Getting back to Fit and Fabulous

So I’m going to jump right into this for you guys- life has kicked my ass. I know I have been neglecting this blog, but had to tend to some personal life stuff and things are finally settling down. Unfortunately for me, my crazy life-scapades have managed to turn me from fit and fabulous to, well… *just* fabulous. The cliff notes version is that due to some medical issues and some crazy medications I have gained weight, stopped working out, and it has all taken a toll on me.  That being said, I’m no longer allowing for any excuses and getting my shit back together!

I have reviewed a few diet plans in the past for you and I’m still a fan of weight watchers and the Tone It Up series, and I’ve even done a few different cleanses. However, I wanted to take a different approach this time. This is the first time that I have not been in shape. Ever. No matter what the scale said, I was always in the gym, running 5/10Ks, and having a blast with obstacle courses. Well, I’m far from that at this point and I need to get myself back to my happy place. This is NOT about the scale, and it shouldn’t be for you guys either. It should be about living your life to its fullest and being healthy.

One of my struggles when looking online for motivation is seeing all of these great stories and exercise/recipe ideas that 1) I can’t do just yet or 2) it isn’t gluten free! So now what? Well, I’m going to try to record my journey for you and hopefully give you some ideas to help with your own journey.  It won’t be an everyday thing, but maybe once/week to check in with you over the next few months.    I promise to link as many recipes as I can to help you along your path as well!  Plus- I’ve set up an account on myfitnesspal (fitfabandglutenfree) if any of you are interested on holding each other accountable!

Keep an eye out for future posts and updates!

xoxo

Olive Salad

IMG_5343

Olive Salad

I don’t know about you, but fresh salads in the summer are one of my favorite things. Now just because it isn’t that time of year just yet, doesn’t mean I have to live off of “comfy” foods that are usually associated with winter. This salad is super easy to prepare and a favorite of my family. If you’re having a party, the recipe can easily be doubled. Also, I usually slice the olives or even prepare the olive mixture a day before to save myself some time if I’m making a larger salad. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it really does save time when you’re trying to get ready for a party!  Just do not slice the tomatoes ahead of time as they don’t hold up as well!

 

  • 1 cup pitted green and black olives, halved (or one can of each)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp mince garlic
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  1. Place balsamic vinegar (or vinaigrette if you don’t want it quite as strong) in a small saucepan over low heat and allow it to reduce by half.
  2. Allow vinegar to cool to room temperature.
  3. Slice olives in half lengthwise.
  4. Combine olives, parsley, capers, garlic, basil, and pepper in a large bowl.
  5. Pour olive oil over olive mixture and toss to coat well.
  6. Slice tomatoes and place on plate, slightly overlapping.
  7. Spoon olive mixture over the tomatoes and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar
  8. Serve immediately

 

 

Review: Raw Generation Skinny Cleanse

IMG_3120.JPGI know I’ve been pretty MIA recently, but I have a fabulous excuse! I got married! Yay! Now, I’ll be honest here- I’ve been married now for a month. It’s been great, but it has completely taken a hit on my body! Between going out to eat and celebrating, not to mention being maid of honor in one of my best friend’s wedding last week, I haven’t been eating well at all. I’m pretty sure there has been a constant gluten exposure as well, but I haven’t quite figured out what the source has been. One of my friends recommended trying a juice cleanse for a few days and after researching a few, I decided to try the Raw Generation Skinny Cleanse. I honestly wasn’t planning on doing a cleanse after talking to my friend, but then suddenly came across a coupon code online. I figured this was a sign and, after all, it couldn’t hurt to try it. I have to admit though that I’m not very good with these diets. I’m from the Midwest and LOVE my meat and potatoes (and wine). Yeah, I use my nutribullet at home to make some yummy smoothies and “juice”, but not every day and certainly not for every meal.

