No Excuse Mom Group Spotlight: Hayward, CA




Leader: June Villarosa
Co-Leader: Lucy Lopez-Zacaias
Group Location: Hayward, CA
Regional Manager: Jayvelle Thompson
Month/Year group started: December 2014

NEM Hayward Leader, June Villarosa didn’d recognize herself after gaining weight and holding on to it months after her son was born. She wanted to add some boxing to her workout routine and approached her friend and gym owner, David. David then told June about his wife, No Excuse Mom Regional Manager, Jayvelle Thompson. June was intrigued by the NEM movement and decided to lead a group!

Tell us more about the city/state/country you lead:

Hayward that’s also known, as “The Heart of the Bay” is a beautiful city filled with awesome parks. It is a great place to raise a family! We have one of the most diverse communities, and that’s one of the best things I love about Hayward. Growing up I had friends from all different cultures.

What has been your most rewarding experience as a group leader?

The most rewarding experience for me as a leader, was when my group and I joined other NEM groups in the Bay Area on Mothers Day to hike Mission Peak. Mission peak is a mountain that is 2,000 feet high and very steep. The hike is about 6 miles long up and down. It is one tough hike. I had 10 of my moms that joined me and my fellow NEM leaders that day. And this was the first time for all of my moms to hike mission peak. To be honest I was a little nervous that some of my members wouldn’t make it to the top. I was so proud to see every member reach the top of the mountain! I was especially proud of my co-leader Lucy for reaching the top with me! She doubted herself in the beginning and there were times where she wanted to give up, but that’s when I would yell at her and tell her that we were almost there!! She kept fighting and kept going! I got very emotional when she went to the top with me. Lucy and the rest of my moms have come a long way! I can only imagine where they will be a year from now.

What kind of workouts do you do?

We do all kinds of workouts! I usually lead with a 5-10 minute warm up. Then I’ll have about 9 different exercises that we do that focuses on everything. We do the routine about 2-3 times with 10-15 reps for each exercise. I sometimes incorporate light dumbbells, but I tend to focus on exercises we can do using our body weight. I also introduced HIIT workouts to our group, which the Mamas love! Whenever one of our members posts a You Tube exercise video on our FB page, I try to incorporate it in our workout! Just to add a little spice!

Has your group participated in any events or charity fundraisers?

The first event that my group participated in was last month at the “Mommy and Me” event in San Jose. And it was the first time some of them got to actually meet Maria Kang.
Some of my moms volunteered for HASHTAG LUNCH BAG SF, an organization where they focus on feeding the homeless. I felt like a proud mama seeing them go out there in the community to help the less fortunate.

How has becoming a leader changed your life?

Being a leader for NEM has forever changed my life. I have always had that passion to help people, and have been told that I am a great motivator. I finally get to exert these passions with my group and it has been amazing. I really thought it was just going to be a hobby, but it is way more than a hobby, it’s a sisterhood. I have created so many long-lasting friendships, I’ve lost count. It just feels so good to know that I am making a difference in someone’s life. Being a leader has also kept me accountable for staying healthy. I feel that I should lead by example, so I try to by being committed to working out. I know that my posts and presence help inspire these mamas to get out there. But little do they know, they also inspire me as well.

How has becoming a leader affected your family?

I feel that being a NEM has made me a better mother and wife. I am much happier now and my son loves going to our workouts. He loves to play with the other kids! My husband has been totally supportive and has attended some meet ups. Ever since becoming a leader for NEM, I have noticed a lot of my friends and family start to exercise more and watch what they eat. So I can definitely say being a leader has had a positive impact on my family.

What is your favorite part of leading a group?

It is crazy to know that we just started Hayward NEM less than 6 months ago! We started with as little as 30 members, and now have over 350 members! My favorite part of leading this group, is seeing my members confidence rise. These mamas are doing things like hiking and 10k races, things they would have never done if it weren’t for NEM. For example my co-lead Lucy, when she first started, she lacked a little confidence and was always too shy to lead workouts. Fast forward to today: her confidence level is off the charts and she is leading workouts on her own!

