Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake Recipe (Vegan + Soy & Dairy-Free)

It's that time again - #PSL season!! Being the "basic bitch" that I am, I hold all things pumpkin spice very near and dear to my heart. That means pumpkin spice everything is happening whether you like it or not. Haters please exit the building :)  When I had my first Starbucks pumpkin spice latte YEARS ago, back when I could still tolerate milk (or at least thought I could), I took one sip and like every sane person on earth found it absolutely divine! Unfortunately the latte doesn't fit into my lifestyle not only because of the dairy, but also because a grande PSL made with 2% milk and whipped cream has 380 calories, 14g of fat, 50g of sugar and 52g of carbohydrates. I'm not saying I don't splurge on treats from time to time, because I most certainly do, but if I am consuming all of those calories, fats, sugars and carbs, I'd rather it be in food form like a cookie or a naughty banana chocolate chip pancake! Despite not having the official Starbucks PSL since the first time back in probably 2010, I still think about it to this day. During the fall, I will find any way to add pumpkin spice to my day and this pre or post-workout protein shake is no exception. This baby has it all, coffee, real pumpkin, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla and protein! What more could you want in a protein shake?

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake that is soy-free, dairy-free, low in sugar and high in protein! This is the perfect pre or post-workout treat! #PSL #vegan #soyfree #dairyfree #basic
Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake that is soy-free, dairy-free, low in sugar and high in protein! This is the perfect pre or post-workout treat! #PSL #vegan #soyfree #dairyfree #basic

 Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake 

Optional: Add So Delicious whipped topping or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

**Modification: You can use cold coffee instead of instant by adding a half cup of cold coffee and reducing your almond milk to about a 1/2 cup. You will want to play around with the ratios to suit your taste buds. 

Blend together with a couple ice cubes and enjoy! 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake that is soy-free, dairy-free, low in sugar and high in protein! This is the perfect pre or post-workout treat! #PSL #vegan #soyfree #dairyfree #basic

What are your favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin spice?

Amber Williford, Health Coach

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Last week, I shared my green bean, red onion and pecan side dish recipe which is one of favorite holiday dishes! Today, I want to share my oven roasted cranberry, apple, and brussel sprout side dish recipe, another favorite recipe that is sure to be a hit this holiday season! 

I'm sure you are thinking how tasty Brussel sprouts are but there is SO much more to them than taste! Brussel sprouts give your overall health a BIG boost, just one half cup serving of Brussels sprouts supplies us with 20 essential vitamins, including the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, numerous B vitamins, vitamin A, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They also contain antioxidants such a glucosinolates and isothiocyanates which help protect you from free radicals which can cause cellular damage and disease in the body. They are also high in fiber which help to keep you full after a meal and also helps to keep your digestion moving along.

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Serves 2-3

  • 1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut lengthwise
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, cranberries, sliced apple, and 1 tbsp olive oil together.

3. Brush glass baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread mixture evenly into dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.

5. Serve hot and enjoy!


Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté Side Dish Recipe

Chris and I are preparing our menu for our Christmas day feast this week. We have been traveling so much lately to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving and weddings, so this holiday we are enjoying it relaxing at home in Brooklyn with our dog Chili Palmer. Even though it will just be the three of us, we aren't holding back with the holiday cooking. There is nothing better than holiday leftovers to eat throughout the week! 

Today, I am sharing with you one of my favorite side dish recipes which features the haricot vert or you may know it as the green bean or string bean. They are known for their beautiful rich shade of green and light delicious taste, making them a wonderful holiday side dish to brighten up any plate! It's a very versatile bean, one of the few that can be eaten fresh without having to be cooked. The green bean is actually a nutrition ninja! It's a great source of folate, fiber and vitamin K but it also high in carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutien. Usually when we hear the word carotenoids, we normally think about red, orange and yellow vegetables but the chlorophyll in the green beans masks those colors! 

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté Side Dish Recipe

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté 

Serves 3-4

  • 1 pound thin green beans (haricot vert), trimmed
  • 2 tbsp unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add green beans and boil for 4 minutes.

2. While boiling, prepare a large bowl filled with ice and water. Once beans have boiled, drain water and plunge into ice bath to stop from cooking. Drain and pat dry.

3. Saute the onion in coconut oil a few minutes until translucent. Add in green beans and cook 2 minutes.

4. Add in thyme, pecans, salt and pepper and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes.

5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté Side Dish Recipe


What's your favorite holiday side dish?

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach

11 Natural Ways to Get Constipation Relief Fast

Chris and I both get this question from clients all the time "Help! I'm constipated, what do I do?". This is very common for many people and it can affect all aspects of their lives causing them extreme discomfort resulting in them not want to leave the house or participate in special life events. 

