Double Whipped Coconut Cream…

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FSS Double Whipped Coconut Cream

FSS Double Whipped Coconut Cream

You guys know by now that I love dessert.  Major sweet tooth, and I’m not ashamed to say it — life should be sweet!  Whipped cream, homemade or from a can, is one of my favorite dessert toppings in the entire world!  I shouldn’t even call it a mere topping, because I could literally eat it alone on a spoon as dessert and be completely satisfied with my life choice.  Unfortunately, because the canned stuff is not completely natural or low FODMAP, and more significantly, because I live with a lactose allergy and IBS, like so many other people in the world, I have to be really careful when putting sweet, airy stuff like this into my body, so that my stomach will not begin to bloat and cramp up in pain and discomfort.

Since whipped cream is good on pretty much anything – strawberries, ice cream, yogurt, blueberries, bananas, pancakes, or a spoon…the list goes on and on – I wanted to create a dairy free, healthier alternative to the traditional whipped cream option most of us know and love.  Turns out, thick, rich coconut cream is the ideal replacement (creamy because it’s made with 1 part water: 4 parts coconut).  This recipe requires the same, ridiculously simple preparation process as homemade whipped cream, it’s dairy free, and it offers more health benefits for dessert lovers such as myself! (high in fiber, vitamins, iron, antioxidants, calcium, contains healthy fats and natural sugars for healthy carb energy intake, etc…)

After a couple of trial runs, I finally nailed my own recipe, and I can’t wait to share it with you all: FSS Double Whipped Coconut Cream.  I learned through my experimenting that the concept of “double” whipping was what did the trick for me in reaching the texture, level of thickness, and creamy goodness I was going for.

Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Sandwich some of today’s Double Whipped Coconut Cream recipe between my FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs and you will be in sweet tooth healthy heaven!  For even more creaminess, throw some frozen bananas in the blender, and make some fresh banana ice cream to have on the side, or even in the form of a double decker ice cream sandwich!

This recipe IS low FODMAP, and so are my FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs, AS WELL AS fresh banana ice cream – so do not hesitate to enjoy if you live with IBS!

Healthy ice cream sandwiches created with some FSS originals!

Healthy ice cream sandwiches created with some FSS originals!

Fit Soul and Spice Coconut Double Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

1 can coconut cream (I love Trader Joes brand)

1/4 cup organic coconut sugar

1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Add entire can of coconut cream to a mixer.  Mix on low until creamy, about 2 minutes.

2.  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix on low until all ingredients are combined and smooth.  Stop as necessary to scrape the sides of the mixer with a spatula.  Continue to mix like this for about 10 minutes.

3.  Transfer whipped coconut cream from mixer to glass bowl.  Store in refrigerator overnight.

4.  Remove from fridge, and add to mixer, whipping again for about 10 minutes to rethicken.  Return to plastic glass bowl for serving/storing.

Serve your homemade FSS Double Whipped Coconut Cream with fresh fruit, FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs, frozen banana ice cream, or over my healthy homemade brunchcakes!

Enjoy, stay sweet, and be well!  Much love. 🙂

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FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs

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Healthy ice cream sandwiches created with some FSS originals!

Beneficial, low FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free ice cream sandwiches created with some FSS originals!

In an attempt to make cookies that are light, made with natural ingredients, and loaded with health benefits from ingredients such as organic virgin coconut oil, raw pecans and walnuts, and farm fresh eggs, I hit the FSS kitchen last week to add another dessert to my fit foodie inventory!  What resulted was probably one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had…EVER!  They’re light, airy, and most wonderfully, gluten and guilt free.  The flavor of baked raw pecans and walnuts combined with a generous amount of pure bourbon vanilla extract, combined with this cookie’s warm, soft, gooey center, provides a toasted vanilla flavor like few I’ve ever experienced.

Dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), like 1 in 7 Americans do each and every day, I am making more frequent attempts to cook with low FODMAP ingredients now as well.  I’m working on a project right now that reaches out specifically to people living with IBS and striving to put primarily low FODMAP foods in their bodies.

Today’s FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs are completely low FODMAP, and will not bother your stomach (for example: swelling, bloating, soarness, constipation, etc) if you are learning to live with this condition.  Remember to stay positive, because while there are many food restrictions on a low FODMAP diet, there are still tons of delicious options for us to work with.  My goal is to help others realize and embrace this fact!

Check back with Fit Soul and Spice later for the healthy foodie scoop on my low FODMAP ice cream sandwich recipe, which combines two more dairy free creamy options with these uh-maz-ing cookies for fabulous sweet sandwiching purposes!  My FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs are gluten free, dairy free, low carb, made with natural sugars, and completely low FODMAP friendly.  They take about 10 minutes to prep, and 12 minutes to bake.  Try them out today and enjoy!  I suggest doubling the recipe, because they’ll probably disappear as quickly as they were created.  Enjoy, and please tag @fitsoulandspice on Instagram if you make these healthy treats!

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post oven pecan cookie puffs

FSS Pecan Cookie Puffs

Ingredients:

Yields about two dozen cookies

1 cup gluten free flour

1 ½ cups gluten free baking flour

2 cups organic coconut sugar

1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum

½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Generous dash of cinnamon

½ cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted

1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

¾ cup raw, chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

1.  Add all dry ingredients, except raw pecans, to a mixer.  Mix on low for one minute until ingredients are evenly combined.

 2.  Add all wet ingredients to a large bowl.  Mix well with a fork or whisk, folding eggs into mixture and combining ingredients evenly.

