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 butterย — 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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  • nutsย — 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

Hemp Protein Smoothies — Chocolate and Pistachio

Hey everyone! Lately, I’ve been using hemp protein and hemp seeds as a way of getting protein into my smoothies. I use Nutivaย products, andย you can find all their products on their site and many in stores. I love both their hemp protein and hemp seeds, so I mix it up between the two. Here are two smoothies I’ve recently made using both forms of hemp.

Hemp Protein Smoothies:

1. Dreamy Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie

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  • 1 handful of organic spinach
  • 1 c organic frozen strawberries (strawberries are delicious with cacao!)
  • 1 c organic milk
  • 1/2 c filtered water
  • 1 tbs organic cacao powder
  • 2 tbs Hemp Protein Shake (I used vanilla but either flavor would work)
  • 1 tsp organic maca powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder (can omit)
  • a touch of organic stevia

Blend and enjoy!

2. Pistachio Green Smoothie — I’m in looove with this one! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • 1 handful organic spinach
  • frozen organic peach slices, a large handful
  • 1/2 organic zucchini, chopped
  • organic whole milk (I didn’t measure — probably 1 cup)
  • filtered water (about 1/2 c)
  • 1 tbs organic golden ground flaxseed
  • 1 heaping tbs organic Hempseeds
  • 1 tsp organic maca powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 handful of shelled pistachios

Blend and enjoy! You can also add a little banana or organic stevia to sweeten this up a bit, but I really wanted that pistachio flavor. So delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hemp Protein Smoothieย benefits:

I am loving hemp. It is a great source of protein, fiber, essential amino acids, and omega fatty acids — that have heart health and anti-inflammatory benefits. I really enjoy having the bag of seeds because they are so versatile. You can blend them in smoothies, add them to yogurt or oats, or sprinkle them on top of an avocado and dig in! So many possibilities. I like to also mix them with Purely Elizabeth granola + organic milk or yogurt. yummm ๐Ÿ™‚ Purely amazing.

Quick Eating Tip: Enjoy hempseeds in a smoothie, yogurt, or one of the other ways mentioned above ^ as a healthy snack to keep you nourished and satisfied til your next meal. They do need to be refrigerated, but if you have a busy day ahead of you, pack some into a small container and take them with you. While you are out and about, grab a reliable yogurt or ask for an avocado at a restaurant and pair with your hempseeds for a meal/snack that will thoroughly nourish your busy body.ย 

Bonus: The Dreamy Chocolate smoothie has twice the benefits because of the hemp and cacao combo! Double superfood power. Cacao has an extremely high amount of antioxidants and is rich in minerals, so don’t be afraid to make cacao a staple in your diet. It will do you and your body good!ย 

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

xo Kim, Running on Good

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the following post by my blogging friend, Ribas with Love: Superfood Cacao

Snack Attack! Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Who doesn’t love a good snack? A crazy person, that’s who. Snacking doesn’t have to detrimental to your health or weight. It CAN be. But it doesn’t HAVE to be. That’s where you come in. You control what you eat. And when you are well educated, prepared, determined and love what you are eating, you are good to go!

So one day, I decided to oven bake something that I love–chickpeas. I’ve done the homemade sweet potato chips (which I love), have yet to tackle the homemade kale chips (for no particular reason), and wanted to use something that I already had. Most of us always have oil and salt in the house, it’s the last ingredient that stumps us. I happened to have chickpeas in the pantry and gave it a whirl. It was magical. SO crunchy, SO satisfying, SO tasty. A perfect snack.

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How I made these babies:

  • Grease a pan with coconut oil
  • Toss chickpeas in any seasoning you want (I like Real Salt, chili powder, and garlic powder)
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes (I like them REALLY crunchy; I just tested them after 45 mins)

*You could also experiment at 425 F for 35-40 minutes if you’re impatient.

DONE! They are so easy, the hardest part is waiting for them to do done. Chickpeas are naturally low in fat and filled with protein & fiber. They’re also great for your colon and digestive health. So naturally, they add up to be a much healthier alternative to any packaged snack. I recommend organic chickpeas or ones with no additives. READ those labels, people! Chickpeas are very inexpensive, so getting a good quality can of chickpeas is no wallet burner. Eat ’em at home or pack them up and take them with you in the car or to work, school, and on your other daily travels.

