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Vegan Cookie Dough

Jena Chopson

Promise you won't get mad at me? 

I kinda just threw this one together. You know when it's approximately 2 in the afternoon and you're craving something not-so-great for you? I happened to be scrolling my facebook newsfeed and BAM. There it was. Cookie dough. 

It was all over. I had to have it. So I started scouring recipes online and I ended up blending several different recipes together to create my own little concoction. 

I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, I know all the ingredients I used. The bad news is, the AMOUNT that I used isn't going to be exact...so be willing to work with me a little bit here ;) But hey, this creates a bit of adventure with your cookie dough, right? 

FYI--This crazy thing I'm calling a "recipe" below serves about 1. So bump it up if you are feeding more than one mouth :) 

Ingredients: 

1/2 can of garbanzo beans
1/4 cup Oat Flour (or old fashioned oats) 
2-3 Tbsp Peanut butter or nut butter of your choosing
1/3 Banana
1 packet Stevia
Vanilla Extract
Cashew Milk (I had unsweetened vanilla on hand)
Honey and/or maple syrup
Chocolate chips 

The random method I used: 

1.) I placed the can of garbanzo beans in a colander and rinsed them thoroughly in the sink
2.) Next, I placed about half the can of garbanzo beans in my Ninja Blender.
3.) I then added approximately 4 tablespoons (or about 1/4 cup) of oat flour and blended it thoroughly in the blender. 
4.) I then added at least 2Tbsp of peanut butter---you can add more or less to your taste, then I added 1 packet of stevia, a few drops of vanilla extract, about 2-3 Tbsp of cashew milk, a drizzle of honey to taste, and about 1/3 of a banana because I wanted creamy consistency. 
5.) I then blended that very well for a smooth consistency. Blend to your liking--but if I'm eating "cookie dough," I want it fluffy and smooth! 
6.) I then topped with chocolate chips. To keep this vegan, you can use Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips, which are delicious. 

Don't get too caught up in the amounts. Just start throwing ingredients in a blender until it looks right to you. I've made probably a dozen variations of this recipe in the past (you can add or subtract so many different ingredients to make this equally delicious), and they almost always turn out amazing! This does give you a very subtle banana flavor, so if that isn't your jam you can always leave that out and add more cashew milk or sub something plain like a few Tbsp of plain greek yogurt for that smoother consistency.

I'm clearly not claiming to be a chef anytime soon, but I can say that this was delicious and it totally fulfilled my craving for cookie dough--at a much healthier "cost."

 

Let me know what you thought about it in the comments! Enjoy.

XoXo,

Jena  


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How to be the light

Jena Chopson

Is it just me or does social media seem a bit dark these days? Between political hate, people constantly judging others, and some using social media as an outlet to make themselves feel better……one of the coolest creations of the 21st century is sometimes seemingly becoming one of the worst. 

So I figured I’d take a few minutes to talk about how to be the “light” you want to see in your newsfeed.  And trust me….I know you already KNOW these things.  I believe we are all inherently good people. But if the law of attraction is true (and I believe it is) we can easily begin to tumble down the slippery slope of social media negativity—sometimes, without even realizing it. 

Be the light rule #1: Make someone’s day. 

This may seem super cliche….even cheesy. But every day I log on, I aim to make at LEAST one person’s day (I typically shoot for around 5). Whether it’s commenting on someone’s post that they look beautiful or sending them a private message telling them how much you love how they show up in the world….aim to share the love. Think of it like a pay it forward initiative. Bonus: This one has a “bounce-back” effect. It’ll totally make your day, too. 

Be the light rule #2: Keep Scrolling. 

See a post that makes your blood boil? Keep scrolling

Here’s the thing. Our first, most animalistic instinct when we see something we don't believe in (and are repulsed by) is to fight back. Resist the urge. You aren’t going to change that person’s mind. People on social media have already formed their own morals, ethics, religions, and opinions. All that will happen by commenting on that post and responding in a knee-jerk fashion is someone will inevitably get hurt. 