 

Here’s the details on how this works! I decided to do a 5 day cleanse. They offer a 3 day one as well, but I decided if I was going to do this, I could make it for 5 days to get more benefit out of it. Now, there is also a 7, 10, and 14 day options as well for those more ambitious than I am. Could I make it 7 days? Probably, but I like to enjoy my weekends and having to keep the juice with me while running around with my friends does not sound fun and would probably not be worth it in the end for me. I know I would end up “cheating”and it would be a waste of money. I can behave Monday- Friday! 10 and 14 days? No way. Not gonna happen.

 

The plan requires you to drink 6 bottles of juice throughout the day and allows for you to eat fruit if you are hungry. The juices are named Jessica (which you drink 3 times/day), and Cecelia, Carolyn, and Elizabeth. It’s kinda cheesy but it’s better than reminding me what I’m drinking. The drinks are shipped to your house frozen so make sure you have room in the freezer to store them. I left mine in the freezer and took enough out for 1 day and put them in my “lunch box” for work. It says to eat them when they are very cold and after a few sips, I understand the biggest reason why. The can taste pretty nasty warm. Horrible. Eww. But when they are super cold they aren’t so bad!

 

  • Jessica: kale, spinach, colllards, apple, lemon
  • Cecelia: orange, carrot, ginger
  • Carolyn: carrot, apple, beet root, ginger
  • Elizabeth: cucumber, pineapple, & aloe vera

 

Day one:
Okay I will admit it was hard to drink them the first day. It took a bit to get used to the taste because I’m not a huge fan of all of the ingredients, but that comes with premade juices. By the time I got to the second serving of Jessica, though, it had started to grow on me. I did pretty good with Cecelia, but Carolyn and I are not friends. We never will be. I absolutely hate beet root. That being said, I pushed through it and managed to finish it. I usually had a glass of water along with the juice because it helped rinse the taste from my mouth (moreso with Carolyn than the others). I was hungry by the end of the day, but by no means was I starving. The six juices and extra water I had between servings had held me over until I got home from work. I did salivate a bit while my husband was making his own dinner, but I decided to take a hot shower and give myself a facial to distract myself. After a handful of grapes I was ready for bed.

 

Day two:
It was MUCH easier to make it through the day. Today Jessica didn’t seem so challenging and I was able to get through Cecelia and Elizabeth with no problems. Carolyn? Well, I finished most of it. I brought some fresh fruit to work to snack on since I was working late and when I finally went home I felt great. Not hungry at all and definitely still had some energy to do laundry. I should note that since the end of day one though I have been going to the bathroom like crazy. I swear I have to pee every 2 hours and today was no exception.

 

Day three:
Piece of cake! (Okay I wish there was cake, but at least the day is getting easier to get through). I didn’t feel hungry at all today and I managed to finish all of Carolyn today. It is important to remember when you are juicing or doing a cleanse, they are meant to have a nutritional benefit. They are NOT meant to fulfill your pleasure eating side of life. I will NEVER crave one of these drinks. Nope. I’ll save that for a vanilla milkshake. However, I could easily do these again. Today I haven’t had any sugar/salt cravings which I usually have after my midafternoon slump. I haven’t felt the highs/lows with my sugar during the day either. You don’t have to be diabetic for variations in sugar to start affecting your focus and energy level! It happens to everyone with their sugar highs! The higher you go, the harder you crash.

 

Day four:
I had the day off of work today which actually made the day go by faster because I had some errands to do. I’m not sure if it was the constant distraction of chores/grocery shopping/etc., but I didn’t feel hungry at all today. I some grapes for a snack after taking my dog for a walk, but otherwise the juices were pretty easy to get through (I’m even finishing all of Carolyn now, but I’m still on the fence about Elizabeth). I have to admit that I have noticed my pants are a little more comfortable lately (yeah the wedding celebrations may have made them a little more snug than they should have been!). I refuse to get on the scale though until I’m finished with all 5 days. I’d rather be driven by how I feel than by a number on the scale!

