My Daily Grub Diary #1

My Daily Grub Diary #1

I am only one person in a sea of people on a quest to live a healthy lifestyle.  If you would have told me ten years ago that I would own my own nutritional coaching business I would have thought you were CRAZY!  But somehow all the planets aligned and have led me to this place.   It is an awesome place to be to have the opportunity to sincerely change lives.  Not by just helping people lose weight or to set a personal record in the gym.  To be able to shift a person’s food mindset into a healthy place is the greatest gratification.

A frequent question I get from clients is “What do you eat each day?” I am an open book when it comes to what I eat although I do have hesitations about sharing because I don’t want someone to judge their current place in their own nutritional journey against the one I’ve been leading for years.  The piece that I really do think is valuable is the logic, the timing and the meal combinations that go into a day’s worth of meals.  I am simple, nothing overly gourmet, just mostly plain, simple, real food.

So these requests inspired me to share “My Daily Grub Diary” to help people better understand that planning, preparing and being what I call “food aware” is completely doable.  Whether you officially track your macros or are just looking for ideas on how to eat more “clean” these blog posts are for you.

I also think it is important to know where I am in my nutritional journey.  I am currently really eating for strength.  I am slowly increasing my intake in a controlled fashion to build muscle, strength and scale weight.  My training consists of 4 strength sessions and 2 conditioning sessions per week (in a perfect #momlife world).  I am just a mom–trying to achieve my nutritional goals and keep my sanity:)

What I ate in a day on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

(P.S. I chose a Wednesday to show you that in my most crazy day of the week…I nailed my nutrition goals)

4.30 am Wake up

Yes-I get up at 4.30 or 5 am (except Sunday..I sometimes sleep until 6.30 then). I work a part time job from home, run my own small business and love writing for my blog…I have a large to-do list.   Early morning is my quiet time to put in a few hours of work or reading before my kiddos rise and Mommy duty calls.  When I wake up, I try my best to down a full glass of water to start my day with a little hydration.


Next–coffee time!  I really didn’t even start liking coffee until after I had kids.  It had to be survival mode inspired.  It is a treat in my day and I’d chose my coffee version any day over Starbucks.  I usually prepare my own “latte” with coffee, milk, butter and a bit of maple syrup.


Breakfast 7:30


My breakfast often doubles as my pre-workout meal.  I typically try and eat breakfast with my kiddos and then head to the gym after I drop them off.  I cooked up 1 egg and 1 additional egg white, over medium, to go on top of hash browns.  There are few things better for breakfast in my opinion than a runny yolk over potatoes! I also had a few strawberries on the side.

While I made breakfast for us, I also threw 3 pounds of chicken breast with some simple chicken broth, salt, pepper and fresh garlic into the Crockpot to cook on low all day.  Wednesday is gymnastics and football practice so I make sure my meals are simple and easy for our quick turnaround between activities.


Pre Workout Snack 8:30

After looking at my total macros for the day–I knew I could squeeze in a pre-workout snack too with some good fat and carbs.  One of my favs is an apple cinnamon Larabar.  I was hungry already and knew I’d starve during training if I didn’t have some good fats on board.  Since I am in a strength gaining phase, I will take fat before a workout.  If I am in more of a weight loss or maintenance mode then I typically avoid fat around workouts all together.


Post Workout

This is a place I usually prefer to take something in a liquid form.  It gets back into the bloodstream a bit faster and in that “magic” window.  I usually have ½ serving of my whey protein, 14 grams, shake mixed with 6 oz or so of water.  I also try and have some type of fast acting carbohydrates.  Today I had planned for a banana and then totally left it sitting on my counter.  Luckily I dug through my gym bag and found a fruit leather that I keep on hand for my kids!  BOOM!  It was my lucky day.



After I workout, I typically have my next meal an hour or so after my workout.  Today, I was craving a turkey burger.  Because I have been tracking my macros for so long–I plan most of my day out except lunch and allow some space for a few options.  I browned my turkey burger in a skillet with a light spray of olive oil and ate it on top of fresh greens.  On the side I made ¼ cup of white rice.



afternoon-pick-me-upAfternoon Snack

Today is a crazy transition from school to gymnastics to football.  I planned for my Afternoon Pick Me Up Shake to have on the road.  It is the perfect combination of macros and a little afternoon “sweet” treat pick me up.




Dinner img_5684

Tonight my Crockpot chicken turned into buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potatoes. It had to be something fast before football practice.  I microwaved 2 large sweet potatoes for us to share.  Once soft and cooked throughout, I piled on my shredded chicken and topped with buffalo sauce and a bit of Greek Yogurt and a side of greens.


Bedtime Snack:

When my kiddos go to bed, my hubby and I settle in for a little Netflix and chill or I use the time to work again.  I look forward to a snack at this time of night. Tonight it was a brown rice cake, 1 tablespoon organic peanut butter and my current obsession…pumpkin butter!


This gives you an idea of one day, in the scope of many, of how I balance my intake at mealtimes, around workouts, for snacks and amidst the crazy schedule we keep!  It takes effort in planning but comes with great reward.


