Sweat It Out With a Protein-Packed Snack Attack

There’s a 50/50 chance I might’ve *casually* mentioned once‚ÄĒmaaaaybe twice‚ÄĒthat 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‚ÄĒfor¬†pre-workout energy¬†or¬†post-workout recovery‚ÄĒis 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!

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‚Äôs 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

 

#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. 

Spring Has Sprung. Here’s a Smoothie to Celebrate.

With the weather FINALLY¬†warming up and this life-giving season in full, glorious swing, let’s do a smoothie recipe!

Wanna cool off from a day spent soaking up the sun, while treating your body to essential nourishment at the same time? Sure ya do! So, whether you need to refuel after a workout, snack smart between meals, or stay energized and refreshed in the great outdoors, I’ve got a SUPER SMOOTHIE that will satisfy on all cylinders.

This blendiful thirst-quencher is also a ¬†nutritional powerhouse — featuring protein packed edamame, Omega-3¬†enriched avocado, antioxidant fortified papaya, and vitamin loaded spinach.

But, if those health benefits don’t quite tickle your taste buds, maybe the lusciously creamy texture will.¬†Trust me, getting more greens in your diet has never been so indulgent!


Avocado & Edamame Green Smoothie

total time: 5 minutes; yields: 1 serving

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Spinach (shredded)

1/4 c. Papaya (fresh or frozen, diced)

1/4 c. Edamame (shelled)

1/2 Avocado (peeled & diced)

1/2 tsp. Rolled Oats (whole grain)

1 tsp. Almond Butter (organic)

1 c. Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

1 scoop Greenberry Shakeology Powder (optional, if you’re an avid Shakeology fan, like me!)*

*If you’re looking for a natural protein powder but can’t afford Shakeology, I’d highly recommend checking out Fuel-6¬†from DailyBurn. This supplement is an excellent source of plant-based protein; plus it’s vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free.¬†Can’t beat those stats, right?

green smoothie ingredients

Preparation:

Combine these ingredients together in a blender and puree until smooth.

green smoothieSpringtime just got sweeter. Bottoms up, my fellow smoothie enthusiasts!


P.S.¬†Sharing is caring, so spread the love by re-posting this recipe on social media — or even feature your own blended concoction — with the hashtag #ShowUsYourSmoothie.

5 Reasons You NEED to Know About Undiscovered Kitchen!

Say what, now??? Never heard of it?

Well, fear not…I’ll fix that! And here’s why you should even care:

1. It’s an entirely digital farmer’s market. If you get your jollies from discovering locally-grown, natural and scratch-made deliciousness from your hometown farmer’s market, what could be better than stocking up on those same goodies without even leaving the house? Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Undiscovered Kitchen allows you to shop an impressive variety of artisan and handcrafted  — not to mention fabulous — foods, sourced nationwide, from the convenience of your computer.

2. The founder is off-the-chain awesome. Her name is Evona Niewiadomsk, — which screams “hippie-badassery” — and she’s uber passionate about food, fitness, travel and embracing life as the ultimate adventure it’s meant to be! Like, this girl just took off on a one-way flight to Spain in pursuit of entrepreneurial ambitions and exotic experiences. Inspired (or maybe a teeny bit jealous)? Uhhh…YEAH! Evona launched UD Kitchen in 2014 with one core mission, which the company continues to uphold: “Support and empower small batch makers across the country and to help passionate artisans grow their businesses! Every purchase made on Undiscovered Kitchen DIRECTLY supports our small batch makers so you can EAT good, FEEL good and DO good!”  Read her full story here.

3. No dietary preference is excluded. Are you freakin’ frackin’ fed-up with struggling to find foods that fit your lifestyle needs and DON’T taste like cardboard?! Well, guess what — UD Kitchen has effectively ended your struggle. Forever. Whether you’re looking for vegan, gluten-free, raw, dairy-free or organic products, UD Kitchen brings all these options together at one easy-to-navigate online destination. Consider it your one-stop-shop “healthy foodie paradise!”

4. Your sweet tooth just met its match. For anyone, who daydreams about the confectionery perfection of a freshly-baked dessert, UD Kitchen understands. They. Get. You. And, they’ve also got you covered! So, satisfy those sugar cravings with sweet and chocolate-y temptations, made GUILT-FREE from wholesome ingredients. You can even score treats that accommodate dietary restrictions — but sure won’t skimp on flavor!

5. Basically, healthy never tasted so fab. ‘Nuff said.

Are you salivating yet? Don’t lie. You totally are. But, hey, no shame…Me too! When I first uncovered Undiscovered Kitchen (see what I did there?), the connection was instantaneous.

In fact, their digital farmer’s market platform seemed so superbly up my alley, that I’ve since become a UD Kitchen Ambassador.

After all, what’s not to love about a company committed to “discovering new and unique products, shopping by lifestyle for foods that fit special health and diet needs like vegan, gluten free and raw, and finding fitness fuels and power snacks for athletes and active lifestyles!”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Undiscovered Kitchen banner

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts: Lots of Love to Go Around {Product Review}

I’ve recently had the privilege of participating in my very first product review through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community. So, here’s a quick¬†shout-out to the fabulous SPA founder¬†Alyse¬†for this opportunity. Much appreciated!

