What does “healthy” mean?

On October 8, 2016 I crossed the finish line of the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, then stopped running.  I did not run again until almost one month later.   I took that time as an opportunity to slow down and reflect.  I thought about the past six months of training, about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months.   I also took a step back and thought about my overall health.


 For almost a year I was a bit obsessed with fitness and looking back now, it was probably an unhealthy obsession.  This time to reflect has made me dig deep and think about what health means to me.   One thing I learned about myself is I can accomplish amazing things if I set my mind to it, so that was pretty cool.  But what I am figuring out is how to weigh the risk and reward.  

I was so fixated on body image as a measure of my health.  I would constantly look at my abs and think they weren’t good enough.  I rarely had dessert and almost never drank alcohol, even at BBQs and parties.  I had to exercise every day, and if I didn’t I was very cranky and sometimes mean.   I think something that opened my eyes was I kept trying to buy smaller and smaller clothes.  At one point I bought a pair of LUCKY jeans which were two sizes smaller than my average size.   I got them over my thighs (which is usually my largest area) and bought them immediately, feeling so proud of my accomplishment of fitting into this pair of pants.   Then, the first time I wore them I was so uncomfortable!  The band was cutting into my hips!  It suddenly dawned on me, no matter how hard I exercise, and deprive myself, these pants, or any size smaller for that matter, will never fit.  These are bones,  They are not going to shrink!  I am 5’9’’ tall and have had two children.  This is my physiology.    So, why am I killing myself?  My family does not care if I am a size 8 or a size 12.  They love me no matter what.  My kids won’t remember if I have tight abs, but they will remember if I am cranky around them.  My friend’s won’t care how I look in a bathing suit, but they will care if I keep saying no to desserts they lovingly bake in their kitchen for my enjoyment.  My pants will never love me, but my family does and I need to love myself.  


Now, this is not to say that I still don’t LOVE fitness, and setting goals, and challenging my limits!  I will continue to do so, but maybe I will be a little kinder to myself, indulge a little, and live a lot more.    Keep my honest guys 🙂 


Beer Lime Cauliflower Tacos With Cilantro Coleslaw- Another winner from Thug Kitchen

You may be thinking… hmm I don’t know about this… Seriously, give these things a try because  ::Oh…my… goodness::  these were amazing!  This is coming from a steak loving non-vegan.  There was so much flavor in this dish, and not a meat in sight.  I highly HIGHLY recommend if you are in the mood for a delicious taco night with friends and family and they are open to living a little healthier.

As you all know, I am trying to make 1-2 recipes a night instead of relying on a quick meat and potato dish.  Life gets so boring when you eat the same thing over and over again.  I do have to follow a recipe though, so I have been browsing through cookbooks.  I find one or two I want to try, get all the ingredients in advance and when I have a night that isn’t taken up by taking my kids going to girl scouts or soccer or gymnastics, I try to cook!  Shocking, I know.   This week was another winner from Thug Kitchen.  I am seriously never disappointed when making a recipe from this book.

I put some time saving tips in pink.  Although I basically followed the recipe to a T, there are some things I would do differently next time.

Roasted Beer-and-Lime Cauliflower Tacos  With Cilantro Coleslaw


For the slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage (about 1/2 pound)
1 small carrot 
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

For the tacos:
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound) – 
3/4 cup beer
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
1 to 2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
Salsa, for serving


Normally, for me- these are WAY too many ingredients


To make the slaw: Cut the cabbage into the thinnest strips you can, and make sure those pieces are no longer than 2 inches. This is a great time to get good with your knife if you are looking for a silver f*cking lining in all that chopping. Chop the carrot into thin matchsticks of the same length. Got that sh*t down now, right? In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, vinegar, oil, and salt. Add the dressing right before you are going to eat and toss that sh*t well. Fold in the cilantro just before serving.


To make the tacos: Crank your oven to 400°F. Grab a rimmed baking sheet. Chop the cauliflower into small florets no bigger than a quarter. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the beer, broth, lime juice, tamari, hot sauce, and garlic. Add the cauliflower, and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain.

Toss the spices, salt, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and onion, and stir till those f*ckers are coated. Dump it on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until browned, stirring halfway, about 20 minutes.

To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave for a hot minute, and then pile them high with the cauliflower filling, slices of avocado, some of the slaw, and plenty of salsa.


This blew my mind, I would not think that an all veggie taco (I made a wrap/burrito) could taste this good. (But it did)

TIPS=  When I make this again, I will skip all the chopping because seriously, who has time for that?  I cheated in this recipe and used already pre-minced garlic and store bought fire roasted salsa.  Next time I would absolutely get the bag of cauliflower florets and the bag of already cut cabbage and carrots.