I just love this sisterhood we’ve created! We have a great group of Moms who are all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds. I feel that we have one of the most diverse groups, which I love, because it makes us unique!



34 Tasty, Simple, and Quick Breakfast Ideas






According to the latest Tracking Nutrition Trends report, almost 40% of Canadians skip breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast has been associated with:

– Lower prevalence of overweight and obesity and reduced weight gain over time

– Improved appetite control which contributes to better choices made throughout the day

– Better intake of nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fibre

– Improved energy

– Breaking the fasted state, which in turn reduces fat storage and muscle breakdown (having lean muscle is important for our metabolism and for weight loss)

It’s also important to have a balanced breakfast with healthy sources of protein (especially important for weight loss), carbs, and fats.

Having said all that, many people still do not eat breakfast for various reasons (lack of time, disinterest, lack of habit, lack of hunger, etc.). Time is a big barrier to breakfast eating; most breakfasts are made in 5 minutes or less. Therefore I have put together 34 tasty breakfast ideas, simple make-ahead options and quick grab n’ go breakfasts:

  1. Avocado Toast With Egg

Sometimes, simple is just better. In this recipe, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, lightly toasted, topped with smashed avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper makes for a flavourful and rich base. Top that with two sunny-side-up eggs for a healthy dose of protein, and you’ve got a well-rounded breakfast. Stack ’em in a tupperware container for easy transport or cook the yolks a bit more and make the whole thing into a sandwich.

  1. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack any time of day. Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk, and a few ice cubes. If this is a morning snack, keep it in a tight-sealing container and throw it in a gym or work bag. For an afternoon boost, prep it the night before and freeze, remove in the morning, and it will be thawed and ready to enjoy after lunch. Tip: Add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein for an extra protein boost.

  1. Zapped Scrambled Eggs With Veggies

Yes, it’s possible to make really good scrambled eggs in the microwave. And it’s easy! Beat 2 eggs, throw in a microwave-safe container, add 1 handful of your favorite veggies (cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves work well), and a sprinkle of cheese. Zap the mixture for 30 seconds, stir, and cook another 30 seconds, or until eggs are solid. Throw a top on the container to eat later, or store the raw mixture in a fridge until ready to heat and eat.

  1. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

One of the easiest, healthiest, and tastiest breakfasts out there is a classic fruit and yogurt parfait. The best part? It can be made with any toppings you like. Try choosing fruits that are in season for the most flavorful options. (Try stone fruit salad for summer, and opt for apples come fall).

  1. Breakfast Burrito

Who doesn’t love a burrito? Breakfast burritos are a great, easy snack to keep on hand. Scramble 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese, and wrap in 1 small whole-wheat tortilla. Make a bunch, wrap in foil, and keep in the freezer for whenever the craving hits. Protein from the eggs and black beans keep you fuller longer, and the spicy salsa keeps things interesting.

  1. Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

An oat-based muffin packed with healthy carrots and zucchini, lightly sweetened with raisins and just a pinch of sugar makes a perfect breakfast or snack. Use a mini-muffin tin for smaller portions, and eliminate or cut back on the brown sugar or choose a healthier substitute to cut back on sugar.

  1. Breakfast Quinoa Bites

Here’s a new way to enjoy quinoa: make mini quinoa breakfast quiches! In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups cooked quinoa, 2 eggs, 1 cup your favorite veggies (spinach or zucchini work well), 1 cup shredded cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Portion into a lightly-greased mini muffin tin, and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. These are easy to bring along and delicious to enjoy warm or cold.

  1. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

Here’s a simple and delicious smoothie recipe for the morning rush. Blend 1 cup plain Greek (or regular) yogurt with 1 cup frozen fruit (banana and berries work very well) with 1/2 cup liquid (milk, juice, coconut water—whatever you like). Freeze overnight and thaw throughout the day to enjoy in the afternoon, or blend up in the morning.