Now, onto the real business. Today, I’ll be reviewing hemp hearts¬†from Manitoba Harvest, a sustainable manufacturer of hemp-only foods, based in Winnipeg, Canada.

Confession Time:¬†Until about 20 minutes ago, I’d never tried hemp hearts before. Scratch that, I’d never tried hemp anything before. I thought hemp was just rope material that middle-schoolers use to make friendship bracelets. So, let’s just say…prior to receiving my free sample in the mail this morning,¬†I was a hemp virgin.

But, nevertheless, they arrived to put the breaks on my virginity, and I eagerly tore into the packaging.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

First Impressions:¬†Okay, they’re all natural: check. Each serving has 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegs-3s: check, check.

Moving right along, then…

*opens bag*

Well, they’re not exactly what I’d expected. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I was expecting, — maybe granola pieces in the shape of a heart? I don’t know! — but these disc-like things resemble lentils more than seeds. Hmm…intriguing!

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Seeds

The Taste Test: Nutty. Buttery. Tender. Just a slight crunch. Yep, I can get on-board with these little guys!

So far, hemp hearts get an A+ rating.

And that concludes our preliminary round. Time for the finals.

This company website features several tantalizing recipes, so component number 2 of this product review is to experiment with hemp hearts in one of these recipes.

I’m a sucker for superfood smoothies, so I chose to blend up my own twist on Manitoba Harvest’s¬†Cinna-Butter Bliss Smoothie. The original recipe has been copied below for your convenience:

  • Ingredients:
  1. 2 tbsp. Almond Butter
  2. 1 tbsp. Hemp Hearts
  3. 1 Banana*
  4. 1 Date*
  5. 1/2 tbsp. Cinnamon
  6. 1 cup Hemp Bliss Organic Beverage*
  • Preparation:¬†
  1. Combine all these ingredients together in a blender.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly smooth (yields 1 serving).

* Notes:¬†I don’t particularly care for bananas, so I substituted roughly 1/3 cup frozen mangoes. I didn’t have any dates on-hand, so I omitted that ingredient altogether (although I’m sure dates would add tons of flavor). Instead of Hemp Bliss,¬†– because, if I barely knew what hemp hearts were, why would I just happen to have drinkable hemp lying around?! – I substituted coconut milk.*

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Smoothie Ingredients

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts SmoothieDespite these variations, the smoothie still tasted absolutely incredible. In fact, I can see it becoming my standard post-workout recovery fuel.

And now, for the overarching question: Do I recommend purchasing Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts?

110% YES!

This product has earned my seal of approval and exceeded whatever preconceived notions I had about hemp (which, by the way, is so much more than just a pre-teen fashion statement!).

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Seal of Approval

So, sprinkle the deliciousness on top of salads, oatmeal or yogurt. Toss them into a protein shake or smoothie, like I did. Cook or bake with them in your favorite dishes (or try a brand new recipe, like those displayed on the website). You can even enjoy a handful straight from the bag, as a nutritious and satisfying snack.

Sold, yet? Well, maybe this will persuade you:

During the months of October and November, you can score 20% off all products at ManitobaHarvest.com.

Use the promo code HHSweatPink14 before check-out (and send a cyber thank-you to the awesome folks over at Sweat Pink and Manitoba Harvest for making this special offer possible!).

* Reminder: This promotional discount will expire November 30, 2014. *

A Little Peek Inside My Gym Bag

Fact: we’ve all got our personal exercise survival kit. It’s what keeps us fueled (and refueled and refueled some more) throughout an intense fat burning or muscle sculpting session. This is mine.

So, go get your own. (Kidding…feel free to steal!)


   Sparkling Ice Water

sparkling ice¬† ¬†Why I like it:¬†I’ve never been a fan of plain ol’ H2O, so when I discovered this 0-calorie flavored thirst quencher, it was love at first sip.

Nuun Hydration Enhancer

nunn   Why I like it: This active hydration tablet has all the electrolyte benefits of a standard sports drink, without any unwanted sugars.

Kind Fruit & Nut Bar

kind bar¬† ¬†Why I like it:¬†It’s tough to find a protein supplement that tastes like real food, but this granola bar gives me both energy and¬†enjoyment.

(Disclaimer: Starbucks iced coffee not included…that’s just me wishful thinking over here!)

Nike Dri-Fit Compression Shorts

nike dri fit   Why I like them: This uber breathable material absorbs sweat for comfort and ease of movement, not to mention serious sporty style.

Reebok Crossfit Sneakers

reeboks   Why I like them: Nobody wants to feel weighed down on a run, which is why I love these lightweight kicks with plenty of ventilation.

Swinn Sports Bra

swinn bra   Why I like it: The stretchy yet supportive fabric offers full coverage for mah girls, plus the bright colors and kitschy phrases are fun to wear.

Pandora Broadway Playlist

chicagoWhy I like it: In my opinion (which is the right opinion, FYI), no workout is complete without showtunes blasting through my iPod.

Scentsy Roll-On Fragrance

scentsy¬† ¬†Why I like it:¬†What I call “glisten,” others call “sweat,” so this travel-sized perfume masks pre-shower stink better than many deodorants.