“But I want to create debate. Challenge their thought. Create change.” That’s totally cool. And I get it. But STOP first. Write out a response. Then sit on it for 24 hours. If you still want to make that same reply tomorrow…then post it. Odds are, the response you choose to make 24 hours later will be vastly different than that initial response. Probably much kinder, too ;) 

Be the light rule #3: Talk about at least one JOY per day. 

So many people use social media to vent or talk about what’s going wrong in their day. 

But what’s going right in your life right now? What are you most grateful for? What made you smile that day? 

Start making a point to share at least one thing that filled you with joy that day and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who do the same. 

Be the light rule #4: Remove the triggers. 

Why do you still have those people in your newsfeed that you know ALWAYS trigger you in some negative way? Hide them. Unfollow them. Remove the triggers. 

Even if the account you’re following ISN’T negative. What? Hang with me here. Let’s say it’s an IG account for a popular bikini brand that regularly showcases models in bikinis. Nothing negative about that, right? But perhaps this triggers insecurity or feelings of low self-worth in you. WHY are you following that account? Delete. Buh-bye. 

Sometimes it really isn’t them. It’s you. Or vice versa. Either way…if it’s throwing shade onto your life—REMOVE it! 

Be the light rule #5: Make time to be blissfully “unplugged.”

Even people like me who love social media and use social media for business need to make “unplugged” time a priority. 

It’s 2017, and most of us are undeniably addicted to our phones. There are some crazy stats out there that say something like most people check their phone several times per minute. I begrudgingly admit that there are some days I am probably one of those statistics. 

To keep ourselves centered and focused, and making sure we are being PRESENT in the moment (and present to what’s most important to us), I think it’s crucial that we set “unplugged” time without cell phones at least a few hours each day. 

 

Just like anything, this takes practice, time, & consistency. You won’t see a change in your social media overnight but I guarantee if you put some of these into practice, you might find that your social media is a happier place to be. 

XoXo,

Jena 


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Four-ingredient squash parfait.

Jena Chopson

I love easy recipes. 

I love it even more when easy recipes taste this good. 

Sweet tooth, anyone? Read on....

It tastes better than it looks...if that's even possible. 

This recipe is super easy if you have everything on hand. I had leftover butternut squash that I cooked up yesterday, so this was literally as simple as mixing stuff in a bowl then scooping it out and layering it into this glass. 

But if you don't already have cooked squash on hand that's been hanging out in the fridge overnight (I mean, why wouldn't you?), then here's the recipe for this gem. 

Don't forget to let me know if this was appealing to your taste buds by sharing this out to your friends or commenting on this post on social.

What you'll need:

1 butternut squash
Liquid stevia (or packets work, too) 
1 serving of plain greek yogurt
Cinnamon
Carmel, Maple, or Vanilla extracts (optional) 
Honey or maple syrup (optional) 

To cook the squash: 

Cut off top 1/2". Cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out seeds. Place halves face down in a baking dish with 1/4" water. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. When done, peel off the skin or scoop out the squash. Place squash in mixing bowl. Add 1-2 TBSP of cinnamon (or to taste), a 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (or 1-2 packets as desired), and 1 tsp caramel extract (or choose your flavor here, optional). Mix with electric hand mixer so it's like a fluff or mashed potato like.  

Side note: Butternut squash tastes amazingly sweet all on its own. Adding in extra stevia might be too much. Try it first by itself with a dash of cinnamon to see if you even need the stevia. If you're like me, you probably don't. This squash is the bomb dot com, baby.

You can, of course, eat the squash right away, but if you want to make the parfait, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. 

For the greek yogurt: 

Place 1 serving (typically 2/3 cup) in a bowl. Add water while stirring to create desired consistency (I prefer a thinner consistency, greek yogurt is a little too thick for my liking. If you like it as is, then skip this step and carry on, you greek yogurt lovin' warrior). Add 1-2 stevia packets or liquid stevia to desired taste. Add in flavor extract of choice, if desired. I mixed in a few drops of maple extract. Blend well in the bowl. 

