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!


How to Get Sweet Potatoes Into Your Life

I love Sweet Potatoes..on so many levels!  Watch this awesome video on 5 quick ways to work them into your routine and then check out my Sweet Potato Slider recipe I mention on the video.

Easy Dinner Veggie

I am Zoodle Obsessed

I am currently obsessed with zucchini.  After having an amazing raw zucchini noodle (affectionately referred to as Zoodles) salad at a summer BBQ, I can’t seem to get enough of them.  In fact it motivated me to come back to this bog post one year later and give it a face lift.

I used to lightly saute the zoodles before eating them up.  After I had them raw, there is no way I will ever look back.  They have an extremely fresh, crisp taste and feel much more similar to a real noodle option when raw.


I’ve been making Zoodles for years since becoming gluten free.  It began with a hand held spiralizer and then evolved into making them on my KitchenAid Spilaizer attachment because of the volume and frequency I make them in.  Both are amazing options, but the KiichenAid is a worth while investment if you plan to put their production in high gear.  The bonus is that the attachment is strong enough to Spiralize potatoes of all kinds, including my favorite sweet potatoes.


And If You Are Lazy

Finally a company jumped on the veggie noodle train and made a quality option that you an buy fresh in store.  Veggie Noodle Co offers those of you with less time and culinary desire to still have a healthy noodle option on hand.  They offer spiral versions of lots of veggies including zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash and beets.  You can find them in Whole Foods, Spouts Farmers Market and at Target.


The honest truth though is that it is much more cost effective to spiralize your own veggies.  I like to do a whole bunch at once and us them throughout the week for various recipes.  It gives us no excuse not to add a veggie into our meals.



Check out my video of the KitchenAid Spiralizer in action. This was literally the first Facebook Live video I ever did.  I was entirely nervous but excited.

Spiralized Noodle Recipe Ideas:

Here are a few spiral noodle recipes to get you started!

Zucchini Salad with Grilled Veggies (add chicken for a protein boost)

Shrimp Scampi: Zoodle Edition

Baked Sweet Potato Curly Fries

Skinny Pho


Work Hard Be Kind,


The Skinny on Fats: 13 Tips to Control Your Fat Intake Each Day

Fat! We love it, we hate it and we can’t live without it…literally.  Fat is a macronutrient that acts as a secondary source of energy for our body.  Fats assist in absorption of certain micronutrients in the body, aides in the boundary of cells, cushions cells and in turn the body.  Fat plays a crucial role in hormone regulation and brain function (1). You need it–there is no denying it.

Poor, Misunderstood Fat
We don’t gain weight from fat, we gain weight from excess fat that puts our metabolism out of balance.  Each person’s body chemistry is unique, requiring its own quantity of fat that pushes their metabolic capacity and allows them to hit their goals. Adjusting fat ratios is key to fat loss, athletic performance and day to day health.

Fat and Tracking Macronutrient Intake

The important thing to understand about fat is its caloric value.  When the body metabolizes 1 gram of fat, it acquires 9 calories of useable energy as a fuel source.  This is in comparison to protein and carbohydrates which yield only 4 calories of energy. It is also the reason that being accurate when tracking fat intake is key, as it has more caloric consequence if over consumed.

In the name of FAT

In the name of  fat, I put together a quick reference of ways to decrease fat daily but also quick ways to increase fat daily.  At some point in your nutritional tracking journey, you’ll need to do both to satisfy your nutrition goals.

Easy ways to reduce Fat:13-tips-to-control-fat-intake-pinterest

  1. Reduce the number of yolks you consume with eggs, opt for egg whites or a combo.
  2. Choose 93/7% Ground beef over 80/20%.
  3. Replace your mayo, sour cream, spread with plain 0% fat greek yogurt.  It really does taste the same.
  4. Try almond milk or ultra filtered milk in your coffee over half and half or creamer.
  5. Chose a grilled chicken breast over a drumstick or thigh.
  6. Chose almond cheese over cow’s milk cheese.  Say what? No seriously it is delicious!
  7. Fill up on Veggies—their caloric value is little to none! You can load up on them to help you feel full with little macronutrient value but a heck of a lot micronutrient value.

