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Friday, October 23, 2015

Healthier Halloween Tips

Last week on Kasa News, I talked about some Healthy Halloween Tips.  I wanted to share those tips with you this week on my blog! 

Tips for a Sweet and Healthy Halloween

Halloween can be a “tricky” time of year! All of our favorite candies, chocolates, and sweets turn into fun-sized and fun-themed halloween treats.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll think to yourself, “I’ll just have one..” and then before you know it, the bowl of candy magically disappears!  

The truth is, indulging a little bit isn’t going to kill you but if you’re trying to avoid a sugar relapse (like myself) here are a few tips to having a healthier, happier, halloween! 

1. Out of sight, out of mind (Pre-Halloween)
Try to avoid purchasing your halloween candy until the day of to avoid temptation. 

2. Be the unique house and hand out healthier treats (Halloween Day)
I am very much a “Monkey see, Monkey eat” kind of person.  I’ll eat whatever is in my house even when I try to hide the bad things!  This is why I try to keep my pantry and fridge free of any temptations.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by stocking your house with all of your favorite candies for trick or treaters. 

Healthier ideas: 
Apple sauce squeezers 
Single serve pack of nuts 
Granola bars 
Trail Mix 
Single serve pack of raisins 
Small boxes of cereal 

You could also hand out items other than candy such as: 
halloween themed pencils
glow sticks
false teeth 
tiny decks of cards 

In a day & age where there are so many food allergies, it may not be a bad idea to hand out something other than candy anyways.  

3. Don’t skip any meals the day of (Halloween Day)
The worst thing you can do is not eat at all, thinking your going to save your calories for your big halloween party or for when you come home from trick or treating with the family.  It’s better to stick to your regular routine and fill up on healthy calories to avoid over indulging on candy.  

4. Out of sight out of mind (Post Halloween) 
It’s the day after halloween and you have enough candy to last you through May of the next year.  GET RID OF IT!  Here are a few ideas: 

Pay it forward!
"Just one little thing.  Sometime all it takes to brighten another persons day is JUST ONE LITTLE THING.  It doesn't have to be spectacular.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  It just has to be thoughtful or kind."

Separate the collected candy into small ziplock bags and hand the bags out to people you pass on the street 
Or you can freeze it and only take out a few pieces at a time

5. Halloween Detox 
Maybe you over did it… don’t beat yourself up! One day isn’t going to cause you to gain everything back.  You need to focus on getting back into the mental game of eating healthy… which is the hardest part! Try doing a post halloween 1 day juice detox, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables! 

If you would like the recipe to the healthier pumpkin spice latte I talked about on Kasa News 
 Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Wishing you a happy & healthy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Quinoa Salad

I made this  fall salad earlier this week and I can't stop eating it! 
I love quinoa! There are so many different things you can do with it AND you can make a big batch that will last you all week.  I have to keep healthy foods in my fridge that are ready to go, in order to stay on track with my diet.  

This quinoa salad is one of my favs & it's suppeerrr easy to make!

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad 

1 Box of Quinoa 
4 cups Vegetable Broth 
Dried or Fresh Cranberries 
1/2 Cup of Pecans or Walnuts 
1/2 cup Green Onions 
Sea Salt to Taste 
Black Pepper to Taste
(optional) Feel free to add chopped or shredded chicken 

Follow directions on box of quinoa.  Typically you'll use 2 cups of liquid per 1 cup of quinoa.  I like to replace the water (what the box calls for)  with vegetable broth for more flavor.  I usually cook an entire box of quinoa at one time, which comes out to two cups of quinoa and I'll use 4 cups of vegetable broth.  

Cook the quinoa in a large pot over medium heat for 15 minutes or until done. 

While the quinoa is cooking, chop up your green onions and nuts.  Place in a bowl with the cranberries.  Once your quinoa is done, add in the cranberries, onions, and pecans.  Add salt and pepper. 

Serve chilled or at room temperature!

