When life gives you cold days in San Diego, make chicken noodle soup!  Last weekend I was fortunate to be soaking up the PERFECT weather in San Francisco while it was pouring rain in San Diego.  I came home on Sunday to cold temps and dark skies, so I decided to make soup for the very first time.  I found a delicious looking recipe, and it turned out just so.

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Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup
Slightly modified via Baker by Nature
INGREDIENTS:
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon organic taco seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 very large onion, finely diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
Big pinch of salt
(1) 32 oz containers chicken stock
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
16 oz noodles (I used organic fusilli)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Place chicken tenders in a large baking dish lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with spices. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken at the half-way point. Once cooked, pull into small chunks using two forks.
  2. While the chicken is roasting, make the soup.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over a medium flame. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook – stirring occasionally – for 8-9 minutes. Add garlic and salt and cook for another minute before adding the bay leaf, water and chicken stock. Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, stir in noodles, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the pasta al dente. Stir in cooked chicken, dill, and lemon juice. Taste soup to adjust seasonings, then serve at once.

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Lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to remember to drink green smoothies after my morning workouts.  Right now this is my go-to green smoothie to make, combining a ton of greens, protein, and maca for an added boost of energy!

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Get up & glowing green smoothie
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups almond milk
1 cup frozen fruit
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 scoop protein powder
1 tsp. Sol Raiz Organics maca powder
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place everything in a blender and blend until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.

What do you eat or drink right after a workout?

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My good friend Kelli recently launched a new website called Glimpse of Healthy!

“Glimpse of Healthy brings you everything you need to know about the wellness, health and fitness happenings around sunny San Diego. You’ll be the first to know about the locals-only yoga class on the beach next week and the new juice spot that just opened up around the corner.”

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I am honored to be an ongoing contributor and just wrote my first article: 3 New San Diego Juice Companies You Should Be Trying NOW!

Make sure to check out Glimpse of Healthy – your one stop spot for the best of San Diego’s health and wellness scene!

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So in the past couple of weeks I’ve had my fair share of visits to Balanced Fitness & Health.

I’ve done everything from take a Pilates class, talk to a nutritionist and workout with 2 different personal trainers.  And ironically, one of my friends from High School works there (small world, especially because I grew up in Northern California!).

The gym has been super convenient for me to access from my house, and I’ve ended up running there almost every time. Only a couple blocks over and up, it makes for a nice 1 mile trip to, and a 1 mile trip from.  I’m also appreciative that their trainers were not pushy at all. There was no sit down, how many sessions are you going to buy, etc. They both offered me a great workout, and left it at that.

Some unique features at Balanced Fitness & Health:

  • RMR, or Resting Metabolic Rate (measures the amount of calories your body needs to function at rest)
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Nutritionist on staff
  • Indoor “outdoor” area (faux-grass)
  • Pilates reformer classes
  • TRX
  • New equipment

The only thing I didn’t get a chance to do but would still like to try was the RMR technology.  The only downside to this is that you have to fast 8 hours before, so it makes the most sense to do it first thing in the morning.

While they’re still undergoing some construction and improvements, Balanced Fitness & Health has already made strides towards offering a unique experience.  If you’re in the downtown SD area, check them out!

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, but I received (several) complimentary visits for my review. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

photo 2photo credit: Anna Johnson Photography

On Saturday afternoon, I attended the Practice of Leadership panel at the Yoga Journal LIVE! Conference in San Diego. The Practice of Leadership is an ongoing discussion, first originating at the Yoga Journal LIVE! NYC conference. That session had an emphasis on social responsibility and corporate leadership while Saturday’s session was primarily on body image in current yoga culture.

The panel was made up a variety of speakers, creating a dialogue between Yoga Journal, Lululemon and the community.

The first question of the day set the intention for the rest of the discussion: “what is body image?” Body image was defined as not our actual bodies, but rather a psychological blueprint, an image we’ve conjured up about ourselves based on experiences we’ve had. Our bodies are reality, whereas body image is subjective.

A particular ideal that is perpetuated by yoga culture is the image of a “healthy body”: the skinny, flexible caucasian woman. This is what we are taught “health looks like.” But you can be healthy (active, happy, free of disease) without fitting this ideal image of “health.”

We’re constantly being pressed with certain ideals (namely the tiny, chiseled athletic woman who stands as the definition of health), whether its through magazines, tv, advertising, apparel, social media (primarily Instagram).

