimp. I defrost them overnight the night before in the fridge or just run them through water (although the bag directions discourage this... but if I forget to defrost prior to, oh well). Then I cook them in a skillet for just a few minutes for flavor and to heat them up while making the zoom does as well. I use a little olive oil (1tsp), oregano, basil & garlic as I do with the zoodles. 

When both are done, top the zoodles with the shrimp & ENJOY 

Link for the spiralizer I use
Includes 7 different blades + 4 recipes books 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Top 10 Holiday Health Tips

The holiday season can be quite tempting! Don't let it derail you! Use these tips to help get you through it without ending up carrying extra Lbs come the new year!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Low Carb Spaghetti & Meatballs....YES There IS Such a Thing!

Spaghetti Squash

Here is a video link to it if you prefer ==>>> Spaghetti Squash Video

1.  Cut a medium to large spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds. Cutting it is honestly the hardest part! 

2.  Very lightly coat the inside with olive oil.  
3.  Sprinkle some of your favorite no salt italian seasoning on top.

4. Place it face down (skin side up) on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees skin side up for about 45 minutes (60 minutes if it's a large one). 
5.  Use a fork to shred "spaghetti" out of the skin, then blend it together to spread the olive oil and seasoning. 
6.  Eat it alone or add marinara and meatballs to it!

Option A (easiest)
Buy frozen turkey or beef meatballs and heat them up.  This is easier if you're a working parent that gets home late, has to take the kids to and from activities, etc.  There are many healthy versions out there. My favorites are from Costco. 

Option B 
Make your own out of ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning. When I make them, I make a lot at once and freeze them using 
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
1 egg
Seasoning of your choice

1.  Blend the ground turkey with breadcrumbs, seasoning and egg.  
2.  Form into balls and either bake them or cook them in a sauce pan until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.

I always have sauce pre-made that I freeze and defrost as needed. You can either buy your favorite sauce in a jar (which is totally fine if you're in a pinch) or make your own.  There are plenty of healthy varieties without added sugars.  I love pretty much every sauce that Trader Joe's sells but sometimes I buy others as well. What I like to do is personalize my marinara sauce.  I add browned garlic, onions, diced tomatoes, seasoning, browned ground turkey and sometimes diced bell peppers too.  It's delicious and gives it a really good taste.  

When we have dinner, we always like to have some greens too! I usually just make a basic, easy Greek salad to go with it out of romaine, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes & feta cheese. I add a little olive oil,  balsamic and seasoning and that's it. Super easy too!

Greek Salad

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

10 Minute Meals: Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich & Veggies

Ok so when I started 10 Minute Meals, I knew that most would be homemade BUT some would be SEMI-homemade because, let's get real, life gets busy! This is one of those "semi-homemade" meals that I make as a quickie lunch when the kids are STARVING or when they get home from school and want a quick snack!

The sandwich is ready made. I just buy it and heat it up from Costco! THEN I add cheese and heat it up a little longer and add pickles (at the kids' request) too!

While this is happening, I steam the Normandy veggies.  I then add them to the plate and sometimes I also melt some cheese on top of it for them.  Super easy, healthy, clean and MUCH better than a McDonald's drive thru!

Below is the nutritional information for the sandwich.  At 280 calories (including the yummy bun) and 15 grams of protein, it's a great choice for kids, who tend to lack protein in their diets because many are carbivores! They LOVE bread, crackers and pasta but aren't big fans of meat, fish or poultry.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chocolate Overnight Oatmeal

Overnight Oatmeal 
2/3 greek yogurt
1 scoop chocolate shakeology
1/4 oats 
4 oz almond milk
2 (honey) 

Place all ingredients in a jar, mix and leave overnight!! Wake up to a protein packed breakfast that's healthy, filling & tastes like dessert in a cup!!

21 Day Fix:  1 reds 1 yellow 1 blue

Friday, September 20, 2019

Weight Loss Is About Much More Than Exercise + a Meal Plan

You don’t have to be a physician to know that those who lose extreme amounts of weight using extreme exercise and diet protocols are extremely likely to gain all of their weight back, and then some.  That means the BEST way to lose weight is by implementing lifestyle changes you can keep up with AFTER you've lost the weight so you KEEP it off!
To be clear, by making a few key adjustments to your daily habits and diet and exercise plans, your weight loss can be extremely successful and more importantly sustainable. Here are eight tips, proven by science to not only help you shed fat fast, but also keep it off for the long run!

You’ve likely heard the old fitness chestnut “you can’t out exercise a bad diet.” “Exercise is not the only thing you should do to lose weight,” says Kelliann Davis, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center. “It has to be in combination with diet.” In a study from St. Louis University, people lost weight whether they exercised, cut calories, or both. But those who did both, cutting their daily calories by 10 percent while embarking on an exercise plan, doubled their insulin sensitivity — a metabolic indicator of long-term weight-loss success. People who begin diet and exercise plans at the same time are also more likely to be following both a year later, according a study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, people who did high intensity interval training (HIIT such as that in the Insanity Max 30, 21 Day Fix and 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts) alternating 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 40 seconds of rest for 30 minutes, burned three to four more calories per minute than those who performed steady-state exercise, such as running, cycling, or resistance training. And it only gets better from there: “There is evidence that your body starts to burn fat preferentially as a fuel as you become fitter,” says Davis. Those benefits extend post-workout, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The researchers found that people with a high aerobic capacity (developed through intense cardio workouts) continued to burn fat at a higher rate post-workout than people with a low aerobic capacity. That’s reason enough to ramp up your HIIT training, which is a cornerstone of many Beachbody programs. And you can find TONS of them via streaming on Beachbody On Demand.

