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How FreshBooks Changed My Small Business

How FreshBooks Changed My Small Business

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

I was not a business major.  In fact the only “B” I got in college was in Economics and Finance (I know, total geek, right?).  It is just not the way my brain works.

Somehow I became a business owner.  Okay–not somehow, but with hard work, purpose and grit I’ve been a business owner for over 2 years.  The first 6 months were a blur.  Business was booming and I was so focused on the attention my clients needed that I neglected a whole bunch of other areas inside of my business.  I was sinking….falling deeper into a hole of disorganization and clerical chaos.

 

This was not me.

 

My husband will tell you I am “Type A” to a “T”.  I love organization, winning, being bossy occasionally (ok..well often) and to-do lists.  I needed intervention to bring organization to my business, greater efficiency and thus profit.

 

I’m A Business Owner?

My business is small and I plan to keep it that way.  I want personal contact with all my clients and that takes time.  I want to spend my time doing the important stuff.  I know there are a million people out there like me who never thought their passion would grow into a thriving business. In fact, it still feels weird to even say I am a “business owner” as I feel like it is an awesome hobby.

So why am I , a nutrition coach, writing about business stuff? 

When I took the time to look around me and see how many people are pursuing their own small business success I was shocked.  If someone would have only told me these things when I first began, I would have saved myself so much frustration and time.

There are moms making adorable wooden signs, men making knives and people offering all type of services who have felt that same sinking pressure in their chest to get their $#*% together in their small business endeavors.

 

Learned The Hard Way

Here is the honest truth, I think the best of people.  I assume if they commit to paying for a service they will.  But I got to a place where I realized that wasn’t happening.  I was holding up my end of coaching but I had clients that were not.  Worst part is I had to come to the realization that it was my fault.  I was holding them accountable in their nutrition but not in their financial obligation to me.  I just sometimes felt bad asking them to pay.  So, I continued to serve them and they took greater and greater advantage of me.

I needed a tool to give them a gentle reminder and I needed to do a better job of tracking it.

 

And so I did.

I started with FreshBooks.

 

I had researched many software programs that could help me track expenses, profit, create invoices that were super user friendly for both me and my clients. I wanted simple, nothing fancy, with a very streamlined inputting option. After much research I gave FreshBooks a go with a Free 30 Day Trial.

 

It changed everything in my business.  My stress of organization faded fast, clients paid every invoice and my time was freed up to focus on them and becoming a better coach.  (#winforeverybody) Not to mention it was easy to learn and implement into my business immediately.

 

I am a business owner but food is my passion!  Visit my library of Free Resources for nutritional tips, recipes and grocery shopping lists.

 

Highlights Of FreshBooks

 

All In One Place

I love to see the big picture of things.  I love that you log into FreshBooks and you have a dashboard view that shows where you are in real time.  What your expenses are to date, what your income is, what invoices are outstanding.  An easy to see line graph provides a quick snapshot of all the details.

The App

This is the biggest game changer for me.  Having an app to verify invoices and payments has been awesome but the major bonus has been the option to input expenses while on the go.  You simply open the app, select the expenses tab and add each expense right then and there.  Even more awesome is you can take a picture of the receipt and enter it along with the expense so you have it for tax purposes and confirmation.

 

 

Credit Card Acceptance

A big one that sent me in search of an alternative to PayPal was the ability to accept credit cards.  Many clients were miles from me, didn’t use PayPal and wanted a simple way to pay.  They made the request and I wanted to make their life easy.  The ability to accept credit cards increases the guarantee for punctual payment.

Automatic Invoices

I started my business using PayPal.  It was easy and simple.  But even a business account with PayPal lacked a major necessity for me and that was automatic invoices.  Initially I had to generate each invoice by hand to send to clients.  It was time consuming and pulled my attention away from more important aspects of my business.  With FreshBooks you can create automatically generated invoices that will be sent out on the date selected.  However, FreshBooks still integrates with PayPal and provides clients the continued option to pay from there as well. You can also look at each invoice to verify client receipt and whether or not it has been viewed.

 

Late Notices

You can also select the option with each clients to send late notices.  You have the ability to choose how many days after the invoice due date for the notice to be sent and can turn the feature on or off as needed. I never want to be an annoyance to a client.  However, I appreciate receiving reminders myself when an email gets lost or my mind spaces a payment.

 

Processing Fee

The processing fee per transaction is comparable to PayPal, anywhere from 2.9-3.5% of the total amount depending on the type of card used.  For Visa and Master card, the fee is 2.9% of the total amount + .30 per transaction.  For AMEX, the fee is 3.5% of the total + .30 per transaction.  The great part is those fees are automatically moved into your expenses so you don’t have do them by hand.

