Healthy Ways to Flavor Your Coffee Without Sugar

I so often hear that the hardest part about kicking a sugar habit is the morning cup of joe. Most coffee drinkers enjoy sweetening their coffee with a flavored creamer, sugar, or another artificial sweetener that proves difficult to ditch. There are actually many ways you can sweeten your cup naturally and without guilt — and today, I’m going to share a few options with you.

Cinnamon. A spice we all probably have in our cupboards, cinnamon is an excellent way to flavor your coffee without sugar. Cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also beneficial for helping sustain healthy blood sugar, so give it a shot!

Vanilla extract. Probably the most popular flavor choice for dairy creamer is french vanilla. Skip the sugary, dairy version and add a
few drops of pure vanilla extract to your coffee instead.

Cardamom. So, this spice won’t necessarily make your coffee taste a lot sweeter, it gives a more aromatic flavor to the coffee, and it also adds some health benefits. Add some cinnamon and cardamom to my coffee for a sweet and aromatic combination of flavors.

Cacao. Sprinkle some cacao powder to add a bit of a sweet, rich, chocolaty taste. Cacao is also loaded with antioxidants and is the perfect superfood to toss into your coffee. Yum!

Coconut cream. If you usually add creamer to your coffee, try using coconut cream. It’s not incredibly sweet, but it sweetens your coffee up a bit, also adding a light coconut flavor. You can even add a little cinnamon to this mix when you want to make it a little sweeter.

So, here you have quite a few options to make your coffee a little sweeter without turning to processed sugar on a daily basis. All options have a different flavor, so there must be at least one option here that appeals to you. Just try a few different combinations and you are sure to find a flavor that you like and that can replace the artificial sugar for you. What are you excited about trying?

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again? Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts.

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And…nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

I’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet

Serves 1


1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 or 2 eggs (how hungry are you?)

¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)

dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric



Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).  In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices. Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring. When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny. Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favorite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.

You may also want to check out Breakfast in a Pinch, a give you a few ideas for quick healthy breakfasts.


Foods for Fueling Your Workout

Exercise is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle.  If you want to get the most out of your workout it is not only important to be consistent and disciplined but also to fuel your body with the right food.  You need energy to burn calories and starving yourself before or after working out can negatively affect your body and health.  To get the best out of your workouts, I am going to share with you my top 5 foods for fueling your workout.

Pre-Workout pre-workout

The golden rule for exercising: Never eat a big meal before a workout.  If you are having a full meal before a workout, be sure to allow at least 2 hours after you finish eating but ideally 3.  Here are my top snacks to fuel your workout that can be eaten 30 minutes before:

  • Banana
  • Handful of Almonds (other nuts)
  • Greek yogurt with honey
  • Apple with peanut butter and cinnamon
  • Green smoothie or berry smoothie
  • Handful of dried fruits
  • Protein bar (organic)
  • Rice cake with almond butter
  • Crudité with tahini dip


After exercising your body needs nourishment to heal and repair.  The best way to do this is with fresh, healthy and nutritious food. Your body needs good nutrition and protein post-workout so be sure to select foods that are fresh and clean.  Good clean sources of protein include fish, eggs, grass-fed meat, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

Here is a quick list of amazing post-workout foods:

  • Whole wheat sandwich with tuna, hummus and spinach
  • Veggie omelette with avocado
  • Grilled chicken, mixed vegetables and side salad
  • Chocolate milk (almond or cow)


carb-sourcesBest sources of carbs for fueling your workout

It is a common belief that carbs make you fat and so most people have a tendency to avoid carbs when they are training or want to lose weight. The thing is, not all carbs are bad for you.  When you choose the right carbs, you will feel fuller longer and have more energy, which is perfect for any exercise regime.  Here is my list for amazing sources of good carbs to help you fuel your next workout:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Whole wheat
  • Spelt
  • Sourdough bread
  • Brown rice

post-workoutBest post-workout smoothie

After an exhausting workout it is important to refill your energy stores to avoid muscle cramping or muscle twitches.  This smoothie is the perfect post workout snack and will help your body regenerate fast.  Avocados and bananas are full of potassium; pineapple is a great source of the enzyme bromelain which helps to reduce inflammation.  Coconut water is high in antioxidants and minerals and turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties to enhance muscle repair.


