Current Food Faves

IMG_1260[1]Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend.  We sure did.  We got to spend time with family and friends which is always the best.  

Lately I have been trying to incorporate new foods and snack items into my daily meals to change it up a bit.  I am usually a creature of habit but lately I have been getting bored with the same meals and snacks.  I thought I would share some of the new things that I have been trying lately that I love.  So here are a few of my latest food finds.  

  1. Naked PB and Naked Protein Powder.  It is so hard to find a good protein powder that is clean and dairy free.  So I bought the sample pack of Naked Protein Powder and all of the dairy free options were really good.  I tried the goat, rice, and pea.  They were all unflavored.  I added them to my smoothies and my banana oat pancake recipe.  The verdict=I would definitely buy this again.  I am actually going to buy the Naked Pea protein in vanilla and chocolate.  
  2. Organic Black Bean Spaghetti.  This stuff is amazing!!!!!  One serving has 180 calories, 2 grams fat, 17 carbohydrates, and a whopping 25 grams of protein.  The thickness is similar to an angel hair pasta, the taste is not strong and very subtle.  I was expecting a bean taste, but there really wasn’t.  We had it with sautéed shrimp in olive oil and herbs.  It really soaked up the flavor.  Next time I will try it with a traditional spaghetti sauce.  Even my hubby the pasta lover in the family liked it!  The verdict=definitely buy again.  
  3. Crio Bru brewed cocoa.  I am trying to limit my caffeine intake, which is really hard!  I usually only drink 2 cups a day, but I am trying to cut back to one cup.  So based on the advice given from my naturopath I tried this coffee alternative.   Surprisingly it has a similar taste to coffee without the caffeine.  According to the packaging “Crio Bru is the ultimate superfood, a delicious all-natural coffee alternative made from the finest fair trade cocoa beans, roasted and ground and brewed just like coffee. But unlike coffee, it’s 99% caffeine free, high in antioxidants and theobromine for a focused, Honest Energy™ boost that will keep you feeling great all day, without jitters or sleeplessness.”  The taste is similar  to a very dark chocolate.  The Verdict=It’s good, but I am not sure I would drink it a lot.  I may just stick to one cup of coffee if I can.
  4. Kirkland Protein Bars.  These I cannot eat due to the whey protein but I am writing this on behalf of my hubby.  These are almost identical to a Quest Bar in taste and texture.  The only difference is that these are sweetened with stevia and there are only 2 flavor options.  Cookie dough, my hubbys fave and chocolate brownie.  They are also a ton cheaper.  Under $1 a bar.  Quest bars are usually $2-$3 a bar.  I soooo wish I could eat these!!!  The Verdict=Buying these for the hubby for sure!
  5. Humm Kombucha in Pomegranate Lemonade.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE kombucha.  I even tried to  make it once but that didn’t go very well.  So I am back to buying it.  Here in Boise we can get growlers of Humm Kombucha filled up and it is much cheaper than buying it in the bottle.  If you don’t know what kombucha is it is a fermented sweet tea.  It’s a nice alternative to drinking sparkling water, tea, or other sweetened beverages and it’s good for you.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, probiotics, and B vitamins.  My new favorite flavor is pomegranate lemonade, it is so refreshing for summer.  I also love lemon ginger and my daughter’s love coconut lime.  The Verdict=love this flavor and I will keep buying it for sure!

I just wanted to share with you a few of my faves right now. I am NOT getting paid to endorse any of these items (I wish)!  Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.  I love to hear new snack ideas and foods that other people are trying. 

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Tips for Staying Active and Healthy on Vacation

Tips For Staying Healthy and

It’s almost 4th of July and with summer many of us are going to be heading out on vacation. I know our family has a few weekend getaways as well as a trip to Hawaii coming up.  When I am on vacation I try to keep my healthy lifestyle and stay on track with my eating.  I know it can be difficult,  but I feel so much better when I do.  Many people including me think of a vacation as a time to skip their workouts, eat junk food and stray from their current diet (the kinds of food that a person typically eats).  This recently happened to me on a weekend getaway.  I went a little crazy and ate a lot of sugar, drank a lot of wine and ate a ton of stuff I usually don’t eat.  Yes it tasted yummy at the time, but I paid for it later.  My sleep was off for a few days, my stomach hurt, and my workouts were sluggish the next week.  This was a good reminder for me that on my next trip I am going to try to stick to my usual routine when possible.  Here are a few ideas to help you stay on track when you are on your next vacation.

