3 Day Refresh: What’s all the fuss about?

2017 is officially here, and I, like many of you am coming out of the holiday eating haze.

While I DID manage to keep the holiday weight gain at bay (yep… this girl did NOT gain the holiday 10!), I nonetheless did not keep my nutrition in check and indulged a bit too much in an endless buffet of cookies, candy, and #allthecarbs.

While I am all geared up and ready to ROCK my next program (22 Minute Hard Corps!) with my private online accountability group (want more info? shoot me an email: thehappyhealthmama@gmail.com), I felt like I needed a bit more to really jump start my health, kick the sugar cravings, and help “reset”.  Enter the 3 Day Refresh.

What is the 3 Day Refresh exactly? Well here’s what is NOT

It’s not a juice fast.

It’s not a crash diet where you don’t eat.

And it’s NOT filled with dangerous chemicals or pills.

What is actually is, is a plant based cleanse, scientifically designed to improve your metabolism while nourishing your vital organs. Maybe you need a break from your unhealthy eating habits. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds quickly for an event (although I recommend CONTINUING that progress by following up with lifestyle changes!), or maybe you simply want to jump start your success before starting something new. I highly recommend this program!

I did this last summer back in June 2016. I lost 4lbs and felt AMAZING. I’ll be honest… I was hesitant. I thought I’d be hangry the whole time. But honestly, the biggest problem I encountered… I had to pee. A lot.

So I KNEW I wanted to return to this little 3 day gem to cut the bloat and kick the sugar monster in 2017.

So Jess… what do you actually EAT?

Well friends, here’s the general outline for the daily meals: 

  • Wake up and drink 8-10 oz of water (I actually start my days with 25 oz so this was no problem!)
  • Breakfast: Shakeology (included!) with a serving of fruit. Today I chose blueberries <3
  • Morning Tea: I chose green tea, since it has some caffeine! While you CAN have coffee, it’s recommended to switch to tea for the 3 days.
  • Fiber Sweep: NO…this will NOT make you run to the bathroom (trust me, I was terrified!). Super gentle 🙂


  • Lunch: Vanilla Fresh shake (a high-protein meal replacement shake), 1 veggie serving, 1 fruit serving, and 1 health fat serving.
  • Afternoon Tea
  • Afternoon Snack: 1 veggie serving and 1 healthy fat. I LOVE me some cucumbers and hummus!
  • Dinner: You have the choice of a few different options. All are veggie based and all super easy to make! Tonight I made coconut veggie soup!
  • After Dinner Tea.

As you can see, you’re either eating or drinking quite often (hence the bathroom trips!) so you really don’t feel too deprived or hunger pangs (although the leftover Christmas chocolates are staring me down…)

I’ll be reporting back in a few days to share my results and final thoughts, but quite honestly, this is THE way to go if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to kick the bloat and cravings out the window but unwilling to chug juice and starve for a week!

Ready to get started? Check out the kit information here!

Want more info, or contemplating taking it a step further and committing to a full program? Shoot me an email (thehappyhealthmama@gmail.com) or hop on over to my like page and message me!


Be the Example

Be the example…

Growing up, fitness was never a priority in my family. Aside from my younger sister’s brief career as a childhood soccer player, athletic skills seemed to have passed over my two sisters and me. This is probably why, at the age of 14, I weighed a whopping 194.2 lbs.

Yes, you read that right.  I, Jess “The Happy Health Mama”, was at one point the epitome of childhood obesity.  My parents helped. My mom went to Weight Watchers with me, encouraged me, and, at the same time, ensured that I never felt “less than” or that I was not worthy simply due to my size.  But, as any young person can tell you, teenage years suck enough already, let alone when you add in weight gain and insecurities.  I struggled on and off with my weight well into my 20s, bouncing between fad diets, but the one piece I lacked, the one piece I had been missing was incorporating fitness into my routine.

Sure, I knew that in order to “lose weight” I needed to be active. But I viewed it as a chore. Everyone in my family did. I grew up with the understanding that you have to work out to lose weight. There was never any “love of fitness” or drive to be active outside of reaching an end result.

It wasn’t until 2014, when I began my fitness journey by starting the 21 Day Fix that my entire mentality shifted. After 3 weeks, I was down 5 lbs. (out of the 55 I needed to drop after having my daughter). Was I discouraged by that number? A bit. BUT I noticed an insane amount of positive changes.

I had energy! I was chasing my toddler (then 3) around the house, while carrying an infant, and didn’t feel like I would die.

I started noticing I felt “off” on my rest day… my body began to actually crave activity.

I just generally ‘felt’ better.  It’s hard to explain, but my entire body felt healthier, more energized, and overall ‘better’ than before.