3.  Once all wet ingredients are combined, add to mixer with dry ingredients.

4.  Mix all ingredients on low for 1 minute.  Pause to scrape the sides.  Resume mixing until ingredients are combined, forming into a stretchy dough.

5.  Add raw pecans to mixer.  Continue mixing for one more minute on low, folding pecans into your cookie dough.

6.  Grease a large cookie sheet with coconut oil spray.

7.  Drop dough by teaspoonfuls about one inch apart on your cookie sheet.  They will not stick, and ingredients will not cause dough to spread.  Instead, it will grow into a puffy texture.

 8.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool for five minutes, and enjoy these light and fluffy treats!!

TIP: They are fabulous as ice cream sandwiches made with banana ‘ice cream’ and my FSS Twice Whipped Coconut Cream (only 3 ingredients!)

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pre oven pecan cookie puffs

Stay sweet, stay hungry, stay healthy!  Much love.

Fit Foodie Fresh Fig Cookies…

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Fig Newtons are one of my favorite cookies in the entire world!  The soft, golden biscuit combined with that chewy, gooey fig filling is so satisfying to the sweet tooth!  They’re unique from many other cookies due to the aspect that they are marketed around their fruit-based focus.  This leads many cookie lovers to believe that they are healthier for you than other cookies on the shelves.  While they may be considered a “healthier option,” this does not necessarily mean these treats are actually “healthy.”

Unfortunately, fig cookies found on the shelves of the grocery store are still processed, and those fig preserves we love so much are still made with preservatives and refined sugars.  This isn’t good for the heart, the digestive system, or the waistline.  Remember, if a product is labeled as having “real fruit” has a shelf life, it’s probably not quite real, and probably not quite beneficial to your health.

Living a healthy, clean lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up your favorite desserts.  It just means you have to tailor them to your healthy habits!  I decided recently that in order to enjoy and these delicious fig cookies in my life, I’d have to create a homemade, healthy, clean version in the Fit Soul and Spice kitchen.  Before I knew it, they were coming out of the oven, freshly baked and perfectly golden.  Then, before I knew it again, the first batch was gone!  That’s always a good sign.

Today, I’m sharing with readers my Fit Soul and Spice Fresh Fig Cookies, made with real figs.  They’re gluten free, dairy free, natural, and beneficial to your health!  Next time your cookie craving strikes, whip up a batch of today’s delicious recipe.

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 FSS Fresh Fig Cookies

Makes about 15 Squares

Ingredients

Fig Filling:

1 dozen fresh figs (cut stems, wash, and lay flat to dry)

½ cup coconut palm sugar

½ cup almond milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

Biscuit:

1 cup gluten free oat flour

1 cup gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

Dash of cinnamon

¾ tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 egg

8 tablespoons organic coconut oil, melted over medium heat

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 325

Fig Filling:

1.  Add fresh figs, coconut palm sugar, almond milk, and ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract to a blender.

2.  Blend until smoothly combined.

3.  Scoop contents into a large sauté pan, and bring to low-medium heat.

4.  Stir very frequently for about 10 minutes, reducing the mixture so it gains a thicker consistency.

5.  After 10 minutes, add ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, and honey.

6.  Continue to stir for 10 more minutes.  Remove from pan and place aside to reach room temperature.

Biscuit:

1.  Add all dry ingredients to a mixer or blender.  Mix or blend on low until combined.

2.  Add vanilla, egg, and melted coconut oil to mixer or blender.  Mix or blend on low until combined.

3.  Once dough has formed into a sticky ball, remove contents onto a cookie sheet covered with oven safe parchment paper.

Forming Cookies:

1.  Roll out biscuit dough on an oven safe parchment paper covered cookie sheet until it is about 1/3 inch thick.  Make sure it is an even rectangle so it can be folded over later.

2.   Using a spatula, spread fig filling evenly over dough, leaving about a ½ inch of space on all sides, as if you were coating a pizza with sauce.

3.  Once dough is evenly coated, lift one vertical side of your parchment paper, and carefully fold it over the other side, folding the dough in half.

4.  Seal the other side using the ½ inch of space in order to avoid any filling dripping out during baking.

5.  Carefully peel back parchment paper from top layer.

6.  Cut cookies into 2×2 squares, and lift each FSS Fresh Fig Cookie with a spatula onto a second cookie sheet covered with oven safe parchment paper.

7.  Bake on 325 for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool, and enjoy!!

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Stay healthy, stay sweet!  Be well.

The ‘Breakup Diet’ Plan…

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Did you know…

that according to a recent study performed by a Facebook status update tracker, that March is apparently the biggest breakup month?  I know — if Facebook claims it, it must be “official,” right?  But actually, in a day and age where people put their entire lives on Facebook for everyone to see, especially relationship status updates, I believe that this study is probably pretty accurate.

This isn’t the most shocking news, since March represents spring, ‘spring fever,’ and spring cleaning, and the spring season represents ‘rebirth.’  In terms of relationships, this may awaken a sense of what’s no longer working or fulfilling in one’s personal life.  Relationships that may have been dragged through a cold, dark winter on their last and final limb around Valentine’s Day are likely to reach a point of demise upon the arrival of the breezy, warm, and revitalizing spring weather.  As one energizes from the end of a long and tiring winter, other things may come to light as well.  I know this doesn’t make breakups any easier, but it does mean that this entry has come along at the perfect time!  If you fell off the healthy bandwagon, or you haven’t quite followed through with that New Years Resolution to get in better shape, and you happen to be someone contributing to this recent statistic, this may be your second chance to reinvent yourself.  Chin up – this spring can be your season of reform, rebirth, and rejuvenation!

