Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe (Soy, Dairy & Gluten-Free)

All I've been hearing lately is talk of Fall, apple picking, changing of the leaves, hot apple cider and all things pumpkin...I am 100% A-OK with this and plan to indulge in all of the Fallyness every chance I get. Actually, Chris and I have invited his mother up for a visit this weekend so we can go apple picking for the first time! At least it's this Florida girl's first time. I seem to always miss out on apple picking season so this year I was not letting the chance slip away from me. 

So in honor of all things Fall-y I decided it's time to whip up one of my favorite easy yummy pumpkin recipes that I have been making for several years now as a topping for my rice cakes, pancakes, and a dip for apples. Each year, it seems to evolve and get better as I discover new ingredients that I love to use.

One of my favorite ingredients that I discovered at the beginning of the year is Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder.  I had never heard of it before and so I thought I'd give it a shot. I knew that there were many benefits to including pumpkin in the diet such as it being rich in vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese and other minerals including zinc, iron and copper and it is also great for removal of intestinal parasites...yucky sounding but totally necessary. It is also high in protein, it has only one ingredient - ground pumpkin seed - so I don't have to worry about any other unnecessary ingredients lurking in my protein, it's not chalky or gritty tasting, and it has almost no taste so it mixes really well in everything. Lastly, it's soy and dairy-free which are both foods that I avoid because of food allergies and intolerances. This protein is a WIN-WIN in my book and a constant kitchen staple for me.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

The pumpkin pie protein spread over rice cakes make a great pre-workout meal as it give you the perfect amount of fuel to crush your workout which I am about to do! It's also the perfect meal to enjoy with a homemade pumpkin spice latte that I have been making with Trader Joe's delicious Pumpkin Spice Coffee, stevia, cinnamon and coconut milk creamer. It's WAY cheaper and has WAY less sugar than the PSL that is being served up at Starbucks right now. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and all the Fall-y things as much as I do! :)

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe

Mix all ingredients together and spread over rice cakes, pancakes or as a dip for apples.

Note:  If you don't need as much protein, you can make this recipe without the protein powder or cut the protein in half and use less almond milk. It tastes delicious either way!

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach




Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Get Cut Like a Jack-O-Lantern Kettlebell Workout

What’s up guys! It’s hard to believe that October is already here and soon Halloween will be knocking on our door.  What the @!&@# happened! Personally, I love the months of September/October. As much as I love summer, the warm weather, going to the beach and not having to bundle up in a million layers, fall is one of the best times of the year. The air is crisp, the changing of the leaves are awesome and as great as summer is, it’s great to have a break from 90 degree weather with humidity. Fall adds balance and symmetry to the year.

As we train, balance and symmetry are also what we are chasing with our workouts. Whether you are seeking symmetry just for aesthetics or muscular balance and control to be better able to move and perform outside the gym, balance is a key component to that. Balance from our left to right side and front and back of our bodies.

With that in mind, today’s kettlebell workout will focus on unilateral movements combined with supersets. Supersets are performing two exercises back to back with no rest in-between. If you haven’t used supersets before they are a great way to really up the intensity factor and get yourself going. Not only that but they can allow you to pack in more work in less time. There are many ways to do supersets but for this workout we’ll have you targeting the same muscles for each pair of exercises.  

So get ready to push yourself with this pre-Halloween workout, but most of all have fun with it and keep challenging yourself!

Get cut like a Jack-O-lantern kettlebell workout

Perform each pair of exercises then rest; repeat the same pair for 3 (or 4) sets  

Sets: 3x (4 if being ambitious)

Reps: 15

Put the candy down...It's time to get cut like a jack-o-lantern kettlebell workout

Rest: 45 seconds between supersets  

** Perform a dynamic warm-up to prep your body to train**

Let's Get Started

1A.) Single arm overhead shoulder press

1B.) Single arm upright row

(do both these exercises for reps on one side and then transfer over and do the same on the other side)

2A)  Bent over single arm row, elbow in close to the body leaving your hand in a neutral grip postion

2B) 2 arm kettlebell swing X 2 (1 set after each set of rows)

(do the row for reps on one side, the kettlebell swing, then transfer over and do row on the other side followed by another kettlebell swing)

3A) Single arm press laying on the floor

3B) Push-ups – as many as possible (AMAP)

  1. Regress this exercise if you need to. Knee pushups, or pushups on a raised surface will work. Keep form good! Put your knees down or work at an angle if your pushup form looks like a wet noddle with no core/trunk stability

4A) Single leg squat (weight held by your side on the same side as your squatting leg)

  1. Regress to two legged squats if your balance or strength won’t allow you to single leg squat yet. Hold the kettlebell in the rack position for this regression. Each circuit switch up which side you hold the weight on.

4B) Single leg deadlift (hold the weight in the OPPOSITE hand from the leg you are standing on)

  1. Regress to two feet on the ground and two hands on the kettlebell if unable to stand on 1 leg

5A) Seated Russian twist

5B) Crunches – 20-50 reps depending on ability

Chris Hale, On-line Personal Trainer at Awakened Nutrition

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

Fall is officially here, it is time to stop slacking, get back to the weights and put the work in! Hopefully the summer happy hours and vacation off-plan eating hasn’t wrecked you too badly! We’ve all been there…. I mean I haven’t (who am I kidding), but I understand things happen. Haha!  Fall is a season of change and if you are looking for a new and exciting way to change up your workouts, kettlebells just might be the answer. So have some fun, mix things up, and starting adding some kettlebell work into your weekly workout routine.

Strength in large part is a neuromuscular skill. It’s not simply about having more muscle mass. When we are training with kettlebells we are working on improving the skill of your nervous system. The purpose is not to approach it like a traditional body part split routine training only parts of the body but working with an eye to improving how your body moves as a unit. Control, speed, accuracy and consistency that you can skillfully apply are the goals. As your movement patterns improve and your body adapts, your ability to work with heavier loads and do more complicated moves will bring about the strength that most of us are after.

Aside from strength, doing this circuit is also an awesome way to get off the treadmill or other machine and start using your body for real to do cardio. Instead of jumping on a machine for a one plane of motion boring routine think about picking up a kettlebell and use more muscles to achieve better results!

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

Circuit: 3x

Reps: 15-20

Rest: 60-90 seconds between circuits

** Perform a dynamic warm-up to get the body better ready to move

NOTE: during the circuit don’t put the kettlebell down unless you are moving to another exercise & you have to or you need to grab a heavier or lighter kettlebell to work with. Your goal should be to be able to do all the exercises with the same weight.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

Let's Get Started!

1.)    Goblet squat

2.)    Deadlift

3.)    Rack postion, single arm front squat (10 right, 10 left) 

4.)    Single arm overhead shoulder press 

5.)    Standing upright row (2 hands on the kettlebell) 

6.)    Pushups, 1 hand on the kettlebell, one on the floor

a.       Regress this exercise if you need to. Knee pushups, or regular pushups on the floor or a raised surface will work.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

7.)    Wide elbow, bent over kettlebell row 

8.)    Front plank (on forearms) - 30 seconds, Side plank - 30 seconds, Side plank - 30 seconds

a.       Try and transition from front to side planks without coming down to the floor

9.)    Seated Russian twist  

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners
Personal Trainer, Chris Hale
Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners


Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa


It's hard to believe that summer has come to an end and we will be welcoming the new fall season tomorrow! Chris and I have been holding onto summer with everything we've got and made one last beach trip last Saturday. The weather was absolutely amazing and we stayed pretty much all day. Thank goodness we chose to go Saturday because the weather immediately changed to a nice breezy fall day on Sunday. No complaints here though because we love fall just as much as summer!