Side note: If you are new to plain greek yogurt, you may find that you need to add in a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to make it more desirable to your taste buds. I'll give you the green light here, but just don't get carried away, mmmkay? 

Once you have your refrigerated squash and greek yogurt mixture, simply layer them on top of each other at your heart's content. Voila! Heaven in your mouth. 

Now you can tell all your friends you eat dessert for breakfast AND stay on track with your goals.

Cheers,

Jena 

 

Special shoutout to Kevin Butz who showed me the squash ways and gave me several squash recipes. You da man, Kevin! 

If you're a 21-day fix meal plan follower, this recipe counts as 1 green (measured as 2/3 cup), and 1 red. Can we cheers again to that? 


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5 things I have learned in the first 2 weeks of Core De Force

Jena Chopson

1.) You need buddies to go on the journey with you.

I don’t care what you say. You can’t go through a lifestyle change alone, no matter what it is. You need at the very least a cheerleader or a friend who supports you 110% along your journey. Brownie points if that friend just happens to be in the trenches with you, walking right along side you. There’s power in linking arms with someone when you’re heading into battle!

Doing this program alongside some good friends has been a HUGE plus for me. It would be 100X more difficult without them.


2.) Accountability is everything.

See #1. A buddy system helps create accountability.  But aside from having others go on the journey with you, you need to shout on the rooftops what your goals are. You need to let everyone know. A silent journey helps no one, especially YOU! If you don’t tell anyone where you’re going, how will they know when you get off course? It’ll be easy to shy away from your goals if you’re the only one who knows about them.

The fact that we’ve had a group of others going on this journey with us, watching us, expecting us to show up, expecting us to check in with our measurements and milestones, creates SO much more accountability. This really is the secret sauce to sticking with something. You want motivation, inspiration, and dedication? Just grab yourself some accountability.

3.) It’s always tough in the beginning when you try something new.

You can’t expect a flawless journey when you decide to make a change. Change is always met with some resistance. It’s hard, especially in the beginning. You’re making a course disruption. We are creatures of habit by nature…..we like our routines and our habits. So when we decide to change it up…is it really any surprise that it’s just plain HARD?!

Week one of Core De Force tested me in every way possible. I knew it was going to be challenging, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the kind of commitment I was making. But because I had #1 and #2 locked in, I stuck with it. Which lead me to #4…..

4.) …..but if you stick with it, you break through the wall.

Once I had week 1 under my belt, something exciting started to happen: I began to feel AMAZING. With a newfound sense of confidence and badassery, I felt like I could take on the world. I always tell my challengers that starting is the hardest part. And that couldn’t be a truer statement. We build up all these walls and excuses as to why we can’t do something, so we often never try. But if we can be bold enough to push past those fears and just START,  that’s when the magic happens. Piece by piece you begin to chip away at all those walls you build up until there’s nothing left standing but you.

5.)  You are SO much stronger than you think you are.

You know what? We tell ourselves a lot of bullshit stories about ourselves. It’s true. You have them, I have them, we ALL have them.

“I’ve never been strong enough to do ____.”

“I’ve never been able to do _____.”

“I’m just not cut out for _____.”

“I’m not as good as _____ so there’s no way I could _____.”

“I just don’t have that kind of motivation.”

“I’ll never be disciplined enough to do _____.”

We could be here for days. But you get the point, right?

But do you want to know the truth? Like the real truth and nothing but the truth? All of those stories you tell yourself about why you can’t do something are complete BS. All of them.

You are eleventy billion (that’s a lot ;) ) times stronger than you think you are. You are capable of doing so much more than you give yourself credit for. And if you just took that and BELIEVED in it……then whoa. You’d be unstoppable.

