hotsparkmama

Advocare Health & Wellness Nutritional Support

My journey into essential oils

My journey into essential oils started January, 2014. I was tired of my lil’ princess being sick (what seemed) ALL THE TIME…I mean, literally we were in the doctor’s office every 4-6 weeks; not to mention she’d been to the pediatric department emergency room FOUR times! BUT, that’s not even HOW I came across the oils. My son has Tourette’s and after learning about nutrition and how to help him through removing foods he’s allergic to and implementing a cleaner diet (as well as supplements) I knew there was more to it. I always knew it but studying about his condition, I realized it could be so much worse than it is. The answer to Tourette’s is typically anti-psychotic medications. THIS was not an option for us! I refused to have my son’s brain altered through drugs that were going to cause him troubles with sleep and basically alter his personality. Due to his “focus” problems in school his dad has been pushing ADHD medication for years (and may I interject he has NEVER been diagnosed w/ this co-morbid), this medication would not only cause a plethora of issues I will not begin to address at this point but they would cause his tics to worsen! I discovered through research that the OTC pain and allergy medications were making them worse so I was not about to introduce Ritalin or Haldol to his system. “Essential oils” kept coming across my screen…but what are these essential oils? Where do they come from? What are they? What do they do?

Now, let me back up a bit to share…I had heard of “essential oils” though I was unsure of what they were. I didn’t know a soul familiar with them, I had nobody “pushing’ or “helping” me to make the decision to go with this company or that brand. I did my own research on my own time without any guidance. I chose to go w/ doTERRA because I feel them to have the purest quality, I appreciate the integrity of the founders’ values, I like that they harvest these oils from their indigenous areas and I love, love the education they offer. doTERRA is latin for “gift of the earth” and they “give back”! doTERRA doesn’t just “pay” their farmers, it’s not always monetarily, they HELP these farmers. Just recently a group of doTERRA “tourists” went to Jamaica to plant GINGER! How many of you have ever thought of going to a “foreign land” to HELP OUT…like a mission trip?

Essential Oils are pure plant botanicals extracted from every useful part of a plant, tree or flower (bark, seeds, rinds, leaves and roots). They are volatile aromatic compounds, tiny organic molecules w/ protective, reproductive and regenerative purposes to help heal infection. They are highly concentrated, approximately 50-70% more potent than the plant/herb. But I call them nature’s first medicine. I’m not going to give you a bible lesson but when asked what’s so special about essential oils I have to start w/ the fact that God intended plants to become our medicine when we need healing. They are God breathed therefore contain power from his actual words—created w/ his voice! Essential oils are divinely ordained as medicine for God’s children and are meant to be used w/ his guidance accompanied w/ prayer :)

Obviously there are drugs that can and do save lives and I am grateful we have them available. But I felt like I was becoming too reliant on them. I don’t know about you, but I hated that feeling of being stuck and having no choice but to drag my kids to the doctor for every little sniffle because I couldn’t help them at home. In recent years we have learned that pharmaceuticals are not necessarily the best first line of defense for a healthy lifestyle. There is still a place for medications but if I have a choice between a natural or a synthetic, I’d rather stick with the natural line of defense. Furthermore, chemicals are pervasive in our current modern way of life and this has negative consequences on the lives of our children. We are now seeing that in order to lead a healthy life we need to reduce the chemical footprint on our families. This is why essential oils have resurfaced and are becoming a key addition to a healthy lifestyle…they are a step back to a natural way of life and reducing some of the chemicals we are bombarded with each and every day.

WAIT…I have a huge announcement to make…I AM NOT A DOCTOR! I have NO medical education. Everything I know, I learned on my own studies, or having my own experiences. I’ve taken some nutrition classes, every essential oils class available and have a library of books at my disposal but I am first of all just a mom trying keep my family in good health as naturally as possible. YES, I’m of the understanding that you can find information to support everything you believe in….and I believe in doTERRA’s essential oils! I spent numerous hours researching every aspect of essential oils before taking the plunge into purchasing a “kit”. I looked at the background of the “big” names, taking time to read up on the founders of those companies and learned where and how the oils were sourced!

When doTERRA’s seven founders started up the company they each put up their own properties/assets up as collateral and they agreed they wouldn’t receive an income until the company was self-sufficient (they went 13 months w/ no income, to me that’s integrity!). They opted to NOT allow outside investors which would compromise the product because investors would be more concerned about the almighty dollar than about the quality of the product. Rather than owning all the farms growing these plants doTERRA “helps” already established farmers growing them in their indigenous countries also making them more beneficial than say Lavender grown in NC. And they are harvested at the optimal time of year. (Frankincense/Oman, Lemongrass/India, Ginger/Jamaica, Hawaiin Sandalwood/Hawaii, Vetiver/Haiti, etc..) This is called co-impact sourcing… Growers in foreign lands are often unorganized with limited access to information and layers of “middle men”, limited resources and capacity, harvesting immature plants out of season with little incentive to produce higher quality but then doTERRA sees the potential of these lands! “They” step in with teaching, training, capacity building and coordinated services helping them become organized in cooperatives. It helps improve growing and harvesting practices to achieve optimal oil yield and ensure sustainability. doTERRA has a “Healing Hands” foundation which funds projects to benefit grower communities for improved overall livelihoods. THIS was the company I wanted to be a part of!