Are you the type of person who holds onto to your favorite seasons? Or how about your favorite weekly meals? 

It is easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same foods over and over each week. To be honest, I find I am able to stick to a healthier meal plan when I don't have to think too much about what my next meal will be, but that can be so boring at times! So this summer, Chris and I have tried to live a little more adventurously and try some new foods and recipes to spruce up our menu. Some of the foods we have been enjoying are organic corn, shrimp, goat cheese, cauliflower pizza crusts, farina (ground brown rice), and gluten-free flatbread buns made out of tapioca flour. 

Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa via AwakenedNutrition.com

One of our favorite recipes that we have made over and over is this zesty avocado shrimp and corn salsa. It's a great recipe because you can change it up each time by adding or taking away ingredients and it tastes delicious every time! We love to make ours a little spicy and with extra pink salt. :) You can enjoy the shrimp salsa over a salad, as a taco in a corn or brown rice tortilla, or on a simple organic corn tortilla chip. 

This is a great recipe to try now that summer is coming to a close, because soon our shopping carts will be filled with pumpkins and squash. YUM! 

I realize that not everyone can eat corn these days so I have included some swaps for corn below. Maybe you have some other favorite veggie ingredients that would taste amazing in this salsa mix. I would love to hear what amazing things you come up with so make sure to keep me posted in the comments below. 

Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa 

Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa via AwakenedNutrition.com
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb or 1.5 cups raw medium size shrimp, peeled/deveined
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil for shrimp sauté 
  • 2 cups organic frozen sweet corn
  • 1.5 cups Roma tomato, chopped 
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup avocado, chopped 
  • 1 lime or lemon juiced 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Penzey’s forward spice or use any other spiced seasoning of your choice such as cayenne, chili and cumin powder to taste 

Additional ingredients that could be added for extra flavor or substitutions:

  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Red or green pepper instead of corn
  • Chopped zucchini instead of corn
  • Jicama instead of corn 


  1. In a sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium or medium-low heat. Add peeled shrimp, salt, pepper and forward spice to taste. Sauté a couple of minutes on each side until shrimp is pink and no longer translucent. Once done, set aside to cool. Once cool, chop shrimp into small chunks.
  2. Defrost frozen corn in either the microwave or on stove top with a little water. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Chop your avocado and Roma tomatoes into small cubes and dice red onion finely by hand or in a food processor. I used the Cuisinart Mini Food Prep.
  4. Juice your lime or lemon.
  5. In a large bowl, add all prepared ingredients, extra salt, pepper and forward spice and mix thoroughly. 
  6. Place in fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool and serve with either organic tortilla chips or corn tortillas. Enjoy!




Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!


What The Hell Are Kettlebells? And What’s With All That Swinging?

Kettlebells have been around for a really long time and are nothing new to fitness, but in the last 5-10 years kettlebells have become much more prevalent in the big box/corporate gyms that many of us go to.  Unless you are the gym, Planet Fitness…. Then you have only treadmills, a smith machine and a small smattering of dumbbells. I kid! Not really though.  Just make sure not to make any noise or put any effort in there or you might be asked to leave. Ok!  Mini rant over.  Ha!

What The Hell Are Kettlebells? And What’s With All That Swinging?

Kettlebells originated out of Eastern Europe many moons ago. As folklore would have it Kettlebells were used as counterweights in Russian markets, then after hours when the market closed, farmers would use the Kettlebells to swing and toss around both for fun and for physical exercise.  

As with most resistance training techniques the Russians/Eastern Europe where the first to start incorporating kettlebells for exercise.  In the 1980s Russia, Kettlebells started to be used to raise the popularity of physical culture.  In 1981, the USSR Weightlifting Federation established a Kettlebell commission in order to keep the masses fit and help decrease healthcare costs. Kettlebells were an easy way to get weights in people’s hands and get them moving without having to have an entire collection or different weights and machines.

The USSR had a unique position in history. 

-          They had complete control over what to use/promote for health and fitness

-          They had the most advanced sports and human performance scientists at the time

-          A need to minimize upfront costs & a desire to reduce long term health expenses

-          Desire to maximize the longevity and work capacity of its population

Their choice of tool to achieve these goals was the Kettlebell.  Today, we live in a society that’s sole motive is to sell and market without a need or concern if what they are selling is actually achieving the results that are desired.

 Kettlebells are about efficiency. Efficiency of movement, cost , space needed and they are multipurpose. Perfect for a home gym setup as all you need is 1-2 appropriately challenging Kettlebells, a little bit of space and you have a home gym!

Another aspect that makes Kettlebells unique from other weights is that the weight is not perfectly centered in the hand. The weight and center of gravity is away from the hand on a handle and better mimics objects that one would actually come into contact with in the real world. ie.  A backpack. You have a strap with off centered weight from the handle or strap.  The take away here is that Kettlebells will better mimic the type of objects we will actually encounter in the real world.

The benefits of Kettlebells include:

-          Strength

-          Endurance

-          Caloric expenditure

-          Functianal movement patterns

-          Improvement in timing and space awareness

-          Better balance

-          Improved coordination

-          Focus

-          Injury prevention

Injury prevention is one of the big benefits of Kettlebells. Most often injuries incur during deceleration of weight . For example jumping.  Landing and absorbing the force of the jump is where most people injure themselves. Not the initial leap.  Kettlebells help teach your body to better manipulate weight that is not perfectly centered in your hand and to better absorb force through rapid, smooth deceleration by spreading forces through the body.  Kettlebells help promote trunk stability and encourage hip dominant movement.

In summary, Kettlebells are great for training the body to manipulate weight more efficiently, learning to absorb force through the body, are low cost and easy to have and use for home (or in the gym) to achieve great results in less time.

 “Physical fitness is the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness without undue fatigue and ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies”. -  According to The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport

So the next time you are thinking about what to add to your home gym arsenal without spending a fortune or you want to add a new challenge to your body and shake up how you go about your workouts give Kettlebells a try!


Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotic Review


As most of you know, I have suffered from food allergies, leaky gut and some other really fun health issues for a little while now. Ever since I started my health journey several years back and became a holistic health coach a couple years ago, I’ve been on a search for great information on natural gut health and ways to detoxify my body to keep me as healthy as possible. I have a few go-to websites that I frequent often and one of those sites is Mercola.com. Dr. Mercola is an Osteopathic Physician which means he practices a “whole body” approach with his patients rather than treating just the symptoms. He empowers people to be an advocate for their own health by providing tons of valuable information on pretty much any natural health topic you are looking for. Any time I want to learn more about leaky gut, a specific herb, or any other health related topic I search on Dr. Mercola’s blog because he seriously has it all! So when I was contacted by them to try out some of his health supplements and host a probiotic giveaway this summer, I was really excited! Especially when they told me what they were going to send me.

