4 Tips To Improve Digestion And Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s 6pm after Thanksgiving dinner…how do you feel?

Stuffed? Bloated? Uncomfortable? Sick?

It’s all too common to eat too much, too quickly on this much anticipated meal. The result is that infamous Thanksgiving “food coma” that we all blame on the rich food.

But is it really the food itself, or is it how we eat it?

So much of how we feel after a meal has to do with what happens after we eat.

With these tips,  you’ll be able to walk away from Thanksgiving dinner feeling comfortable and satisfied.

Here are Molly’s 4 top tips to improve your digestion to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip #1: Chew Your Food. We know this sounds silly as you’re probably thinking “well, of course I chew my food”. But we mean REALLY chew your food. Ideally, your food should be almost liquid before swallowing.

Why it works: The first step of digestion is in your mouth. Not only do you physically break down your food by chewing, but the digestive enzymes in your saliva begin to chemically break down carbohydrates and proteins. The more you chew, the more you mix these enzymes with your food and kick start the digestive process.

Tip #2: Put your fork down between bites. Similar to tip #1, the idea is to slow down. While we all know that slowing down to eat is a good habit, it can be hard to put into practice (especially when we’re hungry or it’s a special meal like Thanksgiving) Getting into the habit of putting down your fork in between bites and allowing yourself to chew and swallow before picking up the fork again will help you eat slower and more mindfully.

Why it works: According the psychology of eating, slower eating means a faster metabolism. When we eat too fast, the body isn’t able to fire up digestion, absorb nutrients or correctly moderate hunger hormones to signal fullness.

Tip #3: Start with something sour or bitter. If there is any food that is naturally sour or bitter (think citrus vinaigrette, bitter greens like arugula or vegetable stalks) eat those first. Alternatively, you can create the same effect by taking 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar before eating.

Why it works: The human digestive system is triggered by sour and bitter flavors. This is because we evolved eating the bitter flavors found in nature, such as greens, barks and herbs. However, the standard palette of sweet and salty can leave the digestive system behind. Jump starting your digestive enzymes (from the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder) to help increase the effectiveness and comfort of your digestion.

Tip #4: Move a little. While you don’t want to go for a run or even a walk right after eating, a leisurely walk 30-60 minutes after a big meal has been shown to improve digestion.

Why it Works: When we eat, our blood sugar increases. This spike in blood sugar is taxing on the body’s systems. In other words, the body doesn’t like high blood sugar and has to work hard to bring it back down. One way to help use the excess blood sugars is by moving. This will allow the body to spend it’s energy on other tasks, like digesting your food.

Pick one or more of these tips to practice at your Thanksgiving table and see how much it improves your digestion during and after your meal.  Which one will you be trying? We’d love to hear! Share by making a comment in the section below.

Guide To Sweeteners

Remember when agave syrup was all the rage? Today, you might be hearing more and more about coconut sugar.

But are these alternatives really healthy choices?

It can be confusing.

Especially when it comes to baking and cooking at home.

So whether you’re baking a dish for a potluck or your favorite holiday recipe, we’ve listed the pro’s and con’s of common sweeteners. From sweeteners to avoid to the more nutritional choices, we’ll show you how to substitute each of these alternatives in your go-to recipes.

Reduce List: Sucrose / high fructose sweeteners
Refined white sugar: Conventional table sugar, or sucrose, is derived from sugarcane or sugar beet and processed through heat, chemical purification, and bleaching. This type of sugar is highly processed, high glycemic and no nutrients.

Brown sugar: White sugar plus molasses. (We know! We were shocked too.)

Organic sugar: The same as table sugar, but derived from non-GMO beets or sugarcane. While avoiding GMO’s is a plus, organic sugar is nutritionally the same as table sugar.

Agave syrup: Despite it’s claims as healthy alternative to sweeteners due to it’s low glycemic index, agave is on our avoid list. It’s a refined and processed syrup made from cactus with a molecular structure similar to high fructose corn syrup (90% fructose). Cheaper brands and quality may even contain high fructose corn syrup.