Today, we’re turning breakups into a healthy lifestyle transformation
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Breakups. We’ve all been through them. They happen for a multitude of reasons, but no matter why a break up happens, it just feels really crappy for a while. Even if the relationship was betrayed, unhealthy, or a long time coming, the emotions that coincide with the actual breakup are typically very different from the emotions you experience leading up to the breakup. We’re only human, so no matter what type of situation we’re no longer in, we feel what we feel because we are human, and we possess hearts that experience many emotions.

The ‘before breakup’ phase tends to be filled with tension, anger, frustration, shadiness, or stress. The ‘after breakup’ phase is usually accompanied by feeling sad, sick, lonely, helpless, lost, and confused. Then there’s your mind…just spinninggg, spinninggg, spinninggg with over-analyses and coulda, woulda, shouldas.

I’m here today to discuss the silver lining within a breakup, because no one ever really talks about this and it shocks me! Instead of focusing on the sad breakup stuff, let’s talk about embracing the opportunity to look and feel the best we EVER have. I’m talking about taking a breakup and kicking it’s ass…Fit Soul and Spice style. Today, we’re turning breakups into healthy lifestyle opportunities!

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Have you ever run into someone a few months after they’ve been through a really bad break up, and you can’t believe how amazing they look? Their skin is fresh and glowing, they’re looking fit and in shape, and they’ve taken their swagger to a whole new level. This is because they decided to accept and own their breakup. They felt out their breakup feelings, and then took advantage of what my girlfriends and I like to call “the breakup weight.” The breakup diet is a hidden segue to a new you. Today…we’re going to start taking breakups with a whole new approach.

The Breakup Diet Defined:

         In the midst all of the emotion and commotion that comes with a breakup, each individual reacts differently. Many people end up doing one of two things: stress eating to compensate for your loss, or, more commonly, not eating anything at all. This entry applies to latter batch of new singles.

         When a breakup occurs, many people are exhausted, becoming so consumed by their ‘after breakup’ emotions that they begin running on empty without even realizing it. What are the symptoms, you ask? The typical: stomach flips and drops, a major loss of appetite, not sleeping at all or sleeping way more than usual, and feeling sick to your stomach with stress and heartache. What can THIS lead to?  Starvation! You’re also more active, trying to stay busy and occupied so that the breakup is out of sight and out of mind. You’re throwing yourself into your work, going out for happy hour with friends, enjoying all types of old and new adventures on the weekends, and basically doing anything that will help you to stay distracted in the present and looking towards the future. Again…what does THIS lead to?  Starvation! And there you have it my friends…in a nutshell, today’s definition of the breakup diet!

         Now, before you react, I am aware that the breakup diet is not the healthiest experience to go through. But, I’m also very realistic, and it is what it is. Breakups and the things that can cause break ups (cheating, lies, being blindsided or betrayed, really missing someone, etc…) can be, quite literally, sickening. I’ve been through my fair share of painful breakups, and this is exactly what happened to me. I either couldn’t sleep or I was sleeping way more than usual…couldn’t eat…kept super busy…wasn’t concerned about my health as much as my ability to get through another day feeling down. I won’t ever discriminate against anyone’s right to feel out their emotions through tough times. And after all, one should never throw stones. Breakups cause feelings of depression, which could result in a loss of appetite and energy.

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         Today’s focus is on what you can do after the break up diet to start over. My girlfriends and I call this the “breakup weight.” No – not your actual “weight,” because we’re all beautiful and sexy and fabulous, and I don’t believe in scales. By “breakup weight,” I mean the change you realize in yourself as you cope with the emotions of your breakup. Read on to understand…

The Breakup Weight Defined

You’ve been through hell, and this is [probably] the scenario: you haven’t eaten much, so you haven’t eaten anything unhealthy, and you’ve also been drinking a lot of water, so your skin looks and feels smooth. You’ve lost that last bit of winter weight from feeling sad and a loss of appetite, so your clothes are a little loose. You’re getting a lot of sleep, so you look and feel rested. This is, in a nutshell, is what results in ‘breakup weight.’ I encourage you to embrace this clean slate in order to work towards becoming the best version you’ve ever seen or felt of yourself. Turn your breakup into your new healthy lifestyle.

Here’s What NOT to Do:

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Check out the list of what NOT to do when transforming your break up into a healthy lifestyle.

Check out the list of what NOT to do when transforming your break up into a healthy lifestyle.

– DO NOT start binge eating. This is the most crucial piece of advice I can provide you with. Binge eating is when someone consumes a large quantity of food in a very short period of time. You have not been eating much of anything, and your stomach can shrink when this happens. It’s healthy to start out slow by introducing healthy foods back into your body at a steady pace. Binging can result in stomach problems, and could develop into a more serious issue. When you do reintroduce food to your body, binging may result in a significant weight gain, as your body can forget how to react to nourishment and the digestive process. You must acknowledge the amount and types of food you put into your system in order to healthily fuel your body again as you heal from your break up.

– DO NOT eat junk. If your appetite is starting to return, don’t start picking on potato chips, french fries, and diet coke. This is your clean slate…don’t fill it up with crap! Get in touch with yourself and realize that you have an opportunity to recreate yourself now. Take advantage of it, but do not take it for granted. Embrace your new healthy lifestyle.

– DO NOT start partying like a wild child. I am all for a night out on the weekends or happy hour and brunch with friends when you’re feeling up, down, or whatever! But if you decide to start partying like a rock star, your body will pay the price. This will impact your skin, your energy level, your level of endorphins, and your weight. You may end up right back where you started during your breakup, or worse.