 

Day five:
Made it! Finally! Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. I definitely had more energy throughout the day and did not experience my midafternoon slump after day one. I’ve tried juicing on my own for a few days and given up due to the hassle of having to clean my juicer/nutribullet/whichevergadgetisclean, not to mention the hassle of picking up fresh fruits/veggies , etc. The juices are decent. Again, like I said, I’d prefer a vanilla shake, but these weren’t so bad. They are a little “gritty” but I didn’t mind it after the first day. I prefer my juices to be strained, but you do lose some of the nutrients that way (I’m not a fan of pulp in my OJ either so it is just a personal preference). That being said, I would absolutely do this cleanse again. In fact, I’m probably going to order another round after my honeymoon!

XOXO

Gluten Free Bride- Bridal shower bliss!

Favors from my shower!

Favors from my shower!

Now, the part that all girls look forward to- the bridal shower!  My mom was wonderful with making sure that I would be able to enjoy lunch with my friends and family without getting sick or just starving. Thank goodness for my mom!  She managed to run through the menu with the restaurant and came up with some delicious substitutions for me! If you haven’t noticed a theme with me just yet- I do not expect to live in a gluten free world. I don’t expect to live in a gluten free household either (unless I’m living alone but given that my fiance and I just bought a house together, that ship has sailed!). Some have voiced their opinion about this and brought up fears of cross contamination and extra “work” involved, but it works for me.  I did not expect, nor want, a completely gluten free shower.   Here was how everything was broken down:

Appetizers:

  • Caprese salad- super easy! Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar!
  • Pizza- totally not gluten free, but it is a family favorite at this restaurant and wanted everyone to enjoy their day out as well!

Dinner:

  • Salad- no croutons, gluten free dressing!
  • Sausage & Peppers: I passed because I didn’t know if the sausage was safe
  • Chicken vesuvio with roasted red peppers: They did not use flour to brown the chicken so it was 100% safe for me!
  • Mostaccioli- not gluten free for everyone else but they did have a gluten free pasta they prepared for just me with a marinara sauce! Delicious!

Dessert:   An amazing dessert table prepared by my mom and my Aunt Mary (thanks guys!)

  • Gluten free cupcakes from my favorite cupcakery!additional non-gluten free cupcakes but everything CLEARLY LABELED
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Chocolate covered pretzels (not gluten free but could be if you used GF pretzels!)
  • Cannoli cake- not gluten free but one of my fiancé’s favorite cakes
Nutella and Tiramisu cupcake jars!

Nutella and Tiramisu cupcake jars!

And of course- the gluten free cupcakes in a jar that were sent home with each guest. I prepared the cupcakes myself and they turned out to be AMAZING! I would make these in a heartbeat for the next shower/birthday/whatever I’m hosting!

Hope this helps you get started on your gluten free wedding preparation! My biggest tip though is to try to stay calm and just have fun with it! If you’re looking for 100% gluten free you may be making things too difficult for yourself, especially if you are hosting a big wedding or other event!

Oh- and while we are on the topic of bridal showers, I hope you all remember to have fun with your registry!  Now, if you’ve read my gluten free kitchen blog, you would know that not EVERYTHING needs to be gluten free. However, since it was our shower and a time to indulge a bit, we registered for duplicates of certain items. We are fortunate to have a large kitchen so we did register for duplicate items- one to be gluten free and one for gluten containing foods. Yeah, I know- my crock pot doesn’t need to be gluten free. He can make his chili and I can clean it out and use it to make my gluten free version. However, what happens when we are hosting a party (which we do frequently)? With two crock pots we can have gluten free versions available as well! All you need are gluten free labels and you are good to go! Trust me; it makes things so much easier when you’re cooking for large groups! We did make sure to register for two colanders as those should be kept gluten free since they can be difficult to clean. Come on, spoil yourself. This is the only time in your life that you get to tell people what you need!

xoxo

Gluten Free Bride- Having my cake & eating it too!

