Super Swap Out: Alternative Ingredients to Make Any Meal Healthy

Cooking can be difficult for some, especially if you are on a diet. It may be hard for some to cut out some of those things that we all love like desserts and veggie dips or salad dressing. If you are taking baby steps with your diet or are just looking to eat healthier in general, here are some ways to cut back on the fat, calories, carbs and all of the things you have to get rid of because they really aren't good for you.

Apple Sauce
Substitute for: oil, sugar and butter

Adds: fiber
Saves: saturated fat

Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Substitute for: sour cream
Adds: protein and calcium
Saves: fat and carbs
Substitute for: oil or butter, can also be used as a dip or dressing
Adds: "good fat", lowers cholesterol
Saves: bad fat
Almond Milk
Substitute for: regular milk or heavy cream.
Adds: calcium
Saves: calories and carbs
Substitute for: sugar, butter and fat
Adds: potassium
Saves: fat
Some of these items may seem "higher in calories" than their substitute. Remember to break down the nutritional value per serving and you may not use the entire banana or avocado so you are not eating all of the calories. Sometimes the swap for a few higher is worth the gain when you get "good fats" or potassium. Overall, any natural ingredient will always be better for you than processed ones.

*Check out the recipe page for some super swap out recipes!

Running Before The Neighbors See

Ever look at someone running and laugh at how goofy they look? You have the waist wigglers, the arm flappers, the huffers and puffers, the head bobbers and the ones who do it all. You probably also think this is how you look when you run...
 You think you look like this....
When in reality, you look like this.
Not a pretty image huh! Don't sweat how you look, sweat because you ran. Get up off your butt and get out there. Run before the neighbors can see, disguise yourself with big glasses, Keep your head down (but don't run into any trees) or just not give a damn. While everyone else is on the couch you are out there running and one step ahead of the lazy bones.

I Love Chicken, I Love Protein

Greek Chicken Kabobs!

Chicken is one of my favorite meals. There are so many ways you can cook chicken, the options are endless. Of course one of my favorite ways is the healthy way. I am not a fan of sauce (other than BBQ) and I don't think it is necessary when just a little bit of seasoning can go a long way. Besides, if you add sauces and fry up some chicken you totally lose out on the amazing nutritional benefits of chicken. Chicken is low in fat, VERY high in protein (a single serving of chicken breast has 22grams of protein), and low in carbs. Combine the health benefits with this great recipe and you will have an amazing guilt-free meal you will love!

What you'll need:
 1-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1-2 Whole Lemons (depending on size)
Olive Oil

1.) Preheat your grill to the desired setting.
2.) Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch thick cubes.
3. In a bowl pour 1/2-1 cup of olive oil (the amount of olive oil you will use will vary depending on how large the bowl is, but it should be enough to cover the chicken.
Add 1/2-1 lemon, and salt, pepper and garlic to taste.
5.) Toss chicken into the olive oil and lemon mix and let sit for 15 minutes.
6.) Place chicken on kabob skewers.
7.) Squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the chicken.
8.) Sprinkle the oregano over the kabobs.
9.) Cook 15 minutes rotating every 5 minutes. If you need to cook longer then do so.

This meal is: Carb Friendly, Low-Fat, High Protein, Low Sodium and DELICIOUS :)


Running should be fun

Remember when we were little and running was fun? Who didn't want to run around outside all day playing capture the flag, kickball, penguin freeze tag or even running away from the friend's you didn't like.

Or how about running on this...

This would kick Wii's butt any day! This is the original Wii... with crappy graphics, cord's you tripped on and those circles that never worked when you stepped on them, but it was still fun! Running can still be fun! Make a game of it, challenge yourself each day by trying to beat your time everyday. Pretend you are running from a giant monster. Picture yourself as an Olympian and you are running towards the gold medal and your hot boyfriend Luke Bryan or Liam Hemsworth (if you are a guy reading this blog then run towards Heidi Klum or Mila Kunis). Just picture yourself doing something fun while running and it will be fun!

I took my first run in YEARS and I mean RUN with my dog and I couldn't believe no pain, I wasn't out of breathe, it felt amazing! I quickly learned that I will be losing my running buddy since I long distance running isn't for German Shepherds but that's ok. I live right in front of a 10 mile nature trail, I can make my own fun adventure. And just to be clear, by "running" and "long distance" I am talking about 3 miles, give or take. I don't think I ever ran that far in my life, but I do walk about 6 miles with the dog. Anyways, you will always be able to find yourself a fun way to run. Just ask me if you need some suggestions.

My motivation

Having motivation for working out is KEY! It can be vain and be to lose weight, look better, have more confidence, etc. It can be for health reasons such as strengthen your heart, better balance, strength and increase energy.

Or it could be for this!


T-minus 2 months!
Regardless of your reason to workout and eat healthy, you need to always keep motivated. Unless you are fighting your eyelids to stay open, being tired is no excuse. Start with a few jumping jacks, a few minutes of stretching and some pushups and you are guaranteed to get your energy back and start your workout!

2 week weight-in

It's been two weeks since I started Paul's killer kettlebell workout and the results are in!

Drum Roll Please............

Weight: -4ilbs
Hips: -2 inches
Waist: -2 inches
Arms: -1 inch
Legs: -1 inch

Here are some of my favorite exercises from BurrRidge Kettlebell Club's 90/Bridal Bootcamp Challenge.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Jerks

Back off!