I will say, I believe that a nutrient dense diet is THE BEST thing for my family’s overall health (and yours too). As for the effectiveness of the oils, I personally don’t think essential oils should ever take the place of a good diet, but I think well-made oils from a reputable source can help aid the body in recovery and promote better health. I’ve learned ways they can be used in combination with the right diet to help treat acute conditions like headache, rash, respiratory issues, a virus, or a bacterial infection and I’ve also seen in certain cases, how they can benefit people with more chronic conditions like autoimmune diseases, diabetes or cancer.

As far as other oil companies go…I ain’t gonna lie, my mama always told me if ya can’t say somethin’ nice then don’t say nut’n at all~ Do the research! Make your own decisions! But if you’re ready to join my doTERRA team go to http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark and sign up as a Wellness Advocate to receive the deepest discounts (25% off retail). Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have before getting started ;)

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Just another snow day

Being prepared for snow is one thing but not even knowing that the snow is coming can find one in a tough situation! One good thing about the fact that we MAKE everything there’s no worry when we wake to ½” of snow, still heavily falling on top of what we already had leftover from last week…if we run out of milk, bread or deodorant we just make more :)

I’m an early riser! I love getting up before the neighborhood dogs decide to roll over. It affords me some much needed alone time to spend w/ the Lord and to ponder what changes to make in my daily schedule (not necessarily the greatest of plan haha too much thinking time can overload my day). I get breakfast cooked and on the table (complete w/ supplements) and lunches packed before waking the children. Typically we know when there’s the slightest hint of snow in the area…with empty bread shelves and scarce milk supply but not this time! No hint! I knew it would be cold (low 18) but never heard a word of ANY precipitation! Therefore the thought of looking out the window when it started getting light out never occurred to me this morning…UNTIL I had to wake the children and my son finally came out of his room (fully dressed) saying, “The radio said schools are closed and delayed.” to which I responded “I don’t know why they would be”…THEN I looked out to see that EVERYTHING was completely covered in a blanket of snow. Now it’s gorgeous don’t get me wrong…especially when the big flakes fall and flurry all around but I was ill-prepared for a “snow-day” (aka NO SCHOOL). I had a funeral to attend, a lunch meeting and my regular week Costco shopping with the possibility of a date night w/ my honey tonight. The idea of missing out on some alone time w/ my honey was rather disheartening but having the kids at home with snow meant TOGETHERNESS even though they’d want to be outside (my son even OFFERED to shovel the driveway before 800am) and I don’t fret about missing out on grocery shopping…there’s NOTHING we absolutely have to have!

I was able to catch up on replenishing necessities such as…. homemade sugar-free syrup, homemade gluten-free/sugar-free vanilla, deodorant, hand sanitizer, son made his (peppermint) body wash, lil princess made her (lemon) foaming hand soap, and I even tried something new “Fridge Refreshers”.

Do you remember growing up and always having a box of baking soda in the fridge? I always wondered what that was about…ya didn’t use it for anything, ya just kept it tucked away in the back. When I got married and had a home of my own at 19, I too had an opened box of baking soda in the back—even though I had no idea why lol~ Well, now I know it was to soak up any funky smells that we are all bound to wind up w/ at some time whether it’s from an opened to-go box with leftovers, rotten broccoli or spoiled milk. Finding a slightly “off” odor this morning seemed like a good time to try it out because I no longer like having that orange box in my fridge ;)

All of the above took less than an hour out of my morning and will last me a good month, then we all sat—together—watching a movie (Soul Surfer which happens to be lil’ bits favorite, she says “because it’s a Christian movie and they talk about my Jesus”) <3

What do you do when YOU run out of “staples” on a snow-day? Do you wrap up and venture out to Walmart with all the crazies (that cringe at just the sight of flakes) and take a chance on slipping into a ditch with your babies in tow…OR do you make what you need and just “go w/ the flow”? I have learned to love making everything from scratch at home, I find such accomplishment in naturally taking care of my family and dare I say pride in knowing I’m doing them good removing chemicals and toxins from our home that are found in everyday products. I ain’t gonna lie, I especially LOVE when my children come to me and say, “Mom, I need ‘this’, can I help you make it?”

For ideas on making your own products with essential oils visit

Want to know where to purchase your own essential oils?

Do you realize how easy it is to make your own dairy-free milk? There are several options but if you’re new to making everything the easiest (cheat) way to make almond milk is take 3-4 Tbsp of almond butter, add it to 4 cups distilled water and blend in good (high-powered preferably) mixer. I use this for cooking! If you want to drink it, add vanilla and/or 1-2 dates to sweeten :P
And cashew milk being the newest version of DF on the market? Yep, that’s easy too! Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in water for FOUR hours. Drain and rinse. Add 4 cups distilled water with your soaked cashews and blend to creamy perfection (no straining needed..thank you to Sherry @ thishouseofjoy.com for teaching me that one). I’ve discovered cashews are wonderful for making dairy free “sour cream” and “heavy cream”…who knew?