½ ripe avocado

1 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)

1 small banana

1 tbsp. peanut butter

½ tsp. turmeric

1 cup coconut water

5 ice cubes

Put all ingredients into your and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!
protein-sourcesBest protein sources
My top food for fueling your workout isn’t a food as such, but Protein.  Protein will help to rebuild your muscles after exercising and prevents soreness and stiffness in the muscles.  Protein comes in many forms both from animal and plant sources.  Whenever choosing a protein always try to get the best quality possible, especially with animal products.  Here are my top recommendations for protein sources post-workout:
Plant based sources: beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, nut butters, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, broccoli, spirulina powder, tempeh
Animal protein sources: beef, chicken breast, salmon, tuna, lamb, eggs, whole milk, yogurt, cheese (raw)
What do you eat before working out? What do you eat after exercising?  Do you have a recipe you would like to share?  Please do so by commenting below.  I’d love to hear your favorites!

Preparing Fast, Healthy, and Delicious Meals in Less Time

An excerpt from my April monthly newsletter

quick meal tips infographic (2)Meal planning has helped me a lot on my journey to better health so I thought I would share some of the tips from my April newsletter.  You can subscribe to my monthly newsletter HERE.

1. Cook once, eat twice (or more!) You may have heard me say this before – it’s the best way I know to make mealtime most efficient. Some of us refer to this approach as “batch cooking.” Here’s what you do:

Pick a cooking day. Instead of cooking every night — pick a day or two when you’ll make the recipes for the week ahead. Sure, you’ll spend a little more time in the kitchen on your cooking day(s), but you’ll get an extra hour or two the other days (or evenings) of the week! I recommend you also prepare snacks and lunches on your cooking day. I cook on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons – works for me!

Double or triple your recipes when cooking. When you prepare more than you need for one meal, you have plenty to pack for lunches and you’ll find that dinnertime is fast and easy. Learn to love leftovers!

2. Have it your way. Try different ways to eat the same meal – if you’re grilling chicken breasts, make extra to chop and include in salads or soups. If you’re cooking quinoa, take some of the leftovers and add cooked spinach or kale, beans and raw veggies to it for a quinoa-based salad.

3. Plan ahead. We all know we shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, but you also shouldn’t go without a list!  And the only way to have the most effective list is to plan your recipes for the week and get everything you need for those meals.

4. Invest in quality storage containers. Now that you’ve made extra food, you want to package it in single-servings or family portions, then freeze or refrigerate it. Don’t forget to label and date the container – You can use glass containers with seal-tight lids, mailing labels and a Sharpie for this task. Then when you’re ready to prepare, just take out the number of containers you need for the number of people who’ll be eating with you; warm it up, and serve! See what I mean by less time in the kitchen on the other days of the week?

5. The freezer section is your friend. Many grocery and health food stores carry high-quality, organic, non-GMO frozen vegetables, fruits, fish, grilled chicken, and more. This will significantly reduce your cooking time and ensure you always have something healthy and fresh to eat.

6. Stock your kitchen with standbys. Foods I always have on hand include: greens; vegetables; fruit; eggs; frozen chicken breasts; salsa; hummus; almonds; oil & vinegar.  With these standbys on hand, I can always make a salad or lettuce wrap. I also keep my kitchen stocked with almond or coconut milk, quinoa, and bananas (which I freeze if they start to over ripen, then use in my morning smoothies).

7. Prepare for the next day tonight. If you pack a lunch, select your favorite mix of leftovers the night before, and pack it in an insulated lunch box. Include everything you’ll need to enjoy the meal at work, school, or wherever you’ll be for lunch! Also include your snack(s) and water.

8. Buddy-up and swap meals! Make arrangements with a family member, friend or neighbor to cook and swap! You make one soup or meal and they make another and you split them in half and share.

I’d love to hear how “cook once, eat twice (or more!)” is working for you! There are loads of benefits, including:
– Sticking to your healthy eating goals
– Saving hours during the week
– Reducing the stress of those three little words: What’s for dinner?
– Saving money by sticking to your list and resisting “impulse” buys at the store
– Trying new recipes and food combinations
– Less waste by using up leftovers throughout the week
– Being more present with family at dinner time

I hope you have found these tips helpful and that they help you on your journey to better health. If you have a question or a topic that you would like me to cover in my next newsletter, please contact me.

Health & happiness,



daniel plan logo

Beginning March 6 we will be reading through the Daniel Plan book. Each week we will review one of the 5 Essentials of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. I will be posting the reading in our private Facebook group on Sunday mornings and we will discuss it throughout the week.  I will also be send weekly emails outlining the weekly reading.  You can learn more about the study by clicking HERE to watch a short video.  danielplanplate-new

As some of you know I began the Daniel Plan in January 2014 and really love the ideas presented.  It has deepened my relationship with God, helped me get into better shape physically, and be more aware of my thoughts and how they impact my choices.  I’ve also learned the importance of community which is why I lead this only study several times a year.  This isn’t a quick fix to help you lose weight.  This is a plan that will help you feel better and be healthier for the long haul.  Many lose weight as a result of the program and are able to keep it off because it changes your habits slowly over time.  Many start the study by doing the Daniel Plan Detox.  There are related videos that can be viewed for free for a limited time on StudyGateway or you can purchase the DVD.   StudyGateway also has an option where you can listen and watch many different studies for under $10 a month.

