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Make Your Carbohydrates Work FOR You!


Carbs, carbs!  We all love carbs!  And to be honest they are the absolute bread and butter of any sound nutrition regimen.  Carbohydrates keep us fueled, keep our digestive systems working right, and satisfy cravings like nothing else.  So why do they get such a bad wrap?  In a society gone crazy for ketogenic diets and gluten free everything, I see so many people throwing the baby out with the bath water.  But slow your roll there sister.  I'm about to teach you some tricks to help you OWN your carbs and make them work FOR you, not against you!

1. Whole Grain Over Everything.  It might not happen overnight.  You might have to start with just switching breads, doing 50/50 whole grain pasta, subbing out a portion of your pancake mix for whole wheat flour... but the goal should be whole grains every single time.  Not because it's going to cut back the carbs, but because it's going to pack so much MORE good stuff you need to get your nutrition balanced!  When you switch to whole grains, you're not only getting necessary carbs, you're also getting plenty of fiber to keep your digestive system happy and working.  You're getting added protein, aiding those toned muscles you've been seeking and reducing soreness after workouts.  You'll feel fuller faster, thus limiting portion size and keeping the mindless snacking in check.  Not to mention you're going to get a slew of other micronutrients you need to keep your systems working their best!  When you break down the benefits, it's really a no brainer, and you won't even miss the refined stuff after a while.

2. Less sandwich, more "on toast".  Rarely during the week will you ever see me eating an entire sandwich.  That's because a slice of bread is a serving, and two of them is honestly more than you need in one sitting.  Instead, I do a lot of toppings on toast - peanut butter on toast, tunafish on toast, turkey and cheese on toast.  Wrap it up like a taco if you must, but stick to just one.  You'll still be satisfied and without totally slamming your daily carb goals in one sitting.

3. Look for "low carb" substitutes.  While I'm not really a huge fan of cutting out carbs, one of the benefits of this crazy societal trend is that there are a LOT of low carb options on the market!  From breads to pastas, you don't need to get all that fancy anymore.  Just find substitutes that have been made for you.  My mom is a big fan of Dreamfield's pasta and I have recently started using edamame noodles and black bean noodles (yes they taste pretty darn close to spaghetti) that also give me the added protein and fiber I need to balance out and really make my carbs worth their weight in gold.

4. Time them right.  You don't want to blow all your carbs by 10 am and be starving late in the day.  You also don't want to save them all for dinner when you're not far from bedtime.  I try to get a good serving in first thing in the day to get me going and space them out through lunch, snack, and leave a little bit for dinner.  Doing this will keep you satiated throughout the day and avoid the food coma feeling you get when you pack it into one sitting.  Also, depending on your exercise routine, I'd suggest making one of those servings within an hour of your workout.  Perfect fuel for a good sweat!

5. Limit the sweet carbs.  If you're doing these things and still going way over your carb limit, I suspect you might have some sweet stuff you need to cut back on.  Sweet tea, juice, desserts... these can fill up your carb allowance fast, but without any real value.  You're going to be left hungry and low in other nutrients, even though your carb goals have been fulfilled.  I'm not saying you can't have any treats, but be mindful.  These things are silent killers when it comes to diet success rates, and you can't walk into them blindfolded.  Make sure it's worth it if you're using your carbs on these.

Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way to a healthy relationship with carbohydrates!  Need more help?  Let me hold your hand and guide you through my system of sound nutrition without the use the of any specific supplements or programs!  Comment below and I'll keep you updated on the start of my next group.  I'd love to have you and teach you how you can gain total control over your diet and body goals!

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Why Aren't You Sleeping?


I always see it.  "Moms, when did your kids start sleeping?" An inevitable post that seems to have a zillion answers and zero answers all in one, the most popular being "never" and a slew of discouraged sighs from all of the new mothers out there just beginning to question their own survival skills.  I think because of this I actually overinflated the sleeping issues long before I had children, and thus it never seemed all that bad to me, give or take a few episodes of hand, foot, and mouth and the great baby escape period, but those were short stints over years of motherhood, so I realize I have nothing to complain about.  Overall, my kids have been pretty awesome sleepers.  Still, there's always a reason to wake up.  And every time we seem to nip one reason in the bud, another one pops up.  And every single one of them has been a natural progression in my kids growth.

