Eat Less Salt for Your Health!

Too much sodium in your system causes your body to retain water and makes you bloat. It can also lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to stroke or heart disease if you’re not careful.
Easy ways to cut back on sodium in your diet are:
• Taking the salt shaker off the table and putting it in the cupboard
• Checking spice blends before you purchase them and trying to buy ones with little to no added sodium
• Cook more meals at home so you can control the amount salt in your food
• Have meal prepped meals available whenever possible to avoid eating salty foods and snacks out!
• Always buy low-sodium or no salt added condiments and foods when available
• Checking any packaged foods for excessive amounts of sodium
Foods you should always check for sodium amount and serving size:
• Soups
• Condiments (hot sauce, soy sauce..etc.)
• Canned veggies and beans
• Breads and rolls
• Cold cuts and cured meats like bacon
• Sandwiches
• Pre-made pizzas

Items I always have in my pantry to help me stay on track to a healthy heart:
• No-salt-added black beans
• Low sodium soy sauce
• Salt free seasonings like: Ms. Dash or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute which is all the flavor without any salt
• Fresh fruit
• Fresh and raw veggies
• Plain unseasoned raw meats and fish

Optimum Nutrition Introduces Breakfast Line (Plus Review!)

Optimum Nutrition has created a delicious and nutritious way for you to enjoy breakfast on the go through their Whey & Oats and Greek Yogurt Protein Smoothie lines. They come in many different flavors including Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Glazed Donut and Vanilla Almond.
Optimum Nutrition Whey & Oats Blueberry Muffin
I had this one with vanilla almond milk. It was the perfect amount of sweetness. It tasted very similar to a blueberry muffin. This makes a great on the go breakfast or snack! This shake has as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal. This packs 27 g of protein per shake! You can get yours here.

IMG_8046.JPG

blubbb.PNG

Optimum Nutrition Greek Yogurt Protein Smoothie Strawberry
I had this one with one serving of almond milk, ½ cup of mixed berries, ¼ cup of ice and half a banana. The smoothie I made was awesome using those ingredients. It was very filling. I will also try this alone with almond milk and possibly bake muffins using this powder. The new protein powder features oats, 20g of protein, 0g of added sugars, Greek yogurt and chia seeds. This treat is also gluten-free. You can purchase it here.

IMG_8044

smoothie

grhrtujr

Make sure you are following Optimum Nutrition across all social media platforms for giveaways, news and coupons:
Instagram
Website
Twitter

Fitness Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

1. Neglecting to train compound movements first thing when you get to the gym:

  • Compound movements are exercises that activate more than one muscle group as opposed to isolation exercises that only work one muscle group.
  • Some examples of compound exercises include squats, bench and deadlift and these should be trained right when you get to the gym as they will require more attention and energy. You do not want to be exhausted from isolation exercises and not be able to perform optimally on your squats or deadlift because you’re too tired.

deads.png

2. Upping the weight on any exercise before you have perfect form down:

  • Treat the light weights as heavy and the heavy weights as light.
  • Every lift should look the same no matter what the weight you’re lifting is.
  • Consistency is key when avoiding injury and progressing linearly on your lifts. (This point was brought up by my USAPL coach Dylan Smith)

Image result for deadlift bar path

3. Not taking enough rest days if any at all:

  • It is so important to have rest days to let your muscles your muscles, bones and nerves rebuild and repair. It allows your body time to rebuild body tissue insuring it grows back even stronger.
  • Resting can prevent injury and over use. That is especially important for me to remember as I get into powerlifting which consist of heavy weight and low repetition compound movement training.

sfasfddsfds.jpg

4. Not getting enough sleep:

  • Often times if you’re overtraining it can be more difficult to get a good night’s sleep as your body can become on high alert mode.
  • When your body is asleep your muscles go through recovery allowing them to repair and rebuild which is necessary for optimal progress.
  • Your body needs generally 7-9 hours of sleep to be well rested.

Image result for sleeping puppyy

5. Neglecting to stretch:

  • Stretching is often the most neglected practice among fitness enthusiasts. I am often guilty of this. I am now making a point to stretch more often.
  • Stretching lengthens your muscles, allows for more flexibility of movement, prevents injury and is considered an anti-ageing investment.
  • Dynamic stretching should be used before a workout and static stretching after your workouts and on rest days.

    strethc

Resources:

Anderson, Sally. “Stretching Is Most Neglected Component of Fitness.” The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times, 08 Jan. 2012. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.

By Diana Rini. “Compound Exercises Bring Compounded Results: Get More In Less Time!” Bodybuilding.com. Bodybuilding.com, 08 Dec. 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.

KARNAZES, DEAN. “Designer.” Fitbit Blog. Fitbit, 26 Feb. 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.