  1. Leftovers n’ Egg

Stuck with last night’s leftovers? Place a scoop of leftover roasted veggies, potatoes, or meat in a container, top with a cracked egg, and heat in the microwave until the egg white is cooked through, 30 to 45 seconds. (Or prep in the oven.) Feeling fancy? Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

  1. Fruity Breakfast Quinoa

Cooking quinoa in milk (cow, soy, or almond) and adding some sweet spices and fruit makes for a great substitute for classic hot breakfast cereals. Plus, it’s high in protein and essential amino acids like lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Simply cook quinoa according to package instructions, but substitute milk for water, and add some cinnamon or nutmeg instead of salt and pepper. Top with fresh berries and chopped roasted nuts.

  1. Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Take a classic baked loaf and make it into oatmeal with this recipe! Adding shredded zucchini to oatmeal is a great way to fit in an extra serving of veggies. Throw on a handful of toasted walnuts or pecans for some added crunch.

  1. Quinoa Fruit Salad

Spice up a plain old fruit cup with a scoop of quinoa. Toss the whole shebang around until the quinoa is evenly distributed through the fruit. Add a scoop of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a little extra body.

  1. Oatmeal Squares

Oatmeal is a great option for a hearty snack or breakfast, but what’s the best way to make it into a more convenient and portable snack? Bake it into squares!

  1. Pumpkin Oatmeal Bowl

A heaping dollop of pumpkin puree is a great way to squeeze in anextra dose of veggies. Plus, the super-orange superfood is packed with nutrients and a healthy dose of fiber. This recipe pairs the pumpkin with quick oats, pumpkin pie spice, and almond milk for a quick and easy breakfast on-the-go.

  1. Ricotta and Tomato Breakfast Sandwich

Here’s a healthier take on the classic breakfast sandwich: Take 2 slices of a hearty whole-grain bread, spread each slice with 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Add 1-2 hearty slices of fresh beefsteak tomato (blotted with paper towel to remove excess liquid) and enjoy.

  1. Zucchini Muffins

Any way that fits a serving of veggies into a delicious baked good is a winner in my book. These zucchini and banana muffins with flaxseed fit three healthier options into one easy-to-tote package.

  1. Peanut Butter, Banana, and Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for breakfast? Yes please! While Oreos or Chips Ahoy may not make a balanced breakfast, a homemade cookie made of banana, peanut butter, protein powder, and oats is a wholesome choice. Plus, you can pick and choose what you like to mix—go for almond butter and raisins in one batch, or peanut butter chocolate chip in another.

  1. Waffle PBJ-Wich

Try this sweet take on a classic breakfast sandwich the next time eating on the go. Prepare 1 whole-grain toaster waffle and slice in half. Spread with 2 tablespoons nut butter and layer 2-3 sliced strawberries on top in place of the traditional jelly (to cut down on sugar).

  1. Savory Oatmeal With an Egg

Try taking oatmeal to a whole new level by making it savory. Prepare as usual with milk or water, but add a pinch of salt and pepper instead of any cinnamon or sugar, and top with an over-easy or poached egg. Sprinkle with a little cheese for an extra yummy kick.

  1. Overnight Oats

This is the ultimate lazy-person breakfast. The night before, combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 a banana (mashed), 1/4 cup chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon in sealed Tupperware container. By morning, you’ll have delicious overnight oats! These can be heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes if in the mood for something warm.

  1. Egg and Cheese Cups

Fried eggs are great, but what about baking a whole egg with veggies and cheese and skipping the added oil? Try making a pan of these egg and cheese cups at the beginning of the week and bringing one along each day. (Tip: If you use the individual silicone muffin molds, it makes the egg cups even more portable for on-the-go snacking.)

  1. Homemade Instant Oatmeal

For anyone with a microwave or hot water at their disposal, these customized instant oatmeal packets are fantastic to have on hand. Instead of purchasing pre-made oatmeal packets, assemble your own in Ziploc baggies using whole rolled oats, cinnamon, and mix-ins like raisins and nuts.