Cost

The cost for a basic FreshBooks account is $15 for up to 5 active clients, $25 for up to 50 active clients and $50 per month for up to 500 clients.  It is an extremely affordable and worthwhile business expense.

 

A Few Hiccups

When clients pay from another source such as PayPal, you must go in by hand to confirm payment for Profit & Loss reports.  Not a huge deal at all.

In addition, their bulk action options are a little challenging.  I’ve found to make changes to all invoices you must go into each invoice directly to guarantee successful changes. These few hiccups are an easy oversight for me.

 

If you are a small business owner, I strongly encourage you to invest in options that will allow you to put your time into the things that matter most in your business and grow it in the direction you want.  FreshBooks allows me to do just that.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

Senita Athletics Spring Review

Senita Athletics Spring Review

The summer hit us hard.  Wait…I meant spring:(

In AZ we went from winter coats and beanies to booty shorts and tanks in a matter of days.

I am not ready to fully commit to summer.  I still need a few months of keeping my house open to the spring breeze, picnics in the park and gorgeous morning runs until I am confined to either the swimming pool or inside an air conditioned building.

What I am slightly excited about is busting out my summer workout gear and exposing my skin to a bit more vitamin D.  Maybe you can totally relate..there is something special about feeling the sun on your skin in the middle of a workout that really makes me feel alive.

 

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Senita Fall Review

When the weather was cooling down last fall, I had the opportunity to review Senita Athletics Clothing.  An AZ based company that creates affordable workout clothes that look good, feel good and move good.  I love the Denali Starry Night leggings they sent me and the review was a major hit with my readers.  So much so, they reached out and asked me to review some adorable Spring workout gear that is available just in time for the HEAT!

Since then more Senita additions have joined my workout wardrobe, including my most favorite, the Criss Cross leggings in pine green (pictured below).  I get the most compliments on them and you can wear them with street clothes as well (double win).

Booty, Booty, Booty Rocking Everywhere

I love me some booty shorts.  But not the kind that are so super short that I might have a cheek slip out when I squat.  They are cute on some girls, but my legs are long, and they just don’t seem to fit me right.

I am always on the hunt for some booty shorts that fit my booty snug, hold me in and have the right inseam length for just the right amount of booty, but nothing more (lol).  It is HOT in the summer in AZ and too much clothing makes you feel like you are trapped in an endless sauna.

When Senita sent me their Rio shorts I was excited to give them a go and test them against a few other favorites I own. These shorts have a 3.5 inch inseam which is just right for my comfort level with long legs.  I love the upper thigh pocket so I can slip my phone into it to listen to music while I run or lift.

The price is $22…less than half of what I have paid at a competitor for essentially the same shorts.  I can’t justify the $50+ price tag at all for shorts that offer less.  Although I find that their crops run on the larger end and recommend a size down, these shorts were true to size and fit me just right.

Tie Back Tee

I am currently obsessed with shirts that you can throw a cute sports bra or bralette under for a little accent to a gym outfit.  One of my favorites is a tie back shirt.  I have seen a few tie back shirts out there by expensive brands that I could never bring myself to spend that much money on, unless it was second hand.

When I saw Senita had a tie back tank that just dropped on Instagram I knew I had to have it. And it sits right at the top with the other brand name competitor styles.

When it arrived I busted open the package and was pleasantly surprised by the feel of the fabric.  It was super soft, stretchy and not a light cotton feel like I expected. This tank is only $20.  I think they could stand to charge a bit more in all honesty.  I love it and would buy it in more colors.  I love the cut in the front and the fact that you can wear it tied or undone too.  It paired nicely with my Sarah Sports Bra in Bahamas print too, the first piece of Senita clothing I ordered because I loved the print.

Check our Senita and add their gear to your wardrobe!

Work hard Be Kind,

AWalk

All opinions in this review are my own.  I was provided workout gear in exchange for my honest product review.

Thank you to Senita for the great partnership and super cute gear.

Thank you to  my lovely friend “E” for snapping some great pics too!

On-The-Go Snack Bars Worth Buying

On-The-Go Snack Bars Worth Buying

Post may contain affiliate links

You are on the go every day.

Aren’t we all?

You need that something you can grab real quick to hold you over during the middle of your shift, while you are out in the field or between patients or clients.  Bars have turned into a staple in many diets.  I need them occasionally too even working from home.

