What is LISS Cardio?

Have you ever heard of LISS cardio? I had not for a long time, but this year I have seen more and more people posting about LISS cardio. So I thought, what is that?

It turns out that LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State. It’s all about doing at least 45 minutes of low intensity cardio, 65-75% of your max effort. Yes, this is the long, steady, and sometimes boring, type of cardio that is typically hated. To perform LISS, you can walk, run (at your own comfortable pace), hop on the elliptical, or hike! It may be boring at times, which is why I like to run or walk outside for my LISS. Unfortunately, I have something going on with my ankle so I am out of running commission right now, so I walk or do the elliptical. 

It’s so easy to take yourself outside and walk for 1 hour. And it’s summer! This is the time to get outside. Fall is right around the corner — which I am PUMPED about — so now is the time to enjoy the heat before it starts creeping away. I think Summer and Fall are the best times to be outside, so I like to get out verse staying inside. It doesn’t always happen and plans can change due to weather, but it is so worth it. 

How does LISS cardio help with weight loss?

It’s important to mix up your routine. I’m a big fan of running, swimming, walking, hiking, HIIT (high intensity interval training), strength training, LISS cardio and doing other fun active things like kayaking, bike riding, and playing tennis. It’s important to mix it up so that your body doesn’t get too used to your preferred type of exercise. 

Think about it. We exercise to work our bodies, exercise certain muscles, improve our health, improve our strength, and for several other reasons, but our bodies are brilliant. They adapt. They get stronger. If you are working your body the same way over and over, your body will adapt, get stronger and that work won’t really be much work anymore. We need to change it up.

How do I do that? Easy! Mix up your favorite exercises and activities throughout the week to make up your weekly plan. Do different things on different days, change the time or the intensity (by taking it up or down) or try something completely new! If you have something you love, like running, you can change up the distance, your intensity, your course, or do intervals. There are so many ways you can do this. The options are seriously limitless. Change it up any way you can.

You don’t have to go crazy with it, but aim to do it differently 1 day a week if you typically perform the same exercise 3 times per week. So for running, if you have your course that you love and always do it the same way — maybe you just try to run your best each day (that’s what I typically do) — stick to that 2 days out of the week and do 1 “change up” run. It can be a day of speed work or a day of longer distance where you work a little harder to kick it up at the end. Make it work for you. 

How does LISS work into this? Like I said before, it’s part of mixing it up. But it’s also how our bodies perform during LISS cardio. When you get too fatigued or are working really hard, your body stops using fat for fuel and looks for other sources of immediate energy like blood sugar and muscle glycogen (think immediate sources of energy, like the ones you get from carbs and sugar). When you perform 45-60 minutes of LISS cardio, your body is mostly using fat for fuel. 

How do you control this? Target heart rate. At 120 beats per minute or less, your body will most likely be using fat as it’s main fuel source. Looking to lose fat? Then LISS is for you. Incorporate LISS cardio into your workout routine and see how your body changes. Ready? Let’s make a plan. 

The plan…

A good game plan is to workout or get significant exercise 5-6 days a week. I’m all for get up and move as much as you can, but I also believe in having a rest day. Relax and recharge.

So if you are exercising regularly 5-6 days a week and prefer to “go hard,” you can perform LISS 2-3 days a week and go harder on the other days. 3-4 hard days a week is really good. By incorporating LISS and a rest day, you are allowing your body to recover and still stay active. You are still elevating your heart rate and working your body, just not so intensely. You’re up and you’re moving — you’re doing your body good. 

Want to do more LISS or primarily LISS? No problem! You can be a LISS cardio queen or king and still transform your body. For those who prefer exercising primarily through LISS cardio (think walkers and steady runners), you can do your thing 5, 6 or 7 days a week! The great thing about LISS is that it is low intensity and should typically be less stress on your body.

Walking is the picture perfect way to perform LISS. You can walk your heart out every morning, afternoon or evening and then sprinkle in other forms of exercise throughout the week. Maybe 2 days a week you take a kickboxing or boot camp class, maybe you do yoga, pilates or do some strength training. It’s up to you. My suggestion is to do something that requires strength. Yoga and pilates are fantastic and gentle ways to improve your strength and work your muscles. Need to bump it up or tailor the workout specifically to your capabilities? Strength train in a way that works for you. You can get help from a personal trainer, watch videos online, take a class — whatever, just make sure you are doing the exercises properly so you don’t hurt yourself.

By mixing and matching your exercises and workouts and incorporating LISS to your routine, you can and will transform your body. Of course it is also best to pair your routine with healthy eating habits and to make this routine a habit. Consistency is the biggest key. Stay consistent, and you are on the road to reaching your goals.

