Orgain protein shakes

Here lately I’ve been looking for protein shakes after my mid-day run. Breakfast is always easy: gym then cereal with yogurt and fruit; however lunch is different. I’m ALWAYS on the run. I received a sample of Orgain and I’m in love.

Created by a M.D. and cancer survivor I became interested. Below are a few of my thoughts.

It’s organic-OK…I buy something’s organic, but not all. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to buy an organic shake.

Free from preservatives, artificial sweeteners/colors/flavors-this one is a biggie for me. I consume way too much artificially sweetened beverages and need to cut back. This is tasty without adding all the extra stuff I don’t want.

Soy free-I’m not opposed but I know some are. Plus, soy creates stinky (and I know…I live with 4 boys) flatulence. Seriously…STINKY!

Gluten free- I don’t have celiacs disease and am not gluten intolerant so it doesn’t sway me one way or the other.

Bottles are BPA free-yeah! There are plenty of negative side effects of consuming products in BPA containers so I’m pleased this isn’t impacted.

Easy to store- they don’t need to be refrigerated until after opening, but it does improve the flavor.

Availability-online and plenty of stores.

Variety-comes in a variety of flavors (strawberries and cream is my favorite), some are vegan (hemp free) so our military can safely consume, and comes in premade or powder form. I’m not a fan of the chocolate, but I don’t like chocolate shakes anyway.

All in one nutritional shake: Per 11 oz-250 calories, 7 g fat, 32 g carbs, 16 g protein, moderate amounts of vitamins and minerals (ranging from 2-40%).

Not bad for a meal replacement, but it could be higher in carbs for a post exercise drink where a 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein is preferred.

Tasty! This shake doesn’t taste gritty or artificial and even the chocolate isn’t chalky like many others. I wish they had more fancy flavors, but then they might have to put some artificial junk in there. So I’m happy!

What do you think? Do you want to try some? If so, let me know and I’ll send you a few coupons. You won’t be disappointed. If not, what’s your favorite protein shake?

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Ughh the dreaded weight gain

Ahh the holidays! People love the time away from work and the ability to spend more time with family, but many don’t enjoy the extra weight gain that can accumulate during this period of overindulgence. It starts with an office party followed by your significant other’s office party. Then you attend a farewell for a co-worker, a holiday luncheon on post followed by the children’s holiday parties. With all these extra commitments you may not find the time to exercise as frequently as you’d like. Combine the reduced physical activity along with increased caloric intake and you’re left with clothes that are a little too snug and a scale this is creeping upward. Your plan may be to hit the gym hard after the Holidays and use the wonderful cardio equipment housed there. They can be great resources during implement weather when you can’t exercise outside, but don’t rely on their caloric expenditure estimates because they are not accurate. However, there are available tools you can use to help prevent weight gain and get back on track with weight maintenance by providing accurate caloric expenditure estimations tailored for you. Everybody is unique due to body composition and genetics, so many factors affect our metabolism and subsequently our calorie burn. Luckily there is a quick calculation to help you determine how many calories you burn during various activities. A metabolic equivalent (MET) is a factor you can use to calculate this expenditure. The chart below shows different METs for different activities and can make computing your caloric expenditure effortless. For example, if a person jogged at 5 miles per hour (mph) their MET would be 8 for that activity.


So what does this mean to you? If the treadmill says you ran 2.5 miles and burned 400 calories, does it matter if you weigh 150 or 200 pounds (lb)? Definitely! That’s why the cardio equipment shouldn’t be trusted. Let’s look at why. Get your scale and your calculator out so we can get started. First, step on the scale to find your body weight. Second, convert your weight from lb to kilograms (kg) by simply dividing by 2.2. If you are 150lbs divide 150 by 2.2 to convert lb to kg.


If you are 200lb, divide 200 by 2.2. 200/2.2=90.9kg

Next, multiply your weight in kg by the duration of your activity (in hours) and then by the MET for your activity.

(body weight in kg) x (duration of event in hours) x (MET) = calories burned during activity

68.2(weight in kg) x 0.5 (1/2 hour) x 8 (jogging 5mph) = 273 calories or

90.9(weight in kg) x 0.5 (1/2 hour) x 8 (jogging 5mph) = 364 calories

Not bad for a 30 minute workout no matter what your weight is, but the two numbers differ. The 200lb person burned more calories doing the same activity because there is more weight to move and the body has to burn more calories (expend more energy) to complete the activity. If a person is solely relying on the information given by cardio equipment he or she may be under- or overestimating his or her caloric expenditure during exercise.