Better list: Low / no fructose
Coconut (Palm) sugar: Low on the glycemic index, minimally processed and still contains some nutrients. However, still high in fructose (up to 50%). This is the easiest alternative to white sugar as it doesn’t change the recipes.
-Use  1:1 in recipes that call for regular sugar.

Brown rice syrup: Made by breaking down and cooking rice until it becomes syrup leaving complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose. This makes brown rice syrup popular a low/no fructose option. Although it can be hard to find good quality brands.
-Use 1-1 1/4 cups in place of sugar in recipes and reduce liquid by 1/4 cup.

Honey: Therapeutically used for allergies, honey contains many healing minerals and qualities. Quality is the factor that determines if this sweetener is “healthy” or not. Pure, raw and organic darker honeys have great antioxidant content. Good to sweeten beverages and drizzle onto snacks. But when using for baking, can lose most of it’s nutrients. However, honey is still high fructose at 40%.
-Use 1/2 the amount of honey to sugar in recipes, add 1/2 tsp of baking soda per cup of honey and reduce baking temperature by 25 degrees F.

Maple Syrup: Like honey, this sweetener is high fructose (40%) but it can be argued that it contains a good amount of some vitamins and minerals. Grade B and C contain more nutrients than the more processed and cheaper Grade A. Unless it’s labeled “pure” it may be mixed with corn syrup or other sweeteners. Maple syrup is a good sweetener choice for baking and heating.
– Use 1/2 to 2/3 cups maple syrup for each cup of sugar and reduce liquid by 1/4 cup.

Stevia: Derived from the stevia plant, stevia powder has low/no effect on blood sugar and also no calories making it a good option for those watching their glycemic index or caloric intake. However, like honey, quality is what determines the health factor. Look for pure and organic. Stevia has a distinct taste and is hard to use in baked goods since it’s  300x sweeter than sugar. However, it can be a good tool for those transitioning off of sugar and sweets.
– 1 tsp of finely ground stevia is about equal to 1 cup of sugar. However, stevia isn’t recommended to be subbed for sugar in recipes that don’t call for stevia as the sweetener already.

Best Choice List: Sweet Whole Foods
Bananas /Dates / Fruit: There are many recipes for cookies, brownies, and cakes  that use unrefined whole foods as the main sweetener. While bananas and dates are high in fructose they contain the fiber that slows down the glycemic response, unlike the above condensed sweeteners. They also contain enough nutrients to support their metabolism. Berries are the lowest fructose fruit.

Spices: Sweet spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves can help give the illusion of sweet. Try adding cinnamon to coffee or tea instead of sugars.

Coconut: Coconut has a naturally sweet and nutty taste that can help satisfy a sweet tooth. Try using shredded coconut on top of oatmeal or using coconut oil saute banana slices for a caramelized treat.

Save this guide for the next time you’ll be baking your favorite cookie or dessert. Or even better, try bringing a no sugar option like a berry crisp or fruit salad to your next potluck or party.

Mason Jar Burrito Bowls


Our last blog post talked all about tips on how to stay healthy despite a busy schedule.

One of the main tools we discussed was setting aside a couple hours on the weekends to prep some healthy meals for the upcoming week.

Today, we want to share a recipe to help get you inspired: Mason Jar Burrito Bowls.

Mason jar salads are the easiest ways to prepare lot’s of food in a quick amount of time. The airtight seal keeps all the ingredients fresh, so that you can make enough to last the whole week.

With these burrito inspired, flavorful and hearty salads, you’ll never have an excuse for take-out lunch again.

Salad Ingredients
Chopped bell pepper
Cooked and cooled quinoa or riced cauliflower
Baked, cooled and cut sweet potato
Baked, cooled and cut organic chicken breast or black beans
Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced avocado
Chopped romaine lettuce

Dressing Ingredients
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp maple syrup
juice of 1 lime
pinch salt

Equipment Needed
4-5 large, wide mouth mason jars


  1. Prep ingredients and dressing
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of dressing to the bottom of the jar
  3. Then layer in ingredients in the order listed above, starting with crunchy vegetables, followed by grains and proteins, then soft vegetables and lettuce on top
  4. Seal with lid and store in fridge for up to 1 week

Feel free to substitute different vegetables, proteins or greens. You could also take a look at some of these ideas for other flavor combinations.