Next time you have a snack attack, try these out! Enjoy xo

Dinner Basics

When you’re in a rush, a pinch, or a bind and don’t know what to make for dinner, you can never go wrong with an organic quality meat and vegetables. There are endless ways to mix things up. You can choose from: organic grass-fed beef, organic chicken, organic turkey, or fresh fish. Vegetables are best steamed or baked. I love baking vegetables, also known as roasting. Some of my favorites are broccoli, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. Gotta get those greens ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also do a mix of a green vegetable and carrots or squash. Here are some examples:

1. Grass-fed Steak and Asparagus

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  • Grease a broiling pan with coconut oil
  • Broil steak for about 4-5 minutes on each side (4-5 mins, flip, 4-5 mins, check steak)
  • Steam or roast asparagus on a baking sheet greased with coconut oil
  • Season to taste (meat and vegetable)

2. Organic Chicken topped with Stewed Tomatoes and a side of Brussels Sprouts

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  • Bake chicken on a greased baking sheet (coconut oil) at 350 for 20 minutes (season how you like)
  • Heat cut up tomatoes in a small pot, stirring occasionally
  • Roast broccoli and brussels sprouts on a baking sheet (greased with coconut oil and season vegetables with Real Salt and whatever other seasonings you like) alongside chicken (can roast vegetables longer than the chicken if desired. I sometimes like to bake my vegetables for up to 30 mins)
  • Serve and drizzle with olive oil

3. Simply Baked Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

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  • Bake chicken, as always with coconut oil and seasoning
  • Roast Brussels sprouts, as always with coconut oil and Real Salt

4. Chicken with Cheese and Squash

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  • Bake chicken same way as always with your choice of cheese on top. Preferably organic cheese. I really like Applegate cheese. They also have deli-sliced-style meats, sausages, and bacon. They’re a great, trustworthy brand. You should be able to find their products in any supermarket or health-food market.
  • Cut and roast squash same way as green vegetables. Can roast everything on the same pan, all for 20 minutes.

Always use quality meat and try some seasonal vegetables. You can get a list of what produce is in season in the ‘What’s in Season?’ category to the left <—. Explore, experiment, enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

xo Kim, Running on Good

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy this post for a delicious Chicken with Chorizo Sausage and Sweet Potatoes by my blogging friend Overthrow Martha.

Fall Recipes

There is no season that I love as much as Fall and the food that comes along with it. From pumpkin to various kinds of squash and sweet potatoes, what’s there not to love?

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The other night I had a great dinner made up of pork, that I covered in all-natural unsweetened apple sauce and peas, steamed broccoli, and a baked sweet potato. I saved the sweet potato for last, cut it up, and drizzled on some organic grade A pure maple syrup. It was amazing; nature’s candy!

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Last night I wanted a lighter dinner, so I baked some spaghetti squash. I cut my spaghetti squash width wise because it is so much easier than cutting it length wise. After cutting it in half, you just have to scoop out the pulp and seeds, then it is ready for you to dress it up! I rub some coconut oil into each half and in sprinkle Real Salt and cracked pepper. I use coconut oil for several reasons: 1) it is safe for high heat cooking and baking, unlike Olive Oil which should only be used at room temperature; 2) the many health benefits; and of course, 3) the taste! I ate my squash with some steamed spinach and black beans. It was such a great mix of flavors and textures!

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My Big 3: Whole Foods, Macronutrients, and Superfoods

Whole foods, macronutrients, and superfoods are the three things I work to consume for an optimal diet. Eating whole foods, many of which I choose to buy organic, ensures that I am eating food the way it was meant to be eaten–in its whole, natural form. I like my foods unprocessed or minimally processed. Planning my meals and snacks helps me consume a healthy amount of the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Incorporating superfoods helps me get my micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), phytochemicals, and additional benefits such as immune support and anti-inflammatory properties.