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I’m having an online FB class “Essential Oils: Caring for our Children”

Where oh where are you tonight? Why did you leave me here all alone? :/ LOL~

Yep, I left but now I’m back :)
After our nationwide 24DC I had to take a lil’ break and focus on some other things…. My husband and I FINALLY got to take a lil’ get-away, just the two of us and even THAT ALMOST did NOT happen! I was almost taking a lil’ get away by myself…which wouldn’t have been but so bad (HEY, don’t judge, you mama’s feel me!?!).

I know I’ve told yall (albeit briefly) that I’m an avid essential oils user aka Wellness Advocate in addition to being an AdvoCare Advisor. What started out as a search for a replacement to anti-psychotic drugs (for my son’s TS / Tourettes) turned into a passion and desire to help others take care of their own health care in natural, alternative ways. Welp, I’m having my first online (Facebook) class and I’m inviting YOU!

I’m not very computer savy (otherwise I’d have one of those fancy blogs w/ all the cutesy pics on the sides of books I recommend and where I shop with links to it all and blah blah blah) that’s no secret! So, you’ll have to excuse me if this link doesn’t work ——–> https://www.facebook.com/events/752673741495779/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming but you should be able to do a search for Essential Oils: Caring for our Children if you’re interested :) EO CLass Invite

Since starting essential oils 13 months ago my daughter has not had ONE doctor’s visit. That’s feat enough right there! My lil’ Princess was at the doctor’s office every 4-6 weeks (NO EXAGGERATION) and I was typically told it’s just allergies OR constipation but what killed me was when they’d say “but here’s an antibiotic just in case”. We had 4 ER visits in less than 2 years (Illeus, hand-foot-mouth, migraine w/ UTI and I can’t remember the other DX). I was so concerned before she started school because it seemed she must’ve been born w/ absolutely NO immune system. If she was around anyone w/ so much as a sniffle, within minutes SHE HAD IT TOO! We gave her Miralax (daily) , Zyrtec (almost daily), and Tylenol (WAY too often). Then enters essential oils and POOF :) I’m not kiddin! NOW, I will say that we did change our eating habits quite a bit (by removing wheat the daily tummy aches disappeared) so I believe the first thing everyone should always do is check their diet (what foods are you eating and what symptoms do they trigger).

FIRST day my Home Essentials kit arrived I made an “allergy roller” because that seemed the easiest to start with and we replaced the Claritin/Zyrtec/Sudafed. Within a day or two of arrival a huge snow storm came through and lil’ bit got sick (the usual: fever, headache, stuffy/runny nose, cough, sore throat) and I was excited “This is my chance to put them to work!” so I mixed up a “flu bomb roller”. That first night every time she woke up coughing I applied my respiratory blend to her chest & back, flu bombed her feet, lavender across the forehead, and protective blend (from gland to gland). When she woke up the next day she announced, “I believe in your oils mama, they work!” <3 (TODAY, she will offer lavender to everyone for everything haha but when mama feels poorly she always knows what to get to make me feel better in every situation!) It's been a lil' harder winning my sports enthusiast over but he is slowly coming around (he's always enjoyed the diffuser in his room but he just doesn't like to smell the oils on him all day…and even though I can't smell him when he passes by, he knows they're there and is worried his peers will catch a whiff). We've been using oils over a year and yesterday was the first time he said, "I'm taking my lavender roller to dad's" . He’s always come to me asking what he could use for certain things, he’s SEEN the power and knows they work…he’s just a 14 yo BOY! This child has been literally growing like a weed (May, 2014 5′ 9 1/4″ – Feb, 2015 6′ 1″) and plays basketball (on the floor a lot lol) so he’s full of aches and pains and/or sprains and bruises ALL the time, he takes “morphine bomb”, lavender baths and uses lots of my soothing blend ;) His first ah-ha moment came when he watched a huge wart on his foot disappear after using Oregano (more powerful than lab-created antibiotics!).

If you’re looking to replace the synthetic OTC medications in your home do your own research into nature’s first medicine (HEY, God put Adam and Eve in the garden for a reason yo) ;) When I started looking into essential oils I didn’t know ANYBODY using them, I didn’t know how to order them or what to do once they arrived! Nobody shared the LRP / Loyalty Rewards Program or all the perks you get signing as a Wellness Advocate, I just knew that this was the answer I’d been looking for and I wanted the 25% discount. I am a die-hard doTERRA user, I believe in the company and the people who started it, I trust that their oils are THE BEST and I never have a doubt or worry about administering to my children! doTERRA actually rewards me every time I order, they give me a % of what I spend in points that accumulate so that I can get FREE oils (they even give me point equivalent to what I spend on shipping)! When I “share” my oils with people and they experience the power and want to enroll as a Wellness Advocate, I am financially compensated! If you are considering the use of essential oils, you do not have to go into it blind like I did, I’m here to help guide you :) Please feel free to reach out! Or if you’ve done the research, you know what you want and you’re ready to get started you can order your kit at http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark (PS…you do NOT have to enroll w/ a kit, you can pay the $35 membership fee and order one oil at a time but when started w/ a kit, your membership fee is paid for and you’re getting more bang for your buck!)