I also have led an in depth study of the Essentials Series that goes into more detail than the Daniel Plan and will be holding it again beginning on May 1st.  Each essential is discussed for 4 weeks and videos with fitness moves and food tips are viewed.  I will be leading that study in the following order: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, Friends.

Better together

If you have questions, please let me know.  You can comment below, contact me, or message me on Facebook.   Don’t forget to invite your friends, family, and church members.  We are Better Together!



Date: March 6, 2016—April 16, 2016
Event: Daniel Plan Online Study with Kim Zajan, CHC
Topic: Daniel Plan by Rick Warren
Sponsor: Kim Zajan
Venue: Private Facebook group
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

God’s Purpose for Living

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Friends Week 4


daniel plan essentials friends

factors for mission

When you are passionate about something you lose track of time when you do it.  Time flies when you’re having fun 🙂  What are you passionate about?  I love helping people.  I’ve taken assessments in the past to help determine what my strengths are.  They are generally in the counseling or related fields like social work, school counselor, or personal trainer.  My passion and my strengths seem to be aligned.

When you do something with meaning you are changing the world.  How are you making the world a better place?  I love leading Bible studies and health groups.   I know from the emails, messages, and phone calls I get, that I am making a difference <3  I also do volunteer work for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Oviedo/Winter Springs FL.  I am the online chairperson for the event.  I post information on the event website and social media.time flies

In order to become a health coach I needed a lot of training.  I earned a BS in Health & Wellness, a MS in Health Education, and was certified through the American Council on Exercise.  I am working on a few additional certifications to further my knowledge and increase my skills: fitness nutrition and weight management.  ACE requires that I complete continuing education in order to keep my credentials.  I also need to keep my CPR and first aid certification up to date.  I read many books about health and wellness and have acquired quite a library <3  I’m also looking forward to some training for health coaches to help clients with thyroid conditions.  My passion for being a health coach has helped me get through all of the education required.  While a lot of it was very interesting, there was some that wasn’t.  If I wasn’t excited about working in the field, I wouldn’t have made it through the years of education I needed.

I’ve also read books and completed some training about social media to help my volunteer position with the American Cancer Society and my personal health coach business.   What do you need to learn more about?  Are there books you could read to help you further knowledge?  Could you return to college or attend a training? Ephesians 2-10

The food tip of the week is kid friendly chicken tenders.  It sounds delicious.  I hope to be adding this to our dinner menu soon.

The fitness tip of the week could be done by yourself or with a partner and with a resistance band.  It really works your upper body and can be modified to make it more difficult.

The Bible verse of the week is “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

This is the end of our Daniel Plan Essential Series study.  I will be leading it again but haven’t decided on a date yet.  I will be leading an online Lenten Study of 40 Days of Decrease beginning 2/10, and Made to Crave later this spring.  I will be keeping you all up to date with the studies I will be leading and look forward to seeing you in another soon.

Health & happiness,


Moving through Grief and Loss

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Friends Week 3

daniel plan essentials friends

5 stages of griefThe topic for session 3 is Moving through Grief and Loss.  Community is a big part of the grief process.  This session discussed the 5 stages of grief:  accept that there was a loss, receive comfort, grieving/letting go, restoration, adaptation.  Many of us have been through a loss or failure.  It is okay to hurt.  You don’t have to pretend all is fine.  Talk to friends about how you really feel.   If you are friends with someone that is going through a loss you may not know what to say.  Keep in mind that sometimes saying nothing, just letting them know you are there for them, is all they need.  The discussion about moving through the grieving process was really eye opening.

The food tip of the week was making chili, one of my favorite foods.  I usually make chili with beef or chicken.  I think I’ve made it with turkey before but not too often.   It is a great meal to pack up for lunch too 🙂

The fitness tip of the week used an exercise band.  I love this type of workout.  It works so many different muscle groups all at once! Matthew 5-4

The Bible Verse for the week is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

I cannot believe that we have almost finished this study.  We only have 1 week left.  I will be reading and watching it again in 2016.  I love to re-read books.  I seem to find things I didn’t catch the first time through.