So, what can you do with these numbers? If you think about the calories you burned running and compare it to food (there are many images online that compare holiday meal items with different activities) you might rethink that second helping of mashed potatoes or that piece of pecan pie. If a 200lb person consumed a four ounce serving of ham and did the physical activity mentioned above in the calculation he or she would have burned the calories consumed from that ham (345) since he or she burned 364 calories from running. Considering a typical Thanksgiving meal is 3,000 calories, the same 200lb person should run at a pace of 5mph for 4.25 hours to burn off that one meal. Wow, it surely puts things in perspective. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy your holiday meals or even the occasional treat, but ensure you’re consuming appropriate portions and continue with your exercise regimen to maintain your weight.

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FNCE 2017

I just got back from the 2017 Food and nutrition conference and expo in Chicago, IL.  I’m so excited to share some of the things that were discussed. I’ll give you a quick teaser about topics:

ketogenic diets

intermittent fasting



and so much more…stay tuned!


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Review of Vega Protein+ Snack Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter flavored

I’m on a big no dairy/meat/eggs kick due to watching way too many documentaries involving conventional farming/ranching.  So, when I received a sample of this bar I was super excited.  The package claims “contains 11% more of the daily value for protein than Vega Snack Bar”.  Considering this bar has 11g (14% DV)  and the Snack Bar has 5g (3%).

I probably should have read the ingredients before I ate it, but that’s ok…too late now.  There are quite a bit of ingredients in the bar which are listed below.


The second ingredient is sugar, but it does contain chocolate so I’m not extremely surprised.  I do appreciate that there are no artificial sweeteners in this bar as they tend to leave a bad aftertaste in my mouth.

On the plus side, I really enjoyed the peanut taste along with the crunch.  It reminded me of eating Spanish peanuts or home made peanut brittle.  It contains unsaturated fats, potassium, vitamins A, C, D, K, B6, B12, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus. If you have Celiac’s disease this would be an appropriate bar because it doesn’t contain gluten. It does contain dark chocolate so it’s a tad bit better for you than milk chocolate due to the extra antioxidants.  I’d like to think that I’m doing my body a little good by eating this versus a milk chocolate bar.

It’s a bit chewy but not annoyingly so.  The protein to carbohydrate ratio isn’t perfect for a post workout snack, but it would work if I added a small fruit.

Not a bad bar, a tad bit on the pricey side at $6.99 for a pack of four on their website (  If these are on sale at my local store I’ll probably pick up a few to have on hand.  What do you think?

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Review of Clif Bar Nut butter filled Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter

I will be the first to admit that I love anything peanut butter…and I mean anything.  I would probably eat peanut butter crickets if the opportunity presented itself. Ok, well maybe not crickets.  I’ve had long been a fan of Clif bars because they’re delicious for the most part and tend to be pretty satisfying.  I remember picking up a Clif Nectar bar years ago and thinking I found heaven because it tasted so good!  Needless to say…this bar doesn’t disappoint.  There are more ingredients than the nectar bars, but that’s ok.  A 1.76 oz bar brings in 230 calories (which is pretty calorically dense if I do say so myself), 11g fat (and only contains 2.5g saturated fat), 26g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, and 7g protein.  Overall a really good snack or a light breakfast.  I ate this while watching one of my kiddo’s soccer games and it help me over for a couple of hours, and much less hassle (and probably less calories) than dipping my apple slices in peanut butter.  If you’re a huge PB fan like myself this bar may be right up your alley!


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Quest Bar Cinnamon Roll review

I’ll have to admit, I was super excited to try this bar because I love cinnamon rolls and I need extra protein in my diet.  At only 110 calories, 4.5g fat, 7g fiber and 12g protein per bar it sounds awesome right?  Fairly low in calories and is equivalent to a banana this can be a great snack to add to your diet.  This bar also offers fiber which I love!  Fiber is great for your cholesterol, bowel movements, and helps with satiety.  Eating one of these bars will provide about 30% of your daily fiber intake (25-35g/day RDI), which is pretty easy to consume.  I really enjoy the protein aspect of this well.  Many bars that I’ve tried either have fiber or have protein, but many don’t have both.  There are various protein recommendations but I try to stay around 0.8-1.2g/kg body weight.  You could also base your protein intake off your calories consumed and shoot for 20% of calories (you can go a bit lower or higher if you choose, but I like 20%).  If I consumed 1500 calories/day I should aim for 75g/day.