Oh, and my clothes…were fitting better than they had in months.

While I hated to admit it… I was becoming hooked. I started to actually crave being active. Even if it meant simply going for an extra walk, or doing squats while brushing my teeth, my body felt better while being active. And so, my love affair with fitness began.

As if that weren’t enough… my then 3 year old started showing signs that he was actually watching and picking up on my addiction.  As soon as the DVD player would turn on, he’d ask if he could do his workout too. He’d grab his baby blanket and lay it out like a yoga mat, jumping in for a minute or two to try to plank, do some side shuffles, or flail around (like mommy!) for a few burpees.  THIS… noticing that HE was noticing and developing an appreciation for fitness… that became my why.

Fast forward a year. I have since completed numerous programs. I’ve been blessed to actually MEET some of the trainers in real life.  My son continues to hop in with me and informs me that he “has to do his workout so that he can get big and strong”, melting my mama heart. And now, my 18 month old daughter has started to show signs that she, too, is watching.  I kid you not, this kid will see me on the ground, and come over to side plank with me. She goes for my weights whenever she sees me in workout gear. And while it may make my 22 minute workouts a BIT more hectic and last a BIT longer… it’s more than worth it to me to set this example so that my children grow up valuing their health as more than just a tool to battle the scale.

Who is watching YOU, and who are YOU inspiring?screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-2-01-16-pm

Chicken Noodle Soup… made easy!



img_3709Well… the back to school sicknesses have started to hit our house. All four of us have been trading off a nasty upper respiratory bug for the past two weeks. Nothing helps make me feel better when sick than a good old fashioned chicken noodle soup. As much as I love tradition, condensed soup, or even the store bought stuff is FILLED with excess sodium and other yucky extras that I really don’t need…but who has time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking it from scratch?

That’s why I was THRILLED to find a totally delicious and idiot proof recipe in my Fixate Cookbook from Autumn Calabrese. Who’s that? The creator of the 21 Day Fix who has written her own cookbook of amazing and delicious recipes that suit both vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and gluten free friends!

The secret to this recipe: rotisserie chicken! You don’t have to spend hours cooking a whole chicken…just buy a rotisserie chicken (or go even easier and buy a pack of pre-shredded rotisserie chicken breast) and toss it in!

For those following the 21 Day Fix or other portion-fix related nutritional plans, this one is great at only 1.5 yellow, 1 red, and 2 greens per 1.5 C serving 🙂

So without further ado… here you go:



2 tsp. Olive Oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups sliced celery (about 4 medium stalks)

4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth

3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken breast, boneless, skinless

1 1/2 cups sliced carrots (about 3 medium)

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1/2 tsp. sea salt (I use himalayan salt)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups dry whole wheat pasta (I recommend rotini!)


  1. Heat oil in a pan. Then add onions and celery. Cook until onions are becoming clear and celery is softening.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (excluding the pasta). Bring to a boil.
  3. Add pasta. Reduce heat and lightly boil for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

That’s it!

Want more easy and (shhh…healthy!!!) recipes? You can check out the Fixate cookbook here.  Looking for more information about the 21 Day Fix or other Beachbody programs? Drop me an email at thehappyhealthmama@gmail.com and let’s chat!



Meal Planning 101- Episode 1: Dinner Comes 1st

Want a peek at the whole meal plan? This plan is FREE for those in my LYBBC online accountability group! Hop on over to my Like Page for more info!

How many times have you come home from a long day at work, an exhausting day at school, or an epic day of toddler wrangling and looked in the pantry to realize you had no idea what to do for dinner? How many times have you simply decided to heat up that spare box of mac n’ cheese or order a pizza because it was just “easier” than trying, at 5:00 to figure out what to make?

This used to be me.  When we had our first child, I barely had time to think about meals, let alone having the extra money lying around for take out 5-7 times a week.  So, I made my first attempt at “meal planning”, and scoured Pinterest for some great, large batch recipes.  While I did have success and found a bunch of yummy recipes, they were heavily carb based casseroles which didn’t really help me towards my goal of losing the 55lbs I had gained with Baby Bear. And so it continued from 2012-2015, with our family relying heavily on pasta, rice, and other “cheap” meals.

When I began my journey towards healthier living in April 2015 after having kiddo #2 (and having gained back the 55lbs I had lost after pregnancy #1), I had three main goals:

  1. Feed my family HEALTHY  foods that would adhere to my new lifestyle and still taste good.
  2. Keep costs low since I was beginning a 5 month, UNPAID maternity leave.
  3. Find meals that would save TIME, since any parent knows time is crucial!

