Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

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How to Curb Cravings

I recently came upon an article that I thought you might find interesting. It explains the chemistry behind our cravings, but also gives you helpful tips on how to curb your cravings. I’m a visual learner, so I love the graphics the author, Miranda Hammer, used in the article. Click here for the original article.

I truly believe that no food should be “off limits”. With that being said, I think it’s important to practice moderation. Here are some ways to help you curb your cravings:

Sweet and Salty: The Chemistry of a Craving and How to Curb it
“Sweet and Salty” on Health Perch

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Products Made-Over {Part 2}

Happy Tuesday! Can you believe that today is the last day of June? This summer is flying by so quickly. I’ve been learning so much about the harmful chemicals in most products and it’s downright scary. I really hope through my posts I’ll be able to help you identify toxic ingredients and help you find products that are safer to use.

I wanted to do a follow-up post regarding my products make-over. A few posts back I wrote about my hair products make-over. I’m happy to report that I’m still loving the shampoo and conditioner. In fact, because it worked so well, I recently tried some more products from the Ava Anderson line.

I have NEVER found a natural product line that works so well. Honestly, every single product I’ve tried has been incredible. I’m most impressed with the skin care line. Here are the products I’m currently using (and in love with):

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From left to right:

Shampoo & Conditioner– You can read my review here. I also want to add that I don’t wash my hair every day, but it looks and feels clean between washes. In the past, if I skipped a wash it was noticeable (the next day my hair would be flat, & weighed down). With this product, my hair maintains it’s body and doesn’t get weighed down between washes.

Cleanser– This stuff is great! I use this as my face wash, but it can also be used as body wash. It does a great job removing makeup and dirt. The other great thing about this cleanser is that you literally only need a tiny drop because a little goes a long way. It creates a great lather and has a delicious citrus scent. This has been perfect for my sensitive skin.

Moisturizer & Night Serum– I use the moisturizer in the morning and at night. At night I also add one pump of the night serum. I have combination skin, so it can be very finicky. In the past, I’ve either had products that dry out my skin, or leave it too oily and cause a breakout. This stuff does neither. When I wake up in the morning, my skin is so soft and glowing!

BB Cream– BB Creams are new to me. I’ve never used them in the past because I didn’t really understand what they were used for. This cream is lighter than foundation (perfect for the summer) but provides a tinted coverage. The best part is that it has added skin care benefits like SPF and anti-oxidants. I’m amazed at the coverage and how it creates such an even appearance. It doesn’t look like you’re wearing anything at all. It just looks like you have flawless skin.

Sunscreen– Let me first start off by saying that I am not a fan of sunscreen. I don’t like feeling greasy. I don’t like the smell of sunscreen and I don’t like how most of them break out my face. This stuff is so very gentle (I also use it on my 9-month old who has extremely sensitive skin). It goes on smooth and doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy at all. It also doesn’t give you that “stinging” feeling that some sunscreens can. It provides great coverage too!

Deodorant (not pictured…forgot to put it in the picture)- Okay, this is a pretty big deal. I’ve never found a non-toxic deodorant that actually works. I sweat a lot (especially when I workout). When I bought this, I went into it thinking that “it probably won’t work”. To my surprise, not only did it work, but it worked better than the more “toxic” brand that I’ve been using for the past 7 years. For me, finding a non-toxic deodorant was so important because your underarms are the location of many lymph nodes. I didn’t want to put anything toxic on that area. This stuff is amazing.

I must say that I’m beyond impressed with the Ava Anderson line. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email.

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Flaxseed As An Egg Replacement

Happy Thursday! The weekend is almost upon us!

I recently discovered how to substitute eggs with flaxseed in recipes (I think I’m a little late to the game on this one, but better late than never). I figured I’d share this new (to me) trick with you guys too.

There are so many health benefits when it comes to flaxseed. Here are some of them:

  • cancer prevention
  • cardiovascular benefits
  • improved blood sugar
  • anti-inflammatory
  • improved digestive health
  • lowers cholesterol
  • reduces bone loss

Flaxseed is such a great source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and fiber, so adding it to a recipe is a healthful option.

Another bonus, if you use flaxseed instead of eggs when you’re making cookie dough, you can eat the cookie dough without the fear of getting salmonella poising. Smile

Here’s all you have to do to use flaxseed as an egg replacement:

Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed to 2 tablespoons of water. Let sit for a few minutes (until it thickens up a bit). This is equivalent to 1 egg. If your recipe calls for 2 eggs, just double the flaxseed and water.

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By using flaxseed instead of eggs, you add extra antioxidants, most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, both soluble & insoluble fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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Gooey Chocolate Chip Brownies

Happy Monday! Here is one of the most delicious guilt-free desserts I’ve ever made. Oh. My. Goodness.