  1. Frozen Nutty Banana

Say banan-YEAH to this healthy snack. Cut 1 firm (but ripe) banana in half and un-peal, arrange on a small baking sheet or freezer-safe plate, and spread each half with 1 tablespoon almond butter evenly (on the sides not touching the plate). Here’s the fun part: Stick whatever toppings you like on top of the almond butter—our favorites are granola, chia seeds, or flax seeds and cinnamon. Insert a popsicle stick or skewer into the cut end of each half, and freeze until solid (at least 2-3 hours).

  1. Egg Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a classic egg sandwich? Simply sautée a hefty handful of spinach and fry 2 eggs with a dash of salt and pepper. Place on top 2 whole-wheat English muffin halves (or toast) with 1 slice of cheddar cheese. Wrap in foil so the cheese melts evenly, and enjoy whenever the craving hits!

  1. Chocolate-Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Here’s one healthy way to have chocolate for breakfast: a bowlful of quinoa makes for a protein-rich filling breakfast, and the banana even adds a serving of fruit.

  1. Fruit Soup

There are just two ingredients in this tasty, cool snack: Cold fresh fruit, and cold milk. Chop 1 cup of fruit of your choosing (peaches, plums, berries, and mango are delicious!) and combine in a container with 1 cup milk of choice. Keep chilled until ready to enjoy.

  1. Apple Surprise

This is a perfect pick for apple season, Cut 1 apple in half and remove the core (plus a bit of the extra flesh around the core). Drop 1 tablespoon nut butter between the two holes, and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon granola. Wrap up the whole apple in plastic wrap or foil to save for later, or enjoy as is bite-by-bite.

  1. PBB&C

Say what? A PBB&C is a great twist on the classic PB&J—peanut butter, banana, and chia. Try adding this superfood twist to the classic PB sandwich with 1/2 a banana (sliced) and a sprinkle of chia, which is packed with vitamins and minerals (like six times more calcium than milk!).

  1. Berries and Oats Microwave Muffin

Muffins from the microwave? Yep, it’s possible! Add 1/4 cup quick oats, 1 egg, a handful of berries, and a sprinkling of brown sugar to a mug and mix until evenly combined. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove to take a look, and keep cooking for 30 seconds at a time until the muffin looks firm.

  1. Strawberry-Banana Quinoa Muffins

By this point, I think the Greatist team believes quinoa makesanything better. So, muffins? It’s a no brainer. Try these strawberry quinoa muffins for an easily-packed snack or breakfast (or after lunch treat).

  1. Pumpkin and Granola Parfait

This one’s perfect to try out as fall sets in. In your favorite small Tupperware container (with a reliable lid!), top plain Greek yogurt with canned pumpkin puree and a handful of granola, then sprinkle with cinnamon. The best part? Pumpkin is a bonafide superfood rich in beta carotene, which is essential for eye health.

  1. Whole-Wheat Banana Blueberry Flax Muffins

At 200 calories each, these hearty, wholesome muffins make for the perfect portable breakfast. Flax lends a healthy dose of fiber andomega-3 fatty acids. Mashed bananas (one of our favorite healthy baking subsitutions) allow for a slight reduction in the added fat and sugar in this recipe, too.

  1. Egg Muffins

Finally, a muffin without all the carbs. Plus, these guys are simple to make. Beat 10 eggs, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 3 handfuls of spinach, 1 shredded zucchini, 1/2 a bell pepper (chopped), 4 slices cooked bacon or ham, chopped, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture evenly in a lightly-greased muffin tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 F. Zap it for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.

  1. Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Squares

Here’s a healthier take on the classic lemon-poppy seed muffin. Fiber-rich oat flour is paired with vanilla protein powder for a healthy, filling base. Yogurt lends moisture and some fat, and applesauce makes a great substitute for sugar. Vanilla extract, lemon zest, and (of course) make up the rest of the fresh flavor. The best part? One bar comes in at about 54 calories and six grams of protein—much better than any muffin we’ve seen on the shelves lately. Looking for more? Check out what health’s top experts eat for breakfast.


1) Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research. Tracking Nutrition Trends 2013. Available from:

2) Dietitians of Canada. Are adults who skip breakfast more likely to be overweight or obese than adults who eat breakfast?

In: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN]. 2010 February 1 [cited 2014 Jul 25]. Available from:

3) Pereira MA et al. Breakfast frequency and quality may affect glycemia and appetite in adults and children. J Nutr. 2011;141:163S-168S.

4) Barr SI, DiFrancesco L. Consumption of breakfast and the type of breakfast consumed are positively associated with nutrient intakes and adequacy of Canadian adults. J Nutr. 2013;143:86-92.


Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has recently published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.

Facebook page:

Instagram: @felicianewellnutrition

Top 5 Park Exercise Moves

There are no excuses why you can’t get a park workout in! Our National Fitness Pro, Jules Rosenthal shows you how to incorporate fitness while watching your children play! Some great exercise moves include planks with rotation, pull ups and triceps dips.

Julia Rosenthal
Official NEM Fitness Pro
ACE certified
Tread Tabata certified
Masters in Social Work
Jules always played sports though wasn’t always an athlete until she found where were greatest strengths were: running, weight training and coaching. She also had a short career in the culinary arts before changing course and earning her MSW in 2005. Not too shortly thereafter, though, the lure of the fitness called again, and she returned to the health-world by getting her ACE certification in 2009. Jules resides in the Boston area — she is a No Excuse mother of two, licensed clinical social worker, avid runner/fitness freak and made her vision come true when she started her own personal training company, Ripped by Jules in 2013.

Baked Salmon, Cous Cous, and Salad

NEMs! ​

I love this dish because I can quickly prepare it, throw it in the oven, and multi-task some house stuff while everything is cooking! 😉


Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 25-35 min


This is a quick and easy dinner, here’s what you’ll need:

~ Salmon Filet 1.5lbs

~ Lemon Pepper

~ Olive oil

~ Foil

~ CousCous (I love Far East Olive & Garlic)

~ Salad and your toppings



~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Salmon 8

~  In a baking dish, cover the bottom with foil. This is so you won’t have to wash the dish when you’re done! Easy clean up! 😉

Salmon 1

~ Place another two sheets of foil on top of the bottom foil. This is what you will wrap the salmon in.

Salmon 2   Salmon 3

~ Rinse your salmon then place in the foil that is already on the baking dish

Salmon 4

~ Drizzle with olive oil

Salmon 6

~ Spinkle lemon pepper – don’t be shy with the lemon pepper!

Salmon 5

~ Wrap the salmon in the foil so that the steam cannot escape – this will ensure that your salmon comes out moist

Salmon 7

~Depending on the thickness of your salmon, place in the over for 25 minutes, check once timer goes off, then put back in for 5 minutes at a time until you reach the level of firmness you want. I don’t like my salmon overcooked

~  Prep your side salad

~  Prep your cous cous per the box directions

The 1.5 lbs of Salmon makes 4-6 servings

Salmon 9 - small - no excuse post


Meeshie LOGO w Maddox

One Step at a Time

For many people, cravings (and sometimes addictions – both mental and physical) for sweet, salty, high-fat foods are what hinders them from their progress and goals.

As I will reiterate over and over, making lifestyle changes can be difficult. Some people try to take on too many changes at once, and that can become overwhelming so they give up (and unfortunately feel like a failure). Instead of letting a ‘failure’ stop you from achieving your goals, learn from it instead!

If making changes is hard for you – try it one step at a time. Find your most challenging negative habits or addictions and slowly cut them out/replace with healthy behaviours. For example: someone barely ever drinks water, craves and snacks on high-fat sweet snacks at night, eats fast food several times per week, and does not get get much exercise. They could still snack at night, but instead of always choosing chocolate and other high-fat sweets, they could replace some snacks with something that is nutritious, still tasty, and has significantly lower calories (see example below). They could also try slowly increasing their daily water intake (adding in 1-2 cups per week). Once they are comfortable with making these changes (and they become habits), other changes such as adding in more exercise that suits their schedule and cutting down on fast food can be made. This is just one example, and would be different for every person, but hopefully you get the point!