Okay, so I’ve been MIA lately, but for good reason! My wedding is coming up in just a few weeks and all of the festivities have finally started to come together. Now, I don’t know how many of you are married or engaged, but for those singles out there- take this as a warning- Wedding planning is INSANE! Not only do you have to figure out guest lists, dress shopping, registries, etc., but being a gluten free bride has also come along with some interesting challenges!

Now, I’m not going to get too far into all of the wedding planning craziness in one blog. However, I do want to talk about one huge gluten free obstacle we had to overcome! As anyone with food allergies can imagine, one of the most stressful hurdles to tackle was my gluten free wedding cake. I love my fiancé (if that wasn’t already obvious by his title), but he is not a huge fan of all things gluten free. We wanted the cheesy shot of us cutting our cake together and I didn’t want to “miss out” on this at all (so long as there is no smashing cake in my face). We agreed on a sweets table long ago- so our compromise was a gluten free wedding cake along with additional sheet cakes to be served at the sweets table. The sheet cakes would be all his decision, gluten free or not- hey it’s his wedding too!  Trying to get him to agree on a gluten free cake though was surprisingly easy thanks to finding a gluten free bakery.

So yummy! I would get engaged all over just to do this again!

So yummy! I would get engaged all over just to do this again!

I’m fortunate to live in Chicago where there are plenty of gluten free bakeries around and we found an OUTSTANDING one not too far from our home. Elysia Root Cakes was wonderful to work with. Elysia Root Cakes does not have a retail store and work entirely on specialty cakes. When trying to locate their bakery we may have missed it had it not been for the brightly painted door!. However, when you walk in you are greeted with an incredible display of cakes, pictures of cakes, and aromas to make any diabetic nervous.  For our tasting we were able to request various flavors of cake and frostings which we were then allowed to pair together to “mix and match” to come up with our favorite combination. (In case you are curious, we chose almond, vanilla and chocolate cake along with Bailey’s, Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, and Nutella Buttercream as well as a Chocolate Ganache). Let’s just say my fiance did not want to leave until he ate EVERY bite she had offered us and, trust me, there was plenty!. Surprisingly, we agreed on the same combination and we are super excited (I’ll let you know which combination we chose AFTER our wedding! Don’t want to give too much away just yet!).  I would definitely recommend Elysia Root Cakes to anyone- gluten free or not. She is wonderful and the cakes are delicious. We will definitely be back for our next big party!

Here are some recommendations I have for gluten free wedding cakes and/or alternatives!

  1. Check with your local bakery! You would be surprised to see how many may be able to accommodate gluten free diets!
  2. If a gluten free cake is out of budget (unfortunately they can sometimes be an extra expense on top of an already expensive cake!) check out some gluten free cupcakes.
  3. Compromise! My fiancé loves me and would do just about anything for me. However, I do not expect him to be 100% gluten free and while I would LOVE a gluten free wedding, I have to remember that it is his wedding too. Sweets tables are a great compromise! For ours, we are incorporating a gluten free cake along with his favorite cake (not gluten free!) as well as other sweet treats! Chocolate covered strawberries are always a perfect solution!
  4. Remember it’s not your entire meal! How many gluten free options do you need?!?! Let’s be practical here and not break your budget on sweets! Throw in some yummy candy in decorative bowls and make sure to include your favorite gluten free treats! If you have them wrapped (think mini bars, etc) you don’t have to worry about cross contamination!

xoxo

PS- Ill let you know if anyone notices that it is gluten free!