When I first had them, that was probably the worst... and they weren't even home yet! I spent the first 2 months home alone and since they didn't even have a swallow reflex developed yet, I HAD to pump every 2 hours in an attempt to get my milk going and have enough to put through their little feeding tubes.  My alarms looked something like this: 10 pm, 12:30 pm, 3 am, 5:30 am, 8 am... and going around the clock 24/7, without any actual humans.  Just me, myself, and Medela.  I'm sure there are plenty of you out there nodding your heads at this knowing exactly what I'm talking about.  It's a lonely life, but one filled with noble purpose as well.

Eventually things began to change.  I wasn't pumping so often (and sadly gave up after 6 months when the pumping demands and my full time work schedule simply could not coexist any longer).  Relief right?  Wrong.  So enter the days of constant sickness (what can say? BOTH parents are teachers), teething, and getting stuck in the corners of our crib.  That is UNTIL they find their own mobility and boom... they're thrusting themselves over the sides and onto the floors to discover on their own terms.  Talk about terrifying and why their room still looks as sparse as possible and will remain that way for quite some time.  My point being, it's a constantly evolving battle that never really goes away, it just changes forms.

Today my kids can get themselves in and out of bed.  They can fix their own blankets and pick up their own animals.  They even soothe themselves to an extent if they wake up and are pretty good at getting back to sleep.  But don't worry, we were still up today.  In the darkness of early morning I hear a little voice telling me she needs to go pee pee.  She's already waiting at the door for me to open it and help her get onto the big potty like the big girl that she now is.  I go out to help her, take off her still dry diaper, and celebrate with her as she made it to the right spot, at the right time, even in the darkness of the night without Mommy or Daddy to remind her.  We're so proud, but we're also not going back to sleep now, so here we are watching Max & Ruby well before the sun comes up under blankets with sister in tow (because naturally she had to wake up too).

As I look to the years ahead, I know that one day they will help themselves to the potty without me, but there will always be SOMETHING.  Bad dreams.  Sniffles.  Separation anxiety when we start school and a desire to get more time with mommy...  Worries about something posted on social media that will require counseling and reassurance...  Slumber parties with girlfriends and me eavesdropping through the vents to hear the secret conversations...  Staying up all night worrying about them as they are out with friends, just waiting for them to get dropped off safely...

I'm not naive.  I know how quickly we got here and how quickly we're going to get there, and all I can do is watch it happen and be there.  In the middle of the night and early in the morning.  For all hours and for all time.  For every age and every stage.  Sleep can wait.  Right now I'm happy to wake up in the middle of the night and race to the potty.  It's exactly what I always wanted to wake up for and it's as wonderful as I'd ever imagined.  Did I mention she says "Mommy I love you" about a hundred times while she's doing it as if she's making up for inconveniencing me somehow?  Honey, you're not inconveniencing me, but you can go ahead and keep saying it, because I love you a hundred times over as well.

Motherhood.  It's why I'm not sleeping, and it's the best reason ever.


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Whey vs. Vegan: The Great Debate

Over the years, I've learned the value of a good quality protein supplement.  It's something I started doing during my cheerleading days and seeing what a great difference maker it is, have kept it up during the "fitish" seasons of my life.  And now, as I embark on the quest for the ultimate "mom bod" while I still have it in me, my shake consumption has increased too.  The one thing I will admit that I STILL haven't fully formed an opinion on is the whey vs. vegan debate... because honestly, I kind of like them both.  It's like asking me if I drink white or red.  Well, it depends.  Is it cold and rainy or is it warm and sunny?  What are we eating with it?  What color outfit am I wearing?  There are so many outside factors that go into this decision for me, and the process behind my shake decisions is no different.  Guys, there are a lot of AMAZING supplements out there these days, and I am not here to discredit any of them. They're simply different.  But, I digress... THAT comparison is one for another article.  Today I'm breaking down whey protein vs. vegan protein for the busy moms out there just trying to figure the dang thing out and make some healthy choices now and then.  We'll look at the pros and cons of both so that YOU can decide what you feel most comfortable with (or be a hoarder and use both like me).