This is a spin off of the Amazing Chocolate Chik Cookie Cake recipe, except these taste more like a gooey brownie (and I think these taste so much better).

You can make it two different ways (depending on what you’re in the mood for). If you want more of a brownie dessert, melt the chocolate chips prior to stirring into the batter. If you’d prefer more of a chocolate chip cookie dessert, then you would just stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Either way both are DELICIOUS!

Gooey Chocolate Chip Brownies


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 12 bars:
Recipe adapted from Tone It Up

  • 1 (16 oz.) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth.

While batter is blending, melt chocolate chips in microwave. Add melted chocolate to batter. Blend again until chocolate is mixed throughout the batter.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

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Happy Father’s Day & Update


Happy Father’s Day!

To those celebrating today, I hope you are having great Father’s Day!

Wow, I was just looking at my previous posts and I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted here. I haven’t had a whole lot of down time to write well-thought-out posts. When I write a post here, I really like to put time and energy into it. I’ve read some blogs in the past where posts are more of an obligation and are thrown together just for the sake of posting (that’s not how I roll).

So what have I been up to?

I have been enjoying every minute spending time with my little one. Time is going by so very very quickly (she’s almost 9 months old!) and I don’t want to miss one second. She still takes frequent naps (which is when I exercise, shower, and get stuff done around the house), but her naps are shorter in length. I’ve learned how to do things much more efficiently during naptime. Smile

I completed the “Tone It Up” 8-Week Bikini Challenge. I really enjoyed all of the workouts. The only obstacle that I ran into was that the workouts were just a little too long towards the end of the challenge. I just don’t have 45-60 minutes to exercise (nor do I want to). I much prefer a hardcore 30-minute workout (quality over quantity). I did stick with it though because I wanted to see it all the way to the end. My results? I definitely noticed that my endurance and muscle definition improved over the course of the challenge. I will most likely still incorporate some of the shorter workouts that I loved, but I’m going to focus more on lifting heavier weights with workouts lasting 30-minutes or less. A few months ago I ordered the 21-Day Fix program based on a friend’s recommendation. She said the workouts were intense and only 30-minutes each (right up my alley). I finally did a couple of the workouts this past week. Oh. My. Goodness! I LOVE them! I did the upper body and lower body workouts and before each workout was over, my muscles were screaming! The day after each workout, I could literally feel all of the muscles that I used. I’m looking forward to incorporating this exercise program into my daily routine. I also love the nutrition aspect of the program, but I won’t be doing that part just yet. I’m not trying to lose weight and I pretty much already eat according to the guidelines of the 21-Day Fix. I’ll keep you updated on my thoughts and results.

I’ve made a couple of really good recipes recently and plan to post them soon. One of the recipes is a guilt-free & flour-free gooey chocolate chip brownie (I think you’ll love it).

I’m still actively working on eliminating toxic products that I use. I’ve found some AMAZING non-toxic products that I plan to share with you.

Well, I hope you enjoy your Sunday! Be sure to check back here this week for the chocolate chip brownie recipe!

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Giant Foods: Limoncello

Happy Sunday! I’m excited to tell you about a new Giant Foods product line. This new line of foods is inspired by the Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello. The zest of Sorrento lemons are steeped in alcohol until the oil is released. Once the oil is released, this liquid is mixed with simple syrup resulting in a strong lemon flavor without the bitterness of lemon juice (FYI: This line of foods doesn’t contain liqueur, just the flavor).

This line of foods would be perfect for a Memorial Day cookout! Between the delicious lemonade, lemon meringue cookies, or olive oil for grilling, you’ll be set for your kick off to summer. Just check out some of the limited Limoncello products Giant Foods is offering:

limoncello flyersource

Giant Foods was kind enough to send me these 3 products to sample:

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My thoughts?

The meringue cookies were delicious! They aren’t a chewy cookie, but they aren’t hard either. They have more of a shortbread consistency. The cookies are bursting with lemon flavors!

Normally, I’m not a fan of lemonade because I find most kinds too bitter. However, this lemonade was like nothing I’ve tried before. It has the perfect amount of sweetness with just a hint of tartness. I was also happy to see that it contained no corn syrup (as most do). I loved this stuff!

The risotto was also delicious. It was the best complement to grilled chicken. The ingredients were very impressive (no Franken food ingredients) since everything was natural (rice, lemon juice, dried onion, dried lemon zest, and dried parsley). This package serves 5-6 people, so it was an added bonus that we had leftovers!

I especially loved the lemon flavor in all of these products because it was different from traditional lemon flavors.