“People typically overestimate how much and how hard they exercise,” says Davis. They also underestimate how much they eat! Science agrees: In a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people misjudged their calorie burn during vigorous exercise by up to 72 percent. Your move: Invest in a fitness tracker — preferably one that can monitor your heart rate (the most accurate way to gauge exercise intensity). “Keep track of your workout duration [i.e., the amount of time you spend exercising, not chatting], exercise intensity, and caloric burn to see if you’re hitting your goals,” Davis says. If you are, that knowledge will inspire you to keep at it. If you aren’t, you’ll know where you need to dial it up.

Devote the same attention to your diet by keeping a food log or tracking your intake in an app such as the 21 Day Fix tracker app. In a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago, people who recorded everything they ate each week for a year lost 3.7 percent more weight than those who didn’t. Then weigh yourself regularly to make sure you’re meeting your goals. In a study in the Journal of Obesity, people who weighed themselves daily lost 4.6 more pounds after 12 months than those who rarely stepped on the scale.

A salad might be the classic weight-loss food, providing plenty of hunger satiating fiber, but unless that salad is topped with protein (think: meat), it won’t fuel weight-loss success. Not only is protein inherently anabolic (simply eating it triggers protein synthesis, the cornerstone of muscle growth), but like fiber, it’s also slow to digest, curbing hunger for hours after eating it. Which proteins are best for weight loss? That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. But in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the following protein-rich foods performed particularly well: Yogurt, peanut butter, nuts (other than peanuts), skinless chicken, low-fat cheese, and seafood. Shoot for .7 g to 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, consuming at least .25 g of protein per pound of bodyweight per meal.

Thirst and hunger are both registered by the hypothalamus, which often gets its signals crossed — sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re really thirsty. Similarly, filling your belly with water can help you tamp down feelings of hunger, according to British researchers reporting in the journal Obesity. In the study, participants who drank 12 ounces of H₂O before a meal lost significantly more weight after three months than those who didn’t. Need another reason to stay hydrated? You burn two percent fewer calories per day when you aren’t, according to a study at the University of Utah.

People who sleep less than 5 hours a night are about 40 percent more likely to develop obesity than those who log 7 to 8 hours, according to a study in The American Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers noted that sleep deprivation may reduce the motivation to exercise and trigger counterproductive eating habits. “A lot of people overeat during the day [in an attempt to keep their energy levels up] to compensate for not getting enough quality sleep at night,” says Robin Berzin, MD, a functional medicine doctor and founder or Parsley Health in New York City. Turn off your phone, computer, tablet, and TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime, suggests Dr. Berzin. The blue light from these screens can reduce your production of the sleep hormone melatonin, giving you less deep REM sleep and leading to grogginess the next morning, according to a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Fewer worries can lead to less weight, according to a study by Greek researchers. They found that people who completed a stress management program lost an average of 6.7 more pounds than those who did not. Many people live in “permanent emergency mode,” waking each morning feeling rushed, and staying in high gear until bedtime, says Dr. Berzin. This frenetic pace can spike levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and insulin, starting a cascade of metabolic effects that can result in weight gain. Her advice: Learn a stress management technique, such as meditation, and practice it regularly.

If you’re exercising regularly, eating healthfully, drinking plentifully, sleeping peacefully, tracking your fitness consistently, and still not losing weight, you might be hamstrung by a larger problem that’s not entirely under your control. “A lot of people have underlying medical issues — hormone imbalances, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders — that are cutting them off at the knees,” says Dr. Berzin. For example, about 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association, and about 23.5 million have autoimmune disorders, according to the National Institutes of Health. Both conditions can make sustained weight loss more difficult. In many cases, a doctor can make a diagnosis with a simple blood test, and prescribe a course of action that can unshackle you from the condition that’s preventing you from achieving your ideal weight.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pumpkin Pie with Whole Wheat Crust!

Pumpkin-Pie-Whole-Wheat-CrustPumpkin Pie with whole wheat crust! Because you can still enjoy Thanksgiving and fall foods without compromising your nutrition or your goals!
Total Time: 1 hr. 25 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Yield: 9 servings
Ingredients for Pie Crust:
1 cup quick-cooking old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup ground raw almonds
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or raw honey)
¼ tsp. sea salt
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. water
Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie:
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. sea salt
⅔ cup evaporated nonfat milk
For Pie Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
2. Combine oats, flour, almonds, maple syrup, and salt in a medium mixing bowl; mix well.
3. Add oil to oat mixture; mix well. If needed, add water to hold mixture together.
4. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light brown.
For Pie:
1. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
2. Combine pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup in a medium bowl; mix well.
3. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and milk; mix until just blended.
4. Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Perfect simple snack, lunch or dinner! 
Black beans
Ground beef, turkey or chicken
Grilled onions
Grilled peppers

21 Day Fix  = 1 red 1 yellow 1 green

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!