 

Some Are Crap

Here is the real deal…some of them are crap.  They are filled with a ton of junk to make them taste good and mask what is really in them.  I’ve spent some time eating them (hey, it’s dirty work…but somebody has got to do it), working out after eating them, reading their labels and checking their cost to bring you my favorites that don’t break the bank and aren’t complete junk.  I enjoy them at different times in my day and for very different reasons.  Some are great for pre-workout, some are great as meal replacements and sometimes they just satisfy a sweet craving.

 

I compiled my list taking into consideration a few things: ease of purchase, taste, texture, ingredient list, size and cost (under $2 per bar). All of the bars I mention below are gluten-free (because that is how I roll) and can be purchased at most local health food stores or via Amazon.  I also included the Fooducate ratings (for my own curiosity).  If you haven’t checked out Fooducate do so here, it is a super cool resource.  I will mention that no bar will be able to receive an “A” rating because they are a processed food (not in original form).

 

The opinions in the review are all my own, as no product line has paid me for their advertisement.

 

On-The-Go Bar Options

Pure Organic

These bars are great for plant based eaters and carnivores alike.  They taste super yummy and have some simple ingredients. They are sweet, more like a treat option and have a chewy texture made with all real, plant based ingredients including dates and nuts.  As far as bang for your buck though, the protein value is minimal with only 5g per bar.

Protein Source: Brown rice and pea protein

Ingredients To Note: All real food organic ingredients

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost: Less than $2 on sale

Size: 1.7oz (48g)

Macros in the Bar: 7g F/28g C/5g P

Fooducate Rating: C

Certified Organic, Gluten Free, Non GMo

 

Vega Protein+Snack Bars

Another great Vegan option out there is the Vega bar.  This bar is also made with plant based ingredients including dates and nuts and a host of plant based bonuses.  They are rich in taste and also on the super sweet side.

Protein Source: Organic sprouted whole grain brown rice protein and pea protein

Ingredients To Note: The ingredient list is long on these bar, mostly familiar and pronounceable.  There is organic sugar added in but the cool part is there are many plant additives for micro nutrient density.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost: Less than $2 on sale

Size: 1.7 oz (49g)

Macros in the Bar: 9g F/24g C/ 11g P

Fooducate Rating: B

Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMo and Vegan

 

Rx Bars

These are my favorite for a host of reasons.  Each bar is made up of egg whites, dates and nuts primarily with other small additions for flavor variance. You can go to the Rx site and find them for a great price or shop them here on Amazon. My favorite flavor is Maple Sea Salt, although harder to find.  The texture of the bars is firm and I always feel satiated after eating one because of the density.

Protein Source:Egg whites and nuts

Ingredients To Note: Their slogan is “No BS” because there is literally no junk in them with less than 6 real food ingredients per bar.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Size: 1.83 oz (52g)

Macros in the Bar: 10g F/22g C/12g P (a few flavors have a lower fat content as well)

Fooducate Rating: B+

No gluten, no soy, no diary and no added sugar

 

Nugo Dark Bars

This bar is a treat!  They have several delicious flavors, my favorite being the Salted Caramel Pretzel. In all honesty, it’s heath value is not high.  When I have a craving for something sweet I will have a Nugo Bar as a little Pre-workout treat.

Protein Source: Soy Protein Isolate

Ingredients To Note: This bar has an ingredient list that is inferior to others mentioned in the post.  What I do love is that it is a gluten free bar I work in every once in awhile to enjoy a treat.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost: Generally always under $2

Ingredient Notes: This bar does contain a larger sugar content than others mentioned within.

Size: 1.8oz (50g)

Macros in the Bar: 5g F/28g C/10g P

Fooducate Rating: C

Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMo and Vegan

 

Nugo Slim and other Nugo Options:  Worth the mention, is Nugo’s newest bar called the Nugo Slim.  It is a lower fat version (only by a few grams) with similar ingredient list.  However, the taste is strong of sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners to me.  For the small shift in macro nutrients, I’d rather eat the real deal.  They have a host of other bars as well, with a varying degree of ingredients and quality.

OatMega Bars

I discovered this bar years ago when preparing snacks for a family Disney trip.  I hate eating at theme parks because the food is often average in taste with above average prices.  We try to pack our lunch in and eat only one time in the park or in Downtown Disney.  I remember being so hungry and busting out my first Oatmega bar and it was love at first bite.  My favorite flavor is the Chocolate Peanut Crisp. I love lots of girlfriends that say the Mint Chocolate is the best but I am not a fan of mint chocolate anything (tear).