So what is the deal with bra fat? Why can't we get fat in the good areas of the upper body like our boobs?  Why not... well because life is just not fair that way. We get the child bearing hips, stretch marks and bodies we will never get back again. Oh boy, I cannot wait!
Other than being unsightly, back fat is not a good thing. Many people when working their upper body focus mainly on their abs and neglect their backs. This is a no no! Whenever working any major muscle, you need to target them all. Example: If you work your quads you need too work your hamstrings, when you work your lats you need to work your pec. So when you work your abs, you need to work your back.  It is very important for the body to maintain muscle balance. This prevents injury, increases flexibility and strength. And as an added bonus, it helps the whole area look lean and sexy.  What good is having fab abs if you have a flab back? So next time you do some crunches or planks, finish your workout with these great back exercises.
Click on the picture below for the full workout!  And for fun, replace the weights with kettlebells.

"I am Iron Man"

Great song huh! Too bad I cannot say that being anemic is great. Out of all of the issues I have ever had, I would have to say being anemic is the worst. The only known solution to the fatigue, headaches and other icky symptoms is iron pills. It doesn't matter the dosage, slow release or "for sensitive stomachs", they all make me sick. As much as the pills helped the fatigue and headaches, the stomach pains were not worth it. I felt like I was out of options.

I looked up what fruits and veggies had iron in them and found "beets" on the list. I was very hesitant to try them, especially after my fiancĂ© kept calling me Dwight (you The Office fans know what I mean). They looked gross and I was unsure what they would taste like. But I knew I needed to do something to get some iron. So I decided to give it a try despite my reservations about the taste. We all know the best way to get any vitamin is from as natural of a source as possible. So I tried this juice. After my body got used the higher amounts of iron intake, all of the symptoms went away. I couldn't believe it. I gained back so much of my energy, which is probably what helped me get through all of these workouts.

 I highly recommend this juice to anyone who is anemic. It's time to throw those annoying pills away and go for the natural solution!

Day 9 But my dog REALLY DID eat it.....

I woke up tired, sore, achy but still ready for more! After getting ready for work I made my juices for the day. I then realized that there wasn't an 87lbs hairy vacuum sitting at my feet waiting for scarps. I called out for my beloved Jax and nothing... Oh this can't be good. When a dog is silent, he is up to no good. As I peaked my head into my workout room aka my office I locked eyes with Jax. Awww how cute he was sitting with the kettlebell. As I went to get my camera to snap this sweet picture, I then realized that he wasn't sitting with it he was eating it! I couldn't take a picture of him with the kettlebell in his mouth I was too panicked but here is the look of sorrow afterwards.

Needless to say, when you are time pressed for a workout and have an antsy dog obviously needing attention, put down the kettlebell and take the dog for a walk. A 40 minute walk with the dog is a GREAT way to keep the pounds off.  Check out this chart for the calories you can burn at different paces on my "Fitness Info" page.

Day 8- I knew I hated JELL-O

I've been at it for eight days now and my muscles feel like JELL-O, something I have always despised except in the form of a shot. I blame deadlifts, cleans and snatches. For those who don't know what I said, those are deadly kettlebell terms, thanks Paul!

My favorite exercise:
20 deadlift swings, 3 times

In order to avoid muscle fatigue and losing the muscle you work so hard to get, finish your workout with protein!

Peanut Butter n Nanner Protein Shake
2 TBSP of peanut butter (I use PB2, its 85% less calories and fat)
1/2-1 banana
1 c Almond Milk
Ice to desired consistency

I used to be a shake girl at a local gym. The MAJOR thing you want to avoid are pre-mixed shakes, sugary additives (other than fruit) high fat milk bases. You CANNOT taste the difference between 2%, skim or even D when mixed in a smoothie. I'm a milk snob, I know!

1 Week Ago.....

If you would have said to me, "You'll love this workout", I would have thought, "yaaaa right!" Boy I hate being wrong..

After week one of my new Kettlebell workout routine designed by Paul @ BurrRidge Kettlebell Club, I feel different. I have a bit more energy, I am sore but in a good way and I actually stuck to my plan.

So how did that happen? I targeted multiple muscle groups at once. See before kettlebell I did cardio and weights but my workouts took FOREVER! Now, in just a 30 minute session, I can workout my legs, arms and get in some cardio. My time spent on my workouts was cut in half with double the productivity. Now I could sit here and try to tell you  more on how this workout impacts you but let's leave it for the experts. Visit Paul's page and he can help you, just like me!

Day 1: 90 days until we Leave for the Wedding….. Wed July 10

It’s been seven months since we set our wedding date. Asides from taking our new puppy on long walks through the trail, my work out routine and diet has been non-existent. For an athlete nearly my entire life and a former five day a week workout fiend, that was unacceptable to me! I’m not sure if the realization that we leave for our destination wedding in 90 days finally hit me or I was just tired of excuses, either way I was ready to take control and get healthy.

I did not care to rejoin a gym. The fact they basically ask for your life in exchange for a membership was not something I wanted to get into again. My new elliptical that sat in a spider-filled basement was off limits. I felt my old routines of dumbbells and bands was getting me nowhere. Running out of options, I decided to give Burr Ridge Kettlebell Club (BRKC) a try. After all, I did help them with their marketing.

 I met with Paul as he would with any new consultation. He started off by having me write down my goals.
  1. Have more energy
  2. Sleep better
  3. Lose body fat
  4. Look great for my wedding!

Although I really wanted my number four goal to be number one, I decided how I felt is more important than how I looked.

Paul and I sat down and discussed a 90 day plan that included diet and exercise. He took my measurements and some pictures to help document my progress.
Diet:  I choose a juicing diet combined with high protein.  Check out this great first juicing recipe I created! (see my favorite recipes!)