Work Hard Be Kind,



The Gluten Free Life

Gluten Free and feeling FINE

I was six weeks postpartum and was lying on the floor in pain worse than labor pain.  I was convinced I was having a postpartum complication and was completely freaked.  The pain was so horrendous I couldn’t move, couldn’t function and worst of all, felt like a horrible mother. I had a newborn and a 2 year old depending on me and I couldn’t do anything to help them.  My mom guilt was in full effect. My husband convinced me to allow the kids to stay with my mom while he took me to the emergency room.  After an evening stay, I was diagnosed with (drum roll please)…an ulcer. An ulcer. Really?  So I followed the suggested low acidity diet and ate things like bread, crackers and pasta that somehow made me feel like they would neutralize the acidity. Days later…I was back lying on the floor in pain worse than the first episode.  We found ourselves back in the ER with no answers and an offer of a narcotics band aide.

After multiple episodes in a few week’s time, I was desperate!  I reached out to a gastrointestinal doctor for help.  He was my Knight in Shining Armor. After several diagnostic tests he suggested that I had a recent autoimmune shift since my son was born that led to non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Huh?  This couldn’t be me.  I had zero food allergies my whole life. I had an iron gut. I was willing to try anything at that point.  So, I immediately kicked gluten out of my life and it was a game changer.  The pain stopped, the headaches stopped and all the other GI symptoms stopped too.  I was in total shock and 100% a believer. I’ve lived the GF life for 5 years now and have never looked back!


My Blog

All my recipes created for my blog and others I share are always gluten free.  It is honestly the only way my brain thinks nowadays.  It is also a reason clients seek me out–they know I can help them maintain a gluten free lifestyle and help them explore their own creative ways to make their favorite meals gluten free as well.


The gluten free industry and market have grown exponentially since my diagnosis almost 5 years ago.  The range of products offered is amazing compared to when I began my gluten free journey.   That is why I am SO excited to have been invited to be a blogger for Arizona’s upcoming Gluten Free Expo, Saturday and Sunday, November 12th-13th, from 10-4 pm, in Glendale at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa.  The expo provides an opportunity for all people, including fitness and health consumers, to come together to share products and advancements in the gluten free industry.


Join ME


Join me there to learn more and sample awesome stuff!  Click here to buy tickets for the event now and get 20% of your tickets through November 11th with code ADVANCE.  Check out my giveaway for 5 free tickets to attend the expo as well.

Why Confidence Trumps Composition

Why Confidence Trumps Composition

Our emphasis on fitness and nutrition results focuses primarily on aesthetics.  The flawless six pack, sculpted legs and well defined delts remain the biggest indicators of perceived health success.   Love it or hate, that is just how it is.  We are a social species that care about what others think of us, at many times, too much.  Humans rely on aesthetics for so much of what we love about our lives.  We use visual attraction to judge our potential mate, how we choose a meal and the type of products we buy. It’s human nature.  In fact, it is nature in general.


I taught biology and anatomy to hormone ridden teenagers for 10 years and so many of my lessons still remain fresh in my mind. A great interest always erupted in class when we began to discuss the behavior of animals and the crazy, and not so crazy things, they go through to impress their potential mates. The male peacock and its beautiful display of feathers to attract a mate, the funky mating dance of many species of birds to gain the attention of female birds and the size of a bull elk’s antlers that impress a female are just a few.

My point here is appearance matters because it is a part of our DNA, literally.   It’s my own opinion that every human being has some degree of concern about their appearance whether they admit it or not.


The Downward Spiral

I would be lying through my teeth if I didn’t agree that looking fit wasn’t a priority to me too.  I am in my mid thirties (I think that is the first time I’ve admitted that publicly) and I’ve come to realize it is a time of lots of reflection and continual learning about myself.


We were lucky enough to get pregnant quickly when we began trying in our twenties.  Literally the first month.  We were excited beyond measure but held our secret from our families until after our first ultrasound.  The sight of the first heartbeat was an experience that you can never really put into words.  It made me feel that I was put on earth to be a mom.


Things were amazing, I felt great, was gaining weight well and had mentally started planning for the future.  We went in for another ultrasound at thirteen weeks only to be hit by a MAC truck with the most devastating news of our lives up to that point.  There was no longer a heartbeat…and for me, there was no longer purpose.  My body had begun to change, my heart began to feel a love I hadn’t ever imagined and I had already embraced pregnancy fully.  Now, it felt like it was for nothing.


I let myself go, barely moving off the couch and I just couldn’t get past the thought that I may never be a mom.  Again we tried, and lost. And finally our third time, were given the gift of our daughter.   I don’t share this for pity because I know many women suffer more loss than I did.  I share this because I know that so many women have shared this same experience, or similar ones.  That so many women have given up their bodies in the name of becoming a mother.  Some forever and some for only a short time.  The sacrifices both physically and emotionally have been worth every  moment of grief I had experienced once I held them in my arms. And just like this experience, there are many more just like it, where people find themselves lost, hurting and in a place they never expected.  They let themselves go and with it, all their confidence goes too.