Everyone is different so the number of bowel movements you have per day will vary, but a good rule of thumb is an average of 1-3 bowel movements a day for a healthy digestive system. When we poop, we are eliminating toxins, bacteria, mucus, and fiber so important that we are keeping our bowels moving properly so that toxins are not being reabsorbed back in through our colon. So although we don't want to be harboring these toxins in our colon, it's important that we don't run out and start popping over-the-counter laxatives. These can cause more damage than good and you can become dependent on them. Natural health is always the path to BEST health so below we will go over some ways you can get safe and natural constipation relief. 

What causes constipation in the first place?

  • Stress and constant busyness
  • Poor diet
  • Certain medications
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Eating too much fiber and not enough water 
  • Candida, IBS, or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Not exercising
  • Magnesium deficiency 
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Food intolerances 
  • Resisting the urge to go during the day
11 Natural Ways to Get Constipation Relief Fast

Here are 11 Natural Ways to Get Constipation Relief Fast

  • Warm lemon water. Lemon juice helps with waste elimination which will help get things moving right along. Use the juice of 1/2 or whole lemon in a glass of warm water first thing upon waking up in the morning to jump start your digestion. Read more about the many benefits of lemon water here.
  • Keep hydrated. Water is needed to help food pass through the small and large intestine. 5 to 10 pounds of fecal matter can be stored in the colon because of dehydration caused by lack of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink ½ your current body weight in ounces of water each day. 
  • Coconut oil. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil by mouth will help to lube up your system and keep your things running smoothly. During the colder months, coconut oil may be in a solid form so you can warm it up for a few seconds and drink it or add it to a tea. I prefer to take it in solid form straight up but everyone is different. 
  • Exercise daily. Keeping your body moving every day is key to stimulating circulation creating a healthy digestive system. Getting in about 30 minutes or more of exercise a day will help improve your daily bowel movements and will make a huge difference in every aspect of your life! Check out these workouts to get you started. 
  • Magnesium. Taking magnesium daily can really help to relieve constipation by pulling water into the stool. Many Americans are deficient due to lack of it in our soil and therefor the food we eat, poor nutrient absorption, and it leaving the body through sweat and stress. Start supplementing with magnesium citrate at night before bed to help constipation. Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin by taking a relaxing Epsom salt bath at night with 1-2 cups of Epsom salt. 
  • Coconut water. Drinking this can help to hydrate you and balance your electrolyte levels. It can also have somewhat of a laxative effect so start slow and ease off when needed. To get the highest quality coconut water look for one that is organic and doesn't have added flavors or sugars. 
  • Probiotics. Our gut is full of good and bad bacteria that help to keep our immune system strong and digestion running smoothly. Many things we put in our body such as antibiotics, medications, alcohol and certain processed food can kill off both the good and the bad bacteria. Supplementing with a high quality probiotic supplement with at least 15 billion live organisms, probiotic-rich foods like kefir and sauerkraut can help keep your gut flora in check and digestion functioning better.
  • Squatting instead of sitting. Since the beginning of time we squatted to go to the bathroom but that all changed when we started sitting on a toilet. For many people this can cause some blockage. Using a foot stool like a Squatty Potty to help put you in a more natural position can help to relax your colon to allow stool to flow freely and take off the pressure of straining which can cause hemorrhoids. 
  • Chew your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth the minute you start to even think about food and then enzymes are produced as you start to chew your food. But most of us do not chew food properly as a result of rushing through our meals. Large chunks of food then go through the digestive tract without being broken down properly. It is important to really focus on the food you eat, try eating without distractions such as TV and phones (I know that seems impossible but you can do it!). Really concentrate on the look, feel and taste of your food. Chew until it becomes liquid in your mouth or aim for about 30 bites. 
  • Essential oils. Using high quality essential oils like lemon, tangerine, ginger, fennel, rosemary, wild orange, and peppermint as an abdominal rub mixed with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, or in a warm bath with Epsom salts can help to relieve constipation and leave you feeling amazing. 

Do you have any natural remedies that have helped you with constipation? We would love to hear them in the comments below!

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach





Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

How To Weekly Meal Prep The Easy Way

One of the most important tools that Chris and I use for staying on track with our personal health goals whether it be muscle building, weight loss or just trying to avoid certain allergenic food ingredients is WEEKLY MEAL PREP! 

We have been doing this for years because it not only helps to keep us on track but it also saves us tons of time and money. The rare times that I do leave the house without my prepped meals, it usually costs me at least $10 for a somewhat healthy meal. When I cook my food at home, it can cost me only a few dollars per meal. It really makes a difference! Plus it's so hard to know what ingredients are really being used in your food when buying quick meals out on the go. 

So today I am going to share with you some of our favorite tips and tricks for weekly meal prep! 

How to weekly meal prep the easy way

Let's get started!

First, Make a list of all the food you enjoy eating.

