Feature|Founder Of N’Joy Eats & Prep Transformed Her Life Through Diet & Exercise

One super dope aspect of my wellness journey is that I’ve crossed paths with some pretty amazing women of every shade, age and faith. From the elderly women who faithfully attend their Silver Sneakers class at my gym every morning to the fit IG beauties that share their stories with the world. One of my favorite IG inspirations is Indiana based Chef Shay of N’Joy Eats & Prep. Her transformation is bomb and she inspires others to lead a healthy lifestyle through her exercise, meal prep and nutrition expertise.

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Chef Shay of N’Joy Eats & Prep

Ok, so it was so hard for me to choose the best photos because everything looks so good. These are just a few examples of Shay’s meal prep. Nutrition is so extremely important for us all but ESPECIALLY for those of us whose goal it is to lose weight. You know how the saying goes: You cannot outwork a bad diet. Like…it will never happen. You have to swap out the bad foods with better ones. You have to lower your caloric intake. If you need more proof than what I am telling you, please keep scrolling to Shay’s story below…

“When I saw the picture I not only saw the weight loss but I saw the pain and unhappiness I had been carrying for years. I had finally tapped into my JOY and I was never looking back.” – Chef Shay

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“Hi you can call me Chef Shay .I am 26 years old straight from Jersey. I’m very excited about working with Junk Fit! I am a certified nutritional advisor and chef. I began my healthy journey after dealing with some challenges in my life that rocked at my self image and happiness. I am now down 6 dress sizes, able to hold my head high, and live life the way I want to. Once I set a plan for myself and took an active role in my life; my goals began to manifest. Cooking healthy meals is fun and rewarding because I never see it as a diet. I love teaching clients and their families how to incorporate healthy eating to their lifestyles. I believe Junk Fit encompasses all that I practice and teach in my daily life. It is a platform to uplift our community by providing them with the tools and skills that will upgrade their wellness. Staying in shape is an added bonus to the lifestyle. I’ve also just recently obtained my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mental wellness definitely plays a significant role in how we treat our bodies. Exercising and eating clean can definitely benefit our cognitive perception of ourselves. I am so honored to be a part of an organization such as JUNK FIT that makes all that we teach engaging and fun!

Challenges: The first challenge was identifying why I wanted to lose weight. At first it was because I didn’t find myself pretty enough. I hated taking pictures, I hated trying on clothes, I hated my stomach etc. I thought I would be prettier and more confident if I just lost 10 lbs. I had to fall in love with myself first. I had to build on my confidence and not look for validation from other’s. I had to explore why I had chosen food as a comfort to begin with. I had chosen bad food as a comfort, because there were voids in my life .Grief and an unhealthy long term relationship were the little demons I had to address. Once I began addressing and fixing those issues, I naturally began improving. I wasn’t weighing myself anymore. All I wanted to do was be active because I love the thrill of competing and challenging my body. People gave me compliments as the weight fell off and it surprised me until I took a picture of myself. When I saw the picture I not only saw the weight loss but I saw the pain and unhappiness I had been carrying for years. I had finally tapped into my JOY and I was never looking back.

Advice: Stop investing in spanx, pills and control tops and get yourself in the gym and in the kitchen. Stop making excuses about your weight, no one cares .Being in shape is not about vanity or attention. It is about upgrading and sustaining your life, so that you can enjoy life and the experiences. No Fad Diets just start letting go of foods that do more harm than good. Much Success!”

You can keep up with Chef Shay’s inspirational journey on Facebook, Instagram and via njoyeatsandprep.com.

xo,

Jazz

Maximize Your Smoothie’s Nutritional Impact By Including All 3 Macros

As some of you may know, I’m a nutrition educator in addition to being a personal trainer. I teach at a pretty large non-profit in Harlem, NYC. My students are always asking for good smoothie recipes and such. Most of the time I oblige and tell them what flavors taste well, what veggies I find that add a little kick to a smoothie but it got me thinking about all those times I’d made smoothies without giving any thought to its potential nutritional impact. A smoothie can just be a quick jolt of sugar and vitamins or we can make it into a meal by including all three macronutrients in the mix. This is especially important for people who intend to use smoothies as a meal replacement. You have to make sure that your body is still getting the nutrients it needs.

First, let’s take a look at the word macro+nutrient. The ‘macro’ part means big. The ‘nutrient’ is a food or other substance that provides energy or building material for survival. There are three macro-nutrient groups:

Carbohydrates 225-325 grams per day (largest group)

Protein 46-56 grams per day

Fat 44-78 grams per day

Today I challenged my students to create their own smoothie recipe using ingredients I provided that encompassed all three macro groups. They could choose two carbs, a protein source and a fat source. It was interesting to research this topic for which ingredients would accommodate each category and to see how students would react to my curve ball ingredients (insert evil teacher laugh). Here’s what they had to choose from:

Carbohydrates: Apples, bananas, strawberries, pears, whole oats

Protein: Greek yogurt, silken tofu and peanut butter

Fat: Avocado and flaxseed

Of course these ingredients aren’t made up completely of any one macronutrient but they each provide a large amount of nutritional value in their respective categories. The recipes my students came up with were quite interesting to say the very least. They could choose from almond milk and pineapple juice to blend their ingredients. Have you ever tasted pineapples and peanut butter? It was a struggle! It was, however, great to watch them work to balance their smoothies, picking up certain ingredients, contemplating and opting for another. I was very satisfied with their excitement during this lesson.

