The Weight Loss Equation 

Did you know that there’s a pill you can take before bed that shrinks your waist by a few inches before morning? No? Well, that’s because it doesn’t exist (yet, anyway). Losing weight and keeping it off takes work. The equation is simple, but the process isn’t always easy.

Healthy Eating + Exercise = A Healthier You

I used to think that I could work out 3-5 days a week and keep eating crap. Then, when I didn’t see any movement on the scale I would get discouraged and give up. That’s the cycle most of us fall into. One day of bad eating or a missed workout isn’t going to do damage, but if it becomes a habit, it will. Like so, one good day of working out and eating clean won’t produce change.  It’s like Darren Hardy describes in his book The Compound Effect, small movements or actions over time will add up.

Make Healthy Choices

I love pizza and wish I could eat it every day. I still enjoy it, but in moderation. Instead of four slices, I’ll have 1-2 (depending on the size) with a side salad. Eat lean protein, healthy fat, good carbs, veggies, and minimal fruit. I don’t follow a specific diet or base my daily meals off the food pyramid. I’m mostly paleo, like the idea of the Whole30 plate structure, severely limit processed junk, and use portion control containers to make sure I’m not overdoing it. I don’t recommend one eating program over the next – I think you should do what’s right for your body and your lifestyle. I will say that I’m totally against smoking and any other unhealthy habits that cause bodily harm. Do yourself a favor and keep it clean!

Know Your Triggers

Are there foods that you love so much that you just can’t stop eating them once you get started? I feel that way about sour patch kids (a processed food exception!), kettle corn, and black cherries, to name a few. You might be thinking, “Whoa, wait a minute, cherries are healthy.” And they are – in moderation. But they are a food with no breaks for me, which means I can easily eat a full bag. And that can pack in over 300 calories, 52 grams of sugar, and 76 carbohydrates. Even though they are rich in vitamins and minerals, natural foods can be dangerous too. When possible, I do best when I limit trigger foods, because I know I really can’t get away with eating just one.

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These are the 21 Day Fix Portion Control Containers I use to get the right amounts!

Eat Slowly

It takes about 20 minutes for us to feel full (unless you’re me because I have the stomach of a dog and can eat for days. Second dinner, anyone?) Sit down to eat and chew slowly. It’s not a race and you don’t have to be the first one finished.

Eat The Correct Portions

When you go out to eat, your meal is generally not just one portion. That’s why most of us end up taking the leftovers home for another time. When you prepare and serve your own food, stick to the recommended serving sizes on the packaging. It really does make a world of difference because the serving sizes are usually much less than we would expect.

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This is a serving of fruit – 1 cup.

Stop Eating When You’re Full

Remember when your mom used to make you clean your plate? Well, you’re not 6 anymore. Don’t feel guilty about stopping when you’re full. You don’t have to toss the food – save it for the next day’s lunch.

Burn More Calories Than You Consume

I don’t advocate counting calories, because 150 calories of ice cream and 150 of grilled chicken will NOT get you the same results. So, sometimes it’s pointless. But I recently started plugging my daily meals and snacks into my Fitbit App and man was I stunned. Maybe horrified is a better word. What I thought was a a relatively healthy breakfast – lemon poppy seed muffin and a strawberry sunshine smoothie – turned into an 810 calorie breakfast. I think my reaction was “Holy Shit.” I didn’t count my calories for about a month after that experience. And then I decided to change how I was eating. Muffins = not good for me because they are loaded with carbs and sugar and don’t keep me full. My daily intake now is about 1,200 calories of predominately paleo (and healthy) foods. See what works for your body and run with it.

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Calories burned after a kick-ass MMA inspired workout.

Drink Water

I can’t say it enough. I even wrote a post about it last year. Water is good for everything – your skin, muscle soreness and recovery, your kidneys, the list goes on. Get a water bottle you like and drink up. I really like my Healthy Human water bottle because it keeps my water cold for hours and even overnight.

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This is my LIFESAVER. Without it, I wouldn’t get in my daily ounces.

Move Your Body

When you have a desk job, it isn’t always easy to get moving. I typically get 9,000-11,000 steps in per day, but I’m always on the move (I’ll save that for another post). You can easily add a few steps by walking to the break room to refill your water bottle or taking a trip to the farthest bathroom. When driving to a destination, don’t wait for a front row spot to open up. Park at a distance and take a leisurely stroll. Window shop!