Protein Source: Grass Fed Whey

Ingredients To Note: High quality, mostly organic ingredients including responsibly caught fish oil additives.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost:  Just under $2 on sale

Size: 1.8oz/50g

Macros in the Bar: 7g F/21g C/14g P

Fooducate Rating: B

 

GoMacro Bars

I love the name…totally genius move on their part amidst the macro craze.  But when you pick up the the bar to read the label you realize…wow…it is a ton of macros.  To me, it is more like a meal replacement bar rather than a snack. This bar is great for someone who finds they need foods that are a big bang for their buck because they have a small appetite, can’t eat a large volume in one sitting or who might be in a gaining phase and have has lots of food to fill.  My favorite is the sunflower butter and chocolate flavor called “Protein Purity.”

Protein Source: Brown rice and nut butter (mostly)

Ingredients To Note: They use mostly all organic ingredients, even fair trade chocolate when included, with no artificial sweeteners.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost:  $2 on sale

Size: 2.3oz/65G

Macros in the Bar: 8g F, 38g C, 10g P (macros in Protein Purity)

Fooducate Rating: B

Certified Gluten Free, Soy Free, Non-GMo and Vegan

 

Overall a quick bar can be a great hold over when you are in a bind and on-the-go.  However, there truly is no substitute for real food.  Most bars contain a sweetener, even all natural, which can make the bar option even more enticing. Eat in moderation of course.  The biggest trade off is that most good quality bars contain a higher fat to protein ratio because of that quality.  So plan for it and make it work for your goals.

 

Do you have a favorite Bar I need to eat?

Comment below or message me here to share.

 

P.S. Looking for other macro friendly foods or all around real food ideas to add to your grocery list?  Click HERE to get my grocery list for one of my favorite shopping destinations, Trader Joe’s!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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5 Gift Ideas for a Nutrition Newbie (and a Nutrition Nut)

5 Gift Ideas for a Nutrition Newbie (and a Nutrition Nut)

Post may contain affiliate links

Are you or do you know someone that is looking to make major health changes in their life? Or maybe you are a nutrition nut (like me!) and want some awesome gifts to make meal prep as simple and fun as you ring in a new year of great health!  Check out these 5 gifts that are a for sure win for both!

Instant Pot

I am seriously addicted to this one!  Pretty much use it everyday now!  It is simple, combines pressure and slow cooking and a whole array of awesome features. Turns frozen chicken breasts to shredded goodness in under 30 minutes…BOOMSHAKALAKA!

instantpot

 

 

Spiralizer

This is has been a major game changer in the kitchen for me.  After becoming gluten free, I needed a healthy “noodle” supplement and found “Zoodles” to be just the right thing.  This Kitchen Aide Mixer attachment was gifted to me last holiday season by my MIL who knows me well.  It can spiralize zucchini, apples, potatoes and pretty much anything your little heart desires! It also peels and cores and has several attachment to change the type of noodle made. And…my kids think it is the coolest!

spiralizer

 

And if you don’t have Kitchen Aide–try this one out instead!  It will accomplish the same task for you!

spiralzer

 

Digital Food Scale

When making nutritional changes, a scale can be a major help when beginning to learn portion sizing.  This is the one I use every day and is simple and cheap!  Great for a little stocking stuffer too or to travel with. It is simple to use and has the option to change units of measure.

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Aerolatte Frother

I am a coffee addict.  But I like my own version of a healthy latte that is rich, smooth and frothy.  I used to blend my morning coffee in a blender and what a mess!  This little gadget makes it amazing and without the mess! It helps you have that coffee shop coffee without all the junk and added calories! I’ve actually given this as a gift often and people LOVE it!

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Glass Storage Containers

Every person needs these!  No matter what type of nutritional regimen you have, preparing your own food and having bonus food for leftovers makes meal prep easy and efficient.  Grab some of these glass containers so you can reheat your food right in them.  Glass is better for you and the environment (tree hugger moment:)

glass-storage

And right now…take advantage of Amazon prime!!!  You can join their 30 day trial right now and use this service for the holidays FREE.

Enjoy the holidays and give the gift of good health!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

Senita Athletics Product Review

Senita Athletics Product Review

Our Old Ways

When we were first married we spent money like it was going out of style.  Not on high dollar large items but on dinners out, name brand clothing and other crap we didn’t need.  We look back at each other now and are disappointed in our old selves for not being mature in our spending habits.