I will share more about how I got started and where we are now, I just wanted to get the invite out there (since class is TOMORROW! YiKeS). I ain’t gonna lie, opening this lil’ class of a FEW the www actually makes me feel a lil’ nauseous HaHa but at least there’s an oil for that ;)

The information on this site is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 24

I absolutely cannot believe that it’s day 24 already!! It seems just a few days ago we were starting our cleanse and now here we are completely through (well last day) the entire challenge. I’d love to hear what kind of positive steps you’ve made and how amazing you feel!

Day 24 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Meal Replacement Shake (Vanilla w/ tsp PB)
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY “WITH MEAL” PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: Cleanse & Detox Smoothie
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: Rotisserie Chicken Lettuce Wrap w/ grapes
SNACK: Tomato & Cucumber Salad w/ mixed fruit (blueberry, mango, pineapple & strawberry)
DINNER: Chick-Fila Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ half bun (B/C it’s FREE and our last night of revivial)
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must

I know what you’re thinking, here it is the last day and I’ve gotten slack on the meal plan…yeah, well, YOU try planning 24 days of little to no repeats and see if you don’t get burn out by the last day LOL~

Have you scheduled your next step? Ordered your products? Do you need help moving forward? Welp, that’s what I’m here for :) You can go direct to http://www.chellespark.com to order your products or I’m happy to walk you through the process of which direction will best fit your needs!

Remember that GOOD HEALTH is NOT about WEIGHT! Yes, you need to manage you weight at healthy levels but it’s not just a NUMBER!

Stop berating yourself when you don’t eat “just right” all the time! As long as your ON PLAN 80-90% of the time you’re a real success story!

Things you should NOT say (and if you do STOP IT)!

1. “I was so bad today.”
Do not allow judgment or morality slip into your eating lexicon. Guilt and deprivation are two of the most powerful emotional triggers for overeating, This mindset leads to the “eat-repent-repeat cycle” that keeps people trapped in endless yo-yo dieting. Eat for both nourishment and enjoyment.

2. “I shouldn’t be eating this.”
Do not ruin your eating experience with negative thoughts in your head. Instead of fully enjoying what you’re eating, you’ll plan to pay penance by exercising more or skipping your next snack or meal (DO NOT EVER SKIP MEALS). As a result, exercise becomes punishment and you feel you have to earn the right to eat. Often, the next thought is, “Well, I might as well eat it all then!” (GUILTY!) Instead, eat what you love mindfully and without guilt or regret. Plan your “cheats” ;)

3. “I can’t have that.”
Rather than keeping a mental list of forbidden foods, learn how to enjoy the tempting foods you crave and feel good about it because that’s one of the secrets to life-long weight management.

4. “I blew it.”
Push those thoughts of perfection out of your head. It’s the all-or-none approach to eating that leads to overindulgence and guilt. Just say, ‘I ate more than I wanted at dinner today. No big deal, I’m going to pay more attention to eating slowing and savoring my food.'” People often catastrophize their eating. These feelings of failure and self-loathing are likely to lead to more overeating. A 500-calorie “mistake” could turn into 2,000 calories or more.

5. “I’ll start over on Monday.”
There’s a mentality that you can’t get back on the healthy eating horse until the beginning of the week. ONE decadent Olive Garden meal or indulgence doesn’t wreck the whole week!!! Maybe you ate more than you intended, but move on. Get back on track with your healthy eating routine at your next meal or snack.

6. “I deserve this.”
You always deserve to eat as a human being and have permission to eat anything you wan. Savoring a sweet after a not-so-sweet day once in a while is normal. However, watch out if you’re frequently using food as a way to reward yourself or numb your painful feelings (as this is probably what got you over-weight in the first place). Negative emotions are beneficial because they tell you there’s a problem that needs your attention. “Food won’t solve your problems and ‘reward eating’ can often lead to a vicious cycle of shame, blame and dieting.”

7. “I can’t help it, I’m addicted to sugar.”
Telling yourself that you are addicted to sugar or certain foods becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of giving certain foods power over you, remind yourself that you are free to make decisions about eating, then proceed slowly and mindfully. But REALLY, get rid of all the sugary stuff. No sugar does not mean no sweets!
Learn to Eat to Live rather than Live to Eat but EAT WHAT YOU ENJOY! I’ve found that the better I eat, the more I learn to enjoy those things which are actually good for me :)

**I’m not exactly sure where these DON’T SAY tips originated from but I’m thinking it was Huffington Post (I ain’t gonna lie, I read so much stuff that I want to share with you all that I totally forget where all I read it) haha

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 23

I know many of you who are addicted to the scales! Have any of you honestly waited to check you weight? I seriously checked it Day 1 and Day 11 and won’t peek again until Day 25!! I decided long ago (even after just 20 lb loss!) to not be held captive by that liar and just go by how I felt. Yes, it’s nice to see the numbers dwindle but that stopped being important and the constant need to check daily became overwhelming and I found that it set the tone of my mood for the day, that just could not be wink emoticon IF you’re peeking (i know who you are) how does it effect your mood?