I personally think this salad tastes even better after it's been in the fridge for a couple hours or served the next day.  The holidays are right around the corner and this fall salad makes for a fantastic side dish! 

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan (without chicken) 

Wishing you a happy and healthy fall! 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte

So... there's no denying the fact that I love PSL season however, when I looked up the nutrition information of the beloved drink, it was a complete and total buzzkill.  In fact, I haven't been able to order one since then.  So, I decided to make my own healthy fall drink.  One that I didn't feel so guilty indulging in! 

Starbucks Nutritional Info
No. Thank. You.


Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan Friendly 
1 serving 

1 cup of almond or coconut milk 

1 tbsp pumpkin puree 

3-5 drops of vanilla 

1 tsp of cinnamon 
pinch of nutmeg 
pinch of ground ginger 
3/4 cup of coffee 

Place the milk and pumpkin in a small pot or pan, over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the mixture starts to simmer.  Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  Whisk until frothy.  

Place coffee in large mug, pour heated pumpkin mixture on top & enjoy! 

By the way, this drink is only 55 calories and has less than 10 carbs per serving! 


Monday, September 21, 2015

"Eat This, Not That" (part 2)

There are so many healthy alternatives out there today and I'm so excited to share some more of them with you all!   Many of these items are now staples in my diet.  I didn’t make all of these changes overnight… it took time, but it has been rewarding both physically and mentally.  I feel better, I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss and I attribute so much of that to making the changes below. Along with lots of juicing of course :)  Here is my special edition of “Eat This, Not That"  (part 2) 

If you are interested in part 1, click HERE.

Squash vs. Pasta 

Spaghetti squash is an excellent alternative to pasta.  Squash has 179 less calories and 33 less carbs... sounds like a win win!  It tastes great and you can take any pasta recipe and sub the heavy pasta for a light spaghetti squash meal thats guilt- free! 

Other Pasta Alternatives:  Brown Rice Pasta & Quinoa

Calories: 42
Carbs: 10g
Fiber: 2.2g 

Calories: 221
Carbs: 43 g 
Fiber: 2.5 

Coconut Nectar vs. Syrup 

My go-to sweetener is coconut nectar.  A good rule of thumb when using these products is the less ingredients on the label... the better!  I use coconut nectar to cook/bake with, put a tablespoon in my coffee or oatmeal, on pancakes or waffles, and use to it to bind homemade granola bars!   Anything that requires a little sugar!  
Coconut Nectar has a low glycemic index, is a superfood, is raw, contains 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C and B.  

Other healthy alternatives: Agave Nectar, Date Syrup, REAL maple syrup, Yacon Syrup, Molasses, and Organic Honey.  

Almond Flour vs. White/Wheat Flour 

Almond flour is a great alternative to white or wheat flour.  Almond flour is excellent for low carb cooking and baking and it's gluten free.  Almond flour is loaded with energy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.   If you are allergic to almond, try coconut flour! 

Sparkling Water vs.  Soda 

I use to be a diet coke freak.  Cutting out diet coke was and still is a struggle for me.  Sparkling water is great alternative to soda.  You get the bubbly-carbonated feel without all of the chemicals and calories in soda.  Even if you're drinking "calorie-free" sodas, try swapping them out with sparkling water.  The calorie free sodas are still loaded with harmful chemicals.  Not to mention, they make you bloat! 

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips vs. Chocolate Chips 

I LOVE chocolate, but I love guilt-free chocolate even more!  Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips are AMAZING!  These amazing little chocolate chips are Non-GMO, certified gluten-free, & certified vegan.  You can find them at Sprouts and Whole Foods! 

They are free from: 
Tree Nut 

Most chocolate chips are loaded with artificial flavors and coloring, GMO's, milk, sugar, and soy! Just check the back of the labels. 