I will be starting a new study on February 10 — 40 Days of Decrease.  You can learn more about it by clicking HERE.  I am also leading a 90 day fitness challenge on Facebook beginning February 1st.  We will be meeting in a private Facebook group and working on our nutrition and exercise goals.  The community aspect of the program is a vital part.  I would love to see you all there!

Health & happiness,



Breaking Through the Wall

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Fitness Week 4

daniel plan essentials cover fitness

5 stages of changeThe topic for session 4 is Breaking Through the Wall. It discussed the barriers to fitness which include time, motivation, boredom, and discomfort with making our health a priority. We feel pulled in many directions and may not feel that spending time exercising is a worthwhile investment. The truth is spending time on ourselves doing some sort of exercise helps us emotionally and physically. We may also stop exercising when we reach a certain goal—fitting into a certain dress or losing a certain number of pounds. We need bigger goals to help us continue with our fitness journey. Sometimes we just get sick of a certain workout or activity. I stopped CIZE a few weeks ago because although it was fun, I didn’t like it as much as some other workouts. It also felt like a chore to me. I am now doing 21 Day Fix and am certainly not bored anymore. Some people may become bored by workouts that others enjoy—truly there are many people that love CIZE. I guess I just like strength training.

The video also discussed the 5 stages of change: not thinking about changing, thinking about changing, planning, action, maintenance. I am in the maintenance phase of fitness. What phase are you in?

The food tip of the week was a recipe for no bake power bites – I have made these using vegan chocolate Shakeology and they were delicious!

The fitness move of the week is skating.  I have done the skate move before and like the way it can be modified to suit different abilities.5 stages

The Bible verse I am memorizing this week is “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and springs rains.” – James 5:7

I have really enjoyed our study of fitness and look forward to continuing our journey studying the focus essential.


James 5-7











Get a Metabolic Makeover

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Fitness Week 3

daniel plan essentials cover fitness

4 factors that influence metabolismThe topic for session 3 is Get a Metabolic Makeover.  Metabolism is how your body turns what you eat and drink into energy.  There are 4 factors that influence metabolism :

  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Lifestyle
  • Exercise
  • Specific dynamic effect (how much food you eat)

Your basal metabolic rate is basically how many calories you burn carrying out basic life functions.  It is made up of several factors including your size, how muscular you are, your sex, and your age.  Increasing muscle increases your basal metabolic rate.

Lifestyle refers to how active you are.  Do you sit all day at work?  Can you take stretch breaks every hour or so or maybe a short walk?  Even a minute or 2 of standing every hour or 2 will help burn more calories.  I like to walk during my breaks at work and try to get up and stretch every hour or so.

You should try it fit in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.  I usually follow a workout DVD and run.  You could walk, swim, bike-anything that gets your heart rate up.  Aerobic activity is a great way to burn fat.  I especially like interval training.  That is the method I follow when I run:  2 minutes of running followed by a minute of walking.  Running is high intensity and walking is lower intensity.  Interval training is also part of some of the other workouts I do like 21 Day Fix & Insanity Max 30.  It can also be something as simple as walking fast for a minute then slowly for a minute.  You could also bike quickly for a minute then slowing down to a normal pace for a minute.  I am using 1 minute intervals for the examples but you could do longer or shorter intervals and do different activities.

Resistance training builds muscle and will lead to a higher metabolism.  Muscle burns energy.  You can lift weights, use resistance tubing, or do body weight exercises.  This is a great 30 minute routine that you can do at home a few days a week with no equipment.

Skipping meals affects your metabolism.  I try to eat every few hours during the day.  That helps keep my body burning calories 🙂

The fitness tip of the week is shadow boxing.  This actually reminded me of some of my workouts in Insanity Max 30.    What a fun way to burn calories!  It can be done almost anywhere.

The food tip of the week is a post workout smoothie made with superfoods.  I have never tried adding coconut water to a smoothie.  I drink coconut water after my long runs and really like it.  I cannot eat Greek yogurt due to my dairy sensitivity and would need to skip that ingredient.  I use vegan Shakeology in my smoothies.  What are some of your favorite fruits to add to smoothies?  I always add a banana and love adding strawberries and blueberries 🙂

Ephesians 5_29

The Bible verse I am memorizing this week is “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.” – Ephesians 5:29

Have you made any changes to your fitness routine since you started studying the Fitness essential?  I decided to end the year doing 21 Day Fix so I would be well prepared to start The Master’s Hammer and Chisel in January.  I am going to keep running and am signing up for a few more half marathons in 2016.

Health & happiness,