As many of you know, I began my journey with the 21 Day Fix. I won’t go into too much detail here, but if you want more info or 1:1 support with the program, feel free to visit my Facebook page here.  The short version, is that with the 21 DF, you’re focusing on portions.  Wanting to be prepared and not spend my days struggling to figure out how many reds or yellows I needed/had (you use colored containers to count out your portions for the day), I decided to create a weekly meal plan.  I planned out every meal, snack, and treat, so that I would a) not over buy food b) not struggle to figure out what I was going to eat and c) to make meal prep easier.

I’ll be going more in depth into my weekly meal plan in a future episode of this series, but one of the biggest things I have found is that, when I meal plan my DINNER first, it’s a lot easier to plot out the rest of the day. The main reason I like planning dinner first? Carbs- If you’re like me, you live for carbs. Making sure that I plan out my dinners first(which often incorporate pasta, rice, or quinoa) allows me to ensure that I have enough carb portions available, rather than accidentally using them all with breakfast or lunch!

In the past, I would plan out 1 week of dinners at a time; however, with going back to school, I decided to take on the challenge of planning out an entire MONTH of dinners.  The reason why: Meal planning can be a big pain in the butt… it takes TIME, especially if you want to be creative and not have the same 4-5 meals each month. So, I decided to start planning on my month of dinners. Since then, I’ve noticed my weekly meal planning time is CUT IN HALF. Why? Because dinner is the most complicated meal. I am one who is fine keeping snacks, lunches, and breakfast the same, but I NEED dinner variation.  Now that I know my dinners are set, I simply go in each week, plug in the new dinner option, and then adjust lunches or snacks appropriately depending on the portions.

Now, HOW do I go about planning for an entire month of meals? Here are my top 5 tips:

  • Plan for leftovers: I personally would rather cook less often, so we plan for leftovers to account for 2 back to back nights of dinner.  Another great option is to plan for your leftovers to be your lunch the next day! Most of the recipes I select provide 6-8 servings, which is usually enough to get us two dinners and 1-2 lunch servings (including small portions for our 4 yr old and 18 month old).
  • Crockpot meals: I ADORE my Crockpot. This has been a HUGE time saver, as well as helping save on our grocery budget since most crockpot recipes don’t require many ingredients. There’s something great about coming home from work to dinner ready to serve!
  • Focus on your proteins: One nice thing about focusing on the protein first, is that you can change up the meal slightly based on the side dish it is served with. For example, pulled crockpot salsa chicken can be for fajitas one night, and then topped on a salad the next!
  • Buy in bulk: We go through ground turkey, quinoa, and couscous like crazy here, so I tend to buy a big bulk bag of the starches and buy meat in bulk when on sale and freeze it.  That way, when we need to get our weekly groceries, I already have those bigger priced items out of the way!

To help you get started on dinner planning, I am attaching a blank copy of my custom made dinner template for September.  Feel free to use this to help plan out your dinners for the remainder of the month, and leave me a comment with some of the recipes you’ll be adding!! Simply click the image below and save to your computer 🙂


Stay tuned for future editions of this Meal Planning series including: planning week by week, planning for the 21 Day Fix, and everyone’s favorite… How to SAVE MONEY while grocery shopping for a family of 4!


Until next time!

What’s for dinner: Poached Salmon with Veggies


I’m a big fan of seafood, but when it comes to actually cooking it, myself, I always shy away. I’m always worried that I may undercook it, or that it will take too long to get to that “perfect” temperature and flakey texture.

Since we already had several chicken and ground turkey meals on the menu, we decided on the poached salmon. The original recipe, itself, makes 1 servings, so we multiplied everything by 4 (note… if you plan to do this, I recommend actually COOKING individual portions… it was a LOT for one pan!).  We also modified it a bit to add our own little flair!


Salmon with Veggies (serves 4):


  • 4 2/3 lb filets of salmon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 2 carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 2 C water
  • 1 T white wine (we used a pinot grigio)
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1.5 tsp ground dill or rosemary


  • pre-season the salmon with salt and pepper
  • Heat a large pan with oil and add veggies. Cook until lightly brown and tender (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside (we kept ours in our microwave to stay warm!)
  • Add water, wine, lemon juice and your dill or rosemary to the pan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium.
  • Add the salmon. Cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. You want the salmon to easily flake with the fork.
  • Plate out your veggies, top with salmon and add some of the juice (if desired)… enjoy!