– DO NOT obsess. This one can be tough. You finally lost the weight you’ve been thinking about losing for some time, your skin looks great, and you feel energized and awake. Don’t pressure yourself. Do not approach your clean slate with the mentality that you have to look like your breakup self, or everything will fall apart. You’re stronger than that, and it’s not healthy. I’ve done this in the past, and I had to take a step back and realize that I wasn’t embracing my new life the healthy way. It was robbing me of my newfound or future happiness. Remember how you felt throughout that time. You were so sad before, and now you look happy and healthy. Take your breakup phases and gear them towards becoming fit, vibrant, and full of self-love and self-worth. Mold your new healthy lifestyle.

Here’s What You SHOULD Do:

– Work out: Join the gym or start using that membership you didn’t have time for because you were always with whatshisface. This is a great time to start working out because you’re lean, energized, and you’ve got time on your hands! Don’t cry about it, use it! Get to the gym and start kicking some butt! Get fit for yourself and think about the head start you have because of your break up diet! And hey…think about how hot you’ll look when you go out on your next date!

– Eat lean and clean: You felt out your sadness and it resulted in a loss of appetite. That’s completely understandable, but now it’s time to get back on track, while staying healthy and fit. The best way to maintain your weight and glowing skin is through a lean and clean lifestyle. Shop for groceries and meal prep every Sunday for the week ahead. Here’s a list of foods you should swear by from now on:

– Rich green vegetables: spinach, kale, arugula, zucchini

– And then more vegetables: mushrooms, eggplant, beets, corn, squash, carrots, onions

– Swear by herbs as seasonings and flavors: cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, sage, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper. EXPERIMENTING is fun, so explore which are your favorites!

– Fresh fruit: avocados, cucumbers, strawberries, pears, oranges, lemons, blueberries, pineapple, watermelon, mango, bananas, dates, fresh figs

– Lean and hardy fish: tilapia, halibut, cod, sea bass, salmon

– Some lean meat: turkey or chicken, occasional lean red meat

– TONS of water, especially my FSS Detox Water

– TONS of fruit water (water infused overnight with your favorite fruits)

– TONS of green tea, and some strong black coffee too

– Non-meat proteins: raw almonds, eggs, kale, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, chia seeds, fish, spinach

– Stay away from dairy and creamy stuff (instead, use things like almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, avocado, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on salads,

– Commit to a cheat day:  Allow yourself one day each week (the same day each week helps to establish a routine) to eat whatever you want. Don’t feel guilty, and don’t let yourself think “this is where I fall of the wagon.” You worked hard at the gym all week, and you’ve eaten healthy and lean foods. Treat yo’self and enjoy. Just remember, it’s a one day deal! Then back to the grind. Before you know it, you’ll prefer clean, lean, and fit options over anything else!

– Spend time being by your healthy self: Take some time to have a relationship with yourself. Fall into your healthy lifestyle, your gym routine, and your clean eating habits. Get to know this new you, and fall in love with it.  Because you are beyond worth it! Before you can find love with someone new, you must find love, respect, appreciation, and gratitude for everything that you are. Learn who you want to be as yourself, and that energy will lead you to someone who loves and appreciates you on a level that you deserve. And if they’re worth it, they’ll motivate and support the healthy lifestyle that you have now created for yourself. That’s a true partner and a teammate.

– Practice self-love and self-worth: Acknowledge how far you’ve come! Don’t take it lightly. Breakups are REALLY hard and painful, and look what you did with yours! You turned it into something beautiful; a new, healthy, happy, fit, amazing YOU. It takes a really strong, determined, empowered individual to do something like that, and you did it. Love yourself and remember your worth. Now that you see how you can turn something negative in life into something positive, sky’s the limit! Do this with all things, and your life will flourish with happiness, success, and positivity.

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         Feeling the pain of a breakup doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you have a heart, feelings, emotions, and a conscience, and that the everyday love and affection you once shared with another human being is no longer around, leaving an empty void in your life.

         I always had a theory that this vacant, empty spot in your soul is where all of the icky emotions creep in and stubbornly reside – like a dreadful, unexpected, unwelcome guest. If only we could hang a temporary “No Vacancy” sign on our hearts to keep them out, right? Wrong. Maybe that sounds great now, but it isn’t healthy. Although it may not seem like it when you’re going through a break up, feeling out your breakup is extremely healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. That “No Vacancy” sign is just a way to bottle things up to deal with later. The worst thing you can do is bring all of those negative emotions from before into your next relationship, because you didn’t choose to face them head on before. Learn and grow from your past, but do not allow it to define or control your future. Feel what you feel, and those icky feelings will eventually see themselves out. That’s when you’ll know that the “empty void” is just some new space hungry for growth in your heart, mind, and soul. Fill it up…with your new, improved, healthy lifestyle.

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Today’s entry is inspired by my strong, fabulous, always hilarious friend…you continue to empower me and I love you for it!  Stay amazing xo

Be strong, be healthy, be you!  Much love 🙂

Review: Synergy Worldwide…

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IMG_0964I recently received some products from Synergy Worldwide, a company that creates natural vitamins and supplements.  I decided to try these products in the name of research, because although I am not a strong advocate of dietary supplements, Fit Soul and Spice does not discriminate against individuals’ personal healthy lifestyle choices and areas of interest.  I have many readers and friends who are interested in finding something that may work for their personal healthy lifestyle.  So, I thought I’d give these products a shot and get back to those individuals!