  • Search for recipes on Pinterest or you can start with the recipes in my free 7-day meal plan. You can make all your meals ahead of time if you prefer, so save breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that you love. Use recipes that will allow you to have leftovers so you can eat them throughout the week instead of using a different recipe for each meal. The easier the recipe the better so you don't get overwhelmed.
  • Print out a blank meal planner and start to map out your meals. Ideally your meal plan would include blank spaces for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. 
  • Take inventory of the items you already have in the kitchen and create your grocery list.

Next, Choose your meal prep batch cooking method.

  • Choose between 2 options: the “cook once, eat three times” method or the big batch cooking method for the entire week.
  • The goal of each method is to decrease time spent in the kitchen AND money in the grocery store so that you can spend more time and money on stuff that you love!

 Option 1: “Cook Once, Eat Three Times” Method

How this option works is that you will do the bulk of your food shopping on either Saturday or Sunday morning. On Sunday, you would prep and cook your meals for days 1-3. Then, on Wednesday, you would prep and cook your meals for days 4-6 and so on. Technically you will need 1 extra lunch and dinner for Sunday, so the last part of the week will actually cover 4 meals unless Sunday is a free day.

 Each prepared dish needs to have be 3 (or 4 if you include Sunday) servings in order to cover three different meals. If you are cooking for 2 or more people, then you will want to double or triple your recipes accordingly and also adjust the amounts needed.

Option 2: Big Batch Cooking Method

If you are super busy, like me, you could do all your shopping on Saturday, cook the whole week's meals on Sunday and freeze them individually if needed. Then, just grab each meal as you go throughout the week - major time saver! This will allow you to add even more variety to your meal plan by rotating your 4 main entrees all throughout the week so you are never eating the same meals on back-to-back days.

Choose whichever cooking method works best for your schedule and your taste buds.

Remember: There is no right or wrong way to weekly meal prep. The main thing is for you to figure out which cooking method saves you the most amount of time and works best for your schedule.

Time Saving Meal Prep Tips:

  • Be productive while you cook! Cooking doesn't have to consume all your time. Turn on your favorite podcast, you can do other household chores, check emails or watch your favorite show or YouTube channel.
  • Create your meal plan with food you already have on handSave time and money by working with what you have in your freezer, pantry and fridge already. Keeping your meals as simple as possible will save you time and can still taste super delicious!
  • Clean-up while you cook. As you cook, start soaking and washing dishes or load your dish washer. wipe up messes on the counter and put away anything that isn't being used. This way you don't get overwhelmed with a big clean up job at the very end.
  • Take a few extra minutes to throw your complete meals into containers. Once all your cooking is done, throw your meals into little grab and go containers. This will save you tons of time during the week as you won't even need to think twice about making your lunch each day. Plus this also makes it easy to throw meals into the freezer if you don't get to eat them during the week. 
  • Pre-prep and freeze your protein smoothie ingredients. Wash, trim and freeze your fruit or better yet, buy organic frozen fruit. Then place each days fruit smoothie portions plus your protein powder (I use this yummy pumpkin protein), seeds, greens, and any other ingredients you desire into individual jars or BPA-free ziplock baggies to freeze. Each morning you can throw them into the blender, add almond milk, and GO!
  • Pull out the crockpot for no fuss meals. You can make super easy meals overnight or while you are out for the day. Just chop up a bunch of veggies like onion, celery, and potatoes, add your protein of choice and seasonings, then let it cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. This will literally save you so much time and result in a delicious tasting meal. Try this easy crockpot beef stew recipe to get started! 
  • Use parchment paper to help keep food from sticking to the pan or dish. Sometimes vegetables and meats will stick to pans when cooking and can create a real mess to clean up. Line your pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make clean up a breeze. It is also helpful to place parchment paper over the top of dishes, like baked chicken, while cooking to avoid splattering and to help lock in the juices. 

Getting the hang of weekly meal prep may take some practice but you will get the hang of it! The first couple times I did meal prep on my own, took hours. I quickly found my groove and was able to get it all done in half the time which ultimately saved me tons of time throughout the week! Feel free to leave me any questions you have in the comments below. Also, if you need more meal prep tips and recipes, don't forget to download my free 7-day meal plan

Do you have any great meal prepping tips? We'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Stairs Are Your Mortal Enemy: The Leg Workout

If you are looking to change up your leg routine or just bored and want to try something different and aren’t afraid of a little pain and suffering (it’s worth it in the end) then give this leg routine a shot. Remember, tears are just weakness leaving your body. Haha kidding! 


Warm up:

  1. Plank: 2-3 minutes total time

  2. Side plank: 90 seconds per side total time

  3. Single leg glute bridges - 30 reps per side

  4. Walking lunges, bodyweight - 45 seconds

Stairs Are Your Mortal Enemy: The Leg Workout #legday


1) Walking barbell lunges (use dumbbells if barbell isn’t possible): 4 sets

> 12 steps out and 12 steps back (count each step).