These salads are also perfect to pack for work, school lunches or travel days.

Make 5-6 with your favorite ingredients and flavors and you’ll be set for a week of healthy, satisfying lunches.

(Photo + Recipe Credit: Momo Wellness)

How To Stay Healthy With A Busy Schedule

School’s back in full swing, the holiday season is looming, and the leisure of summer is long gone. This time of year can be one of the busiest as we all  adjust to new schedules.

Isn’t it true that one of the most common comments we hear in our day-to-day is “I’m just so busy right now“? Whether it’s to a fellow bootcamper after missing a class, a close friend or an acquaintance we run into in the grocery store, we all say it.

A full work schedule, kids, social lives….it all takes time. So where does healthy eating fit in when it feels like there aren’t enough minutes in the day to sit down, let alone eat a healthy meal?

You already know that signing up for bootcamp and scheduling those classes is the best way to fit your workouts in. So we’d like to give you some tools to help you manage a healthy diet with your busy schedule:

1. Meal Plan: When you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, taking 20 minutes to plan your dinners for the week will be the best investment of your time.  If it’s 6pm and you don’t know what you’re having for dinner yet, chances are you’ll choose a meal based on convenience. Not always the healthiest choice, right? Meal planning takes all the stress out of “what’s for dinner tonight?” and avoids the guilt you’d feel after inhaling a big bowl of cheesy pasta just because it was quick to make. To get you started, you can download Trainer Molly Molofsky’s meal planning template and guide here.

2. Cook Once, Eat Twice: As much as a big dinner salad is a healthy choice, it’s hard to pack for leftovers the next day. Instead, choose dinner options that will make good leftovers. Soups, chili’s, roast chicken, ect. are all good choices. If you’re cooking for a family, you can double recipes or amounts and use leftovers for lunches. If you’re cooking for one or two, you can pack the leftovers for lunch or eat the same meal two days in a row.

3. Forget Recipes: Instead of spending an hour in the kitchen cooking an elaborate meal, stock your fridge and pantry with easy to assemble proteins, vegetables and sides. Then, create meals from what’s already ready to-go. For example a lunch of sliced turkey, avocado lettuce wraps or a dinner assembled from chopped tofu or tempeh with sauteed vegetables.

4. Meal Prep Days: Taking 2-3 hours during the weekend (or another evening when you have more time) to batch cook a couple recipes and/or sides is one of the only ways to manage a busy schedule without buying all your food out. Here’s some ideas for a meal prep day:

  • 1-2 proteins (roast chicken breast, sauteed ground meat, hard boil eggs,  baked tofu)
  • 1 whole grain like rice or quinoa
  • Batch of baked sweet potatoes
  • Wash and prep greens
  • Chop vegetables and fruit for snacks and pack into single servings

5. Crock Pot: Dust off that crockpot that’s gathering dust in the bottom shelf. It’s a secret weapon when it comes to preparing healthy meals on a tight schedule. Coming home to a ready-to-go warm dinner? Yes, please!

6. Go-To Snacks: Sometimes we all have days where just getting food on the plate or even remembering to eat can be a challenge. Make it a rule to keep your home stocked with healthy snacks so that if all else fails, at least you have something to grab quickly. Fresh fruit and a handful of nuts or veggies and hummus are quick options. Check out Thrive Market to stock up on healthy packaged snacks like veggie chips, jerky and trail mix.

7. H.I.I.T: When it comes to nutrition and fitness, doing something is better than doing nothing. If you miss your workouts because your schedule gets busy, remember that even a 10 minute workout still counts.

Bottom line: Just like scheduling those BCSF workouts into your week, schedule time to grocery shop, prep and set yourself up for success – you won’t regret it.