Overall, my experience with Synergy Worldwide has been easy and enjoyable.  I have not experienced any jitters or rapid increase in my heart rate, which is great!  Many products claim to be “natural,” but are really completely dangerous and unnatural, which is just terrible for your body, brain, and heart!  That being said, these products are clearly made with natural ingredients that are meant to assist in your goals, not push you to a dangerous limit.  I can tell from the way my body reacted when I tried them before my workouts, and throughout my days for two weeks.

ProArgi-9+ (Mixed Berry and Citrus Berry)

This dietary supplement is a powder mix that comes in a packet.  You simply add the contents to 4-8 oz of water, but I used about 12 oz to dilute the sweetness and maintain my goals for remaining hydrated.  I tried ProArgi-9+ before my 5am workouts to see if it gave me that ‘boost’ I so desperately need at that hour, especially in the brutal cold.  While it gave me a little bit of an energy boost, I did not feel jittery or nauseous.  I drank it on an empty stomach, so that is always a good test for a product.  Both flavors tasted refreshing, but I have to say I preferred the Mixed Berry more.  ProArgi-9+ gives you that nice little kick in the booty to stay focused, energized, and in the zone during your workout.

SLMsmart Calorie Burner

Now, I must stay true to my own beliefs throughout this review, and I do not believe in relying on fat burners or calorie burners to get the job done.  It’s not at all in the name judgement, it’s just in the name of personal experience in past years.  Your goals won’t work unless you do.  I believe in healthy, clean eating and getting up, moving your body, breaking a sweat, and pushing yourself to work hard for the results you want – and you CAN do it!  I was, however, willing to try this supplement because I would support my readers consuming the ingredients listed in the capsules (for example: green tea leaf extract, caffeine, black pepper fruit extract, etc).

I tried two SLMsmart Calorie Burner capsules twice per day, as the bottle instructed; two in the morning before my workout, and two in the afternoon.  Again, I was happy not to experience any jitters or rapid increase in my heart rate, as many other supplements often cause.  However, over the course of my trial run, I did not notice any increase in the ‘burn’ as I worked out, nor did I experience any change in the way my clothes fit (I don’t believe in scales).  Now, please keep in mind that I work out a lot and I eat very lean, so I was not expecting to see much of a change based on consuming a fat burning capsule.  However, what does or doesn’t work for me may work (or not work) for someone else.  I can tell you that I didn’t feel anxious or sick, and that my energy levels never decreased as I sampled this product, which is more than I can say for many other supplements out there.

So, in conclusion…

IMG_0962If you are in search of a natural vitamin or supplement to assist you in your healthy lifestyle goals and routine, I would recommend these Synergy Worldwide products to people who are searching for something that doesn’t cause anxiety or jitters and breaks down easily and naturally in the body.  Be sure to always check with a physician if you have any medical conditions or concerns, as well, as I am not qualified to do so.

If you’re interested in learning more about Synergy Worldwide products, check out their informative websitewww.synergyworldwide.com

As always, I stand by the Fit Soul and Spice belief that there are no results like the ones you gain from eating lean, clean, all natural foods, along with the implementation of daily exercise and movement.  There is also no satisfaction like the rewards you feel from working hard and earning results yourself.  When you combine these lifestyle habits with a positive and upbeat attitude towards your individuality, your goals, and the world you surround yourself with, sky’s the limit!

Be well, be healthy, be natural.  Much love. 🙂

FSS Spring Fever Soup…

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photo 1Dare I say — spring is finally almost here?!  The painfully bitter cold bite in the air seems to be a bit less harsh, and the clocks have sprung ahead, leaving in our sight the daylight at the end of the tunnel!

It’s ironic, but as much as we [rightfully] love this time of year when the seasons begin to change and the days last longer, it is actually a very likely time for people to get sick with a cold.  A drastic change in climate and temperature can throw off our bodies and immune systems, often resulting in a case of the sniffles, a soar throat, a headache, or the presence of allergies.  I suppose it’s the price we pay to make way for better weather.  At least we have something to look forward to!

This reaction to the rapid change in weather was the case in my very own household over the weekend.  In the spirit of curing the common headcold (sniffles, soar throat, stomach ache, headache, tired eyes, feeling sluggish), I decided to make some of my homemade FSS Spring Fever Soup!  This recipe is SO simple, extremely affordable, and tastes absolutely delicious!  Most of the ingredients may already be in your kitchen, and it will boost your immune system instantly!  You’ll be feeling better within hours.

Try my FSS Spring Fever Soup recipe today to cure your winter weather ailments, or even just to knock that winter chill out of your body.  It’s time to make way for spring, and I don’t know about you, but I am BEYOND ready!  Bring on the beautiful spring breeze and the long sunny days, and do it in great health!

Fit Soul and Spice Soup for the Soul

FSS Soup for the Soul

FSS Spring Fever Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 cups water

3 cups organic low sodium chicken broth

 2 carrots, cubed

2 celery stalks, cubed

1 cup mushrooms, sliced and halved

1 cup corn

2 cups firm tofu, cubed and grilled until firm

1 cup chicken, raw and cut into cubes

 1 teaspoon garlic powder

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

 2 bay leaves

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a medium size sauce pot.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, and let soup sit on low for at least one hour for flavors to merge and elevate throughout the broth.

Before serving, remove both bay leaves.

Serve warm, enjoy, and save leftovers for later!

Be well, be healthy, and be ready for spring’s arrival with this savory, lean, satisfying recipe!

Much love 🙂

FSS Rehydrating Skin Mask…

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photo 2-1Winter can leave your skin feeling dry, chapped, and dehydrated. That smooth, summer glow seems so far away throughout these harsh, cold months. This can get to be a real bummer for any skin type, sometimes even to the point of painful. In addition to this, dry skin can make us feel stressed and uncomfortable – another less than ideal combination for tired looking skin.