The Reality

All the mushy stuff aside, after being pregnant several times, having 2 children, nursing 2 children and gaining too much weight during those pregnancies, self confidence was not my friend.  I looked in the mirror and felt embarrassed.  Embarrassed of how I had let myself go, how I had allowed food to control my emotions and embarrassed that I lacked confidence to stand in front of the man I loved naked and vulnerable. I bought baggier clothes, I hid from myself in the mirror and most of all, I hid from confident intimacy with my husband. I no longer felt visually attractive and I was not confident.


Getting Your Mind Right 

It took me time, a few years of time to gain back my confidence.  I found CrossFit, found food balance and changed my mindset. Confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”  It is word I have seen personally break someone down so much that they could barely find air to breathe.  It is a word that I want to model to my own kids so strongly because for their entire lives they will face people who try and tear theirs down.  It is a feeling that only you know if you possess.


A Turning Point

When I changed my style of eating and my perception of food my body began to change in ways I had never imagined. I’d worked my tail off at the gym for years and nothing…not even 1 little ab poked through.  Now at 34, my body composition reveals that I work hard in the kitchen and at the gym.  I don’t want to look fit for anyone else.  I want to look fit for myself.  The change in my confidence as a woman has been empowering.   The feeling of putting on a bikini and owning it, the feeling of standing in front of my hubby butt-naked and feeling HAWT (sorry mom and dad) and the feeling of crushing a workout at the gym have all helped to build my confidence.

And know what?

It makes me so badly want that for other women and men too.


I want people to be completely confident in their own skin.  To not feel judged by what others think they should look like, but be guided by the confidence they have of their own self awareness.  Some may read this and completely disagree.  My answer–I am just being honest.  Getting to a place in life where you begin to not care about what others think is liberating.  I am talking about that place where your confidence in who you are surpasses the need to think twice about what others do.  That place is starting to feel real good.


Why Confidence Trumps Composition

As I left my son’s football practice last week a woman, a stranger, stopped me.  She said, “beautiful arms mama–you look strong.”  She honestly left me speechless, I didn’t know what to say.

My reaction was completely anti-climatic, a quiet “Thank You.”

When inside it was so much more.  It was gratitude in her confidence to tell me what she had, gratitude for reassuring my confidence in who I am and gratitude for sharing that special moment in front of my children.

By pursuing goals to change body composition I’ve learned it isn’t really about composition at all.  It is about gaining control of what you want, who you are and confidence in your ability to do so.  That confidence pours into all areas of your life when you have it and creates an unstoppable cycle of awesomeness…in fitness, in nutrition, in parenting, in love and in friendships.

In my opinion confidence trumps composition any day.


Work Hard Be Kind,




Macro Friendly Camping Tips

Camping, Tracking and Planning…Oh My!

I grew up camping.  I have vivid memories of waking up early in a chilly tent, my dad waiting for me to wake with his coffee in hand.  We spent our days discovering the woods, my parents sharing stories of their childhood.  Our evenings were spent around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and snuggling each other tight as we fell asleep under the stars.  I want those same experiences for my kids too.  We attempted our first camping trip about a year and half ago.  I woke up in the middle of our first night with….food poisoning from a very atypical fast food stop.  Literally the worst night of my life spent puking and um…pooping my brains out…in a tent…in a forest.  Needless to say, it took me awhile to rally back from the experience for round two.


Camping Revenge

I recently took revenge on that camping trip. This time around, I was determined to make sure my food was under my own control while still getting the traditional camping experience.  Like any travel, keeping your macros in check can easily be done with proper planning and 100% commitment.  Nothing is worse than working overtime to prepare your nutrition for a trip and then giving up 100% mentally.  When I travel, I do my absolute best to track because I feel better, rest better, and have zero post vacation regret.


Tips to Camping Tracking Success


1. Map out your weekend.

Just like a normal week at home, map at your weekend.  Decide what you will be eating for all meals and what snacks you plan to have available.  Pack those foods ahead of time and use Ziploc bags and containers to pre-pack meals and snacks


2. Pick meals that fully utilize the campfire.

Seriously–all food tastes better on a campfire. Period.  And you don’t have to let it soak in grease or other unwanted fat sources. Making meals on the fire gives it a taste spin you won’t get at home so use it fully.


3. Pack only what you want to eat.

Seems simple right?  If you pack an unhealthy option that doesn’t meet your goals, the whispering pines will whisper in your ear…EAT IT.  So don’t pack any last minute snacks that just won’t fit your macro budget.


4. Plan for 1 camping treat.

Yes–allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy.  It keeps the rest of your day on point and honestly, you enjoy that treat so much more.  The goal is balance not restriction.


5. Don’t overindulge in alcohol.

The more you drink, the less likely you are to stay on track with your plan you so diligently worked hard to prepare.  Plan for a few drinks, drink them slowly and with plenty of water in between.


