How to be healthy on a road trip – and other tips to keep it fun.

HEALTHY ROAD TRIP SNACKS

If you’ve ever driven the long, 6 hour commute along I5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco, then you’ll understand when I say that the lack of healthy snacks (and good scenery) is an understatement. Every rest stop is a random smattering of gas stations, Taco Bells and maybe a Starbucks (if you’re lucky).

HEALTHY ROAD TRIP SNACKS

Unlike my husband who needs a pee stop every 45 minutes because he drinks buckets of fizzy beverages the whole way up, I prefer to challenge myself by stopping as few times as possible and packing a little healthy meal for the trip so that I don’t have to resort to fast food (I’d rather starve to be honest).

So the morning of my trip, I pull the following out and this time, I actually remembered to take a picture so I could share!

Note – the wine and ProCakes are intended for the destination….unless the traffic is REALLY bad…. just kidding :)

Other random great things that make road trips more fun include:

  1. A good audiobook – this time I’m hearing In Her Shoes
  2. Comfy clothes – Lulu crops and a tank (obvi)
  3. Boat loads of gum – I have a slight addiction I think
  4. Cell phone charger – because my battery has a 3 minute lifespan these days. Who’s getting the iPhone 6???

Now there’s a reason that I”m heading north this weekend and it’s not for Napa with the girls this time. I can’t wait to share all the cool things that are on the horizon, but I’ll wait till all my proverbial “i”s are dotted :)

Meanwhile, have a fantastic weekend!!!
XOXO

This post also appears over on Jill Conyer’s Fitness, Health and Happiness.

How to count macros & how many calories should you eat?

I’m sharing a post I wrote over on my ProCakes blog because I think it’s such an empowering concept to understand.  If you’ve got this – you’ve got a skill that will provide long lasting, sustainable health and weight management.

A quick disclosure before we get into the nitty-gritty of macronutrients.  I’m a certified Personal Trainer working on advanced training in nutrition, but I am not a doctor, and I’m not a dietitian.  I think knowing the basics about nutrition (such as macro nutrient balancing) is a key tool to fat loss and a healthy diet, but my advice is clearly no match for medical advice, especially if you have a health condition.  I know you know this, but just putting it out there to appease the powers that be :)

COUNTING MACROS, CALORIE COUNTING, HOW MANY CALORIES SHOULD I BE EATING

Now onto the good stuff!

Macros (macronutrients) are fats, protein and carbs. Most foods have a combination of all 3, but typically there’s one overriding macro (ie, bread is almost entirely carbs, but has some protein and a little fat). If you have no idea how many grams of protein are in a 5 ounce chicken breast or how many carbs are in a 1/2 cup of broccoli, not to worry. That’s also why you’re doing habit 5 - to learn this stuff. Once you know it, you can pretty much trust yourself to figure out your own diet for the rest of your life.

How many macros should you aim for? That’s again, up to you and only you can know best. General guidelines suggest that most  people looking to lose weight should eat somewhere around 10 to 12 times their bodyweight in total calories and starting fat calories at least 35% to 40% of your total diet, then splitting carbs and protein between the remaining 60%. Again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a baseline to start from. You can tweak from there based on your energy and hunger levels.

So, as a 135lbs woman, my total calories might look like this:

135lbs x 12 = 1620 total calories per day:

  • 50% of that are fat calories, which is 648 calories
  • 30% of that are non-starchy carbs which is 486 calories
  • 30% of that can be protein calories which is 486 calories

A quick tip about calorie counting – a gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories and so is a gram of protein. A gram of fat is 9 calories and a gram of alcohol is 7. So based on the quick math I did above, 648 calories of fat divided by 9 calories per gram = 72 grams of fat per day and you would divide by 4 with protein and carbs.

PS – if all this feels like too much math, just track your food on myfitnesspal.com and it will do the math for you. Easy peasy.

Ultimately you should find a balance of macros that works for you, but the key thing is to choose non-starchy carbs, so say tootleloo to grain-based bread-like things, avoid potatoes (for a while) and stick with green or brightly colored veggies instead.

Basically, if it is, or comes from something that can be white (like bread, pasta, rice, noodles) then avoid it. If it comes from a grain, look the other way. If it has added sugar – run, don’t walk in the opposite direction. If you want treats, look for high protein, low carb options with no added sugar. They are out there, I assure you.

Want to learn more? I think this article sums it up really well.