This discussion reminded me of a post I had written earlier this year in January titled, “Letting Everything Go on The Mat,” where I talked about negative thoughts and self-loathing that entered my mind while on the yoga mat.

photo 1photo credit: Anna Johnson Photography

For the longest time, one of my goals was to “do yoga in a sports bra,” meaning being skinny enough that yoga bends and forward folds wouldn’t cause unsightly stomach rolls. I’ve also been guilty of having thoughts like, maybe if I do 30 consecutive days of yoga, I’ll look like a “yogi.” Maybe if I only focus on yoga (instead of other activities), I’ll look like a “yogi.”

However, even in the months since this was written, I’ve come a long way in loving my body. Even though I exercise and eat clean, I’m striving for positive change and improvements, rather than hating my body.

I used to think people were lucky if they didn’t carry an ounce of body issues. However, I’ve realized everyone has body image issues, they’re just formed in a variety of ways. I’ve learned over time that everyone is so involved with themselves — what they look like, what others think they look like — that they hardly place judgement on other people. They’re too busy placing judgement on themselves to be judging you.

So breathe. Relax. Be active. Be happy. And be your own kind of healthy.

What are your thoughts on body image and what’s perpetuated by yoga culture?

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From May 12-21, I did a 10 day Advocare herbal cleanse.  I failed to mention this cleanse on here because I was worried that the more people that knew, the more I would set myself up for failure (although it should’ve held me more accountable right?). I wanted to follow through and see for myself what the results would be before I broadcasted it.

Anyways…I eat healthy and work out, so why would I want/need to do a 10 day cleanse?

Every day I seem to feel different about my body. Some days I feel great. I feel lean, strong, and happy. Then some days, I don’t. I feel bloated, manly, or baby-fatish. These days, I am always convinced there is something wrong with me to the point that I can work my ass off, eat clean, and not see any changes. It makes me feel like I’m not doing enough even though I know I’m doing more than plenty.

After feeling like I was in the right shape to go bikini shopping for the season, I was strongly mistaken. I became so discouraged because everything I tried on became unappealing as soon as it hit my body.

I had seen Advocare mentioned before on Barefoot Colorado and Health Nut Julie, and since Savannah recently became a distributor, I decided to find out more. Then I started to look at some before and after shots on other blogs.  It looked legit and not like a scheme or one of those websites “backed by Doctor Oz” (e.g. Garcinia Cambogia) where they use real people’s pictures to promote their ridiculous weight loss products.

What was there to lose? Just 10 days of my time. Eat clean(er), workout, take a few extra supplements, see what happens.

There’s no coffee, no protein powders, etc. on this plan. Green tea is allowed, and I also drank regular unsweetened iced tea and sparkling water. And even though this was an herbal cleanse, I pooped less than I regularly do with coffee (TMI? just sayin’…haha).

An average day (or specifically, day one) looked like this:

  1. Upon waking up – take fiber drink and catalyst pills
  2. 30 minutes later – Green smoothie (1 cup frozen fruit, 1 cup power greens, 1 cup water), Spark
  3. Breakfast – 6 egg whites, 1 cup fruit
  4. Snack – 2 rice cakes topped with 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter (each)
  5. 30 minutes before lunch – catalyst pills
  6. Lunch – 4 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup quinoa, orange bell pepper, grape tomatoes, persian cucumber, power greens, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, fish oil pill
  7. Snack – Banana, 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  8. Pre-workout – Spark
  9. Post-workout – Fruit smoothie (1 cup frozen fruit, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  10. Dinner – 4 oz chicken breast, 1 small sweet potato, 1.5 cups broccoli, 1/2 avocado, fish oil pill
  11. Pre-bed – herbal cleanse pills, catalyst pills

Plus 2 glasses of water with every meal. Although the supplements change (e.g. 1-3 fiber drink in AM, 1-7 herbal cleanse pills at night, 4-10 probiotic restore pills, 8-10 fiber drink and probiotic pills), the food stayed pretty consistent. I did eat out several times, but made modifications to make it work.

All of the supplements tasted pretty good. The fiber drink was enjoyable (Peaches ’n cream) as was the energy boost, Spark (Mango Strawberry). Even the herbal cleanse pills had a peach flavor to them.

Like I said, I made some modifications along the way and had one cheat meal when I went to Palm Desert to visit my grandparents because we went out to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day (also a day I ran 12.5 miles – my reasoning).