6. Pack Your Snacks

Snacking and camping go hand-in-hand.  When you are relaxing in the great outdoors, reading a book or playing cards, snacks are usually nearby. So make them yummy and goal oriented.

Here is a list of some possible snacks that will keep you right on track:


Dried Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Pop Chips

Deli Lunch Meat Rolls

Homemade Trail Mix (with your favorite options)

Simple Snack Idea Recipes:

Fresh cut veggies and homemade Greek yogurt dips: This is SO easy to do! Cut up lots of fresh veggies before you leave for the big trip.  Bring several small containers of plain Greek yogurt and pre-made seasonings.  You can mix in the seasoning of choice and enjoy some fresh veggies along with them to satisfy the snack sensation while filling up on micro nutrient rich volume food.

Popcorn (over the campfire is the best): Put kernels in a loose foil packet with a small bit of olive or avocado oil (try coconut for a sweeter taste). Hold foil packet over campfire with tongs or skewer and allow to cook until popping stops.  Once done you can salt, drizzle melted chocolate over or whatever sounds good to your camping mood.

Homemade corn tortilla chips: This is another one that is easy to prep ahead of time.  Cut corn tortillas into as many wedges as you like.  Place over camp fire on top of a griddle, on layers of foil or on a foil tray and allow them to cook until crisp to your liking.  You can lightly salt the wedges or add cinnamon and some coconut sugar for a sweet treat.


Three Easy Campfire Meal Ideas

Here are my favorite camping meal ideas that are simple, fun and macro friendly:

Kebabs: Pre-cut your favorite lean meat such chicken breast or flank stead, into 1-2 inch chunks and marinate in Ziploc bags.  Bring along metal or wooden skewers to roast meat over open camp fire.  You can also pre-cut potatoes, peppers and onions to add onto the skewers as well for a great balanced meal option.


Fajitas: Pre-cut beef or chicken into portions that work for you and lightly spray with olive or avocado oil and store in a Ziploc bag.  Do the same with bell peppers and onions.  When you are ready to cook, place on the griddle or into a disposable tin pan to cook over the fire.  Serve with tortillas warmed over the campfire and your favorite fixings.


Foil Packet Meals: The sky is the limit here!  You can make foil packets in so many variations.  Use a large piece of aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.  Place a lean chicken sausage, with onions, peppers and cubed potatoes in side.  Again, lightly coat the contents and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.  Fold to close packet and place on open campfire until contents are cooked throughout.  You can place any kind of meat and potato option in foil packets and the kids will have a blast!


Enjoy the great outdoors and a campfire along with some healthy food options that will keep you right on track!

Work Hard Be Kind,


Veggies and Dips You Can’t Live Without


I am not sure what happens at 5:00pm but all kids must communicate to make that hour of the day the most whiny.  I think I have awesome kids, but the moments leading up to dinner seem to be their toughest.  They are ravenous…like I haven’t fed them for hours.  I always try to include them in dinner preparation thinking it will pass the time more.  Some days it works, while other days I swear it makes their hunger unbearable. I know many of you can relate.

I recently read a Mom Blog “From Stork to Fork” that gave an amazing suggestion.  In an effort to increase vegetable consumption for her children, this mom started putting out a veggie platter right before dinner.  She filled it with fresh, raw veggies and didn’t mention a word to her kids.  The moment they saw food out and available, they welcomed it with open arms.  She provided a simple dip on the side and they ate those veggies in a hot second.  What parents don’t want their kids to eat more veggies even if it does spoil dinner? It was a WIN all around.

What’s more interesting is a recent study competed by Texas A&M University identified the one factor that determined whether or not kids ate their veggies.  That one factor was what those veggies were paired with.  The article’s conclusion was that “Kids, in short, are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it’s paired with a food that isn’t so delicious it gets all the attention.” So, offer those veggies alone or with a more nutrient dense but less kid-desired option and BOOM!  They become veggie connoisseurs.


Leading By Example

This study supports the prime reason we as parents are lifestyle role models to our children.  Kids let taste lead them.  They aren’t mature enough to choose something less tasty because it’s more nutrient dense.  We as parents must guide them and be sure to encourage better eating habits.  I work hard with my kids to model and discuss the importance of vegetable consumption at every meal.  I’ve tried to teach them that there are foods we eat everyday, foods we eat sometimes and foods we eat at special occasions.  It isn’t always perfect and some meals are better than others.  My heart is always happy when I hear them tell people no thank you to things because they know they’ve already had their “sweet treat” for the day.


My Early Parenting Days

I was a total earthy pregnant mom and newborn mom.  I was particular about everything that went into my body and on my body. I came up with a Zen birthing plan (which never remotely happened), I breastfed both my kids for 18 months and I made every.single.ounce of their baby food myself.  I am darn proud of that!  My kids are awesome eaters and I think my investment in their food early on has paid dividends.