Raspberry Compote – A healthy, protein-rich alternative to jam

easy healthy raspberry compote, no sugar, paleo, high protein, low carb jam

I made this for a ProCakes photo shoot we did last week. For whatever reason, I kept calling it raspberry compost, which is not exactly something you’d want to smother on a pancake. Or any food for that matter.

vegan, sugar free jam, raspberry compote, easy and healthy

But compote is all good, so smoother away! I was inspired to make this because it looks so good (right?).  There’s no sugar in it and it’s made with chia seeds, which are super little seeds of protein awesomeness. I also had a butt-load of frozen organic berries in my freezer that needed to get used up so I made a big batch, then baked it in mason jars with ProCakes mix.  I’m trying my best to outshine Betty Fucking Crocker, but the bar is pretty high.

PROCAKES PROTEIN PANCAKES AND RASPBERRY COMPOTE BAKED IN A MASON JAR

So here goes the easiest recipe for “not compost” ever.

  • 1 10oz bag of frozen berries (any kind you like)
  • 3 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of xylitol or raw organic honey (if you prefer stevia, use much less)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  1. Put chia seeds in a little bowl and cover with water. Just enough so that they’re totally covered. Let them soak for about 5 minutes until they form into a gel.
  2. Meanwhile, add frozen berries in a pot over medium heat and stir until berries melt into a sauce-like substance. You can crush the berries as they melt, or leave some whole depending on how lumpy you want your spread to be.
  3. Add the chia mixture and the remaining ingredients. Add sweetener a little bit at a time as the volume will vary based on the sweetener you use, and how sweet you want the overall end product to be.
  4. Stir well and take off heat once berries are fully melted into the mixture.
  5. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Check other recipes just like this over at Sprint 2 the Table, CandyFit and Full Plate.

Time to recommit

photo (18)

Greetings from Palm Springs, guys!

My husband and I have been out here all week, celebrating our wedding anniversary. It’s been great just to float around the pool and sip wine under the stars at night, but it’s not without a small distraction of what’s to come when we get home.

On the blog, I’ve talked a lot about slowing down my workouts over the summer. I’ve ditched the weights for more passive movement like yoga and walking. I have no regrets about this as my body and mind needed the break, and more importantly, I’ve maintained the habit of taking time to workout. As I’ve said before, consistency is KEY and making room for the daily habit of moving is almost more important than what you actually do with that time.

But I’ve let a more important habit slip lately…. my nutrition!  Truth be told,

  • I’ve been a little lose with the starchy carbs (something my body doesn’t respond well too),
  • I’ve gone a little overboard on the nut butters and wine
  • I’ve dipped my hand into my husband’s treats just a little too often.

The result is a softer, more tired and less excited to wear a bikini, self. And while my excitement about donning a two piece is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, how I feel about my health and fitness, is. It’s not about being vain. It’s about taking precious care of the single most important asset I own – me.

photo (19)

So in the spirit of the new season, where younger people start their new academic year, I’m going to kick off a semester of more intentionally living for myself. My goals, per my limiting behaviors I’ve listed above are:

  1. To start lifting 3 to 4 days per week again consistently.
  2. Include a couple of cardio/sprint sessions per week, not many, and never more than 30 minutes unless I’m riding my bike)
  3. Get back to basics with the diet. Nothing earth shattering, but simply looking for greater compliance with my healthy eating habits by reducing starchy carbs, limiting my nut butter and wine intake and backing off the sugary treats.
  4. I also need to get more consistent with my supplements which include a good fish oil, a multivitamin and glucosamine for improved digestion and muscle repair.

#Motivation

THIS woman inspires me.

THIS woman inspires me.

Here’s an interesting observation – it was actually Instagram that gave me the mental shove to commit to these changes. Typically I find that engaging in social media can dampen an otherwise great mood, but lately I’ve been so inspired by some of the figure and bikini athletes I follow that it’s given me that shove to get back to the gym. As I’ve talked about before, I’m a very hard gainer and it frustrates me that I can’t build muscle more efficiently, but I have to remind myself that just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it’s not worth achieving.

I also find following women that are crushing their health way into their 50′s and 60′s to be really inspiring to me.  Kelly Childs is one of these people.  She’s almost 52 and looks better than most 20 year olds.  She’s a humbling reminder to me that getting older is no excuse for letting yourself go.

So I recommit myself to the pursuit of better health, a stronger body and a long and happy life. No matter how much the other variables in my life may change, my health is truly my most important priority, so it’s times like these that I have to stop, observe where I”m falling off track and recommit myself to the path I chose to be on.

