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Well, here we are--Fall is in full swing and the holidays are just around the corner. Which is WILD! Days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, leaves are changing color, and Christmas decor is flying off the shelves.

Working with clients on their health and wellness journeys through the years has provided me with many opportunities in many different behavior scenarios. In my experience, the Holidays usually heighten the stress around what healthy behaviors 'should' look like. Oftentimes, I have seen clients hold onto what they perceive as healthy behaviors around the holidays, with a death grip only to increase anxiety, decrease enjoyment, spark a restrict/binge cycle, and/or create feelings of failure.

Instead of trying to diet in order to 'stay on your best behavior' or saying "I will start over January 1st" could we find a more flexible & sustainable approach? Instead of having that all-or-nothing mentality--What can we execute this year in order for us to feel balanced so we can enjoy and be present during the holiday season and the celebrations instead of feeling anxious and defeated?

A few approaches we have worked on with clients in the past can be found in our slides!

I will confess I used to be the leader of weight loss challenges or programs like "maintain it, don't gain it" over the holidays. And I am not bashing or dismissing concerns of weight or the desire to lose weight-- I still support and help foster both of those. BUT, my approach has changed. Instead of being hyper-focused on holiday weight gain, we help set up individuals for success by helping build a solid foundation for a lifestyle where food (& exercise) are enjoyed again and not used as a reward or punishment system. Enjoying food as it was intended--for fuel, nourishment, and to honor our health, our preferences, our cultures & more.

We are excited to offer a new series that will begin on November 1st and will end right before Christmas. We will practice some of the approaches (listed in our slides) through live (also recorded) education sessions, offer curated meal plans & grocery lists, and MUCH more! Stay tuned for more details over the next week! Registration will open Friday and will be limited so set your reminders! :-)

I know you have been awaiting the reveal of my baking session with the secret chef! Today is the day!

As I mentioned, over the weekend I had the pleasure and opportunity to be in the kitchen testing some Fall recipes with one of my favorite bakers. And that baker is...Pip Vogel of @pips_sweet_treats! She also happens to be my firstborn! :-)

I wanted to recruit Pip's help because I am not a baker and I needed the expertise in the areas of recipe development, flavor, and baking and she has experience with all of those! Some of the criteria I Iaid out for her was keeping this recipe easy, Fall-flavored, delicious, AND packed with nutrients. After a bit of brainstorming, she had a brilliant idea--let's try something semi-homemade!

We know a lot of us wear multiple hats and need shortcuts from time to time, so we set out to find a box-mix that met our criteria and we would add to it! We found @simplemills Pumpkin Muffin & Bread mix and we were sold on the nutrition facts--7 g of sugar per serving (as a rule of thumb we like to keep grams of sugar around 9g or so per serving for items that aren't desserts or other sweets), it also had 2 grams of protein AND 2 grams of fiber (one of my favorite nutrients).

We followed the directions on the box except we used 3/4c of water (instead of the 1/2c) since we were adding some 'bulk!'

We followed the baking directions on the box and voila--20 mins later we had quite perfect and delish pumpkin-plus muffins! By adding these ingredients we not only added texture and flavor we also added antioxidants, more fiber, healthy fats, beta carotene, potassium, vitamin C, and more!

We had a blast creating our first mother/daughter business collaboration and I enjoyed every minute I spent with @Pips_Sweet_Treats since I know these years will fly by. 😢 There will be more collaborations in the near future!

Just like we remind our clients, being healthy doesn't have to mean taking things away, restricting, or depriving yourself of the foods or the activities/social events that you love. A lot of times we are working to ADD foods, nutrients, experiences, new movements, joy, rest & much more into your daily life in order to fill you up, not tear you down!

We hope you enjoy the recipe! If you try it out--we would love to see pics and hear how you liked our Pumpkin+ Muffins!!

Take a look and see if you can find anything usable within these slides! And if not, let us know what questions you may have or any other feedback. We love and appreciate all comments and shares!

🍒🍓Also, check out the vitamin C-forward recipes in our stories, and then go follow the talented, smart, and creative women that developed these delish and nourishing recipes! @desocio_in_the_kitchen & @maramcstay_nutrition

❓Looking forward to next week's post....any guesses on what it will be?!?!

😎📕Oh and for those wanting to dive a little deeper-- here are a few of the references we used to develop this post.

Braakhuis, A. J., & Hopkins, W. G. (2015). Impact of Dietary Antioxidants on Sport Performance: A Review. Sports Medicine, 45(7), 939–955.

Gropper, S. S., Smith, J. L., & Carr, T. P. (2021). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (MindTap Course List) (8th ed.) [E-book]. Cengage Learning.

USDA. (2018). USDA National Nutrient Database-Vitamin C. USDA Nutrient Lists from Standard Reference Legacy.

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