When I left my ten year  career as a high school science teacher we took a huge leap of faith, sold my husband’s favorite Toyota Tacoma and used that money to see if we could survive without my income.  Good news is we did.  But not without major sacrifices, lifestyle changes, behavioral changes and Money Peach.  Thanks to all of these things we invested in ourselves and our money and have learned so much along the way.

I Live in Workout Clothes..don’t judge me (please:)

One big learning curve for me was buying athletic clothes.  I train 5-6 times a week, coach multiple CrossFit classes and work from home–so let’s be honest I pretty much live in workout clothes.  I quickly realized expensive brands were no longer in my budget (well…the really never were).  Since then I am always on the hunt for awesome athletic clothing that looks adorable on, is stylish, sucks everything in really nicely and does not break the bank. When a friend showed me the Senita Athletics website I was totally intrigued.  Senita is a locally owned company based out of Tempe, Arizona started by two moms who wanted more from their life and left their jobs and become entrepreneurs in December 2015. Do the math–that was only one year ago.  Their story was enough for me to give support–I can relate!  I love their passion to provide quality workout clothes to women at a price that is completely justifiable to the budget.

Their Products

Senita has a great range of products including running and fitted shorts, crops and pants, tees, jackets and other accessories.

squatEnter the Denali Legging in “Starry Night” print (retail price $40). When the package arrived I was totally stoked! The fabric was soft, stretchy and held everything in nicely when I slipped them on.  The print was unique and colors popped.  I’ve been wearing the Denali’s for both conditioning and while lifting.  In both instances they stay in place, don’t bunch up and major bonus—they are NOT see through!  I am 5’8″ weighing roughly 133 lbs and found a small to fit just right.

 

Since then, I decided to splurge and treat myself to a pair of their Fierce Capris in plum (retail price $35) and Fierce Pants in black (retail price $38)  along with my favorite print the Sarah Sports Bra in “Bahamas” (retail price $26).  All have been amazing and together have cost almost the same as what I used to pay for one pair of workout pants! Say what?!?!?!

I also love that they have added options to their clothing to hold a cell phone or slip a key into while training outdoors, going for a run or just running to the store.  This was a major bonus for me!  I would suggest sizing down because I found things to be slightly on the larger end of the size spectrum.

Promo Code for 10% Off

So–starting now through December 14th I hope you take advantage of this awesome review and treat yourself, or a friend or buy a gift for that lovely lady in your life and use my promo code “awalkmyway” to get 10% off and try them for yourself!  They will not disappoint!

 

 

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

And find them here:

Senita Athletics Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/senita/

Senita Athletics Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/SenitaAthletics/

 

Special thanks to my super talented friend Erika for the great pics!

 

Want great travel tips at your fingertips when you are on the road?

Download my 8 Tips To Help You Hit Your Macros On the Road Here

 

 

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Gluten Free Expo Recap

Gluten Free Expo Recap

Last weekend was an all around great one! Here is why…

  1. The weather finally turned fall-ish around here.
  2. We had some awesome family commitments with great friends, great people and for great causes.
  3. I was an OFFICIAL Blogger for the AZ Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo.

Although I continue to work hard to share my small blog with the masses, I know it is still just a tiny little spec in the blogging world.  But this weekend really reminded me that I do have an audience that relies on me, who trusts me and who follow me because they know I believe in quality…and they do too.  The people who support me and engage with the pieces I write do so because they know that in their gut, “clean,” healthy, whole foods should be a top priority in any person’s diet.  Being able to share my findings at the Gluten Free Expo should be no different.

“Gluten free” is not necessarily synonymous with being a “clean” or healthy product.  I’ve heard so many times, “But it says “gluten free” it has to be healthy.”  This is often not the case.  This weekend drove this very point home as I walked the vendor aisles eavesdropping on conversations of people misguided by that very notion.  Learning to truly read and understand the ingredients listed on a product is powerful to your health.

3 Things To Look For On Ingredient Lists

With this in mind, here are 3 things to think about when reading a product’s ingredient list.

Ingredient list order

Ingredients are listed on a product in the descending order of how much exists in the product.  If the first ingredient on the label is sugar then it is no better than its gluten filled sister product.  A treat is still a treat, with or without gluten.  Trust me–I used to consume almost the entire batch of Paleo chocolate chip cookies all by myself and justified it because they were “Paleo.”  Um–no!  They were still a treat, although of great quality, and elicit the same insulin response as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Many gluten free products tend to add even more sugar to compensate for a lack of “traditional” taste.  Don’t be a victim to tricky ingredient add-ins.

