Monthly Archives: May 2015

Summertime Green Smoothies!


If you’re looking for a quick, energy-packed breakfast on the go, a green smoothie just might be the answer.

In the world of nutrition, smoothies have been met with mixed reviews because drinking your food can lead to unnecessary, increased caloric intake. However, smoothies can also be a great, nutrient-dense choice for your first meal of the day.

Smoothies are an excellent way for both children and adults to get some greens in, and are nutritionally a complete meal. For this reason, they should be considered more than just a beverage, and should not be consumed with other breakfast items.

How to build a Smoothie:
Although a smoothie is made simply by placing ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your smoothie is delicious every time. First,you must have a blender. Then, gather and prepare your ingredients, making sure you have all the fresh produce you need to achieve your ideal flavor and nutrient compound. Put all ingredients in the blender, making sure there is enough liquid to blend to a smooth consistency. Once blended, taste, adjust flavor and texture as necessary, pour and enjoy.

How to vary the formula:
This is a great base formula for any smoothie. Choose one ingredient from each of the following categories:                                                                                                                                                       Liquid, (such as water/non-dairy milks such as fresh almond milk/juices)
Dried, fresh or frozen fruits.
A few of handfuls of greens, (kale or spinach)
A dash of your favorite spices, (vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg)
Additional powders/supplements, (superfood powders, nut/seed butters, hemp/flax seeds, plant-based protein powders)

To get those creative wheels turning, I have added a chart for suggestions regarding how to build your own variety of smoothies. Squeal!


A Reasonable Fear ~ Agricultural Products


This is a hot topic right now; the Monsanto conspiracy, GMO labeling, organic vs non-organic, different dangerous additives in restaurant food… For a long time, many of us have overlooked it, even laughed about it! Not anymore! People are finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. They are feeling the results of being tricked and marketed too! We should have the right to know how, where, when and by whom our food came from, what its nutrient value is, and how consuming it could effect our bodies.

Anything that is designed to kill is a hazard, and not only to that which it was intended for. Pesticides stay in the air, food, and soil; water contamination; and accumulate in plants, animals, and people. Rather than risking your health and that of the Mother Earth, you can now choose low-toxic or non-toxic alternatives to ward off undesirable pests. OINK!

According to a few different studies, children age 5 and under consume an average of 15+ different pesticides a day, by consuming foods that are represented as good for them. While these amounts may not cause immediate symptoms or illness, they accrue over time and will manifest in later years as illness or disease.

There are a few ways to avoid harmful pesticides.

1) Discuss this topic with a knowledgeable professional about non-toxic approaches to bugs in your environment. Many edible herbs (like thyme, sesame, clove and more) are used in the non-toxic extermination or diversion of pesky critters.

2)Purchase organic fresh foods whenever possible, especially the things you and your family eat the most of.

3) Make sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and veggies, organic or not, and remove (do not eat) the outer leaves when possible (like lettuce).

4) Eat a variety of produce, (seasonal and other year round varieties). This ensures that you’re not eating the same things over and over again and accumulating the same harmful chemicals daily.

5) How fun would it be to start your own garden? Having produce grow right in your backyard puts you in control of your own dinner destiny! Have heard of the Earth Box? Its a fun and simple project you and your family can work on together! You can have a garden almost anywhere! OINK!

But I don’t have time to cook everyday…


The key to staying organized is planning ahead—and in particular, to spend a bit of time each week preparing your weekly menus in advance. Batch cooking (cooking more than you need in one sitting) is an important technique that will ensure you can cook and eat a variety of nourishing foods throughout the week.

I like to focus on the importance of planning, as it not only saves time and money, it offers a great deal of flexibility and variation in your daily or weekly meals. Batch cooking encourages us to acknowledge and integrate which foods we really enjoy and desire, and what we know we should eat. The fact is, you’re unlikely to prepare foods that you wouldn’t eat as part of your weekly repertoire. So, plan to cook the foods you crave for flavor and nutrition.

Let’s touch on some basic strategies for batch cooking grains, legumes and vegetables.