Til next time! 🙂

Good food. Good moves. Good tips. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

The Perfect Summer Dinner: A Grass-fed Burger and Veggies

Summer is all about being outside and firing up the grill. Am I right? But the grilling staples — burgers and hotdogs — can get unhealthy real quick. Here’s a meal that is all about the grill and all about eating good food that’s also good for you.

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I got everything for this meal from Garden of Eve Organic Market out on Long Island. This is a grass-fed burger, garlic pesto, red pepper, yellow squash and zucchini. All it took to make this was the food, some seasoning, the grill and some foil. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take your grass-fed ground beef and separate into sections depending on how many burgers you want to make
  2. Mold each section into a burger shape without over working it
  3. Put a thumbprint into the center of each burger to prevent it from bloating and season each burger
  4. Rinse and chop your veggies
  5. Optional: lightly toss your veggies in a little bit of coconut oil and seasoning
  6. Skip the oil if you want and toss your veggies in some seasoning 
  7. Create a pouch out of 2 sheets of foil (double up!) large enough to fit all your veggies in (this can be pouch or boat-like)
  8. Load your veggies into the pouch and add a little bit of water to the pouch so the veggies can steam (a little water at the bottom of the pouch is all you need)
  9. Seal pouch by pinching and securing the foil
  10. Grilling time depends on your meat and your grill, but generally speaking you can grill your burger on its first side for about 5 or 6 minutes — once the juicing start oozing out, it’s good to flip
  11. On the second side, grill for about 3 or 4 minutes (generally 1-2 minutes shorter than the first side) — always check your burger before eating to make sure it is cooked well enough
  12. Let your burgers sit for 5 minutes before serving
  13. Grill veggies at the same time, on a separate part of your grill, for about 10-12 minutes

Once everything is done and taken off the grill, plate and serve it up with some garlic pesto on top of your delicious burger!

This meal is so fresh, quick and easy to put together. It is a true summertime dish that you don’t have to fear. And of course you’re free to make this dish however you like. If you want to add a bun or something else, it’s your call!

Food is something that fuels us and feeds the cells in our bodies, but it’s nothing to freak out over either. While I prefer to cook like this at home, once in a while I go out and get something amazing like this:

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This is also a grass-fed burger from an amazing restaurant that used wholesome and fresh ingredients in Greenport, Long Island, named Salamander Cafe. If you’re ever in town, I highly recommend it! You also have to get their famous lemonade with mint. Trust me.

Like I said: grass-fed burger with fresh lettuce, green tomato and sweet potato fries. My meal took a while to come out because of some confusion in the kitchen, so they gave me a kale salad with green tomatoes on the house! Amazing. See how you can make indulging good for you? That burger with all the fixin’s is good for the body (grass-fed with veggies) and the soul (because it’s insanely delicious and there’s just an indescribably good feeling that eating an awesome burger gives you), while the kale salad bumps up the good-for-the-body part of the whole meal. 

Restaurant tip: if something goes wrong with your food, try not to sweat it — you might get something really cool out of it on top of feeling good about not getting angry with the staff. Sounds like a win-win to me! 🙂

If you’re going out or cooking at home, don’t sweat it! Think ahead — know what you’re going to do ahead of time. Chris and I set out to Greenport for lunch, and I knew I wanted a burger. I saw grass-fed on the window and we walked in. Knowing what you truly want ahead of time helps you make the best decision while dining out. I also like to save my indulgences for when I go out. I enjoy cooking as healthy as I can at home. Find your preferences, stick to ’em and plan, plan, plan! Within reason, of course. Live for the moment and enjoy as much as you can. But a little guidance never hurts. 

Good food, good tips, good moves, good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

How to Stay on Track While Working

For many people, it is hard to stay on track at work or while working. I have actually been experiencing the opposite — I stay on track really well during the week and while at work and tend to indulge here and there on the weekends. The absolutely biggest key to staying on track is being prepared. If you are prepared, you are golden. To prepare well, you need to know your body and your habits, then plan accordingly. Knowing myself and planning accordingly, this is how I prepare for the week ahead:

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I’m fortunate enough to not have to do a full food shop right now, but I still try to get to the store so I can buy my own necessities, especially ones for work. This is just a snapshot of a few of my staples:

  • organic oats or granola — I like Nature’s Promise Organic Oats or Organic Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats and Ola Granola (found at Stop and Shop)
  • organic coconut palm sugar — for oatmeal, coffee and other sweetening
  • unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk — I like Silk and So Delicious brands because there is no carrageenan. I use this for coffee at the office.
  • greek yogurt — I’ve been getting Chobani 100 recently because it’s all natural and only has 7 g of sugar; that’s half the sugar of other greek yogurts, unless they are plain. I’m not really a fan of the plain, so I consider this to be pretty good! I have these as a snack or part of my lunch.
  • fruit — for snacking or to pair with lunch
  • organic gluten-free superfood crackers — I am LOVING Mary’s Gone Super Seed Crackers. I usually have a few with lunch.
  • organic bars — Also loving Pure Organic bars (banana coconut and chocolate brownie). I have these on hand for when I need a snack between breakfast and lunch.

