Allergic to Bananas and Avocados? Here’s Your Smoothie Hack—and It’s Delicious!

I have a few friends that are really into smoothies.  Like they would invite you to grab a smoothie over coffee.  I know, crazy!

Unfortunately for me, I have a banana and avocado allergy, which pretty much makes smoothie consumption impossible.  There just aren’t that many choices that don’t contain one or both of these elusive fruits.  I mean–how is it that every freaking smoothie out there has avocado or banana or both?!

The two are actually linked allergy-wise.  Both contain similar proteins. Apparently, it’s pretty common to have a banana and/or avocado allergy, but I’ve yet to meet another person in my circle of friends or my city, that shares my struggle.

If you’re not sure if you’re allergic to avocados or bananas, here are some signs to look out for:

  1. When you eat bananas or avocados you get a nasty headache–that’s how it all started for me when I was about 19.  This type of allergy can often develop later in life.
  2. When you consume either avocado or banana, it feels like aliens are fighting in your stomach.  The worst!
  3. You vomit … everywhere.  Double worst.
  4. And the scariest … you go into anaphylaxis.  Your throat starts to close.  You get hives or experience itchiness on your hands and face.  Your cheeks turn red or purple.

I’ve experienced all of these signs of allergic reaction.  It’s really important to be careful and recognize the signs of an allergic reaction.  My first symptoms were headaches from eating bananas at breakfast in college.  More recently, when I turned 40, I ate deviled eggs made with avocado oil and went into anaphylaxis–I had to save my own life, which was less than awesome.  It seems like a lot of restaurants are using avocado oil to prepare food, so beware!  I’ve seen many posts on Instagram and in blogs that talk about how to beat an avocado or banana allergy–please be careful!  My personal experience with this allergy is that it has progressively gotten worse, not better with age.

But back to smoothie eating …  in my attempt to eat more healthy, fresh foods, I decided to be more consistent with eating breakfast.  I own two boutique fitness studios and my life is really active keeping up with my employees, my business, and my family.  I’m not usually hungry when I wake up and by the time I am hungry later in the morning, it’s almost lunch, so I wait to eat then.  Not the best way to start the day!

So, I thought … I need a breakfast that’s easy to prepare and portable.  And, of course, it has to taste amazing.  Thus … smoothies!

What’s a busy #girlboss to do?  Make a plan and work that plan!  I researched cookbooks and websites for easy breakfast ideas and tasty smoothies.  I was so excited to find the Simply Real Health Cookbook, written by Sarah Adler.  Check out her website and love, love her Instagram @simplyrealhealth

With all the great smoothie recipes in my Simply Real Health Cookbook, I wanted to give breakfast its due—plus running out the door with a smoothie I could consume as I went about my morning seemed like a good breakfast comprise.  There was just one problem … EVERY SMOOTHIE RECIPE HAD AVOCADO AND BANANA.  Dammit.

So, how to substitute banana and avocado?  Well, I realized if the recipe called for ½ cup banana and ½ cup avocado, I could substitute cashews (1 cup) and blend with all the other ingredients for the same consistency and taste.  And the best part is, I’m not substituting something processed or full of sugar.  Victory!

Pro tip: If you use a high-speed blender like Vitamix, you don’t need to soak the cashews overnight.  Just blend until all ingredients are smooth and flowing freely.  If your blender isn’t super-powerful–get a Vitamix!  Or, you could soak the cashews overnight in a bowl of filtered water.  Totally fine, but you do have to be on the ball and plan ahead the night before.

I love that Sarah Adler, recommends changing your smoothie at least seasonally so you can use the freshest ingredients and not get bored with your healthy morning routine.

Good advice.  I try to change mine each week–I get enough ingredients for 1 week at a time, which makes for efficient grocery shopping, but I’m still switching it up so I don’t get into that dreaded breakfast rut.

So there you go, enjoy your smoothie even if you can’t eat bananas or avocados!  You will no longer be left behind at breakfast.

Check out more of my tried and true smoothie recipes free of avocado and banana.  I’ve also learned how to make avocado-less guacamole (faux guac).  I call it fuacamole!  Yes, it is amazing and will change your avocado and banana-free life.  #forreal

Get my smoothie and fuacamole recipes and live your best Avocado and Banana-Free Life.  Learn more about my Avocado and Banana-Free Life here.