Luckily, beginning today, readers can break this cycle…with Fit Soul and Spice’s Rehydrating Skin Mask. This at-home spa treatment will deeply and gently exfoliate and rehydrate your skin.

What’s even more wonderful about today’s recipe for healthy skin is that Fit Soul and Spice’s Rehydrating Skin Mask is 100% homemade, all natural, organic, and extremely affordable. In fact, you will probably discover the required ingredients right in your very own kitchen!photo 3-1

It’s as easy as 1-2-3…actually, just 1-2! All you need to do is this:

Fit Soul and Spice’s Rehydrating Skin Mask

Ingredients

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 used k-cup, or 1 heaping tablespoon of used coffee grounds

That’s it! Turns out you can have your coffee and wear it, too!

Directions:

  1. Combine both ingredients in a bowl, and mash up with clean, washed hands until completely mixed.
  2. Over a sink (I use my kitchen sink because it’s bigger and easier to work over), gently scrub the mask onto your face and neck. Be careful to avoid the eyes.
  3. Scrub the remaining mask into your hands. If desired, also apply to elbows or other areas prone to dry or chapped skin throughout the winter.
  4. Leave the mask on for 10 minutes, continuing to massage the mask into your hands.
  5. Over the sink (as it can become a bit messy when removing) or in the shower, use lukewarm water to gently remove the mask. As you remove it from your face, continue to scrub the mask into your face to intensify the exfoliation process.
  6. Pat your face gently with a washcloth until dry, and simply go on with your day, enjoying your rehydrated, soft skin.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean our skin should have to suffer through treacherous conditions. Try Fit Soul and Spice’s Rehydrating Face Mask to regain your glow, feel more relaxed, and to fight that winter dryness. Smooth, summery skin is only two natural ingredients away.

If you try out today’s recipe for healthy skin, be sure to post a photo and tag @fitsoulandspice on Instagram!photo 1-2

Stay vibrant, stay hydrated. Much love! 🙂

Teachers Are…

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Today’s entry is near and dear to my heart.  Fit Soul and Spice is my passion and my dream, and I believe in my heart that someday, it will grow into what I have planned and envisioned for it.  Many people do not know that aside from pursuing my goals with FSS, I am also a teacher.  I teach middle school Language Arts in Northern New Jersey. I initially entered this career because, similar to the mission of Fit Soul and Spice, it is ultimately about helping others and inspiring individuals to create, find success, and lead a happy life.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a LOT constantly lately.  I wanted, better yet, needed, to write this entry today partially to vent, and partially in hopes of inspiring and connecting with other teachers like myself out there, who love what they do, but have recently entered state testing season, or are preparing for it to begin within the next few weeks.

For those out there who are unaware of the current state testing procedures throughout the country, the demands and pressure on everyone involved in the testing process has become increasingly intense, controversial, and demanding.  This year, a new state test called PARCC is being administered in several states, New Jersey being one of them.  Long story short, this extremely rigorous PARCC test has created a great deal of controversy among educators, administrators, political figures, parents, and many other individuals in many different communities.

But today’s entry isn’t just about PARCC or any other specific state test.  It’s not really about the controversy of state testing at all.  It’s really about the realization that testing is now a HUGE part of teaching and education, and even more so, remembering not to lose our path as teachers, inspirers, and life changers.  It’s about reaching into our hearts and our minds, and remembering why we started teaching in the first place.

Lately, throughout all of the rigorous preparation, skilling and drilling, and constant pressure of preparing kids for the high demands that must be met on the test, I’ve found that I’m constantly asking myself the same question: what happened to the creativity that this job once allowed, fostered, and drove?

No matter what age any teacher is or how much experience anyone has, we can probably all agree that we didn’t get into this career for skilling and drilling, teaching to a specific test, or doing what is beginning to seem like an endless amounts of paperwork every single day.  But, the truth of that matter is this: rigorous state testing (and all the paperwork that follows) is here, and it will continue to be here.  We can’t allow our love of teaching to be destroyed by it. We must figure out ways to incorporate it into the evolving world of education.  Today is about an inspiring reality checkI really need it myself, so I know that there must be some other teacher out there who needs it, too.

I’ve noticed something this year more than ever before: kids are beginning to dread and resent reading, writing, learning new things, and the idea of going to school for another day of “preparing for the test.” Even if I don’t mention the test, they have been doing the “skill and drill” test prep for so many years now, that they base their ideas, questions, and thought process around the question, “Will this be on the test?”

Even if a student enjoys writing, the pressure of what’s coming is robbing them of that childlike, effortless joy and creativity that learning is supposed to be.  Not only do they feel smothered as learners, but we are beginning to feel smothered as educators.  Testing is supposed to measure and drive student, teacher, and school growth, but judging by the feelings of so many people involved, it seems to be increasingly having the opposite impact.  Instead, it seems to be stifling the education process.  As a teacher who loves reading and writing so much and truly enjoys being a part of drawing out the literary creativity from within my students, it breaks my heart to see such creative, innovative-minded kids viewing their gifts as a job, or a burden surrounded by such pressures.

Often, I come home thinking about how it seems as though students are losing sight of the importance of what learning is supposed to be. Learning is supposed to foster personal skills and individuality.  If we all mastered the exact same skills and possessed the exact same passions, gifts, and talents, what would the world be like?  How would society thrive?  We’re not all brilliant mathematicians.  We’re not all literary geniuses.  We’re not all expert historians.  We’re not all scientists in the making.  Individuality mustn’t lose it’s value.  We became teachers to ensure that it does not.

eternity

Let’s remind ourselves today why we became teachers, and how we must continue our teachings, no matter how many demands we must meet, and no matter how many things might evolve or change…

Teachers are artists.  We create, inspire, motivate, and change lives.  We aspire to use our creative energy in order to educate and broaden young, brilliant minds.