Schletter, Michael. “The Fit Five: Sleep Your Way to More Muscle.” Men’s Fitness. Men’s Fitness, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.

Sneak Micronutrients into your Diet

It is important to maintain a steady intake of micronutrients in your diet regardless of if you are eating in a deficit, surplus or at maintenance. Macronutrients consist of fat, carbs and proteins while micronutrients are only necessary in tiny amounts. Micronutrients are critical for your body to function properly. They can be taken in capsules but yield significant benefits when eaten in their raw form as fruits and vegetables. Below are easy ways to sneak micronutrients into your diet everyday!

1. Add roasted sweet potatoes as a side to your morning eggs

sweepto.jpg
2. Roast massive amounts of veggies ahead of time and eat them throughout the week
3. Roast your veggies with something mild like lemon pepper so that you can easily add them to any dish

Veggie_Prep.jpg
4. Mix up your veggies weekly so you don’t get bored & try some of my favorite combinations

  • a. Brussels sprouts, cut up butternut squash and cranberries is a delicious fall combo
  • b. Roasted asparagus or roasted green beans are a go to because they go with basically anything
  • c. Roasted butternut squash baked with Truvia brown sugar, spray butter and cinnamon is a dieters dream “dessert”

th71OCQJDH.jpg

5. Always add fresh or frozen fruit on top of protein pancakes, waffles or French toast to add exciting texture, flavor and fiber!

waff.png
6. Bag portions of washed berries ahead of time so you can easily add them as a topping for yogurt, cereal and more

Bag-the-blueberries_logo.jpg
7. Add a nutrient blast to your smoothie by adding some spinach (for longer shelf life you can freeze fresh spinach in an ice cube tray for perfectly portioned spinach)

spinachcube.jpg
8. Make spaghetti squash at the beginning of the week so you can throw some sauce and protein on it and voila virtually carb free spaghetti!

2100_spaghetti squash.jpg
9. Substitute raw vegetables like carrots or pepper slices for crackers when you can and serve with hummus, guacamole or homemade yogurt dip

2-vegetables-and-dip-elena-elisseeva
10. Always have frozen vegetables on hand to use when you are in a pinch

frozen-vegetables
11. Pack a small salad to eat before your lunch this can include around 50g of meat of your choice or some sort of vegetable protein

healthy-dining-grilled-chicken-breast-with-side-salad.jpg
12. Make “nana icecream” just add frozen bananas to the food processor and whatever your heart desires

tumblr_nboabr7MHs1rbnzojo1_1280.jpg

What is your favorite way to add micronutrients into your diet? How do you sneak fruits and veggies into a picky eaters pallet? Comment to let me know!

In good health,

Lauren xo

Do Something You Hate Everyday

Which exercise do you absolutely dread?

My challenge to you this upcoming week is to really think about the answer to that question. Which exercises really challenge you? Is it running? Is it decline push-ups? Start seeing that weakness as an opportunity to challenge yourself rather than shy away from it.

For me those difficult exercises are pull ups, push-ups, dips and even burpees. Commit to performing a certain amount of your problem exercises every time you work out and they will eventually become a hell of a lot easier and I guarantee you’ll feel stronger.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with improving my push-up stamina. The way I’ve been doing this can seem a little crazy. When I feel like pushing myself a little extra I will perform a week of 100 push-ups a day. Usually I complete them in sets of 10-15. It is easier to meet my push-up quota on days where I work out because I simply add in the sets here in there to my normal supersets.

Overall my push up challenge wasn’t extremely difficult to complete, it definitely made me stronger, gave me a great pump and the satisfaction of overcoming my weakness. Since then I have completed it three separate times. It is important to note that you should have weeks off from this program to recover and grow the target muscles. During the push -up challenge be aware that you are working your chest and deltoids into overtime so make sure you are listening to your body when chest and delt day come around.

You can also perform any other problem exercise in place of pushups but depending on which exercise you select increase or decrease daily reps accordingly (Ex. Pull ups I would shoot for 3 sets of 6 reps daily, trying to get as many unbroken as possible…etc.) Please join me in this weekly challenge starting next Monday and let me know how it goes!!

pushup.png

(When I had to get those push-ups in but was mid-hike)

Selecting the Best Coconut Water

Coconut water naturally supports hydration. It is my favorite drink to rejuvenate me after a long weekend or after a hard workout. Due to the high potassium levels coconut water can reduce blood pressure because it lessens the effects of sodium.

cocon

Again coconut water is a great drink choice because:

  • Significantly lower in calories than most sports drinks
  • Naturally fat- and cholesterol free
  • More potassium than 4 bananas
  • Super Hydrating

How do I choose the right coconut water?
With so many coconut waters appearing on the market this can be overwhelming. Obviously the best choice is to buy all organic coconut water that is raw and organic such as the one from Juice Press. Although, I’m balling on a budget so I am going to have to settle for something more affordable. Below you will find how to differentiate between the good and bad.