I received the following awesome products:

I wanted to host this giveaway because I really believe in power of probiotics and the amazing benefits they can have on our health and digestion. I love to get probiotics from food, such as delicious sauerkraut, and supplement sources because I feel that I personally get great benefits from both!

About 80% of our immune system is in our gut and over the years, I have found out firsthand how important it is to keep gut health in check in order to digest food and absorb nutrients from food, keeps inflammation in the body down, keeps us from getting sick as frequently, helps boost brain health and improves mood, and helps to overcome leaky gut. There are so many more reasons out there why someone would want to take a probiotic, it’s really amazing what they can do for us!

Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotichas a whopping 70 billion CFU (colony-forming units) per serving and has been tested for survivability in the stomach and intestinal track. This is important because we need to make sure that the good bugs can actually survive the trip in order for them to do their jobs efficiently! I took the probiotic capsules each night before bed so the good bugs could get to work while I was asleep. I could really tell a positive difference in my digestive system as it helped keep things moving right along as they should...if you know what I mean. ;) I also loved that it is a multi-strain probiotic and that there are no added fillers like milk, soy, corn, or gluten. Those extra ingredients are just unnecessary!


The Full Spectrum Enzymes were a nice addition to my meal time routine as I always use a digestive enzyme with meals to help break down the food I eat and to make sure my body is absorbing all the nutrients and to keep my digestion working well.

So today I am giving away 1 bottle of the Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotic (click the link to learn more about the product) so you can have the chance to give them a try too! All you have to do is leave me a blog comment on why you want to win the Dr. Mercola's Complete Probiotic and confirm you did that in the Rafflecopter giveaway box. The winner will be selected at random. You must be either a US or Canadian resident to win. The giveaway ends on Sunday, September 20th and with winner will be announced on Monday, 9/21. Good luck!



Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post and I only received products to use for myself and for giveaway purposes, the opinions expressed in the post is based on my own experience with the products.

5 Yummy Recipes To Try During The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Exsoycise is now Awakened Nutrition & Training, a blog for health seekers, food lovers and dream body builders!

5 Yummy Recipes To Try During The 21 Day Sugar Detox #21DSD

When I did the 21 Day Sugar Detox a couple years ago to curb my sugar cravings, I had really amazing results like better sleep, more energy, clearer skin and weight loss. It wasn't all roses and daisies the entire time because I missed a lot of foods that I loved, but I was on a mission to get through the 21 days. So to keep my menu exciting, I was always looking for new amazing recipes. This week, I want to introduce you all to some yummy new recipes from some fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors that you will definitely want to add to your menu whether you are doing the 21DSD or just looking to shake things up in the kitchen! These recipes are all soy, dairy, gluten, grain and sugar-free. If you aren't familiar with the 21DSD,  you can read my recap of it here or check out the book here or the online program here. Let me know which recipes you will try!

Carrot Ginger Meatballs via Plaid and Paleo


Raw Carrot Onion Crackers via Healthy Helper Blog


Easy Chicken Kebabs via Food Pleasure & Health

No Fail Cauliflower Crust Pizza via Healthy Helper Blog


Curry Spice Drumsticks via Awakened Nutrition & Training

Leave me a comment below and let me know what some of your favorite sugar detox approved recipes are!


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Full Body Stability/Strength Workout that Will Kick Your Ass (If you do it right)

This workout is a great way to use those dumbbells that you may have lying around your house and squeeze out more strength and value from them. If you are in the gym you can take your pick with any dumbbell you think you can use and keep the tempo and form. At home you are probably limited to 1-3 different dumbbell weights so your options are more limited… but that’s ok! The slower tempo (if done right) is going to make the workout and exercises much more challenging!

Full Body Stability/Strength Workout that Will Kick Your Ass (If you do it right)


Stability ball

1 or 2 dumbbells

Strategies Used:


Slower tempo (4/2/1 count)

Approximately 4 second to lower a weight or your body, 2 seconds to hold and stabilize the weight, 1 second to press or pull a weight


  • Circuit: 2x through working up to 3x through
  • Reps: 20
  • Tempo: slow (4/2/1)

 Full Body Stability/Strength Workout

1A) Stability Ball plank: 30-60 seconds

  • Forearms on ball, feet on floor
Stability Ball plank

1B) Glute bridge on the stability ball

  • Upper back on ball face up position
  • 2 seconds squeeze at the top of the movement
Glute Bridge on Stability Ball
Single arm stability ball DB chest press

1C) Single arm stability ball DB chest press

  • Lay on the stability ball so that your head and upper back are supported and your hips are lifted. Feet should be about hip to shoulder width apart with your feet staying straight

NOTE: Regress to 2 arms if you are feeling too unstable or can’t maintain form


Standing Single arm “birddog” row

1D) Standing Single arm “birddog” row

  • Start with left hand on ball and a dumbbell in your right; hinge at the waist so that the opposite leg from your rowing arm is lifted up and pointed straight back (maintained through the whole movement).


1E) Single leg squat OR slow tempo squat

Standing single leg/single arm dumbbell side raise

1F) Standing single leg/single arm dumbbell side raise

  • ie. Stand on your left leg and with the weight in your left hand bring the weight out to your side approximately shoulder height. Hold the weight at the top for 2 seconds before slowly lowering back to your side and repeat for reps.
Chris Hale

Easy Scrambled Avocado Ham Egg Cups

We are always looking for ways to make our lives easier while using the best possible ingredients to keep us healthy and stay in line with our personal health goals. One thing we do often is prepare our breakfast meals at the beginning of the week especially if we have a busy week ahead of us. An easy breakfast to make are these scrambled avocado ham egg cups. They are great when you are on the go and don’t want to sacrifice taste! Plus they take care of your protein and fat needs so all you have to do is cover your clean carbohydrate and you have a complete meal! Chris loves to make a big batch of oatmeal ahead of time for the week and I am more of a sweet potato gal so I will roast sweet potatoes in the oven. This recipe only calls for 6 eggs which will last about 3 days at 2 egg cups per serving. If you want to make egg cups for the whole week, just add 2 extra egg cups per mix or you can just double the recipe. Also, you can use different ingredients in each egg cup if you really want to have variety throughout the week! Try to use organic ingredients when you can to avoid GMO’s and harmful pesticide residue on your food. Enjoy and let us know what egg cup combinations you come up with! 

Easy Scrambled Avocado Ham Egg Cups


Scrambled Avocado Ham Egg Cups

2 Egg Cups Per Serving

  • 6 organic pasture-raised eggs (1 egg per muffin cup)
  • 1 medium organic plum tomato, diced
  • 1/3 avocado, chopped
  • 6-10 sliced low sodium, sliced ham (larger ham slices work best)
  • Salt and pepper to taste, cayenne pepper if you are really feeling saucy! 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Grab a muffin pan that holds at least 6 cups. With a paper towel, apply coconut oil to all sides of each tin cup to prevent sticking.
  3. In a bowl, scramble your egg mixture with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you'd like. Use 1 egg for each egg cup you plan to make, so if you make 12 egg cups, you need 12 eggs.
  4. Place ham into muffin cups to form a bowl. If your ham slices are smaller like mine were, then use 1 1/2 slices of ham by cutting ham slices in half and place one slice on the bottom of the cup and the other two slices around the sides to form your bowl.
  5. Place avocado slices and diced tomato into each egg cup then pour scrambled egg mixture into all of the egg cups. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until no longer runny. Enjoy! 

