Holiday Gift Ideas for a Nutrition Nut (or newbie)

Are you someone who is looking to make major health changes in their life? Or maybe you know someone who is just getting started on their health journey? Or maybe you are a nutrition nut (like me!) and want some awesome gifts to make meal prep simple and fun as you ring in a new year of great health! If you said yes to any of those questions, check out these holiday gift ideas that are a major win for any level of nutritional experience.

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food to look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Christmas (and birthdays too) can be filled with a whole lot of mindless gift gifting.  We wait far too long to buy gifts and then succumb to convenience and buy a holiday gift that gets shoved in the back of the closet. Or worse, said gift goes right to the Goodwill donation pile. I am totally biased, but if you invest in giving someone a gift that is both useful and thoughtful then it is a win for everybody.

I have had the opportunity to try and tinker with many kitchen gadgets. Some are useful, but it was rare for me to use them in my own kitchen because of the size, what it prepares, or the cost. I’ve created a list of a few “go-to” items that range in a price point that will add so much value to the person and kitchen you give it to this holiday season.

11 Holiday Gift Ideas for a Nutrition Nut or Newbie

1. Kitchenaid Spiralizer

The Kitchenaid Spiralizer 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 Kitchenaid Spiralizer 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 attachments to change the type of noodle made. And my kids think it is the coolest!

2. Kitchenaid Mixer

The Kitchenaid Spiralizer can only be used if you have a Kitchenaid Mixer to use this attachment. I have had my cute, little, canary yellow Kitchenaid mixer for years and it gets a ton of use. It is great for baking but all of the attachments it offers is the main reason I use it most often.

3. Simple Spiralizer

If you don’t have a Kitchenaid Mixer, don’t worry you are still in luck. Try this hand-held spiralizer out instead. It will accomplish the same task for you with a much lower hit to the wallet. However, the Kitchenaid attachment is still hard to beat for the quality.

 4. Magic Bullet

I’ve used my Magic Bullet so much that it is covered in who knows what from over 11 years of marriage and two children.  It really is magic and does the job of coffee frothing to smoothie making in one quick step, with easy clean-up, and without a hefty price tag. I also made every ounce of my kids’ baby food in it and it is still kicking! I love all the attachments and screw on lids for to-go options.

5. Aerolatte Milk Frother

I am a coffee addict.  But I like my own version of a healthy latte that is rich, smooth and frothy. This little gadget makes my morning coffee ritual simple and mess free! 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 and end up using all the time!  Pair it with a sturdy mug and some delicious roasted beans and it could be an awesome gift for anybody or for your holiday gift exchange.

6. 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.

Bonus: Glass is better for you and the environment (tree hugger moment).

7. Plastic Storage Containers

If glass containers are too bulky or unreasonable for your commute, you can opt for a simpler option.  These plastic containers are more cost-effective, stack nicely in the refrigerator, and are super simple to pack for work or school. They too would make a great holiday gift stocking stuffer.

8. Instant Pot

I am seriously addicted to my Instant Pot! At this point, I use it multiple times a week. It is simple, combines pressure and slow cooking, and also has a whole array of other awesome features. It literally turns frozen chicken breasts to shredded goodness in under 30 minutes… BOOMSHAKALAKA! I also use it to make my weekly stock pile of hard boiled eggs. You can click here to see the Instant Pot in action and to get my favorite healthy egg salad recipe.

9. Air Fryer

I am not going to lie. I was extremely reluctant to try the air fryer because I didn’t need another item cluttering up my pantry and kitchen. But this little handy gadget can come through with that lightly fried finish that some foods just need without the mess of oil! You can put in so many yummy food options for a solid golden finish.

You can buy the air fryer in multiple sizes to accommodate more food. My opinion is to go big, especially if you are feeding a family. That way you don’t have to do multiple batches for one meal.

10. 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 it’s simple and cheap! It’s great for a little stocking stuffer too. You can also use it to travel with. It is simple to use and has the option to change units of measure.

11. Thrive Market

Last, but certainly not least, is the ultimate awesome gift for a nutrition nut or someone who is ready for transformation to healthy living. If you haven’t heard about Thrive market yet, you are missing out!