If you have trouble with craving sweets, try this yummy, healthy, nutrient-dense snack to satisfy your sweet tooth!

– Layer (low sugar) regular or Greek yogurt in a glass pan or comparable, add your favourite fruits, nuts, and/or a bit of dark chocolate, freeze for a few hours and enjoy!

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways.


Healthy Cooking Tips!

Let’s face it – it’s a new era where some of us have basic cooking skills, and some of us don’t. It’s not our fault really – it depends on how we were raised and other factors (We all have strengths and weaknesses right?).



Try these ideas to make some of your favorite recipes a little healthier. 

  • Blend a handful of spinach or kale into a fruit smoothie
  • Mash cooked cauliflower together with potatoes
  • Add puréed butternut squash to homemade macaroni and cheese
  • Shred carrots, zucchini or onions into spaghetti sauce
  • Stir canned puréed pumpkin into whole grain pancake or muffin batter
  • Sprinkle berries onto breakfast cereal or yogurt

Balance your baking with simple swaps.

There are lots of tasty ways to make your baking a little bit healthier. Experiment by using these simple substitutions in your favourite baked goods:

  • Replace at least half of the enriched white flour (if you normally use white flour) with a healhier type of flour (e.g., whole grain, coconut, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, oat, etc.)
  • Replace a quarter or more of the sugar with a healthier alternative (e.g., stevia, truvia, agave nectar, honey, skim milk powder)
  • Replace half of the fat in muffins, quick breads and cookies with mashed fruit or vegetables, such as unsweetened applesauce or puréed sweet potato
  • Use milk (regular, almond, coconut, etc.) instead of water

Get delicious results with good-for-you ingredients. 

Cooking at home lets you control the taste, nutrition and cost of your meals. Try these simple swaps to fill homemade food with flavour:

  • Use whole milk (or another milk alternative) and cream cheese instead of cream and butter for a luscious pasta Alfredo
  • Substitute greek yogurt for mayonnaise to make a creamy salad dressing
  • Sweeten whole grain hot cereal/oatmeal with fruit, such as bananas, apples or peaches, instead of sugar
  • Use lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour savoury dishes

Add some zing!

Think healthy cooking is bland? Healthy cooking is all about good taste. Add some zing with these mouth-watering flavor boosters:

  • Garlic is perfect for pasta, potatoes and peas, and it makes a tofu-and-veggie stir-fry’s much more flavorful
  • Fresh lime juice is a tangy addition to fish, avocado or fresh tomato salsa
  • Red pepper flakes deliver delicious heat to lightly sautéed greens
  • Ginger spices up butternut squash soup and adds depth to beef and pork dishes
  • Cinnamon pairs sweetly with apples, squash and sweet potatoes


  • There are many more ‘cooking basics’, these are just a few tips.
  •  Please keep in mind that people have varied skills and habits when it comes to food. As a nutritionist I meet people with all different levels of cooking skills, and many use white flour, sugar, etc. all of the time, so for many people cutting out half of what they use would be a step in the right direction.

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways.

Sweet Potato Snack!

Eating “good carbs” is important when you are trying to #EatClean! Here’s an easy sweet potato recipe that has NO SALT added.  This is a GREAT snack for the kiddos too! 🙂

Prep time:  10 min    Cook time:  40 min

This is a quick and easy dinner, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes

  • olive oil

  • dried oregano

  • pepper

  • cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes then cut into 1/2 inch rounds

  2. I’m LAZY! So place foil on a baking sheet for easy clean up 

  3. Place the rounds on foil and first add olive oil, sprinkle some oregano, pepper, then some cinnamon – YUM! 

  4. Cook for 40 minutes or until your fork-test gives you the firmness or softness you want. 

That’s it! Pretty easy stuff right?!?!? I’m no Betty Crocker, so I like quick prep, put in oven with timer and BAM!


4th of July Egg White Protein w/Oats Pancake!