What's your favorite egg and veggie breakfast combination?

Amber Williford, Health Coach

Chocolate Coco Banana Protein Smoothie Recipe

Chocolate coco banana protein smoothie - great post-workout treat!

This smoothie recipe is an old favorite of mine. It has a great balance of carbs, fat and protein which makes it a complete meal when you are on the go or if you are fueling up after an intense workout. It also packs a big nutrient punch with gut flora balancing coconut kefir, antioxidant rich cacao powder, and mineral rich pumpkin protein powder PLUS it's soy and dairy-free.

Chocolate Coco Banana Protein Smoothie - Serves 1

  • 2 Tbsps pumpkin protein powder or 1 scoop of your favorite brand (I shoot for at least 20g protein per serving)
  • 2 Tbsps cacao powder
  • 1 cup coconut kefir, I used store bought but you can make it at home too!
  • 1 small banana
  • 2 Tbsp organic almond butter
  • Stevia to taste (I like mine sweet!)

Mix all together in a blender (I list all my fave blenders here), add cold water or unsweetened coconut milk if needed. Enjoy!

What are your favorite go-to smoothie ingredients?


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (also, nut-free!)

I have been mostly gluten-free for a few years or so now because of the nasty effects that gluten can have on ones gut and physical health and I really haven't found any gluten-free bread replacements that I can really stand behind. Mostly because of their long list of ingredients and the GF breads that I do approve of are just so darn pricey. So I have cut out all types of homemade sandwiches and wraps over the years and since they haven't been on the menu for so long I don't really miss them very often...BUT from time to time I get a hankering for one.

I've tried making some coconut flour breads in the past but they usually called for a ton of eggs because coconut four is super dense and I just can't eat eggs in large quantities without having respiratory issues. Plus I could never really get them to hold together enough to make a sandwich with. So recently during my 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat group program, myself and others shared a couple soy, dairy, gluten and egg-free tortilla and na'an recipes using different flours like quinoa, almond and tapioca flour. I tried several of my own recipe variations with other fours I had on hand but they just never came out quite right. Then I used tapioca for the first time and noticed how amazingly you could create a bread-like bun using only a few ingredients. So after several experimental recipes I have settled on a delicious gluten-free flatbread bun made of brown rice an tapioca flour.

I've enjoyed the bun with both chicken breast and a burger patty topped with tomato and avocado and the bun has stayed intact every time. Not only does it stay intact while eating the whole sandwich but it also travels well to make sandwiches at the beach or on a picnic. Best of all it tastes buttery delicious! 

I have this sandwich about one meal a day as this is by no means a low carb sandwich as it has about 43g of carbohydrates. So don't go crazy and eat three of them once you taste how yummy they are! The great thing is it's void of all the junk ingredients that most processed packaged gluten and gluten-free breads have which makes your body happier and healthier!

Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)

Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun

  1. Pre-heat a flat pan to medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly stir in olive oil and then water, make sure it does not become too liquidy. If it the mix does look too runny, add less water. 
  3. Spray the pan lightly. I use a misto oil sprayer to avoid soy and chemicals. Pour liquid out into 2 round flat pancake like circles. 
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side until the bun starts to slightly brown. Then flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with your favorite protein and toppings. 

Tips for travel: If you don't plan to eat the sandwich right away, let the bun cool first then wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a ziplock bag. The paper towel may stick to the bun but it will remove easily.

Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)
Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Curry Spice Chicken Drumstick Recipe

Curry dishes not only taste amazing but are also great for their many health benefits because they use anti-inflammatory ingredient blends such as turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. When you eat a diet of whole natural food that helps to fight inflammation rather than food that causes inflammation such as processed packaged foods with ingredients you can't pronounce, you are not only helping your body to feel better by relieving joint pain and preventing disease, but you are also making it easier for your body to lose those extra pounds that just wont go away. So next time you get a hankering for something spicy, run to the store and pick up some wings and whip up this easy-to-make curry spice chicken drumstick dish! Your taste buds will not be disappointed!

Curry Spice Chicken Drumstick Recipe

Curry Spice Drumsticks

1. Wash drumsticks and pat dry. Set aside on a plate for seasoning.

2. Sprinkle drumsticks evenly with the above spices, add more or less cayenne to alter the spice factor.

3. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium/high heat. 

4. Place each drumstick skin side down in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip over for an additional 3 minutes. Finally flip back over to the skin side and cover for roughly 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through.




Dr. Mercola - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/02/anti-inflammatory-foods-herbs-spices.aspx

Dr. Mark Hyman - http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/27/inflammation-how-to-cool-the-fire-inside-you-thats-making-you-fat-and-diseased/#close


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

How To Choose The Perfect Budget Blender


Back when I first started on my health journey, I owned a standard blender which was awesome for making smoothies and puddings but the clean up without the use of a dish washer made it tough for me to use it every day. I then purchased a small travel size blender to make my smoothie clean up a little less laborious. I loved those two blenders because they both fit my needs at the time and each cost very little money. But as my needs changed, I started to want to expand my blending into making nut/seed butters such as yummy sunflower seed butter and also various types of nut milks. So I started my search for the perfect blender that wasn't going to break the bank.

What To Look For:

Determining which budget blender is best for your needs it totally up to what you want to get out of your blender! So first we need to find out what those needs actually are. 

Make a list of what you want in:

  • travel capabilities
  • weight and size for ease of storage
  • glass or plastic pitcher - most budget blenders will be plastics so look for a BPA-free pitcher
  • power - do you want to make smoothies or something more complex like nut butters?
  • price point - how much are you willing to spend to find the perfect budget blender?
  • features and accessories 
  • warranty

Next do some research, ask your friends which blenders they like and why, and ALWAYS read reviews on amazon.com. This will help you determine if they blender you are buying is a quality machine that will last.

When I was on the hunt for my budget blenders I was specifically looking for blenders to fit all my needs which for me were:  power, size, quality and cost efficiency.

This is what I found..


The High Powered Blender:

For me personally, a Vitamix just wasn't an option at a price tag upwards of $499. So I did my homework and got connected with the Oster company who makes their Versa Blender line. When I discovered the Versa line, I was going to purchase the 1100 version but was very fortunate to be gifted two of their models (all opinions I share here are my own)! I received the $200 Versa 1400 watt which is a high power blender that can make hot soups and nut butters and is very comparable to the power and wattage of a Vitamix. I also received the $135-$170 Versa 1100 watt which actually had more features like a food processor attachment, the ability to make single serve smoothies as well as both a large and small blending pitcher, and it too made nut butters and cold soups. Ultimately, I decided to keep the Versa 1100 watt blender because it had so many more features and I didn't really notice a huge difference in the power between the 1400 and 1100 watt machines. I also really love that the Versa line of blenders are super light weight and can easily be moved around the kitchen or stored in a cabinet without being a pain to take in and out. Both models are also self cleaning which was another huge plus for me as I don't have a dishwasher. The Versa line also has a 7 year warranty so you don't have to worry about parts breaking on you.