Other great staples:

  • organic baby spinach — for salads and smoothies
  • organic dark chocolate — for a delicious treat that’s also nutritious. I LOVE this organic, nonGMO, fair-trade and soy-free THEO dark chocolate made with coconut!

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  • nut butter — this vegan Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter is amazing. It has no sugar and is made with coconut oil. I like to either have some with my Mary’s Gone Crackers or have a little scoop before I head home to workout.

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  • nuts — it’s always good to have these on hand. I usually go with roasted unsalted almonds but am now trying a cashew pistachio almond mix from Back to Nature — made with these 3 nuts and sea salt.

I like to pack a salad for lunch and aim to have some meat with it, like chicken or a turkey burger. But when I eat breakfast at 5 am and eat dinner at 6:30 pm, a simple salad at 11:30 am is just not enough. And that’s okay. So I aim to have a source of protein around 9 am, when I start to get a little hungry (a yogurt, a bar or some nuts), and I have some crackers and fruit or a yogurt with lunch, depending on what I had for a snack. I have a pretty big lunch, but I need that to get me through the rest of my day.

I then try to have a little something before I workout since I don’t get home til about 4:30 pm. This could either be a scoop of peanut butter, a handful of nuts, a banana with peanut butter or simply a piece of fruit if I am doing something light like going for a bike ride or taking a walk. Fueling up before a workout helps your body prepare for the workout ahead and can actually lead to burning more calories during and after your workout. It also helps me from being ravenous by the time I eat dinner.

We cannot be afraid to eat or underestimate the power of our food — our bodies need nourishment from good food.

I dedicate 12 hours a day to work alone between commuting and being at the office. Adding in a workout and anything else that comes up in the evening adds up to a long day! But I’ve adjusted quickly and amazingly. I go to sleep early, eat smart and workout regularly; all of which have helped me tremendously. I could not do this if I did not take the time to plan. Sure, sometimes I don’t want to prepare my lunch the night before, make my breakfast or stop at the store after a full day’s work, but I do it because I know the next day I am going to say to myself, “Thank goodness I went to the store,” when I get hungry at work or “I am so happy my breakfast and lunch are already made,” when I’m getting into my car at 4:50 am.

Planning will make or break you. You either suck it up and do it or wish you had later on. Which would you prefer? And when you get hungry at your desk, it’s nice to know you have this waiting for you in your drawer /in the refrigerator:

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I hope this encourages you to prepare and choose wisely!

Good food, good tips, good moves, good for you

xo Kim, Running on Good

How to Recover from Vacation the Healthy Way

Recovering from vacation the healthy way.


We often return from vacations, weekends away or long holiday weekends feeling like we need to turn up our healthy habits and recover from the weekend damage. The 4th of July is just around the corner so it’s the perfect time to be discussing this. I also just returned from vacation and implemented these methods to bounce back to my pre-vacation self.

In order to bounce back, you do not need to go to any extremes. That means no skipping meals, no 3 hour workouts, nothing like that. All you need to do is get back to your regular routine and stick to this guide: 

1. Workout hard. I don’t mean go crazy or do something you aren’t trained for. I simply mean work your hardest. Do not half-ass it. I’ve recently been working out for 1 hour, going hard for probably 45 minutes and using the remaining 15 minutes for my in-between rests and stretching at the end of my workout. Intensity is more important than duration and will give you better results faster. HIIT workouts are a great way to do this. I will provide more details about my workout below.

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2. Eat 3 meals a day. Eat a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shy away from snacking. I will outline what my meals are typically like below.

3. Snack with a juice. I lied a little bit. You can snack and you should snack. But only on one thing — green juice. It can be fresh or an organic cold-pressed juice like SUJA, Evolution Fresh, Blue Print or something else like that. But make it organic and cold-pressed. Also look for a juice with greens and lemon. Wheatgrass and ginger are good things to look for too. IMG_3444   IMG_3718IMG_4138

If you do this for 3 days, you can do a green juice on your first and third day and another kind of vegetable juice on your second day. Something like beet or carrot with apple is a great choice. (click images to enlarge)

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4. Drink lots and lots of water. Drink. Drink. Drink. Try to drink half your body weight in water. So if you weigh 130 pounds, I want you to drink 65 ounces of water throughout the day. It also helps do drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning upon rising, before each meal and before bed. This helps with digestion and is really good for your internal organs.

5. Add lemon and/or mint to your water. I prefer to drink plain water when I first wake up, before I eat and before bed. My other water, throughout the day, typically has some mint leaves or lemon slices and mint leaves. Both are great for cleansing the body, fighting off cravings, healthy digestion, detoxifying and work as natural diuretics.