Happy 4th NEMs!  What a better way to start out the morning of the 4th with some egg white protein powder w/oats pancakes!  (Try saying that three times really fast!!! LOL!)  I got this awesome recipe from my old high school friend Dimar Owens!  We actually JUST had our 20 year high school reunion last week!  I will say though, we are feeling way “younger” than we did back in the day. 😉

A little bit about our NEM  Dimar Owens….

dimar owens

1.  Tell me about your family

We are an active family of four who do our best to work hard so we can play hard. Married ten years with two sassy girls, 4 and 7 years old.

2.  What do you do for work?

I’m the proud owner and lead graphic designer at A Vibrant Wedding for over 12 years now. We are a full service custom invitation and stationery design studio located in San Diego, California that ships nationwide. A Vibrant Wedding specializes in designing all stationery including wedding invitations, save-the-dates, matching wedding day stationery, custom birthday invitations, birth announcements, baptism invitations and much more. (

3.  What motivated you to get into fitness and do a show?

I have always been an athlete from kinder to college so it was just a matter of time after having my babies, getting them potty trained and finally getting enough sleep through the night that I would get back into fitness. I saw a church member whom I barely new post her photos of her bikini competition in 2012 and I started inquiring about Body Building and the different levels. After getting the scoop on what it meant to compete in a Body Building competition and convincing my family, I hired an experienced trainer with body building experience and never looked back! Little did I know I would do so well in my first show. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life but well worth it. What made it so hard was trying to fit the training, meal prepping and eating in to my already busy life with my family, kids and my business. But I found a way, better yet… I MADE a way and till this day, this experience has changed my life in more ways than one.

” My healthy pancakes are by far my favorite meal of the day. I can literally eat Egg-white & Oats Pancakes for breakfast lunch and dinner. LOL!  (Note: this recipe still works great without the whey protein powder. Just substitute a little more oats for the protein powder.)”  ~ Dimar

What you’ll need:

~  1 cup Egg Whites
~  1/4 cup Rolled Oats
~  1/2 scoop of whey protein powder
~  Sugar Free MAple Syrup
~  1/3 cup of Berries
~  Pan Oil Spray


Mix the egg whites, whey protein powder and oats in a bowl.



Lightly spray pan with oil and then heat the small pan, pour pancake mixture into warm pan, cook pancake on low to med heat for 3 minutes than flip pancake when firm, cook for one more minute and serve.


Top with fresh berries and sugar-free syrup.  To be festive for the 4th, add some bananas (for the “white”)  🙂


Recipe makes one pancake. Delicious, healthy, and filling!

YUMMY!!!  Let us know how you like this recipe by leaving a comment below AND please SHARE on your social media!




Filet Mignon Stir Fry

NEMS!  Do you love beef?  I DO!  Here is an easy, quick, healthy, and most importantly TASTY recipe!  (As always, you can substitute the beef with chicken, shrimp, or tofu)



What you need:

Notice that I don’t use the “name brand” items – every market has a comprable brand that is as good or even better and the best part is that it’s always CHEAPER! 😉

  • Mushrooms
  • Green beans
  • Sweet Yellow onion (1)
  • Carrots
  • Filet Mignon steak (or beef of choice)
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Brown Rice
  • Pat of butter or Olive oil

How to cook it:

  • Make your brown rice


  • Chop up the sweet yellow onion
  • Slice the Filet Mignon (which I waited to buy until it was on sale) into medium thick slices


  • Wash the mushrooms


  • Cut up the carrots
  • Trim the ends of the green beans and wash

green beans

  • In a pan, you can either use a pat of butter or olive oil and saute the onions and carrots
  • Next add the sliced filet mignon – I LOVE my filet cooked medium rare – but if you are serving children, medium-well is your best bet.  The meat will still be tender 🙂
  • Add your Oyster Sauce  don’t be shy with it.  Notice that we are not using salt at all in this recipe – it’s because the oyster sauce has enough salt in it for taste.  You can find the oyster sauce at any market in the Asian/Mexican aisle