The Travel Blender:

I've had 2 models of this single serve Hamilton Beach travel blender now for almost 5 years. I absolutely love it's small size and great blending capabilities. First blender lasted me about 3 years of normal use and I loved it so much that I purchased a second one as a replacement. It only costs around $15 and really comes in handy when I am staying in hotels or rentals or even at home when I just want to make a super fast smoothie without a lot of pieces or clean-up. It's extremely light weight and doesn't take up a lot of storage space in the cabinet. 


The Standard Counter Top Blender:

This is your standard 700 watt blender from Hamilton Beach that costs around $35. It will do basic things like crush ice, multi-serving smoothies, margaritas and milkshakes. This is not the exact blender I have as mine is an older model and much more basic than this one. If you need an inexpensive blender for normal minimal every day functions, this style should work well for you. You can probably find an even cheaper standard model from either Target, Wal-mart or K-mart, just look up reviews online before you make your purchase to make sure it blends well. 

One of my favorite features that I found of my standard blender is that I can attach a blending blade to a quart size mason jar and blend individual to-go smoothies without having to use a toxic plastic container. It also makes it very easy to pre-prep your smoothies at night and just blend them quickly in the morning. I have used this trick on several different brands of blenders and it even works with my Oster Versa blender which has made me really happy! 

Mason jar blender trick

What is your favorite brand of budget blender? Does the mason jar blender trick work with your blender? Let me know below!

Check out some of my favorite smoothies in my FREE 3-Day Gluten-Free Detox!

Amber Signature

Berry Delicious Breakfast Smoothie

I absolutely love a good smoothie for breakfast because they pack a big nutritional punch, they keep you feeling full until your next meal, they don't take up much time to prepare and can easily be consumed anywhere which make them the perfect on-the-go food! You can even prepare most of your smoothie ingredients a week in advance by washing and trimming your fruit, then placing fruit smoothie portions into individual jars to freeze. Each morning you can throw them into the blender and go.

So what makes a smoothie good for you?

 Because smoothies are:

  • full of amazing vitamins, enzymes and minerals
  • easy to digest, which mean optimal assimilation of your nutrients
  • great for stabilizing blood sugar, both healthy fats and protein are key for blood sugar stabilization
  • a great way to consume a variety of different fruits or vegetables at one time
  • terrific for cleansing the body of toxicity
  • an easy way to add more fiber to your diet for optimal bowel function
Berry Delicious Breakfast Smoothie - Awakened Nutrition

Berry Delicious Breakfast Smoothie

Blend well in either a standard, travel or high power blender with 2-3 ice cubes and enjoy!

Amber Williford Signature


SF Gate - http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fats-proteins-affect-blood-sugar-levels-11172.html



Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

6 Tips For Eating Out With Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Food sensitivities and allergies are extremely common these days because so many of us have compromised immune systems due to the rise of heavy use of pesticides sprayed on our foods, the over consumption of genetically modified and processed foods, and other environmental toxins that we breathe in on a regular basis...just to name a few reasons. Some people are born with sensitivities to certain foods but many, including myself, have developed food sensitivities and allergies over time which can actually be the result of a leaky gut syndrome. If you are not familiar with leaky gut, it is when the gut is damaged causing small holes in the intestinal lining which allows food particles and toxins that are normally digested to go directly into the bloodstream causing an immune response that can come in the form of food allergies and sensitivities, brain fog, eczema, headaches, bloating, fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea and many more symptoms.

There are several ways that one can find out about food allergies and sensitivities. A popular but less accurate way to find out about problematic foods is to get some form of allergy testing which usually done through blood work. This method has been used for years but you will most likely discover that you are reacting to more foods than actually show up on your test results. My preferred testing method is to do an elimination diet which is where you will remove allergenic foods for about two weeks, then slowly add back in one food at a time and note how your body reacts to it over the next 24-48 hours. I used the elimination diet to find out about my food sensitivity to dairy, egg white, and soy, then later confirmed my soy allergy through blood work.

Now just because you react to a food doesn't mean that you have to avoid that food for the rest of your life. Most of the time you can remove the food for an extended period of time and work on healing your leaky gut through eating healthy whole foods and supplementation, then later add the food back in and enjoy sparingly. I did this with my egg white sensitivity. I removed eggs completely for several months while healing my gut then slowly added back in organic pasture-raised whole eggs and now I can enjoy them regularly. 

But in the meantime while you are healing your gut, you will want to do your best to keep that food out of your diet. This can be especially hard when you are eating out. As I mentioned earlier I am allergic to soy, lactose intolerant, and I avoid gluten because I recognize the poor effects that gluten has on the immune system. Avoiding these three foods while eating out isn’t an easy task and takes some effort. I’ve had really amazing experiences with accommodating restaurants and really awful ones where I had to leave restaurants because they every food item on the menu was marinated in soybean (vegetable) oil. Preparation and communication are key when you want to enjoy a nice meal without feeling sick, gassy or bloated.


6 Tips for eating out with food allergies and sensitivities

6 Tips For Eating Out With Food Allergies and Sensitivities

  • Call ahead before you dine. Call ahead before you head out for dinner and ask to speak to a manager or head chef, tell them what your food allergy is and ask what items (if any) you could safely order from the menu. Some restaurants even have a designated allergy menu that will list out all of the ingredients making it easy for you to decide what to eat. Most restaurants are very accommodating and are happy to prepare you something that is not on the menu. 
  • Be a food detective and ask your server a lot of questions. Tell your server that you have a food allergy upon sitting down. Ask questions about cooking oils and other ingredients used in marinades and sauces. Most servers are not educated about food allergies so you need to be a detective and ask a lot of questions. Ask that your food be prepared away from other dishes and that the pans and utensils used are cleaned thoroughly to avoid cross contamination.
  • Simpler meals are always better. The less complicated your order is, the less likely that they will mess it up. A simple dish made up of protein such as chicken or fish served with avocado slices and sautéed vegetables cooked in olive oil is really hard to mess up. Just because it isn't pasta or bread loaded down with sauces doesn't mean it still can't be a delicious meal!
  • Make a list of your favorite allergy friendly restaurants. Talk to others who have food allergies in your area and find out what their favorite restaurants are. Check Allergy friendly websites and phone apps such as Allergy Eats or do a search in Yelp or Google for allergy friendly restaurants. My go to restaurants are Bareburger, Hu KitchenDig Inn, Siggy’s Good Food and Whole Foods Market because they have several soy, dairy & gluten-free meal options, the food is amazing and they have several locations around New York City. Make a list of several go-to spot so you always have a handful of restaurants to suggest for lunch and dinner.
  • Realize that some cuisines may be off limits for a while. From my experience I’ve noticed that the hardest restaurants to avoid soy and gluten are Mexican, Chinese and Thai. That's not always the case because I've found a few exceptions to the rule so it's still best to call ahead. Just be prepared to search for another cuisine. Italian restaurants can be great for avoiding soy, dairy and gluten because most of them cook with olive oil and now many have gluten-free options.
  • Be prepared to be disappointed and uncomfortable from time to time. No one likes to seem like the “picky” eater or weird person who is allergic to everything, but just try remember how important it is to avoid foods that are making you inflamed and sick. Some friends and family may not understand your dietary restrictions and that's totally okay.  Communication is key so make sure you explain your new way of eating to your loved ones, offer to answer any questions that they may have, and ask for their understanding.

