Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Zoodles (and why this zucchini noodle maker is for so much more than zucchini)

I have been obsessed with the idea of zucchini noodles for a long time. I just loved the idea of them. In salads, mixed with pasta to bulk up my veggie intake (and cut down on my pasta intake!) alone, mixed with other things, as a side dish. The idea of being able to twirl my zucchini instead of stab it made me very excited. Maybe because it is different or that because we are so conditioned to look at pasta as something indulgent....so twirling zucchini taps into that happy place for me?

Sometimes it's better to just go with it.

So I did.

I sucked it up and bought myself a vegetable spiralizer. I was so excited when that box showed up on my front porch that I squealed. Mama had a new toy to play with! Since it was one of those things I really, really, really, really wanted, I looked into a bunch of different kinds before I bought it and narrowed it down to two:

the kind that spiralizes the way you would sharpen a pencil (like the Kitchen Basics® Spiral Vegetable Slicer)


the kind that you turn a crank and out pop the noodle shaped veggies (like the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer)

Since I am of the overdramatic, overcommitted, go big or go home mentality, I went with the Paderno. Plus I figured I would get really annoyed sharpening multiple zucchini at a time. I am not a patient person. (I pretty much trick my husband into cutting and dicing veggies whenever I can.) I figured that one would just end up in the back of a drawer after I my arm hurt from doing it the first time and I would never use it again. But if you are more patient than I, it may be a nice option. It would take up less space in an already crowded kitchen for sure.

I was a little disappointed in the plasticness of it. It wasn't very sturdy feeling. I wanted something that felt solid like if I was going to crank out veggie noodles for the next three hours it would stand up to the challenge. 

But overall, not bad. Once I got the push and crank at the same time thing down it went really smoothly. A little messy (ok a lot messy but that was probably 90%my fault as I am the messiest cook ever.) AND I found out this little baby is not just for zucchini. 
I spent the week spiralizing anything I could get my hands on. Apples (for a awesome zucchini apple salad I took to a cookout), sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, yellow summer squash....and I have lots on my list to try. Like beets, carrots, cabbage, pears, cucumbers....basically if I can get it to stick onto the little grippers, I am going to try and spiralize it. (Which is another reason I am glad I chose the crank and turn version, I am not too sure how well a big old sweet potato would fit in the little one.)

I have also been making a big batch of a basic zoodle salad and keeping that in the fridge. I then dress it up with different things for lunches or dinners. Ground turkey, salsa and all my favorite taco toppings for a spin on a taco salad,  lamb meatballs and tzatziki sauce for a little greek flavor, chopped tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella for a summery caprese salad. 

The Paderno also came with a few extra blade sizes so you can do little c shaped cuts, thicker linguini style noodles or the ones that are more like spaghetti. Which I probably will never use. I was hoping one would cut potatoes like the ribbon fries you can buy at a fair in the summer. I mean how much would baked ribbon fries rock with some clean burgers for dinner? I was sadly mistaken and just ended up with linguini sized cuts instead.

But overall I am still super stoked about my newest kitchen tool. I mean they even twirl like spaghetti. And my kiddo thinks it is way more fun to eat worm veggies instead of cut up veggies. She devoured her zucchini and made birdie noises while she did it. A new toy for me and a win! I will chalk that up to an awesome day.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Unplug, Process and Breathe

Friday and Saturday were really rough. I just hit the wall where all of my worlds were very needy. We are starting to prep to move back to PA. Packing, deciding what to take and what to leave, mountains of laundry, what is going on a plane vs what is going in the car. Trying to use up all the food in the fridge and freezer. Lists upon lists upon lists.

And with that relocation also comes the start of a new cheer season. Schedules, and camp lists and preparations were all there needing to be done, addressed and communicated. Making sure orders are in on time and trying to orchestrate things from over 2,000 miles away.

On top of that, Beachbody was also conducting our annual Summit conference full of meetings, announcements, parties and new product launches. My social media outlets were blowing up with celebrity trainer photo opps, parties with sparkly dresses and new information I needed to learn and share.

I was just overwhelmed. I didn't know where to start.

So I didn't.

I just stopped. For two days. I didn't try to learn all the ins and outs of anything. I didn't worry about if our cheer bows would be here in time for camp. I didn't pack or do laundry. I didn't cook or meal prep or plan.

I worked out. Hard. (hello stress relief.)

