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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Learn Something New Everyday

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G’ morning, ladies (& gentleman?) You know, I conside myself a fairly educated individual as far as health and nutrition, mainly because I read about it all the time.  I didn’t think I was going to get much out of the whole “Thrive In 30” program, to be totally honest.  Not because I know it ALL, but because I thought it was to teach people who don’t know the basics how to eat…you know, the typical “eat your fruits and vegetables” deal.

Then, I read yesterday’s lesson.  Sure, I knew that these foods were good for you, but what I didn’t know was that our pH levels were so pertinant to our overall bodily functions!

The good news?   You can incorporate all kinds of foods into your diet to enhance your pH levels Check it out:

Good thing I’m in love with most of these foods!  I eat them on a daily basis, actually (:

Here are some foods you’ll want to minimize in your diet:

One thing from this list that really stuck out at me, was whey protein!  Many of the other foods, I rarely eat, so they wouldn’t affect me too much, but I have at least one whey protein shake per day!  And PEANUT flour.  Daily need.  Oh yeah, and prescription drugs.  Levothyroxine for my thyroid function!  Yikes.

Anyway, now that I’m back from the weekend at the beach, here’s what I’ve doing & eating:

Basketball open gyms are a once-a-week occurance on Tuesday nights at my Alumni.  I love going back to play, and it’s cool that we can make it a family affair now, since my Dad is an assistant coach & my youngest sister will be a freshman!

I love that the sun doesn’t set until after 8pm this time of year.  Long, summer days are going to come to an end way too quickly for my taste ❤

On days that I don’t have basketball scheduled, you can find me at the YMCA slaving away on the elliptical.  I’ve been starting to run on the treadmill again at the beginning of my workout, just to do some intervals and get my heart rate up.  Then Jarid comes to meet me and we do abs together. 

We usually end with a nice little stroll around the neighborhood, which in my opinion is the perfect cool down. 

I don’t like to workout on a full stomach, so lately, I’ve been roasting veggies before I leave, refrigerating them, and then chowing down when I walk in the door.  This batch was zucchini, orange peppers, green beans, broccoli, and onions sprayed with PAM and roasted for about 35 min at 530º sprinkled with salt, pepper, and onion & herb Mrs. Dash.

One last thing that I can’t get enough of right now is VitaminWater Zero – Squeezed.  It’s like the perfect summertime drink.  Sweet lemonade ❤  I could sip on these ALL day…

Jarid is leaving me for the weekend.  I’m not sure what I’m going to occupy my time with…any suggestions?  I think a friend & I might go see a movie or something Saturday night…I’ll also be in attendance at the Phillies game tomorrow night! (:

Okay, Three Question Thursday:

1. What’s your favorite chain restaurant & what do you like to order there?
I’d have to go with Ruby Tuesday’s.  Bangin’ salad bar.

 2. What’s your go-to zero calorie drink of choice?
(see above :))

3. What’s your favorite workout these days? Sports?  Yoga? Running?

I’d have to go with basketball.

XO.

The Protein Bakery Review & Giveaway!

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Being a healthy living blogger, it’s a rare occasion that you find brownies, blondies, and cookies that you can incorporate into a  “clean” eating plan and feel good about.  You all know what I mean…somehow, those “fat-free” versions that we try to replace the REAL thing with never really satisfy us…that, or they taste like the cardboard box that they come in. 

When I heard about all the hype about The Protein Bakery, I had to see for myself.  I’m a bit of a pessimist, sometimes 😉 

I mean, how can a DELICIOUS brownie, blondie or cookie have enumeration like this?

I’ll tell you how…

  • They’re wheat free, because they grind up rolled oats to bake the treats, which in turn adds dietary fiber!
  • They use HIGHEST QUALITY (the purest whey protein isolate), all-natural ingredients without preservatives or additives.
  •  They produce all of their products in SMALL batches, so they’re always sent to the customers FRESH.

The best part is, these are pretty much the ONLY baked goods that would totally fit into my THRIVE IN 30 plan

The creator himself is pretty impressive, too! 