I’m looking forward to trying more of this limited line (especially the olive oil)!


Full disclosure: Giant Foods sent me the cookies, lemonade, and risotto to sample. However, this review and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Hair Products Made-Over

Happy Friday! I wanted to share the new hair care products I’ve been using (and loving). Since discovering how toxic most of the products I was using were, I’ve been on a mission to switch over to less toxic beauty and household products. You can read about some of the household products I’m currently using here.

My goal is to eventually use all products that are either a “0-2” rating according to EWG. It definitely takes a while to make the switch completely due to research, trying products, and of course, funds. One of the best ways that I have discovered new products is by talking to people and hearing their recommendations. In fact, it was through a friend that I found my new favorite hair care products by Ava Anderson (I haven’t tried any of the other products, but if they are anything like this shampoo and conditioner, I’m going to love them).

shampooconditionerphoto source

Seriously, when I say it’s my favorite, I’m not lying. The shampoo cleanses very well and the conditioner works better than any other conditioner I’ve ever tried. I have very thick hair and usually have a tough time conditioning it. I felt like this conditioner started working immediately and I had no tangles (!!!!!) when I got out of the shower. Not to mention, it didn’t weigh my hair down like most conditioners do. Another bonus is that a little goes a long way, so you won’t need to replace it as often. With an EWG rating of “2” and the fact that they work so well, I found my new hair care line.

Check out all of the different kinds of products they offer:

  • Skin
  • Face
  • Body
  • Sun
  • Scent
  • Kids
  • Hair
  • Home
  • Smile
  • Baby
  • Garden
  • Men
  • Auto
  • Bugs
  • Pets
  • Candle

If you’d like more information about any of the Ava Anderson products, I highly recommend checking out Ava Anderson. That is a link to my friend Sara’s page. She’d love to answer your questions and help you find your next favorite (nontoxic) product!

I also purchased the Ava Anderson sunblock and BB cream. I haven’t used either yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts with you.

Have a great Friday!

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Tropical Smoothie

Happy Wednesday! I’ve fallen into a rut with my morning breakfast shake (spinach, almond milk, protein powder, and a banana). I needed something different for breakfast this morning, so I put together some ingredients I had on hand. Sometimes the best meals are those that are made on a whim. It turned out being one of the best smoothies I’ve made, so I figured I’d share it with you. An added bonus: there are 14 grams of protein in 1 serving!

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I really think the Oikos Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek yogurt made this shake taste so great. The flavor screams “tropical”. 

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Busy, Busy, & Fun Things Planned

Hey there! I’ve been meaning to post, but things have been pretty busy here. I’m still going strong with the Tone It Up Bikini Series. Monday marked the beginning of week 5! I’m really loving the workouts and the amazing community. As far as results go, I’m starting to see definition in my legs, arms, and abs. But more importantly, I feel healthy & strong!

I’ve also been busy with making baby food. I’m very fortunate that I have the time to do this. I know if I were still working, I wouldn’t have this luxury. I’m so grateful. So far I’ve made: sweet potatoes, avocado, peas, green beans, butternut squash, pears, apples, and zucchini. Everything has been a huge hit except for the peas. My little one absolutely LOVES zucchini (which really surprised me). I’ve also given her carrots, but I haven’t made them for her because I got a little freaked out when I read about nitrates in certain foods (carrots were one of them). I felt more comfortable buying an organic brand from the store. Although, that doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be nitrate in those either. I just felt a little more comfortable with it. I have a couple of baby food recipes I’ll be posting.

On my mission to switch out a lot of the more toxic products I use for less toxic options, I have discovered some great new beauty products (that actually work)! I’m in the process of putting that post together for you. In case you missed it, I explained here how I was able to determine the toxicity levels of every day products. I’ve even found some great baby products too.

Since I’ve been slacking on the recipe front, I’m making an effort to post some new recipes in the next couple of days.

So as you can see, I have a lot of fun posts planned for Operation Nutrition. Smile

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Bikini Series Week #2 Completed

Happy Sunday! Today marks the end of week #2 of the Tone It Up Bikini Series. Here’s what my workouts looked like:

Days 7 & 12- “Rest Days”

photo (47)photophoto 1 (6)photo 2 (5)photo 3 (3)photo (48)

I really loved all of the workouts this week! My favorite was “Mommy and Me” yoga because I was able to take the little one with me to class (she loved it)! It was also great connecting with other mothers and meeting their babies. I also really enjoyed the Caribbean Kettleball & Beach ball workouts. After doing 2 weeks of this Bikini Series, I’m already feeling stronger. 

My workouts and meals are all planned for Week 3. I’m looking forward to this upcoming week. Smile

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