Batch cooking can mean different things to different people, but the concept is the same. For some, it might mean cooking two quarts of beans; for others it may be a much larger quantity. Regardless, the point is to make the most of your time in the kitchen. It takes the same time and effort to prepare two cups of quinoa as it does to cook six. So if you eat quinoa on a regular basis, you might want to prepare a large batch that you can have it ready all week.

First, be sure you have all the necessary items for the recipes you will be preparing; it’s a good idea to make sure you plenty of these ingredients on hand. The bulk bins at your supermarket or natural grocery store is a good place to start. Given that grains and legumes are dried items with long shelf life, it makes sense to always have them on hand.

Here are some suggestions for common staples that you may want to have prepared for the week. Keep in mind that how much you prepare will depend on your personal preferences and how many people will be eating your meals. Cooking for yourself and cooking for a large event or family require vastly different quantities.

Keep prepared on hand (recommendations):
A batch of beans
A batch of grains
A starchy vegetable, such as sweet potatoes
Grilled, roasted, steamed or marinated vegetables
Raw vegetables                                                                                                                                             Seasonings/Sauces
By batch cooking these staples in advance, you just need to add a few fresh vegetables and seasonings to create a variety of yummy, nutrient-dense meals in a just  a short amount of time.

For this to work, it needs to be a priority, so it is important to plan cooking time. For example, if you do your grocery shopping on Saturday, you may want to do your batch cooking on Sunday. Or, you may want to schedule your cooking day for the same day as your local farmer’s market. You know your schedule best, so choose a day you’re able to set aside some time; typically a 90 minute block of time, once a week is sufficient. Within that time period, you can simultaneously simmer a pot of beans or a soup, clean, slice and store some produce, make your favorite sauce, dip or dressing, and prepare some grains. Oink!

Here are some efficiency tips to ensure your 90 minutes goes well:
~Clean/sanitize your work surfaces.
~Ensure you have all the correct equipment: pots, cutting boards, knives, ample storage            containers, etc.
~Gather all the ingredients you need.
~Have a plan for the order you will prepare your food, (otherwise, they’ll just sit in the refrigerator until you throw them out). For example, the beans and grains have longer long cooking times, but the active time to prepare these simple items takes a few short minutes. Prepared them first, and then leave them to simmer while you prepare your produce  for the week.  Even if you don’t plan on cooking them yet, you can prepare vegetables/fruits that need to be washed, chopped, seeded and peeled. Store these ingredients in airtight, sealed containers, refrigerating as necessary.
~Have some idea of how you will stretch your ingredients throughout the week. How will you use your beans and grains throughout the week in different ways?                                                           ~If you aren’t able to finish eating your prepared ingredients during the week, store the excess beans and grains in airtight/sealed containers and freeze them. They’ll last up to six months in the freezer, and can be quickly thawed for future lightning-fast meals.

How would you take an ingredient and stretch it through the week into multiple meals? Grains and legumes are great candidates for stretching meals. Here are a few example:                 ~Cooked grains: Add to a tortilla or wrap, then top with salsa and vegetables for a quick lunch. Grains can also be added to salads and are also the base of meals in bowls!
~Cooked beans: Toss into a soup or stew to add bulk/texture/nutrients.
~Grilled/roasted vegetables: Add to a warm stir-fry or grain bowl, top with your freshly made sauce.

Most beans and peas take a while to cook, so they’re an excellent candidate for batch cooking. There are so many delicious ways to incorporate legumes into your weekly repertoire, so make more than you anticipate consuming and freeze the excess in an airtight, sealed container for simplicity down the road!

I love using a variety of beans in tacos/wraps because they are infinitely flexible; you can add nearly anything to a shell, (flour or corn tortilla, a coconut wrap or even a lettuce wrap!) like salsa, spinach, mushrooms, avocado, seeds/nuts, grains, different herbs and lots more, to make an easy to eat hand-held meal. There are also some great recipes for bean burgers out there! But I’m saving that for another post! Squeal!

I hope this helps you find simplicity and variety in the kitchen. We have to retrain our imagination wheels and, depending on how long you’ve strayed away from cooking, that could take a little time, so be patient, creative and bold. Try new recipes, explore flavors, and save time and money all while getting healthy! Oink!