Like he says in his intro, the Protein Bakery makes 6 different brownie flavors, 3 blondie flavors, and 12 cookie flavors! Here is where I rant and rave about my favorites 🙂

#1 on my list was the Coconut Walnut Blondie.

 

First and foremost, I know some of you HATE the word “moist“, but there is just no other way to describe the dense, fudgy texture of these phenomonal baked goodies.  I’m not a fan of more “cakey” and light , so these fit the bill quite well….ALMOST gooey ❤ 

 

Granted, there are 300 calories in each brownie, but let me tell you, if you can eat the whole thing at once, I’ll be impressed.  They are MASSIVE in size.  When sitting in my palm, the corners were OFF of my hand.  Not to mention, they’re each about an inch thick, no lie. 

#2 favorite, WICKED Mint Brownie.

Yep, I went there.  Anyone who has ever had mint chocolate chip ice cream knows what I’m talking about when I say, chocolate & mint are an exceptional combo.  This brownie takes them to a whole new level of decadence.

ALL recognizeable ingredients.  11g of protein?  In a gourmet brownie?  Believe it.

 Coming in at #3: The Colossal Trail Mix Cookie

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that anyone who claims NOT to love cookies, is a liar 🙂  If they’re serious, they haven’t tried The Protein Bakery’s Colossal Chocolate Cherry or Trail Mix versions.  13g of protein, to boot!

This hearty blend of whey protein, rolled oats, dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and fresh cinnamon will win your heart…if it doesn’t, these bad boys will:

Yes, you could basically classify these as a cordial cherry…only better.  Top quality chocolate chips with dried cherries in a blanket of cocoa-y cookie dough<3

9g of protein?  5g of fiber?  Mmmhmm. Forget the protein shake, and hand me a cookie.

 Now that I’ve got your drooling at your keyboard, I’ll do you a favor and fill you in on where you can pick up some Protein Bakery goods for yourself, cause you better believe I’m not sharing 😉 They are primarily an online bakery, so you can have the treats shipped to you from ANYWHERE.  Just shop online, fill up your basket, and checkout.  They’ll be delivered right to your doorstep.  Orrrr they’ve got a workshop/corporate office at 20 West 20th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues), Suite #309 NY, New York 10011. You can always swing by to pick some up there, but they recommend you call first to make sure they aren’t out on delivery.

NOW, for the FUN part.

Stephen is SO generous, and decided that he’d like to share his creations with you guys, too!  ***Here’s how to enter:

1. Comment on this post telling me which one of the Protein Bakery goods you’d like to try.

2. Become a FAN of the Protein Bakery on Facebook & leave a comment letting me know you have.

3.  Follow the Protein Bakery on Twitter and leave and comment letting me know.

4. Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post.

You’ll win an assortment of 2 brownies/blondies, 2 colossal cookies and 4 cookie 2-packs!  With shipping, the package is worth more than $45.00!

Thanks so much, Stephen for sending some of the products for me to try!  I’m a HUGE fan (:

 

Beach Bums, OCNJ Style.

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We may not always have the picture perfect family relationships, but when it comes down to it, we would do anything for each other

When you live with people, there are bound to be confrontations, especially when you throw family dynamics into the mix.  Fortunately, we have beach trips like the one this weekend to give us a little break from reality and just allow us to enjoy each others’ company for a little while.

We rented a room for a night at the Tahiti Inn, just off of the Boardwalk at 9th street.

The room was decent, but I was a little disappointed that it didn’t include a microwave.  I brought along some Coach’s Oats to make for breakfasts

Basic, but clean, which in my opinion, is most important. 

The place had a few weird rules, like the fact that the pool closed at 6pm, but in the end, we didn’t spend much time there anyway.

Before we went, I did a little research to get an idea of some boardwalk food that I could cope with.  Unlike my sisters, I couldn’t stomach eating HUGE greasy pieces of pizza (although somedays it looked good!) with cheese fries everyday for lunch.

