Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Vegan Roadie at Work

So, my workplace had the honor of hosting the Vegan Roadie for cooking demonstrations today. He was a contestant in the "Brand with 10 Grand" promotional contest that we ran, and so we invited him to make a stop here on his tour. It's kinda cool how it turned out that way!

The presentation was short and sweet, but Dustin Harder has a great personality that kept us engaged and laughing. With him and his assistants being show people, their personalities were animated and entertaining.




His recipes du jour were Vegan Caesar Salad and Bowties in Garlic Cream Sauce. They were both very delicious! And they looked pretty easy to prepare. I'm no vegan, but I do enjoy many a meat- and dairy-less meal during the week, so I can definitely appreciate having some new recipes in my standard rotation. Dustin had a strong bent for chemical-less ingredients, i.e. clean ingredients. Real food. I'm always down with that!




Bowties in Garlic Cream Sauce


Vegan Caesar Salad


Have you ever tried nutritional yeast before? I actually do have some on-hand at home because it's actually has a great nutrition profile (excellent source of complete protein) and a really great cheese substitute. That was the main base of the "Parmesan" dressing and it had the same consistency and cheesy taste as parm. It's a great salad, popcorn and casserole topping. You should try it! It's not that hard to find in the store. I got mine at a nutrition supplement store, but they sell it right by the Parmesan cheese at the regular grocery store.


Thanks for stopping in on your way through Dustin!

By the way, check out his fun video entry into our contest here!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Favorite Easy Shakeology Recipe

In the morning, at work, you'll typically find me triple-fisting it with my three essential beverages: water, coffee and ShakeO smoothie. Obviously, the two first ones are essential for human life, hee hee! The third one is like my protein and vitamin insurance. It covers me in case I don't get enough essential vitamins in my food and could cover some protein and fiber deficiencies in my diet. Just reading the superfoods in the ingredient list makes me feel healthier. Haha!

Now, I have tried quite a few protein shakes, meal replacement shakes and other smoothie mix-ins. I'm not about to get all gimmicky, but right now I really love the taste of Shakeology and what's in it most. I was skeptical of it for a loooong time (like, years!!!), but once I tried it, I loved the taste and the ingredient list! There's nothing but superfoods and all-natural ingredients in there. There are even probiotics in there! You won't find any weird chemicals like you do with some of the other meal replacements that are big on the market right now (check your labels, I dare you! Ha!)

The fact that it has so much protein is really good for me too. Remember my doctor's orders about protein? Whenever I track my food intake for a day or two, I always notice that I lean heavily on carbs and not enough on protein. Have you tried this? My guess is you're leaning the same way too. It's something I notice with a lot of people I coach. So, getting the extra dose of protein is really important to me.

The only other powder I've found so far (because I have looked HARD for an alternative, believe me!) is Raw Meal, which I requested for Christmas, but the taste doesn't even begin to compare! Raw Meal tastes like it sounds. Kind of like ground up "stuff." I can just "tolerate" it in my smoothie, but it leaves much to be desired. So, right now, ShakeO it is!

So, my favorite way to prepare Shakeology is this:

Berry Shakeology Smoothie

1 c Frozen berries
1 splash milk
1 scoop vanilla shakeO
Water to fill the rest of the cup
I just blend all the ingredients in my Bullet, and that's it!

It's what I always drink on my way to work, after my workout. And let me tell you, it's an amazing meal replacement when you're sick because it's yummy and filling when nothing else sounds good or goes down, it's giving you tons of vitamins, and the frozen stuff feels really good on the throat.



Another favorite is a Banana ShakeO Milkshake. I like to freeze bananas in our house that are just past the edible stage, but aren't quite to the rotten stage yet. Thin, I mix a frozen banana with vanilla ShakeO, milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon (and on occasion, some peanut butter). It tastes like a milkshake, no lie!

Interested in Shakeology? Check out the incredible ingredient list and benefits here. Leave a comment or contact me to give it a try.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Summer Bodies Weight Loss Challenge

I'm hosting a fitness challenge group over on Facebook and wanted to extend the invitation here on the ol' bloggy.



It’s true! The time to start working on your summer body is right now! Picture yourself lighter and leaner in your favorite summer vacation spot this summer. Now let’s make that dream a reality!!!