I took my kiddo to the park and took a book (never underestimate the power of fiction in the sunshine to help you escape.)

I played Barbies.

I watched a movie (or three).

I had a few beers and grown up conversation with some really awesome people.

And I woke up today feeling like I could handle it all.

I made a list (or twelve).

I started on the mountain of laundry I don't really want to trek across the country dirty.

I got back to business.

Checked in with my peeps.

Followed up on our cheer gear.

Started writing this.

And I feel renewed.

Typically I am all for digging in and working hard. Plow through and make it happen. It will all make sense. I always viewed those who stepped away as not as dedicated or hard working as me. They must not want it like I do. Because crossing things off my list helps relieve my stress. It makes me feel like I have things handled. I can see what I am getting done. I am in control.

But this time those lists just made me feel like I was being crushed.

So I get it now.

In a world that is so plugged in, all the time, the expectations on us can be so big. To do more, accomplish more, achieve more, and work harder, longer, faster. It can make you feel so small. So unable to get anywhere. So defeated.

Sometimes it is okay to just run away and just hide for a minute, to take a deep breath and refocus.

As long as you come back swinging.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mocha Mint Shakeology

Somehow when my hubby and I are living in the same house and sharing our shakeology....we can't quite seem to figure it out. At first it seems like we have a TON and are on shakeology overload. So I play with the shipping dates. Then the next thing I know, we are running really low so I panic and play with the shipping dates again.

And we are left with mornings like this one.....

Not even a scoop left in the bag and tracking the next shipment.

I pretty much always have packets laying around for occasions such as this (and they make traveling really easy.) But all that I have left at the moment is the vegan chocolate. And I kind of hate the vegan chocolate.

I mean it's okay. I needs some doctoring in my opinion. It is kind of gritty and chalky (**Beachbody has actually reformulated the vegan flavors to make them less gritty. I have yet to get my hands on the new formula. So I will update once I get to sample those.) But this is nothing that can't be fixed with a half a banana or a tablespoon of nut butter. It smooths it right out and makes it taste all chocolatey and delicious.

I came up with this little recipe this morning to make my chocolate vegan shakeology taste like a super yummy treat. And I had some mint leaves in the fridge that needed to be used up. Chocolate and mint together is awesomeness. Throw in some coffee and who needs Starbucks?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Why this Yoga Hater is Rethinking PiYO

My world is pretty black and white. When things present themselves, I tend to be all in or not interested at all. (I may have a tiny flair for the dramatic.) And this view tends to spill into my workout world too. If I am working out I feel like I need to be sprinting, jumping or lifting heavy weights (and sweating like crazy) to achieve anything or "feel" like I worked hard.

Holding down dog for 60 seconds. Not so much.

In fact....I am a yoga skipper. Many of the programs I use have a yoga day built in for an active recovery day. Typically, I either take the day as a rest or throw in some extra cardio (although now that I have the 21 Day Fix I will put in Pilates Fix. It's surprisingly one of my favorite workouts from that program. Go figure.) But the holding of yoga poses just doesn't do anything for me. In fact, it makes me really stressed out. I can't clear my mind and when I try to, the laundry list of things I should be doing, need to do, really need to do or should have remembered to do yesterday creeps into my brain. Then I start thinking about how long I really need to stay this way. Wonder what I should cook for dinner. Think about what I ate today versus what I should have eaten. How I could have managed my day better. What the kiddo is doing because she is being really quiet. I wonder if she is getting into trouble. Correction I wonder HOW she is getting into trouble. The dogs could really use a nice long walk too...where can I squeeze that in. And on. And on. And on.

So yoga for me is NOT a nice way to relax and clear my mind and make my life better. I leave a frazzled mess. Feeling like I didn't get in a good enough workout and am frantic to get a million things done throughout the rest of my day, jumping from one task to another like a high strung puppy on amphetamines.

I was really excited when I saw that my favorite trainer, Chalene Johnson, was coming out with another program. I couldn't wait to see what it was....I love her lift heavy, crazy cardio mentality. So imagine my dismay when I heard it was PiYo....which was a pilates and yoga mix hybrid. Really. I mean come on. I was disappointed but figured it would be one bandwagon I would stay off of and moved on.

But as we creep closer and closer to the launch date of this program I am seeing stories like Deidra's coming out of the test groups.  (Check out her full experience with PiYO here: http://deidrap8.blogspot.com/2014/06/piyo-results-beachbody-test-group.html ) She is a a Beachbody coach (one of my teammates!) a nurse and mom of 2 who is working towards her first NCP figure competition.