This took me about an hour and 20 minutes because of all the damn chopping.  I think that making this again with everything pre-cut would take approximately 30 minutes, all you would have to do is mix the spices and beer with the cauliflower & roast it, and mix the rice vinegar, lime, oil and  salt with the cabbage.  The only chopping would be half an onion.  I think I can handle that.  So much faster!

Here would be my time saving swaps:

For the slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage (about 1/2 pound) (bag of shredded cabbage and carrots)
1 small carrot (nix this if you get the slaw bag)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (get pre-chopped @ the store or skip it, I didn’t have any!)

For the tacos:
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound) – (pre-chopped bag of florets)
3/4 cup beer
1/4 cup vegetable broth (I just used 1 cup of beer and skipped the broth)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
1 to 2 garlic cloves, sliced (time saver- pre-minced in a jar)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt(you COULD skip the spices and add a bad of Taco seasoning, but it would add a bit more sugar/preservatives to your recipe)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
Salsa, for serving (store bought)



Chickpea Scramble

I’m not always in the mood to cook breakfast, but when I do this is so delicious and easy to make! It’s also a great “breakfast for dinner” type of meal!

Chickpea Scramble
-1 can of chickpeas
-1/2 red pepper, diced
-1/2 green pepper, diced
-1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of chopped mushrooms
1 cup of baby spinach
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of cayenne (omit if you don’t like spicy food.)

Pulse chickpeas in food processor until mixture looks like scrambled eggs. Add in spices and pulse a couple times so it’s evenly dispersed. Heat non stick pan and add chickpea mixture and add all vegetables (except spinach and cherry tomatoes) cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a non stick pan or it is sticking to the pan for some reason add 1 tbsp of water or veggie broth at a time.)  then add cherry tomatoes and spinach until wilted. Serve hot with toast or oil free home fries. Or make a breakfast sandwich with this delicious mix!

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❤ Annaleigh

Happy New Month!

Hello August | via Tumblr on We Heart It.. Summer will soon end and once gain fall comes calling with it's crisp air and burnished leaves of gold.  TG:

Happy Monday everyone.  Today not only ushers in a new week, but a new month.  There is something magical about new beginnings.  A chance to start over, a time to make goals.  January 1st everyone is so set about what the new year will bring them.  I am not that excited about new years, I prefer to look at new weeks!  Making small, manageable goals ladders up to something phenomenal in one year.  Think about it.  If you made a point to make a small change every Monday- imagine what 52 Mondays of change look like!
Last week I was so happy I hit every one of my workout goals.  Sometimes it isn’t always possible and I see there are obstacles already popping up this week.  Preparation is key to success.
Back to goal setting for the week and month ahead.  Sit down with yourself and come up with 4 things you want to focus on this month.  Then actually write them down!  Pick one a week to really focus on, then the next week try to do 2, then 3, then 4.   For example, they may be things like:
– Drink 1/2 my weight in water every day (this one is my downfall)
– Log my food this week
– Bring my lunch instead of buying it
– Eat breakfast every day
– Eat fruits and vegetables every day
-Try a new recipe/new food this week
– Exercise 2,3,5,7 x this week (you choose!)
– Incorporate strength training into my week (especially if you favor cardio)
– Incorporate cardio into my week (especially if you favor lifting)
– Incorporate stretching into my week
– Give a compliment to a stranger every day this week
– Do something nice to someone without being asked (or thanked or expecting something in return)
New month, new beginning! Make a change and Sign Up for the Skinny Ms. newsletter! Never miss out on fitness tips or healthy recipes from Skinny Ms. #cleaneating #fitness #weightloss:
I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish!
Share with me, comment here:   What are 2 things you are going to focus on this month?

Call to Action- Let’s Get Fit For Summer

With the warm weather upon us, we are reminded that summer is coming. I for one am so excited to do more outdoors. I just wish I didn’t have to cook dinner when I come home! Looks like I’ll be making more on the grill.

That being said, what I also love about this time of year is how committed people are to their health and fitness goals.

What are you doing to get fit? Is it working? Are you open to something NEW?

Last year, I started helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and it has been the most rewarding experience.  A few highlights include

  • A mom who was on the verge of tears daily who is now content and enjoying her kids childhood
  • SEVERAL running PRs (2 5Ks improved by 4 minutes and a half marathon by 20)
  • 30 lb weight loss
  • A few women who were able to advance their yoga practice (hello headstand)
  • New friends made by all

I am looking for women, specifically working moms with little time on their hands. People who aren’t the best cooks and need quick and easy kid friendly recipes. Women who rarely take the time to take care of themselves and always put everyone else first. Women who are exhausted and just don’t know how they could possibly even find time to exercise. Women who have a gym membership, but never go. Women who are living on coffee for breakfast or their go to cereal they have been having since their college days. Women who used to have time to train for races before they had kids but now running takes too long.