I’m starting a fitness challenge group on March 23rd for three weeks. What you’ll get is an entire package for transforming your body:

  • Fitness: doable yet challenging at-home workouts with such variety that you’ll never be bored. I'll help you find the perfect match for you!
  • Food: you’ll get a meal planning book, additional help with meal planning, and 30 days’ worth of easy nutrient-dense breakfasts.
  • Support: not only do you get me, a certified personal trainer and fitness coach, for support, but you’ll also be cheered on and guided by the other participants. It’s amazing how something as simple as an accountability group can have such a profound impact on goal achievement!


The support group takes place in a secret, confidential Facebook group. My last few groups have been a huge success—people reported everything from losing weight to managing pain to simply feeling better—and I can’t wait to help more people. I’m still on a weight loss journey myself after having a baby and I myself get so much out of these groups, it’s really my passion!

Because small intimate groups really have the most impact, I am opening up the group to only FIVE people, so secure your spot right away if you want in!


Message me if you’re interested in more info.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Clean Eating: Faster than Fast Food



I recently led a 7-day clean eating group, and I was trying to come up with some ideas for clean meals that are "faster than fast food" for my participants. That eliminates a few of the top excuses for not eating healthy, no? I am always tempted to reach for convenience food when I come home starving and it's way to easy to say that clean eating is way too involved. So, coming up with a few super easy, super fast recipes is my fall back plan so I don't blow it. I'd like to share these with you too!

Here are a few meal-building lunch/dinner options:

#1. I saw this meal on a website where they asked top nutritionists what they eat on the run. If a nutritionist is eating it, I don't mind if I do too!

Brown rice (or quinoa/other grain) + sugar snap peas (or any veggie) + black beans


#2. I happened to find this super healthy, organic meal mix at Walmart, right by the frozen Steamer veggies. It's a kale, quinoa, feta mix that has an incredible amount of flavor and it's very nutrient dense. I just added a can of black beans and a can of chickpeas for extra bulk with two bags of this, and I had lunch for the week!





3. I like toast-building options too. You can make a complete meal simply by building on top of toast. How about:

  • Bruschetta: tomato, mozzarella, avocado, basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Peanut butter roll-ups: pb, honey and banana on a whole wheat tortilla
  • Mini pizzas: mozzarella, tomato or tomato sauce, mushrooms, and onion on an English muffin, heated in the oven.
  • Avocado/egg on toast
  • Ricotta cheese and berries on toast
  • Grown up grilled cheese: lean cheese and a pile of sauteed veggies (onion, pepper, zucchini, etc) on toast.


Do you have any fall-back recipes for clean eating on-the-run?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

FREE 7-Day Clean Eating Challenge

I've posted this on my Facebook page and at my workplace and have gotten such a huge response. If you want in on this too, leave me a message and I'll add you to the group. Did I mention it's FREE!!!



I'm trying something new and leading a FREE 7-day Clean Eating Challenge, starting Feb 8, leading right up to Valentine's day. Clean eating is a great way to "refresh" the body and get you into the habit of eating whole, natural foods. This is not a "diet," this is about creating an overall healthy lifestyle that aligns with your health goals. Clean eating goes hand-in-hand with exercise to deliver powerful results.
My hope and goal is that after these 7 days, you'll feel so much better and want to continue eating this way. I want to help you kick the packaged, fast-food habits in favor of energizing, nutrient-filled eating with daily tips and motivation. I'm going to share my secrets for meal planning and prep and offer shopping lists and recipes to guide you.
If I give you 7 days of my undivided attention, will you put yourself ALL IN for ONE week? Leave a comment or message me if you're interested in signing up. If you have a friend that might be interested, feel free to share the invite. You don't want to miss this freebie because I probably won't do another one for awhile!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekly Eats

I like to share what I'm eating on here in hopes that I might inspire you to meal prep for the week, setting you up for a successful week of healthy eating. I like to offer a glimpse of what I'm preparing as sort of a sample menu for cleaner, healthier eating or in case you're wondering what a health-conscious nut might be eating at any given time. I myself sometimes return to these posts when I can't think of what to eat for the week, so it's helpful to pick and choose what you might want to incorporate into your own meal planning.

