Simple Steps to Feel Amazing Every Day this Summer

Summertime is the official spokes-season (see what I did there?) of relaxation, vitality and pure amazingness. In fact, my personal mantra during these gloriously sun-drenched months is to Feel Amazing Every Day through self-care rituals, alfresco explorations, fitness commitments and superfood sustenance.

 And in that spirit of epic expectations, lemme divulge my Top 4 no-fail wellness pointers, along with statistical snapshots on why you should care. Then, we can ALL proceed to make this summer one for the history books!

feel amazing every day

1.  Start Each Day with a Yoga Flow.

  • Stimulates physical energy
  • Alleviates emotional stress
  • Cultivates breath awareness
  • Forges a mind–body connection
  • Promotes full-body movement
upward dog

upward dog, anyone? ignore the…err…unflattering angle!

2.  Say “Hell Yeah” to Whole Foods.

  • Gives the body nutrient–dense fuel
  • Satiates hunger for extended periods
  • Curbs refined sugar cravings over time
  • Encourages a mindful eating practice
  • Replaces “artificial” with all–natural
amazing grass pancakes

protein pancakes topped with almond butter drizzle

3.  Spend Quality Time Outdoors.

  • Improves respiration & circulation
  • Reduces stress for mental clarity
  • Offers the benefits of Vitamin D
  • Motivates cardiovascular activity
  • Fosters appreciation for nature
amazing grass smoothie 2

RayBan shades and 95–degree Florida humidity…optional

4.  Slurp on Amazing Grass Smoothies.

  • Contains 20g of plant-based protein
  • Yields 2 servings of fruit & veggies
  • Includes 7 alkalizing leafy greens
  • Supports lean muscle development
  • Regulates optimal digestive health
  • Provides these wellness benefits:
    • USDA-certified organic ingredients
    • non-GMO & gluten-free verified
    • no added sugars or preservatives
    • vegan, kosher & pareve compliant
amazing grass smoothie 3

organic pea, hemp, chia and quinoa…OH MY!

Psssst…wanna experience all that AMAZINGNESS for yourself this summer? Then, don’t forget to enter my Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Giveaway! Check out the details below and indicate which flavor you’d prefer: Original, Vanilla or Chocolate–Peanut Butter.

instagram giveaway

***Open U.S.–based entries only.  Winner selected at midnight July 9.***

 

Sweat It Out With a Protein-Packed Snack Attack

There’s a 50/50 chance I might’ve *casually* mentioned once—maaaaybe twice—that I’m getting married in the near future. 160 days if you wanna get technical, but who’s counting?

Although I don’t buy into that stereotypical “wedding workout” mentality (fitness is a lifestyle, not some Must. Drop. Two. Dress. Sizes. For. The. Big. Day. thing), exercise does have a prominent place in my routine. That would still be true regardless of this whole bride-to-be caveat…but extra motivation a la Alfred Angelo never hurts either!

post pure barre

That time I dragged the (almost) hubs to Pure Barre…Couples who sweat together stay together, dontcha know!

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not just about turning heads on your walk down the aisle or rocking that honeymoon bikini you’ve ogled for months. Exercise relieves stress (pre-wedding jitters, anyone?), boosts productivity (those guest lists aren’t gonna write themselves!), and influences even more healthy habits too.

Like eating. A.K.A. the other part of this wellness equation. In order to sustain physical activity, our bodies need fuel. Mainly protein-dense fuel which promotes muscular development, strength and endurance, so we can keep moving for longer periods of time. Fact: no snacking repertoire—for pre-workout energy or post-workout recovery—is complete without this nutritional powerhouse.

Think raw almonds, steamed edamame, roasted chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, plain Greek yogurt and nut butters, for example. Or, need some further “nom”spiration? (Just invented a new word. No biggie.) Check out my Sweat Sesh Snack Attack go-tos for your protein loading pleasure!

protein post-workout snacks

Whether you’re #SweatingForTheWedding or craving a healthier alternative to Cool Ranch Doritos, these mindful munchies just reinvented snacktime. Yup…don’t underestimate the power of protein. This bride-to-be has spoken.


*For even more ideas, recipes and tidbits to pack your diet with protein,  Nuts.com  has you covered!