*These tips are for less severe food allergies and sensitivities. If you have more serious allergies such as anaphylaxis, then you should take extra precautions when dining out.

What are your best tips for eating out with food allergies and sensitivities?

Amber Signature.png

Reduce Belly Bloat With This Flat Belly Tea Recipe

Most people start their day first thing with a big cup of delicious hot coffee, then rush to the office and enjoy yet another large cup of coffee all the while forgetting one very important detail which is essential all hours of the day - hydration! When you are gulping down coffee all morning, there is very high chance that you are not drinking water along side of your cup of Joe. This used to be a very bad habit of mine. Lunchtime would roll around and all of the sudden I'd realize that I haven't had a cup of water all day.

Most all of my female clients deal with the dreaded belly bloat which can come from a host of things like food allergies, leaky gut, candida, too much sodium, or more simply just plain old dehydration! When we are rushing around each day running on coffee alone for the first half of the day, we start to retain water which is the last thing we want when we are trying to get a flat belly. 

I'm not out to make coffee the bad guy because there are actually a lot of benefits to drinking organic coffee such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. But I can bet that if you are just drinking coffee from Starbucks or the office pot of coffee, then you are most likely drinking coffee that has been heavily sprayed with pesticides that are toxic to our bodies and get stored away in our fat cells. I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra junk stored in my fat cells!

So what can be done to start reducing that stubborn belly bloat?

There are two things that I absolutely love to do in the mornings to help reduce belly bloat...

  • #1 Drink a large glass of water first thing when you wake up. I prefer warm water with the juice of half a lemon, but just plain warm water is perfectly fine too. 
  • #2 Swap  your morning coffee with my favorite flat belly tea recipe (below).

Not only will both of these morning rituals help you to kick your coffee habits to the curb it will also decrease belly bloat, help stimulate digestion, stop cravings in their tracks, and may help with weight loss by jump-starting the metabolism! You will still need to remember to drink water during the rest of your day, so make sure to keep a water bottle next to you to sip on throughout the day.  

Flat belly tea

Flat Belly Tea Recipe

  • 1 cup organic hot green tea
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from a lemon half
  • Stevia or raw honey to taste

1. Brew 1-2 tea bags of green tea in 8oz of filtered water.

2. Add apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and stevia to taste.

3. Stir and enjoy!


Ready kick belly bloat to the curb? Then click the button below to grab my freebie 5 Steps to Beat Belly Bloat!



What's your best tip for de-bloating or ditching the coffee habit?


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Meal Prepping: My #1 Weight Loss Tool + a Roasted Garlic Rosemary Chicken Recipe

Exsoycise is now Awakened Nutrition & Training, a blog for health seekers, food lovers and dream body builders!


If you knew me about 6 years ago, you would have laughed at the thought of me being a healthy eater much less a health coach. I had just moved to NYC and my time as a vegetarian was coming to an end. I can see how when one would hear me say “I was a vegetarian”, that would lead you to believe I was health conscious. But let me tell you, I was so far from the picture of health! I was the girl eating pizza at 2am after a long night of drinking and partying, and I loved any and ALL desserts that NYC had to offer. I mean, you can't move to NYC and not enjoy some of the best foods on Earth, right?

I often times, I would forget to bring my lunch to work and order food that I know wasn't great for me usually under the pressure of co-workers. Or I'd have a fridge full of random food and I wouldn't know what to cook. The next thing you know, I'd be so ravaging hungry that I'd end up ordering take-out or another poor food choice - like a tub of ice cream in the freezer or an entire jar of peanut butter.

I was already heavy when I moved up here, but with all the amazing foods I was eating the scale continued to go up and my closet was also expanding from having to buy larger size clothes as my waistline expanded.

I was not happy with how I looked and despite how bad I wanted to lose the weight, I was never able to achieve my weight loss goals mainly because I didn't know where to start. I was so tired of falling back into my old habits of crash dieting and needed a serious change!

Luckily, I started dating Chris and he came to my rescue like a knight in shining armor! He taught me about foods, like clean proteins, complex carbs and health fats, that I should to eat to nourish my body and workouts I should do in order to create lean muscle.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what food I should eat for the week and even more time putting them all on an excel spreadsheet. Meal planning became even more of a struggle for me once I did an allergy elimination diet and realized I was allergic to soy and intolerant of dairy. I soon realized that it's nearly impossible to find packaged foods at the store that were both soy and dairy-free. I had many "freak out" moments in the aisles of the grocery store when I realized I could no longer enjoy many of the foods I had loved my entire life.

It was a struggle for me at first, but I soon learned that these foods were acting as poisons to my body causing me to stay in a constant state of inflammation, hold onto body fat, and causing me to have a leaky gut. Once I cut out most processed packaged foods and started incorporating more whole foods by planning and cooking my meals each week, those stubborn pounds started to come off which resulted in 17lbs of weight loss in the first year.


Meal planning over the years has helped me to transform my body and take a lot of stress out of eating a soy, dairy and gluten-free diet. AND I almost always start noticing a shift in my weight when I start to stray away from planning and preparing my meals regularly. You can look back at many past blog posts where I have “gotten back on the wagon” using meal planning. It’s really such an easy and effective tool.


It’s been my goal over the last few years has been to show my clients and blog readers that cooking and eating healthy foods, even when dealing with food allergies or sensitivities, does not have to be difficult or boring; it can be an easy process and taste delicious at the same time! That is why I rcreated the 4-Week Soy, Dairy & Gluten-Free Meal Plan and recipes just to share with all of YOU!

The 4-week meal plan is the perfect jump-start to help you get back on track with your health and wellness goals after the holidays without having to follow some fad diet. You don't have to let poor food choices get in the way of achieving your goals any longer! Let healthy wholesome food be the solid foundation for achieving your own transformation!

Maybe you are also soy, dairy and/or gluten-free and are looking for some easy-to-make recipes or maybe you just want to incorporate more whole foods into your diet in order to shed a few pounds or maintain your current weight. Whatever your reasons for wanting to be the healthiest version of YOU possible, these meal plans are loaded with so many great recipes and tips that will help!

But I really want you to be successful whether you buy my meal plans or not, so I've completely revamped the FREE 7-Day Meal Plan, that many of you all have already downloaded! It now includes 15 delicious recipes, an easy-to-read 7-day plan, and an exact list of what you need to buy from the grocery store. I want meal planning to be as simple as possible for you guys because I know that it's one of the key tools that will help you make daily healthy food choices to maintain your ideal body weight and remove inflammatory foods that are making us sick and fat. You can grab the new copy of the FREE 7-Day Meal Plan HERE. I'm so excited to hear how you guys like it!!


I wanted to share one of my favorite entrée recipes with you from the meal plan. I seriously make it just about every week and it’s so easy! It’s also a great dish to serve when you have guests over for dinner. When I made it this last Thursday, I also added 1-2 teaspoons dried Thyme and 1 tablespoon dried Sage that came from Chris’s mother’s garden – such a treat! You can really add any herbs to this recipe and it would taste amazing!