I went off the deep end at first.  I once told a friend that our kids would never eat at McDonalds.  My friends who had kids older than mine told me I was unrealistic but I told them “No way.”  I’ve loosened up…my kids have had a Happy Meal…but at the heart of it all, is they know and understand that is a rare experience and should and never will be the norm.


Deprivation is Not Sustainable

I’ve come to believe that if I deprive my kids from anything mainstream food or otherwise that it only cultivates their desire for it more.  I know some of you are shaking your head at me right now.  But listen—it is like when your mom tells you not to hang out with the “bad boy” so naturally you are drawn to him.  In my almost 7 years of parenting I’ve learned that being the example for my children’s healthy lifestyle is less about what they shouldn’t have and more about what they should have.


Are Adults Any Different?

This research got me thinking–are adults any different?  I think now:)  I am pretty sure my hubby wouldn’t eat his veggies if I wasn’t regularly preparing them for him at home.  If what that veggie is paired with makes a difference, then adults need good options too.  Options that are rich in macro value and even richer in taste.  It should be easy and convenient.  I used to commonly buy a big tub-o-sour-cream and dump in a “seasoning packet” to serve alongside veggies.  But–now I have some great options to replace those packets and that tub.


Dip D.I.Y.

Seasoning packets are filled with all types of fillers, artificial flavors and preservatives.  If you look closely to identify the real food ingredient list, you will notice that you have those things sitting in your pantry.  So why not take them and make your own seasoning, without all the junk?  I mix together the options below and have them on hand for dips, for marinades or rubs and any other mealtime options.


Ranch Dip

¼ Cup Parsley Flakes

⅛  Cup Dried, Minced Onions

4 Teaspoons Salt

1 Tablespoon Dill Leaf

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder


Onion Dip

1/3 Cup dried, minced onion

2 Teaspoons Parsley Flakes

1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Turmeric

1 Teaspoon Celery Salt

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper


Fiesta Seasoning

1/3 Cup Chili Powder

¼ Cup Onion Powder

⅛ Cup Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Paprika

1 Tablespoon Sea Salt


I mixed all of my spices into small glass jars to keep fresh. Once these seasonings are prepared, you can mix 2-3 tablespoons with 4-5 oz of Greek Yogurt for an amazing dip to serve with veggies or your favorite macro friendly chip.  They are perfect for a meal time side or for some tailgating munchies.
Eat those veggies friends.  Find ways to incorporate them into your life to improve your health and be an example to the little people surround you.


Work Hard Be Kind,


10 Tailgate Tips to Macro Tracking Success

Are you ready for some football?

I have been since, Um… the end of February!  We love football in our house!  Just the sound of it in the background makes me happy.  My husband played a little college football and having a game on takes me back to our college days together and the total thrill of the game.


The Tailgate

Now football season takes on a whole new meaning.  It is a major social event.  Whether you are watching the game on the big screen at home or have season tickets, now football is all about tailgating.  Throwing a football around, eating BBQ and drinking some adult beverages seems to be a prerequisite for the full football experience.

But–when the tailgate starts at 10:00am and kickoff isn’t until 3, there is a lot of room for that tailgate to take a turn towards a nutritional nightmare.  Have no fear! There is still a way to enjoy every moment of that tailgating experience and still stay on track with your nutritional goals.  

With 17 weeks of regular season play plus post-season playoffs…there is a whole lot of time for football and tailgating to come in between you and your nutritional goals.  Don’t make excuses.  Find a sustainable way to enjoy watching your favorite team and the social element that comes along with the big game. Don’t be a victim to your Sunday FUN-day, instead follow these 10 tips for tailgate tracking success.


10 Tips for Tailgate Tracking Success

1. Pre-Plan

It’s the name of the game–literally.  You have to plan ahead and pre-log your food to stay on track. Ask ahead and find out what’s going to be cooking on the grill and save a space to enjoy the meal you want.  If you know in advance what choices you will have you will come out with greater success.

2. Bring Your Own Food

The great thing about most tailgating is that it’s potluck style.  You can bring along a dish you love so that you know exactly what you are eating!

3. Eat Lean Leading Up To It

If you plan to really enjoy yourself and tailgating is your “Go Ham” moment then eat lean leading up to it.  The morning of, prepare yourself an egg white omelet with lots of veggies and lean Canadian bacon. Stock up on greens and other veggies to fill you up with a lean lunch meat option like deli turkey, ham, tuna or chicken breast.

4. Pick A Lean Meat

Meat on the BBQ screams Tailgate.  Choose one that you know will support your goals.  Choose chicken breast, a lean pork tenderloin, salmon, or a lean cut of beef over a higher fat option like ribs or ribeyes.  They taste amazing on a grill or in a smoker just like their full-fat sister options when done right.

5. Don’t Let Peer Pressure Bully You Into Giving In.  

OK–you are an adult and know how to say no!  You however must have the willpower to do so.  Don’t blame your friends for your poor choices.  Be willing to stand up for your goals and follow through.  They will respect you more for it.