My sweetie LOVES him some pumpkin so in honor of his birthday I’ve chosen a few dishes to suit his desires <3 (After this menu, he should be good to go until next fall lol) Due to my son's basketball schedule and our church revival this week dinner will be left-overs (because there's always plenty of those!)

Day 23 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Pumpkin Pancakes
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY "WITH MEAL" PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: Pumpkin Oat Balls
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: Chipotle Chicken & Pumpkin Soup
SNACK: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and raspberries
DINNER: Left-overs
DESSERT: Pumpkin Cookies (& Cheesecake my mother made for him)
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must

PUMPKIN PANCAKES:
3 large eggs (I'll use 3/4 c pumpkin instead)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
sprinkle of cinnamon
coconut oil for cooking
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, water, vanilla and agave
Add almond flour, salt and baking soda and mix until thoroughly combined
Heat oil on skillet over medium low to medium heat
Scoop batter 1/4 c at a time onto the skillet
Pancakes will form little bubbles, when bubbles open, flip pancakes over and cook other side
Remove from heat to a plate
Repeat process with remaining batter, add more oil to skillet as needed

PUMPKIN OAT BALLS:
1 cup pumpkin
3 cups oats
4 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 Tbsp flax seeds (I use chia seeds)
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips. I use Lily's, you could use dark chocolate pieces, regular chocolate chips or just skip them altogether.
Mix everything together in a large bowl. You kind of want to press and fold to get everything together. Roll into balls about 1" in diameter. Place on a wax paper or saran lined pan and chill for about 30 minutes.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS:
Seasoned Salt Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups pumpkin seeds (YES, I bought some, NO I don't have leftovers haha)
About 3 tablespoons coconut oil
Sprinkle seasoned salt until lightly coated
Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir pumpkin seeds, oil and seasoning until the seeds are evenly coated. Pour seeds onto a greased baking sheet with sides. Roast seeds for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until golden and crunchy.

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN & PUMPKIN SOUP:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 large celery stalk (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (homemade stock)
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
4 cups shredded rotiserre chicken
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
1 1/2-2 cups black beans
2 cups corn kernels, thawed if frozen (I omit)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil to medium.
Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic.
Sauté until onions are translucent – about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth and pumpkin puree – stirring until smooth.
Stir in chicken, chipotle peppers, black beans, corn kernels, cumin, and salt. Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for ten minutes.

PUMPKIN COOKIES:
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup honey
2 cup rolled oats
⅔ cup dried cranberries
⅔ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup ground flax
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten
INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet.
In a small bowl warm coconut oil and honey (either microwave, inside preheating oven or on the stove top).
In a large bowl combine both kinds of oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add pumpkin puree, eggs and warmed coconut oil and honey. Stir until fully combined.
Drop about ¼ cup sized scoops of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten (cookies won't spread while baking). Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet before moving to an airtight storage container.

Ohhhhh I almost forgot to tell you the donuts were a HIT I baked them on 350 for 12 minutes
donuts

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 22

I don’t know about you but I feel like this 24DC is literally flying by! How do you feel? That’s a silly question, because I know you feel amazing! I know your pants are loose and you have the energy of a 20yo :) What’s your plan come day 25? Will you move on and attempt the Lean in 13 (whew, more power to ya, that’s hard core)? Will you stick to the same products you’ve taken in the Max/Burn Phase? Or will you revert back to your old ways? Noooooo! You’ll never go back to that lifestyle of sluggishness and unhealthy way! ;)

Day 22 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Meal Replacement Shake (Berry w/ mixed berrie)
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY “WITH MEAL” PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: Apple w/ PB
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: Cucumber wraps w/ rice chips
SNACK: Carrot salad and mixed fruit
DINNER: Turkey meatballs (or loaf) w/ steamed mixed veggies (peas/beans/broccoli/cauliflower)
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must
DESSERT: Cinnamon/sugar coconut crips (SF) *I’ve been forgetting to offer dessert options. Everyone needs a dessert every now and then <3

CUCUMBER WRAPS:
Cukes sliced in thin, long/flat, strips
Top with tuna and drizzle of EVOO
Satl/pepper to taste
Roll and eat!

CARROT SALAD:
Shredded carrots. Toss in honey (typically 1 tsp/large carrot). Sprinkle w/ unsweetened shredded coconut. Mix in raisins and top w/ fresh parsley before serving. You'll feel like you're at ChickFila HaHa

TURKEY MEATBALLS:
* 2 lbs ground turkey (or chicken)
* 3 egg whites
* 1 cup quick cooking oats
* 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp dried thyme
* 2 tsp dry yellow mustard
* 2 tsp black pepper
* 2 tsp chipotle pepper spice (opt)
* 1 tsp salt
* 2 tbsp garlic powder (2 cloves minced)
* 1 small onion (finely chopped)
* 2 celery stalks (finely chopped)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray muffin pan with canola or olive oil.
3. Mix all your ingredients together in one large bowl.
4. Roll the mixture into balls and place in muffin pan. Muffins should be about the size of a racquetball.
5. Bake for 40 minutes.