So am I the only one who’s slacked off this summer? What about you? Any changes to make?

This article is also posted over at Running With Spoons and Jill Conyer’s Fitness, Health & Happiness.

My very first giveaway + a phobic confession

procakes high protein pancakes

Do you want to know why I never have parties? I have a phobia about throwing a big fete, only to have no one show up. Perhaps that seems crazy to you, but it does happen, and being such a hyper sensitive person, it would totally crush me. So when I read Amanda’s story about her birthday, I totally felt for her.

Crazy as this may sound, I’ve held off on doing a giveaway on this blog for the very same reason. Here’s the truth – I’m terrified of working out a giveaway deal with a brand, only to have no one show up for the proverbial party. Ridic? Yes. But that’s me. Warts and all.

But here’s the thing. I’m actually doing a giveaway for my OWN product this time. Granted, the goodies also include stuff from my amazing food entrepreneur group, but all said and done, I don’t have to publicly fail to anyone with this particular giveaway.

It’s a good toe in the water, so to speak.

So here it goes!! Starting today and lasting all the way to friday, you can enter to win goodies from me and each of my amazing entrepreneur friends who are killing it in their own foodie niche.

Most of these foods are Fit Habit “approved” in the sense that they are natural, gluten free and no sugar added, but a couple are more “treat foods” that we all need sometimes.

So GO FOR IT!! Enter to win here and I hope you do win!!! Thanks SO much for showing up for me and entering my first (and hopefully not last) giveaway. I appreciate the support!!

Love you guys!
XO

Hack your sweet addiction: a healthy chocolate recipe

healthy chocolate, raw vegan, paleo, no sugar, sugar free, antioxidant While the Hubbie was traveling this week, I had the kitchen to myself to play, however I saw fit. I saw fit to make chocolate. I then saw fit to eat said chocolate for dinner, with wine. I love this recipe because it’s a guilt-free go-to alternative for your chocolate cravings. Hear me now – there is no health related benefit to giving up chocolate if you love it, because the really good stuff actually has a ton of beneficial qualities. I’m talking antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and most certainly anti-fat gain. This recipe will not let you down and it won’t steer you down a path of sugar madness. Keep it in the freezer and it will last for at least a few weeks. Just pop one out when you’re feeling a craving come on. Give the chocolate a little time to warm up to room temperature (or not) and enjoy.  It’s all upside. Ingredients

  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c raw cacao
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • xylitol, stevia or raw honey to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Put a pot on the stove 1/4 of the way filled with water. Put it on a low simmer. Find a metal or glass bowl to put over the pot, so that it acts like a double boiler. Or just use a double boiler if you have one (duh).
  2. Put coconut oil in the bowl and let it melt on the simmered heat from the water. Add the raw cacao and stir up all that chocolate goodness.
  3. Add sweetener to taste (little bits at a time, not all at once).
  4. Add coconut and salt to taste.
  5. Grease a pan. it can be a muffin tin, chocolate mold, whatever you like, just coat it well, then pour in the chocolate (or whatever is left from your taste-a-thon).
  6. Stick pan in the freezer for about 30 mins until chocolate firms up, then go to town.
  7. Send me loving notes of thanks.

Now go check out more healthy foodie inspiration over at Sprint to the Table and CandyFit!

Fit Foodie Review: Nikki’s Coconut Butter

A little disclosure upfront: My Fit Foodie Reviews are totally my own opinion – I’m not paid (although how cool would that be?).  I’m simply sharing awesome food that I come across in my experience as a foodie, a fit nerd and an entrepreneur. I hope you enjoy them!

MacWithIngredients_1024x1024

I bet you’ve heard about this stuff. Nikki’s Coconut Butter is quite the talk around the interwebs, especially in the healthy living blogger community. No shock there, this stuff is pure awesome sauce in a jar.

But if you’re new to Nikki’s, here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s made with simple ingredients
  • It’s naturally sweetened with dates and honey
  • It’s a healthy fat lovers dream come true
  • It’s made with organic coconut which has too many healthy benefits to mention in my little bullet point list

Now, in full disclosure, Nikki is a friend of mine, and we met because we’re both bringing healthy food products into the world, but that has no bearing on how much I adore her coconut butter.

Here’s the thing. You know I love healthy fats. Sugars, (even the naturally occurring kind) I’m not a fan of if you’re trying to lose weight, so I wouldn’t call this a fat loss friendly product, but it’s also not a fat gain enabler, so it’s great in moderation.