Enough about them, though! Do you balance your smoothies? Do you drink smoothies as a meal replacement or just a quick way to get your fruit and veggies for the day? Got any super tasty, balanced smoothie recipes? Do share! My favorite is spinach, banana, oats, flax seed, pear, peanut butter, honey and almond milk. Please don’t knock it ’til you try it!

xo,

Jazz

Healthy Indulgence: Buffalo Chicken Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

I’ve been craving pasta a LOT lately. Earlier this week I made some spaghetti alfredo with chicken. Twas delicious. Lol. Today, I was in the mood for something with some kick sooooo, I turned it into a buffalo chicken bake. I picked out some of my favorite veggies and added them to the mix as well. I’m gonna get to the recipe but first things first, let’s talk about whole wheat vs white pasta.

Whole wheat pasta is far more nutritious than traditional white pasta because it still has the fiber and nutrients that are stripped during the processing of white pasta. White pasta loses almost 60% of it’s grain through processing. Additionally, pasta is categorized as a carbohydrate. Carbs are the largest macronutrient making up the majority of our recommended diet (225-325 g/day) and should be chosen wisely. Because there are so many bad carbs out there, it is important that we know and seek out the ones that are best for us! Studies have shown that 3 servings of whole grain per day can reduce the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal, flaxseed, brown rice and couscous are just a few examples you can choose from. White bread, cookies, cakes, candy and sugary drinks are all refined carbohydrates and are doing a lot more damage than you know. Our bodies aren’t meant to process these, yet ninety-five percent of the carbs Americans consume are refined. No wonder we have all these health issues! Do yourself a favor and cook the last of that white pasta (I don’t believe in wasting food) and vow to buy whole wheat pasta forever. While you’re at it, replace your processed peaches and cream oatmeal packages with some whole rolled oats and a fresh peach. Its just the right thing to do. Lol. Now, on to the recipe!

Ingredients:
1 red pepper sliced
¼ yellow onion diced
2 cups broccoli chopped
½ habanero pepper minced (really hot)
1 ½ cup alfredo sauce (your choice)
1-2 chicken cutlets, season with seasoning salt, pepper, paprika, sage, thyme, dried chili peppers
2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ package of McCormick’s buffalo chicken seasoning
1 egg
Olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2. Boil your noodles, drain and set aside
3. Begin sautéing your chicken cutlets in olive oil over medium heat

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4. While your chicken is cooking, lightly sauté your vegetables (don’t overcook them because they’ll cook in the oven plus you want them to keep their color)

Veggies_junkfit5. Remove your chicken from the pan and shred
6. Over low heat, mix your alfredo sauce, cheese, buffalo chicken seasoning and egg
7. In a large mixing bowl, combine your noodles, chicken, veggies and sauce
8. Place mixture into an oiled casserole dish (I used a 9 x 9 about 2 ½ inches deep) and sprinkle extra cheddar cheese on top
9. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until it’s top layer is golden
10. Remove and cool for 5-10 minutes
11. Enjoy

Buffalo_Chicken_Whole Wheat_Pasta_Bake_JUNKFITTry this recipe if you enjoy spicy foods. Between the habanero pepper and the chili peppers, your mouth with be tingling. You can add or subtract any of the veggies I used.

xo,

Jazz

Healthy Eats: Sweet Potato, Zucchini & Plantain Latkes

Often referred to as the potato pancake, the latke is a staple in New York originality. It takes the backseat to pizza, pretzels and hot dogs but it really is a delicious novelty. The latke is hard to come by outside of Hanukkah season, but if you have a Jewish friend, you might get your hands on one or you can just try this recipe at home! I remixed it with the zucchini and plantain. It was a good remix though! Lol.

You’ll need:

Minced rosemary about 1/4 cup
1 large sweet potato – peeled and grated
1 half zucchini – peeled and grated
1 half plantain – peeled and grated
2 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Lightly beat eggs, salt and pepper and whatever added seasoning you have a taste for
2. Mix with remaining ingredients in a large bowl
3. Heat ¼ inch olive oil in large pan
4. Add palm sized amounts of mixture to oil and press flat like a pancake
5. Add as many that can fit in the pan with room to flip
6. Cook on both sides for 3 minutes
7. Remove and place on paper towel to drain excess oil
Done and done!
So obviously I felt free to remix my latkes with some added ingredients. You can try adding different veggies to your recipe. Many people top their latkes with apple sauce or sour cream. Sounds weird but its actually good. Try it!

xo,

-Jazz

Healthy Eats: Rosemary Parmesan Baked French Fries [Recipe]

Nom, nom. Y’all are gonna thank me for this so you’re welcome in advance! Lol. My coworker is the talented Chef Sita. She leads our Recipe Remix workshop where she teaches our students healthier versions of popular unhealthy meals. Typically the french fry is deep fried in death oil and battered in high blood pressure. Not these ones. They were so flavorful and buttery but we only used olive oil! Here’s the recipe:

Fries

4 unpeeled russet potatoes

1/4 cup of freshly chopped rosemary

1/4 cup freshly chopped scallions

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup of olive oil

Spray Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

fries

Sauce

1 cup of sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoon horseradish

1/4 cup freshly minced dill

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Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 450°

2. Dice up your potatoes into fries. Try to make them all uniform pieces. Mix your uncooked fries, rosemary, olive oil, parmesan and sea salt in a big bowl. Make sure the ingredients are evenly spread over all the fries.

3. Place your fries on a non-stick baking sheet in a single layer. Do not place fries on top of each other.

4. Bake for 15 minutes then flip and cook for another 15.

5. While your fries are cooking, mix the sour cream, horse radish and dill in a bowl and set aside.

6.Remove fries and spray a single coating of olive oil over the hot batch and then sprinkle lightly with more parmesan cheese. Return fries to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes.

7. Remove fries and sprinkle your scallions over top. Done!

Prep time is roughly 15 and cook time is only 40. In an hour, you have yourself a fresh, healthy and tasty side of fries with sauce!

xo,

Jazz