Easy Ways to Increase Fat:

  1. Take a fish oil supplement. Try using this in the evening when you need to fill small quantities to hit those counts.  A gel capsule can keep the fat content in a smaller amount or a liquid version to increase the fat content.
  2. Add a bit of oil based dressing, like olive or avocado, to a salad.
  3. Enjoy some nuts or nut butter (this is my go-to to increase fat) on your favorite piece of fruit or in your morning oats.
  4. Add an egg yolk.  Try another yolk in your morning eggs or prep some hard boiled eggs for a mid afternoon snack.
  5. Add some slices of avocado to your eggs, lean meat or dinner meal.  Mash it up as a condiment to make a healthy fat version of chicken salad.
  6. Throw a small bit of Kerrygold butter on your baked potato.

Keeping your dietary fat intake on track is the key to so many functions of the body–not to mention they can taste so.darn.good.  Use them in the right places in your daily routine to maximize their benefits.

Work Hard Be Kind,







Kickin’ It Old School during Snack time

Childhood Nostalgia

There are some snacks that have withstood the test of time and others that have gone to snack heaven. There are snacks I think about that make me nostalgic and others that make me want to puke. I am a child of the 80’s and grew up on snacks like Planter’s Cheese Balls (remember those in the blue can), on Keebler’s Magic in the middle cookies, on “Squeeze It’s” and fruit by the foot.

Afternoon Snack
The afternoon is a snack time for me and my kids. We tend to eat dinner later to accommodate my husband’s work schedule and I love a balanced snack to hold me over until then.  One that I love and my kids love too. Thankfully, my kids will escape a pantry full of 80’s snacks because it’s my goal to provide an afternoon snack that is fun, healthy, delicious and that I love too!

Why do people snack? reports that in 2014, North American’s spent over 124 billion dollars in snacks in grocery stores. According to research conducted by the Mintel Group, “62 percent of U.S. consumers snack mainly to satisfy a craving. One quarter of Americans snack because they are bored, while 16 percent do so because they are stressed.” Say what!?!?! This data is clear evidence that snacking is tied to emotion and mood. Thus, further supporting the need to have healthy snack options at home to avoid that oh-so-tempting 80’s style snack binge.

No need to be FANCY

Some of the best snacks and for that matter, meals, are the simple ones. Ones that don’t take the entire kitchen to prepare, that are pretty to look at and that have great tasting ingredients. I’ve put together for you 3 simple, old-school style, healthy options for your snack attack that you can make now…like right now!

Ants on a Log:
1 tablespoon of Peanut/Almond/Sunbutter (sub with 1 serving PB2/Fit to reduce fat)
.5 ounce of Raisins
1 celery stalk

Spread your nut butter on that celery stalk, sprinkle those “ants” right on and enjoy the salty and sweet taste. My kiddos love it…especially if I sing “The Ants Go Marching One-by-One!”
Snack Macros: 8g of Fat, 15 g carbs, 4g of protein
(Macros based on 1 tablespoon Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter)

Apple Cinnamon Yogurt:
4 ounces Plain Greek Yogurt 0% fat
2 ounces All Natural Applesauce
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
(You could also add 1 serving PB2 for a thicker, peanut butter taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Then dip that spoon in and enjoy!

Snack Macros: 0g of fat, 12g of carbs, 12g of protein

Rice Pudding-ish

¼ cup cooked white rice
2-4 ounces Greek yogurt 0% fat
1 tablespoon honey
Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Again, combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! You can alter these quantities to suit your palate texture requirements as well. A great idea is to prepare a “rice reserve” for the week. It is easy to pull from for meals and snacks and can be spiced in lots of ways as you need it.

Snack Macros: 1g of fat, 31 g of carbs, 9g of protein (based on 3 ounces of 0% fat yogurt)


The beauty of all the recipes above are that you can tweak each to meet your needs and taste. Snacks are optional, but good health and good taste don’t have to be. Although those 80’s snacks like Gushers and Bugles (Oh–you remember them…I know you do!) bring back love in your heart…don’t let them bring any love to your belly. Enjoy that afternoon snack with all health benefits included. So–get in that kitchen and get your snack on.

Work Hard Be Kind,

* All calories calculated using


3 Healthy Coffee Recipes That Are Better For Your Health and Wallet