Please keep in mind that these are simply my personal suggestions formed from my own experiences with my weight loss journey.  Making these small changes worked for me.  I have been able to maintain the 40 lbs that I lost by sticking to these changes I made in my diet.  I was always a big yo-yo dieter... I would try something for a few months and then revert back to my old eat habits.  This is why it was so important for me to find healthy alternatives that I could use for the rest of my life! 

Always keep striving to become the best version of yourself and make the most out of the last few months we have left this year! 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eat This, Not That! (part 1)

This week, I wanted to share a few of my go-to diet hacks with you!  But first, I want to talk just briefly about “dieting” 

 It’s so important to remember first and foremost that with everything in life, BALANCE IS KEY.  This is especially important to remember when developing new eating habits. If you’re anything like me and love your sweets, fried food, extra cheese on everything please! … Let me just say that I understand your struggle!  Making small changes and enjoying the journey  is the only way to get long lasting results.

There are so many healthy alternatives out there today and I am so excited to share them with you all! Many of these items are now staples in my diet.  I didn’t make all of these changes overnight… it took a lot of time but it has been rewarding both physically and mentally.  I feel better, I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss and I attribute so much of that to making the changes below. Along with lots of juicing of course :)  Here is my special edition of “Eat This, Not That”  

Ezekiel VS. Whole Wheat 

Most people know that wheat bread is better than white bread.  There is a big difference between Sprouted Grain (Ezekiel Bread) Whole Wheat and White Bread.  Contrary to poplar belief, whole wheat isn't much better than white bread.  When you eat bread that is made with refined flour (which is most bread) your body processes it quickly like a sugar which throws off your blood sugar levels.  This causes a lot of people to gain weight and bloat.  Most whole wheat and white breads are loaded with preservatives, GMO's, added sugars, and. artificial flavoring and coloring.   

Sprouted Grain Bread (Ezekiel Bread): 

Contains NO FLOUR 
Technically is made from vegetables.  In order to sprout a grain, you soak it until it becomes a little plant! 
Easier to digest 
Is Gluten Free 
Contains more Protein 

I can't remember the last time I bought anything other than Ezekiel Bread.  Ezekiel offers a lot of other "bread like" products and I use them all... Sliced bread, hamburger buns, muffins, tortillas and more!   This an easy switch to make and it's nice because you eat carbs and bread... GUILT FREE! 

Earth Balance Butter VS. Butter or Margarine 

Earth Balance Butter is a dairy-free butter spread that contains NO artificial ingredients. It's made from expeller- pressed oils and has the same rich, creamy, taste and texture of regular butter.  It's Vegan, Lactose Free, Gluten Free,  0g Trans Fat, Casein Free,  and Non GMO.  I haven't stopped using this product since I first tried it years ago.  It's nice to put on toast, cook with, and more! 

Coconut Milk or Almond Milk VS. Milk 

Unsweetened milk alternatives (coconut and almond milk) contains less calories than cows milk.  For example, 1 cup of almond milk contains 40 calories per cup whereas skim cows milk contains 90 calories.  Cows milk also contains a higher amount of carb.  In a cup of cow's milk, there are around 12 grams of carbs whereas unsweetened almond milk contains less than 1 carb per cup.  Almond milk is right in heart healthy polyunsaturated fats while cows milk is mostly saturated fat.  Both almond and coconut milk are delicious.  It may take some getting use to at first if you are one who loves their glass of milk but your heart, health, and tummy will thank you!  You can enjoy a glass guilt-free, pour of over cereal, use it in a smoothie, cook/ bake with it and more! 

Eat Pastry Cookie Dough VS.  Regular Cookie Dough

If there's one thing I can't live without.. it's cookies... and cookie dough.  I discovered Eat Pastry awhile ago and since then it's my favorite treat to pick up on the weekends.  This is a great guilt-free dessert and I promise that you will be impressed with the taste! 

Eat Pastry is: 
Gluten Free 
No: dairy, eggs, cholesterol, artificial flavors, or hydrogen oils.  