Nikki’s Coconut butters come in a variety of flavors, but I’m partial to the macadamia nut butter flavor because coconuts and macadamia nuts are two powerhouse nutrients. Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and macadamias are unparalleled in their fatty acid profile (according to Mark’s Daily Apple). And if none of that makes sense, just know that they both contribute to reduced belly fat. Holla!

Here’s my super homemade vid talking about the merits of coconut oil in particular if you’re interested in seeing me without make up the nutrient benefits of this healthy fat.

BTW, it also makes a super fabulous icing for ProCakes cupcakes.

nikkis coconut butter

As far as I know, the best way to get this stuff is still on the internet, although I know they have store distribution on the east coast.

Have you heard of Nikki’s coconut butter? I first read about it on Carrots n Cakes and it just kept popping on different blogs until I finally had a chance to e-meet Nikki (who is a super awesome gal, btw).

Now go try some!

Behind the Scenes: A day in the life of a food entrepreneur

A Day In the Life

Hey guys, I thought it would be fun to share with you, a typical day in the life of a food entrepreneur. It’s not always glamorous (sometimes it’s a total pain in the ass, I’m the first to admit), but I have to say, I’m loving it.

Here it goes….

6:30am The dogs start to stir which mean everyone in the bed (yep, we sleep with these guys) is getting up. The hubs walks them, but I always take a few minutes to linger in bed, feel grateful that I don’t have to be somewhere at 8am and think about what I want to get done that day.

523359_10150783294956251_1126027490_n

7:30am We’re all up and I’m finishing up my first coffee and reading my email (shame). For a short while I would sit in the family room and read inspirational books and avoiding email until mid morning, but that didn’t last. It’s not like I’m getting super important/life altering information through my gmail account, but I can’t wait to read what’s in there nonetheless. Then I make breakfast (eggs + greens or ProCakes) and respond to emails.

photo 4 (1)

10:00am I’m upstairs in my office now. I’m creating blog posts, editing pictures, paying bills, fulfilling orders or talking to my copacker. The dogs are sprawled out in their bed beside me and one of them is always farting.

photo (12)

11:00am I work out – yoga (in my bedroom via free youtube classes), weights in my office, or a spin in the man cave. If I run, it’s before breakfast and only when I’m feeling super ambitious.

photo 3 (1)
Noon – Dog park. Always. Then lunch. Sometimes.

1:00pm to 3:00pm is phone calls, more content creation and too much time wasted on twitter and Facebook. I have this little mastermind group with other early stage food entrepreneurs and we engage in conversation via our little private Facebook group all day. I can’t imagine life without them now.

photo (10)

4:00pm I spent at least 30 minutes berating myself for not having anything clever to say on social media. This really kills me.

5:00pm take the dogs out for their third walk of the day. Are you starting to get a sense of who really runs my life yet?

photo (11)

6:00pm I’m starting to get cabin fever in my little home office, so I pack up my laptop and other devices and head down to the kitchen/family room. I chat with hubbie, ask him what he wants for dinner then go ahead and make whatever I feel like making anyway.

photo 2 (4)

7:00pm We wine and dine.

8:00pm to 10:00pm is either spent watching Real Housewives of wherever or back on the computer to edit photos, write more blog post (as I’m doing right now) or chat and chill with hubbie.

10pm Bedtime. Always. I read, hubbie plays with dogs and gives them final walk and then they all crawl in for a good sleep before it start all over again the next day.

Sometimes things vary, like dinner with friends or date night, or maybe I spend an afternoon shooting pictures, but this is frighteningly accurate for my typical life.

photo 2 (5)

It’s a thrill a minute, right?

 I’d LOVE to know what you do in a day!! Care to share? How is my life different than yours?

Thanks to Healthy DivaRunning with Spoonsand Blonde Ambition for hosting a couple of awesome thursday link ups!

Fit Foodie Review: Shredded Brussels Sprouts

shredded brussels sprouts

So I’ve got something new for the blog today! It might be a permanent thing, or it might be a series, or I may just get tired of it real fast and decide not to do it ever again (I can be fickle that way).

I’m starting a fit foodie product review series, both to keep you guys inspired with new real food product inspirations and also to keep myself on the ball of what’s new, noteworthy (and actually eatable) in the industry.