Roasted Vegetable Recipes


Roasting is a simple and healthy way to cook vegetables. All you need is a bit of salt, pepper, oil and an oven and you can transform nearly any vegetable into something sweet with a caramelized and crunchy exterior and a soft, juicy interior.
When cooked properly, roasted vegetables not present well, but also have a delicious and earthy flavorful side dish or meal!

Cauliflower – Tossed in a lemon-garlic dressing, this delicious roasted cauliflower is healthy and naturally high in vitamin C.

You will need:                                                                                                                                                   1 clove garlic
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 to 3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil of your choice)                                                                                         1 whole head cauliflower
nutritional yeast or non-dairy parmesan cheese* (optional)

How to do it:                                                                                                                                                 Dressing – crush the garlic over a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the cauliflower.                                                       To start the cauliflower, preheat your oven to 450° degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the large florets from the cauliflower and cut them into even-sized pieces. Any of the very large florets can be sliced in half so each piece has a flat side. Place the cauliflower in the dressing and toss to coat.
To roast the cauliflower, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay cauliflower cut-side down, so they caramelize nicely. Roast for about 10 minutes before tossing. Return to the oven for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it is almost cooked through.
Once it is almost cooked through, sprinkle nutritional yeast or grate some fresh parmesan cheese over top, if desired.
Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy.

Brussels Sprouts –

You will need:                                                                                                                                                    1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 to 2 tbsp oil (grapeseed or coconut)
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How:                                                                                                                                                                Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Wash, dry and trim the Brussels sprouts. Cut in half lengthwise. Place into a bowl and toss with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking tray. Place into the oven and roast for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden, turning once, if necessary.
Once done, serve immediately.

Pantry Clean Out!


Getting your kitchen prepared for your new lifestyle can be fun and will be helpful keeping you on track and ‘sticking with it’ when meal time rolls around!

Instead of listing what to get rid of, lets talk about the key items to keep stocked in your Freshitarian Kitchen pantry.

First, pantry items can be defined as elements that can be stored at room temperature, in airtight, sealed containers.

Dry Grains & Legumes
There are many different types of legumes, and each provides your body with good-quality protein needed to build muscle and tissue.                                                                                             Brown rice
Quinoa and Quinoa Flakes
Dry lentils
Dry beans

When choosing dried herbs and spices, look for non irradiated, organic spices that are free from fillers. Almost all herbs and spices are beneficial to your health. They’re often antimicrobial and will boost metabolism.
Himalayan Sea Salt
Black pepper (in a grinder)
Your favorite herbs and spices
Nutritional yeast
Vanilla bean/extract
Oils – Choose oils that are unrefined, organic and cold-pressed when available. ex: extra-virgin olive oil (lower heat) and virgin coconut oil (high heat)
Raw nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds and flax seeds.
Apple Cider Vinegar

Dried fruits such as dates, mangos and apricots (to make fruit paste)
Pure maple syrup
Canned, Boxed & Jarred Goods
These items should be used less frequently. The fresher you can eat the better. However, these items can help you make healthy food in a pinch. Read labels to make sure these are BPA-free.
Canned Beans (I always have black beans and chickpeas on hand)
Tamari/Shoyu or Bragg Liquid Aminos
Nut butter (I never run out of cashew or peanut butter)

Non dairy milks
Garlic, ginger
Use the freezer to capture your favorite out-of-season nutrient-dense treats.                             Frozen Vegetables (spinach, green beans, butternut squash)
Frozen fruit for smoothies (strawberries, pineapple, bananas)



It doesn’t get any better than this! Avocados are the perfect substitute for this creamy deliciousness and can be interchanged with silken tofu for added nutrients and a creamy texture.

You will need:                                                                                                                                                   1 1/2 cup cocoa powder, raw or toasted unsweetened
4 very ripe avocados
1/2 cup date paste (soak dates in water for 45min & blend to create paste)
1/4 cup liquid sweetener, or more date paste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
fresh berries (for garnish)

How:                                                                                                                                                                     First, gather and prepare ingredients.
In a food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides to ensure it’s all blended thoroughly.
Spoon into glasses and serve with fresh berries.

Yes… it’s that simple and ridiculously yummy! So good that it will not only trick, but knock the socks off someone with a sweet tooth! Squeal!

