Tag Archives: clean eating

This is the end; this is the beginning.

Another wonderful piece from Holly! In two weeks a group of amazing women will join me in fighting for their health and happiness for 365 days! For one full year we will be working on self-love and healthy choices. When I was asked to design a program to take these women to the next level I felt immense gratitude, and if I am honest-a bit overwhelmed. It would be easy to stick to what I know…12 weeks, 3 months…it works! My program indoctrinates my students into a healthy lifestyle and teaches them how to keep choosing their own health and happiness. I am pretty sure none of these women expected me to come back with this proposition: One year. What was amazing to me, and so inspiring, is how quickly they all responded with “YES”! If they are willing to fight for their own health, willing to keep working hard every damn day…then I can step out of my box, feel the fear, and take these women on a journey that I know will change all of our lives. For 365 days 8 women will choose health, happiness and most importantly… self-love. This is the end and it is the beginning, because “there is no there there”, there is only the journey.

Holly GoWritely

February 28th vs May 5th February 28th vs May 5th

One week ago today, I completed a three month commitment to weight-loss and improving my overall health and wellness. For me, the end of the Happy Body Project is met with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am radiating with pride over all that I have accomplished. I have lost 40 pounds, and countless inches (I say countless because stupidly I didn’t start measuring until 1/3 of the way through the program). I have also dropped two dress sizes. Most importantly though, I am armed with the tools and knowledge that will keep me on the road to success.

In other ways, the end is bitter sweet.  I have shared my inner most feelings of shame and struggle with the women in this group – and they have shared their inner most feelings of shame and struggle with me. In the short period of just…

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One-Pan Cajun Jambalaya

This Recipe is from the first Nordstrom Cookbook. A friend made this for dinner one night, long before we started eating healthier, and it instantly became a family favorite! I love it because I have no dishes to do, and it is easy! I also love the way it makes my house smell. It creates a warm and cozy atmosphere, and the ingredients (and process) could not be more simple. 

One-Pan Cajun Jambalaya


  • 2 tbsp butter (or MCT oil,or ghee)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (or red)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (I have used all colors)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (two Trader Joe’s frozen garlic cubes)
  • 16 Ounces spicy smoked sausage, preferably Andouille, cut into ¼ inch slices (use whatever you like, turkey, chicken)
  • 1 cup long grain rice (I use brown)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp tabasco sauce (hold unless your kids like spice)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning


  • Melt butter over medium high heat
  • Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and sausage and saute, stirring frequently until the vegetables are tender (about 7 mins)
  • Add the rice, broth, Tabasco sauce, tomatoes and Cajun seasoning
  • Stir until well mixed and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender, 20 – 25 minutes
  • Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Most of the fat in this will be from the sausage, so you can opt to not eat it, or cook with low-fat or turkey sausage. I like to add shrimp (already cooked and defrosted) and just toss them in right at the end, already warmed up. Leftover chicken can also be added.

And again, for the kids I would leave the Tabasco for ppl to add on their own, it is spicy!

To serve, top with blue corn chips and greek yogurt, DELISH!

Healthy Cookbooks I Use

I don’t usually use many recipes, but rather I combine the healthy foods I have in my refrigerator and create as I go. However, it took me time to get to this place. Like everything else it takes practice and repetition to learn what tastes good with what, and how to put it all together. These are all books I own, and use. It is great to flip through the pages and get ideas. Many of these I have owned for years. The new ones have been chosen by my kids. They want to make a list, walk to the store, and create what they see in the picture! Healthy cooking is a hobby I can get behind 100%. My Son loves the Alton Brown, Every Day Cook, and my Daughter chose The No Time To Cook! Book.

I will start sharing some of the recipes I love, and hope they help others as they have me!

I also included In Defense Of Food, those of you that have followed my journey know this was the book that began my “wake-up” call. Not a recipe book, but a reminder of what food is, and more importantly, what food is not.

Happy New Year! Happy cooking! Healthy life!







New Books on my “wish list”:


Books for kids




Last night a small portion of our Happy Body Project call was spent on simple carbs vs. complex carbs. I know all of this is a bit scientific, and a little boring, but it is really important information for all of us to know when it comes to where we get our energy!