 

Simplicity

If you can’t say the ingredient name then it probably isn’t an option that adds value to your health.  It can’t happen all the time, but if you can make a regular effort to read your ingredient list NOT just the nutritional information and look for simple ingredients, you are doing right for yourself.

 

Know Secret Code Names

And if that doesn’t make it hard enough–sugar and sodium also have secret code names.  It is as if they are secret agents trying to sneak into your pantry or frig (which is really the reality).  Know these secret names and be able to identify them before they enter your body.

 

My Tops Picks at The Expo

I’ll be honest, it was liberating and totally enjoyable to walk around and taste anything I wanted without having to ask a million questions about ingredients.  Many of the vendors had gone above and beyond to offer those limited by food allergies to have some traditional food and snack options.  I was in search of those vendors that really spoke to my desire to live a gluten free life that is still rich in whole foods and gluten free because of that.  And guess what–I found a few that I really loved and am excited to share.

 

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Path of Life

The Path of Life Brand was awesome!  They were “created with the desire to make eating better, flavorful and easy for the entire family” and they do just that.  They offer lines of frozen foods that taste awesome and are so easy to add into your life.  This is a mom’s must have for their grocery list.  Four minutes in the microwave and BOOM–quality side dishes for everybody. My favorites was the organic Kale and Quinoa mix which is an easy way to add a high quality carbohydrate and veggie to your day.  You can find Path of Life Products at your local Sprouts.

 

My “Treat” Pics from the Expo

Aleias15036689_1193226007427308_7166646185387008350_n

Aleias foods has a great story of ground up creation.  I love companies that find a passion and a niche and then knock it out of the park.  I do love a treat in my day but try and look for things that still maintain quality.  Aleias’ macaroons were amazing!  They were dense, chewy and make with ingredients I could READ.  Not to mention, the macro nutrient counts were spectacular.  I also love that for those who really want it–they developed a gluten free holiday stuffing mix. You can find Aleias foods at your local AJs and Safeway.

 

ProYo

img_0302Lastly–a unique option that popped up at the expo was ProYo. The packaging definitely takes me back to my youth with it’s “push-pop” like style.  I’ll be honest, at first impression, the packaging put me in mind of a not-so-high quality supplement I’d find at GNC.  It drew me in to want to learn more.  AND–I am so glad I did. Offered in 4 flavors (chocolate is my favorite), Proyo is a probiotic packed frozen yogurtm creamy texture that put me more in the mind of ice cream than yogurt.  It is high in protein, roughly 20 grams per tube, coming from a whey source with a gentle sweetness from Stevia (no sugar alcohol).  I immediately thought of it as a great post workout option because of its macro nutrient combo.  You can find ProYo at your local Safeway.

 

 

I was a blast to spend the day watching brand ambassadors share their products and passion.  I love being able to come back and share all my findings with you.  Gluten free or not–I promise you will love these products!  Try them and then comment below and tell me what you think. And watch out for my giveaways of these awesome products.

 

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Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

La Croix Review

Bubble…Yes Please!

I love bubbles.  Add a little bubbly to a drink and BAM! #Game changer.  I love finding alternatives that satisfy that bubbly craving that don’t carry a sugar or alcohol content.  And this one…Oh, it is the best!  I often have clients who are trying to ditch sugary sodas or juices and La Croix is my go-to recommendation.  Hydration is key to nutritional success and La Croix offers another way to keep up with water intake sans boredom.

 

La Croix is La $&%!

I literally saw that on a shirt.  I resisted my strong urge to buy it because I love La Croix so much.  This product isn’t anything brand spanking new but I am often surprised at how many people have been living a La Croix free life.  La Croix is a sparkling water beverage with a hint of flavor.  It has zero calories, zero sugar and zero sodium because its ingredients are literally carbonated water and a bit of natural flavorings extracted from essence oils of fruit.  There are no hidden chemicals that make it “sugar-free” just good old fashioned water.  And that is just the way I like it…simple.

 

Sweet Summer Time

La Croix is the perfect drink of summer (well honestly, all darn year).  I love a refreshing drink in the mid-afternoon that makes me feel like I am at the beach and worry-free.  Even my kids love it and they would easily chose it over a juice box alternative.  My favorite is a bit of fresh lime juice, my favorite Grapefruit flavored La Croix, all poured over ice.

It is an awesome product for a perfect “Mocktail” by the pool or while at work. These awesome recipes make a sparkling water beverage way more exciting then you could ever expect.  It also makes a great mixer for the real thing too, keeping keep sugar and calories low.  You can mix it with your favorite tequila or vodka with fresh fruit and #boomshakalaka.