Plain Coconut Water:
Plain coconut water? So this must always be just straight up coconut water? That isn’t always the case. The ZICO brand coconut water is just coconut water while the Vita Coco version has a tiny bit of sugar. The difference in sugar grams between the two is only 2g which is very minimal. So I am assuming that 2g is the only amount of added sugar in the Vita Coco. Another plain coconut water without added sugar is O.N.E .

zicovita

Flavored Coconut Waters:
Watch out for coconut waters with sugar listed in the ingredients. Ideally look for one’s with natural flavors and sweetened with stevia not concentrate or sugar if you are looking for a low carb option. ZICO Watermelon Raspberry Flavored Coconut Water is a good option because it is sweetened only with stevia. Taste wise my favorite is Vita Coco’s Peach and Mango coconut water. The ingredients are only fruit purees and coconut water so although this is higher in carbs than the stevia flavored one at least the carbs are not coming from refined sugars.

mango.PNG

ZICO Coconut Water Line Review:

ZICO coconut water like most contains as much potassium as a banana and contains 5 electrolytes. ZICO coconut water is also a non-GMO product.

ZICO Chocolate Flavored Coconut Water:

choco

This is a truly unique coconut water. Unlike any I have ever tried. This coconut water is so creamy it is pretty hard to believe it contains no dairy. It is a tasty blend of 80% coconut water, chocolate flavor and coconut cream. Lets not forget it also contains 5 electrolytes! I think this one is my favorite although some of the other flavors are lighter and more refreshing.

ZICO Watermelon Raspberry Flavored Coconut Water:

water.jpg

I like that the fruit flavors here are not from concentrate. They are of natural origin and there is no sugar added in this product. The sweetness of it comes from natural Stevia extract without refined sugar. This flavor is sweet but definitely a refreshing change from water. This would make an ideal poolside drink.

ZICO Pineapple Flavored Coconut Water:

pine.jpg

I liked the pineapple flavored coconut water but it was not as sweet as other varieties I’ve tried. I tend to like the sweeter pineapple coconut waters because I feel like they taste more reminiscent of a piña colada.

ZICO Natural Coconut Water:

natural

I am not normally a fan of plain coconut water but this one is pretty good. I still prefer to mix it into all fruit smoothies however. Although you can rest assured that it contains only one ingredient, coconut water!

Make sure you are following ZICO coconut water across all social media platforms for giveaways, news and coupons:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

VBURST Product Review

VBURST are portable vitamin shots. They are easily processed by the body and contain only natural ingredients, no fillers and are sweetened with monk fruit. I like that these are so portable and can be taken with you anywhere you go. They are in a leak proof container too so they won’t end up spilling in your bag. It is also nice to not have to worry about taking a pill.

vburst

Strawberry Lemonade (Fitness Blend):
This flavor is the fitness blend that contains vitamins as well as an amino acid blend with Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs), L-Glutamine, and L-Proline. This was my favorite one flavor wise as well as for content. L-Glutamine has a similar effect on the body as probiotics but it can also be used to curb sugar and carb cravings and preserve muscle tissue. L-Proline keeps muscles and joints flexible and skin wrinkle-free. It is very important to take BCAAs when you weight train so that you can recover faster and with less delayed onset muscle soreness so you can train just as hard the next day.

straw

Orange Lime (Antioxidant Blend):
This one and the Tropical Mango VBURST are both antioxidant blends. I will elaborate on some of the supplements found in this beverage. Magnesium Citrate can help reduce anxiety and increase your energy. Green Tea Extract has antioxidants as well as can help you lose fat by jump starting your metabolism. Grape seed extract can help lower cholesterol and poor circulation. Panax Ginseng Extract can be used to prevent muscle damage and reduce anxiety. This also has a lot of the vitamins you’ll find in a multivitamin.

or.PNG

Tropical Mango (Antioxidant Blend):
This flavor has the exact same active ingredients as the Orange Lime variety. This one was just a tad too intensely flavored and sweet for my liking. Although I would probably drink it anyways.

gdfgdf.PNG

Overall, I recommend these vitamin shots to anyone who has trouble swallowing pills or anyone looking to get the most out of their fitness journey in a safe manner.

Make sure you are following VBURST across all social media platforms for giveaways, news and coupons:
Website
Facebook
Instagram

Also, make sure you are following me, Eatingbrofood to stay up to date on healthy recipes, tips and product reviews:
Blog
Instagram
Facebook