My sad scientific attempt was boiled down to how I remember it:

Simple Carbs=Short Chains of Sugar

Straight into the bloodstream=sugar/glucose/energy rush, then crash

Complex Carbs=Long Chains of Sugar

Body has to work to get the sugar/glucose/energy out of the food by untangeling it from the fiber, so sugar is released slowly=even, sustained energy


This document from UCLA is a GREAT explanation!

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 1.39.13 PM

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for your body. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.


Complex carbohydrates are energy yielding nutrients that are put to good use in the body. Technically, they are long chains of sugar molecules arranged as starches. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates are often good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Simple carbohydrates are sugars such as fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugar). Certain sugar-containing foods, such as sodas, are referred to as “empty calories” because they provide energy but little nutritional value.

 Complex Carbohydrates

You can find abundant complex carbohydrates in whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, and vegetables. Because the sugar in whole fruit is combined with fiber and the sugar in milk is combined with protein, these simple carbohydrates are also considered more complex in nature. Milk products and whole fruit are also rich in nutrients, unlike other foods high in sugar.

Are Complex Carbohydrates High in Calories?

Contrary to popular belief, the calorie content of foods that contain complex carbohydrates is relatively low. Jumbo portion sizes and/or added fats, such as butter and cream sauces, are what increase the calorie content of these foods. Calorie comparisons of food items with and without added fats follow.


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Complex carbohydrates can be an excellent source of fiber, which provides you with several benefits:

  • Decreased blood cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Decreased constipation and othergastrointestinal disorders.
  • Improved w eight control bypromoting a feeling of fullness withfewer calories.
  • Improved diabetes control by slow-ing the entry of sugar into the blood.


Simple sugars are found naturally in fruit, vegetables, and milk. But most of the sugar we eat is added to foods, such as candy, cake, ice cream, many breakfast cereals, sports bars, and soft drinks. One 12 oz. can of cola actually contains ten teaspoons of pure added sugar!


The main purpose of simple carbohydrates is to enhance flavor and act as a preservative in processed foods. Since most of the food sources of simple carbohydrates contribute no protein, vitamins, or minerals to your diet, they are called “empty calorie” foods. To illustrate this point further, a nutritional comparison between a complex carbohydrate (whole wheat bread) and a simple carbohydrate (soda) is given below:

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 1.27.51 PM

 Know Your Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our bodies. There are two types of c a r b o h ydrates: (1) simple carbohydrates and (2) complex carbohydrates. All carbohydrates are ultimately broken down into glu- cose (blood sugar) to fuel the cells in our bodies.


Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, include table sugar (sucrose), honey, corn syrup, molasses, and the natural sugars found in fruit (fructose), and milk (lactose). When sugars are added to foods, they provide a very concentrated form of carbohydrate, with many calories but few nutrients. Thus, they contribute many “empty calories” when added to foods such as soft drinks, cookies, candies, and other sweets. The average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugars each day, which amounts to 300 calories – the amount of sugar found in just two 12-oz. cans of soda. Added sugar should be limited to 10% of total energy intake, or 12 tsp. of sugar (48g) a day based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Complex carbohydrates, or starches, are comprised of long chains of simple sugars. They can be found in whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole fruits, vegetables, and beans. These foods not only provide calories, but they are also packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which makes them more filling and more nutritious.



Because of the way the body metabolizes sugary, processed foods, a candy bar or soda is not an ideal energy source. Most sugary, processed foods are converted immediately to glucose after consumption. This creates a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and a sudden burst of energy. But this energy is only temporary. The high blood sugar levels cause the pancreas to secrete large quantities of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that works to promote fuel storage in the body. When sugary, processed foods enter the body, a high concentration of insulin is secreted which causes glucose to be rapidly removed from the blood, leaving you without energy and craving more sugar. Thus, people who eat candy bars and soda for quick energy are actually defeating their purpose.

Most high-fiber, complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly than sugary, processed foods. As a result, blood sugar levels rise more slowly and steadily, and insulin is secreted in lower concentrations. This means that glucose leaves the blood more gradually, giving your more sustained energy.