CINNAMON-SUGAR COCONUT CRISPS (SF)
2 Tablespoons organic butter or ghee
4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, coarse
2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon stevia
½ teaspoon sea salt
Directions
Heat a medium skillet on medium and melt the butter in the pan
Pour the coconut flakes into the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to coat with the butter. Keep stirring and moving the coconut around on the pan until it starts to turn a golden brown. Be careful not to burn the coconut.
Add in the cinnamon, stevia and salt and stir a few more times to coat each of the coconut flakes
Take off of the heat and put in a glass bowl to cool. It will crisp up when cool. Store in an air tight container at room temperature
abs

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 21

Sunday’s are just such busy days that I don’t worry too much about trying to prepare fresh…it’s more of a “free for all” or “take care of yourself” kinda day :) Hubby and lil’ princess took off to VA so me and the boy headed out for a movie…meaning there are no donut treats for tomorrow but I will be making them sometimes in the next few days (gotta be able to tell ya how to cook them in the oven rather than stovetop) ;)

Day 21 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Meal Replacement Shake (Chocolate w/ 1/2 tsp PB)
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY “WITH MEAL” PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: KIND bar (between services)
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: “Big” salad (grilled chicken, boiled eggs, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, almond slivers & bacon bits)
SNACK: Almonds, apple and organic cheese stick
DINNER: Left-overs
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must

Studies show restricting carb intake can:
– Reduce body fat more than calorie-restricted low-fat diets
– Lower blood pressure dramatically
– Lower blood sugar and improve symptoms of diabetes much more than low-fat diets, which also helps you burn more fat
– Increase your good cholesterol (HDL)
– Lower triglycerides significantly more than low-fat diets
However, there can be a DARK side to low carb dieting. Whenever you lower carbs in your diet for more than 5 to 7 days at a time, it can lead to a downward spiral of metabolic problems including:
– Suppressed thyroid output (inefficient conversion of T4 to T3)
– Decreased testosterone production (women need this to burn fat too!)
– Compromised immune system function
– Slower metabolism and adrenal fatigue
– Muscle loss
– Slower fat burning and weight loss plateaus
– Leptin resistance (50% LESS fat burning hormone production)
Ya, pretty much everything you want to avoid.
And every one of these negatives side effects can be even MORE damaging if you exercise intensely 4 or 5 days of the week.

So even though lowering carbs can be a lethal weapon in your fight against fat, you have to be careful and use low carb diets in “smartest” way possible.

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 20

Looks like I’ve done it AGAIN! Let the days get away from me and BULK POST YOU…sorry :/

Friday I sat through the worst girl’s basketball game I’ve ever seen and then watched the BEST boy’s game EVER! Our guys played these huge monster kids that we had been warned would stomp us in the ground. This team was tooted as the best in our conference. Yet our guys were never more than 3 points behind. The last quarter we were up, down, tied, up, down, tied…with 15 seconds to go we were up by 3 points so we slacked off a full-court press and the other team came down and scored a 3 pointer putting us into overtime. Overtime was just like the 4th quarter up, down, tied and w/ 1 sec left to go we were down by 1 point but then someone gotta a foul, making 1:1 putting us at a 3 point loss but OH MY SOUL it was intense!!!

HOWEVER, after the game we went out w/ several other families…to OLIVE GARDEN and I did not stick to a salad :/ I had chicken & gnonnchi (?) soup, several bites of fettuccine alfredo and a breadstick

Day 20 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Meal Replacement Shake (Chocolate w/ 1/2 frozen banana)
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY “WITH MEAL” PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: 2-3 Boiled eggs and raspberries
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: Chicken/veggie soup
SNACK: Protein smoothie
DINNER: Roasted Salmon, Kale & Cabbage
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must

ROASTED SALMON, KALE & CABBAGE:
1 bunch Tuscan kale, tough stems removed, leaves thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (4 cups)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and pepper
4 skinless salmon fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss kale and cabbage with 2 tablespoons oil and spread in an even layer; season with salt and pepper and bake 6 minutes. Stir. Season salmon and add to baking sheet. Bake until salmon is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together lemon zest and juice, dill, mustard, and remaining 1/4 cup oil. Season. Drizzle salmon and vegetables with dressing before serving.

Today I plan to make almond butter, GF bread and granola. I need to chop onions and garlic. And I’m guessing the kids will keep me on my toes!