Think of Thrive as like a Costco meets Whole Foods, all via a virtual store. Essentially, you pay an annual membership to get amazing prices on high-quality products including food, supplements, toiletries, and home essentials.  The awesome part is shipping is FREE for orders over $49!

You can shop for specific products via their online catalog, with all prices typically 25-30% below retail value. Some of my favorite foodie products are hard to find and I don’t live near a retailer who carries them. Thrive comes in handy because I can order whatever I want and have it delivered to my doorstep. They also carry a few things that I have yet to find in my local grocer.

Thrive’s yearly membership cost is $60 (that breaks down to $5 a month) and is an awesome price point for a gift. When I got married we got a Costco membership and it was the best ever. Thrive would have been even better!  If you join today by clicking the banner below you can get 25% off your first order and a 30-day free trial membership.

And right now — take advantage of Amazon prime! You can join their 30-day trial right now and use this service FREE for your holiday shopping.

Enjoy the holidays and give the gift of good health!


This post is filled with things I love and actually use daily and weekly. I would not suggest them if I didn’t believe in them and see the value they could add in your kitchen and life.  If you click on the links above, I will receive a small commission from your purchase.  Thank you in advance and I appreciate your support to continue to add valuable content.

What is one of the best healthy gifts you’ve received?

Work Hard Be Kind,



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.

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).

You can also join my FREE 7 Day Challenge to start feeling awesome in your workout gear and naked HERE!

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!

You can also join my FREE 7 Day Challenge to start feeling awesome in your workout gear and naked HERE!


Work hard Be Kind,


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

Post may contain affiliate links

You are on the go every day.

Aren’t we all?

You need 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 when working from home.

Some On-The-Go Snack Bars 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.

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food to look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

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 by clicking 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 sweet treat option, and have a chewy texture made with all real, plant based ingredients including dates and nuts.

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)

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)

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 it is 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)

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, with 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)

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 a similar ingredient list. However, the taste is strong of sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners to me.  For the small shift in 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 have 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

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. 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

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.

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food to look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Do you have a favorite Bar I need to try?

Work Hard Be Kind,


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 to begin building my coaching business, 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 and behavioral changes that we learned from our friend Money Peach.  Thanks to all of these things we invested in ourselves in improving our relationship with 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 as a nutrition coach–so let’s be honest I pretty much live in workout clothes.

You can join my FREE 7 Day challenge HERE to start feeling confident in your skin!

I quickly realized expensive brands were no longer in my budget (well…the really never were).  From that point in my life, I am always on the hunt for awesome athletic clothing that looks adorable on, is stylish, sucks everything in really nicely (what mom doesn’t love that part?) 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 lives and left their jobs to become entrepreneurs in December 2015. Do the math–that wasn’t that long 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 and aligns with all the trending styles.

Their Products

Senita has a great range of products including running and fitted shorts, crops and pants, tees, jackets, new joggers and other accessories.  Enter 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 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 135 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).   The capris fit well, stay in place and have come out of the washer nicely after any washes.  The sports bra is an adorable print and great for a low impact training day.  It would not provide enough support for me during HIIT or run.

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, working at home or just running to the store.  This was a major bonus for me!

You can also join my FREE 7 Day Challenge to start feeling awesome in your workout gear and naked HERE!

My Overall Rating:

Senita has proven to be I would suggest sizing down because I found things to be slightly on the larger end of the size spectrum.  I have sized down in everything I’ve ordered and have been content.  Most items tend to be on the less “fitted” size to provide a more conservative look and feel.  My only complaint (and a good one for them to have) is that they sell out quickly.  If you see something you like, snag it fast because their prices are so competitive items don’t last long on the website.

If you are ready to start making changes in your health to feel confident, join me in my FREE 7-day challenge here!

Work Hard Be Kind,


Shope Senita here:

Senita Athletics Instagram


Senita Athletics Facebook



Special thanks to my super talented friend Erika for the great pics and to Senita for providing me the cute leggings in exchange for my honest review!





La Croix Review: Is it really healthy for you?

If you don’t know anything else about me, know that I love bubbles. Add a little bubbly to a drink and BAM! #gamechanger. I love finding alternatives to satisfy that bubbly craving that doesn’t carry 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 (I have small children) 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 few natural flavorings extracted from essential oils of fruit. There are no hidden chemicals that make it “sugar-free”. It’s just good old-fashioned water. And that is just the way I like it — simple. You can view a sample nutrition label here.