Find A Workout You Love*

I used to hate working out. I don’t enjoy anything that causes me to be in pain – like bikini waxes (*shudders*). I stumbled upon a dance workout that is super fun and I love it! It’s good to mix it up and include cardio, weight lifting, yoga, HIIT, and others. You want to be motivated enough to workout at least 5 days a week. If one program doesn’t work, try another, and keep trying until you find your fit.

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Photo is the property of Beachbody, LLC.

Ditch The Scale

I’m serious. I weigh more now than I did in college, but I’m in better shape. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. Focus on the non-scale victories. Do your pants fit better? Can you see that definition in your arms? Are you sleeping better? Do you have fewer cravings? The list of benefits goes on and on.

Reward Yourself, But Not With Food

I used to let myself have ice cream or candy after a workout because I thought I deserved it. Now that sounds completely ridiculous to me. Today I prefer a sudsy shower or bubbly bath. You shower every day after your workout (I would hope!), so why not make it something to really look forward to? I have sugar scrubs, rich lathers, and a nice cream to put on after. I save the baths for when my muscles are sore and drop in a bath bomb, some Epsom salts, or a scented bubble bar. Candles are a nice touch too!

To recap, there is no special pill, miracle cream, or pixie dust that will make you a size 2. It just takes consistency, persistence, motivation, and willpower. Keep it up and you’ll see results before you know it.

*Visit teambeachbody.com/KPfitMiss for more information on workout programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach!

 

Tastes like sunshine

Move over PB, there’s a new jar of goodness in town!

I love peanut butter – on toast, in cookies, straight from the jar – you name it. So the first time I encountered SunButter, I quickly dismissed it. Nothing could replace my beloved PB.

But a couple of months ago I thought I would give it another shot (well, actually try it). It’s like the Heavens opened up and angels were singing – this stuff is amazing.

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Creamy SunButter makes the BEST cookies!

Flavors: natural, creamy, natural crunch, no sugar added, and organic. The organic is Whole30 approved (I’m super excited about that). The creamy also comes in on-the-go packs (great for kid – or adult – lunches).

  • It’s free from the top 8 allergens (including nuts and soy), which makes it a good alternative for those allergic to nuts.
  • It’s school safe. If you don’t have kids this might not seem like a huge deal, but it totally is. Did you know that many schools are banning PB from lunchboxes? We never had to worry about that when I was in elementary school – 75% of kids brought in either PB&J of Fluffernutters. Now there are extra precautions to limit exposure. Better to be safe than sorry! For more information on this, check out the website.
  • It has 7 grams of protein per serving (2Tbsp). This is good for picky little eaters – make them ants on a log and know that they are getting in some extra protein in with their snacks. You can even add a scoop to a chocolate shake for breakfast – yum!

Fun Fact: It takes 3 pounds of sunflower seeds to make one jar of SunButter. Wow! (credit: SunButter.com)

How awesome is this pen?!

Use it just like PB

I swapped out the PB in my favorite peanut butter cookies and not only were they good – they were better with SunButter! I’ve tried several of the recipes online too.  It really is wonderful.

For more fun  ideas, visit SunButter.com

 

This post is sponsored by SunButter. Thank you for supporting the companies that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

 

Bottoms up!

A couple of weeks ago I brought an assortment of drinking vinegars and a handful of shot glasses over to my mom’s house and a few of us did rounds of tasting. It was definitely different, but we had a lot of fun finding our favorites and imagining what foods we could pair with them.

I first heard of vinegar shots a couple of years ago while attending a garlic festival. I was skeptical at first, but, to my surprise, they were quite good.

Recently I stumbled upon a delicious group of drinking vinegars or “shrubs” produced by Detroit-based company, McClary Bros. The genius behind this creative company, Jess McClary originally started a home-based bakery that sold goods made with locally sourced produce, but then decided to make healthier products that incorporated many of the same herbs, fruits, and veggies.

That’s when McClary Bros. – the company named for her twin boys Jack and Ben – was born. McClary Bros. has since been featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and in Midwest Living and Cooking Light.

What exactly is a McClary Bros. Drinking Vinegar?

A combination of organic, unpasteurized ACV (apple cider vinegar) mingled with fresh ingredients and organic cane sugar. Each sip is a delightful punch of flavor.

My Favorites

Lemon & Ginger – It’s sweet, tangy, and delicious. Think of it as a spiced lemonade! This would go great with a little seltzer water and a slice of lemon.