How to “Dress” Up Your Daily Fruit & Veggie Quota {Guest Post}

According to research backed by the American Heart Association, people who habitually consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables experience a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. In fact, this study revealed that, of the 2500 test subjects monitored, women who ate about 9 daily servings and men who ate about 7 were 26% less prone to develop clogged arteries in older age.

In addition to supporting cardiovascular wellness, fresh produce contains essential nutrients like protein, antioxidants, fiber, and a plethora of other vitamins and minerals. So, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet can yield balanced wellness and physical longevity.

The simplest, most straightforward way to boost your fruit and veggie intake is to replace that typical lunchtime sandwich with a crisp, colorful salad. Then, top it with this healthy homemade dressing which features the antioxidant-loaded nutritional supplement, Nutri Maqui. Your heart, immune system and other vital organs will thank you for giving them the nourishment they crave!


Nutri Maqui Superfruit Salad Dressing

Nutri Maqui salad dressing ingredients

Ingredients

 ½ cup Grapeseed Oil

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Superfruit Juice

1 tsp. Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard

½ tsp. Lemon Juice

Nutri Maqui salad dressing preparation

Preparation

  1. Pour all ingredients into a small decanter, then whisk until they are thoroughly combined.
  1. Chop a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and raw nuts (e.g. carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, raspberries, avocadoes, almonds, cashews), then arrange them over a bed of leafy greens (e.g. spinach, kale, arugula).
  1. Drizzle the dressing on top, then toss the salad to evenly distribute all ingredients before serving.

So. Many. Colors. Amiright?!

Nutri Maqui salad dressing before   Nutri Maqui salad dressing after


Huge thanks to Nutri Lifescience, LLC, for supplying the research, content and graphics for this post.

 

New Year. New You. New Fuel! {Product Review}

So…you might’ve noticed something different about the calendar by now. Hint: the date no longer reads “2015.” (Of course, I can never get my years straight, so if you cashed a check from me recently, just scribble out that “15” part. Sorry, Mom.)

But enough about my haphazard record keeping skills. 2016 has officially taken up residence for the next 52 weeks, which — for most people — signals that dreaded New Year’s Resolution season.

Based on The Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 66% of resolution makers center their goals around fitness and nutrition. However, 73% will soon fall victim to burnout.

The take-away? Don’t become another statistic.

Whether you’re planning a dietary overhaul or just curbing a junk food fetish, Manitoba Harvest has the ideal snack time solution. Your 2016 self-improvement list never tasted more delectable.

Introducing (drumroll, please)…

manitoba harvest fueled by hemp

image courtesy of Manitoba Harvest

Fuel this year with the natural protein power of hemp, and healthy eating will become a no-brainer!

These conveniently portioned nibbles support your active lifestyle with nutritious fuel anytime of day. From a portable office snack to a workout energy boost to an after-dinner treat, hemp heart bars offer on-the-go versatility to balance out that busy schedule.

Behold, the health benefits of each 45-gram serving…

The Breakdown:

10 grams Plant-Based Protein

10 grams Omega Fatty Acids

> 10 grams Sugar

Vegan & Non-GMO


The Flavor Profile:

chocolate hemp bar flavor

CHOCOLATE

240 Calories Per Bar — I’m generally not a proponent of calorie counting, but in case you wanna know, there’s your answer.

Natural Ingredients — hemp hearts, organic brown rice syrup, organic coconut palm sugar, organic cocoa mass, organic dutch-process cocoa, organic chocolate flavor, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract

My Verdict — All the buttery richness I expect from a chocolate cravings crusher. No complaints from this choco-holic!

apple cinnamon hemp bar flavor

APPLE CINNAMON

230 Calories Per Bar — Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard my calorie counting spiel, so I’ll leave this here for curiosity’s sake.

Natural Ingredients —  hemp hearts, organic coconut palm sugar, dried apple, cinnamon, organic apple flavor, organic brown rice syrup, pectin, organic sunflower oil, organic caramel flavor, rosemary extract

My Verdict — I’m just not ready to kiss fall flavors goodbye, and this delivers all the spicy seasonal warmth  of a classic apple pie. Seconds, please!

vanilla hemp bar flavor

VANILLA

240 Calories Per Bar — Yeah…I’ll get off my soapbox now. It’s packed with nutrients, that’s all you gotta know.

Natural Ingredients — hemp hearts, organic coconut palm sugar, organic brown rice syrup, organic vanilla flavor, sea salt, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract

My Verdict — Distinctly floral and aromatic with a hint of earthiness. The consummate sweet tooth satisfier, in my taste bud’s opinion!