On top of seeing great results from the test groups, I was able to participate in a LIVE PiYO class. I figured I would give it a shot. See what I had to lose and if I hated it I knew I wouldn't be adding this to my workout DVD library.

And it was fun. The music was dancy and upbeat. There was no holding of moves but flowing through moves that are often used in yoga. Fast. Working up a serious sweat. I was busy trying to keep up with what was coming next so there was no hot mess of thoughts trotting around in my head to make me crazy.  (So I am thinking this may be an AWESOME substitute for Yoga X [Sorry Tony!] and the other yoga scheduled into other workouts that I just don't do.)

After seeing all of this and experiencing a PiYO workout for myself. I decided to give PiYO a shot. As I am embarking on an elimination diet and limiting what I can eat to figure out if a certain food has been messing with my system, one thing I noticed is that especially at the beginning, my stamina in my workouts wasn't what it always was. I don't have the want to jump and get crazy. I have been doing things like Pilates and Barre Legs (both part of the 21 Day Fix) because that is what my body has been craving. So PiYO might be a great fit as part of my life right now.

If I start to get that want to lift heavy and go hard, I will incorporate PiYO in with other programs. (That's another perk to this program. You can fit it in with whatever you are doing.) I will make a hybrid schedule or tack it onto my short workout days. That is the plan for now, at least until life throws me a curveball and I need to rework it.

So what is PiYO Exactly?

A combination of low impact yoga and pilates inspired moves designed to improve your flexibility, stamina and strength. It pulls all this together to give you a cardio workout. So it is going to be a challenge without jumping and other crazy cardio moves that beat up your body. You will sweat. You will get definition. You will improve your strength and get more flexible. All without pounding your joints.

It is a 60 day program. The workouts range from 25-45 minutes and you use your own body weight so no equipment required.

The program will include 8 workouts (plus a bonus workout if you order from a coach) and will be launching at Summit THIS WEEK!  is available NOW! And on promotion when bundled with Shakeology until the end of July.

Get your copy here.

I will also be running a PiYO test group starting July 7th! If you want to join me on this journey fill out the application below.

Fill out my online form.
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Elimination Diet Days 1 and 2 (or Green Smoothie 2, Sara 0)

According to the Whole Foods Nutrition method of doing this elimination diet I am partaking in, you are supposed to do a 2 day green smoothie cleanse or detox to kick it off.

And I really wanted to....the idea of packing all of my leafy greens into a smoothie that tastes like fruity frosty goodness sounds like an AWESOME plan to me. So I looked up some recipes. Went to the store and filled my fridge with green leafy things, my counter with lots of ginger and my fruit bowl with lots of, well, fruit.

I woke up super excited to make my first green smoothie. I mean this is going to be great. I can have these as snacks throughout this whole experience. I am going to be getting in all my greens. Puppies are dancing through rainbows and unicorns are farting glitter as I dance to the kitchen and fill up my blender so it looks pretty layered with all the fresh produce goodness. I blend and I blend and I blend and I blend.

So I try it and kind of gag. It was warm. Ewwwww....... So I add a boatload of ice to my shaker cup and add about half the smoothie from the blender. And I shake and I shake and I shake and I shake. And I sample it. And it tastes like colder lumpy spinach water. Kind of like half chewed spinach. Seriously it was gross. I. Just. Can't.

I made the executive decision to treat this 2 days like the Shakeology cleanse. Smoothies during the day. Salad for dinner at night. I needed something and after 2 smoothies I just couldn't handle another one. I had an apple for a snack and then ate a big salad for dinner.

I still wanted to workout but knew I had to take it easy. I couldn't go crazy and push myself and wake up with night sweats and the shakes again (the last time I did the cleanse I did double workouts and that totally happened. I learned my lesson.) So I busted out the Pilates Fix with Autumn. (That is by far my favorite Fix workout.)