I had a lot of BS stories about myself before I started this program, too.  Some of them sounded ridiculous. But a lot of them even sounded noble. I had to be willing to recognize that the only person stopping me from achieving the results I wanted to achieve was ME. I had to believe I was stronger than I thought I was. And you know what? That belief turned out to be the REAL truth, after all.

Never doubt what you are capable of! We all have more potential inside of us to live up to.  

 

Fight for it. 

Jena

 


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Luck.

Jena Chopson

Last night I had someone tell me that I was lucky.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"Well, you're beautiful, you're thin, you have a great job. You're lucky."

Lucky, eh? Here's my take on that:
 

To some extent, she was right. I am lucky that I was born in America, the greatest country on this planet. I am lucky that I was given two incredible parents who raised me in a loving family. And yes, I'm lucky I didn't come out of the womb looking like cyclops. 

But I can assure you that luck had nothing to do with where I have ended up today. 
 

I made the choice to spend 7 years in higher education, busting my ass to be a nurse practitioner. I made the choice to start a business 4 years ago and I have worked consistently at it so that it could create a designed life for us. 
 

Every day I make the decision to eat healthier and exercise so that my body feels vivacious enough to do anything and everything I want to do. 
 

Do you notice a trend here? Choices. Decisions. While most of us walk around thinking life happens TO us, the reality is quite the opposite. This life is the product of the decisions WE MAKE. 
 

We can change our reality at any given moment. It just takes the desire to change and actually act on those decisions. 
 

When you see someone who is successful, I can assure you it isn't luck that got them there. 
 

Behind every success story was someone who dared to do what the majority of others won't do. It's a story of someone who decided they weren't going to settle for ordinary, and so they put a vision into action and made a change....oftentimes making tons of hidden sacrifices along the way. 
 

Luck? I don't know much about that. But I do know a lot about hard work and sweat equity. And I'll choose that path over easy any day of the week.


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My response to "I'm not really doing the meal plan."

Jena Chopson

As a coach, I hear this phrase more often than not. And if I had $1 for every time I heard it, I wouldn't need to go back to work tomorrow ;) 

Are you ready for a dose of honesty today? 

My response to that is: "Then you're really not going to get results." 

Okay, let me take a step back. If anyone gets the struggle, it's me. I am literally the poster child for the phrase "You can't out-exercise a bad diet." Over the years I have been downright loyal to my workouts, exercising consistently 5-7 days a week for years. Workouts I do NOT miss. My nutrition on the other hand? Let's just say consistency isn't quite the word I would use to describe it. 

I've successfully completed SEVERAL workout programs. With some I have gotten great results, and with others, I have gotten MINIMAL results. What gives? Was it the workout program? NO. Was it because I didn't go hard enough? HELL NO! So what was the game changer? Duh....FOOD. 

I have made excuse after excuse as to why I don't follow proper nutrition like I should. Do any of these sound familiar? 

"I don't like to meal prep."

"I don't have time to meal prep."

"I don't want to spend my weekends off in the kitchen cooking all day." 

"I am super active, so I don't really need to worry about what I eat." 

"I can just wing it."

"I hate being told what to eat." 

"I don't want to cook different things for me and my family." 

"Let's face it, I just really like food."

The list goes on and on and on and on......

But if I'm truly being honest, those are genuinely all excuses. The excuses we create can even sometimes sound noble. I'm sure some of my excuses have., too. But what it REALLY comes down to whether you want to admit it or not is this: It's just not that important to you. 

We make time for what is truly important to us. We will move mountains for what REALLY matters to us. If we aren't putting time and effort into our health & nutrition, it isn't because of ANY excuse. It is because it just doesn't rank that high on the totem pole of priorities.  

This past week I have made the DECISION that nutrition IS hella important to me. What has taken place since that simple decision has been nothing short of incredible:

I've made time to make healthy meals. 

I've meal prepped (and I didn't die). 

I've been cognizant of what I have shoved in my face. 

I've created dinner solutions that don't involve me making a separate meal for Doug. I make ONE meal that works for BOTH of us (it's very possible, people). 

And the RESULT? 

Well for starters, amazing food like this: 

Spicy burgers made with local, lean ground beef

Strawberries with Greek Yogurt

Taco salad with lean turkey burger

But more importantly than pretty food pictures, I just FEEL better. It's amazing how well your body responds to FUELING it with better stuff: 

You sleep better.

Your head feels clearer. 

The bloat goes away. 

Digestion improves. 

And if you have it, the excess weight falls off. 

It's day FOUR of committing to this new journey and the excess weight is already starting to fall off for me. I'm already feeling so much better, especially after eating nothing but junk last week. 

What's more is it REALLY ISN'T THAT HARD. Especially with the systems I have in place for me. These systems have made it so much easier than I imagined. I think we create these mountains in our heads about things when really, at the end of the day, that's all they are---made up things in our heads! 

So I am challenging YOU. If you have made the commitment to start MOVING more, then don't sabotage yourself and all your hard work by putting junk in your body every day. Go ALL IN and start treating the one and only body you have to live in with a little respect. Mmmmkay? 

And as always, if nutrition is something you need HELP with, then I have some tools for you that can help (they are certainly helping me!). I would love to mentor you and walk with you on this journey towards better health.  If you want to chat more, comment on this post or head on over to the CONTACT section and reach out. 

Cheers! 

Sparkling Water with Lime

 

XOXO,

Jena 

 


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When getting back to routine isn't so routine

Jena Chopson

It's that time of year again. Time when the kids go back to school, parents give a celebratory high fives, and relish in the fact of finally getting back to routine. 

But is it really that simple? After becoming accustomed to a particular summer routine, sometimes it isn't so easy just to hit the brakes and transition to a new one.

Let me be frank--I don't have kids of my own, so I can't speak to this personally. But I do have many friends with children, I have step daughters, and I know a thing or two about switching routines. 

I, myself work nine 12-hour night shifts in a row, then I get 12-14 days off. During those 12-14 days off, I often try to switch back to a "day shift" schedule. This always sounds super simple in theory, until it isn't. My body really gets into that nigh shift routine and when I try to abruptly switch it back, it is met with a LOT of resistance. 

I've spent the last two nights wide awake (despite taking sleep aid before bed) to the point where I've said screw it...and just got out of bed and got stuff done. Seize the moment, right? 

What's my point here? Don't beat yourself up if your back to school transition doesn't go as smoothly as you planned it. It's a course correction for everyone involved and it's going to take time to iron out. Here's my top 5 tips for surviving a tough transition in your routine: 

1.) Expect setbacks. If you go into this knowing there will absolutely be hiccups, you won't be as discouraged when those hiccups actually happen. 

2.) Allow time for the transition to stick. It's probably going to take 1-2 weeks before the dust settles. Be patient and....

3.) Take it one step at a time. You truly can't expect an overnight success. Work on transitioning slowly. Crank back bedtimes 30 minutes at a time, work on preparing 2-3 out of the 5 lunch meals at a time and working your way up to 5, slowly transition back to after school routines. Don't expect to implement everything at once. You'll completely overwhelm yourself and everyone involved. 

4.) Somehow make it fun and roll with the punches. Get creative and see how you can make the transition fun. Delegate am or pm tasks, use a sticker chart or check box chart and reward the kids with a fun family outing on the weekends. Or insert whichever idea sounds fun to you. The more fun you can make something, the better. 

5.) Remind yourself that you matter, too. I feel like back to school time often becomes 100% about the kids. And yes, mostly it is. But you can't give from an empty tank. Make sure you're taking at least 30 minutes a day for you. Whether that is reading a book, exercise, meditation, listening to your favorite podcast, or dancing in your living room....you have to fill your cup before you can give to others. 

The only constant in life is change. We all go through transitions of routines that are met with resistance. I hope these 5 tips can help you navigate through your next transition a little more smoothly. 

To your health! 

XoXo,

Jena 


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