As I study for my nutrition and wellness certificate, people are always asking me if I wish my degree was in some sort of health or nutritional science. My answer is no. My degree is in English, and I am so happy that it is. The nutrition field is something that is constantly changing, especially right now. We are constantly putting new studies at work and making new discoveries that relate to health, food, and fitness. But more importantly, I find that I do not agree with conventional nutrition as much as I agree with holistic nutrition. I chose to do my certificate through the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) because their course touches both sides, and I think that is very important. It’s one thing to disagree with a method or approach and another to be able to explain why you disagree. This course has taught me many things that I needed to build a good foundation for my next step: counseling and consulting. From the side of conventional nutrition I have learned about the macro and micronutrients, anatomy of the human body in relation to nutrition (the digestive system and other supportive systems such as the heart, liver, and pancreas), and the proper portions of different foods that provide sufficient amounts of the macro and micronutrients.

There are a few things, however, that I do disagree with. It concerns my take on whole foods. For example, my textbook urges people to choose low-fat milk and dairy products over whole, full-fat milk and dairy products. The reason why I disagree with this advice is because it is encouraging a processed, unnatural form of food. I believe that if you are going to drink milk, you should choose whole milk because it is milk in its natural state, the way it was meant to be. The fat in the milk is there for a reason. It is how you absorb the nutrients from the milk. Low-fat milk is stripped of its fat and then fortified with nutrients to replace what has been removed with the exception of the fat. To me, that it just too much human involvement. Leave it alone. Instead, I think it is more importantย to practice proper portions. For instance, if you are going to have a glass of milk, have one 8 ounce glass of whole milk. That way, you are getting all the nutrients and benefits the milk provides without going overboard. Learn how to measure! Do not pour yourself a giant glass of milk that is going to wind up being close to 16-20 ounces. That’s insane! You do not need that much milk in one sitting. What’s also important is striving to consume a wide variety of foods. To get your calcium, vitamin D, protein, or whatever nutrients you are trying to get from the milk, incorporate other sources of those nutrients into your diet throughout the day. This way, you won’t go overboard on any one food source, and you’ll get more nutrients because different foods are made up of different things. By doing this, you’ll also get to eat more! Not necessarily more in the sense of a large amount, but you’ll be eating more kinds of food in a day. This means more tastes and more pleasure from food.

*My textbook even contradicts itself.I read that you should choose low-fat milk and dairy, but I also read that whole foods are the best choice and most nutritious. Cue alarm going off in my head. CONTRADICTION. If whole, untouched foods are the better, more nutritious choice, then why is conventional nutrition recommending stripped and fortified dairy? I think I know the answer: to make things easier for people. I don’t mean to be a pain, but come on people. Be smart. Be strong. All you have to do is practice healthy portions. You may have to work a little harder in the beginning, to learn what these portions look like, but you’re better because of it! Instead, reduced-fat milk and dairy is being pushed so people can eat what they are used to, eliminating the effort and making things easy. That is so wrong! And insulting! Are you going to let them tell you that you’re not smart or strong enough to figure out how to do things right? That THEY need to help you by adjusting food products? I am so against it. Have some self-respect. YOU are better than that. We are all better than that. Show them that you are smarter than they are. Show them that you can purchase organic whole milk and have the sense and self-control to use a measuring cup.ย I use Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk as my go-to milk every day, but I do consume whole milk after my runs and in my coffee when I am out and places do not carry almond milk. Silk almond milk does not contain carrageenan (a carcinogen) like other brands, so read your labels!

My next big issue: the fear of carbohydrates and fat. Macronutrients are essential. You need all of them. Forget anything any fad diet that has told you otherwise. You do not need to be afraid of carbohydrates (your main fuel source) or fat. Some people choose to get their macronutrients from various sources. For example, vegetarians obtain their fat and protein from sources other than animal meat. If you follow a diet such as vegetarian, vegan, paleo, ect., my only concern is to make sure you are still getting your vital macro and micronutrients. This may involve some research, studying, and trial and error, but if you get it right then you are golden. Nutrients are the most important thing. Get all of your nutrients. I do not follow any of those diets, so I don’t have to do as much dirty work as those guys. In all honestly though, you can easily find a list of foods that will adhere to the restrictions of those diets and meet your nutritional needs. You just have to work at purchasing them and incorporating them into your diet. For the rest of us, we’ve got a much easier job. Eat a wide variety of whole foods. Practice good portions, mix things up, and you’re practically set.