Choosing Whole Grains

Not all complex carbohydrates carry the same nutritional benefits. “Refined,” starchy foods like white rice, white pasta, white bread, and cereals made from “enriched wheat flour,” lack the fiber and several of the nutrients that “whole grain” foods provide. In a sense, refined, starchy foods act more like simple sugars in the body and provide mostly empty calories.


A whole grain has four parts: the germ (the nutrient-rich inner part), the endosperm (the soft white, starchy inside portion), the bran (the fibrous coating around the grain), and the husk (the outer inedible shell).


Refinement is the process that removes all but the endosperm portion of the grain, leaving a white, nutrient-poor, refined flour.


Enrichment is the process that adds back five nutrients to white, refined flour: iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid. All the other nutrients from the whole grain are still lost (magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, chromium, vitamin E, and fiber).


Use the following guidelines to make sure you are really getting whole grain products:

Wheat: “Wheat Flour” is the generic term for any flour made from wheat.

  • Cracked wheat, stoned wheat, wheatberry, 100% wheat, seven-grain, and multi-grain areall made from mostly refined grains, not whole grains.
  • Look for the word “whole” before “grain” or “wheat” on product labels. It also should bethe first ingredient listed.Rye and Pumpernickel: These types of products usually contain little, if any, whole grains.

    Oats: Oat products are generally whole grain, no matter how you slice it–instant, regular, fine-cut, or coarse-cut. The one exception is oatmeal bread where the first ingredient listed on the label is usually refined wheat flour. You’ll find oats way down on the ingredients list.

    Rice: Brown and wild rice are whole grains. White rice is not.
    Other Whole Grain Products: Try bulgar wheat, whole wheat couscous, whole wheat pastas.

    ©2005 The Regents of the University of California
    The data provided isresearched and interpreted by health professionals at UCLA.Varying opinions may be held by others in the health care field.

Own Your Story


When I started changing the way I ate, and blogging about healthy foods, it seemed way WAY to disgusting to admit I had weighed close to 250 lbs. I actually never lied, I just didn’t tell the whole truth.

Much the same thinking I approached my eating disorder with. If I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t admit it, then maybe it didn’t really happen. These photos tell a different story, they tell the truth. Honestly as I look at these I think I was probably over 250 lbs at some point, but my guess is I handily avoided the scale and all Dr.’s visits during this period. I know I was well into the 280’s pregnant, but I don’t think this really counts. This isn’t denial, I just never felt bad about being heavier pregnant. After two miscarriages prior to my first-born I wasn’t going to give one single “pregnancy pound” a second thought. I also felt “released” from dieting, and finding the magic potion. That felt incredible.

There are not many photos of me at this weight…the “delete” button is an amazing gift when you don’t want to be held accountable and you are actively erasing history as you go.  If I don’t see it, and you don’t see it, then it didn’t really happen!  But it did.

I have showed these photos to several people and I am always amazed to hear, “Oh please, you had just had a baby!” Ummm….really? I am holding a 11 month old!!! I always want to say, “Is this what you looked like 11 months after having a child?” I think not.

It has been a lifetime of punishing myself, hiding from the elephant in the room, and hoping the right “diet” or “pill” would miraculously transform me into a super model overnight and then I could get busy living.

So the day I had to input my starting weight into MyFitnessPal I decided to put the weight I was that year. And that is ok. It was what I weighed. But I never fessed up to all those supporting me, or asking me for advice, that I had actually been much heavier. Skinny people reading this might be thinking what is the big deal? But heavy people, struggling with their weight-loss will understand why it was a breach of trust. In a way, I was posing. Pretending to have a little more self-control, to be a little bit less of a glutton than others.

Most people would think when you are losing weight you want to get credit for Every. Single. Pound. That is the difference between a normal person looking to lose some weight and an addict. I was hiding a gross, disgusting, nasty laps in self-control. No one I was meeting going forward was going to know how big I had been.

But as I started to realize I could never erase my past, as I stepped out of the shadows of the “old me”, the me I hated, truly loathed….I had to drop the cloak. I had to stand completely naked (metaphorically people, there are different websites for that) in the middle of the room and own all of my faults. I had to wrap a warm blanket of love and forgiveness around that sad, lonely, empty girl and tell her it was going to be ok. In order to do that there could be no lies.