Follow me on Instagram @shesonhertoes to learn what I’m making each week that’s avocado and banana-free.


What’s been Holding You Back? Solve that Problem to Help Your Clients

It’s often said that the best businesses solve problems that matter or that our biggest problems are the source of our biggest opportunities.  What if solving the biggest problem you face personally—I mean, right now—tackling your biggest life problem at this exact moment, was the key to providing an amazing experience for your clients?

Now that I’ve owned my Pure Barre studios for five years, I’ve realized that the best businesses not only solve big problems, but they evolve to continue to be relevant for their clients as new problems surface.  When you first open your business, you’re in the Initial Problem Phase.  You’re solving an identified problem for your new clients.  For me, it was offering an amazing, high-quality barre class since no barre classes of our quality and consistency were available in Winston-Salem, NC.  And that’s been fun.  Building that community of women has been extremely rewarding.

But now, we seem to be entering into the Follow-On Problem Phase—just offering a great barre class isn’t enough.  My clients want to incorporate overall health and wellness into their fitness routine.  They want more variety of classes including cardio and they want to eat and live better.  Basically, they want it ALL.  And come to think of it … so do I.  I want to eat better, have more of a variety of workouts, and live a better life.  Who doesn’t?  What if solving my own problem is the key to moving my business into its next phase?

A few months ago, I came to the realization that most of our studio events were stale and getting boring.  We were in a rut of doing the same events each month and clients were no longer showing the same level of enthusiasm to participate.  What to do?!  If any of you regularly plan events to keep your clients engaged and returning to your business on a regular basis, you know that developing something new can be difficult and time-consuming.  It’s also nerve-racking because you never really know if clients will embrace your ideas until you announce them.  Furthermore, if we were entering into the Follow-On Problem Phase, what exactly was the new problem my team and I were trying to solve?

The biggest problem I am personally trying to overcome is being consistent with my classes and eating better food.  I’ve written how I started the Whole30 and when I finished those grueling 30 days, I felt awesome and didn’t really want to go back to eating like I had been.  Ok, I was totally ready for a Corona or 4, but that was about it.

When you’re single, cooking for one can be less than exciting.  It’s really easy to get into a rut of making the same things or throwing random leftovers together because it seems like a waste of time to prepare a proper meal for just one person.  But that’s so bad—because often time eating for one involves prepared or processed foods that aren’t that great for you and can zap your energy making working out seem like a chore.  It’s a bad cycle to get into—especially for someone trying to lead a fitness community.  Finding Sarah Adler and her website and blog, Simply Real Health ( has been perfect for me.  The blog is full of great ideas, recipes and pictures.  The cookbook of the same name, Simply Real Health is also amazing ($39.95).  I’ve tried almost all the recipes and started eating breakfast more consistently after trying the smoothies.

But what I’m the biggest fan of are the seasonal meal plans.  I just bought Spring and right now, you can download a free 3-day sample meal plan to try out.  The Spring Meal Plan was about $100 and includes 4 weeks of recipes for every single meal.  There are also some great bonus items including healthy snacks, great side dishes to incorporate if you’re having friends over, and a guide to healthy choices in restaurants.  It’s perfect for me because each week I get a complete grocery list, head to the store knowing exactly what I’ll need to make all of my meals each day, and I’m good to go for the week.  Oh, and the best part … everything tastes amazing and is easy to prepare.  Thanks to Sarah Adler and Simply Real Health, my healthy eating problem was solved!  So of course, I had to pass on this gold to all my clients and thus the Pure Health Challenge was born!

As I mentioned before, our events seemed stale and uninspiring. We had just been recycling them from previous years.  It was time to shake things up and drill down to what really mattered most to me and my clients—a total health experience.  Here’s what we came up with and what we’ll be doing in my studios for all of June and July. That’s right!  60 days of Pure Health!