The parameters of my food reviews will always be:

  1. minimally processed ingredients
  2. no added refined sugar (because that sucks)
  3. minimal to no grains
  4. score high on my yummy detector

As a healthy food entrepreneur myself, I’m constantly coming across great healthy food products that appeal to women who are too busy for the “from scratch model”, but still want to eat healthy. So to that end, here’s my first review…

What: Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Where: Trader Joe’s (USA only – Sorry!)
How much: Less than $3 I think
When: Breakfast, lunch and dinner baby!

shredded brussel sprouts

I love these and I stock up with 3 or 4 bags a week. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s you can just make your own with a food processor and a bunch of fresh brussels sprouts, but this is soooo easy!

How to Use Them

I sauté them for breakfast in coconut oil, pop a fried egg on top and season with hot sauce. Let me tell you, this will keep you full for an eternity (or maybe just 5 hours if you tend to eat like a linebacker).

If I’m having them for lunch, they’re leftovers from dinner or breakfast. They hold their texture really well. And since brussels sprouts are like the hottest thing in restaurants now, you can find a number of inspired ways to sauté, roast or pan fry. I like them with onions, garlic and a little salt and pepper. No need to complicate this amazing go-to veggie that even a monkey could prepare, so I don’t want to hear any moans and groans that you have to turn the stove on. 

If you can make toast, you can pretty much master this veggie.

Here’s some super creative recipes to check out:

Have fun with this one!! they are amazing and so easy to make.

Week In Review: Confession time

kisses from the snickerbean

Confessions make us all a little more vulnerable and real. Perhaps we’re all a little tired of Facebook non-reality and Instagram filters. I long to see the imperfections in others, as it makes me feel better about my own. It’s not about making others feel less than, it’s about feeling more connected to who they really are in a #nofilter kinda way.

And so I confess…

Confession #1

This is week 3 of me feeling blah. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. I’m not sleeping well (and you know I love my sleep), I’m sad, and I don’t feel like doing anything or seeing people. I spoke earlier of my growing hermitosis (aka not wanting to leave the house), and it genuinely concerns me.  So I picked up this book. Truth is, I’m 44 years old, so the hormones are changing. Rapidly. I was struck by how much this author was able to describe how I feel, right down to the never wanting to leave the house and my chronic desire to wear yoga pants. Everywhere.

I’d like to say this book has given me the magic bullet of how to fix myself, but really all it’s givin me so far is a whole bunch of scientific stuff I don’t know what to do with. So plan B is an appointment with my Gyno since self-diagnosis was clearly an epic failure.

Confession #2

73% of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing with my business. I mean, sales are going great online. Amazon sales are particularly sweet, but I am terrified to approach retailers. This is all such new territory for me, that I’m petrified of looking amateurish, and I’m also a little concerned about growing too much too soon. I like that I’m so connected to my customers right now. I like that they can email me and I can send them thank you notes. I like control. But control stifles growth, so I need to figure out my comfort zone here. Entrepreneurship is such a lesson in self-knowledge. More than I bargained for really.

procakes protein pancakes

Confession #3

I started a podcast. I have one episode done and edited by my sound engineer and ready for uploading. I have no idea if it’s good and I’m terrified that I sound awful. I’m sure I don’t, but self-doubt is second nature to me. Today I’m going to record a few more and force myself to start publishing them and I give myself 100% freedom to suck.  Because rarely are we rockstars right out of the gate.

health and wellness podcast

My week

  • I worked 473 hours on ProCakes, but didn’t feel like much was accomplished.
  • I wrote a crap ton of blog posts this week. At least my creativity feels like it’s coming back, if nothing else.
  • I made Chocolate Almond Biscotti for my ProCakes blog. It’s not published yet, but I’ll let you know when it is.
  • I had a double date last night with some dear friends and my hubbie. The restaurant was totally subpar, but we did spot Jonah Hill there.
  • Workouts included one full body weight lifting session (which hurt for days), 2 yoga classes and 1 spin and 3 x 3 mile walks. I’ve been craving mellow activity lately, and I’m all good with fewer ball-busting sweats.
  • I ate way too many carbs for me. On wednesday we went for date night at this new place on the beach near our house. Just for kicks I ordered zucchini fries. My stomach paid me back in cramps. Thanks for that.
  • I found a pair of boyfriend jeans I like and they’re cheap! I’m off to purchase said jeans today and then hit the beach for a long stroll with a bff I haven’t seen enough of lately.

How was your week?

This post is also available over at Healthy Diva Eats and Run to the Finish.