Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7 Simple Strategies to Help You Stick With Your Plan

by JJ Virgin
Hey let’s face it, a weight loss plan only works…if you work it.   And there are a lot of challenges along the way that can throw you off if you let them.  Here are some of my top “stick” strategies to help you stay on the plan long enough so that it becomes your new way of living.  After all, if you live, think and feel like a healthy lean person you will become one over time.
  1. Get a clear picture of the result you are going for by taking a picture of your favorite celeb body out there and pasting your head on it.  Put a copy of these everywhere – keep on in your purse, put one on the frig, etc.  You have to see it to believe it!
  2. Make lateral shifts – trade your peanut butter for almond butter, your wheat pasta for rice pasta, your milk for coconut milk (unsweetened of course), your morning whey smoothie for a pea-rice blend, your butter for olive oil. 
  3. Add before you take away – add more veggies, your morning smoothie, iced green tea between meals and you will crowd out the foods you shouldn’t be having.
  4. Focus on what you can have and experiment with new foods in this category.  The best place to do this is at your local farmer’s market – check out arugula, mache, pomegranate, kale, cashew butter, coconut milk kefir, quinoa pasta….you’ll forget all about the foods you are eliminating.
  5. Focus on how much better you feel.  Take an initial assessment of your overall wellness: gas & bloating, fatigue, excess fat, skin issues, focus & mental clarity, pain & inflammation, sleep quality, cravings and mood.  Reassess weekly to check your progress.  Quite often we forget how rotten we felt when we start to feel better! 
  6. Create negative associations to help you break free from unhealthy food choices.  I know what happens when I eat foods that I react to and that has created a major negative association for me.  I just don’t look at cheesecake or sourdough bread as favorably anymore as I know I will pay for it later and it just isn’t worth it. 
  7. Build in rewards to celebrate your success along the way.  Plan to treat yourself to something special when you hit your short and long term goals.  Be sure these are NOT food rewards! Some great ideas are a mani-pedi, a massage, a new journal etc. 

JJ Recommends

Walnut Lentil Salad

As you may know, I am a Paleo Gal - I believe we should eat clean lean animal protein along with healthy fats, non starchy veggies and a small amount of “slow, low” carbs.   While I don’t subscribe to Veganism, there are some great recipes we can grab from the Vegan world that help deliciously increase our veggie intake.  I hope you enjoy this one from my new pal, the vegan expert, Alex Jamieson, CHHC, AADP. Author of Vegan Cooking For DummiesLiving Vegan For Dummies &  The Great American Detox Diet
Walnut Lentil Salad
1 ½ cups cooked brown lentils, cooled and drained
¼ cup sliced green onions, green part only
1 cup packed thinly sliced baby spinach
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
8 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or umeboshi vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, green onions, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and walnuts. Mix well with a wooden spoon and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk together. Pour over the lentil salad and mix well.
  3. Allow the salad to set at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, stirring a few times before serving. Alternatively, refrigerate in an airtight container for at least and hour hours before serving.
*Refrigerates for up to 3 days for picnics and lunch leftovers!
By Alexandra Jamieson, Plant-Based Wellness Expert

©2011 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Nutrition and Fitness Expert JJ Virgin is a the author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy and the co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters reality series. Visit her at http://www.jjvirgin.com to grab her free audio: Top Ten Hottest Tips to Get Slim and Sexy Fast

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Easy Grilled Vegetable Marinade

It's BBQ time! One thing I particularly love to do is grill vegetables. Here is an easy "go-to" marinade that can be used on all sorts of vegetables including: asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions etc...

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 water
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove grated fresh garlic)
1 tsp ginger powder (or 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour over vegetable of your choice. Make sure the veggies are cleaned and prepped before marinating. Allow to soak for about 30 minutes for optimal flavor absorption. Grill on bbq, make sure to rotate/flip the veggies as needed. When tender, remove from grill and enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Taco Salad Recipe


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix + water as directed
  • 1/2 (14.5 ounce) package tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup light Best Foods® Mayo
  • 1 tsp Tabasco® Sauce
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped green onion


  1. Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble until well done; drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix, water and kidney beans. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place chips into a large bowl, and crush into bite-size pieces. Combine with seasoned meat, cheese, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and green onions. Top with mayo and Tabasco, and toss to coat. (The Tabasco mayo makes a surprisingly flavorful dressing) Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Are You Eating Propylene Glycol?