I will also be trying my hand at Chocolate Donuts for tomorrow’s breakfast treat :)
1 c gluten-free flour blend (I use ¾ c sprouted brown rice flour + ¼ c tapioca starch)
½ c cocoa powder
1 c apple sauce
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
6-10 drops liquid stevia (to taste)
coconut oil, for frying
Pre-heat aebleskiver pan on medium-high.(I don’t have this pan so will fix these in the oven)
In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder.
In another bowl, combine applesauce, egg, and vanilla.
Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Add stevia, to taste. *Remember, they will be dipped in a sweet glaze.
Turn pan down to medium-low and add ⅛ to ¼ tsp coconut oil to each cavity.
Drop I Tbsp batter into each cavity and let it fry until golden brown and cooked at least ½ way through (the edges should be dry).
Use a butter knife to flip the donut and let it brown on the other side.
Add a bit more coconut oil if you want them really “fried”
Transfer to a plate and top with glaze.
Optional: Sprinkle with shredded coconut or chopped nuts

*Chocolate Glaze
¼ cup coconut cream concentrate
¼ cup cacao powder
⅛ cup raw honey
pinch salt
water, to thin
Instructions
Combine coconut cream concentrate, cacao powder, honey, and salt in a small saucepan and heat on medium-low.
Stir frequently until coconut cream is melted and all ingredients are smooth. Add water, 1 tsp at a time until the glaze is your desired consistency.

If you haven’t already put any thought into it, NOW’S the time to figure out your next step! What will you do after Day 24?? I will continue on the MNS3, Catalyst and Thermoplus w/ my Spark of course. I will continue to keep on the healthiest eating plan that I can muster. AND I will continue trying to increase my exercise smile emoticon I ain’t gonna lie, I fail miserably in that area! AdvoCare has so many wonderful products to help keep (or get) you healthy. They have a whole “Performance” line for those of you who really WORK OUT! If you have any questions about how to take that next step please feel free to contact me or go to http://www.chellespark.com to order your products TODAY!

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 19

Today was another good day :) (I’m expecting the shoe to drop any day now lol) How’d ya like your breakfast for lunch? Weren’t those buns to die for? Mmmm

I see a trend…since I’m “shaking” it for breakfast, I find I’m craving breakfast foods for lunch haha

Tomorrow I will be hitting the road for an away game unsure emoticon :/ (that always messes up my eating/day but I do love a good game)

Day 19 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Meal Replacement Shake (Vanilla w/ frozen mixed berries)
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY “WITH MEAL” PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: Almonds (or almond butter), celery and raisins
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: Sweet crunchy oatmeal
SNACK: KIND bar to the rescue (I’ll be on the road)
DINNER: Salad w/ protein (because it’ll be late come back from the game and salads are typically the safest bet when dining out)
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must

SWEET CRUNCHY OATMEAL:
(per bowl of oatmeal):
Rolled oats
2 dates, pits removed
Sprinkling of pumpkin seeds (or slivered almonds)
Drizzle of maple syrup
Splash of almond milk
Sprinkling of cinnamon
Cook oatmeal as you normally would. Add it to a bowl.
Chop up the dates.
Add a splash of almond milk, a drizzle of maple syrup, the chopped dates, and the pumpkin seeds to your oatmeal. Top with cinnamon. :p

WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO TRY FOR DINNER:
SPICY QUINOA TACO BOWL:
1 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa
1 avocado
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cups black beans
2 cups corn
1/3 cup cilantro
3 green onions
4 small corn tortillas (I use rice worx chips)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cook the quinoa. In a large pot, combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and then allow to sumer until all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Note: it’s important to first rinse quinoa under warm water to remove the bitter coating. This is best done in a fine mesh kitchen strainer.
Meanwhile, prepare the tortilla strips. You *can* just throw chopped corn tortillas into the bowl, but I find them much better after being toasted. To do this, cut 3-4 corn tortillas into small pieces, and toss in a 375º oven for 8-10 minutes until they just turn slightly crispy.
While those things are cooking along nicely, prepare all the fresh ingredients. Dice the avocado. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Slice the green onions. Chop the cilantro. Prepare the corn (frozen works well).
Prepare the lime taco seasoning. Basically, this simple taco sauce will coat the quinoa and boost the flavors of this bowl off the charts. To make, combine the juice of about 2 limes (if you run out of limes, feel free to top off with water) along with the listed spices in small bowl and whisk until incorporated.
Toss everything together. When the quinoa is perfectly fluffy, remove from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and gently drizzle in this lime taco seasoning. Then add all other ingredients (including those tortilla pieces) and toss until evenly mixed.

Here’s some great tips to remember for helping you stick to your HEALTH journey:
#1 Cut out ALL processed foods! Did I say all? I’m sorry, I meant ALL! Ok, so that may not always be feasible but do the best you can and removing them from you diet! ;)
#2 Drink lots of water…oh, you act like maybe you’ve heard that one before :)
#3 Eat often (never go more than 4 hours w/o putting some fuel in your body) and eat slowly
#4 Center your meals around the protein (NOT the carbs)
#5 Add vegetables to every meal, steamed or raw (don’t overcook, you’ll lose too much of the nutritional value)
#6 Fruit and nuts are a great snack! They’re full of fiber and contain less calories than cookies and cakes
#7 COOK as often as possible. Dining out you never know what you might get, all those hidden ingredients in the sauces or dressing alone will add on the weight!
#8 Avoid alcohol
#9 Get adequate sleep

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New Year New You AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge / Max Phase / Day 18

Today actually…maybe I shouldn’t voice it out loud b/c it’s technically not over yet but…went (basically) as planned! That rarely ever happens! I spent ALL morning catching up on emails and returning answers to questions presented at my essential oils class Monday that needed a lil’ follow up attention (though there’s still one biggy I’m working on) ;)