  • Try a new class.  My hotel in Hawaii has yoga on the Lanai.  I am totally going to try that!  Many hotels offer classes or you may be able to get a pass to a local gym near your hotel.  
  • Try something active you have never done before like hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, beach volleyball or whatever you can find that is near where you are staying.  We will be going to Hawaii so those are just a few things we found.  We are going to take on the Koko Head stairs, which is going to be quite the challenge.  
  • Stay in a hotel with a kitchenette or a vacation home that has a kitchen.  You will be able to hit the local grocery store and prepare a lot of your foods at the hotel.  
  • Get the entire family involved if you are on a family vacation.  Find activities that the entire family can do.  
  • Workout!  Take advantage of the hotel gym or take your workout outside.  I always throw in a set of resistance bands and have a few workouts downloaded on my iPad to use or adjust as needed.  Get your workout out-of-the-way early so you don’t have to worry about it later!
  • When eating out (which you will) try to select healthy options.  I like to do my research before I got out-of-town and find restaurants with healthy options that can accommodate my food intolerance (gluten and dairy).  A lot of restaurants now show calorie counts on the menu so that will help you be more aware of what you are eating.
  • Be aware of sneaky drink calories!  This may be hard for me when I see all those yummy fruity pool side drinks like a Mai Tai!  Choose lighter options like wine, light beer or sparkling water with lime or diet fresca with vodka.  Don’t forget to drink a lot of water too!
  • Just because you have a free breakfast buffet or free cocktail hour at the hotel doesn’t mean you need to go overboard.
  • It’s ok to indulge, you are on vacation!  However, don’t overindulge because you may pay for it later.  Make your indulgence worth it!!!!
  • Enjoy your surroundings, if you are next to the beach and can run on the beach do it!
  • Avoid airport food!  Take your own food on the airplane for long trips or for road trips.  I pack things like fruit, trail mix, instant oatmeal, PB & J, Jerky, and protein bars.  

This is my go to hotel room workout when I need a quick workout before starting my day.  It can also be done quietly (or I try to be) since my darling daughters are usually asleep nearby.  

Hotel Room Workout

  • Warm Up (3 Minutes)
  • Body Weight Squats
  • Heel Jacks or Jumping Jacks (louder)
  • Toe Touches
  • Walkouts
  • Arm Circles Forward and Reverse

Compete each of the following exercises for 30 seconds.  Repeat 1-3 times or more if you have more time.

Walk Out with Reach or Regular Burpees

Squat with Alternating Front Kicks

  • Mountain Climbers
  • Alternating Curtsy Lunges
  • Squat with a Calf Raise or Squat Jump  
  • Push Ups
  • High Knees
  • Right Side Hip Ups
  • Left Side Hip Ups
  • Skaters  
  • Tricep Dips
  • Bicycle Crunches

Always take time to cool down and stretch.

Hotel Workout (2)Here is a short video demonstrating the exercises:

It isn’t really hard to stay on track while on vacation if you prepare in advance, do your research, use moderation and stay active.   I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend!  

Thursday Arms, Abs, Buns and Cardio Workout

I hope you guys are having an awesome week.  We have had a busy one but it has been fun.  We have been eating frozen yogurt, watching movies, swimming and hanging out with friends.  I just love the summer time.   I started my morning bright and early teaching my boot camp class.  I had a few new gals in my class today which is always great.  I love getting new members to try my classes and I hope they continue to come back.  This morning’s workout was a good one.  The focus was on upper body, core and glutes with cardio bursts mixed in.  I will definitely be feeling all the core tomorrow.  After my workout I made another one of my smoothie bowls that I am addicted to.  This time I got a picture!   IMG_1122

You can make smoothie bowls with just about anything.  I typically see what  have in the pantry or fridge and go from there.  I always include my protein powder and green vibrance or some type of greens to get my day started out right!  I hope you guys enjoy the day and give this workout a try.   Continue reading “Thursday Arms, Abs, Buns and Cardio Workout”

Tips For Drinking More Water

Tips To Drink More Water

How are you guys!  Can we talk about drinking water and hydration for a bit?  THIS IS SO HARD FOR ME!!!!  I will admit I just don’t like the taste of plain water.  It’s going to be in the upper 90’s this week and that means hot and sweaty workouts!  Am I the only one who struggles to drink water?  Especially during the school year.  When you are a teacher with a tiny bladder and bathroom breaks are slim to none it’s tough to drink a lot of water during the school day.  Since it is summer though I have been really focusing on drinking more water.  I think sometimes we focus too much on trying to get the standard 8 glasses of water in each day and don’t focus on what OUR bodies need.  I think it is different for everyone.  I am a heavy sweater during my workouts so my body needs more water.  There are so many benefits of water and I am sure you have heard them all but I notice when I am not drinking enough water my skin looks terrible, I have low energy, I get bloated and sometimes I get headaches.  So here are a few things I have been trying to do this summer to get more water in.

  1. Drink flavor infused water.  I like lemons, limes, cucumbers, and mint.  So good!  
  2. Set a goal, for example my goal is to drink 1 full water bottle by lunch time.  Then another by dinner and one with my workouts. 
  3. Always have your water bottle with you wherever you go.  
  4. Drink your water early in the day!  Don’t try to drink too much water before bed unless you want to be up all night!
  5. Add electrolytes to your water if you are working out in the heat.  I like Nuun Tablets or Emergen C.

What are your tips for drinking more water?  I would love to hear them so comment below and let me know so I can give them a try.  Have a great Monday and if you are in Boise stay cool!

Can you boost your metabolism?

Tips To Speed Rev Up Your MeatabolismHi Everyone!  Recently I was having a conversation with my dad regarding losing weight and working out.  After talking with his doctor, he has recently decided to lose some weight and start a new healthier lifestyle.  I am so excited to help him out with this process.  One of the questions he had for me was about metabolism.  He asked me how to boost his metabolism especially since he is getting older (mid 50’s) this is an area he is struggling with.  This was such a great question.  So I set out to do a little research and help him and all of my readers too. A lot of this information I learned in my fitness certification courses and some of my continuing education courses as well.  

Tips To Boost Your Metabolism

  1. Get Enough Sleep
  2. Eat A Good Breakfast (carbs, protein and fats)
  3. Strength Train
  4. Reduce Stress
  5. Eat Clean Unprocessed Organic Foods
  6. Increase your protein intake
  7. Add interval training into your workouts
  8. Drink a lot of water
  9. Drink Green Tea

Causes For Slow Metabolism

  1. Eating Processed Foods
  2. Too Much Alcohol
  3. Skipping Meals (especially breakfast) or Not Eating Enough
  4. Not getting enough sleep
  5. Dehydration
  6. Skipping Workouts

*Disclaimer:  I am not a nutritionist or registered dietician.  These are just my tips and suggestions.  I always suggest working with your doctor or Naturopath prior to starting anything new in your diet or a new workout program.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! 

 

 

 

 

Low Impact HIIT Workout

Happy Hump Day!  I got the chance to sub for another instructor at the gym yesterday and I love her class.  They are so much fun!  However, her class is a lot different than my insane boot campers!  It is a low impact strength and conditioning class.  Just because a class is low impact doesn’t mean it isn’t a good workout!  This is a great low impact workout that is still tough but will be easier on your joints and require less jumping or plyometric moves.  I got a great workout  and it is always nice to try something a little different.  This workout combines strength training and cardio burst intervals.  Give it a try.   

Warm Up (5 Minutes)

For the warm up you can warm up with a brisk walk or easy jog on the treadmill, elliptical or bike.  Or you can do a combination of dynamic warm up moves.  I like to do a combination of dynamic exercises for 30 seconds each.  Here are a few suggestions:  bodyweight squats, lunges, jacks, jog or march in place, butt kickers, high knees, toe touches, walk outs, or push ups.  These will get your body warmed up and your muscles loose so that you will be ready for  the workout.

After the warm up you will complete each exercise in the circuit at maximum intensity for 30 seconds rest for 10 seconds if needed. Complete 2-3 rounds. 

Low Impact

Always be sure to cool down and stretch following any workout.  Right now I am trying to incorporate more stretching into my workouts and it is feeling really good!  

After my workout  I had a great smoothie  bowl.  I don’t know about you guys but I like to eat my smoothies rather than drink them really fast.  I have been addicted to smoothie bowls lately.  Here is what I had today it was yummy.  Feel free to adjust to your taste.  

Blueberry Almond Smoothie Bowl

  • ½ of a frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup of non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 scoop green vibrance or a handful of greens like spinach or kale

Add all the ingredients to your blender. To get a thick smoothie you will need to use a high-powered blender like a Vitamix.  Once it is blended and has a thick consistency (like soft serve ice cream) scoop it out into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings like fresh fruit, chia seeds, chopped almonds, unsweetened coconut, or granola.  I topped mine with this yummy granola that tastes like a peanut butter cookie.  I seriously love all of her recipes!!!!

http://www.pbfingers.com/2011/06/14/peanut-butter-granola/

Just remember to go easy on the toppings they can add up in calories.  I prefer to measure mine out for portion control.  

On another note, I really need to start taking more pictures of my food!  Next time I promise!

Summer Break and Kale Salad!!!!

All  of my teacher friends know how valuable summer break is.  We all look forward to it and we are always very refreshed when we head back to school in the fall.  Today was my first day of summer break and it was great!  It started off with a quiet run with my dog.  The weather was beautiful and the sun was rising. After that I got to take my daughters to school since they still had one more day.  I always enjoy taking them to school since I don’t get to do it very often.  I cannot believe a year has flown by since I was dropping them off on the first day of school. 

IMG_0955[1]IMG_0956[1]

After that the hubby and I went down to our favorite winery the Teleya Winery in Boise to sit on the beautiful patio and enjoy some wine tastings while listening to the rushing Boise River.  We love the wine and the atmosphere.  Continue reading “Summer Break and Kale Salad!!!!”

Banana Oat Protein Pancakes Recipe

Hi guys, I hope you are having a great week.  I am totally looking forward to the weekend.  I made the best pancakes today in my Vitamix blender.  I basically just threw in a bunch of ingredients hoping it would turn out ok and it was delicious!  These were very filling too.  I would say it makes about 2 servings but today I was extra hungry after my workout so I gobbled all of these up with some peanut butter on top.  I was not hungry at all until lunch.  Now, it does make about 4 pancakes, so you do not have to eat them all like I did!  Unfortunately I didn’t have time this morning to take a pic of them but I am planning to make more this weekend and keep them in the fridge for the week. 

 

Banana Oat Protein Pancakes
Serves 1
Gluten Free Protein Pancakes
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Cook Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Ripe Banana
  2. 1/2 Cup Egg Whites
  3. 1 Scoop Protein Powder
  4. 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Oatmeal
  5. 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour onto a griddle or pan and cook until golden brown over medium to low heat. These can burn easy so be sure to watch them closely.
Notes
  1. Top with Greek yogurt and berries or your favorite nut butter and a drizzle of honey (optional).
http://4livingthewrightway.com/

Quick, Healthy and Easy Breakfast Ideas

breakfast ideasHappy Friday everyone.  I am definitely looking forward to the weekend and of course Mother’s Day.  One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast!  Most of the time I work out super early in the morning so I am starving by breakfast time.  If you need some inspiration or want to change  your typical breakfast I thought I would share some of my favorite breakfast meals and recipes with you.  I am in no way a chef!  I like to watch cooking shows, but I don’t consider myself a gourmet cook.  These are some of my favorite breakfast recipes that I make and from around the web that are not only healthy but quick and delicious as well.  Check them out!  Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!!!!!

3 Ingredient Pancakes

There are a lot of recipes for these out there.  I personally like to mix 1 ripe banana, 2 eggs or egg whites, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour and cinnamon.  I cook them long and slow in some coconut oil spray.  The seem to do better for me on a lower heat for a longer amount of time.  Top them off with some nut butter, Greek yogurt, or fresh fruit and you have a yummy breakfast.  You can easily make a double batch of these and keep them in the fridge for the week.

Overnight Oats:  This is one of my favorite recipes.  I love a lot of the recipes on her blog!  Overnight Oatshttp://www.oatmealwithafork.com/2013/09/02/peanut-butter-cookie-dough-overnight-oats-dairy-free/

 

 

Kodiak Cakes:  This is a pre-mixed box pancake mix.  While I usually try to make my own pancake mix this is a convenient option.  This is a pretty clean mix.  100% whole grain wheat and oat flour and they have 7 grams of protein per serving.  I just saw that they have new flavors coming out:  Chocolate, Crunchy Peanut Butter and a Gluten Free Option.  I can’t wait to try the peanut butter!  I buy a giant box of this at Costco! http://www.kodiakcakes.com/mixes/

Eggs and Avocado Toast:  Super simple and quick.  Eggs cooked however you like with some toast topped with a dollop of mashed avocado, sea salt, and cracked pepper.  If you like spice, you can sprinkle a bit of hot sauce on top too.  My fave!

Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls:  You can’t go wrong with a smoothie. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Maca Superfood Powder

 

Breakfast Burrito:  My hubby makes these for our daughters and they are easy to store in the refrigerator for a quick healthy breakfast.  He likes to make them using egg whites or whole eggs, turkey sausage, cheese and veggies.  You can customize these any way you like and they will be delicious.

Baked Oatmeal:  I love oatmeal in general but to make it easier and quicker I whip up a batch of baked oatmeal and eat it throughout the week.  This is my favorite recipe.  Sorry I don’t have a picture I ate it too fast before taking a photo!

Apple Blueberry Baked Protein Oatmeal

⅓ cup        Egg whites

½ cup       Unsweetened applesauce

2 ¼ cup    Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 scoop     Protein powder (vanilla or unflavored)

1 tsp         Vanilla extract

4 cups      Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats

1 cup        Blueberries

Liquid Stevia to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the egg whites, applesauce, almond milk, protein powder and vanilla extract until combined.  If you choose to use stevia whisk that in as well.  Stir in oats until well combined.  Fold in blueberries gently.  Spread mixture into baking dish and bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes until set.  Store in the refrigerator or freeze individual portions for a quick and easy breakfast.

201 Calories    3.6 grams fat    33.5 grams of carbs  9.1 grams of protein *these numbers are approximate, I entered them in to myfitness pal.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  If you have a breakfast you love please feel free to comment and share.  I am always looking for new yummy ideas.

 

How to sleep better: My tips and tricks

happy birthday to you

Can we talk about sleep for a minute?  I have been really struggling for the past month or so with my sleep.  March was a rough month.  There were nights when I was barely getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night.  This is not healthy for anyone especially if you have a past history of seizures.  I tried taking some natural treatment like calms forte and melatonin, but these did not work for me.  So I had to resort to a sleeping aid to get my body back on track (doctor’s orders).  I do not like taking any type of medication, so this was a struggle for me.  Now that I am back on track with my sleep I am going to work on better sleep hygiene.  It’s just like working out, it’s something we need to do for our bodies and minds. Here are some tips and suggestions if you have trouble sleeping or bouts of insomnia.

First off relax!  If you are like me and you have a few nights of no sleep you can easily get anxious or stressed out.  Just relax.  If you always associate negative feelings with going to sleep and worry that you may not be able to sleep it will keep you awake.  Try writing in your journal before bed, listening to mediation guides (I love sleep ezy tonight on youtube), or pray.

I take some supplements to help me sleep as well.  Magnesium supplements can help the calm your nerves and lessen anxiety.  I take my supplement Magnesium Glycinate about 1 hour prior to going to bed.  It can also help with muscle soreness.  If you prefer you can take an Epsom salt bath with some lavendar essential oils to increase your magnesium.

Limit caffeine.  This is a big one for me.  I cannot even have decaf coffee after a certain point in the day.  I make sure I drink my coffee before 10 am.  I am very strict about this.   I only drink two cups per day.

Eat!  Don’t go to bed hungry. However, don’t eat a large meal too close to bedtime.   If you are hungry eat something small before bed that contains tryptophan.  Like turkey slices, eggs, or sip warm milk.  I like to steam a cup of almond milk with some cinnamon and turmeric and sip on that before bed if I am still hungry.

Exercise.  Be sure you are getting enough exercise.  Include a variety of daily exercise including interval training, strength training, yoga and walking.

Make your room a comfortable sleep environment.  If I get too hot I cannot sleep, so I keep my room cool.  The ideal temperature is between 60-67 degrees.  I prefer 64 degrees.  Use blackout curtains if your room is too light and make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillows.

Get some down time.  For me I have to have at least an hour before bed for some down time to just relax and so something to calm your mind and body.  Maybe you watch HGTV like I do or maybe you read a book.  Do what you need to do to wind down before bed.

One last note about technology.  Try to avoid using technology too close to bed.  Stay off your computer and your phone if you can.

One last thing (I really need to work on this one)!  If you can’t sleep get up and go to another room and try to relax.  Maybe read a book, meditate, or make a list of what is on your mind.  If you lay in bed and stare at the clock you will just become anxious and stressed and then you really will have trouble falling asleep.

I am still working on a lot of these areas in my own life.  I hope that these tips will help you get a good night’s sleep!

Of course I am not a doctor and these are merely tips and suggestions that work for me.  Always seek your doctor’s advice before starting any type of supplements or sleep aids.