Happy Halloween Week!
Our participants hailed from Oregon, Florida, Las Vegas and California — and I was so impressed by their level of commitment. We weaned ourselves off sugar, dairy, gluten, refined carbs, caffeine, alcohol, beans and grains, and focused on “adding in” healthier options such as non-starchy vegetables, greens, fruit, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats such as avocado and coconut butter. We also prioritized home cooking, stress management and adequate rest — and talked about how stress and lack of sleep can mess with our hormones, as well as cause weight gain and other issues.
At the end of 28 days, many of participants reported exciting results such as:
- Weight loss
- Elimination of bloating
- Loss of inches around the belly
- Improved digestion
- More energy
Beyond the obvious benefits of weight loss or other improvements in the body, a lot of people commented on how excited they were to finally break their sugar, caffeine and alcohol habits. They reported that the empowerment and confidence in being able to sustain new, healthier habits for the long term was nearly as important as the physical changes.
I know making these lifestyle changes wasn't always easy for our FTCers, and that's why I honor their commitment, open-mindedness, curiosity, and patience — and especially their courage to challenge the status quo and forge a healthier path in a culture that doesn’t make it easy for us.
Some Love from FTC Participants
Here's what some of our participants had to say about FTC:
The 28 day Fall Training Camp (FTC) has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me personally. It has been an extremely educational and fun process. On a daily basis, I continue to learn more about nutrition, my food preferences and enhancing my cooking skills. Monica has brought a wealth of knowledge in terms of nutrition and created excellent meal plans. She provided the biology behind foods and how they affect the body. The program introduced a VERY sensible eating program with food options, quantity and frequency of the food to consume. Plus, the daily emails and weekly conference calls continued to reinforce motivation, encouragement and education throughout the 28 day challenge. — Sande T., Miami, FL
I'm going to be so sad not waking up to my daily inspiration tomorrow. This was certainly life changing. Thank you so much! — Traci R., Portland, OR
I learned a lot, lost 10 pounds, and picked up some good eating habits that I am going to stick with and make some life changes. Thank you! — Donna W., Miami, FL
I want to thank Monica and Christa for creating an amazing program. Thank you for guiding us with your support and kindness through FTC. You made me realize that eliminating “the big 5” was not the end of the world. Plus the recipes were delicious. — Analia E., Portland, OR
I fit into my “skinny” jeans on Friday and was so excited! — Carrie F., Miami, FL
I'm feeling extra grateful to have had this extended clean living “bender” — and the peer support from my fellow FTCers — after a particularly indulgent summer. Reinforcing healthier habits has gotten me in better “shape” to withstand the temptations of the holidays ahead… which include Halloween, of course!
One of my favorite seasonal treats is my Pumpkin Smoothie — it's a much healthier version of the more famous pumpkin beverage, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Plus, unlike the famous latte, my smoothie actually contains real pumpkin! Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A (an important anti-aging antioxidant). It's also high in Vitamin C. My Pumpkin Smoothie also contains cauliflower, although you'll never be able to tell it's there. Cauliflower is full of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate and fiber — and is known for its cancer-fighting antioxidants.
The best part about my Pumpkin Smoothie: it does NOT contain 49 grams of refined sugar, as does its evil latte counterpart.
I mean, do you realize how much sugar 49 grams is? That's equal to nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar. Imagine adding that much sugar to your normal cup of coffee.
You never would, right? But beverages such as flavored lattes are carefully calibrated concoctions of sugar, salt and fat — that's why they don't taste nearly as sweet as they truly are.
Before we get into the smoothie recipe, however, I wanted to pass along a little tip for those of you with kiddos. Last year, I wrote about minimizing Halloween's ill effects by introducing your kids to the Sugar Witch.
The Sugar Witch Switch
Here’s how it works: at the end of Halloween night, after you review the loot and determine which candies the kids are allowed to eat, have your kids set aside the majority of the candy for the Sugar Witch.
For example, we usually let our son keep a large enough stash to enjoy a piece of candy a day for a couple of weeks. The rest gets put into a ziplock bag for the Sugar Witch.
Have your kids set the candy bag out before bedtime, same as they would a tooth for the tooth fairy. After they fall asleep, replace the candy with a toy, preferably one they’ve been wanting for awhile. It doesn’t have to be expensive — just something they’ll be excited to get.
This year, we're celebrating the Sugar Witch tradition with “The Sugar Witch Switch,” a cute book from Marcella Ricker. Marcella tells me she wrote the book for her grandson Holden, and to honor her years of playing the Sugar Witch for her own children.
Look for the book at your local bookstore — or find it in hardcover, paperback or Kindle on Amazon.
And now… onto our recipe!
Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe (serves 2)
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
- 4 tablespoons of hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons of raw walnuts
- 1 tablespoon of coconut butter
- a squeeze of fresh lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1½ banana, chopped and frozen
- ½ cup frozen cauliflower florets
- ½ cup ice, optional
Place ingredients into blender, adding frozen banana, cauliflower and ice last. Process until creamy and smooth. Add water a quarter-cup at a time if you want a thinner consistency. Serve immediately or store some in fridge for later. Salud!