Roasted Garlic Rosemary Chicken Breast and Legs – 4 Servings

From Week 4 of the 4-Week Soy, Dairy & Gluten-Free Meal Plan

  • 2 bone in organic chicken breasts and 4 legs with skin on (I get the pack from Trader Joe's)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic cut into thick slices
  • 1 ½ tablespoon coconut oil melted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread about 1 tablespoon coconut oil into bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  2. Cut garlic into thick slices and chop rosemary. Salt and pepper the bottoms of chicken, then place into pan skin side up. Separate and lift up the skin, place 2-3 slices of garlic under the skin and make sure they are covered under the skin. Brush the tops of the chicken with ½ tablespoon coconut oil, sprinkle rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done. Enjoy!

3 Easy Ways to Detox Using Coconut Oil

I was very honored last summer to write this article for the Kelapo Coconut Oil Blog. I loved it so much that I wanted to re-post it here so you don't miss out this great information! Enjoy..

Coconut oil is beginning to be a pantry staple in most households these days and for good reason. It not only smells and tastes delicious, but it also aides in helping you to lose belly fat, and improves digestion. Also, it's a great high-heat cooking oil to use in place of other more delicate oils that become rancid at high temperatures.

 But there is so much more to coconut oil than pleasing your palate. Did you know that you can actually use coconut oil to help your body detox? 

 Why detox you ask? Well we live in a world where we are exposed to hundreds of chemical toxins each day through our air, food, water, household cleaning and beauty products.  Not to mention there are over 80,000 new chemicals released into our environment each year and that number is only growing. 

 So finding simple ways to detox your life daily is essential to living a vibrant healthy disease-free life.  

Here are 3 ways you can start detoxing with coconut oil right now!

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Cleanse your teeth by oil pulling with coconut oil

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that will help to remove toxins, bacteria, mucus and plaque from your mouth. This is a result of swishing and pulling oil around your mouth which traps the bacteria and toxins making it easy for removal. You can use different oils for this, but I prefer to use organic coconut oil because of its antibacterial properties. Monolaurin is found in coconut oil and is a fierce bacteria and virus killer. As an added bonus, it's also said to whiten teeth and freshens breath!

Do this first thing each morning:

  • Scoop 1 Tbsp of organic coconut oil into your mouth. (When first getting started, you can cut the amount in half and work your way up to the full tablespoon.)
  • Swish and pull the oil all around your mouth for 15-20 minutes. (Don't worry if it's weird at first, you can start with 10 minutes and build up if needed.)
  • Spit the oil out into the trash. Make sure not to swallow any so you don’t reabsorb all the toxins and germs that you worked so hard to remove. It’s important to remember not to spit the coconut oil in the sink because it will solidify and clog up your pipes.
  • Brush teeth immediately after.

Use organic coconut oil as a safe natural moisturizer

Each day the average woman uses about 12 personal care products which contain over 160 chemicals. Men are no different using an average of 6 personal care products which contain over 80 chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed right through our skin, our body’s largest organ. Anything we can do to cut down on exposure to these toxins will help in a big way! Not to mention using coconut oil is much easier on your wallet than buying several of beauty products each month.

  • Replace your facial moisturizer with coconut oil. You may think that putting oil on your face is silly especially if you already have oily skin, like I do, but your body will naturally balance out the oil on your skin rather than produce more oil. It’s a great way to get rid of acne because of its antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
  • Swap out expensive lotions for coconut oil. Your skin will soak up this goodness and feel soft and smooth. Add your favorite essential oils to create your own personalized scent.
  • Use as an eye makeup remover at night. The skin around our eyes is very delicate as it is, so when you use coconut oil to remove your eye makeup you are not only hydrating the skin but also irritating the skin less.
  • Use coconut oil as in place of massage oil. Add some essential oils like lavender for a calming effect.

Swap out your morning cup of Joe with coconut oil

You probably gasped when you read that and don’t worry, I’m not asking you to remove coffee forever. But it is good to detox from it every once and a while to help your body easily remove toxins. Unless you are using a high quality organic coffee, which it’s likely you’re not if you’re stopping by the corner coffee shop on a daily basis. You are probably drinking large quantities of coffee that has been sprayed when chemical pesticides. Not to mention you are providing your body with fake energy masking how you are really feeling.

So instead of grabbing a coffee, reach for a shot of coconut oil first thing in the morning for a boost of natural energy. Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MTCs) which do not need to be digested like normal foods but instead it goes straight to the liver, our body’s main detox organ, and is metabolized rapidly. This is what gives your body that clean burst of energy. As an added bonus coconut oil can also help you to reduce some of the pesky belly fat you may be trying to lose.

Start adding these simple detox practices into your daily routine and you will start to feel amazing in no time! 


Why Eating Organic Food Won't Break The Bank

Mmmm Tacos! Last week, I posted this picture of my delicious healthy spin on tacos onto my Facebook page. These babies tasted amazing!

"Thanks to @thewholejourney I found these amazing organic sprouted corn tortillas! They are made of only organic sprouted corn, water, lime and salt. Doesn't get much better than that! I topped it with some delicious grassfed beef, red peppers, red onions, garlic, tomato and avocado!" 

That day, I received the comment below from one of my amazing followers.

It made me a little sad for two reasons. For one, it sucks people feel like they have to be perfect and buy organic/grassfed food in order to make changes to be a healthier version of themselves. And for two, there is a very big misconception that eating organic/grassfed or healthy food in general has to be expensive and totally break the bank. Because it doesn't. Here was my response...

"It was so delicious and not too pricey! The total comes out to only $3.35 for the meal. That's a lot less than what most people spend when going out to eat and usually cheaper than a subway sandwich. But instead Of getting low quality food that can cause all sorts of health issues, I get a delicious meal that is PACKED with nutritional goodness! Here is the breakdown of this meal:

  4oz serving grassfed beef: $1.50

Quarter avocado: $0.38

Chopped Tomato: $0.22

2 Organic corn tortilla: $0.70

Onion: $0.25

Pepper: $0.25

Garlic: $0.05

Total: $3.35

What I mainly focus on is buying high quality meats which I get organic grassfed beef from trader joes for $5.99 per lb and organic chicken from $1.99 - $2.99 per lb. I choose to spend a little extra per pound on meats because non-organic is full of so many toxins and antibiotics that wreak havoc on our immune system and cause us to store body fat. I save money by not splurging on processed packaged foods, I rarely eat out, and I cut back on Starbucks. When I actually thought about all the unnecessary things I was spending my money on each week, I realized that there was lots of little things that I was splurging on which made it a little hard to make the argument that buying organic foods was really breaking the bank. Organic eggs are also very cheap to buy and make as meals too so you don't always have to go for expensive meats like beef. 

If you absolutely can't afford to buy organic protein, then go for the leanest cuts of meats possible since toxins are stored mostly in the fats. Then, grab some organic eggs and use the dirty dozen chart to find safe non-organic foods to eat until you are ready to transition to organic. You'd be surprised how cheap sweet potatoes and onions are and how easy to incorporate them into your meals. 

And lastly, try not to think of paleo/whole 30 as an all or nothing thing. Try to just do the best you can with what you have! Just because you can't afford organic, doesn't mean you can't cut out inflammatory foods like gluten pastas and replace them with white or brown rice. Just do the best that you can right now and build off of that!"