I’m looking for you, because last year I was you! 30 minute workouts, easy food, and most of all SUPPORT have changed my life.

I’m not saying I can change your life, but you can. The power is in your hands and I have had the pleasure to connect with so many women this year, women who were hanging on my a thread and now just feel good.

MAY 1st is the start date. Send me a message and we’ll work together to find something that will work for your unique situation and preferences.

We are going to have an awesome summer, you ready to join us?

Jessica Heidi's photo.

Orthorexia- Are we TOO obsessed with healthy eating?

The internet is a scary place, and there are a lot of “experts” out there.  I always feel it is important to remember to use common sense, practice moderation, and if you are not sure, ask a qualified professional.

As a chemist I am always so frustrated when people are scared of chemicals.   I think they are just scare of the unknown.   Everything is technically a chemical, and everything has a lethal dose.  Water is a chemical, and you can die if you drink too much of it.   My expertise is more around chemicals in skincare though, not nutritionals.

That being said,  this post is really about moderation as well as a healthy dose of education.

I have not only learned so much since becoming a coach, but I have also had the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing and smart people.   Maureen Flood is a fellow coach and also a nurse practitioner and shared this article on our team page.  I felt it was important to share with you too!


Definition: A mental health condition wherein an individual restricts their diet based not on the quantity of food, but based on arbitrary rules regarding its quality or characteristics without any medical reason for doing so and to the extent that it causes problems with their physical health or daily physical or social functioning.

Summary of the disorder

Orthorexia was coined as a term in 1997 in a Yoga Journal article by Steven Bratman to describe pathological obsession with healthful eating; he later wrote a book about it (Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the obsession with healthful eating, 2000).

Orthorexia come from the Greek “orthos” or “correct” and “orexi” or “appetite”.

Many people develop this disorder in response to recommendations by healthcare providers, celebrities, or others to restrict their diet (either sensibly or not) in order to treat or prevent a health condition. They are not particularly interested in getting thin, per se, although that may go along with the obsession about eating the right foods or avoiding the wrong ones. These obsessions lead to severe nutritional deficits that endanger the individual’s health as well as social problems because they often isolate themselves from others who disagree with their food choices. The nutritional deficits depend on the individual’s obsessions, but can include protein malnutrition, malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), scurvy (Vitamin C deficit), osteopenia and osteomalacia (calcium deficit, Vitamin D deficit), and others.

Key messages

To avoid instigating orthorexia and encourage those who may have the condition to balance their diets, we need to be careful about the types of diets and food messages we promote.

  • There really is no such thing as a “superfood”: all whole foods have a place in a human diet, some in greater quantity than others. When we talk about “superfoods”, we are really just promoting an under-noticed food that has great nutritional qualities, not something that should be in every meal every day. No one can live on kale alone!
  • The best diet for overall health and fitness is a balanced diet that includes sufficient calories drawn from protein, fat, and carbohydrate sources.
  • Vegan and Vegetarian diets can be healthful, provided the person pays attention to getting a balance of those macronutrients.
  • Fad diets do not promote healthful, balanced eating.
  • Our clients should be reminded that they can only achieve maximum fitness levels with appropriate diets to meet the body’s needs for protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
  • We even need healthy fats, because our cells make their cell membranes with them and they carry important vitamins into our bloodstream for use by the body. All things in moderation!

If you are worried about pathological obsessions with food with a client, you may gently suggest that they talk to their healthcare provider about their diet choices, because they could be doing more harm than good.

Resources online

National Eating Disorders Association: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/orthorexia-nervosa

Orthorexia (Dr. Bratman’s page): http://www.orthorexia.com/

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/eating-disorders/orthorexia-an-obsession-with-eating-pure


Find your strong

I could start this with “beach weather is around the corner… Blah blah blah.” No.   Strong is not always about your body.

This NOT about looking good in a bathing suit.

This week has been really horrible. Social media always makes it seem like life is sunshine and rosy all the time. That everyone is doing everything and they’ve got their sh%# together and everyone is all smiles.

So not the case. No one wanted to wake up this week, I was a horrible mom and yelled most mornings, no screamed. I got to work stressed out, I missed 70% of my workouts, I picked the kids up late every day, I think they got a bath twice.

My current exercise group had an amazing week though, they felt stronger, more empowered, lost weight, got more done at work, had patience for their families. I just was not my best self.

We made up for it with ice cream Friday and some Saturday workouts.

The eternal debate… Hard or soft ice cream. Hard coffee ice cream is my weakness!

Felt better after sweating on Saturday.  Don’t have a weight bench for decline push-ups? Use the stairs!

Anyway, I am reaching out if you want help reclaiming your inner self. I need YOU to keep me accountable. I will be expanding April 4th and participating in #summerstrong with my coach.