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6. Sleep and be patient. Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night and just be patient. Your body needs time to get back to its “normal.” It will take a few days, maybe 3-4. You can follow this guide for as many days as you like. You can even use it as a guide for weight loss.


In more detail…

The workout: I typically start my workouts with some form of cardio. I do this because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. If you hate cardio, make sure you at least warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk, some jumping jacks, some squats and a side-to-side step with a punch. You want to move and target as much of your whole body as you can to lubricate the muscles.

My cardio is usually running, but I injured my heel a few weeks ago and cannot run. Therefore, I’ve been biking for cardio. I go on the spin bike and bike for 20-30 minutes depending on the day. I do intervals of moderate to high intensity. I’ve typically been doing 20 minutes because my HIIT and strength training circuits are pretty tough and I want to reserve some good energy.

My circuit or HIIT session for the day is one of the following: (I rotate and sometimes mix it up)

  1. Either the leg, arm or ab workout from Kayla Itsines’ free workout guide. You can download it from her website — go to download now.
  2. The drill pictured above from SWEAT Fitness. I do it twice through along with the following drill.
  3. A 2 move drill of squats and squat thrusts. You will do a decreasing count of the two moves in circuit form. If you workout regularly, I’d say you can start with a count of 15 and do another 5 or 10 if you complete it and feel you can do more. Better to be safe than sorry! Okay, so you do 15 squats (weighted or not) followed by 15 squat thrusts, 14 squats followed by 14 squat thrusts, 13 squats followed by 13 squat thrusts… until you get to 0. Make sense? Do it and do not stop until you get to 0.

The meals: If you have a healthy routine, get back to it. If you need some guidance, this is what I usually do for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

  • Breakfast: Superfood Protein Oats — cook oats with egg whites, 1 tsp coconut or coconut palm sugar, 1 tbs Nutribullet SuperFood SuperBoost mix (chia, goji, cacao, maca), 1 tbs organic almond butter or peanut butter, 1-2 tsp ground flaxseed or wheat germ and 1 diced banana. To make the oats with egg whites: cook your oats for close to 2 minutes, whisk in 1 egg white or 1/4 c egg whites and cook for another minute.
  • Lunch: Big Green Smoothie — spinach, fruit (usually 4-5 whole strawberries, frozen mixed berries, frozen peach slices and/or cantaloupe — just mix up what you want), 2 tbs hemp protein or 1 scoop of your favorite protein, 1 tbs Nutribullet SuperFood SuperGreens, 1 tbs Nutribullet SuperFood SuperBoost or Fat Burning Boost or Energy Boost, coconut water and unsweetened almond milk.
  • Dinner: Salad with Veggies and Chicken — I like to make a big salad loaded with organic romaine lettuce, organic carrots, organic tomato, organic cucumber and top it off with some almonds and organic raisins. This has been my favorite way of making my salad as of late. I love the tiny bit of sweetness that the raisins add. I get Earthbound Farm organic raisins and use 1/2 a box per salad. If you don’t like raisins, you can simply slice and toss in some grapes. Pineapple is also a nice addition. But choose 1 fruit, no more. I also use 1 whole heart of romaine, so this is a big salad. I then dress my salad with some organic extra virgin olive oil and organic balsamic vinegar. Yum!

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  • If you need more — Like I said above, I suggest you have a juice somewhere in your day. I typically have mine somewhere between lunch and dinner. If you need some more sustenance, that’s perfectly fine. Here are some things you can have with your juice to hold you over until dinner:

1. Raw Revolution Bar — they sell full size and minis! Perfect. I love Spirulina Dream.

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2. Two Mom’s in the Raw Granola Bar — only have 1/2

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3. Quest Bar — choose a flavor without sucralose! My favorites are chocolate peanut butter and double chocolate chunk. If you like Quest bars, have 1/2 alongside your smoothie and the other 1/2 alongside your juice.

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4. A small handful of nuts and/or seeds — whatever you like but make sure there are no added oils. You simply want the nut or seed. That’s it. These are my favorites:

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With this you should be good. Stick to your workouts, healthy eating and water drinking for 3-4 days and you should bounce back to normal pretty fast! And remember to take rest days with your workouts. After 3-4 days, take a rest day. Your body needs to recover. Rest by walking, taking a yoga class or just spending the day out and moving around gently. Recovery without any extremes… that’s the way to do it!

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

 

 

Kale Chips Recipe

This is the best and easiest kale chips recipe, ever!