She was super thankful and said that when you break it down per meal, it really wasn't that bad. She admitted to drinking too much Starbucks coffee each week. The best part was that she was so excited because she went to the store, shopped the outer aisles for fresh ingredients, and bought her family the healthiest foods she could afford. All without breaking the bank!


I think where we as Americans get confused is that in the US, we eat the cheapest food on the planet because of farm subsidies which give us access to very low quality foods that are genetically modified, fed GMO feed, sprayed with tons of pesticides and pumped with antibiotics.

Therefore, since our low quality food is priced so cheaply, it makes buying say a dozen eggs for $1.50 per carton to now buying a dozen organic eggs for $4.99 per carton seem super expensive. But really we are talking about .13 cents for a low quality egg vs .42 cents for a high quality egg which is only a .29 cents difference per egg. So for me personally I'd rather pay .29 cents extra per egg and invest that money into my health rather than in the hospital later. This goes the same for comparing organic grassfed meats to conventional meats.

Another way to look at organic pasture raised meats vs. conventional meats is that besides avoiding all the toxins that are making you sick and fat, you will also get many more nutrients like vitamin E & C, beta-carotene and health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and CLA "conjugated Linoleic Acid"from a healthy organic grassfed animal. When you eat meat from a conventionally raised animal, you are not only eating the toxins, hormones and antibiotics from the animal but also the toxins and pesticides from the GMO-feed that they consumed throughout their entire lifespan.

As you can tell I am a big fan of eating organic meat but I don't want to neglect the importance of eating organic produce because that is another major source of how chemical toxins are getting into our bodies. Luckily, we are able to metabolize and excrete  many of the pesticides that we consume on a daily basis, but chronic exposure of pesticides sprayed on the produce we've eaten over a lifetime means that we always have high levels of pesticides in our bodies. A study came out recently showed  that eating an 80% organic diet can reduce the amount of circulating pesticides in the body by nearly 90% in just 3-5 days! Now if that isn't motivating then, I don't know what is!

I admit it, when I first started my transition into buying organic food, I thought the prices were outrageous! And sometimes I still do depending on the store I go to and how overpriced the meat is. But when I took a step back and realized that I was investing in my health now so that I don't have to pay for it later on down the road in medical bills, then it looks a WHOLE lot cheaper. Plus, when I really started to do price break downs of food, like I did above, it really wasn't very expensive compared to some of the silly stuff I was spending my money on each week.

Simple shopping swaps that may help justify spending more on organic food each week:

1 pair of underwear from Target $5.99 vs. 1 pound of organic grassfed beef from Trader Joes $5.99

1 grande mint tea from Starbucks $2.67 vs. 1 bag of organic baby spinach $1.99-$3.99

1 tall Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte $4.45 vs. a dozen organic pasture raised eggs $4.00-$4.99

1 bottle of Essie Nail polish $8.99 vs. 1 pound of wild caught salmon from Trader Joes $9.99

1 Energy Drink $3.50 vs. 1 pint of organic tomatoes $3.50

1 pack of Gum $1.25 vs. 1 bunch of organic bananas $1

Maybe your splurge items are different from these, we all have them. The point is, we all have some non-essential items that we buy on a weekly basis that we can cut back on which will allow us a little extra spending money for quality foods. And like I told my reader above, it's not about being perfect nor is it an "all or nothing" kind of deal. It's about doing our best we can to incorporate more healthy organic foods into our diet so we can start lowering our exposure to these chemical toxins and live longer healthier lives!

Links on how to get thrifty when buying organic:

EWG's Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Shopping Guide

Eat Wild's Farm Directory for grassfed meat, dairy and eggs

Find Real Food App (apple) from the Weston A Price Foundation

Farmers Market and store finder for organic food

Local Harvest farmers market locator

Costco  or Sam's Club Membership to buy organic in bulk and save $$$

Seasonal Food Guide - Buy seasonal produce to save money

Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less - Book

Rich Food Poor Food - The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System - Book

What are some of your favorite tips for saving money when buying organic food?


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Creamy Vanilla Coconut Smoothie Recipe (Soy and Dairy-Free)

Exsoycise is now Awakened Nutrition & Training, a blog for health seekers, food lovers and dream body builders!

If you read my very LONG post yesterday, you now know ALL of my personal business of how I went from thinking I had a binge eating disorder, to losing my sex drive, then finding out that both parasites and candida overgrowth have taken residency in my gut, to finally finding some life balance after I started naturally killing off the bad guys which helped to start balancing out my hormones again and getting my sexy back! Whoa that was a mouth full!

Like I said at the end of my post, this is really just the beginning of my journey and it's far from over. I am working hard to kill the parasites and candida albicans through a sugar, gluten, soy, and dairy-free diet and herbs. Since removing sugars of all kinds (yes, even fruit!), all my cravings and binging tendencies have gone away. I no longer feel like I want to eat an entire back of chocolates or face plant into a jar of almond butter and honey. It's a really good feeling and I'm hoping I can keep it this way! I know I will never be perfect and I'm sure there will be some stressful times in my life that will make me want to eat the world. But at least now I know that I am making progress and have removed the major trigger foods that were causing me to feel out of control.

So this summer, I had the honor of taking over Integrative Nutrition's Instagram feed during their #IINtakeover. I got to share what a day of my life as a health coach looks like with all 26,000 of their followers. It was really such an honor!

For my takeover I shared one of my favorite healthy treats to satisfy my sweet tooth which is my delicious creamy vanilla coconut smoothie! This smoothie is loaded with healthy fats and protein to keep you full and satisfy your sweet craving!

Creamy Vanilla Coconut Smoothie

Creamy Vanilla Coconut Smoothie

Blend well with a couple ice cubes, add extra cold water if needed, and enjoy!

Beach Bootcamp - Exsoycise

Of course for my first post during my @nutritionschool #IINtakeover I had to share a before and after! So I posted my classic before shot from May 2009 and then a shot that Chris and I took at a beach bootcamp in Florida on July 4th.

"Hi my fellow health fanatics! I'm Amber Williford a Certified Holistic Health from @exsoycise and @awakenednutrition, I'm so excited to share my life through photos with you during today's #IINtakeover!Since I started my own journey over 5 years ago, I was on a mission to lose weight and get fit. With the help of IIN I realized that there is so much more to living a healthy life than just dieting to lose weight. Through IIN and my own research I've learned about eating nutritious foods that help to heal and fuel the body as well as how relationships, self love, stress, and environmental toxins affect all aspects of our lives.

I suffer from leaky gut syndrome which caused me to develop an allergy to soy as well as sensitivities to dairy and eggs. And I'm also working hard to get rid of candida overgrowth and parasites. The allergies plus uncontrollable bloating after eating the even healthiest foods and extreme food cravings that helped me to uncover the root cause of my issues.

It's my goal to help woman just like me to overcome digestive distress and get a handle on their weight loss through daily detoxification and stress management through coaching  AwakenedNutrition.com."

I don't want to bore you all with another mega long blog post, so I will save the rest of the photos for next weeks post! I hope you have a great weekend!

What's your favorite sweet tooth taming smoothie or snack?

3-day detox
3-day detox

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. I recommend only products that I would use in our own home or that I would recommend to my clients. Your purchases help to support my blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps me to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping me continue what I LOVE to do!