  • Add your green beans and mushrooms

pan food

  • Stir until you get your desired tenderness of the filet and veggies
  • Serve on top of your brown rice and be sure to add some of the sauce

final dish


If you have any questions about the recipe you can always contact me on Facebook! 🙂

~ Meeshie



No Excuse Mom: Nicole Lewis

According to Nicole Lewis she is by no means anyone out of the ordinary. “I was fat and miserable. On my youngest child’s first birthday I sat and ate an entire cake. That was the day i realized I was done. Done being fat and unhappy and full of excuses. Done not wanting to take pictures of myself. Done ripping the sizes out of my size 16 or 18 jeans. That was the day I hit bottom. And it was the best thing I ever did.”

Meet No Excuse Mom, Nicole Lewis. At 5-foot-7 and 165lbs, she lost 45lbs after the birth of her sixth child! Her kids are ages 14, 12, 10, 6, 5 and 2. She was also a surrogate mother to one who is now 7! With each of the 7 pregnancies (and natural births) she gained over 30 pounds, but with her first she gained almost 60lbs!

Did you nurse?
I nursed all 6 of my own children but I’m going to be honest, I didn’t nurse for long. Maybe 2-3 weeks with each.

What is your daily routine? My daily routine varies. When I can I get up and hit the gym at 445 am. More often than not when that alarm goes off I hate the world and I turn over and promise myself I’ll workout at naptime. I run a home daycare so I have kids here from 7-5 during the week. After daycare my own children usually have dance. Once they are home and fed and bathed I try to hit the gym to do at least 3 miles on the treadmill. Then home, shower and bed for me.

What is your weekly workout?  My weekly workout is fairly simple. I love Jillian Michaels “Ripped in 30” DVD and I try to do that on days I know I can’t hit the gym. I aim for at least 4 days a week of working out. I’ve been slowly adding days since I began the journey. I didn’t start off saying “I’m going to work out everyday!!” I knew I wouldn’t keep it up. When I’m at the gym I usually just do the treadmill. Nothing fancy but it’s been working. Maybe not as fast as I would like but slow and steady wins the race!!!

How is your diet? My weekly diet is kind of strict. I eat mostly fruits, veggies, rice, tempeh, and protein shakes during the week. The weekend is another story. I don’t go crazy and eat everything in sight but the weekends are when people have parties and events and because I know I eat really healthy during the week I don’t feel so bad eating ice cream or something not so healthy on the weekends. And I drink half my body weight in ounces of water a day.

Your philosophy on training? It sucks!!! But it’s totally worth it.

What is your most asked question? The question I’m asked the most is “what are you taking?” My response, “I’m taking my butt to the gym!!!” People assume that I’ve taken some magic pill. Sorry folks. Not magic just hard work.

Most challenging thing about being a No Excuse Mom?  I used to feel guilty about taking time away from the kids to go to the gym. And having so many kids was a great excuse to not work out. And people would always give me a pass for being fat and say “well you have had 7 kids.” Like that was suppose to make me feel better. Well I made the time. No more excuses!!!!

What is your occupation? I am a home daycare provider

Advice for other mothers starting out?  My advice for moms just starting out is just to change one thing. Start by just drinking more water a day. Or by aiming for the gym once a week. Don’t give yourself unrealistic goals!!

Favorite clean recipe?  My favorite clean recipe is a banana and maple almond butter quesadilla. Using corn tortilla spread the almond butter and add some sliced banana. Toast in the skillet for a few minutes on each side. It’s sweet heaven.

Do you have a secret weapon?  It’s taken me a little over a year to lose the 45 pounds. I don’t know about a “secret weapon” but water is what really helped. I used to drink soda like it was my job. Now I’m all about the water.

What do you love about the No Excuse group?  I  absolutely love the group. I love everyone’s pics and stories. As a matter if fact that’s probably where we should tell women to start. Join the group and witness real moms making it happen. I would love to start a workout group in my area. I feel like I can do it with my crazy life and 6 kids than anyone can.

Follow Nicole on Instagram here:  @nicole_renee82

Nicole Lewis


Nicole Lewis1