Other products: Chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough, oatmeal raisin chocolate chip, sugar cookie dough, and snickerdoodle.  

Quinoa VS. Brown Rice

Brown rice is often thought of as the healthy alternative but Quinoa has been giving brown rice a run for it's money when it comes to being the healthiest grain.  

Quinoa has : 
More Protein 
Less Carbs 
More Fiber 
More Magnesium 
More Iron 
More Potassium 
More Zinc 
Digests easier 
Naturally Gluten Free 
Packed with Nutrients 
Low Glycemic Index 
Benefits for Metabolic Health  

Alternative uses:  Fried "Rice",  Quinoa Cookies, Hot "Oat" Quinoa Cereal, Quinoa Breakfast Pancakes, Salads, Cakes and Fritters, Quinoa Bites, Quinoa Burgers, Quinoa "Tater" Tots, and more. 

Please keep in mind that these are simply my personal suggestions formed from my own experiences with my weight loss journey.  Making these small changes worked for me.  I have been able to maintain the 40 lbs I lost by sticking to these changes I made in my diet.  I was always a big yo-yo dieter... I would try something for a few months and then revert back to my old eat habits.  This is why it was so important for me to find healthy alternatives that I could use for the rest of my life! 

I can't wait to share part 2 with you later this week! 

Always keep striving to become the best version of yourself and make the most out of the last few months we have left this year! 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sparkling Green Detox Smoothie

I’m a huge fan of this smoothie!  I try to have 1 serving for breakfast every morning. Green drinks look intimidating at first but I promise, they aren’t as bad as they look and they are FANTASTIC for you!  Drinking the Sparkling Green Detox Smoothie is an easy way to sneak more fruits and veggies into your diet.  I personally like to make one big batch at a time and keep the leftovers in my refrigerator, in mason jars.  This provides a way for to me to grab a quick breakfast when I’m on the go.  I enjoy starting my day with this delicious drink because it kicks off my day with a healthy mindset, it fills me up, and it gives me enough energy to get through my busy schedule! 

Sparkling Green Detox Smoothie 

1 cup of Water 
1 cup of spinach 
1 cup of Kale 
Handful of parsley
Handful of Dandelion Greens 
1 Pear 
Juice of 2 lemons 

BLEND greens with water 1st, followed by blending the pear and lemon in with the greens.  

NOTE:  This recipe is intended to make a smoothie with a blender.  If you want to make Sparkling Green Detox Juice, simply double the ingredients. 

Other variations of Sparkling Green Detox Smoothie: 

1 cup of Water 
1 cup of Spinach 
1 cup of Kale 
1 Granny Smith Apple
Juice of 2 Lemons 

1 cup of Water 
2 cup of Spinach 
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Banana 
Juice of 2 Lemons and 2 Limes 

1 cup of Water 
2 cup of Spinach 
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Pear 
Juice of 2 Lemons and 2 Limes 

NOTE:  These recipes are intended to make a smoothies with a blender.  If you want to make Sparkling Green Detox Juice, simply double the ingredients. 

Smoothie Benefit Breakdown: Why is this good for you? 

Why Parsley? 
I know adding parsley to a smoothie sounds weird but the truth is, you can’t even taste it when blended with the right fruits and vegetables.  Parsley is rich in antioxidants, chlorophyll, vitamin C, antioxidants, and much much more.  So, what does that mean?  It acts as a natural diuretic while cleansing the blood, and body.  

Why Dandelion Greens? 
The dandelion plant is EXTREMELY powerful.  This plant is filled with fiber, which helps move waste out of the body, contains vitamin C and B6, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium… just to name a few.  Dandelion greens are low in calories, loaded with antioxidants, and help cleanse and detox the body.  They also have a high amount of protein per serving in comparison to spinach lettuce. It’s been said that dandelion greens contains anti-inflammatory properties, which helps with bloating.  

Why Pears and Apples? 