  1. First, we decided that we’d need a baseline to know where we all are with our health. My chiropractor, Dr. Gray, has this body composition analysis machine called, InBody.  We partnered with him to bring InBody to the studios in the beginning of June for every Pure Health Challenge participant to get an assessment including weight, muscle mass, fat mass, water, hydration level and many other indicators to know where they were at the beginning of the Challenge.  After 6 weeks, Dr. Gray will come back to the studio with InBody to measure everyone’s progress.  We’ll literally be able to quantify all of the work completed during the Challenge.  Exciting stuff!
  2. Of course, everyone gets the Simply Real Health cookbook to start planning healthy and tasty meals.
  3. During the Challenge, we’re asking everyone to take 4 classes each week. This seems reasonable and doable.  If you complete 4 classes each week, you’ll earn a small reward from Pure Barre or our other partners, Village Juice and Kleur Shop.  If you don’t complete the 4 classes, just reset the next week.    But, sometimes just starting is the hardest part, so we’re partnering with Kleur Shop to host an evening to talk about what’s holding us back from committing to working out like we know we should.
  4. At Pure Barre, we have special Intensive classes which take our clients further out of their comfort zone to target specific areas of the body and do some exciting new things we wouldn’t normally work in a regular class. Everyone participating in the Pure Health Challenge will have the opportunity to take our Strength & Balance Intensive in June and the Full Body Burn Intensive in July.  Sweat!
  5. And what Challenge calendar wouldn’t be complete with an outdoor Pop Up class?! We’ll have an amazing pop up at Village Juice the morning of Sunday, June 25th and get some great juice and healthy snacks after.
  6. Finally, one of my favorite restaurants in Winston, Spring House, agreed to create a Paleo Happy Hour for all Pure Health Challenge participants at the end of July.  Thanks Chef Tim and Elizabeth for letting us celebrate our good health!

Coordinating all these activities was a huge undertaking, so I’m glad I have my Team to help me.  I’ve never been more excited for anything at the studios!  Figuring out how to solve my own problem of consistently taking class and eating healthy, good food brought about this amazing program of events that will benefit the hundreds of women taking class at the studios this summer.  Going forward all of our events and programming will seek to provide a better understanding of total health—until we reach our next Follow-On Problem Phase.

If you’re local to the area, stop by the studio and learn more about our Pure Health Challenge.  If not, check out the links to Simply Real Health and start the workout you like best in your area.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my newest life hack—how to make a smoothie without bananas or avocados.  I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes smoothie consumption pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Simply Real Health Cookbook ($39.95)

Simply Real Health Free 3-Day Sample Spring Meal Plan


My New Favorite Food Blog & Cookbook: Simply Real Health

One of the paradoxes of owning and operating a fitness business is that you often times don’t have time to focus on your own health.  Crazy, I know.

But as every business owner knows, your day is so over-scheduled and you’re constantly on the go or solving problems that emerge from out of nowhere, that you just settle for grabbing food on the go or eating what’s most convenient and easy to shove in your mouth.

I recently found a new food blog that I love: Sara Adler’s 

You can check out the Simply Real Health cookbook ($39.95) as well.

I love the philosophy behind what Sara Adler is all about—making healthy eating easy, simple and a part of your life that you do without thinking about it.  Adler is all about making the commitment to health and then making good choices to get there.  She is about community and inviting your friends and family to help you.  The recipes are great, flavorful and pretty easy.  Since you are eating “real” food, everything tastes amazing, you eat more of a variety of foods.  I’m actually looking forward to cooking now.  And you don’t have to give up the occasional cocktail.  Bonus!

Since all of the recipes in Simply Real Health are gluten-free—and I did love eating my weight in pasta—I invested in a vegetable spiralizer.  It’s so fun and easy to use.

OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Spiralizer with StrongHold Suction ($39.95):  The suction holds the device to your counter, which is really handy because it does take some muscle to make these veggie noodles.

This is my favorite veggie noodle recipe from Pinch of Yum blog, Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles with Cashew Sauce. The sauce is so good—the cashews make this amazing cream sauce.  Any leftovers keep well for lunch the next day.  You’re welcome!

I’m still working on my topics for next week, so if you have any suggestions or need help with a specific area of your business, let me know and I’ll incorporate it into my next posts.

Until then, stay on your toes!