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Kale chips are so easy to make and really delicious. Kale chips are a great snack and loaded with vitamins and essential healthy fats. I’m hypothyroid and not supposed to have raw kale, so kale chips are the perfect way for me to eat kale! Here’s how you make ’em:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Remove the stems from your kale leaves and break the leaves into however many pieces you want — not too small though, they will shrink in the oven
  3. Take all your pieces and put them into a ziplock bag
  4. Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut oil
  5. Add a little bit of salt, I like Real Salt, and organic extra virgin olive oil into the bag
  6. Shake the bag very well so everything gets a nice coat
  7. Spread the kale leaves on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes

This is what my kale looked like before I put it in the oven:

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And this is after:

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See how they shrink? It’s okay to have some big pieces. I kind of had pieces of various sizes to mix it up. I recommend doing a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil if you make a batch that covers the whole pan, like I did. I used a little too much salt but they were still sooo good, especially if you’re a salty snacker.

That’s it! Easy, quick and delicious. These will curb any salty snack craving in a seriously satisfying way. Prep, cook and clean up should take you a total of 15-20 minutes. Not bad! Try ’em out and let me know what you think.

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

Staying Active and Eating Well on Vacation

Staying Active and Eating Well on Vacation. Warning: this is a long post. 

This time last week, I was in the heart of my vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine. It was amazing. Everything about the vacation fit me and my boyfriend, Chris, so well — the food, the atmosphere, the views, the activities. Ah, the food… one of the biggest stressors pre and post any vacation is usually food or the aftermath of the food. So how do we enjoy our vacations, eat right for our bodies and enjoy the food of the vacation all at the same time? Easy in theory but more difficult in practice — plan, plan, plan. And have self-control. If you plan right and have some willpower, you can stay in control and have a deliciously balanced vacation. Other than securing our ferry and motel, the one and only thing I planned for was eating. More on that in a bit. First, you have to plan and make time for exercise.

Staying Active

Depending on your vacation, you may not even need to carve out time for this, but if your vacation is going to include a lot of beach or poolside lounging, wake up a little earlier and fit in a workout. I don’t care if it’s for 20-30 minutes. Do it. You can do a HIIT workout consisting of a mixture of your favorite exercises or follow the 10 minute total body workout I put together. Warm up by doing some light low-impact moves like easy side shuffles with a punch, light jumping jacks, light squats or going for a 10 minute walk. Then do a 10-15 minute HIIT session and cool down by walking around for another few minutes and stretching. After 30 minutes, you’re done and can go have breakfast with your family. Wherever you are staying, have bananas or some other kind of fruit with you so that upon rising you can have 1/2 a banana or a few pieces of another fruit, drink a cup of water and get to your workout. Always warm up for 5-10 minutes before your workout. If your hotel as a gym, then get down there and do something you like for 30 minutes. Once you’re up, you’ll realize how happy you are that you are making the time to do this and you’ll be more likely to make good decisions for the rest of the day. I strongly believe that laziness fuels weakness and excuses. Those 30 minutes are worth so much more than the 1 minute of dread it takes for you to turn your alarm off and actually pull yourself up out of bed. Trust me. If you have an active trip ahead of you, like I did, you won’t even need to carve out time for a workout.

We didn’t plan much ahead of time regarding activities and sites, which we were both really happy about by the end of the trip. Everything worked out so organically, it served as our relaxation on the trip. Other than that, we were pretty exhausted. We hiked every day for at least 2-3 hours and were typically out and about from 10:30 am-5:00 pm; on our last day we were hiking by 7:45 am and returned back for showers before dinner at 6:00 pm. Our active days made us feel strong and good. We both felt like we got our workout in, so we didn’t feel the need to set aside time for that. This helped us out a lot because we got to workout while having fun, being adventurous and taking in some incredible views. Just look at this:

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Hiking for 2 hours while looking at scenery like this? No problem. In case you’re interested, I took these images in Acadia National Park while hiking. The first image is from hiking the cliffside off of Sand Beach, and the second image is on the Carriage Road after we hiked 4.7 miles on the road and around Witch Pond. On the loop back, we came to a stone bridge and found a little path off to the side that led to the stream below. This was the view of the bridge from below:

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Our oceanside trail off of Sand beach was somewhere between 2-3 miles and by far our favorite trek. The cliffside was breathtaking. If you want info on Bar Harbor and Acadia, e-mail me and I can give you tips for spots to hit in the park and restaurants to eat in town! Speaking of restaurants and eating, let’s get to the food planning. Remember, we’ve already established that you are getting in some exercise on your vacation, whether it be established workouts or other activity like hiking. Now, how to plan your meals.