I am a compulsive overeater battling a very real disease on a daily basis, and my heaviest, non-pregnancy, documented weight was 244 pounds.

At 244 pounds I was obese.  A BMI of 37.1.

What’s in a number? For a compulsive overeater, the truth. The truth is what is in that number. Until you are honest with yourself, there is zero chance of longterm success. Until you look in the mirror and accept where you are, and I realize how painful and impossible this will feel, I know…but until you are able to own where you are today, and start loving the person you see in the mirror today, I can promise you you will never get better. You cannot outrun any addiction. You must heal, and that takes self-compassion and love. A kind of love that no one else can provide for you, it must come from deep inside of you where the pain lies, and once it starts growing you will be unstoppable.

I am Jennifer, I am @HappyBodyFood, and this is my journey from unhealthy to healthy…but more truthfully this is my journey from self-hate, to self-love.

Happy Body Project

The Happy Body Project makes getting healthy fun! People always ask me how I lost weight, how I eat clean, and how I stay on track? What finally clicked for me that I was able to shift from years of bad habits and poor choices, to a life full of better choices, and self-love. The secrets to my success are the foundation of The Happy Body Project:  Community, support, small changes over time, small goals, crowding out the unhealthy, retraining the brain and resources!

But the MOST important secret is BELIEVING you are ready! I KNEW I was done with all the fads, gimmicks, ups and downs. I believed in myself and I knew there had to be a better way! Are you ready? Ready for a change! Ready to feel good, look your best, and put the cycle behind you? If you BELIEVE it is time to “just be healthy” join me for the Happy Body Project!

I am so fortunate to be able to work with individuals who struggle with emotional eating, sugar addiction and an overall desire to have a healthier relationship with food, it is my passion. Now I get to bring that program to people who can’t meet with me in person, but are still eager to change their relationship with food and be the best version of themselves. Together we are better and we are stronger!

Why Group Coaching Works

  1. SUPPORT: Group coaching gives you the opportunity to share your feelings with others and develop deeper connections, you have a personal support system from the get-go. On the days you want to quit, throw in the towel, or turn towards past behaviors you have a village to help keep you on track. Together we can empower one another, motivate one another, and simply support on another. Knowing you are not alone in your journey will help you develop the confidence and motivation to address your challenges and succeed.
  2. SUCCESS: A much higher likelihood of achieving goals! You’re much more likely to stick to your gym routine if you have a gym buddy, right? More likely to go hiking or take a jog if a friend is relying on you to show up? The same is true with group coaching. When individuals are part of a group, they procrastinate less, accomplish more, and reach their goals faster.
  3. RESOURCES: Benefit from the collective wisdom we all bring to the table. You’ll brainstorm solutions, open creativity channels, and uncover opportunities you may not have discovered working solo. Have you ever been in a study group where you’ve learned from a classmate who gets it? Other group members help you master new concepts like a pro! It is also an opportunity to see what works for others, and what has not. Each session will bring you new ideas & light-bulb moments you might not come up with on your own.
  4. PERSPECTIVE: Gain new perspectives through others. When you work alone, you examine situations from one perspective – yours. But when you work in a group, you’re exposed to a variety of insights that empower you to see a situation from multiple angles and motivate you to develop new solutions.
  5. VALUE: Get the same quality coaching my one-on-one program offers, but at a fraction of the cost of individual coaching. Group coaching is a smart and affordable way to receive top-notch guidance.
  6. A TEAM: When you work in a group, the whole team celebrates your successes. More importantly the whole team lifts you up hard days, and supports you when you may be feeling down. You have a safe place to just be honest and real, without worrying about judgement.
  7. FUN: Working with a group is a social event that participants look forward to. You’ll join a close-knit group that is energizing, motivating and most of all – fun! Group members often become lifelong friends.

For more information on joining the Happy Body Project: #HappyBodyProject or email me:





KETO DELIVERED graciously asked me if I would be interested in taking a look at their product. I have been checking out their Insta @KetoDelivered for some time so I was all in! I have to say I am super impressed.