Gluten Free Shredded Chicken Chili

20140304-135807.jpgChili is a fabulous comfort food, and, if done right, it can be pretty healthy. This recipe does not have a lot of extras and is pretty filling- so long as you don’t add sour cream and cheese to it! I usually make a pretty big batch because it freezes well. If you want, you can allow the chili to cool and store it in small pyrex containers and freeze them in single or double serving sizes! It makes for quick and healthy “frozen dinners.”
  • 16oz can black beans
  • 16oz can kidney beans (use two cans of black beans and two of kidney beans if you want to make a vegetarian chili)
  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 12oz corn
  • 28oz diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 2-3 chopped jalapeno or serrano peppers (depending on your desired level of heat!)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free taco seasoning (check it out here)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 32oz boneless chicken breasts
  1. Place chopped onions, peppers, corn, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, chili powder, and beans in a slow cooker and mix thoroughly.
  2. Place chicken breasts on top of mixture and cover pot.
  3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until chicken completely cooked.
  4. Remove chicken and shred into bite sized pieces.
  5. Add chicken back into slow cooker and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow chicken to completely marinate.

You can top chili with cilantro, sour cream, or fresh queso fresco! Just be careful because the sour cream and cheese will add a lot of calories to your meal.  If you need to add a bit more bulk to your meal- try serving it on top of some rice! Delicious!

xoxo

Gluten Free Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

gluten free mac and cheeseMac and cheese was one of my favorite things to eat when I was growing up. I have to admit, I was a mac and cheese snob. That powdered cheese didn’t do it for me and I would ONLY eat the ones that came with the premade “gooey” cheese. Yeah- I know. Processed food is horrible, but at that time, I didn’t know any better.  That being said- I’m still a sucker for mac and cheese. Here is the recipe for my favorite homemade version. I refer to it as my “grown up mac and cheese” because of the various types of cheese added to it.  I usually make a little extra cheese when I’m making it and leave it in the refrigerator for a day or so- it’s great on nachos!

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup gluten free panko OR gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound gluten free elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat overn to 350 degrees
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Add gluten free panko (or gluten free breadcrumbs) and coat it butter, cook until slightly browning, then set aside.
  4. Heat milk in a medium saucepan.
  5. In a large skillet, melt 8 tablespoons of butter and, once hot, add flower, stirring until well incorporated (about 1 minute)
  6. Add hot milk into flour-butter mixture. Whisk consistently until the mixture thickens.
  7. Remove from heat and add sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg
  8. Add cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan cheese to mixture. Add cheese slowly to allow it to incorporate into sauce.
  9. Boil macaroni according to directions on box. Make sure you stop cooking a few minutes before the recommended time as you want your noodles to be undercooked.
  10. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
  11. Add pasta to cheese mixture and place in a casserole dish
  12. Top with buttered panko/breadcrumbs
  13. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until slightly browned on top.
  14. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

Enjoy!

xoxo

Gluten Free Kitchen Basics

Gluten Free KitchenOne of the biggest challenges and yet by far the best plan for those with celiac disease is keeping a gluten free kitchen. When I lived alone this was not a big deal at all. After my diagnosis I took EVERYTHING out of my cabinets and the refrigerator and did a major overhaul.  I made sure EVERY crumb was picked up when I dusted and wiped the cabinets down as well as when I scrubbed the refrigerator. Who knows what that spill may have been!?!? It took an entire day but it was definitely worth the effort. I gave a ton of food to my parents and then filled my house with only gluten free food. I didn’t have to worry about reading labels once it landed in my cabinet.  It was my safe zone and I loved it.

Then it happened. I had a “serious” boyfriend. He was always over and had a love for snacks. He tried some gluten free cookies and would eat the pasta I would cook, but one day asked if he could leave some of his favorite snacks at my house- pretzels, cookies, etc. So we came up with a great solution, the basket on one of my shelves became the “gluten zone.” Anything containing gluten went into that container. Eventually my boyfriend spent more and more time at my place and that container had to become a small cabinet. No biggie. I just stayed away from there. It worked out great because it was a part of a small island and that became the area he would prepare gluten containing foods as well. It worked great! When we had friends over, all of the gluten food would go there and my counter space was still a gluten free zone. Woohoo!