Teachers are helpers.  Our job is to help children every single day, whether they are five or 18.  We help them to learn, to create, to explore, and to ask questions.  They appreciate our help, and they value our help, even on the days we feel like they don’t.

Teachers are motivators.  Every day we enter the room ready to push our students to do well and to become more well-rounded, driven individuals.  We believe in them, even on the days they don’t really believe in themselves.

Teachers are listeners.  Our ears are open, we understand, and we empathize with the needs of our students.  We don’t just hear as teachers — we listen.

Teachers are mind readers.  We know when they’re happy.  We know when they’re sad.  We know when they’re wide awake.  We know when they’e having a bad day.  We can read their expressions.  We know when something might be wrong, and we ask.  The student that knows that you know, appreciates the support, even if they don’t say it all the time.

Teachers are creators.  We spend a year with our students, and that’s a decent amount of time to impact a life.  We get to impact a bunch of them.  We, as teachers, contribute to the creation and formation of our society’s future.

Teachers are actors.  — but they can read us like a book.  They know when we’re proud.  They know when we’re enthusiastic.  They know when we’re disappointed.  They know when we’re stressed.  They know when it’s really crunch time.  They know that we care.  And they care, too.

Teachers are motivational speakers.  There is no pep talk like the pep talk from the teacher that cares; the teacher that wants the best for their students.  That talk can stick with your for the rest of your life.  The teacher that wants their kids to do well can reach them with a force like nothing else.

Teachers are friends.  (We don’t tell them we are, but we are.)  We support them.  There is a trust.  We want the best for them.  We know when they need to slow their roll, and we tell them like it is.  We have their back, and they appreciate that.  We are protective of them.  We’re upset when they do wrong or make poor decisions.  There is a mutual respect between a compassionate teacher and their students.

Teachers are builders.  We build knowledge.  We build confidence.  We build motivation.  We build learners.  We build teachers.  We build drive. We build ideas.  We build people.  We build creativity.  And now we also build rigorous test takers! Add it to the resume!

Testing is not who we are.  The above list is who we are – and there’s more where that came from!  This is why we do what we do.  It feels good to write this today, and it feels good to vent.  So whoever may be reading this – thanks for listening.  I think I needed to put this in writing to explore my own feelings as an educator currently pressured by testing, and I hope that it will help to re-inspire, if you will, other teachers out there who are also pushing through this ever evolving world of testing, teaching, and education.

inspire

Be well, be wise, be inspired.  Much love 🙂

Self-love: Aspire to Inspire…

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day touching down this Saturday, I’ve decided to post my column from bay magazine’s “bay blog” here on Fit Soul and Spice as well, in an effort to reach a greater number of individuals.  The sole, or better yet, soul, mission of this week’s column is to inspire all to aspire to self-love.

There is a stigma that seems to surround the purpose of Valentine’s Day, and it often leads to people harshly and critically judging themselves, their lives, their choices, and their circumstances.  This, in turn, frequently leads to self-shaming and negativity.  We must ask ourselves this question: where is the self-love?  This Valentine’s Day, I urge you to read my column, posted below, and then look within yourselves for the answer to this question.  Hone in on the remedy for positive change in your life. . .

A Dash of Self-Love

By Christine Florio

Creator of lifestyle blog, Fit Soul and Spice

 Love is in the air, my friends ~ Valentine’s Day is upon us! Roses are en route, Cupid is soaring, and people everywhere are searching to figure out their perfect V-day plans. I’ve realized over time that I have many friends who absolutely love Valentine’s Day, and I have several who completely dread it. The bold line between these two common reactions drives this week’s topic to inspire, reflect, and perhaps regroup through a generous dash of self-love.

As time goes on, I speak to more and more people who view Valentine’s day, a day that is meant for l-o-v-e, as more of a silly, unnecessary conspiracy created by Hallmark, florists, and chocolate companies, and less as a day that represents love, affection, kindness, and the warmth of those closest to us. Of course I understand and respect all personal opinions about the significance and meaning of Valentine’s Day. After all, as a society, we’ve seemed to affirm that Valentine’s Day is mainly ‘couples’ driven. With that point of view, it’s no wonder so many of us become somewhat cynical each year among its looming presence! Unfortunately, affirmations such as this, as well as additional V-day stigmas, tend to commercialize this day, while drowning out all of the opportunities to embrace genuine love.

The gift of individuality in this world is far too beautiful for us to pigeonhole Valentine’s Day as a day catered to specific groups or labels, rather than viewing it for what it really should be: a day dedicated to acknowledging all types of love; anyone, anywhere, anytime.

That being said, whatever your plans may be, I encourage everyone reading this today to join me in changing the game a bit this Valentine’s Day by embracing and showering themselves in the most important and essential love of all: self-love!

Whatever the view may be regarding Valentine’s Day, we should all take some time this year to reflect and implement some self-love into our lives. And what better day could we choose than one that is so heavily dedicated to warmth, kindness, and compassion? Take a moment to define what it is that you want and deserve in love and in life. The self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence you build within yourself, will draw into your life all of the love, happiness, and positivity that you deserve.

Treat yourself to the best Valentine’s Day gift possible this year: a strong sense of self, the acknowledgment of the love and energy that you want surrounding your life, and what it means to build, appreciate, and embrace self-love.