The packaging is awesome! Simple, but engaging.

Right away you see a recipe card. This one is for Garlic and Pepper Salmon which I will be making ASAP. Any recipe that is easy, quick and chalked full of flavor gets my attention. It also gave me a place to try the one product that gave me pause. More on that in a bit.

Next the contents.

Ok you just took a pause too? I know you did! Pork Lard. Wow, ok. Let me process. So eating Keto is all about embracing fat. I say it all the time, but let me say it one more time because I know so many people still do not believe it, “Fat does not make you fat.” Actually fat burns fat off at a rapid rate. I switch up how I eat, otherwise I would die of boredom, but eating a Keto diet is a big part of my life.

So once I moved passed the word “Lard” and read on, it made perfect sense. Most fats you cook with (coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, MCT Oil, Avocado Oil, EVOO) have the same grams of fat, 14g, per Tablespoon and around 100 to 150 calories. Pork Lard is no different, 14g’s and 130 calories per serving. This is clean eating my friends. Two ingredients, Organic Pork Fat and Organic Rosemary Extract, no artificial colors, sweeteners or chemicals, and no preservatives. So if fat doesn’t make me fat, eating lard shouldn’t add to…well you feel me.

Fatworks Foods has some cool looking products, great recipes, and a good explanation of being “Defenders of Fat” on their website.

Next up were these Miracle Noodles which I was really excited to see were not made of soy. If you follow my Instagram @HappyBodyFood you have seen me make these (soy version). Sometimes a girl just wants noodles in a yummy sauce, without having to eat simple carbs. But most of the versions I have found are soy, not my favorite. These are three ingredients, purified water, Konjac Flour and Calcium Hydroxide. A few years ago when I was trying to figure out what Miracle Noodles were I read this great article from Wellness Mama. I love them and am excited to have the original noodle in my hot little hand!

What can I say, Nut Sack won us over! Read the label. When you have a 12 year old boy, and a husband, and houseguests, well this was a winner! And the nuts (sorry but I have to) tasted great! I love it when real food, flavor and humor all intersect. Life is so serious, this is a great way to bring in some smiles! If you want to win “Snack Mom of the year” with the pre-teen, or teen boys, or just bring some humor to the water cooler at work, this is the way to go! Let me add Brazil Nuts are the powerhouse in the world of nuts and who ever buys Brazil Nuts? So another win. Nice job Nut Sack, we like your nuts!

I’m currently off the sauce so I can’t even try this to report back, but Mr. Happy Body Food dove right in and loved Xanadu Coffee Company! I like that it supports a small batch coffee roaster in downtown Phoenix that specializes in micro-lots, direct trade coffee and hand roasting. I can’t even write anymore about it because all this coffee talk has me missing my morning Joe. Too bad I don’t do moderation better.

My girlfriend Kimberly and I broke right into these and just kept eating! YUMMY! A lot of times living foods taste, well, like the grass on the labels. I still eat them, but it is hard to pass them off on friends and family. The flavor of these was unreal! Super flavorful with a little kick (cumin & chili powder). Not one mystery ingredient. We ate them as is right out of the bag but while we were inhaling them we talked about how good they would be with a little cheese, or a dip, or fresh avocado. Mexican Harvest Flax Crackers were all cracker and no flax, and as much as I love flax, when it comes to a good cracker I really don’t want to be tasting it. These go on the grocery list!

Machaca Shredded Beef Jerky is the most intriguing of the items. I will keep you posted. The suggestion is to add to Huevos! I think the possibilities are endless! My husband is a beef jerky connoisseur so he has been trying to steal the bag, stay-tuned, I will keep you posted!

The back of the Keto Delivered recipe card has discounted offer codes for each product, as well as more information on each company. All in all I think Keto Delivered is a great investment. People who eat a certain style (Paleo, Keto, Vegetarian, Vegan, Whole 30) tend to get into their routines. Trust me, I know. You have a repertoire that works so you don’t venture too far. I really loved this Keto box because it was full of things that meet the Keto way of eating, but are all products I had never tried, and probably would not have tried. Change is good, and new things make staying healthy fun!

Check out their website, Keto Delivered and program! I’m a fan!

good food. good life.