 

Product Options

La Croix offers 13 Flavor options including Passionfruit, Mango, Apricot, Pamplemousse (Grapefruit), Cran-Raspberry, Berry, Orange, Pure, Lime, Lemon, Coconut, Peach Pear and Tangerine.  They also have released their Lacroix Curate and NiCola lines with new awesome flavors (available at limited locations). Their recent entry into Costco has increased their exposure and was a genius move for those obsessed like me.  They offer 2 different case options, which each include 3 different flavors.  The case price at Costco will beat any price at your local grocer.
Put a little sparkle in your life, embrace La Croix and…Enjoy!  You’ll thank me later.

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Cheap and Easy Scale

My Favorite Food Scale

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The purpose behind the use of a food scale for tracking macros is two-fold.  First, it guarantees accuracy.  It allows you to control the quantities of food you take in to better estimate their nutritional value.  Second, it allows you to develop the skill set to begin to be able “eyeball” those quantities when the scale is unavailable or when you have fully developed the super-hero power of perfect weighing.

A scale doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.  The scale I’ve had for years is cheap and gets the job done just perfectly!  Check it out here–the reviews speak for themselves.

Benefits of Collagen: Vital Proteins Collagen Review

Why You Need Collagen In Your Life

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Clients, friends and family often ask me how they can increase protein in their diet.  I love to try and get my protein in from many different sources.  Each source of protein offers a varying list of amino acid profiles, each rich in their own unique benefit to the body. One of my favorite sources of protein is through collagen or collagen hydrolysate.

But what really is Collagen anyway?

Collagen is a crucial and abundant protein in our body responsible for making up connective tissue, skin, hair and nails.  When boiled down, it turns into a gelatinous substance. That substance can then be dehydrated and used to create a powder or liquid form.

why-you-need-collagen-in-your-lifeCollagen as supplement

As we age, collagen production in our bodies slow down.  (Say what?!?!)  Joints  and muscles become weak, skin sags and well, you get the rest…we get old!  A collagen supplement can offer an increase in the body’s own diminishing supply.

Collagen Benefits

Collagen rocks–and I am personally a believer!  It supports nail and hair growth, enriches skin complexion.  It is high in the amino acid glycine, which has anti-inflammatory effects in the body. A recent study found (1), among many other benefits, that glycine acts against inflammatory cells of the body and stops their reproduction. For athletes, collagen helps promote natural creatine production for post workout muscle growth as well as arginine for increased muscle mass.  Collagen has been proven to actually increase skin’s elasticity. In another collagen study (2), subjects given an oral collagen supplement showed a measurable difference in skin elasticity in only 4 weeks of ingestion.

Which One is the Best?

I’ve tried many collagen supplements and many have done awesome! When it comes to collagen, quality matters.  A grass fed bovine source guarantees a much higher quality yield. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is my supplement pick.  It is high quality and in the peptide form, is cold soluble so it doesn’t get gooey when cold. I love to put a scoop (10 grams) in my coffee in the morning or in my afternoon coffee shake for a protein boost.  It is odorless and tasteless but carries some amazing properties you should be benefiting from too.

 

Allergic or sensitive to whey or beef?  Don’t worry Vital Proteins also offers a marine blend derived from wild caught Snapper.

 

Protein Punch x 2

Be active in choosing your sources of macro nutrients.  Fill your counts so that they pay you back benefits you can reap for years. Using a collagen supplement will guarantee both–and you will seriously notice the difference.

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

 

Resources:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589194

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208

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Work Hard, Be Kind

This is it—my first big blog post. I have been  so nervous about this post.  For months I was in blog purgatory. Should I? What would people think? Would there even be interest? It was the encouragement of my client base, my friends and above all, my husband that led me this direction. Then, I had a moment, an epiphany if you will. You know the kind that feels life changing—like the planets aligned to send you a sign. I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast when she interviewed this amazingly spunky social media marketer. The person interviewed said…”isn’t it better to have 2 people who believe in you madly than to be followed by many, who barely believe?” It was in that moment I realized, who cares about anybody else. If I follow my passion, my heart and who I am, the rest will fall into place. So—here I am, vulnerable as ever, sharing my passion.