Annual Retreat ~ Fit Piglets Camp Nama Stay


Our 3rd Annual Event is half way full already! Fifteen lucky Campers will gather for 4 days at Central Florida’s only Right Brain Retreat, (at a beach house) in New Smyrna Beach, FL, to explore and fully integrate mindfulness, yoga, and of course… the Freshitarian Lifestyle! You can leave your wallet at home! Your registration fee includes all meals, accommodations, and activities; and its a full schedule! The last two 4 day CAMP events have been life changing for many, including the leadership team!

If you can’t get to this one, be on the lookout for our 3rd Annual 1 Day Mini-Retreat that is held at Sweetwater Yoga & Fitness in Longwood, FL on December 12, 2015!

Hope to squeal with you at one or both of these exciting experiences! Oink!

That’s My Story & I’m Squealing To It!


Hello there! Thank you so much for choosing to show up! I am super excited to squeal beside you on this otherwise challenging, and very individual exploration to personal heath and wellness. Let me introduce myself.

My name is Shannon and I have been THERE. I’m a product of the 80’s; I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, eating TV dinners and Ramen Noodles for meals, and Little Debbie’s Star Crunch and Oatmeal Pies for snacks. Weight Watchers, the Thigh Master, and sweat suits while running track were how people lost weight and got healthy. The rise and convenience of pharmaceutical and over the counter medications made it easy for us to resolve symptomatic issues with little or no concern for the underlying causes of these physical manifestations.

These eating habits shaped my young adult years. Drive thru lunches and late night dinners had become the norm. By the time I was 18 years old, my weight had topped out at just over 200lbs, and since I am of average height (5’5″), I knew that was way too much for my frame.

I will never forget the day that I couldn’t get my size 14 jeans past my knees… humiliated, all alone in my bedroom. I remember thinking to myself, “Why didn’t anyone tell me I was getting fat? When did this happen? How did I not see this coming?”

I am so grateful for so many things in my life story. But this one was big… I recall that day, standing in my full length mirror, stricken with disappointment and humiliation in one moment, and in the next breathe, something huge happened. My energy shifted and I envisioned my future self. I was healthy and successful and happy. While it was a brief glimpse at what could be, it felt very real and I was immediately hopeful. Change was on the horizon!

Watching my mom, grandparents, our extended family and friends gain and lose, getting on and off the diet train over and over again, could have sent me straight onto that same track. The constant weight fluctuation was lightly explained to me as genetics and I was often reminded that I come from a  long line of ‘big-boned folks’ with hefty appetites!

At first, I did what I knew to do, what everyone else did, I went on a diet! I was tracking points, cutting carbs, and wrestled between low fat, low carb and high protein plans (which I later learned are really all the same… depriving the body of macro nutrients). Things changed, weight fell of pretty fast. I suppose any improvement from what I was eating would have promoted lower numbers on that pesky scale.

About 3 years into my weightless journey, as I was peeling open the corner of my ‘Smart Ones Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli’ microwave dinner, something brought my attention to the label on the back of the box; and this time, it wasn’t the calories or the carbs that caught my eye. When I glanced over the ingredients list, of course I expected to see things like, noodles, cheese, and broccoli, only to find things like ethoxyquin, maltrodextrin, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup solids, salt, trans fats, colorings, texturizers, preservatives and other non-food items, better known as chemicals.

I was somewhat shocked and taken back. I recall a conversation in my head that went something like this, “So you’re losing weight, but at what cost? Am I nourishing myself? Are my choices healing, promoting longevity and vitality? Are these non-food items creating illness and disease in my body ? How will I know? Maybe that is whats wrong with everyones (my family) efforts… They think they are doing themselves good.” Something didn’t feel right about this anymore. It was time to do my homework.

And that is exactly what I did. I signed up for workshops, bought books, took my time when I went shopping and started reading lots of labels. It was a bit confusing until I decided to stop studying what all the ‘crap’ could do to you, and turned my focus to how food can be rejuvenating, detoxifying, hormone balancing, energy boosting goodness. It was a magical flip of perspective.