But, is La Croix healthy for you?

Like all good things that gain popularity, scrutiny often follows. Are all those bubbles too good to be true? Seltzer water has fallen under criticism because of it’s potential to agitate the stomach and cause erosion to teeth.

A study conducted in 2002 actually showed that bubbly mineral waters can actually help to settle the belly when under distress.

Those pearly whites though might be impacted more by seltzer waters because of their potential erosive effects to teeth enamel. A more recent study confirmed the potential for these types of beverages to cause damage to enamel when teeth were soaked in the water due to the acidity created by the ingredient, carbonic acid.

In the study, they took extracted human teeth and soaked them in sparkling mineral waters for thirty minutes. They then assessed the damage to the tooth enamel after the teeth were removed. The outcomes showed similar damage to erosion as compared to another drink similar in acidity, orange juice.

(Want to focus on your health and make it a priority? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

What does this really mean?

The possible health implications really boil down to the volume of La Croix being consumed. If you are drinking a case a day, it’s fair to say that reducing your consumption will have positive effects on your teeth. However, most of us are enjoying a mineral beverage as a break from the monotony of regular water.

Even more importantly, La Croix is replacing the consumption of beverages with a much greater health consequence such as sugary sodas, energy drinks, and coffee. It could be as simple as using a straw when bringing La Croix or rinsing with pure water after consuming the drink to help reduce the exposure to the tooth enamel.

There is no substitute for water

No water how you slice it, there’s still no real substitute for good, old-fashioned, pure H2O. Water is crucial in many of our body’s metabolic processes. It is critical in maintaining energy supply, maintaining cellular hydration, and is keenly important in weight loss efforts. As a baseline, a great goal is to consume a half ounce of water per day for each pound of body weight.

For a 200 pound person, a daily water goal is at least 100 ounces. I always encourage my clients to add an additional 8 ounces for every caffeinated drink they consume or for every hour of time they may sweat during training.

When I begin my work with clients, I usually find that they aren’t drinking nearly as much water as they think they are. A few tips to keep track of exactly how much water you are taking in is to use a gallon jug (128 ounces) as the source of your water for the day.  You can drink directly out of the jug or pour it into a glass or insulated mug throughout the day.

Another simple idea is grabbing your favorite insulated glass (just like mine) and grab a dry erase marker.  Determine how much the glass holds and then how many times you will need to refill that mug to achieve your daily water intake goal. First thing in the morning fill that cup up and use the dry erase marker to create a hash mark for each refill needed during the day. When you successfully empty one full glass, use your finger to erase one hash mark as you make your way to your water goal. Seeing that goal and crossing off the hash marks is motivating and provides immediate feedback on your success.

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 choose it over a juice box alternative. My favorite is a bit of fresh lime juice, my favorite Cherry Lime 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. If you are looking to reduce your alcohol intake, La Croix can be a simple replacement. It still has a subtle flavor and a bubbly, effervescent feel.

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 a squeeze of fresh fruit and #boomshakalaka.  As part of increasing food awareness, teaching clients how to better understand the consequence of those liquid calories in alcohol is powerful.  It is so easy to unknowingly sabotage yourself with a high carbohydrate sugary beverage or beer.  Not to mention that the fat burning process is somewhat halted when we consume alcohol as the body works to metabolize the toxin (alcohol) out of the body.  By replacing a dense beer or sweet drink with an alternative like La Croix, you not only bring down caloric value but are also using water as a mixer that is likely to help reduce the impact of alcohol overall.

Flavor 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’ve also 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.

Like all amazing things in life: chocolate, Netflix, sushi, and pancakes, moderation is key. Overall health boils down to consistency, nutrient dense foods, and finding balance in the things that actually make our body healthy and those things that satisfy our cravings and bring instant gratification. For most, La Croix is a bubbly beverage that when drunk in moderation is likely a healthy alternative.

What is your favorite La Croix flavor?  Share how you love your La Croix below!

Work Hard Be Kind,


5 Main Benefits of Collagen To Your Health

This post may contain affiliate links.