My Passion

I pondered how to begin my blog, what would be the most important to open up with? I realized that my audience needs to know where I came from and what led me to this point to truly understand the origin of my passion. Nutrition is personal. To some, like a religion. And just like religion, there are a million interpretations of what nutrition should look like. High fat, high carb, low fat , low carb…what is truly best? What I’ve come to realize…it’s all the best if it works for you. The act of bettering yourself is what truly matters at the end of the day. In a world of so much craziness and tearing each other down, the gift of kindness is one that we all have to give. The gift to support each other in our attempts to be better. Nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle is no different.

 

Work Hard Be Kind

”Work Hard, Be Kind…” It is our family’s motto. So much so that I whisper it to my kids as they head into school, so much so that it hangs on a banner in our kitchen and so much so that I had a shirt made to spread it to others. I feel like life can really be that simple.

So–it’s become my mission. To support people in their attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. To show people how to eat real food and find a healthy balance to enjoy something they love each day too. To spread nutritional love and support anybody and everybody who is trying each day to better themselves.

 

My Childhood

I grew up in a house where soda, Little Debbie’s and homemade noodles were a staple. It was no fault of my parents; honestly I think children of the 80s all had a similar experience. This health awareness revolution didn’t start until much later. Like most girls, I’ve always been self-conscience about my body but my parents never failed in making me feel beautiful. College became my true exposure to the importance of health. I was on my own, the controller of what I put in my body and the consequences it came with. I became obsessed, in an unhealthy way, with working out and eating. Part of it was being away from home and the other was the beginning of my desire to find a healthy, sustainable life.

After being Pre-Med and getting my degree in Life Science with a Physiology emphasis, I decided teaching was my path not doctoring (is that a word??). While completing my masters, I also became certified in group fitness. Along with teaching high school science and coaching basketball, I taught Spin, TBC, Step aerobics, etc. in order to help others find a fun way to be active. At that time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. If I knew I was going to a social event I would jump on the treadmill for hours. If I indulged in Coldstone, I immediately had to go for a run. I joked and told people “I run to eat.” Little did they know—I really wasn’t joking. I punished myself for loving food—and I know many of you can relate.

 

When Nutrition Trumps Fitness

It wasn’t until after marriage and our second child that nutrition really began to trump fitness. I realized that my bad nutrition would never out due the calories I burned on that treadmill. I wasn’t cute and pregnant. I gained over 60 lbs with my daughter and dialed it back to 40lbs with our second. After two babies, my 20 something body was gone and I hated the new one I had acquired.

My body changed externally and internally. Through pregnancy I had acquired autoimmune changes that made me gluten intolerant. This diagnosis led me to the Paleo diet. I loved it, became obsessed with it and lost much of my baby weight with it. Then, I became the “Paleo Nazi.” I was the one at the party everybody thought they had to justify their eating habits to. I’ll be honest—I judged people for their food choices like I had an awakening they hadn’t yet experienced. I look back and hate myself for it. What I don’t apologize for is the knowledge that turning to a Paleo life gave me. It taught me food quality matters. That any “diet” should focus on whole foods made of mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts and seeds. But what the Paleo diet is missing—is reality. I never let myself indulge and was truly miserable for it. I would watch friends enjoy chips and salsa and other treats at parties and be miserable. I was afraid to leave it for fear of weight gain and those dreaded “carbs.” I desperately needed freed. Freed from food guilt.

 

Much Needed Change

I was in need of a change. I had plateaued—I was unhappy with my health, my body, my athletic performance and my burden of not feeling honest about food. I began my own work with a nutrition coach, who later became my mentor, and it truly changed my life. Flexible dieting, or macro tracking, has been the most freeing food experience of my life. It is moderation to a tee. It has showed me, more than ever, that whole foods should be the bulk of your diet because they are truly the “biggest bang for your buck.” It has showed me that being on either extreme of the nutritional spectrum has no sustainability. Food is amazing. Food is meant to be enjoyed…in a way that meets your own personal goals that only you know. It has showed me that nutrient timing is critical to maximize your results. Most of all—it has showed me that I can enjoy the things I want because I am the driving force behind my own nutrition. Food is not WHO I am. Food is FUEL.

Here I am now: many clients coached, hundreds of pounds lost, personal records crushed and so many healthy relationships with food reestablished. I am only motivated more to continue to guide others in their journey. Watching my passion to support and encourage clients cultivate their success is gratification beyond words. What started as a small side hobby has turned into something that I truly feel inspired to do each day. Good nutrition and changing your food lifestyle is addictive. I can’t wait to continue to help others feel that same addiction.

So—here I am, “AWALK”…working hard, being kind and spreading nutritional love. Can’t wait for you to join me and take “AWALKmyway.”