Michigan Beet & Carrot – Reminds me of the pickled beets my great-granny used to serve for dinner. Perfectly sweet, sour, and fun! Would pair perfectly with a little EVOO and some arugula.

Michigan Saskatoon – Sweet and summery. Makes a nice, refreshing cocktail! Just pour in over frozen dark cherries and top off with La Croix sparkling water – berry bliss in a cup.

Michigan Saskatoon with frozen dark cherries and a splash of fizz! 

Mix ’em up

Don’t like the thought of drinking vinegar straight from the bottle? No problem! These taste great in sauces, salad dressings, and even cocktails. Check out the website for culinary and cocktail & craft soda recipes. So much fun!

Prices are very affordable, but vary – visit the site for details. While you’re there, check out the cool gifts and extras in the online store including ice ball molds and t-shirts.

 

DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by McClary Bros. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Shake it up!

Do you know how hard it is to find a dairy-free protein shake that actually tastes good? It was like looking for a unicorn…until now. Vega protein is certified vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, and just as the name suggests – completely plant-based and devoid of dairy. This stuff is liquid gold (especially for us lactose intolerant peeps!).

Vega Protein & Greens (prices vary by size)

Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Tropical, Natural, Coconut Almond.

This protein is so versatile – use it to make a morning shake, smoothie bowl, overnight oats, waffles, and more. Check out Vega’s Recipe Center for a mountain of ideas.

It has 20 grams of protein, a whopping 2 servings of veggies (including kale, spinach, and broccoli), and is only 110 calories. It’s literally a salad in a glass – except, it tastes like dessert. It’s a great way to get those veggies in.

Vanilla

This one is my favorite from the product line. The mild vanilla flavor makes it a great base for seasonal shakes such as a fresh berry smoothie in the summer and a pumpkin spice one in the fall. I prefer to drink the shake blended with either almond or coconut milk because it’s so smooth and creamy.

Chocolate

This one is great for desserts and baking. Of course I love drinking my chocolate salad, but it also functions as a good cocoa powder for chocolate recipes such as protein power balls and mug cakes. Yum!

At about $1.50 per serving, you can’t go wrong. It’s probably the cheapest you’ll pay for a healthy breakfast.

Vega One Starter Bundle ($14.99)

A shake for each day of the week – how cool is that? Try them all and find your favorites before committing to an entire container. Test the shakes for an entire week to see how your body feels after drinking them. That’s a great price for a week’s worth of breakfasts, if you ask me.

And if you want more than just a shake, there is a super awesome recipe for Chocolate Donuts on the site – what!

Vega Sport Starter Bundle ($19.99)

This package includes singles of: Pre-Workout Energizer in Lemon Lime & Acai Berry, Endurance Gel in Raspberry & Orange Zest, Electrolyte Hydrator in Lemon Lime & Berry, Recovery Accelerator in Tropical & Apple Berry, Performance Protein Singles in Chocolate, Berry, and Vanilla, and Protein Bars in Chocolate Coconut (2) and Chocolate Peanut Butter (2).

It is well worth the small investment to find products that you can add right into your daily routine. If you’re really active, this might be a good bundle for you. I’ve gotten into the habit of working out 1-2 times a day and definitely noticed a change with the Pre-Workout Energizer. It gave me the boost I needed to power through my 5am workout! I also fell in love with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars and Berry Performance Protein – they both kept me full and satisfied for hours.

Vega offers many other products, such as smoothies, protein powders, snack bars, and vitamins. For more information or to make a purchase, visit myvega.com.

 

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Vega. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Peas, please

When I saw an ad for dairy-free milk made from peas, I just had to try it. I mean, doesn’t that sound interesting?

Ripple Milk is high in protein and low in sugar. In addition to dairy-free, this plant-based milk is also vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free. And the best part? Ripple is allergy friendly – free of the top 8 allergens, including nuts, which makes it a great alternative to almond or cashew milk for those with dairy AND nut allergies! All products are certified non-GMO.

I love that this company puts a focus on sustainability. Ripple is doing its part to help the planet one bottle at a time, following the principles of the Butterfly (or Ripple) Effect – how one small movement can produce a mountain of change.

Yellow peas are better for you and the earth. The“bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic that can be recycled by 99% of US households.” Check out their site for some pretty impressive environmental statistics.

But, it’s made from peas. Does it taste like peas?