The Bashful Banana was my saving grace while we were there.  I never thought in a million years that I would be so excited for meals over the course of our stay.  Usually I’m stuck eating the same boring meal, steamed shrimp or grilled chicken & side salads.

See what I mean?  Homemade veggie burgers & hummus, turkey cheese steaks, peanut noodles, and whole grain options?  Heaven sent.

You haven’t even seen their breakfast menu!

Not to mention their delicious case of wholesome baked goods!  No worries about the microwave, because it gave me an excuse to try out their Blueberry Oat Bran, Raisin Carrot Walnut, and Banana Oat Whole Grain muffins made with no refined sugars, and low in calories & carbohydrates.  They had vegan options, too! (<–Can’t wait to go back next year and try the vegan brown rice pudding!)

One day for lunch, Momma FF even came with me!  I was excited to share the experience with her.  Out of all the yummy things SHE would’ve enjoyed on the boardwalk, she chose to try something I liked.  It really meant a lot to me (:

She chose the Mexican pizzaa white tortilla with salsa, onion, black olives, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese under the broiler with some vegetable bean soup.

 While I went with the naked veggie burger (brown rice based) served on mixed greens with tomatoes, homemade hummus, carrots, cucumbers & sprouts with watermelon & honeydew.

With chilled gazpacho soup as an appetizer, complete with celery stick & multi-grain bread (which I skipped because I wanted to save room).  I wish we had been there for more than just the weekend, so I could’ve tried more of their dishes!  Especially breakfast 😉Other highlights during the course of the trip included nights on the boardwalk.Poppa FF, Morgy, & I hit the arcade and had a blast while the kids were doing the rides in the amusement park area. We did some shopping, too.I think this may have been the first trip to the beach that I didn’t purchase a tie-dye t-shirt! Don’t ask me why, but I seem to be drawn to them.

I know, I’m kind of working backward, but I guess I posted the most exciting stuff first, but to rewind a bit, each morning began with a run & a bike ride.

I woke up at my leisure with no alarm and no schedule, which was AMAZING in itself, around 8/8:30am. The boardwalk usually wasn’t TOO busy until I was on my way back to the hotel.

One morning after my 5.5 mile run, the family decided to go on a bideride together.

We went the entire length of the boardwalk (which wasn’t too far – only about 2.5 miles) to a restaurant that Momma FF was a huge fan of.  I think my Godfather introduced her to it, so it was special.

Oves makes their very own apple cider donuts, which are apparently pretty popular.  We got to sit outside and enjoy some iced coffee together while the waitress took care of our meal orders.

Other than the iced coffee, they didn’t have much that appealed to me, and I was really craving peanut flour paste.  Knowing that restaurants don’t always have things you want to eat, you always go prepared (: 

I brought along an empty plastic tub (the little tiny ones that trident white gum comes in!), filled it with one serving of peanut flour, and mixed some at the table.  All I ordered was a banana and I whipped out a La Tortilla Factory whole wheat, low carb wrap to insert the fillings.  Everyone is used to this kind of behavior, so it was more of a joke than anything.

More important than the food was the company.  The sisters loved their cheesy omelette and chocolate chip pancakes! It was a breezy morning, so eating outside on the deck was perfectly relaxing. 

After breakfast & the bike ride back to our place, it was BEACH TIME.

Momma & Poppa FF got to spend some quality time with their goddaughter, too.  They were jumping waves and oblivious to the fact that I was snapping pictures.  Although, it’s kind of expected with the blog and all.

You can bet I wasn’t going to miss out on photo opps with Bowman, either!  His first OC, NJ experience would be fully documented 😉

Momma & baby ❤

Before I knew it, lunchtime rolled around.  It was actually more like 1:30PM when I ventured out to The Bashful Banana for this divine spread.

Homemade hummus with 2 slices of whole grain toast, pita chips (which I nixed- I’d rather have the BREAD), red peppers, green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, & celery (underneath).