DipticOverall I loved the cleanse. It was very manageable and very sustainable. I just feel more confident, even if the changes weren’t drastic. I finally don’t feel bloated and/or feel like I look like I eat McDonald’s even though I work out and eat clean.  I ended up losing 1+ inch from everywhere (thighs, waist, booty, bust – top, bottom and middle) except my biceps…they grew ;-). And although I didn’t lose any weight, I feel rock solid now.

Things I learned:

  • Going out to eat a restaurant doesn’t have to be a diet pitfall. I had to be conscientious, even with “healthy” options to make sure they really were healthy.
  • That being said, I don’t ALWAYS have to have bread and dessert at a restaurant.
  • A cheat meal doesn’t have to turn into a cheat day.
  • Prepping some staples to have on hand for dinner (in addition to all my other meals) made everything so much more easier. It was nice to have some options, other than local take-out.
  • Chicken, sweet potato and a roasted green veggie is an acceptable (by my standards) and balanced dinner.
  • When I did get take-out, I substituted the creamy-based dressing for my own (and now favorite) homemade dressing.

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Meow. I’m tired.  And nothing sounds better than caffeine.  Portable caffeine.  In a stick.

Enter: Pure Lyft, to get naturally “lyfted.”  (<- can we please cue John Legend, just for the sake of listening to John Legend, and for the fact that “Let’s Get Lifted” is too perfect for this product review?)

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Pure Lyft is an energy stir stick that has zero taste, zero calories and a whole lot of caffeine (equal to one tall coffee, naturally through green coffee bean extract).  You just stir it anything you want for some added energy.

At first I thought that these sticks were just like little test strips that you dip into a drink of your choice.  But once I opened the packaging, I saw that it’s a plastic, prism shaped stick.  First, you have to remove some plastic labeling from one side and then some powdery substance is exposed.  Note: do NOT eat the powder by itself, bleh!

I decided to put this into my favorite sparkling water drink, coconut La Croix (cuz I’m fancy).  Since my drink already had some effervescence, stirring in Pure Lyft made it bubble more (although it didn’t bubble when I tested it out in regular water).

That being said, I would recommend using Pure Lyft with a drink that already has some flavor.  I personally preferred it mixed with my La Croix versus just with regular water.  But overall, it did the job and gave me a nice, natural feeling boost of energy, with no crash or jitteriness.

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Would you be interested in trying Pure Lyft?
Now’s your chance to enter to win some and try for yourself (and because who doesn’t love winning and free stuff?!)

Giveaway ends Midnight, Sunday May 25th

Just follow: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Through my relationship with Fit Approach, I received complimentary Pure Lyft product. As always, all thoughts, opinions and ideas are my own.

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This is one of my favorite little gift sets!  It’s fun, light, and refreshing.

What you need:
1 bottle of Bon Affair – or your choice of bubbly
2 stemless Anthropologie wine glasses – or any fun glasses you find
1 cute card from Paper Source – or again, any!

photo 2-2Photo credit: Jen

On a side note: tonight, you can watch Bon Affair on Shark Tank, 9-10 pm on ABC! I first met Jayla last fall at the Whole Foods holiday tasting and have since then been a brand ambassador. It’s been amazing to watch her company grow, from accounts at Whole Foods and Albertsons, to most recently Nordstrom. I’m excited to see what happens for their company after pitching a deal on Shark Tank!

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Or what is but shouldn’t be there?  Maybe some Trefoils/Girl Scout Cookies, some Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream drops?

I remember when I first started my job I thought it was completely acceptable to walk down to the liquor store every day and buy a pack of candy.  What a bad habit!  But working is work and it deserves a reward, right?

Instead, what should be in there are some POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by Nature Box!  You get a wide variety of healthy, nutritionist approved snacks delivered right to your door, every month.  Some salty, some sweet, some all mixed-in for those days when you feel in-between.  Plus, what you receive is always a mystery, so it’s just like the fabulous grab bags you used to get at Hello Kitty (or am I the only one?)!

This month I received lemon pucker pistachios, seaweed rice pops, dried peaches, blueberry almond bites and POPSUGAR Must Have Trail Mix.  My favorite snack was probably the blueberry almond bites that I used to top my healthy pro-yo up above.

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For a limited time, the POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by NatureBox are 50% off when you sign up here.

Have you ever signed up for a monthly subscription box?
The only subscriptions I’ve had were for Piper…lucky dog.

Disclaimer: POPSUGAR and NatureBox provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by NatureBox box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own, and POPSUGAR and NatureBox did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

 
 
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