What are your favorite ways to stay on track during busy times? What are your go-to meals for busy nights?

12 Healthy Ideas For Breakfast

With school back in session and those lazy summer mornings coming to an end, we want to give you our best ideas for easy and quick breakfasts.

Breakfast can be the hardest meal to make healthy choices as we’re usually looking for something quick and easy. Here are 12 creative ideas to get you inspired to try something a little different.

We made sure each of these breakfasts are:

  • Balanced in macronutrients (containing protein, fat and carbohydrates)
  • Whole foods based (no processed ingredients or packaged foods)
  • Quick and simple for busy weekday mornings

1. Mini Green Frittatas . (Make ahead, perfect for busy weeks)

2. Savory Oatmeal. (For mornings when you want a savory meal)

3. Protein Smoothie. (Here’s how to make a macronutrient balanced smoothie.)

4. Chia Seed Pudding. (Quick, simple, nutritious)

5. Almond Butter + Quick Chia Jam  + Ezekiel Bread Toast. (Think PB&J with a healthy twist for adults)

6. Baked Eggs in Avocado. (Low carbohydrate, filling and easy)

7. Sausage + Vegetable Hash. (For when you’re burnt out on eggs)

8. Shakshuka .(For when the pantry is bare)

9. Banana Oat Blender Pancakes. (Pancakes without the clean up mess!)

10. Smoked Salmon + Avocado + Ezekiel Bread Toast. ( Quick, balanced and high in Omega 3 fatty acids)

11. Breakfast Salad (a healthy, travel friendly breakfast)

12. Leftover Soup (While some dinner leftovers aren’t usually appealing in the morning, try a simple chicken or lentil soup for dinner and have the leftovers for breakfast!)

What are your favorite weekday morning breakfast? What do you do to prepare healthy meals for busy mornings? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments below, we’d love to hear!

3 Things Your Fitness Tracker Is Missing

Do you track your food intake with an app like myfitnesspal or loseit?
Do you have a wearable tracker like a fitbit or jawbone that tracks your fitness for you?

If you said no to all of the above and you’ve never tried tracking your activity and food, we suggest giving it a whirl.

Why? Because, it can be one of the best ways to educate yourself on what you’re putting into your body.

However, it’s important to remember to take these tools are just that. Tools to help us get more in tune with our bodies so we can make healthier decisions.

But you’re not alone if you’ve been using an app like myfitnesspal for weight loss and are left scratching your head as to why the numbers and what you see in the mirror don’t match up.

These trackers are missing a couple factors that can leave a huge gap between what they calculate and what’s actually happening.

So before you start taking those “you’ll weigh x amount in x days” alerts too seriously, take a minute to consider these weight loss factors:

1. Quality and timing of food: According to food trackers, you could get 100% of your calories from fast food restaurants and as long as you used more calories than you consumed, you’d be on track for weight loss. This is a major fault in the belief that counting calories is the only way to lose weight. From a nutritional perspective, this type of thinking can lead to eating too many low calorie, low nutrient foods (popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, diet sodas ect.) As a nutrition counselor, I know that eating more nutrient dense foods (yes, even if they are higher calorie) can be the better choice for supporting metabolism and long term weight loss. Also, timing of food intake isn’t taken into account. Are you eating 3 square meals a day or are you starving yourself during the day and eating 80% of your food right before bed? You can see how these reports could quickly get very misleading. Remember to pay attention to what you eat and when and to listen to your body before you consider to your “stats”.

2. Intensity of exercise: Intensity of exercise matters. Sprinting up a set of stairs is going to have a very different effect on your metabolism than going for a walk or lifting weights. Most trackers only take into account total calorie burn, not the metabolic effect. Remember that most of these programs are estimates and take them as such.

3. Overall health and happiness: There are so many other factors that can affect health. Sleep, stress levels, hormones and nutrient deficiencies can all have an effect on weight loss. Remember that these programs and platforms aren’t made for you, they’re made for the masses. If you need or want specialized recommendations, it’s important to speak with a trainer, nutritionist or doctor.

So should we use these trackers?
Are you using this technology to help educate yourself and make better choices? If yes, then keep it up! Like I said, these tools can be a great way to learn about our bodies and our habits. With that said, if it’s making you feel stressed or overwhelmed, then it’s not the tool for you right now. Try journaling about your food choices, creating a simple weekly meal plan or find another way to get in tune with your food and fitness.

At the end of the day, put down the phone, the app, the stats and remember only you can make the best decisions for your health.

How To Eat Healthy When Eating Out

We live in one of the best cities….

from our stunning views and parks that make for amazing workouts to …

… our food!  

In fact, San Francisco has officially been called “obsessed” with food.

Unfortunately, eating at food trucks, restaurants and cafes all the time can take a toll on our waistline, fitness goals and general health.

We’ve all been there: restaurant overkill. Maybe you have family or friends visiting and want to show them of your favorite restaurants. Or it’s a busy week at work, so you lean on your comfort takeout a little too much. It doesn’t take long to start to feel the effects.

So what’s a San Francisco foodie to do?

Here’s how to enjoy our city’s’ culinary scene and keep yourself feeling healthy:

Eat takeout and restaurant food in moderation. Make a goal to reduce the number of meals you eat out on a weekly basis. For example, if you often buy lunch out, try to save restaurants for the weekends only. Or if you always pick up breakfast at the cafe, try a 5 day challenge of home-made breakfasts. If you’re looking for easy ideas to cook, try this or this for breakfast or this for dinner.   

At BootCampSF, we don’t do short term diets or harsh restrictions. It really is about what you eat most of the time. So if you can truly minimize your indulgent meals to 1-2 times per week, then you can fully enjoy that Friday Delfina Pizzeria date or Sunday Aziza brunch. 

However, if you’re finding yourself traveling or work or social engagements require you to make dining out more than an occasional treat, here are some tips on how to make the best of it:

1. Start with something green. Ok, this might be old news, but we could all use the reminder. Starting with the salad or vegetable appetizer is always a good idea.

2. Order the simplest dish.  It can be hard to tell what the best choice is…the chicken or the fish dish? Here’s how to choose: pick the dish with the least amount of added ingredients. Anything that’s a protein and couple sides will be a better choice than the chicken or pasta in a 10 ingredient sauce. 

3. Pick your battles: booze vs. dessert. Alcohol and desserts are the two quickest ways to pack on the extra sugar and calories. If you think you’re going to order that second glass of wine, skip the dessert. Or if that chocolate pot de creme is calling your name, share it with a friend and skip the second drink.

Try these three, simple tips next time you’re dining out to help you feel healthy and enjoy your meal.

In the meantime, we challenge you to set a goal to reduce the number of meals you eat out. Set a goal, write it down and hold yourself accountable by telling us in the comments below!

Kale Corn Salad: 2 Ways

I’d like to introduce you to the perfect summer salad.

Really, it’s perfect.

I made this salad 1 year ago for a potluck and my friends are STILL asking me about it.

Great for potlucks, as a side dish to your BBQ, or on top of tacos, this dish also makes great leftovers (perfect for adding eggs to in the morning!)

Originally this recipe (adapted from the Healthy Happy Vegan Cookbook author) is dressed with the sweet miso dressing which compliments the crunchy salad perfectly.  (If you’ve never had miso, it’s a paste made from fermented soybeans. And if you’re thinking “ewwww”,  it’s a traditional Japanese seasoning with a tangy, salty taste and tons of flavor. It’s also quite nutritious!)

However, since not everyone has miso hanging around their fridge, the second way to serve this salad is with the garlicky lemon dressing. Also, a delicious compliment to the sweet corn and vegetables.

Nutritionist’s tip: Bring a salad to the party. Summers are full of parties, BBQ’s and lot’s of social engagements. This means lot’s of eating! If you bring a salad or vegetable as your contribution to the party, you’ll always have a tasty and healthy option to fill your plate. 