I’m pleased to say, my tan from the Outer Banks has FINALLY returned 😀  and more than that, we had a wonderful time together overall.  I love my family and am very grateful that they included me in their trip, regardless of the frustrating posts where I vent about our disagreements, I am extremely blessed to have the family that I do.

With that, Happy Monday, bloggies ❤

XO.

 

 

Shake It, Baby!

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When I first heard about Drink Chia, it was on Meghann’s blogChia seeds hold a special place in the heart most of us, healthy living bloggers, so when I saw that I could get the benefits of them through a delicious, fruit drink, I pretty much swooned.

Since some of you readers may not be in tune to the amazingness of these tiny, black, super seeds, here’s a little background info:

Chia seeds are fabulous for keeping the body hydrated and supplying it with healthy fats.  They’ve even been known to prevent disease and benefit certain medical conditions!

Personally, I love chia seeds and DRINK CHIA particularly for fueling during or before a run. 

It tastes amazing, first and foremost (:  These little miracle bottles come in (soon-to-be) three flavorsHoneysuckle Pear, which was my favorite, Strawberry Citrus, and Mango Tangerine (coming soon).

DRINK CHIA’s ingredients list is super impressive, too.  All organic, all gluten, sodium, cholesterol, and preservative free!  I actually stuck mine in the freezer immediately upon receiving it, because I couldn’t wait to try it!  You can probably drink it warm, but I prefer it iced! 

Check out those awesome stats!  I don’t think it gets much better than that…100% of your B12 & B6 Vitamins and take a look at those OMEGA-3, 6, & 9’s!! Only 4g of sugar, too, which is just enough for stablizing and giving you an energy burst during a workout.

LOVE this stuff.

For some people, it might be weird to get over the texture, because the little seeds throughout the drink gel over (if you’ve ever had chia seeds, you know what I’m talking about), but I LOVE things like pulp in my drinks, so I didn’t mind it.  If you think it would bother you, I would recommend blending the drink into a smoothie!

Check here to see where these DRINK CHIA bottles are available in your area!

What I’ve Been Eating Wednesday

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I know, I know…this is a food blog, so the lack of meal pictures recently is probably a bit of a let down…I promise, I’ll make it up to you with this “What I’ve Been Eating Wednesday“…here we go:

For her birthday, my friend, Mandy and I went out to her restaurant of choice, Hong Kong City. 

I hate that they call steamed shrimp with veggies “special diet food”, but I couldn’t resist ordering it.  This combo from a Chinese place simply can’t be beat. 

broccoli, shrimp, carrots, bamboo shoots, bok choy, water chestnuts, green peppers, and mushrooms with shrimp

I don’t know what makes the difference between their steaming and mine, but the shrimp always turn out to plump up SO big, and the veggies are perfect.

Too full for the cookie, but kept the fortune 😉

It was a fun night with a good friend. 

Lunches, as of late, have been dateless, but delicious.  I didn’t get to share with you all, but JARID was selected for one of the jobs he has been interviewing for!  I couldn’t be prouder (: 

Since we haven’t been going out to lunch, I’ve been throwing a hodge podge of ingredients together…all pretty healthy, might I add.

romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, navy beans, roasted green beans, mushrooms, and onions with evoo valencia orange dressing

Beet & cucumber salad with apple cider vinegar + Splenda

PIZZA QUINOA - 1/3 c. dry organic quinoa cooked in 1/4 C. light ragu + 1/2 c. water, mixed with nutritional yeast & garlic lovers hummus; steamed snap peas on the side

money shot 😉

 Annnnndddd snacks include things like apples the size of my face.I wasn’t lying.

After work, I’ve been heading to the gym for some time on the elliptical/dreadmill and an ab routine with the boy.  Sometimes, I even think ahead and make my dinner before I go so it’s waiting for me when I get home.

roasted veggie bowl: kale, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, red pepper, broccoli & mushrooms

It’s so nice just to pop a bowl out of the fridge and nosh away, especially after a workout.