I am going to share what I learn with you. I’ll recommend a workout you enjoy (from boot camp, cardio, weights to yoga/Pilates), I’ll provide motivation, support, a meal plan and friendship.

I have high interest already so comment below if you want in. I’m accepting 10 new clients only. We’ll chat and I’ll give more details.

Just visualize yourself 30, 60, 90 days from now. Where do you see yourself?   A faster runner?   Getting into that yoga headstand, or maybe succeeding at work, or having more patience for your family.   Let’s get you there.   It’s worked for me every time, now I want to share the feeling with you.

Nutrition, Exercise, Support…Success

Reclaim your strong.  Regain your happy.

Ingredients for the beginner cook

I am not a natural cook,  the other day I was on the treadmill and the cooking channel was on.    There were these little snippets in between shows called ingredient intel.  I LOVED it!  


You can go on any ingredient and learn about the history, how to cook with it, what NOT to do and some fun tips.  Definitely check it out.  

Ingredients for spring are artichokes, carrots, radishes, salmon, and spinach.  

Did you know that carrots that still have their green tops are sweeter?  That mini carrots are tender but full sized have more flavor.    Carrots also cheer you on!


Black Bean Soup-Dry Bean Adventure

A few months ago my son and I were devouring a black bean soup so I knew I wanted to make a batch myself.  I love the website Skinny Taste, the recipes are easy to follow and super healthy too.    They always fit in my 21 day fix meal plan! You can find the original recipe here.

Confession, I have never made anything with uncooked beans before.  I have always used canned beans!   This is going to be interesting…

I actually made this recipe over two days.  I only have about 2 hours every night after getting home from work before the kids go to bed.  Luckily they are toddlers now and would rather watch Disney Junior and unwind from their school day than play with me, so I do get do some some things (like cook and clean and do laundry) before spending quality time with them.

The first day I rinsed and cooked the beans, I also chopped all the veggies and put them into bowls so I could just dump and heat everything the next day.  I seriously envy all those people on the food network.  I am not a fast chopper.  Have any of you ever used the slap chop?  That thing is seriously my best friend.   It is one of my most used wedding gifts!

The kids are professional slap choppers.

Don’t you just love the rainbow of colors!?


Day 1 in the books.

Day 2, I cooked the beans with the veggies, added the spices and liquids, sauteed the other vegetables, did the whole combo thing, cooked and blended.

The whole second day process took about an hour and half.  Just lots of heating and waiting.    The recipe made about 10 cups!

All in all, this was pretty delicious!  I would definitely try it again with canned beans to see if I can cut out all the soaking time and see if it impacted the taste.  Gina from Skinny Taste says “Yes, you can,  You could add beans with broth and boil, then add the vegetables in the last step and season to taste, cook until about 20 minutes.”  I would also cook a little longer to make it thicker and maybe blend a little less.

All in all, a super nutritious meal.  I would estimate that if following the 21 day fix meal plan It would be 2 Green and 2 Yellow, or if you are vegetarian, 2 green and a red.


Black Bean Soup 
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: about 1-1/2 cups • Points +: 5 pts • Smart Points: 6
Calories: 234.4 • Fat: 2.6 g • Protein: 13.6 g • Carb: 40.1 g • Fiber: 19.6 g


For the beans:

•    1 lb dry black beans
•    1 small bell red pepper
•    1 small onion, quartered
•    2 cloves garlic
•    3 bay leaves

For the soup:

•    1 tbsp olive oil
•    1 large onion, minced
•    1/2 cup chopped parsley
•    1 red pepper, minced
•    2 medium carrots, shredded
•    5 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
•    1/4 (2 oz) cup white wine
•    1 tsp cumin
•    1 tsp oregano
•    1 chicken bullion (vegans use vegetable bullion)
•    salt and black pepper


Rinse beans and place in a large pot with about 8 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let the beans sit, covered for one hour. (Or you can let them soak overnight in cold water)

Drain the water, then add 8-10 cups of cold water when ready to cook.

Add 1 bell pepper, 2 garlic, small onion and bay leaves to the beans. Bring to a boiland reduce heat to low. Simmer for about an hour, or until tender, stirring occasionally. (Add water if necessary)

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat oil on low. Add chopped vegetables (onion, parsley, carrots, pepper, garlic) season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

Add the vegetables to the soup after it has simmered an hour, then add wine, vinegar, cumin, oregano, bullion, salt and pepper and adjust water if needed. Cover and simmer on low about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves, then using an immersion blender, partially blend the soup for about 10 seconds to thicken. If you don’t have an immersion blender, put about 3 cups of the soup in a blender, then add it back to the pot. Adjust salt, pepper and cumin to taste and ladle about 1 1/2 cups into each bowl.Top with sour cream (extra points), chopped onions, scallions, chives or/or cilantro and enjoy!