Recipe modified from: Healthy Happy Life

Salad Ingredients
2 ears of summer corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob
4-6 cups kale, washed and finely chopped (remove thick stems)
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 small white or sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red cabbage

Sweet Miso Dressing
2 Tbs white or yellow miso paste
1 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs Soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari
4 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs rice vinegar
Black pepper

Garlicky Lemon Dressing
4 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Prep veggies
2. Mix in a large bowl
3. Whisk all dressing ingredients
4 Stir dressing into salad and let sit in refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving.

If you prefer cooked corn to raw, then boil corn before shucking. However, most sweet corn is delicious as is!

A Sweet Treat: Healthy Blondies

Healthy and blondies in the same sentence?!

We know, it’s a little crazy.

But before you hit that back button, give us a second. Here at BootCampSF we believe a little indulgence is part of a healthy lifestyle. We also believe that not all sweets and treats can (or should!) be healthified. But this recipe for blondies is so good, you’ll never miss the sugar and flour laden version.

No one will ever guess that chickpeas are the secret ingredient that give these a chewy, fudge-like texture that is higher in fiber and protein than any traditional recipe.

Sweets are eaten after dinner, closer to bedtime. But eating high sugar (a.k.a high glycemic) foods right before we hit the hay can spike our blood sugar, leaving us tossing and turning throughout the night. Swapping high glycemic foods for higher protein and fiber snacks and treats is a great way to maintain blood sugars during the night for a better nights sleep and improved energy the next day.

This recipe is the perfect treat to whip up during your bootcamp sessions when you want something sweet but are trying to keep your diet on track.

Flourless Chickpea Blondies
(recipe via The Ambitious Kitchen)
Makes 16 blondies

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (no sugar added) almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chocolate chips
sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees  and spray 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray (we suggest Trader Joes coconut oil in the spray bottle)
  2. In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.
  3. Pour batter in pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.
  4. Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt then cut and serve.


Revealed: What Your Trainer Eats

You might think your BootCampSF trainer eats, sleeps and breathes burpees. And as much as we do #eathillsforbreakfast…we do actually eat. And no it’s not burpees.

So we asked around to see what our trainers are eating for breakfast and post workout.

Turns out, these trainers are one healthy bunch. Check out what they choose to fuel their day and workouts:

Favorite go-to breakfast:  Egg white veggie scramble with a slice of whole wheat toast.  I love that the scramble is easy to make and I get my day started right with veggies.

Favorite pre or post workout snack:  Protein shake because it helps my body repair after an intense workout. Or a handful of almonds since they help keep me full without being too heavy before a workout.

Favorite go-to breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter, banana and jelly plus an all-greens smoothie. Fills me up for a long morning of personal training and still gives me the energy to workout.

Favorite pre or post workout meal: Vegan tuna mayonnaise with baked potato and a huge salad with teriyaki dressing.

Favorite go-to breakfast: Oatmeal with berries and banana. Simple and quick.

Favorite pre or post workout snack: Toast with peanut butter makes the perfect snack after a workout.

Favorite go-to breakfast: Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries, sprinkled with chia seeds. Good source of protein from the yogurt and amazing benefits from chia seeds to start my day.

Favorite pre or post workout snack: Small handful of almonds. The protein and good fats give me an energy boost.

Favorite go-to breakfast: Oatmeal! It’s heavy enough but light enough at the same time and gives me an easy breakfast option to incorporate fruits and grains together, leaving me with a satisfied stomach.

Favorite pre or post workout snack: I prefer to workout on an empty stomach and save my hunger for after the workout. My favorite post workout meal has to be any vegetable, rice, and meat combo. Its a very replenishing meal after a strenuous workout that digests easily and tastes great.

Favorite go-to breakfast: A protein smoothie with berries, leafy greens, kefir and a whey or pea protein and a hard boiled egg. I make my smoothies the night before and always keep hard boiled eggs on hand so I can have breakfast on-the-go!

Favorite pre or post workout snack: Green vegetable juice, fresh fruit + pumpkin seeds or a rice cake with almond butter. It’s always something small and light, there is nothing worse than feeling full during workout.