Eating Well

First, you have to be prepared for your trip. Chris and I had a 9 hour trek to Bar Harbor from Long Island. This was the distance we covered:

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So naturally, I prepared by food shopping before we left. I bought food for us to have in the car and in the room during our stay in Bar Harbor. Our motel had a complimentary continental breakfast, which we all know can be hard to navigate, so I thought about how to deal with that when I saw what was there. I figured there are had to be something we could eat there, so I didn’t stress too much about it. But I made sure I had bananas and granola with us so we could have cereal with banana slices just incase. This is what I bought for our trip:

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Step 1: Food Shopping — bring healthy options with you for the car, the room and snacks for your active days.

  • Organic Celery
  • Pure Coconut Water
  • Bananas
  • Granola
  • Organic Yogurt Tubes (2 boxes of 8)
  • A Brita water bottle with a filter
  • Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Organic Raisins
  • Organic Grapes

I probably should have gotten 2 bottles of the coconut water, we drank that fast. And some melon would have been good too, but we did well. I also bought organic carrots but they ended up going bad, so I ditched them. We also had a box of Quest bars, chocolate peanut butter flavor (no sucralose), that were great for after our hikes. We always ate a meal before we got in the car. Don’t start your trip off hungry. In the car, I made a trail mix with the pistachios, chocolate and almonds that tasted amazing and was great for filling us up. Chris left this trip with a new found love for Zico coconut water and Enjoy Life chocolate. He declared that the ice-cold coconut water was the best thing he’s ever had, haha. Dramatic, maybe, but it is pretty great. In the car, each of us also had a banana, a yogurt or two, some grapes, celery and a Quest bar (1 full one on the way there, half on the ride home). These things were great to pick on because they were satisfying and refreshing. We didn’t feel gross after being in the car munching on junk.

Step 2: Meal Planning — choose 1 meal a day to have what you want and have dessert half of the time.

This was a system that also happened organically. I did not plan for this, it just happened as I tried to be systematic and smart with my food choices. The night we got to Maine, it was 9:30 pm and we had been traveling all day. I had a healthy breakfast and lunch, with those healthy snacks along the way. We hadn’t eaten a real meal in roughly 10 hours. So I decided, “Tonight, I am eating whatever I want.” Before leaving for our trip, I had worked out for 10 days straight and ate very clean. I felt zero guilt about diving into whatever I wanted that first night. I was starving and my body was in good shape. This wasn’t going to kill me.

*Important: DO NOT STRESS. Stress will do more harm than good. If it’s going to stress you out, that is your que to skip it. 

That first night we shared mussels and tortilla chips with guacamole. Not too bad if you ask me. We didn’t go for anything deep fried or huge. For our meals, we both had lobster rolls. I was not leaving Maine without eating a lobster roll. End of story. So I ordered a lobster roll that came with a side of sweet potato fries and a pickle. I also had a margarita with several glasses of water. For dessert, Chris got an ice cream cone and I got gelato. Mine was seriously an amount for a 6 year old. It was a single scoop of chocolate-hazelnut alongside a single scoop of coconut. Naturally, I had some of Chris”s ice cream cone because it was huge. Counting that first night, we were traveling and vacationing for 6 days. I decided that I was going to have dessert for the first 3 nights and skip it the last 2 nights and the day we traveled back home. I did this because we had a very active trip and I wanted to return feeling the best I could — I could hike off that dessert throughout the trip, right? Yeah.

So you’re only having dessert half the time. A 6 day vacation  = 3 nights of dessert. How to have dessert without going overboard:

  1. Choose something you REALLY want. That first night, I gasped a little bit seeing the gelato. I love ice cream, but I LOVE gelato. So I got gelato. It was a small amount, so a few licks of Chris’s ice cream didn’t freak me out.
  2. Don’t be afraid to share. Our second night, Chris and I shared desserts. We ordered a blueberry apple crisp (something that also wasn’t big at all) and a chocolate mousse. We shared both, giving each of us a reasonable portion of dessert while getting twice the flavor.
  3. Make it count. This is really just emphasizing the importance of getting what you want. Getting what you absolutely love and want one night will be so much more satisfying than eating dessert for 5 nights. More satisfaction and less guilt. My 3rd and final night for dessert, I got a medium sized vanilla soft-serve ice cream in a cone dipped in dark chocolate. This is my simple dessert dream come true. I was so delighted and satisfied with this, opting out of dessert for the next 3 days didn’t phase me at all. Seriously.

Your dessert tactic is under control. Now let’s focus on those meals.

If you can, stick to 3 square meals as best as you can. Chris and I always had breakfast and dinner. We had 4 full days in Maine. We went out for lunch twice and had a make-shift lunch out of the foods I brought with us twice. The two days we had a make-shift lunch, we also had a small snack between lunch and dinner. Remember, we were also hiking for hours and out all day. With this system, I chose 1 meal a day to eat whatever I wanted that would typically be not 100% healthy. That doesn’t mean I lost all control and ate some deep fried battered meal. No. I just didn’t think about it as much once a day.