 

Wanna try this deliciousness for free? Then, enter the “Fueled By Hemp” social media photo contest! Tag #sweatpink #hempheartbar #fueledbyhemp @manitobaharvest @fitapproach for a chance to win your favorite flavor. The posts don’t need to include Manitoba Harvest products, but of course, it’s fabulous if they do!

Check out the full contest details here. Open to U.S. and Canada residents. Or, if you need instant hemp gratification (which…understandable!), order online using the discount code hhbarlaunch1016 for 15% off your purchase (Expires 3/31/2016).

manitoba harvest hemp heart bars

image courtesy of Manitoba Harvest

 

Why Your Body Could Use a Healthy Protein Boost {Infographic}

If you’ve ever researched the health and fitness industry, you probably know how much conflicting data exists in that minefield of information.

On every website, self-appointed nutrition gurus peddle superfood products, fitspiration tips and wellness insight. But with all these contradictory “expert” opinions, it’s tough determining right versus wrong.

Today’s hot debate revolves around high protein diets, and whether they are beneficial or detrimental to your health.

First, it’s worth noting that this term often refers to a bodybuilder’s average protein intake, which can exceed 400 grams per day. Bodybuilding supplements help achieve this objective, but that amount is unnecessary for people working toward routine fitness goals.

Therefore, the data referenced in this infographic explores numerous health benefits from eating 1–1.5 protein grams per pound of body weight. Consuming this target amount, while maintaining a balanced and nutrient-dense diet, will help yield the results shown below.

health benefits of a high protein diet

Note: The majority of your protein should come from various whole food sources, rather than relying solely on supplements.


Special thanks to Bodybuilding Warehouse for providing the research, content and infographic for this post.

Mighty Nut: the Protein Powder of Champions + Giveaway

I first discovered Peanut Butter & Co back in college when surviving on PB&J sammies was an occupational hazard of dorm life. The creamy texture, finger licking flavors and all-natural ingredients powered me through everything from finals cram sessions (thanks for the 4.0, PB & Co!) to weekend Netflix binges (damn, I miss college sometimes!).

So, when I recently discovered PB & Co’s Mighty Nut protein powder, I just couldn’t resist. Not only does this product deliver all the smooth, silky lusciousness of traditional peanut butter, the finely ground consistency lends itself to baking, blending, sprinkling and more!

From smoothies to oatmeal, Mighty Nut is a convenient — and indulgent — way to meet your daily protein quota.

mighty nut powdered peanut butter

Here’s what you’ll find in each (2 tbsp.) serving:

  • 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter
  • vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO certified
  • 5-6 grams of protein
  • 1-2 grams of fiber
  • only 1-2 grams of sugar
  • only 1-1.5 grams of fat

Plus, it’s available in 4 delightful varieties:

  • Original
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Flax & Chia

I’ve specifically been playing around with the Flax & Chia flavor, so behold my latest creation — Vegan Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Muffins. Because, any excuse for fall yummies, right?!

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup Unsweetened Pumpkin Purée

3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour*

1/2 cup Unsweetened Cashew Milk

1/4 cup Mighty Nut Peanut Butter Powder

1 tbsp. All-Natural Almond Butter

1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Organic Stevia (to-taste)

*Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting any of these alternatives.

Pumpkin Muffin Ingredients

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or use baking liners.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until the batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour the batter into each individual muffin cup (you should have enough batter to fill about 6 cups).
  4. Bake the muffins for approximately 20 minutes, or until they are completely cooked through (test with a toothpick to make sure).
  5. Allow the muffins to cool slightly for approximately 5 minutes, then give into the temptation — it’s guiltless, I swear!

Pumpkin Muffins Batter

Pumpkin Muffins Finished Product

Wanna score your own jar of Mighty Nut amazingness? Just enter my Giveaway through the following channels:

Open to U.S. residents only. Deadline to enter is October 25, midnight EST. One prize per person. If you have already won a Mighty Nut giveaway from another blog, please disclose this, so I can choose another winner. 