By adding 1 pear or apple to your smoothie, you can mask the earthy taste of the greens.  Your goal should be to use less and less fruits as time goes on  (to lower the sugar content)  but these recipes provide a great starting point! 

I challenge you to start your mornings off with the #SparklingGreenDetoxSmoothie 
We still have a few months left of 2015… Let’s make them our healthiest months yet! 

XoXo, Ashley 

Monday, July 20, 2015

July Resolutions

New Year's in July

Can you believe that we only have about 5 months left of 2015?! ... Neither can I!  This year has flown by! (I feel like I say that every year) Now, I have another question... Have you stuck with your New Year's resolution? Or better yet,  do you remember the resolution you made almost 7 months ago?  

If you answered no to one or both of those questions, I have good news for you! We still have 27  weeks left of this year and that's plenty of time to create your own fresh start!  There's no rule that says you can only start over on January 1st or on Monday or at the beginning of any month.  One of my favorite quotes is, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” 

Whether you are trying to lose weight or just trying to start living a healthier lifestyle you have to “Sacrifice what you are, for what you will be become” –Eric Thomas.  I think THE most important thing a person can do when starting this journey is to remember that it is a JOURNEY.  It’s a process and it’s far from easy, but it’s completely possible to achieve those dreams and goals.  There will be good days and there will be bad days, there will be easy days and there will be hard days, but a year from right now will you be so happy that you started today.

So, I think the big question here is how do create a game plan and stick with it... for more than a few weeks!  
Here are a few ways that I personally go about making my dreams, my reality.  

Game Planning

It’s so important to sit down and actually take the time to write out your goals.  “A goal without a plan is just a wish” There is something about writing your goals down on paper that makes them so much more realistic.  I highly encourage you to do this! Once you have your goals written out, hang them somewhere so that you can look at them everyday! I have mine on my bathroom mirror and I read them every morning while I brush my teeth.  I also like to set mini goals.  If my ultimate goal is to drop 10lbs by a certain month I will divide the pounds by the amount of weeks I have and then I will set mini dead lines.  For example:

Let’s say you weigh 160, You want to weigh 150 by Christmas... 

Which means you want to lose 10 lbs in 5 months.  That would mean you should set a goal of losing 2 pounds a month, or .5 a week.

 I like to make mini deadlines so every two weeks I would set a different goal.  This
helps keep you on track and holds you accountable. 

I also like to sit down on Sundays and write out my meal plan.  I mean like, to the T! Every meal and every snack down to the portions! If you do this, there will never be any question on what you are going to eat, leaving minimal room for error! We fall off of our diets when we’re confused and unprepared.

Create A Dream Board

I know this may sound like a silly and tedious task but I am telling you it’s so worth it! (and it can be fun!)  Make a copy of your goals and paste them into the middle of a blank poster board.  Once you have done that go thru magazines and cut out anything that inspires you! It could be a quote, a food item, or maybe someone’s physique.  I also like to print out pictures of people who are close to me that inspire me.  Giving your dream an actual vision is a powerful thing! Hang your poster in a place where you can look at it everyday and constantly be reminded of why your making
these changes!

Balance is KEY

We all get discouraged at times.  It’s just a part of the journey.  Getting discourage can hit us out of nowhere and sweep us right off of our feet!  These are the times we have to remember why we started in the first place.  If you fall off track with your diet… it’s not the end of the world. It’s so important to take BABY STEPS.  If you eat healthy for one day, you are not going to see results immediately (very unfortunate, I know) it’s a process that takes time.  And likewise, if you have been eating very healthy… one “bad meal” will not cause you to gain 10lbs.  If you end up cheating at lunch that doesn’t mean you have to cheat for dinner as well.  Someone once said to me, “If you dropped your phone on the floor, would you keep smashing it until it was completely broken?”  Of course my answer was no, and their reply was, “Well then why would you do that with your diet?”  It’s something that we all do at times… We have a slice of pizza that we weren’t intending to have and we think “well I already cheated… now where’s the dessert?!”  There will be days when you give in but that doesn’t mean you should give up.  Keep going, keep striving, keep dreaming, and keep reaching to achieve those goals!