This is how it generally worked:

1. Breakfast: continental breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, 2 bananas and granola cereal. Continental #1 = 4 hard-boiled eggs and 2 bananas; Continental #2 and #3 = 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 banana, and granola cereal with 1 chopped banana. Out to breakfast 1 and 2 = Vegan Oatmeal Apple Spice Pancakes:

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This was 2 vegan oatmeal pancakes topped with fresh applesauce and chopped walnuts. No butter and no syrup. I never put either on my pancakes when I’m at a restaurant because it’s not the kind I would have at home. I opt for grass-fed butter and 100% pure maple syrup. I don’t trust the butter or syrup at restaurants, so I skip it. Plus, I didn’t need it with these pancakes thanks to the applesauce.

2. Lunch: we went out to lunch twice. Lunch out #1 = salad and a crab wrap (after continental breakfast #1). I got a salad as an appetizer a lot. I wanted to have some crab while I was in Maine but didn’t want another buttery roll, so I went with a wrap. It was a wrap consisting of lettuce and a light crab salad with a side of potato salad. I actually gave some to Chris. It also came with a kale leaf and lemon, so I drizzled some lemon on the kale and put a scoop of the potato salad inside to make another mini wrap. Delicious. Lunch out #2 = grilled halibut with vegetables and lobster mashed potatoes (after an extremely early morning, hiking, pancakes, mini golf, walking and preparing for a second hike).

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This was awesome. We started with steamed clams and a beautiful salad that was 1/2 an avocado filled with crab salad on a bed of greens. Then this was topped with almond butter, which was actually real butter with slivered almonds atop a grilled slice of pineapple. See how deliciously you can eat without feeling guilty? Planning rocks. Make-shift lunch consisted of a Quest bar, grapes and celery. We then would snack on the trail mix I made and have a yogurt. One day we actually went to an all-natural food shop and got green smoothies! That served as our snack instead of the trail mix that day.

3. Dinner: I had 4 dinners in Maine after our first night with the lobster rolls. Dinner #1 = Salmon, wild rice and asparagus.

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This was so filling and nutritious. On top of the salmon is a kalamata olive salsa. Yum. Before this we started with mussels again. I love mussels, and I had to get them once or twice while in Maine. Dinner #2 = a grilled veggie and hummus whole wheat wrap with chicken. This meal was our cheap meal, so I didn’t get seafood. This was also our night to let loose a bit. We started with quinoa tabbouleh, very healthy, and nachos — not healthy. I got my wrap and my final dessert that night. Dinner #3 and #4 = LOBSTER. Were you waiting for this? Saying what is wrong with this girl not getting fresh lobster in Maine? I spent the last 2 nights eating a 2 lb. lobster. I hadn’t had a fresh lobster in 10 years. Crazy, I know. I didn’t get any special lobster dinner with 3 courses. I started with a salad and then got a simple lobster dinner consisting of a 2 lb. lobster, 1/2 an ear of corn and a leaf of kale. I also forgot to take a picture of my lobster. Both times.

I was just so excited to eat it, I completely forgot. Which I’m going to say is a good thing. I was having a nice dinner with my boyfriend, sitting outside by the water on our last night with my heart set on snapping a picture beforehand. Instead, I completely forgot. We looked at the water, talked and ate delicious food. I’m happy I forgot to take a picture. I think it means more that I forgot. Out of all the times we ate, I only remembered to take a picture 3 times. Meaning, I was having such a great time in the present that I completely forgot to snap a picture for this blog. And that makes me happy. Which brings me to my third and final point…

Be happy and relax.

Don’t stress. This will do more harm than good and may even make you more inclined to make unhealthy choices. I know this post was very long and not so much a step-by-step guide, but I wanted it to be integrative. I want you to see how I ate amazing food, ate what I wanted but also fit in healthy options while I was on vacation. I hope the way I laid it out makes sense so that you can use it as a guide for when you go on your own vacation. There really are only a few simple rules to follow:

  1. Make sure you exercise every day.
  2. Eat dessert only half the time and make it count, while not going overboard.
  3. Choose 1 meal a day to loosen the strains; best to choose either lunch or dinner.
  4. Aim to eat 3-4 times a day: 3 square meals or 2 larger meals (breakfast and dinner) with 2 smaller ones in between.

One last point… drinks!