 

#LoveBulu ‘Cause Bulu Loves You Back!

Confession: health and wellness goodies are my weakness.

Yeah, alright…I recognize the irony. In the broader scope of every possible obsession a person might succumb to, I could do much worse!

But, while my body appreciates the benefits of a wholesome diet, sometimes my wallet wishes I wasn’t so selective. There’s no denying that health often comes with dollar signs attached, resulting in everyone’s favorite “Cost vs. Quality” debate.

Why can’t they just get along? Why can’t we nourish ourselves properly without breaking our budgets? Well…turns out, we can!

Say “hello” to Bulu Box — where nutritious eating meets bargain hunting. Each month, Bulu Box subscribers receive 4-5 snack, vitamin and supplement samples from top-rated wellness brands.

BuluBox

A little orange box of happiness…Who can resist those motivational mantras?!

This customized package is conveniently shipped straight to your doorstep, and Bulu Box offers several subscription plans for every price range. Choose from Month-to-Month ($10 per box), 3 Months ($30 fee),     6 Months ($60 fee) and 12 Months ($110 fee). Free shipping comes standard, and Rewards Points make saving money even easier.

Now, for the fun part — what’s inside a Bulu Box? Pure yumminess, that’s what! Guilt-free food finds galore. Take a peek:

BuluBox contents 1

Protein powder, energy bars, performance supplements…OH MY!!!

Quest Protein Powder

Quest Protein Powder

  • The Breakdown: 23 grams of protein per serving; less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, 110 calories per serving (high protein-to-calories ratio); soy- and gluten-free; essential nutrients including Potassium, Fiber, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Iron
  • The Taste Test: I’ve never uttered a negative word about peanut butter flavored anything, and this protein powder is no exception.
  • The Verdict: When blended into liquid form, Quest adds a creamy quality that smoothie fans will love. Moreover, the protein content is ideal for both pre-workout energy and recovery fuel.

Mediterra Nutritional Bar

Mediterra Savory Bar

  • The Breakdown: 6 grams of protein per serving; 6 grams of fiber per serving; 4 grams of sugar per serving; 160 calories per serving; non-GMO verified; gluten-free, all-natural ingredients; essential nutrients including Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron
  • The Taste Test: With a crisp, crunchy texture and just the right amount of saltiness, this rich and tangy snack condenses an entire Margherita pizza into one bite-sized bar.
  • The Verdict: The tomato and basil combo takes “satisfying pick-me-up” to another level. Mediterranean Diet devotees will appreciate this savory grain and veggie pairing, packaged for on-the-go ease.

Movit Energy Gummies

MoveIt Energy Gummies

  • The Breakdown: 60 calories per serving; scientifically formulated Coenzyme Q10 supplement; Guarana caffeine; essential nutrients including Folic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin C and Vitamin B12
  • The Taste Test: Although I have trouble stomaching gummies, these little guys defied my initial skepticism. The citrus aftertaste is sweet but not cloying, and the consistency is chewy but not gelatinous.
  • The Verdict: These smiling gummies are hard to resist, and their compact size makes smart snacking effortless. Plus, Movit’s natural energy supports a variety of athletic activities.

Yerba Prima Fiber Plus Powder

Yerba Prima

  • The Breakdown: 9 grams of fiber per serving; 0 grams of sugar per serving; 15 calories per serving; bentonite detoxification; herbal cleansing; milk thistle extract (liver health); Ginko leaf extract (mental function); essential nutrients including Potassium and Calcium
  • The Taste Test: Mix this apple spice infused formula with water, and you’re basically drinking cider. Fall in a glass. Enough said.
  • The Verdict: Yerba Prima offers digestive regularity without skimping on flavor. The purifying herb complex will gently detox your system for fast-acting gastrointestinal relief — a win-win in my book.

So, there you go, folks. That’s why I #LoveBulu. Wanna feel the love as well? Order your own box and use the promo code SWEATPINK at check-out to score 50% off a 3-month subscription!

Special thanks to Fit Approach and Bulu Box for giving me the opportunity to sample these products.