What I Love About Whey

Whey protein is the age old staple.  It's the most common and the most popular.  Derived from milk, it does contain some dairy, making it more difficult to digest for some people.  That being said, it's also usually more effective at building lean muscle.  If your priority is faster muscle recovery and/or building, whey could give you the better edge.

It usually tastes better too.  In fact, if we made a couple of shakes and did a blind taste test, I can almost guarantee that 90% of people would choose the whey.  I'm no exception.  In almost every circumstance, I have also preferred the taste of whey protein over vegan ones, the exception being Shakeology which has somehow come up with a vegan chocolate shake that rivals a Ghiradelli brownie.  But you're going to pay good money for that "brownie", so feel free to explore your options.

Basically, I felt compelled to write this article because there are a lot of vegan advocates out there spewing the negatives about whey like it's straight arsenic, but it's actually the main ingredient in infant baby formula, if that says anything about how truly "poisonous" it must be.  Just do your best to make sure you're getting a quality supplement and not one filled with junk.  I personally love IdealFit and all of their delicious flavors.




But Vegan is Better Right?

Many vegan proteins are not "complete", meaning they do not contain all essential amino acids and are therefore not as effective as whey.  However, there are plenty of vegan powders that are!  You just have to be a little bit more picky and check to be sure.  IdealRaw is a great (and affordable) option for a complete vegan protein.

They're also a great choice for anyone with a sensitive stomach.  If you struggle with digestive issues or food allergies, vegan would be a great choice for you.

I also want to make clear that I'm not saying you can't build muscle with vegan proteins.  I've seen plenty of people do it.  I just think it takes a little more intention and effort.




My Approach

Clearly, both vegan and whey have their strong points and their drawbacks.  I truly believe in the saying "everything in moderation" and I do the same with my supplements.  I have BOTH.  Yes, it means, I bought two different canisters, but they're also lasting me twice as long ;) The timing of my shakes is what I am most strategic about.  I always drink the whey protein right after my workout due to the edge it gets in muscle building and recovery.  The vegan shake I use as a supplement at another point in the day.  Often, I drink this as breakfast with a banana and peanut butter, or as an afternoon snack if I worked out in the morning.  I just try to space them out enough that I'm not drinking them back to back.  You can find great recipes for your vegan protein here and creatively work it into your routine too!

Got Questions?  Just message me I'll do my best to answer them!
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Just a comment?  Drop it below!  I'm certainly not the end all be all, just sharing what has worked for me! All opinions are welcome here :)


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Healthier Banana Bread

I don't know about you, but I always seem to overestimate my banana consumption and end up with a few brown, overripe bananas on my countertop by week's end.  Lucky for me, I know these are the best kind for baking, so I'm always looking for a good recipe to make the most of my banana mush.  Not so lucky, the best banana bread I've ever made also came with a cup full of sugar and few sticks of butter.  It's definitely a give and take, and this recipe is no different, but I enjoyed it enough that I definitely will make it again, and contains ingredients that you likely already have sitting about the house. 



Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil or olive oil
1/3 cup honey or syrup
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
Any add-ins you desire (I used chocolate chips but you could add also add nuts, raisins, etc.)


Mix all of the ingredients and pour into a greased cake pan. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.  Just until you see the edges starting to brown. 

Additionally, if you're looking to really step your "fit mom" fuel, I recommend adding a scoop of IdealFit Multi-Purpose Protein.  It's awesome because it literally has NO taste, so you can mix it into whatever you're making without fear of taste interference. 

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