I don’t know about you but I’ve been needing a chocolate fix! I make these delicious homemade “Reese Peanut Butter Cups” from Sugarfreemom.com but there are several steps to it and I wanna try something a lil’ different, a lil’ simplier so keep your eyes open and get ready for a special new treat <3 AND I know it sounds crazy but I have been craving Pumpkin Pancakes so I've decidied for LUNCH tomorrow, that's what I'm whooping up haha so if you're not a breakfast for lunch or dinner type person you may not appreciate what I'm about to share with you :/

Day 18 / Max Phase
Spark + Before breakfast pack (+Catalyst +Thermoplus opt)
BREAKFAST: Meal Replacement Shake (Berry w/ frozen mixed berries)
**I TAKE BOTH OF MY "WITH MEAL" PACKS AT BREAKFAST (But you can split them between two meals or both at either)
SNACK: Egg salad w/ grapes and slivered almond
**30 MINS BEFORE LUNCH CONSUME YOUR LAST PACK
LUNCH: Grain-free pumpkin pancakes and apple slices
SNACK: FSF w/ strawberries
DINNER: Burger on GF bun and homemade potato fries
**IF YOU HAVE OMEGAS LEFT YOU CAN TAKE 2 W/ DINNER but this is not a must
DESSERT: Dark chocolate butter cups

**IF you should happen to find later in the day that you've forgotten a pill pack NO WORRIES, just take it at or before a different meal :) (IF like me you get to the end of your MNS box and there are extra packs that you NEVER took then DON'T WASTE them, TAKE them accordingly )

EGG SALAD:
12 hard-boiled eggs (alter depending on desired ppl to serve)
6-7 pieces of bacon, crumbled
1 medium red onion, chopped into small pieces
1/2-1 “smashed” avocado
Optional: raisin, celery, grapes, sliced almonds (i use grapes and almonds)
Prepare all ingredients- cook the bacon, hard boil the eggs, chop the onion, and make the mayo.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and add the mayo as a binder.
Store in refrigerator, and serve it cold.

GRAIN FREE PUMPKIN PANCAKES:
2 eggs
¼ cup pumpkin puree
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
Coconut oil for the pan
Raw butter, raw honey, maple syrup, or fruit butter for serving
Whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon.
Add about a tablespoon of coconut oil to the hot pan and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.
Use about two scant tablespoons of batter for each pancake. They flip best when the pancakes are small.
Cook until golden on the bottom and slightly opaque in the center and around the edges.
Flip, brown on the other side, and serve.
Makes about 8 small pancakes, for 1 large serving or 2 medium servings.

BURGERS/GF BUN:
1-2 lbs Grass-fed beef (or ground turkey)
Seasonings of choice (I use chopped onion or homemade “lipton onion soup mix”; No-salt seasoning w/ garlic pepper)
I “fry” these in a pan w/ hot coconut oil

GF BUN: (thishouseofjoy.com)
2 cups almond flour
3/4 cups arrowroot flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup yogurt (I use DF)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil)
Directions
(I actually mix everything all in the same bowl)
Step 1
In bowl #1, combine almond flour, arrowroot starch, salt, and baking soda.
Step 2
In bowl #2, whisk together yogurt and eggs.
Step 3
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine, then add the butter and stir again.
Step 4
Scoop the batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets. It should make 6- 4-inch flatbreads. Spread thinner to make personal pizza crusts!
Step 5
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before handling or serving.
Step 6
Use for sandwiches, hamburger buns, or even pizza! These are our favorites and we use them a lot for just “rolls”

POTATO FRIES: Cut up potato, place on a pan of melted coconut oil and sprinkle w/ salt and pepper. Bake 350 approx 30 mins (keep an eye out, some like them “potatoey” but we like them done/crispy.

DARK CHOCOLATE BUTTER CUPS:
7 oz of dark chocolate (85-90%, about 2 bars)
1/2 cup almond butter
Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler on the stove (or in the microwave w/ tbsp coconut oil)
Fill the mini muffin tin halfway with dark chocolate.
Add a spoonful of almond butter.
Top remainder of muffin tins with chocolate.
Freeze for at least 15-20 minutes.

Do you know HOW to achieve your goals? I’ve told you before PREPARATION is a major key to your success! Goal-setting is about making your dreams real. Know what you want, make a plan to accumulate smaller habits and skills that will get you there, have a plan in case they don’t, put yourself out there, and get started right away.
1. Know what you want!
2. Failing to plan is planning to fail!
3. Focus on the process. There are so many things in our lives that are out of our control, but we can practice and improve behaviors necessary to achieve any goal. By focusing on the process, we make achieving possible!
4. Put yourself out there. It’s hard to get better by yourself, so whatever your goal, you need to practice it not just in your comfort zone but by telling a friend (again w/ the accountability)
5. Start Today! What can you do today to get one step closer to that goal? Once you’ve started off in the right direction, go for the next mini-goal and eventually you’ll realize you’re nearing the finish line and the prize is in sight!

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