Gluten free KitchenWell then he moved in. Damn. I had to share my refrigerator. And pots. And Pans. And well- everything. My fear of cross contamination had become my nightmare. My gluten-loving-Italian boyfriend (now fiancé) ruined my system. For the first month had not been so bad. Unfortunately, after that we both became a bit too comfortable and I spent 4 months miserable. We couldn’t figure out what the source until I decided to do another major overhaul of my kitchen. There were breadcrumbs in the butter.  My lettuce managed to get crumbs from his fried chicken (no joke… apparently men don’t cover food, they just toss things in the refrigerator).  It was chaos. Our solution was to go back to label EVERYTHING. Not only was it great for him to remind him of what he had to be careful with, but it was great for our guests as well!

 

 

Here are some of the helpful tips we tried and have really helped:

  1. Label. Label. Label. I purchased “gluten free” labels online and went crazy. Yes you can make them yourself, but these are really cute. I’m sorry. I’m a girl- the prettier the better. Plus, they don’t come off easily and they have even lasted in the dishwasher! Everything in my refrigerator that was gluten free was labeled and placed on a gluten free shelf.
  2. Label condiments and buy two when needed! We have two butter containers and one is labeled gluten free. The reason for doing this is to keep his gluten containing crumbs out of mine! This is especially helpful on those frequently used items!  I put one label on the container itself and one on the lid as well. Not only does this help with quick identification, but it keeps us from mixing them up and putting the wrong lid on the gluten free container. If you put them just on the lids, be careful! If you take the lids off of both the gluten free and gluten containing item you may inadvertently mix them up!
  3. Keep gluten free items on higher shelves. Just in case something spills or isn’t covered adequately, gluten won’t accidentally fall into your gluten free food!
  4. Dedicate a gluten free prep area. No gluten comes into this space. Ever. That being said, I would still wipe it down before cooking just to make sure no crumbs have fallen anywhere. My countertops are gluten free areas but I always wipe them down with a sponge before cooking
  5. That brings us to a gluten free sponge. Yes I have a dishwasher, but I tend to wipe down dishes/pans/etc before putting them in there so I have a gluten free sponge. Sponges can sometimes trap crumbs in the little holes. Your safest bet is to use two separate sponges. Some people color code them so you can remember but we also have a “sponge holder” next to the sink that is labeled gluten free.
  6. Get a second toaster. Crumbs fall and the slots are contaminated if you use gluten free and gluten containing bread in the same toaster. Be safe, get two. We have a tag hanging on the gluten free one as well so no one accidentally grabs the wrong one!
  7. We cook a lot of pasta so we have two colanders (strainers) as well. Those things can be pretty hard to clean with all of the holes so save some time and aggravation and invest in two! Do the same as the toaster and place a tag on it if you can so you know which ones I gluten free!
  8. Invest in a second cutting board. It’s possible to get small amounts of gluten stuck in the “cuts” on the board. They can be hard to remove so I always recommend using two separate cutting boards. Wiping them down does not always do a good enough job.
  9. Using separate baking/cooking equipment. We have designated gluten free pots/pans that are labeled.  It is the same thought process as the cutting board, sometimes things get trapped in small crevices, especially if they are coated pans!
  10. Educate your family. This is especially important when dealing with kids. If you’re living with a gluten free child, those labels make life so much easier for them! They already know what is safe and what isn’t. You may think that you don’t have to worry as much since you are their primary caregiver, but what happens when you’re not home? Grandparents may not be as familiar with their gluten free diet and babysitters may be clueless! This is okay though if things are labeled. They can easily find a snack or meal for them without causing alarm!
  11. Use placemats or at the very least avoid a table cloth. I know it sounds dumb, but using a table cloth can lead to trapped crumbs around your eating area. Unless you are okay with constantly washing it, you may want to skip it if you live with others that are not gluten free. However, if you love your tablecloths, the solution is to use a placemat when eating. This way your area is nice and clean!