**This recipe was modified and adapted from a recipe available in the Body Beast food guide. For more information about how to get set up with Body Beast or any of the other programs, please email me at thehappyhealthmama@gmail.com or contact me on my facebook page by clicking here**


When the $575 diaper cream doesn’t cut it

IMG_0629Yes, you read that right. For reasons that are still beyond my comprehension, this past spring my husband and I ended up spending $575 from our HSA on one small, tiny tube of prescription diaper rash cream.  Our daughter had caught a mean yeast rash (if you haven’t seen these before and are a parent, then thank your lucky stars… they’re painful to even LOOK at!).  Desitin wouldn’t cut it and neither would any of the other OTC creams we tried, so when the after hours care pediatrician wrote us a script for Vusion and said “it costs a lot, but your insurance might cover it… but just in case, here’s the recipe to make it”, we figured we would see what the pharmacist said.

“Your balance is zero. You’re covered” – Walgreens pharmacist

Great! We thought, and we went on our merry way to go try it out. Well, 3 weeks later our poor daughter was still not 100% recovered and we noticed a nice little $525 deduction from our health fund. Needless to say, when the red bumpy and scaly skin started to come back, I was NOT going to give that a second shot.

With our terrible health year, I had recently decided to give essential oils a try and I slowly had started to view them as less “voodoo magic” and more “hmmm… maybe this actually works. So, it was at this point that I frantically reached out to my Young Living guru cousin, Carolyn from Mom Goes Granola (check out her FB page here or her website here for some awesome info for the slightly crunchy, yet realistic mom!) Carolyn got to work for me right away finding the perfect recipe and I quickly set off to put my Kitchen Aid  Mixer to work!

Friends, let me tell you… this stuff is AMAZING. Within 24 hours, her skin was significantly improved, and by 48 hours, it was as if she had not had a yeast rash at all.  We’ve continued to use this as her normal diaper cream, and even the ladies at daycare have asked for the recipe and commented that they like having to do her diaper changes the most because of the pleasant spa like smell of the cream!

So, without further ado, here is the miracle butt cream recipe!

Miracle Diaper Cream

1/2 C coconut oil

7 drops lavender

3 drops Frankincense

2 drops thieves

1 drop purification

Whip the coconut oil until light and fluffy. Then add in the oils and whip again. Store in an airtight container.

So there you have it! If you use this I would love to know your thoughts and how well it worked for you!

Dear Belly…


Let’s take a second to be real… You see my before and afters. You see my my weight drop, my inches disappear, and me slowly gaining confidence to wear a bikini or shorts this summer after two kids. But what you haven’t seen is this. The up close. The stretch marks. The somewhat saggy skin that, after two children, used to be something that caused me to hide with embarrassment.
But here’s the thing, and the truth that I want ALL mamas to know… that skin, those scars… they’re nothing to hide. Those stretch marks, they’re there because I carried TWO amazing children to term, housing them, protecting their little bodies as they grew fingers, toes, and the precious eyelashes that I look at each and every day with awe and love in my eyes. That extra skin, it provides a cushion for my child to lay her head while sleepy.
But not only that, that extra skin is there because I have created big goals for myself…and met them. I have PUSHED to become healthier, stronger, and leaner. It’s a necessary “evil” of weight loss, but it’s also my trophy… my “look what you’ve accomplished” sign, every single day that I look in the mirror. And you know what…they make me…ME.
If there is ONE thing, one point that I can get across to you…it would be to stop looking in the mirror and finding hate. Instead, look in the mirror and see the miracles, the amazing beauty and purpose behind yourself. Focus on THAT, and you’ll find your confidence soar.
#postpartum #newmom #loveyourself

Hello, World!

cropped-DSC_2599.jpgHello there! Welcome to The Happy Health Mama, a website dedicated to providing readers with an authentic and REAL look into the art of surviving mommyhood, getting healthy, and most importantly, truly finding one’s HAPPY.  I’m Jess… your guide through this crazy journey we call life!

In the days and weeks to come, I look forward sharing my life with you, including but not limited to:

  • #momlife struggles and successes: yep, I’m not perfect.  So take a peek into my crazy life as a mom navigating both toddlerhood and the three-nager years. 
  • Recipes: from kid/family friendly meals to quick, on-the-go eats, I look forward to sharing the healthy recipes to keep the kids and family smiling (and mom sane!)
  • Meal Planning/Prep Tips: As a busy working mom of two little ones, preparation is key to keeping our family well-fed without spending hours in the kitchen (or dialing those lovely little take-out numbers….).  Stay tuned for some of my best tips and tricks to help you create a healthier lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones while saving time (and money!). 
  • REAL life fitness: I get it… sometimes you just DON’T have the time to work out. I’m here to share some of my favorite ways to get active without spending hours at the gym! 

…and much more!


So tell me, what would YOU like to see featured at The Happy Health Mama? Share your ideas in the comments below! And don’t forget to stop by and check out our Facebook page here.