6. Plan For Adult Beverages

Alcohol is part is of the Tailgate experience for most.  Don’t be so restrictive to say you won’t have a drink.  Chose a light beer, or higher proof alcohol and sparking water to keep carb values down.  Plan for it and then stick with it.

7. Bring A Dip and Chips-“ish”

Tailgating breeds snacking.  Chips and dips tend to be an easy talk-while-you-eat option:) Pretty soon 5 chips turns into a bag and NOOOOO! So, make and take your own.  Use a Greek yogurt based dip to spare the fat of sour cream or heavy cream and mix in your favorite seasonings like dry Ranch Mix or Onion Soup mix and serve with Pop Chips, Veggies or homemade corn tortilla chips.

8. Pack Fruit

Fruit It is a simple carb option that still gives you that snacking feeling and satisfies a sweet tooth.  Bonus…you know there is no hidden fat. You can even add a vanilla Greek yogurt dip for a treat on the side.

9. Keep Protein Up

Hit that protein.  Protein is usually scarce at social events. Be sure to hit that protein goal by planning ahead and maybe finishing off the night with a small quantity of a protein supplement to hit that goal.

10. Stick To The Plan

Seriously the simple of all tips and the hardest to do.  Maintain your will power and keep your eyes on the prize.  Be a “weekend warrior” so that Monday ends up being a day of progress not regret.  


Football season lasts 5 months.  That is an opportunity to make progress for 5 months or allow it to determine your nutritional fate.  Show up to your tailgate owning your goals and I promise…others will follow.


Work Hard Be Kind,


Do You Know Your Food

I had a recent conversation with a friend who was so excited to tell me about her “fat free” olive oil spray.  I thought—huh?  It’s olive oil; made of only 1 macro nutrient…fat.  After some discussion, I helped her to realize that the serving size listed on the can was for a 2 sec spray.  The reason the manufacturer can claim it was “fat free” on the label is because there isn’t enough fat in 1 serving to have to label the fat content.  Then I realized—if she didn’t understand that, there are more people just like her out there!  It made me want to really ask…

Do you know your food?

Product Labeling

Fat-free, sugar-free, low-fat are all labels you find commonly on foods.  But do you really know what these common food labels mean to the food you are putting into your body?  I dug a little deeper into the Food and Drug Administration’s website to find out exactly what a product must contain or not contain to acquire these labels.

“Sugar free”:  When a label says it is “sugar free” it means the sugar has been replaced with another artificial sweetener made through a chemical process.  The FDA requires that sugar-free products labeled sugar-free have less than 0.5 gram of sugar in a serving.  Sugar free sweeteners and sugar alcohols like aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, xylitol, sorbitol or maltitol may be some of ingredients you read on labels replacing sugar and lowering carb calories.  Because of their lower carb offerings “sugar free’’ foods are popular. However, their nutritional risk may outweigh their rewards based on an article released by Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health (1).

“Non-Fat”: To be considered non-fat the product must contain less than .5 grams of fat per serving.

“Reduced Fat”: means it must contain at least 25% less fat per serving than the food it is referencing, typically the full-fat sister version.  The way the fat content is reduced varies greatly depending on food type.

“Vitamin Fortified”: A fortified food simply has vitamins, minerals or other nutrients not normally present in the food added to it during processing.  This is typically because processing them takes out any minerals and vitamins that existed. Fortification began long ago when large-scale public health concerns led to the need for vitamins and mineral increases due to major deficiencies.   Currently, fortification still exists on a sliding scale dependent on culture and location (2).


Knowledge is Power

If you KNOW YOUR FOOD, you can make informed decisions about what you put into your body.  Labels can be deceiving and manufacturers sometimes take advantage of labeling loopholes to entice shoppers.  As you progress through your nutrition, macro or life journey, I believe it teaches you a lot about your own food boundaries.   As adults, we make important health decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our entire family.  With those decisions comes both reward and consequence.  I challenge you to read your labels and get to know your food.



At the early stages of really investigating food quality, I discovered a great resource called Fooducate. It quickly became one of my favorite tools to gain more insight into the foods I was eating or interested in eating during the learning process.  Fooducate offers a website filled with great info, but the app is where the real power is.  Fooducate offers a “health tracker” to log your daily food intake (much like My Fitness Pal).  The feature that I love from Fooducate is their “Food Finder” Option.  It allows you to scan the food and will then give you a food quality rating of A-D.  The rating is based on nutrient density, ingredient lists, amount of processing and a few other variables.  I encourage you to download the app and really evaluate the quality of foods you purchase regularly.


Fuel for My Passion

This very topic is what motivated me to take my passion to social media and the internet.  I want people to think about what they are fueling their body with and find a sustainable balance with that knowledge. Macro tracking is meant to give you goals to hit on a daily basis to guide you to the progress you are looking for.  In my opinion, it is not meant to be a system to consume foods that have no macro nutrient content that allow you to manipulate more foods into your day because of their chemical composition.  Moderation is key and having these foods occasionally can be a valuable enhancement to sustainability but shouldn’t be a frequent addition to your day.