Review: Tone It Up Diet & Fitness Plan

Being gluten free is pretty darn challenging at times. Unfortunately, one of the challenges we don’t tend to think about are diet plans. Most people assume that having celiac disease means you are at normal weight or even underweight. However, many individuals are diagnosed while being considered obese. In addition, patients tend to GAIN wait once going gluten free. Why? Well sometimes they are taking in more calories than average to account for what is not be absorbed. Second, gluten free food tends to be heavy in fats and added sugars as I’ve mentioned before. 

I’ve tried a few diet plans in the past and I was a little skeptical about the Tone It Up program. I came across www.toneitup.com one day while looking up some exercise tips and found these two very bubbly girls, Karena and Katrina.  Both girls are amazingly gorgeous and have incredibly toned bodies. Combined with their personalities, they make their workouts fun and entertaining! You know when you watch workout DVDs and everyone is doing stuff in sync while you’re falling around your living room? Not here! The girls switch off between moves and talk you through each movement. AND they lose their balance. It’s great. While doing one video, I stood there balancing on one leg and trying to do an extension on the other without letting my toe touch the ground. Yeah. It’s a great core workout but it can be tricky. While watching the video I noticed that they wobbled slightly too. They aren’t afraid to show their imperfections and it really was a breaking point for me. If they aren’t perfect, why do I need to be disappointed in myself for having the same struggle with a move? Lesson? Keep on doing it. I’ll get there eventually. I hope.

As for the diet plan, you can purchase different versions, including a gluten free diet version (as well as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free vegetarian, & pescetarian). I LOVE THIS. Yeah I know what is gluten free and what is not. I know that bread and wraps are generally off limits, but when I have to go on a diet and figure out a different way of eating, I don’t want to have to figure out gluten free substitutions as I go along. They have taken all of the guess work out of the equation for you. 

The diet consists of a morning drink (I stick with the bombshell spell versus the meta d) and 5 meals/snacks during the day. They teach you what you need to eat at each meal and when to avoid certain foods. Their website is full of recipes they have posted as well as those posted by members of the Tone It Up Community. Yeah- there’s a “community” too. Think of it as a built in support system. You can check in during the day with each other, trade workout ideas, meals, and even meet people in your area to work out with! (I’ve actually met someone on the TIU plan that goes to the same gym I do and we now go to yoga class together occasionally). 

I highly recommend this diet to those looking for something fun and looking for a trainer as well as a nutritionist. One of the biggest selling points for this plan are the workouts. Once each week you are provided with a workout schedule. It changes from week to week so you are never bored. If you choose to just do the workouts, you can check out their website and follow along without paying any fees. There’s no pressure at all! If you decide to do the diet plan, it currently costs $150. That gives you access to download the program and all of the updates/challenges along the way.  I did the exercises for a few weeks before I finally decided to go ahead and spend my money on the diet plan. It’s a great way to see if you think that you will like the plan without having to make any financial commitment!

Hope this helps!

xoxo

New Year? New You!

All right ladies and gents- it’s that time of year again! Let’s start 2014 by making a promise to start taking better care of ourselves. I use the word “promise” and not “resolution” because, to me, a promise is something we tend to take more serious.  The majority of us tend to use January 1st (okay technically January 2nd since most of us are still partaking in holiday indulgences on the 1st) as a restart date. It’s a great milestone to help all of us get to where we want to be and I challenge you to take better care of yourself this year. That can mean you stop smoking, drink less, workout more, start following clean eating principles, or anything else that will positively impact your health.

My suggestion is that you look at the changes you are about to make in “short term” segments. Forget getting in shape for swimsuit season! Instead, focus on what you can get done between now and Valentine’s Day. After then? Challenge yourself to get to April Fool’s Day! Oh come on, you have to appreciate that one. Next? Memorial Day. (Oh and if that seems just a bit to far, push yourself to my birthday- it’s May 16th. Feel free to send well wishes and/or gluten free cake).

Cheers!

xoxo

PS- Feel free to post your New Year’s Promises as a comment to this post to motivate each other!