This is what my week looks like:


  • Breakfast: My signature breakfast of egg whites with salsa and cheese + breakfast sausage + Shakeology smoothie
  • Snack: No-bake energy bites + string cheese
  • Lunch: Black bean runner's stew + kale salad (I don't use all the ingredients listed)
  • Snack: Cottage cheese + cucumber
  • Dinners: Chicken wings, beef tips and gravy, teriyaki meatballs, burgers, etc.


Our dinners aren't completely on the clean side as Hubster is taking over most of the cooking, but this is what a typical Midwesterner's diet looks like anyhow, no? And I always make sure we fill up on healthy veggies, salads or fruits with our dinners.




This picture is just for attention! She'll be having milk and baby oatmeal this week. Clean eating at its finest!


What are you eating this week?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tone it Up and Workout Tips During Pregnancy

I'm a huge fan of Tone it Up, it's no surprise. I talk about them frequently on here. But once I became pregnant, I sort of started to ignore the workouts and motivation that K&K provide religiously. I just kind of shied away from anything that wasn't pregnancy-specific. And let's face it, their workouts are geared toward young, single or newly married women looking for a beach body. Preggos/moms aren't really their target market:)

1-your-trainers-toneitup-karena-katrina

However, during pregnancy I started to miss Tone it Up and I realized I could still incorporate a lot of their workouts into my prenatal routine, with some modifications.

Here are a few general pregnancy exercise guidelines (but always, always ALWAYS talk to your doctor first):

  1. Avoid lying flat on your back or tummy, especially after the second trimester. You may still be able to do booty bridges and things like that while propped up on a pile of pillows, but if anything feels uncomfortable, stop.
  2. Don't go too intense. I enjoyed taking my workouts down a notch during pregnancy. If your doctor recommends it, you can continue with the types of workouts you were doing before becoming pregnant. However, huffing and puffing isn't always safe. It's usually recommended that you keep your intensity at a level where you can still speak conversationally. And you also don't want to be working on gains during this tender period.
  3. Twisty positions are kind of hard to manage in later stages of pregnancy. You may want to avoid them or modify them as necessary.
  4. Don't get up/down really fast: blood pressure drops and blood flow changes can really mess with a pregnant woman. Moves like surfboard jumps and burpees may not be best.
  5. Jumping around: not only would this be super uncomfortable, but it can be unsafe. Moves that are jumpy or have the potential to cause you to fall are not advisable.
  6. Don't stretch too far: the hormone relaxin can really mess with a pregnant woman's body and stretching too far is definitely a danger. Be careful to stretch only to the point where you just feel it and be careful not to go too deep.
  7. Balance is tricky. During pregnancy, a woman's balance is compromised. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean she shouldn't do any balance moves at all, but she should be extra cautious.
  8. Different goals. Most pregnant women are not working on their beach bodies or running endurance races. We're preparing for labor, trying not to gain over the recommended pregnancy weight, trying to feel better/have more energy, and wanting to bounce back after baby. That being said, the workout needs to be tailored to those goals.
  9. Getting too hot can be dangerous for a pregnant woman. Now, our bodies are super efficient at regulating temperatures and keeping baby safe, but getting too hot is still a concern. Bikram yoga and running on a 104 degree day are probably not in the cards. Drink lots and lots and lots of water and stay cool.
  10. Preventing diastasis recti: Anything that pushes the stomach out rather than pulls it in is probably not recommended at this point. Pushing out (as during crunches) can actually increase that gap in the abs, so you need to be careful with ab moves.

With these recommendations in mind, and after a talk with my doctor, I was able to sift through the Tone it Up workouts to find some that were both tolerable and safe for me.

A few of my pregnancy favorites:

Arms: there's not much need to modify with arm exercises, and your tummy doesn't interfere too much with them. Here are my top arm picks:

Legs:

Total Body


Now, I wasn't able to follow the TIU nutrition plan at all. Pregnancy threw off all my food habits from the beginning, when morning sickness left only Culver's mashed potatoes and Pop Tarts to be tolerable. I wasn't able to meal prep because thinking about preparing food made me nauseous and grossed me out big time. Later in pregnancy though, I was able to maintain a relatively healthy diet, but it definitely wasn't all clean and Hubster had to prepare most of our dinners (which turned into leftover lunches the next day). I was totally ok with that and enjoyed the break, but I sure did miss some of the recipes from the plan!



Aside from TIU workouts, I also have a few workouts other workouts that I recommend for expecting mommas: