Do you #GoCommando?

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There’s an age-old debate among runners about whether or not to run commando.  You see, many running shorts have liners built right in them so it’s perfectly acceptable to not wear underwear and be completely covered.  And if you run outside in the brutal summer heat like I do, you’ll understand that cotton underwear gets soaked with sweat and becomes completely uncomfortable.  And if you’ve ever had to deal with chafing down there, you’ll know that underwear on a long run is not your friend!  

I recently discovered that Cottonelle® products can help give me the confidence and liberation to #GoCommando.  If you’ve used Cottonelle® before, you know that nothing leaves you feeling cleaner and fresher!  With the high mileage that I run each week, it’s important to be comfortable as much as possible.  In races, you just have to keep going whether you are comfortable or not.  Running in sweaty clothing is not comfortable in any way so I always find the best possible products to keep me cool and confident and allow me to focus on the run itself.  

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Even if you’re not a runner, Cottonelle’s® CleanCare Toilet Paper with CleanRipple Texture and their FreshCare Flushable Cleansing Cloths can give you the confidence to ditch the panties and get your sweat on!  It’s the perfect way to enjoy doing yoga, lifting weights, or whatever workout you love doing and not having to worry about sweaty underwear.  How liberating is that?!?
 
I love that the Cottonelle® Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths feature SafeFlush Technology, which means that they will start to break down immediately after flushing.  They are sewer- and septic-safe, alcohol free and great for the entire family.  The OneTouch dispensing tub makes them easy to use and they look great in your bathroom and in your gym bag.
 
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Cottonelle® is offering my readers a free Go Commando Kit with free samples of Cottonelle® (hurry though….there are limited quantities!) so you can try it out yourself.  I think you’ll really love going commando!
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So tell me – do you go commando when you workout?

My First Blog Conference!!

I am writing this post in exchange for a discounted conference ticket; however, all opinions are mine and mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #cbias

Since I started blogging in late 2012, I’ve learned so much about everything blog-related.  When I first started my blogs, I had no idea how much work goes into creating a blog.  It seems like such a simple thing – write a post and people read it.  But I quickly learned that was not the case at all!  Writing the blog post is the easy part – getting people to read it is more of a challenge.  Always wanting to learn more and improve, I read tons of books and articles and listen to podcasts.  I learn something new on a daily basis!  But now I’m ready to up my game and attend a blog conference.  I’ve been considering a conference for a while but wasn’t sure which one would be the best fit for me.  When I saw that SoFabU was taking it on the road all over the US, I was super excited and knew that this was the conference for me.

If you’ve ever considered attending a blog conference, you’ll want to check this out for sure!

Date: May 30, 2015 at the Gaylord Texan near DFW International Airport (if you haven’t seen the Gaylord Texas you are really missing out – it’s beautiful!)

Speaker info:  Randi Dukes is the founder and creator of Dukes and Duchesses, a craft and DIY blog that has grown from a hobby into a business over the last few years.  Randi loves creating sponsored content for companies and has worked with many large brands including Better Homes and Gardens, Michaels, and The Home Depot.  Randi is passionate about using social media to promote and monetize her site and has developed strategies that have brought consistent growth in her social media platforms and steady, increasing traffic to her site.  She has over half a million combines followers on her various social media channels.  Randi has previously spoken at Haven Conference and loves sharing with and encouraging other bloggers.  Regularly featured on sites such as Today, Country Living,a dn Buzzfeed, Randi enjoys inspiring people with simple seasonal and everyday projects.  Randi lives in Dallas with her husband, five kids, and a very dirty dog.

Topics covered:  How to Use Social Media to Drive Blog Traffic.  Attendees will learn the secrets of using social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram) to build an audience and drive traffic to their site.  Whether a brand new blogger or a proficient user of social media, you’ll learn tips and tricks for branding your social media platforms, finding your voice, increasing social media followers, enhancing engagement, and forming a lasting social media strategy and presence on all platforms.

Adventure info:  A video, photography, and Instagram tour.  There will be networking, brands and other learning opportunities as well.  Check out the agenda on the SoFabUOTR website!

National Sponsors include Johnny RocketsMüllerKraft and iBlog so I’m sure it’s going to be great!  Be sure and check out the SoFabU on the Road Website for all the dates and locations as well as the Dallas information.

About SoFabU on the Road

SoFabU on the Road is a unique event that allows influencers to take advantage of educational opportunities that will help set them a part from the rest.

SoFabU on the Road features hands-on, interactive sessions for influencers to implement what they’re learning on the spot. The sessions are paired with fun city-specific adventures where attendees get to practice their newly learned skills.

Events are open to all bloggers and influencers!  This conference is expected to sell out so get your tickets NOW!

About Collective Bias and Social Fabric

Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers. Top brands such as Tyson, Nestlé and Duane Reade rely on Collective Bias to sell their stories socially. Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London, Collective Bias was named one of America’s 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.

Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ proprietary community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 130 million.

For more information, please visit Collectivebias.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

I can’t wait to attend SoFabUOTR this month and share with you everything I’ve learned!  Have you ever attended a blog conference like this one?  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

Beachbody on Demand is Here (and it’s awesome)!

I have a super exciting announcement!  Beachbody on Demand is HERE!!

I know many of you have done some of the popular Beachbody workouts like P90X and Insanity.  But I know many of you have been interested but found them to be too expensive.  I completely understand that price is a concern and buying a collection of workout DVDs isn’t something you want to spend your money on, only to not do them.

Beachbody On Demand is the ideal solution!  

Now you can become part of the Team Beachbody Club, the premier way to help you reach your health and fitness goals faster.  As a member of the club, you have access to our online membership community with expert nutrition, fitness and support tools.  And now….you can get 100s of the top workout programs anywhere, anytime you like….all on your mobile device.  All you need is an internet connection and you’ll have an extensive collection of workouts at your fingertips.

Benefits of Team Beachbody Club:

  • Access to Beachbody On Demand, where you can stream hundreds of workouts from the Beachbody digital library.  You can workout from anywhere with an internet connection: home, they gym, outdoors, even on vacation
  • Access to all the step-by-step program guides, workout calendars, and nutrition plans
  • Personalized meal plans that can be customized for your lifestyle and preferences
  • 10% discount on purchases from the Team Beachbody store (even Shakeology!)
  • VIP access to live monthly chats with trainers like Shaun T, Tony Horton, Autumn Calabrese, and Chalene Johnson
  • 3 FREE bonus digital workouts
  • Your own personal Coach for guidance and support
  • New content is added each month, so there will always be fun new workouts to try!

So what workouts are available right now on Beachbody On Demand?  How about these:

  • P90X
  • P90X2
  • P90X3
  • P90X ONE on ONE
  • Insanity
  • Insanity: The Asylum
  • Insanity: The Asylum 2
  • TurboFire
  • Brazil Butt Lift
  • Chalene Extreme
  • Hip Hop Abs
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • Rev Abs
  • Tai Cheng

That is thousands of dollars worth of workouts for only pennies a day!  And it’s the complete program including the program guides, calendars and nutrition plans!

Check out my video of how it works and what you’ll see:

 

Ready to get started on your health and fitness goals?  You can sign up here to get me as your FREE coach to guide you along the way!

Have you done any of these programs before?  Which one would you like to try?  Tell me in the comments below!

Fueling for the Workout with a Custom Nutrition Plan

Fueling for the workout

I’m pretty good about the foods I eat on a regular basis.  I’ve been eating clean for the past 3 years and have recently begun eating a mostly vegan diet.  I have a certification in nutritional consulting and have read extensively about sports nutrition since, as an athlete, I have different nutritional needs than a less active person.  But I’ve never really sat down and devised a specific nutritional plan for myself.  Overall, I feel like my nutrition is on track but I’m interested in improving my recovery and improving my performance.  So when I was given the opportunity to review a custom sports nutrition plan from Chrissy at Snacking in Sneakers, I was excited to see what she would advise for me based on my current level of activity.

Fueling for the workout

How it works and what is included:

All I had to do to get started was go to the website and order the Custom Sports Nutrition Plan.  I was really surprised at how low the price was – only $25!  I received my plan free to facilitate this review but this is a really good value to get a custom nutrition plan specifically based on my unique needs.  Next I had to complete a short questionnaire that included questions about my age, weight, training goals and training plans.  Just like Chrissy promises, it’s easy peasy!  Within 2 days, I had a very detailed nutrition plan in my inbox.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the plan since I’ve never had a customized plan before, but this was a very detailed plan consisting of 29 pages!  Not only did it include general information about macronutrients and meals, hydration, electrolytes and fueling, I got personalized training nutrition recommendations, pre-exercise recommendations, and recovery recommendation.  And because I eat mostly vegan, I also received additional information to consider as a vegan to make sure all areas of my nutrition were covered, even without meat in my diet.  

My custom nutrition plan estimated that I need 2150-2250 calories each day since I run 40-50 miles per week and do about 3 hours of other training.  Of those calories, I need to aim for about 50-65% healthy carbohydrates, 10-20% protein and 20-30% healthy fats.  The percentage of carbohydrates for me is higher than a non-active person because that is my body’s main source of fuel. 

I was particularly interested in the recommendations for pre-exercise meals.  With marathon training, I often have to split my workouts and do one in the morning and one after work.  I’m fine doing a fast workout in the morning but many times  struggle with evening workouts after a long day at work.  Because I have to get my workout in before eating a full meal for dinner, I found that finding an appropriate pre-workout snack was challenging.  The suggestions in my plan worked perfectly for me so that I had plenty of energy and was able to kill my workouts.  This is definitely information that I will continue to use as I train.  There were even easy to make recipes that were included that perfectly met my needs.  

Another section that I found particularly useful for me was about hydration.  It went beyond the typical “drink xx ounces every xx minutes”.  Detailed instructions along with a worksheet to help calculate my hydration needs was very helpful.  I won’t attempt to explain it here because it sounds complicated but the worksheet makes it easy to just fill in the blanks and determine your particular hydration needs.  Because I live in Texas and it gets so incredibly hot during the summer, this will really help me!

I’ve read a lot about fueling during my runs and particularly during races but I haven’t quite figured out what works best for me yet.  I haven’t raced a really long distance recently so I will be studying these recommendations and trying them out in training runs.  

Overall, I am completely impressed with my custom training plan and think it’s a super great value.  If you’ve ever considered meeting with a nutritionist to find out your specific nutritional needs, I would highly recommend giving this a shot!  Be sure and check out the other great programs on Snacking in Sneakers too!

Have you ever worked with a nutritionist before?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Oatmeal Protein Squares

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DoMoreWithProtein #CollectiveBias

About 2 months ago, my husband and I decided to try a mostly plant-based vegetarian diet.  I’ve wanted to eliminate meat from my diet because of the chemicals and hormones that are given to animals to raise them quickly to get to market.  For my husband, his cholesterol was high so we decided to try plant-based foods to eliminate the saturated fat that is found in meat.  We would probably be considered flexitarians rather than vegetarians since we do have meat every now and then, but it’s rare (how frequently we eat it, not how it’s cooked :)).  The problem with eliminating meat is that it’s a great source of protein.  If you don’t know what protein is good for, it helps with weight management, performance and strength, and everyday fitnessthings we can all benefit from!  While it’s true that there are plenty of other sources of protein like beans and legumes, we don’t want to eat beans every day.  So we decided to supplement and make sure that we have plenty of protein in our diet.  

While in Target doing our regular grocery shopping, we visited the health care section near the pharmacy and looked at all of the different protein powder options available.  There are a bunch of them!  I know that protein is what helps build muscle but we are only looking to supplement our already-healthy lifestyle, not consume mega-doses of protein to bulk up.  We decided to try EAS protein powder since it’s a simple and effective way for us to meet our protein needs.  EAS offers a complete line of powders, bars and drinks so there are plenty of options!

EAS store EAS store close

 

When we were considering purchasing EAS protein powder, we decided that we didn’t want to make shakes every day and would prefer to incorporate it into an actual food.  We brainstormed different ways we would be able to add EAS protein powder into our regular diet and came up with a ton of great ideas that would not require us to even change a thing, except to add a scoop of powder.  My husband has been eating oatmeal every morning so we decided that would be super easy to add EAS to his oatmeal.  He already adds a few nuts for some crunch so EAS just adds an extra boost of protein for his and keeps him full until lunchtime.  I decided that I would get a little adventurous and make some oatmeal bars to have a grab and go breakfast.  These would be fabulous with a cup of coffee in the morning or perfect for a healthy afternoon snack or even dessert.  There’s no excuse to not get enough protein in your diet!  And they are super quick and easy to make.  You can make a batch and have the ready to go for the entire week and don’t even have to turn the oven on!

Here’s all you need to do to make these:

Gather ingredients – applesauce, coconut palm sugar, vanilla, instant oats, unsweetened shredded coconut, EAS protein powder, salt, chocolate chips, all natural peanut butter

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In a large skillet on medium heat, add applesauce, sugar and vanilla, stirring until combined.

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Stir in oats, coconut, EAS protein powder and salt.  Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  The mixture will seem really dry but it should be!

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In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter on low.  Be sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.

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Press 1/2 of the oat mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish.

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Pour most of chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top and spread to cover oats.

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Top with the remaining oat mixture.

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Using the remaining chocolate/peanut butter awesomeness, drizzle over the top. Feel free to get as fancy with it as you’d like!

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Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, cut into squares, and ENJOY!

Oatmeal Protein Squares

Oatmeal Protein Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups instant oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 scoop vanilla EAS protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I use dairy, soy and nut free)
  • 3/4 cup all natural peanut butter

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, add applesauce, sugar and vanilla, stirring until combined.
  2. Stir in oats, coconut, EAS protein powder and salt.
  3. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times. The mixture will seem really dry but it should be!
  4. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter on low. Be sure to stir frequently so it doesn't burn.
  5. Press 1/2 of the oat mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish.
  6. Pour most of chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top and spread to cover oats.
  7. Top with the remaining oat mixture.
  8. Using the remaining chocolate/peanut butter awesomeness, drizzle over the top. Feel free to get as fancy with it as you'd like!
  9. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, cut into squares, and ENJOY!
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EAS oatmeal protein squaresHow do YOU do more with your protein?  Tell us about it in the comments below!  Want more recipes with EAS Whey Protein Powder?  Be sure to visit here for more deliciousness!

If you’re looking for the perfect time to try EAS protein powder, it’s now!  Check out these 2 great ways to save at Target:

  • April 26th save 10% off the entire EAS line
  • April 19th – May 23rd get a 5% Cartwheel offer on any EAS item

Ready to start working on your health and nutrition goals?  Take our 30 day challenge – you only need 10 minutes a day to make big changes in your health!  GET STARTED TODAY!

10 Foods to Increase Your Energy

10 Foods (1)

10 Foods (1)Are you one of those people that has boundless energy to keep going all day long?  Yeah, neither am I.  But I also don’t want to get that mid-afternoon slump where I feel the overwhelming urge to take a nap.  So I have compiled a list of 10 foods that will help increase your energy in a non-caffeinated, non-sugary way.  Next time you feel your energy start to lag, try one of these foods.

10 Foods to Increase Your Energy

1.  Dark, leafy greens.  Kale, spinach, Swiss chard and mustard greens are high in nutrients yet low in calories.  They are easy to make into a salad to snack on or add to your favorite smoothie.

2.  Green tea.  Although green tea contains caffeine, you won’t experience the energy spike and drop like with coffee.  Green tea also contains an amino acid that helps promote relaxation.  Read more about the benefits of green tea HERE.

3.  Quinoa.  Quinoa is a powerhouse food in so many ways.  Rich in B vitamins, it helps convert carbohydrates into energy.  Since quinoa is such a versatile food, it’s easy to add to any meal.  Learn more about quinoa HERE.  And try one of my favorite gluten free quinoa recipes – Quinoa Brownies.

4.  Air-popped popcorn.  Whole-grain carbohydrates are a longer lasting source of energy than simple carbs.  Popcorn will keep you satisfied longer – just be sure to not douse it with oil, butter or salt to keep its healthy food status.

5.  Bananas.  Bananas are a great source of both potassium and B vitamins, which provide sustained energy.  They are the perfect grab and go snack and, paired with nuts, can help get you through the afternoon energy slump.

6.  Nuts.  Another food loaded with B vitamins, nuts are a fantastic source of energy.  A lack of B vitamins can lead to fatigue, poor concentration and irritability – so grab a handful of nuts to fight back!

7.  Oatmeal.  Oatmeal is high in fiber and is a complex carbohydrate.  Since it takes so long for your body to digest complex carbohydrates, you’ll experience sustained energy all morning.

8.  Hummus.  A healthy combination of fiber and protein, hummus will boost your energy and stabilize blood sugar.  Check out my favorite hummus recipe HERE.

9.  Coconut.  Coconut is high in potassium, protein and fiber.  With the various forms coconut comes in, you can enjoy it as a drink, as flakes or cook with coconut oil.  Coconut oil has tons of other uses as well – check them out HERE.

10.  Dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is good for so many different things!  Dark chocolate has been shown to be heart-healthy, which means that more oxygen is delivered throughout your body, boosting your energy level.  But remember, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you!

Do you experience a mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy slump?  How do you overcome it?  Tell us in the comments below!

 

10 Foods to Lower Cholesterol

10 Foods

10 FoodsIf you’ve watched television at all lately, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial for a cholesterol lowering drug.  The sad truth is that an estimated 11 million plus Americans take statins to help lower their cholesterol, generating somewhere around $35 billion for the drug companies that manufacture these pills.  According to some studies, there are an additional 25 million Americans with high cholesterol.  While it’s easy to take a pill to bring down your cholesterol, there are foods that can help too – without the bothersome side effects often caused by pharmaceuticals.  If you’ve got high cholesterol, consider adding some of these foods to your diet:

10 Foods to Lower Cholesterol

1.  Oatmeal.  Oats have been shown to effectively lower cholesterol in a short period of time.  The effectiveness of oats is due to the beta-glucan that absorbs bad cholesterol and excretes it from the body.

2.  Nuts.  Nuts keep making the list of good foods to have in your diet.  Eating a handful of nuts a day has been shown to lower bad cholesterol by up to 10%.  Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are all great, heart-healthy choices.

3.  Beans.  The fiber content in beans helps slow the absorption of cholesterol and remove it from the body.  Black, pinto, kidney, and red beans are all great sources of fiber and can potentially lower your cholesterol up to 8%.  Try this easy to make heart-healthy Black Bean Soup.

4.  Avocado.  Avocado has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.  While this may not change your overall cholesterol number, your heart will know the difference.  Try my favorite Guacamole recipe for a dose of healthy fat!

5.  Blueberries.  Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol.  They are great to throw into a smoothie, eat by the handful for a snack, or toss some on your oatmeal in the morning.

6.  Olive oil.  Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart.  You only need about 2 tablespoons per day so it’s easy to switch out with other oils you may use.

7.  Tomatoes.  Researchers believe that the lycopene in tomatoes inhibits the production of bad cholesterol while simultaneously breaking down artery-clogging fat. Enjoying your favorite marina sauce or a handful of cherry tomatoes is a great way to get the heart-healthy benefits.  Try this beautiful Spinach Tomato Salad.

8.  Chocolate.  Another food that has so many great benefits.  The flavonoids contained in dark chocolate help lower cholesterol.  But not just any chocolate will do, look for at least 70% cocoa.

9.  Fish.  Fish contains lots of heart-healthy omega-3s.  Adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week is a great way to get the benefit of these heart-healthy fats.  This Glazed Salmon is one of my favorite recipes.

10.  Garlic.  Adding as little as a half clove of garlic to your diet each day can help lower your bad cholesterol.  Garlic is great paired with other cholesterol-fighting foods like olive oil, tomatoes and fish so add more of it to your favorite recipes.

What is your favorite cholesterol-lowering food?

Phenoh 7.4

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This shop has been compensated by the advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #GoAlkaline #FindYourPhenoh

Have you ever heard of Phenoh 7.4 sports drink?  I hadn’t either until I was offered the opportunity to try it.  It’s the world’s first alkaline sports drink.  I’ve got to be honest though….I’m not a huge fan of the well-known sports drinks that you’ll find on the shelves of your local grocery store.  They are loaded with artificial ingredients and tons of sugar.  I eat right, work out regularly and try to avoid those type of ingredients.  It seems counter productive to have a great workout and then replenish it with a bottle of sugar.  I know these drinks contain the electrolytes I need after a tough workout but I don’t want all the other junk so I generally avoid them.

I admittedly don’t know a lot about alkalinity or acidity in the body.  I guess I kind of assumed that our bodies kind of manage the balancing process without any help from us.  But after reading about the science behind Phenoh, I understand it perfectly well and it makes perfect sense that we need to replenish our bodies properly after exertion to obtain the maximum benefit of exercise.  

Here’s the simple illustration that Phenoh uses to explain alkalinity in the body:

  • Think of acid as heat.  When we exercise, we produce heat and we also produce acid.
  • When you produce heat, your body cools off by sweating – you also breathe faster which gets rid of the extra acid.
  • When you become too hot, you suffer from overheating.  When you become too acidic, you suffer from over-acidifying.  Both are dangerous medical conditions.
  • If you think of acid base balance like temperature control then drinking an acidic sports drink while you exercise is like drinking a hot beverage when you are already sweating.  But – drinking an alkaline sport drink like Phenoh balances the acid created by exercise.

Makes perfect sense, right?

As an advocate of all natural ingredients, I was excited to learn that Phenoh only contains 7 ingredients and each has a specific purpose.  You’ve probably heard of these ingredients but here’s what they do for your body:

  • Organic aloe vera – contains essential amino acids and glycoproteins needed for rebuilding muscles during and after exercise.  It also helps boost the immune system, kills viruses, and promotes healthy digestion.
  • Natural mineral buffer system – neutralizes acidic metabolites that are harmful to our health and contribute to fatigue.
  • Organic agave nectar – provides a low glycemic index to promote a slower and stable effect on blood sugar.
  • Potassium – allows for rapid absorption and retention of fluids and maintains proper sodium/potassium balance that helps control blood pressure.
  • Magnesium – allows for ideal absorption of alkalizing minerals like calcium.
  • Ascorbic acid – essential antioxidant for immune support during stress and exercise.

There’s no need for preservatives, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup or any other junk.  As an added bonus, it also low in calories so it won’t sabotage your workout effort by replacing all of the calories you burned.

But I know you want to know about the really important stuff like how it tastes and how well it works.  Like I said, I’m not a fan of syrupy drinks.  They just don’t sit well on my stomach and sometimes make me feel nauseous.  I was pleasantly surprised at how light and refreshing Phenoh is.  It makes sense considering there isn’t a ton of sugar in it.  But it really tastes great and feels like exactly what my body needs after a hard workout.  I would definitely love to make Phenoh my regular sports drink!

phenoh

 

What is your favorite sports drink?  How do you stay hydrated when you workout?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

For tips on staying hydrated, be sure to check out these 7 Tips to Staying Hydrated!

 

10 Foods to Help You Sleep Better

10 Foods to help

10 Foods to helpFor many of us, sleep can be an elusive thing.  Sometimes there’s no reason for it and sometimes it’s hard to shut your mind off and unwind enough to sleep.  If you’re like me, your head hits the pillow and you suddenly remember the ten million other things you need to get done.  But the good news is that certain foods can help you fall asleep faster.  Add some of these foods into your diet and stop tossing and turning!

10 Foods to Help You Sleep Better

1.  Walnuts.  Walnuts are a great source of trytophan, a sleep-inducing agent that produces serotonin and melatonin.  Melatonin can help you fall asleep faster so a handful of nuts in the evening may just help you fall asleep faster.

2.  Cherry juice.  Cherry juice has been shown to boost levels of melatonin and can lessen insomnia.  The antioxidants found in cherry juice can also boost your immune system so there’s extra benefit to drinking it before bed.

3.  Chamomile tea.  Chamomile is another drink that has multiple benefits.  It relaxes nerves and acts as a mild sedative, calming stress and easing you into a more relaxed state, ideal for sleep.

4.  Hummus.  While this might sound like an usual choice to help cure insomnia, chickpeas are another great source of trytophan.  The melatonin produced can help you sleep better.

5.  Almonds.  Notice how often nuts appear on these lists?  Almonds are high in magnesium, which has a calming effect and helps you nod off faster. Just a handful can help you sleep better and give you a dose of heart healthy fats.  

6.  Bananas.  Just like almonds, bananas are a good source of magnesium and potassium which help relax muscles.  If you’ve ever experienced muscle pain during the night, you’ll appreciate what potassium and magnesium do for your sleep.

7.  Pumpkin seeds.  Not to be outdone by walnuts, pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan.  And since they are loaded with heart-healthy fat, you’ll get that added benefit as well.

8.  Honey.  Just a little taste of honey is all that is needed to signal your brain to start shutting down.  Add a tablespoon to your chamomile tea and you’ll be headed to dream land soon!

9.  Dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is another one that keeps showing up with some amazing benefits.  A small piece of dark chocolate will activate the seratonin in your brain and help you relax.

10.  Whole grains.  Whole grain foods are a good source of magnesium.  Adding magnesium-rich whole grains to your diet could help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?  Have you found any foods that help you sleep?  Tell us in the comments below!  

10 Foods to Reduce Stress

10 Foods to

10 Foods to (2)Are you a stress eater?  Many of us are and find it can have catastrophic effects on our weight and health.  Certain foods inherently help reduce stress so if you munch on them regularly, you may find that your stress level has been naturally reduced.  If you reach for the cupcakes or ice cream when you get stressed, you’ll want to read this!

10 Foods to Reduce Stress 

  1. Avocado.  Rich and creamy avocados are a great source of vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to naturally boost your mood as well as block certain fats.  Avocados are even great as a dessert food and better for you than that cupcake or ice cream to satisfy that sweets craving.  Try this recipe for Chocolate Avocado Pudding and you’ll be a believer!
  2. Cashews.  Cashews are high in zinc, which has been shown to lower depression and anxiety.  They are high in protein too, helping keep you full longer.  It’s easy to grab a handful when you get stressed and snack on those instead.  They are perfect to eat by themselves, add to a salad or main dish.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is as a healthy snack bar like these Cashew Bars.
  3. Chamomile tea.  Drinking chamomile tea, especially before bedtime helps reduce stress and aid in better sleep.  A warm cup of tea is the perfect way to unwind from the day and calm your mind.
  4. Oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that releases serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is known as the feel good chemical in the brain.  Not only will oatmeal make you feel good, it will keep you fuller longer and it’s a quick and easy (and inexpensive) food.  If you don’t like traditional oatmeal as a breakfast food, try these Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars – they’ll make you feel good!
  5. Oranges.  Oranges are a great source of vitamin C that helps you feel energetic and the sweetness can help fight off sugar cravings.  Since oranges are such great grab and go snacks, they are perfect to reach for when stress makes you want something sweet.
  6. Garlic.  Garlic is great for warding off illness and boosting our immune system.  Because stress weakens our immunity, eating plenty of garlic in your diet can help keep your immune system strong.
  7. Broccoli.  Broccoli is loaded with folic acid which has been directly linked with stress reduction.  While it’s not an instant treatment for stress, eating plenty of eat regularly can help you lower your stress level.  
  8. Chocolate.  Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that help lower stress.  Just be sure to make it dark chocolate and don’t overdo it!
  9. Salmon.  Salmon is loaded with omega-3s that help with brain function.  Improved brain function can help you more effectively deal with stress.  This Glazed Salmon is one of my favorites and is quick and easy to make for a weeknight meal.
  10. Water.  Water is good for so many things!  Drinking a cold glass of water and taking a brisk walk for a few minutes is a great way to get those endorphins going and ease your stress.  Need tips for drinking more water?  Try these!

How to you reduce stress in your life?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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