While I had gained knowledge and had taken a new viewpoint, there was still great frustration. I would go to an event or gathering, or head out of town, away from the comfort of my own element, only to be stuck at the mercy of someone else’s planning; someone else who didn’t know what I knew.  I experienced anger, bitterness, and great disappointment. I always did my best to internalize those feelings, but just like with unhealthy food, those emotions were only adding stress to my body. I had to do something. Something had to change. It was me. Again.

I knew that I had developed hard lines, boundaries, and rules that I had set for myself.  I couldn’t just drop them… I would end up like my loved ones, struggling with my weight and wellness for a lifetime. I knew for sure, there had to be another way.

So after lots of journaling and contemplation, I came up with a philosophy, a way of integrating mindful eating and still being able to enjoy life as it spontaneously unfolded before me. I call it the ‘Good~Better~Best’ theory. Rather than being away from home at an event or gathering (without my BEST options) I would ask myself, “What if right now I just make the best choice I can? What can I consume that won’t decrease my energy or set me back?”

Self talk was and still is a huge factor in my world. I’d have to constantly remind myself that I have a deep awareness and commitment to my own healing, vitality, creativity, and health to stay on track with the lifestyle I so badly wanted to create.

I read labels. I create balanced meals. I consume organic healthy food. I do the best I can to plan ahead, and when things don’t go my way, I relax and choose what shows up. I maintain my values and listen to my intuition.

It has been 20 years now since I weighed my heaviest. Its been 13 years since I quit smoking cigarettes. Its been 12 years since I have missed a day of taking a walk or otherwise moving my body, (unless it was a  scheduled day of absolute rest). I am committed. To me. To making the very best decision I can in every moment. I live by this quote by a favorite author of mine, “Every act is an act of self definition. Choose wisely always.” Who am I now, in this breath? I am vibrant, lovable, mindful, and healthy. I am the Fit Piglet! Oink!

Whats your story? How can I help you achieve your lifestyle goals? Who would you like to be? It all starts with awareness and mindfulness. Then commitment and creativity! Take the steps, as fast or slowly as you choose. But please, by all means, take charge of your life and participate in your own healing. The journey isn’t easy, but oink ~ it sure is worth it!



My Favorite One Pot Meal ~


Coconut Braised Chickpeas w/ Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Chickpeas, fresh spinach and sun-dried tomatoes are slowly simmered with garlic, ginger, lemon and coconut milk. The result is one highly-flavorful and satisfying dish ~ Squeal! Here is what you ‘ll need and how to do it!


1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 whole lemon
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes*
2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 – 15 oz can)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
1 tbsp coconut oil**

1/2 lb fresh spinach*

1 – 14 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp ground ginger
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro (to garnish)


To prepare, first dice the onion and mince the garlic and ginger. Next, zest the lemon. Juice the lemon and set aside for later. Measure out the sun-dried tomatoes. *Note: If using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, make sure to drain them first.
Drain (if using canned) and rinse, then measure out the chickpeas. Gather the chili flakes and coconut oil. **Note: If desired, replace the oil and cook the onions with a bit of vegetable stock or water.
To cook the dish, heat a large/deep sauté pan over medium heat and then add the oil, followed by the onions and a good pinch of salt. Let the onions sweat for about 10 minutes or until translucent. Once soft, add the garlic and ginger and let cook for another minute or so. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and chili flakes. Let cook for another minute or so.
Next, add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the tomato mixture. At this point, turn up the heat slightly and sort of fry the chickpeas a bit. Keep an eye on them though so they don’t scorch. You just want them to have a little color. This should only take a few minutes. Once the chickpeas are heated through, turn the heat down slightly and start to add the spinach, a handful at a time. Once the first bunch of spinach has started to wilt, add in the next handful. Continue until all of the spinach has been added.
*Note: If using baby spinach you can add it as is. If you are using regular spinach, you will need to chop or tear it up a bit.                                                                                                                           To finish the meal, add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir to combine and then add the ground ginger and some of the reserved lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper as needed.
Once everything has heated through, serve immediately. The spinach will start to lose its color and it won’t look as green. Serve it with brown rice or any grain of your choice. Garnish each plate with a healthy serving of fresh cilantro and enjoy!

I can’t get enough of this one! Its full of flavor, has great presentation,  and actually quite simple to make! Enjoy! Oink!