No way! Two of the toughest food critics I know (my mom and grandma) gave this beverage two thumbs up. “It tastes like a milkshake.” And that it does.  Dairy-free never tasted so good!

Ripple Vanilla

This recipe is completely delicious and tastes just like a creamy vanilla shake. Each serving is packed with 8 grams of plant-based protein and it has less sugar than other flavored milk and more calcium than dairy milk. Add Ripple Vanilla to cereal, stir it into recipes, or drink alone. I prefer mine with a side of gluten-free cookies!

Visit ripplefoods.com for more information and check out their store locator to see where you can get your own bottles of this delicious drink!

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Ripple. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

#spreadthefit

I don’t have a big sweet tooth. Actually, I’ve had a box of Oreos and bag of M&M minis (that I used on a cake) sitting in my cabinet for over a month – untouched. What really gets dangerous for me is PB. I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER, and don’t get me started on pb cookies. They are just the BEST! Unfortunately, it turns out that eating plain old pb straight from the jar isn’t really that healthy. Who knew?

Lately I’ve been trying to be a lot better with regular workouts and healthier eating. I’m not going to lie – there are days when I want nothing but mac and cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the thought of eating a carrot disgusts me. But, let’s be real – that’s not practical or nutritious.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could eat a cookie for breakfast and NOT feel bad about it?

Wouldn’t it be fun if cookies fit right into our healthy eating plans?

Can I have a drumroll please??

Buff Bake was started by cousins Ashley, a fitness lover and bikini contest competitor, and Brittany, an avid baker. The duo tried their hand at creating protein-infused muffins – a delicious (and healthy!) snack that would fall right in with many strict diets. This was just the stepping stone to the line of Buff Bake products we know today – the much loved protein cookies and nut butters.

The Cookies

There are 16 grams of protein in each cookie and ingredients include natural pb and extra virgin coconut oil. You have my FULL permission to eat them for breakfast. The flavors are fun and seriously delicious: Birthday Cake (gluten free), Snickerdoodle (gluten free), Chocolate Chip PB, Frosted Oatmeal Raisin, and White Chocolate PB. Try a 4-pack, variety pack, or sampler.

The Butters

All nut butters are gluten free and have 11 grams of protein per serving. You will find peanuts, almonds, chia, flax, and more in these creamy and good-for-you blends.

Almond Butters: Birthday Cake, Snickerdoodle, Cookie, and Coffee Bean.

Peanut Butters: Pumpkin Spice, Red Velvet, White Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, and Cinnamon Raisin.

Try a 10-pack of pouches, a whole jar (or two, or three), or start out with a sampler. Spread them on toast, over waffles or pancakes, or mix into your favorite overnight oats – the possibilities are really endless. Buff Bake has several enticing recipes on their site, including one for pomegranate chocolate chip pizza. Yum!

You can #spreadthefit too! To learn more, check out the pretty amusing clothing line, or make a purchase, visit buffbake.com.

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Buff Bake. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.
 

Snippet: Ground Cherries

Last week I received a produce delivery that was supposed to include ground cherries. I took out every item from the bag, but could not find my beloved cherries. Instead, there was a small bag of papery, lantern-like items that I thought I had received by mistake. I opened one and found what looked like a yellow cherry tomato. 

That left me scratching my head for a minute. 

Apparently there is a difference between ground cherries and Ground Cherries. Confused? I was at first. I mistakenly expected a bag of pitted, ground sweet cherries that would be perfect for baking. I received a bag of Ground Cherries, also known by their scientific name Physalis pruinosa, a fruit similar to that of a – wait for it – tomato. 

Ground Cherries are native to Central and South America and grow on a plant similar to a tomato vine. So why call it a cherry? Your guess is as good as mine. 

The flavor is different, but pleasant. It’s savory, yet sweeter than your average cherry tomato. It still has that pop I love, but with a more tropical feel. 

You can eat them raw, which is good because in an effort to find out what they were, I ate a few and passed them around the office until someone thought to Google them. Ahh. 

Here’s the cool part: you can use them in desserts, jellies, and even dip them in chocolate. Just like “real” cherries! So I guess I wasn’t too far off the mark. 

The moral here? Try new things – I can’t recommend it enough. There are so many great foods I’ve tried this year thanks to my weekly produce delivery from Field Goods. Foods that I, otherwise, wouldn’t have access to or even know about. 

Happy adventuring (and snacking)!