Of course, I needed something more than just vegetables for dinner, so I have been whipping up peanut butter chocolate ABOUT TIME protein shakes for a dessert-like ending to my night. 

If you want a smoothie to last longer, I recommend eating it with a spoon.  Otherwise, it’s entirely too easy to gulp it down in this heat.

1 scoop About Time chocolate peanut butter whey protein, 8 ice cubes, splash of unsweet vanilla almond milk, water to thin, and 2 handfuls of baby spinach

If you haven’t tried xanthan gum in your smoothies yet, do it now.  It makes the consistency like that of a giant, milkshake.  SO yummy.  Janetha is the one who first opened my eyes to it.  Just another reason why I love the girl!

 

That’s all for now!  I’ll leave you with today’s verse:

“Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belongs the glory and the power forever and ever.
-1 Peter 4:10-11

XOXO.

Baseball & The Boy <3

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Dr. McDougall’s Asian Entrée Cups

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I’m a girl on the runLiterally and figuratively.  I am in constant motion, running from work to school, to basketball, to the YMCA, to family gatherings, to friends’ invites.  Literally, there is not much time in between for preparation.  I always do my best to keep things onhand like chopped veggies, cooked grains, and sliced fruit so that eating nutritiously isn’t difficult when throwing things together for office lunches or dinner before heading out…in fact, I proudly declare myself queen of tupperware. 

Dr. McDougall’s ready-to-eat soups have saved my life belly more times than I can count on two hands, when I don’t have time to pack a homemade meal to bring with me to work, so when I got an email, stating that they had a NEW product, I couldn’t agree faster when they asked me to try it!

Allow me to introduce, Dr. McDougall’s Asian Entrée Cups!

Available in eight low-fat, delicious varieties, these all-natural, eco-friendly, vegan, and non-GMO microwavable cups are heaven sent meal ideas for busy bodies such as myself.  

The company uses peanuts for healthy fats rather than typical oily, asian dishes, and BAKED noodles vs. fried.

If you’re a fan of ramen noodles or Thai, Chinese, and Japanese foods, you will love these convenient, lightweight meal options.

In fact, you may not believe your eyes or your tastebuds when you check out the nutrition facts on these babies.

They average about 200 calories a pop with just 1-2g of fat!  The Pad Thai version is even gluten-free.  The directions are super simple, too.  As long as you’ve got a microwave accesible, you can enjoy a cup of noodles at work within 3 minutes of popping the top.

The varieties include the following: Teriyaki, Pad Thai (Gluten Free), Spicy Kung Pao, Roasted Peanut, Spicy Szechuan, Soy Ginger, Lentil Curry Pilaf (Gluten Free), & Masala Lentil Pilaf.

Thanks so much to the company for letting me try these!  They’re yummy for sure.

Thrive In 30!

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 When Krystal contacted me from Sequel Naturals to announce their awesome THRIVE IN 30 challenge, I couldn’t wait to get started!  As a fan of every single VEGA product I’ve tried, I knew that with this company endorsing, it must be pretty legit. 

Although I already eat a healthy diet, I figured any tips and tricks that I could gain from the program couldn’t hurt!  Here’s a little bit about the head man, Brendan Brazier:

Hi! I’m  Brendan Brazier and I’ll be your guide on a 30 day journey that will increase your knowledge about nutrition, provide you with an alternative to traditional fitness principles and give you a fresh approach to total body health.

For me it all began at the age of 15, when I decided to become a professional Ironman triathlete. Since Ironman competitions combine a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle, and marathon (26.2 miles of running), making a full-time career of racing clearly requires a serious approach to training. But I loved the Ironman lifestyle, so for no other reason than enjoyment, I happily pursued my goal.

Given the magnitude of my investment in preparing my body for professional competition, I knew adhering to the most effective training program possible would give me a sizable advantage, so I looked at the training programs of some of the world’s top professional Ironman athletes with the plan of mimicking their routines.

To distinguish what elevated the best athletes from the typical, I also looked at training regimens of those with respectable yet average performance. What I found surprised me: the average athlete’s program differed very little from the elite.