Whether you’re with your significant other, your family, your best friends, or by yourself with a good book, Valentine’s Day is dedicated to every single one of us – because we are all worthy and capable of love. Enjoy the fact that Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year by spending the day doing the things you love most!

Some Self-Love Building Exercises:

~ Go outside and enjoy a long, reflective walk full of fresh air.

~ Bundle up on the couch with a movie from your favorite genre.

~ Catch up on that TV show you never have time to watch.

~ Treat yourself to a massage or spa day.

~ Meet friends, old or new, for brunch and catch up on life.

~ Jump in the car with a friend and see where the drive takes you!

~ Sleep in and turn your alarm off. No snooze button today!

~ Try a new cuisine with your beau or friends.

~ Go out and dance the night away!

If it’s something that makes you feel love and fulfillment, then go for it whole-heartedly! You are the one who defines your basis for joy.

I truly, deeply believe that in our inspiring age of empowerment, independence, and extreme creativity, more people have the power and desire to make the conscious choice to embrace this day with a more open-minded, confidence driven meaning. Not only can this transform the stigma that surrounds Valentine’s Day, but it can also trickle down into all the days of your life. Make efforts to channel your talents and passions, be thankful for and aware of your blessings, and acknowledge all of the goals and dreams you have set for yourself.

Valentine’s Day, like every other day in life, is what you choose to make of it.   Like I always say, a positive attitude and self-love will lead to success and happiness. I hope that after reading this week’s entry, you will try and view Valentine’s Day with both your eyes and your heart from a different angle this year, aspiring to focus on self-love, self-worth, and all of the things that make you feel blessed as a unique individual in this exhilarating, wonderful journey called life.

Stay amazing, stay empowered, and Happy Valentine’s Day, with a special dash of love to all from Fit Soul and Spice! xoxo

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A Healthy Homemade Brunch Date…

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FSS clean banana pancakes

FSS’s clean, natural banana pancakes

This past Sunday seemed like one of those perfect days for some laid back, delicious brunch action.  Instead of heading out into the frigid, icy NYC weather, I [wisely] opted to keep my slippers ON and my winter coat OFF.  After working some magic in the Fit Soul and Spice kitchen, a sweet, fluffy, flavorful healthy alternative brunch option was created.  Gluten free, unprocessed, unrefined, low carb, all natural, and beyond simple to make, today’s FSS original recipe is sure to be tomorrow’s yummy breakfast or brunch!  And for all you lovebirds out there still searching for that perfect Vday surprise, this meal, combined with a fresh cup of coffee or green tea, would definitely make the perfect Valentine’s day breakfast in bed.. 😉

Banana Pancakes with a Strawberry Cacao Reduction

Ingredients:

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FSS banana pancakes. . .

Banana Pancakes (creates 9 small pancakes)

2 large ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond flour

a generous dash of cinnamon

FSS's strawberry cacao reduction

FSS’s strawberry cacao reduction

Strawberry Cacao Reduction (for one batch of banana pancakes)

12 large strawberries, tops removed, and diced

4 tablespoons organic coconut sugar

2 tablespoon cacao powder

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Banana Pancakes:

1. In a medium size bowl, mash your bananas with a fork.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together your eggs and vanilla extract.  Once whipped and fluffy, pour over your mashed bananas.  Mix well with a fork, continuing to mash bananas more finely.  (Leave some chunks if you’d like some banana bites in your pancakes!)

3.  Add almond flour and cinnamon to batter.  Mix thoroughly again until thoroughly, evenly combined.

4.  Bring a griddle or sauté pan to low-medium heat. **VERY important:  before every batch, grease your pan with coconut oil spray.  Otherwise, they will stick.**

5.  Once heated, pour batter by the large tablespoonful (see photo above).  I used a large serving spoon for the perfect size.

6.  Cook for about one minute on each side (until some bubbles form on the edges and holes begin to form on top).

7.  Remove with a spatula and transfer to your serving platter or plates. (tip: coat with coconut oil spray for an easier transfer)

Strawberry Cacao Reduction

1.  In a medium sauce pot, add water, strawberries, and coconut sugar.  Using low-medium heat, bring to a simmer.  Whisk consistently.

2.  Continuing to whisk, allow ingredients to simmer for 3-4 minutes, until strawberries have softened.

3.  Using a masher, mash the strawberries.  Leave some chunk if you prefer texture, or mash more finely for a smoother reduction over your pancakes.

4.  Bring to low heat.  Once strawberries are mashed, add cacao powder and vanilla extract.

5.  Whisk reduction constantly on low until it becomes thick and syrupy (about 6-8 minutes).  Be careful not to leave it over heat too long – you will burn your cacao powder.

6.  Once syrupy texture is consistent, remove from heat and continue to whisk for one minute in order to release heat and continue creating a thick consistency.

7.  Drizzle final reduction over your pancakes, or place it in a serving bowl with a ladle or spoon in order for people to serve themselves.

Suggestions for Sides:

spiralized fruit is appealing to both the eyes and the palat

spiralized fruit is appealing to both the eyes and the palate

~ Freshly spiralized apple & pear topped with sprinkled cinnamon

~ Chilled, sliced orange wedges

          ~ Two scrambled eggs or egg whites

~ Broiled grapefruit halves (slice a large grapefruit in half, sprinkle each half with coconut sugar, place under the broiler on high for five minutes)

There you have it!  Indulge in a healthy, homemade brunch date with your beau, friends, or family by trying out Fit Soul and Spice‘s clean banana pancake dish!  Enjoy, my friends.

Stay warm.  Stay well.  Much love! 🙂