by JJ Virgin

You eat organic food whenever possible,  you drink filtered water, you use environmentally healthy cleaning products and you wash your hair and moisturize your body with …. Phthalates, parabens, gluten, hydrogenated oils and GMO’s?  I hate to break it to you but even some of the most well known products out there claiming to be organic and safe may still contain harmful chemicals that can increase your body burden of toxins.   Just the bottles alone are often doing the product in by adding harmful plasticizers and xenoestrogens into your product. 
Remember your skin is a sieve, if you are washing with it or slathering it on your skin, you are effectively eating it.  When you think about it that way, it makes you really re-evaluate the products you are using! I did a fascinating interview with a toxicity expert, Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis* and she went into detail about what we are getting in our personal care products (and guess what, just because you spent a lot of money on those products doesn’t mean they are organic or safe). 
She recommended we all go check out the info on the environmental working group’s website (http://ewg.org) where they have compiled the list of products and their safety ratings. I was dismayed to find out that my favorite mascara didn’t make the grade (some of the top brands even had mercury in them) nor did my lipstick.
Turns out many lipsticks and lip balms contain propylene glycol.  And while toxicology reports show that this substance (used also as anti-freeze) poses no health risks (or so they say) at minute amounts, consider that over the course of a year you EAT (yep, eat) over 10 pounds of lipstick.  Then combine this with the other chemicals you are getting in your shampoo, conditioner, Brazilian Blowout (I knew that was too good to be true- can you say silicone!), moisturizer, eye cream….etc.etc. and guess what, Houston, we could have a problem here because these chemicals all get absorbed into your skin and then your body has to handle them.  And one of the top places to store these toxins is in your fat cells.  Dr. Angelo Tremblay showed that rats with higher toxic burdens actually had 30% lower metabolisms! 
 Hey, there’s no way around it, we live in an increasingly toxic world.  So we have to control what we can control by reducing our toxic burden in every way possible while improving our daily detoxification.  I realized recently after spending an enlightening evening with a skin care products expert, Jama Russano, that I was getting toxic exposure in places I wasn’t even thinking about!  So you will start to see me talk more about this in the coming weeks AND I will also be giving you amazing skin & hair care alternatives that will support your quest for optimal health.   For now I want you to become aware of what is in what you are currently using and make that decision to extend your healthy habits to your beauty regimen as well!
Here are a few of the things that SHOULDN’T be in your personal care products or the containers that are transporting them:  artificial colorings & fragrances, benzene, bisphenol A, dimethicone, EDTA, formaldehyde, gluten, GMO’s, hydrogenated oils, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, plastics, phthalates, PVC’s, PEG’s(1,4-dioxane), propylene glycol, silicates, silicones, sodium lauryl sulfates, wheat, triethanolamine. 
So just like we have you read the labels in the grocery store, start checking out the labels in the drug store and beauty counters and insist on organic, non toxic products just like you do for your food!
*you can grab this enlightening (okay and a bit disturbing) interview free here:  Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis

©2011 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Nutrition and Fitness Expert JJ Virgin is a the author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy and the co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters reality series. Visit her at http://www.jjvirgin.com to grab her free audio: Top Ten Hottest Tips to Get Slim and Sexy Fast 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh-So-Refreshing Blended Watermelon!

1-2 Cups Watermelon, seeded and chunked
5 or 6 ice cubes
1 Tablespoon sugar, or a sprinkle of Truvia
Splash of fresh Lime Juice
1 mint leaf (1 additional for garnish, if desired)
1 Packet ThinStick™

Blend all ingredients in blender, adding ice to reach your desired consistency. Enjoy a satisfying, refreshing and hydrating beverage! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Now, I know that this is not a "healthy treat". However, if you are going to splurge once in a while, might as well get filled up so that you don't need to snack on anything else!
  • 3 oz. chocolate pieces ( I like Trader Joe's Belgium Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 Tablespoon hot chocolate mix  
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar or 1 packet Truvia
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, used in two parts (skim or almond, if you don't want to go too overboard!)
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 packet ThinStick™
  • Whipped cream (optional)
Break the chocolate pieces into smaller chunks and put in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Once melted, add the hot chocolate mix and sugar. Stir until combined. Slowly add ½ cup of milk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a blender, place the remaining cup of milk, the room-temperature chocolate mixture, ThinStick™ and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into a large glass and top with whipped cream (optional).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cilantro Smoothie?... Really!!

Why Cilantro?
Recent research shows that consumption of significant amounts of cilantro can accelerate the excretion of heavy metals like mercury, lead and aluminum from the body. Research performed by Dr Omura found that fresh cilantro removes these heavy metals from the body in less than two weeks. He also discovered that patients had fewer colds and flu symptoms after removing the heavy metals. It seems that viruses and bacteria like to accumulate in organs contaminated by heavy metals.

  • 1 cup milk (almond works well)
  • 1 cup mango
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 8-12 strawberries
  • 4 dates
  • 1 packet ThinStick™
  • 1 cup +/- Ice cubes 

Source: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/cilantro-chelation-therapy-heavy-metal-detox.html