My main problem with the whole carbohydrate and fat nonsense is that people are not taught portion sizes! Of course there are carbohydrates that are better than others and fats that are better than others–another confusing issue. But you must, must practice healthy portions. Good carbohydrates consist of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Do not fear fruit! Fruit has so many essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. And it’s delicious! Do not fear the sugar in fruit, just don’t go overboard. I aim for 3, no more than 4, servings of fruit a day and 4-5 servings of vegetables. To do this, know what a serving is! Usually it is 1/2 cup or 1 single piece of a whole fruit such as a banana, orange, apple, etc. Vegetable servings can range from 1/2 cup to 1 cup, but vegetables really do not need to be monitored. The more the better. But again, this is in terms of variety. You do not need to eat a whole bag of baby carrots in one or two days. Have a handful each day. You’ll find that this also leads to buying less food, which means a lower grocery bill! So mix it up!

Now the tricky part–whole grains. We all know whole grains are important and whole wheat is better than refined wheat. Just so you know, enriched wheat is refined wheat that has been fortified with nutrients, so that’s not good either. Some whole grains that I like are oats, quinoa, brown rice, basmati rice, and whole wheat. In terms of breads, sprout bread and Ezekiel bread are great healthy choices. Like granola? I love KIND granola (they have gluten free, too!). You want whole, healthful whole grains that are rich in nutrients and fiber. Forget anything white, refined, or enriched. Read your labels. End of story.ย 

And the biggest culprit, fat. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the best, and saturated and trans fats are the worst. However, there are some quality superfoods that contain “bad fats.” Just to get it out of the way, sources of the good fats and healthy Omega-3 fats are olive oil, peanuts, olives, avocados, nut butters, walnuts, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseed), and fish. Those are my favorite sources of the “good fats.” Now, the issue. Fat is the main health concern of the population today regarding health issues–high fat and lack of exercise. Can you guess what this comes down to–in my opinion? You got it–portion sizes. Don’t get me wrong, there are endless culprits of trans fats that are practically, if not 100%, all man-made food-like products: commercially baked goods, packaged snack foods, margarine (such a fake product!), fried foods, candy, etc. The things that you think of as pure junk. Stay away from junk foods and processed, packaged foods and you’ll immediately reduce, if not eliminate, your intake of trans fats. Oh, and forget about fast-food.

Saturated fats, however, are a whole separate issue. High fat cuts of meat, whole milk and dairy products, butter, and coconut oil are all healthful foods that get a bad rep.ย Again, don’t get me wrong, I choose lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish over other meats time and time again. But I do eat red meat, just not very often. That’s just how it works out for me right now. Down the road I may incorporate more red meat into my diet. Who knows. But if I do, you can bet I will practice healthy portions and keep track of my consumption. Red meat has many health benefits, mainly providing you with essential minerals like iron. But choose your meat wisely. Go for organic, grass-fed beef and organic (or at least natural, hormone and antibiotic free, vegetarian or organically fed) lean meats. My deal with butter and dairy products goes right back to the whole food issue. Leave it the way it was meant to be and have a little. Coconut, too, is a whole food that has amazing health properties. I use coconut in so many different forms, from flakes to flesh, milk, and oil. Yes, it has saturated fat, but its fat also helps renew the lining of the digestive system and aids the thyroid gland in regular function, regulating metabolism and mood (I have hypothyroidism). Coconut oil also helps reduce exposure to aging free radicals that are produced in cooking procedures such as baking, roasting, and frying. Coconut oil is a big thing right now, and you can easily take yourself over to Google and find an endless amount of articles on the benefits. I’ve also posted about coconut oil before, so you can always type it into the search box.

My take on whole foods, meats, and coconut are all attributed to having an open mind and being a follower of holistic health enthusiasts. I did a lot of reading and made my own decisions based on what I’ve read. The most controversial are laid out here in this post, and I did my best to explain why I believe and eat the way that I do. I hope I opened your mind to some new things and got you thinking and questioning the food industry. For your convenience, here’s a guide to help you follow one of my biggest rules, practicing healthy portion sizes (the biggest being eat whole, natural foods)!

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