 I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful week! 

For Daily Tips and Recipes follow me on: 

Instagram: ashleynicolemora1 
Twitter: MissAshleyMoora 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My slim down secrets

My slim down secrets 

Hello everyone!!! I’ve had a few people ask what supplements I use and how I get ready for pageants.  I thought on today’s blog, I would share some of my favorite products and slim down secrets.  

I’m a huge advocate for using products that are 100% natural.  I don’t use any protein powders, pre-work, fat burners etc.  I know a lot of people swear by those things,a but I prefer to use products that are 1. all natural and harmless 2. I can use for the rest of my life.  Trial and error with other “diets” lead me to the conclusion that I wanted to start a lifestyle that didn’t have “use for 8 weeks and then stop” expiration date.  On top of juicing and eating an all natural diet, there are a few things I think help to shed those last few pounds and really help with de-bloating.  I bloat like crazy… If eat something that has a lot of sodium, you can tell the next day, so I have done quiet a bit of research on how to naturally drop water weight.  These are a few things that work for me! 

1. Dandelion Root 

Dandelion Root is like magic! It serves as a digestive aid and flushes waste, salt, and water out of the kidneys which significantly helps with bloating.  Dandelion reduces inflammation throughout the body, is rich in antioxidants, regulates blood sugar levels, and boosts the immune system. 

You can purchase dandelion root at most health food stores.  It comes in a tea form and in a pill form.  I prefer the pill form because I find it to be more potent, however I like both! 

2. Epsom Salt Bath 
Epsom salt baths are the You’ve probably heard to take one when you’re sore, but if you happen to be feeling like you're carrying a little extra water weight… these bad boys will do the trick! 

I prefer to use warm-hot water and soak for about 30-45 minutes.  I use anywhere from half a bag to a whole bag and I love the Dr. Teals brand.  I typically buy it at Target and my favorite is the lavender! 

3. Magnesium 

Magnesium is an incredible mineral.  There are a lot of foods that have a high magnesium content, but I take the pill form daily. It helps digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats among several other things! 

4. Digestive Enzymes 

Taking a digestive enzymes to help with digestion is like hiring workers for a large task inside the body. Digestive enzymes help fight to keep your gut healthy.  They break down our food and help us absorb properly.  If you feel bloated or constipated, enzymes could be your saving grace! (pictured below are women's digestive enzymes because that's what I use but there are men's available as well)

5.  Probiotics 

Probiotics help with overall digestive management! Keeping your gut clean is important when trying to lose or maintain weight.  

6. Cranberry Tea 
Cranberry has a lot of powerful benefits.  This superfood is even more delicious in a tea form and filled with vitamins and antioxidants.  Cranberry tea helps flush the kidneys, liver, and burns fat by removing toxins from the body.  It can also help increase the metabolism depending on how much your drink. It’s good stuff!!! 

7.  Dry Sauna 

Do whatever you can to sweat! Sitting in a sauna induces sweating significantly which in return rids the body of waste products.  You will be getting rid of toxins and shedding excess water weight.  I love sitting in the dry sauna at the end of my workout. I always feel great when I leave the sauna!  

8.  Juicing 

Of course, I am a huge believer in juicing.  If you are looking to drop a few pounds for any reason, I highly suggest adding more fruit and veggie juices to your diet.  Fruits and veggies have an unlimited amount of nutrients that heal the body from the inside out. Juices also have a very low sodium content which helps when trying to de-bloat.  

Because these supplements are all natural, you can incorporate your favorites into your daily or weekly routine!  I personally use about half of these product on a daily basis.  A lot of excess weight is stored in the gut which is why it’s so important to always keep things moving.  I highly recommend finding a good probiotic and digestive enzyme to take regularly.   You can buy the majority of these at health food stores like Whole Foods.