Well, even though there are positives to this bar I really didn’t like it.  You can taste the sucralose (Splenda) and it leaves a less than desirable aftertaste in your mouth.  It also feels a little grainy and isn’t pleasing to consume.  At roughly  $2 per bar it’s a little pricey for me.

If you don’t mind any of the above negatives (grainy texture, artificial aftertaste, and pricey) eat up!  If you’re like me and still on the hunt…I’ll provide more reviews on bars that I actually enjoyed even though they were a bit higher in calories.


If you’re interested in purchasing, you can go to, amazon, or your local supermarket.


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Review of MyoPlex Pre-Workout

One of the added benefits of AmazonPrime is to order sample boxes for a fee and then receive credit for the same amount when you order certain products.  Naturally I ordered samples right away because I love trying new things.  Two of the items that were sent in my box was MyoPlex Pre-Workout mixes (one lemonberry and one blood orange).   I’ve been looking for a pre-work to use in the morning to give me an extra boost without the added calories from my coffee creamer.  I know the perfect answer would be to drink black coffee but that’s not happening.  So, I set out to try a few things.  I mixed the lemonberry mix with 12 oz of water (even though it says 4-6 oz because I find they are always too strong for me) and OMG it isn’t tasty.  It mixed fairly well in my blender bottle but it tastes thick and bitter…kind of like the bitterness you might experience with accidentally eating a bit of orange rind or licking the adhesive on an envelope.  I know…appetizing, right?  You can also taste the supplements that have been added so you get the aftertaste of chalkiness.  I tried adding more water to it but no change!  On the plus side, it is a very beautiful cherry/redish-purple color…probably from the beets extract?  I wonder if I can talk the hubby into drinking it.  From a nutritional standpoint the supplements appear to be ok…a bit high on caffeine (300mg per serving) so if you’re sensitive to caffeine this may not be the product to you.  Generally I don’t recommend my patients consume anymore than 400-600mg caffeine per day.


Bottom line:  if you don’t care about taste and/or like bitter chalky drinks this might work for you!

Link to website for purchase if you choose to do so:


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42nd annual Military culinary arts competitive training event

I am extremely impressed with the skill level of our military culinary specialists. As you can tell, this event has occurred for quite some time now and our Service Members aren’t strangers to hard work. This is my first year to judge the hot food nutritional challenge where competitors have to keep their three course meal under 850 calories while remaining within certain macronutrient ranges. Many teams worked with their Registered Dietitian for weeks to agree to a final product. Below are pictures from the hot food challenge as well as other events. Spectacular creations! 

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Getting better 

how do you know if you’re progressing? It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about; running, weight loss, or making an action a habit. The answer is simple…you notice change.

Last night I was running on the treadmill (yes I love it because I can watch tv while I run), and hadn’t planned on running too fast.  400m slow run, 400m fast x 5 or 6 times. I’ve done this speed work before and usually my slow is walking and my fast is 6/6.5.  Well, what do you know…I’m getting faster. My slow was actually a slow run (5mph) instead of a walk and my fast was 8 instead of 6.5. I’m definitely getting faster and my training is paying off. The little revelation was unexpected but much appreciated. I’m currently training for a half marathon and the long runs on the treadmill are getting a little boring. But, knowing that I’m getting faster is helping me endure the runs because I know they can be run a little faster. 

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New Years resolutions

This post is coming a bit late, but it’s not your traditional resolution post. 

When we start making resolutions we sometimes start thinking about what we should change. For example…I should probably save money this year, I should lose weight, I should go to the gym more, etc. BUT what if you don’t want to? What if you’re healthy but your BMI is 26? What if you are financially stable and you love spending money on yourself, family, or friends? What if you HATE going to the gym but like exercising at home? Should you make the resolutions that you know you won’t keep? Of course not. Decide what you want, what is realistic, and what has meaning to you. Resolutions are about personal growth and betterment. If you don’t like a frugal you and can afford to spend money then spend within your means. If you exercise at home and spend more time with your family, embrace it! If you are healthy and your BMI is slightly over 25 then exercise for your health. Stop focusing on what others say you should be doing and start focusing on yourself 🙂

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