Sustainability in leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t come from living at either end of the restriction or glutton spectrum.  Sustainability comes from finding a lifestyle that works long-term, that helps you gain power through knowledge about what you are eating and that gives you confidence in yourself.  Knowledge truly is power.  I want you to have power in your choices.

Work Hard Be Kind,




Click HERE for more of the FDA’s labeling information

Are You a Weekend Warrior?

Hello Weekend

Oh the weekend..2 days of no routine,  little accountability and a whole lot of opportunity for whatever the heck you want!  My weekend calendar usually consists of a kid’s birthday party, family dinner and errand running.  Somewhere among all the business of the weekend comes FOOD.  Food can easily consume your social life on a weekend or be a faint memory because of your jam packed schedule.  However, without a plan your weekend can quickly halt your week-day nutritional progress.


Stop the Cycle

It is a cycle I see often…5 days of awesome week-day tracking and then 2 days of haphazard or no tracking (you know who you are :).   Then Monday starts back over at the same weight as last Monday.  This cycle continues over and over again…with little to no weekly progress.   Be honest with yourself…are you a weekend warrior?  Or are you a weekend victim?


Don’t be a Victim

Weekends are a challenge for even the most committed macro trackers or for anybody who has nutritional goals.  We all have those social gatherings, birthday parties, date nights or just a needed break from our weekday routines that leave us tempted.  Put those excuses aside. Don’t be a victim to the weekend and allow it to sabotage your results and goals.  The hardest thing for me as a coach is to watch my clients fall victim to this cycle and literally come to a stand still.


5 Tips to help you become a Weekend Warrior

I am destined to help you be a weekend warrior.  Here are my 5 tips to use when you start to find yourself falling victim to your weekend:

  1. Plan for the social event.

Think about the event in advance and plan.  Where are you going to eat?  What will be available to eat?  Pre-log your best guestimate for what you will have.  This holds a space for those food items you want and prevents you from giving in to a poor food choice or from blowing out a macro value.

  1. Leave a cushion

I like to leave an extra cushion too just in case I eat a bit more than expected.  Check out the restaurant menu in advance or even call if you have questions about their nutritional information.

  1. Say no!

Sometimes it is just easier to say no thank you to the food being offered at an event. When you are in control of your food, you just simply get more of it☺It is actually nice sometimes to step back and put conversation or friendship at the forefront of a social gathering rather than the food that surrounds you.  Fill up on a great meal at home before heading to the gathering so the desire for food doesn’t even exist.

  1. Keep the Adult Beverages in Check

Alcohol is a huge temptation in social settings.  Remember, alcohol is not a macronutrient (you don’t really need it to survive).  However, it most resembles carbs.  That means you give up those carbs in real food.   I don’t know about you, but I like to eat! Keep it in moderation—as the body responds by identifying it as a toxin and hormones react to get rid of it.  If you are pushing hard for results, consider passing on it for now.

  1. Stick to Your Plan.

This is the hardest of all the tips because it involves will power.  The power to be in control of what you put into your body is easily challenged by the power of temptation.  Why is it that the food that tastes the best is often the food that is the worst for you (I try to teach this to my kids every day).   To be able to say no to something that prevents you from pursuing your goals is empowering.  Sticking to your plan creates that domino effect of success that allows each no to become easier.


BE a Weekend Warrior!  Push hard for seven days of solid tracking and you will quickly see the benefit.  Monday won’t hit you in the face so hard! And then…you will really begin to see that your seven days of hard work is 100% worthwhile.

Work Hard Be Kind,



Why Age Is No Excuse

Why being Old is No Excuse:

My Mom, a CrossFit Grandma


My Own CrossFit Beginnings

I found CrossFit at the ripe age of 30.  I was 6 weeks postpartum and desperate for a fitness change to get back into shape after 2 kids and the chaos that I had now called motherhood.  I was 100% intimidated, 100% nervous and 100% addicted the moment I started.  I have passionately loved the sport for 5 years now both as an athlete and coach.


My Mom, A CrossFitter?

My mom is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.  She has worked since she was 14 years old, has had a successful career and somehow managed to never miss any activity I was in. She put every ounce of her soul into raising me.  She was a superwoman and I didn’t quite grasp that relevance until I had my own kids.  Like most women her age, she gave herself to being a mom, and as a result somewhat lost sight of her own goals, her own health and her mojo. When my mom came to me over 2 years ago and said “I think I want to try CrossFit with you,” I said  Huh? “Really?”  I’ll be honest I had a major internal struggle.  She was almost 60 and had not been an athlete her whole life…like really at all.  (Although she will tell you that 1 semester of college cheerleading qualifies.) I was scared for her, CrossFit isn’t easy.  It is high-intensity, gut-checking and both internally and externally competitive.  I didn’t know if she had it in her.  To be 100% honest… I share all aspects of my life with her and this is the one place I go to escape, to push myself, to challenge myself and to feel on top of the world for a brief moment in time.  I was nervous to let her into this CrossFit “cult” I belonged to. That moment of hesitation quickly faded when I realized she needed all of those things too. Needless to say, she’s never looked back.