The next day I hit up the store determined to make this smoothie thing work. I added more potent fruit Vitamix or fancy blender to make it really smooth. But I do love my Black & Decker. It is my food processor too and other than this lumpy spinach drink issue I have never had any problems with it. It works well for things like hummus and salmon burgers and sauces. So maybe it was me?)
(blueberries) to cover up the spinach taste and lots of cinnamon. Then at the last minute dumped in some chia seeds. I tasted it and it was better. I went overboard with the cinnamon and it was still not as smooth as I wanted (I probably need a

I then sat down an my laptop to drink my full of awesome tastes more like blueberries than spinach glass of goodness and proceeded to dump the entire thing on my laptop. Seriously like a tidal wave of blue goop all over the keyboard and screen. I went into save the computer mode and ignored the giant stain on my carpet (my laptop is worth more than the apartment carpeting for sure) and unplugged and flipped the entire thing upside down. I had a mild panic attack thinking back to my first laptop (which was also the first major grown up purchase I made on my own) and the coffee in the keyboard incident of 2002. So I took this as a sign that maybe I just needed to stop with the smoothie cleansing thing. I proceeded to make fish and veggies for dinner. (And my laptop survived! My hubby came home and asked me if I was going to eat my smoothie with a spoon. I am pretty sure the gelling quality of the chia totally saved me. Chia in everything. All the time. It is now my favorite seed.)

All in all my first two days were not a huge success. But on the upside I am already down 4 pounds which puts me halfway back to the plateau weight  I have been at the past year. For me I am pretty stoked and think it is a great start.

I am not totally sold on giving up the green smoothie thing either. In theory it seems like a great way to get in more veggies. So if you have any tips or tricks or awesome recipes, help a girl out!

Onward to phase one!

For more info on green smoothies check out the links below:




Monday, June 9, 2014

The Elimination Diet - What it is and why I am giving it a shot

When I started talking about trying an elimination diet the biggest questions I got were "Why...you eat so healthy already?" and "But I thought you were feeling great from eating clean, what gives?"

Welcome to my frustration.....I am eating clean. I was feeling great. Last year at this time I was full of energy and really reaping the benefits of eating a diet that consisted of real, whole foods. And I continued to feel this way until about a two months or so ago. I wasn't able to get up in the mornings. (Which I blamed on getting used to sleeping in the apartment again, noises, neighbors, a different bed, etc.) And I was suffering from brain fog especially when I woke up (which I blamed on being tired.) Eventually that brain fog was lasting most of the day. I couldn't focus. I couldn't write. I didn't want to play with my kiddo. No more trips to the park....I didn't even want to drive because of my inability to focus. The house was always a mess. I didn't have the energy to fight with my kiddo (or come up with a game) to get her to clean up her toys. I was making myself workout everyday but I felt like a zombie when I was doing it.

My business was suffering. My family was suffering. I had to do something.

So I do what I always do and I researched and researched and researched. I read about hyperthyroidism. I read about adrenal fatigue. I read about all other sorts of scary things that could be wrong with me (gotta love google!) And I decided that since I am out of state and don't want to find a new doctor for a month and because my thyroid has been tested in the past, that for now, trying an elimination diet is the best thing I can do. (Although I will probably follow up with my regular doc when I get home.)

The only real difference in my diet that I have been letting myself enjoy some diary. (Seriously....gelato has been my downfall. That and good cheese.) I have long suspected that I have some food issues. I grew up allergic to everything. My friends used to joke with me that they would visit me in my bubble. Allergies and asthma triggered by animals, pollen, dust, you name it and I would probably react to it. So if I have issues with all of those things....why wouldn't I have any issues with food?

The biggest question I have is why all of a sudden was I starting to feel terrible again? I wasn't eating processed foods. I was eating clean, working out and drinking my Shakeology every day. Nothing changed except for the fact that I was letting more dairy back into my diet. The only explanation I can come up with is that I am just more in tune with my body and how it reacts to things. The cleaner I eat the more I notice how I feel after eating something I shouldn't. I know that I shouldn't feel tired all the time or bloated after I eat. I know how good eating right feels.  I may be more sensitive to certain things now that I am not eating garbage all the time. (And this could be completely out in left field. This is just my own opinion based on what I have observed about myself over the last year.)

What is an elimination diet? 

An elimination diet is something done to determine if some of the foods you are eating are irritating your body. Basically, you eliminate anything that could be a trigger food for a period of time. Typically for a few weeks. In theory, this allows your body to come back to balance so that you can recognize the symptoms when you start reintroducing foods.

After the first few weeks, foods are introduced one by one and any reactions are noted. Foods are typically by a few exposures on one day then taking two days to note any reactions. Then repeat until all the foods eliminated have been tested.

What am I doing exactly? 

I am going to commit to eliminating all the trigger foods for 28 days. I am doing this based on the Whole Foods Nutrition elimination diet. I ordered their cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, to help me plan my meals. I decided to do this instead of sign up for their elimination diet program.  Why? They have a ton of info on their blog which I can access fairly easily and I wanted all the recipe options over the food lists. This is going to be overwhelming enough without looking at a giant list of individual foods. I can handle the list of 10 no no foods, not a list of hundreds. In hindsight, I may regret trying to go it alone but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I am really happy with the cookbook though. (Each chapter starts with a great quote so they kind of had a piece of my heart right there.) It has tons of recipes, lots of options for gluten free, dairy free, and soy free meals (among others.) I do wish it had more pictures (I love a cookbook with tons of pics.) But it does have a ton of info on different styles of eating (think paleo vs vegan vs mediterranean and others) and explains what they are and who they might work for. There is also a huge section on health, nutrients, stocking your pantry and how to go from eating completely processed foods to eating whole real foods. It has a ton of info that makes me very happy with it (even though there really are not enough pictures.)

So here is what I am doing:

Days 1 and 2: 2 day green smoothie cleanse

Days 3-8 - Phase 1 (which is pretty  much a vegan diet without citrus and nightshade veggies)

Days 9-28 - Phase 2 (eliminates only the 10 main trigger foods)

Days 28 on: Add trigger foods back in one by one and note any reactions

This may change as I am going through the process. I am not married to the schedule above and need to make it work for me. I am not going to stop working out during this process so I may need to tweak what I am eating to make sure I can power through those. Ideally, this is what I want to stick to.

So what are the 10 trigger foods I am eliminating?

1. Dairy
2. Corn
3. Gluten
4. Citrus
5. Eggs
6. Nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers)
7. Nuts
8. Soy
9. Meats & shellfish (except turkey, wild game, and fish)
10. Sweeteners (except limited pure stevia and maple syrup)

There is  A LOT of info out there on elimination diets and different ways to do it....which is why I am going to try and follow the schedule above but am not going to beat myself up if it doesn't work for me. I have a feeling this is going to be quite a challenge so I am not going to make it harder than it has to be. 

If you would like to join me or follow my journey for the next month find me on Facebook or sign up for a free account with me as your coach. I would be thrilled to help inspire and motivate you through this process. 

For more information check out the sources below:




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Beachbody Big Summer Blowout: June 4 through June 9th

June is here. Hooray! (Although you wouldn't know it if you were living in the Pacific Northwest. It
has been nothing but cold and cloudy since June arrived.)

But I have found a bright happy place despite all the gloom around me.....a REALLY BIG SALE. Oh how my inner retail manager is dancing for joy. Because one of the biggest joys of that job was getting a discount on all the stuff I really didn't need. I have never really been able to stop her....now my hauls from sales just tend to include workout gear more than anything else.

But today's super awesome sale includes some of my FAVORITE Beachbody programs. (Umm.....hello Les Mills Pump.) and I am super stoked to stock up on some I haven't gotten the chance to try.

So here is how it is going down. At 12 noon PST these items are going on sale and when they are gone they are gone. If there has been something you have been thinking about trying this is a great way to do it.

My personal recommendations? Les Mills Pump and ChaLEan Extreme. I LOVE both of these programs (and Pump comes with a barbell and two sets of weights. But extra weights are on sale too....a smart idea to add those on. I will be ;) )

Here is how to score yours:

Link to all Summer Sale items:


Insanity with a 30 Day Supply of Shakeology (only $160)


Hip Hop Abs and Rockin' Body with a 30 Day Supply of Shakeology (only $140)

P90X® DVD Package Special Offer: 

P90X en espaƱol Special Offer 

P90X2® DVD Package Special Offer:

LES MILLS PUMP DVD Package Special Offer:

LES MILLS COMBAT DVD Package Special Offer:

ChaLEAN Extreme® DVD Package Special Offer:

Slim in 6® DVD Package Special Offer:

Tai Cheng® DVD Package Special Offer:


Hip Hop Abs® Dance Party Series -
Rockin' Abs/Hard Body DVD Special Offer

Barbell Weights Special Offer:

LES MILLS COMBAT Gloves Special Offer:

P90X Chin-Up Bar Special Offer:

Stability Ball + Medicine Ball Combo Pack Special Offer:

Foam Roller Special Offer:

New Apparel:


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