If training discrepancies were minimal and natural talent can only get you so far, what caused some athletes to pull out ahead of the rest of the pack? The most significant difference I found between the upper-echelon elites and the moderately-performing athlete had little to do with trainingit was almost all about recovery.

Breakthrough performances are hinged on the rate at which the body can regenerate itself after training. Realizing this, quick and complete recovery became my focus. And as I discovered, diet has the single greatest impact on recovery. In fact, food choices can account for up to 80 percent of the total recovery process.

My focus then shifted specifically to nutrition—not because I had an interest in nutrition—but simply because I knew that what I ate could very well be the difference between having a pro-career or not!

I raced Ironman triathlons professionally for seven years. But beyond racing professionally, I’ve learned that optimal nutrition is a means to a full, energetic, productive and enjoyable life—regardless of your personal goals.Simply put, premium nutrition will make any challenge you face easier.

Through trial and error, I discovered that with the perfect combination of the right foods, it was possible to achieve incredible levels of fitness that went far beyond what I could have achieved on a regular diet. This perfect combination evolved for me in the form of a whole food, plant-based diet.

You can sign up here for FREE lessons each day, plus 15% off VEGA products!

Here is a little sneak peek of what was in the first lesson:

What have you got to lose?  Are YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

Face It Friday

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It’s time to face the facts

…not many of my co-workers would have any idea what peanut flour is, and would probably look at me like I’m a weirdo if they came into my cubicle and saw me snacking on this…not that it’ll stop me 🙂

…my black bean, carrot, baby corn, snap pea, tomato salad on a bed of romaine probably wouldn’t be the most appealing lunch to a typical 22-year old…they don’t know what they’re missing.  Besides, who likes to be “typical“? 

…my La Tortilla Factory whole wheat, low carb wrap spread with Sonoma Jack’s pepperjack cheese & sugar-free strawberry Smucker’s is going to trump answering a phone call while I’m on my afternoon break at work.  It’s a “break” for a reason!

…the gym peeps at the YMCA where Jarid & I workout are probably getting so tired of witnessing our shenanigans while we’re there.  We have too much fun giggling and challenging each other that it probably gets annoying.

…but don’t think that their opinion is going to stop us from PDA while we’re hot, sweaty messes…or taking photo documentation for that matter 😉 

 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

XO.

Kim’s Light Bagels!

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Any other carb queens out there? I, for one, LOVE my bagels.  Chewy, carby delicousness.  I could eat one every morning and be a satisfied gal.  Unfortunately, with stats like these:

[source]

(that I found on the Dunkin Donuts website), making them a daily part of  my nutrition conscious eats, wasn’t realistic…

UNTIL NOW.

All thanks to this lovely lady and her 110 calorie line of fabulous bagels including: Wheat, Onion, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Everything, and Plain varieties.

Kim Benson has an amazing weight loss story to share, which she does, in her book, “Finally Thin“.

Anyway, back to the bagels…In order to maintain such an incredible weight loss, Kim wanted to incorporate some of her favorite foods into her diet without splurging too much…some of which included bagels (:

She is such a sweetheart that she even sent me one of each package so I could see for myself how great they were.  I honestly thought they may be too good to be true (I’ve see “100 calorie” versions of bagels before, and they were dissappointly tiny).

HOLY YUM.  They were out-of-this would.  Especially the Blueberry & Everything.  Only .5g of fat and 5g of fiber! Pretty incredible if you ask me! 

Here are some combos I really enjoyed:

Everything bagel with smoked salmon & a laughing cow cheese wedge + tomato.

Blueberry bagel with fat-free strawberry cream cheese.

Wheat bagel topped with plain greek yogurt mixed with pumpkin/apple butter.

Onion bagel with a microwaved egg white + hummus, lettuce, and tomato.

 

Kim didn’t stop with JUST the bagels, though.  Her line is complete with bagel chips, light pita bread, light flat breads, and much more!  Check out her site for more info, where you can shop online, too!