Thursday, August 24, 2017

Road Trip and Travel Tips!

Summer is full of adventures for a lot of people!

It's funny, I'm not in school or a seasonal job but I still find that I do more trips and travel during the summer. One trip that I take annually is to upstate New York to visit family. I also enjoy beach trips, camping trips, etc.

I do also, however, like to have a good fitness routine and try for decent nutrition. So how can these things work together?

Tip 1: Relax. Chances are, you are still home more than you are away so chill out.

Tip 2: If you want to workout on your vacation or trip, you can do bodyweight exercises, take resistance bands, or do park workouts at your location. Another great option is to just be active! When I visited NY, we all went hiking as a family, another day several of us went for a walk together and enjoyed good company, and another day we all went swimming! Fitness doesn't always need to be "the grind".

The Best Flavor!




Tip 3: Take breaks in long car trips to stretch and walk around. You'll get there when you get there. It's very hard on the body to sit for hours on end so be kind to your body and mind and stop at rest stops to stretch!

Tip 4: Find good roadtrip snacks! One of my favorite snacks is popcorn. I can only find Sinfully Thin brand of popcorn at Sheetz gas stations which we pass on the way to NY! How perfect! I also like to pack fruits, veggies, protein bars and chocolate.

Tip 5: Enjoy yourself. The more you stress about food or exercise, the less you will enjoy your trip and the company around you. The gym will be there when you get home!

Balance!




















What trips have you taken this summer? Do you exercise on vacation?














Popcorn photo from: http://store.openroadsnacks.com/category/Sinfully_Thin/1428.aspx

Monday, August 21, 2017

Keto Meringues! Sugar Free!

I recently had the idea to make Meringue cookies and my curiosity was piqued at the idea of making sugar free meringue cookies. I wondered if it would work! 

3 calories a piece?! I'll take 10! 

I took to Google, and to my surprise there were recipes with Splenda, erythritol, stevia and beyond!

I decided to try my hand at sugar free meringues with an erythritol based sweetener I just purchased recently. The brand is Swerve and I purchased it from Luckyvitamin.com. It claims to have no aftertaste!

Meringues can be a bit tricky to set up due to humidity and given that it was a hot August day in North Carolina, I think they turned out pretty well! The texture was good on most of them but a few of them were still a bit soft in the middle. 

Factors working against me:

  • I didn't have enough egg whites
  • I didn't have cream of tartar
  • I was attempting sugar free
  • I didn't have parchment paper
  • Humidity
You may be thinking, why even bother? Well, I don't know. I just had the idea in my head and couldn't let it go! All in all, I was pleased with my results and look forward to trying again with less humidity and real egg whites. 

The cookies came out to about 3 calories a piece which includes the small amount of calories in vanilla and 0 calorie sweetener (it is listed as 0 calorie due to the serving size - if a food is less than 5 calories per serving, they can list it as 0 despite having a small amount of calories). 

Ingredients:

  • 8 tsp meringue powder (I used Wiltons brand)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp sweetener (aka 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whip with a mixer until stiff peaks form. (You may use 4 egg whites in place of the meringue powder but note that meringue powder contains cream of tartar in the ingredients so you may want to add cream of tartar or vinegar or lemon juice if you use egg whites.)
  3. Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. 
  4. Reduce temperature to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 20 minutes. 
  5. Turn the oven off and open the oven door. Allow the cookies to cool in the oven with the door open for 2 hour. 
  6. Peel the cookies off the parchment paper and enjoy!
Trust me on the two hours of cooling time! I thought my cookies were a complete fail because the texture was so off until I let them cool for two hours in the oven and they transformed!

Let me know if you try these! What is your thought on Meringue cookies? Have you ever tried to make them before?
Crispy, yet melt in your mouth!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Product Review: NeuroGum

I don't know about you, but I almost always consume some sort of caffeine or energy booster before a run or a workout. I'm sure its 97% placebo effect, but I continue to do it nonetheless.

Pre-workouts can be hard to find one that works for you and tastes good. Energy drinks can be full of sugars or artificial ingredients (not to say I don't use these things XD).

In comes NeuroGum! It's the #1 Nootropic Energy Gum engineered to give energy, clarity, and focus. It contains caffeine (40mg), L-Theanine - the major amino acid in green tea, vitamin B6 and B12 for a combination that is supposed to give you sharp and focused energy 5 times faster than other methods of energy. It's also Non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, soy free, aspartame free and sugar-free clocking in at 2 calories per piece.

So how does it hold up under test by a self-proclaimed caffeine junkie? With only a meager 40 mg of caffeine, can this gum actually do anything for me?

I put it to the test first at work. I work a desk job and was really dragging. I decided to chew a piece of Neuro gum and it definitely helped perk me up and keep me focused. I also feel like the mintiness and chewing help stimulate me.

The second time I tried it was before a run. I have recently been dealing with shin splints and took time off of running but I decided to try a fairly flat run and see how it went so I wasn't expecting my fastest pace. I have to admit, I had my morning caffeine along with the gum before my run and I can't say I noticed any additional enhancement. I actually chewed it  throughout my run and was pleasantly surprised that it didnt A) become hard as a rock, or B) completely dissolve.
My first run in weeks, with Neuro Gum to help!

I think this would probably be a good substitute for grabbing that energy drink from the gas station. However, if you already consume stimulants on a regular basis, I wouldn't expect any more of a boost than an energy drink.

Overall, I like this product and will probably continue to use it when I feel sluggish at work!

How would you use this? Do you have caffeine regularly?

 Check it out at NeuroGum.com




Monday, August 7, 2017

Mental Health: Endurance

from Pinterest.com

Endurance. What does it really mean?

In the past, when I was in the hospital, my friends and family would tell me I was so strong. I was enduring so much. However, I didn't feel strong or brave. I felt helpless and simply without choices. What could I do?

“Endurance: It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope. It is the quality which keeps a man on his feet with his face to the wind. It is the virtue which can transmute the hardest trial into glory because beyond the pain it sees the goal.”


― AnonymousCome Be My Follower

I needed, and often still need to, adjust my perspective. 

Yes, right now, things may seem horrible. Things may be horrible. But it is not the end. There is always a hope. I personally find hope in the Bible but no matter who you are or what you believe, every cloud has a silver lining. Change your perspective. 

I often think of a small child who drops their ice cream. They might cry or scream and seems to be the end of the world. In their eyes, it truly is horrible! If they could see that there will be more ice cream in their life, that a dropped ice cream cone is not that bad, that some children don't even know what it's like to have such a luxury, then they would be able to endure it. This is not to invalidate their feelings. Their disappointment and upset is very real and genuine. 

It's the same no matter our age. Whatever we're going through is, in our eyes, horrible and not without merit. However, when we reflect on our hope, on the grand future, we can bear up under hardships with JOY. Can you imagine it?


“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”


― Anne Frank