Clients, friends, and family often ask me how they can increase protein in their diet.  I love to try and get my protein from a variety of sources. Each type 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.

So what is collagen?

Collagen is a crucial and abundant protein in our body responsible for making up connective tissue, skin, hair, and nails.  In fact, collagen makes up about a third of the body’s protein content. It’s actually one of the building blocks of the human body. Not only can it help improve your health, both below and above the surface, but it’s also been known to increase your “glow”. It’s a pretty versatile protein. When boiled down, it turns into a gelatinous substance. That substance can then be dehydrated and used to create a powder or liquid form. So in essence, there are many benefits of collagen to your health.

If you are on a journey for better health, take a listen to this episode of the Feel Amazing Naked Podcast that shares the single most underused tool that I believe will help you lose weight and create lasting change.

Collagen as a supplement

As we age, collagen production in our bodies slows 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. I decided to try collagen as a daily supplement for my husband who has a history of abuse from years of football injuries. He wanted a “bonus” for his joints and I was up for the research and discovery too.

5 benefits of collagen

There are so many benefits of collagen. But here are the top 5 reasons why collagen may be a great supplement to your day.


Collagen 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.

Due to this, it can also promote a healthy gut. And a healthy gut is a happy gut. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, or if you have digestive health issues, collagen may be able to help.

Helps Build Muscles

For athletes, collagen helps promote natural creatine production for post workout muscle growth as well as arginine for increased muscle mass. So if you’re bodybuilding, or just looking to build some baby muscles, add collagen to your routine!

Increases Your Skin’s Elasticity

Elasticity is when you can stretch your skin and it returns back to its normal state afterward. As we age, it’s common for the skin to lose elasticity, also known as elastosis. Unfortunately, Elastosis could be worse in people who spend a lot of time in the sun. So if you’ve spent time sunbathing, playing outside sports, or working a job that requires you to be outside often, you may have noticed Elastosis more than normal.

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.

Increased Bone Density

Collagen supplementation has also been linked (3) to increase bone density and the proliferation of more bone creating cells.

Reduced Joint Pain

One of the biggest benefits of collagen that I’ve noticed, especially for my husband who has suffered from joint injury/pain, is the supplement’s potential to reduce joint pain. (4) It worked for my husband, and it has been beneficial as a part of his routine. So it may work for you!

Which collagen is the best?

I’ve tried many collagen supplements.  Many have done awesome and a few have fallen short. When it comes to collagen, quality matters and Vital Proteins fits my requirements: high quality, no fillers, and a reasonable price point.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is my supplement pick.  It is high quality and is cold soluble so it doesn’t get too gooey when cold. I love to put a scoop (10 grams) in my morning coffee or in my afternoon pick-me-up shake for a protein boost.  It is odorless and tasteless but carries some amazing properties you should be benefiting from too.


There are collagen creamers too!

Vital must have heard our love of collagen as a protein boost in coffee because they answered by creating new creamers.  Each creamer is slightly flavored and still packs the benefits (including protein) of their regular collagen.  The bonus is a bit of flavor added from natural ingredients and MCTs, a brain healthy fat source. And while the benefits of collagen would outweigh any negative flavor or texture (at least for me), it’s nice to know that there are some delicious options!



Collagen Beauty Greens

Another product that I love from Vital is their Collagen Beauty Greens. At a much higher price point, the Beauty Greens are a blend of of marine collagen peptides, non-GMO organic greens, hyaluronic acid (5) and probiotics.  The flavor is very earthy in taste but delivers some serious benefits of collagen and micro nutrient benefits.

Allergic or sensitive to whey or beef? 

Vital Proteins also offers a marine blend derived from wild-caught Snapper.


I recommend Vital Proteins because I believe their quality surpasses the rest.  It is the motto of my business, quality over quantity.  I only recommend products that I believe in and use myself. In an effort to be completely transparent with my readers, if you do purchase a Vital Proteins Product from a link above I receive a very small affiliate commission. This commission continues to allow me to write even more awesome content for my blog. Thank you in advance for your support! Now, go get those benefits of collagen! 

Have you tried collagen and love it? What amazing effects did it have on you?

Work Hard Be Kind,



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

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

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19895915

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885

(5) http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand


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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.”