Have you been wondering about cocktails and drinks? I am not a regular or heavy drinker, so this comes easier to me. I have 1 drink a day while on vacation. My last day I had 2 but they were far apart. I chose to have 1 margarita each night with my dinner. Actually, one night I had wine instead of a margarita and it made me so much more dehydrated, so I stuck to margaritas after feeling that. On my last day I had 1 margarita with lunch and 1 with dinner. I could have skipped the one at lunch because I didn’t feel so great at the beginning of our second hike with that in my system and the sun beating down on me. So ladies, that’s how I do it — 1 or 2 a day. If you want more, I would say swap a dessert for a drink one night. Therefore, typically go with 1 or 2 drinks or skip dessert and have a 3rd. If you are going with 3, I would say have 1 with your lunch and your other 2 with dinner. I wouldn’t suggest drinking more than that. But that’s me. It’s up to you. This system also worked with Chris. He typically had 2 beers with dinner, and he only drank twice at lunch. One day he had 1 and felt fine, the final day he had 3 at lunch and did not feel so good, haha. So remember, less is more. You will enjoy it without feeling like crap. You too, guys. For guys, I suggest 1 beer if you go out to lunch and then 2 at dinner, tops. 

These guidelines should prevent you from overdoing it. To help yourself out even more, drink lots of cold filtered water and try to get some citrus or mint water if you can. Our continental breakfast had fresh citrus water with orange and lemon. I have a mint plant and should have brought some with us, but I’ve just been having it since I’ve been home. Mint is great for fighting cravings and feeling light and refreshed. Coconut water is great for when you’re outside a lot, too. Hydrate and replenish.

Tomorrow I will be posting “How to Recover from Vacation.” This will be a full guide on how to eat, drink and work your way back into your routine and normal size. If you come back from vacation weighing a little more than usual, it’s likely just water weight. In 2-3 days, you can be back to normal. Trust me. It’s best to avoid the scale immediately after vacation and traveling. Give your body 3 days to adjust and get back into the swing of things. The important thing is to enjoy your vacation. Be smart, well planned and you’ll have nothing to fear.

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

Beat the Heat! 3 Simple Recipes

Finally, it feels like summer is on its way! It’s been pretty hot here in New York and my body can feel it. Our bodies know the different foods we need in different seasons — warm filling foods in colder times and light refreshing foods in warmer times. Right now fruit is about the most appetizing thing to me. Fruit is water dense, light, refreshing and delicious — the perfect summer food.

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

So I have 3 delicious ways for you to beat the heat, two of which include fruit.

1. Watermelon-Strawberry Refresher

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Ingredients:

  • Frozen watermelon chunks
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Unsweetened almond milk or pure coconut water

What to do: simply blend all 3 ingredients together in your Nutribullet or favorite blender. I made this one with almond milk, but if you’re having it mainly as a beverage and are going to enjoy it outside, coconut water may be the more refreshing option. If you need it to be a little more filling, then opt for the almond milk.

2. Frozen Banana Slices

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Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced medium-large banana

What to do: simply slice and freeze! Let freeze for a few hours, serve in a cup and enjoy.

This is possibly the easiest and most delicious treat there is. And it’s hardly a “treat.” It’s just banana for crying out loud. But it tastes like banana ice cream. Remember Dippin’ Dots? Are those still around? Well, you no longer need them. These banana slices are like slices of banana flavored Dippin’ Dot ice cream. Except they are good for you and you know exactly what’s in them — good ol’ banana.

3. Iced Coffee — organic all around and no sugar!

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A girl who loves iced coffee, such a shocker right? I know coffee is kind of a hot button issue… to drink it or not to drink it? Well, I decide to drink it. I typically have one or two a day, and I drink tons of water so it doesn’t bother me.

How do I take my coffee? I take it all around organic, meaning organic coffee and organic full-fat half & half, with a teensy tiny bit of stevia. That’s ideal and how I like to make it at home. I can’t always get it like that, but I don’t freak out about it. If I’m going to freak out, I’d rather not have it. Save me the stress. If it’s not gonna stress me out on a particular day, I’ll take it the best way I can at the present moment.

Ways to make your iced coffee healthy and guilt free:

  • Opt for and brew organic fair-trade coffee
  • Use a little bit of stevia to sweeten it, if you must (but be sure to check your stevia, I like Sweet Leaf)
  • Make it creamy with: organic full-fat half & half, organic whole milk or unsweetened almond milk with no carrageenan (I like Silk. It’s also non-GMO). You could also choose another non-dairy milk, but I really recommend you get one without carrageenan. Read those labels!

Don’t know what carrageenan is and what to read more about it? Here is an article with everything you need to know about carrageenan by Kimberly Snyder. Again, it’s something people take a side on. I choose to avoid it. It’s not that difficult to avoid, and I feel better doing so. Read up on it. You are then free to make your own choice.

As the season goes on and we actually enter summer, I hope to bring you more meals that are ideal for the warm weather. Here’s to hoping that creative chef’s hat finds its way onto my head so I can deliver. In the meantime, embrace fresh fruit, fresh or cold-pressed organic juices, green smoothies, fresh or grilled veggies and these 3 cool treats. You should be refreshed and satisfied. Now get out and enjoy the weather, we’ve all earned it after that horrific winter. 🙂

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good