The CrossFit Open

My mom’s love for CrossFit grew wildly.  She was showing up almost every day to complete the same workout surrounded by 20-and-30 somethings with rock-solid abs and bulging biceps.  I didn’t really think much about her success at her first workout or the ones the directly followed. Was I a horrible daughter for that?  Of course, I was proud and inspired by her courage but I never really paused to think about the greater significance of my Mom, the “CrossFitter.”  I really started to reflect on what being a “CrossFitter” truly meant to her months later, during this year’s CrossFit Open.  That’s right after CrossFitting for just over a year and at 60 years old she decided to give the Open a go.  She had no expectations, little CrossFit experience and really no clue. What she did have… was an attitude that she COULD participate 110%.  That turned out to be of more value than any experience needed.


16.5 Was More Than Burpees and Thrusters

I had the privilege of judging her for 16.5…the dreaded thruster and burpees over the bar combo (both her nemesis). I rolled out of bed early to come cheer her on, sleepy faced and completely unaware of the emotions that would soon take me over.  The timer counted down and she began.  We had a strategy for her survival and I guided her through it.  Small sets, slow and steady.  She struggled, a WOD face in full effect until every.single.rep was done.  My body shivered with the realization that this moment was so much more than any workout would ever be.  It was about her digging deep, going to a place she had little experience with, to prove that at almost 61 years old…she could.  It was about not allowing her age in life to stop her from doing things she never had.  It was a turning point for me as a spectator but more importantly, as her daughter.  Tears rolled down my face as she completed the last few reps because I was proud.  She was the last to finish and honestly, we were engaged in our moment together so deeply that we had no idea. For a few minutes of time, we switched rolls, and I fully embraced being the proud “Mom.”


Never Too Old To Compete

As if just being a “CrossFitter” wasn’t enough, she saw an opportunity to compete for the first time and took it.  She joined forces with another CrossFit Grandma and in a gym filled with experienced female CrossFitters, the two of them stole the show. They hit personal records that weren’t just “weight” based…they hit life records.  It didn’t matter how much weight was on that bar, they were satisfying deep rooted goals that most of us don’t even understand yet.  With every single lift the crowd roared and their eyes filled with shock and a clear passion for more.  It was as if they were the leaders in the CrossFit Games and the rest of us just couldn’t get enough.  It was a moment too hard to truly capture into words that we will all remember forever.


I get game gut showing up to workouts–you know the kind of nervous belly that makes you feel you aren’t sure if you have to puke or… (well, you know). The amount of courage it continually takes her to show up is only magnified.  And you know what?  She does it almost everyday…at 5:30 in the morning.  She is rarely the fastest or lifts the heaviest and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest. She is there for other reasons, ones that far exceed either of the aforementioned ones.  She is there to prove to herself she can.  She is there to be able to wrestle, swim, and get on the floor with my kids.  She is there to inspire the other 50+ men and women, and for that matter, all of us.  She is a testament to not allowing age to ever be an excuse.  If you ask her, she will tell you that the time she makes for this will give her so much time for life.


Why You Are Missing Out

My mom’s story alone supports the amazing life changes being active can bring.  Numerous studies done about activity in adults only further the cause.  Aside from the mental benefits of being active, research continually supports the need for activity in adults, especially those over the age of 50.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine , the benefits of a regular strength training increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce depression, increase bone density and lower insulin resistance (1).  Second to smoking, a lack of fitness is linked to the main reason for early cause of death (2). In addition, the benefits of progressive resistance training are so powerful that research suggests they extend beyond the basic improvement of strength and cardiovascular health, but actually shift the genetic makeup of muscle (3). Why would you ever want to miss out on all of these benefits?


It’s A Cycle

Not only did CrossFitting make her aware of her fitness it caused her to think about her eating habits too.  She wants to feel good every time she gets into the gym and wants to be able to recover fast.  She now thinks about what she is putting inside her body.  She loves the feeling of an awesome workout and knows the bigger importance of fueling her body at her age for more.  She still works a full time job, is a mom, is a grandma and has to deal with menopause (AAAhhhhh!!!!) and when all of those aspects of life are supported by good nutrition and fitness, they all are more rich because of it.


CrossFit Grandmas

It’s a revolution, a movement, a challenge to our ingrained aging perspective that we are too old at some point to pursue a goal.  I wrote this post because I know so many women, in their middle ages and beyond, think that they are too old to invest in themselves.  I am here to tell you that I’ve never seen my mom walk around with more confidence than she has now.  You get one chance to live your life the way you want it, every moment, until the end.  It is never too late to pursue your health; in training, in nutrition, and in mindset.  Let my Mom, and the many other “CrossFit Grandmas”, inspire you to believe in yourself, reestablish your worth and achieve goals you never even knew you had.

Join their movement…you won’t regret it!


Work Hard Be Kind,



Carb Up on Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is too easy to pass up!  Watch this quick tip video to see how easy it is to prepare with your dinner tonight!