> Add 20-40lbs in weight per set for a barbell or 5-10lbs for dumbbells.

> 60-90 seconds rest between sets.


2) Incline leg press: 2 sets x 100

> That’s right. 100 reps per set. Try and get as low as you can for a full range of motion and push out as many as you can in one go. If you need to (you’ll need to) take a SHORT rest pause between reps till you are at 100. The rest pause is just that, a pause. The break comes after the 100 reps.

> If it starts to really suck around 20-25 reps keep going, you are doing it right.

> Put an appropriate amount of weight on. Hint. It will be a lot less than your usual strength sets. ie. If you are pushing 6+ 45lb plates for sets of 10-12 you are putting 2 plates on.

> Rest 2 minutes before diving into your second set.


3) Leg extension drop sets: 3 sets x 10,10,10 (each set consists of 30 reps total)

> Put on the most weight you think you can do for 10 reps and then immediately drop the weight down after the first 10 to a lighter weight and do the same thing. Do that once more to finish out the set. You’ll do a total of 30 reps per set


4) Lying leg curls, with toes pointed: 4 x 10-12 reps

> Point your toes while doing this exercise. You’ll use less weight then you are used to but by pointing your toes your calves can’t assist at the knee to help move the weight so the hamstring will be doing all of the work and not your calf.

> Rest 60 seconds.


5.) Barbell glute bridges: 4x 12-15 reps

> Do this exercise if possible with your upper back on a bench with the bar across your hips. You might want to add a pad to the bar so that it doesn’t dig in too much. If you are doing a fair amount of weight (you should be) then that can be a real life saver. Once you have lifted the bar up and are in bridge position, hold onto the bar as you do the exercise. Make sure you are supported enough with your upper/middle back on the bench so that you don’t feel like you are sliding off the bench when sitting down.

> Rest 60 seconds.

This workout will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes.


Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Chris Hale, Personal Trainer


3 Strong Women Who Prove You Need To Ditch The "I'm Older And Out Of Shape Mentality"

I hear it all the time from family and friends close to me (and I'm sure you do too) that they are older now and as a result, they are out of shape or can't move like they used to. While I do believe there are just some unavoidable things that could happen to us as we get older, I also STRONGLY believe in the power of prevention and doing everything we possibly can to keep our bodies running as efficiently as possible. 

There are so many health benefits to exercise at all ages such as:

  • weight loss and weight maintenance
  • boosting your mood so you stress less by increasing your serotonin levels which makes you happier
  • giving you more energy throughout the day
  • better sex by making you feel more confident and getting blood flowing in all the right places
  • helping you sleep better
  • preventing osteoporosis, bone thinning and fractures
  • better muscle mass which is especially important as we age because we start losing it in our 40's and 50's
  • decreasing your risk for disease
  • lowers high blood pressure which is a major factor for strokes

I just can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to soak these health benefits up!

In a recent article in the New York Times, it was reported that by the time we reach late middle-age, we start developing small holes in our brain's white matter which is what passes messages between different parts of the brain. This can cause issues with our thinking and our memory. But a new study on a large group of women between the ages of 65-75 suggests that weight training just twice a week may slow the age-related shrinking of some parts of the brain, slow down the development of the holes in the brain, and improve walking abilities. 

I don't know about you but I want to keep my memory and thinking intact for as long as I can and weight training only two times per week is a very small price to pay to extend it as long as possible. A good goal to shoot for when you are first getting started is to try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day and working your way up from there. 

I know that saying the words "I want to get in shape and be healthier" is a lot easier than actually getting out there and doing it. So you really need to find what inspires you to get out there and make it happen. You have to find your WHY - a why that will make you cry and give you a reason to get out of bed each day to make this life the best it can possibly be!

Over the last several years, I have been inspired by some amazing women that I have been blessed to have crossed paths with.  I have known Sally my entire life as she has been my mom's best friend since high school - I like to call her my second momma. I met Jody and Lynda over the past 4+ years through being a Fitfluential Ambassador and while blogging my own health journey. They aren't your typical 20 something women that we see posted all over Pinterest. These women are strong and unstoppable, they have proved to me that age is no reason to stop aspiring to achieve your health goals and definitely not a reason to start making excuses about aging. 

3 Strong Women Who Prove You Need To Ditch The "I'm Older And Out Of Shape Mentality"

So I asked these 3 amazing women: "Why is it important for you to be fit, healthy and strong as you age?"

These stories are about women but staying active as we age is important for men and women both. I hope their stories inspire you as much as they have for me!

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL

At 47 both my parents had health issues and moved into my home, my dad had a major stroke, paralyzed on one side and unable to walk or talk, dementia and TIA's had taken over my mom as well. At this time I had a 13 and 16 year old and a business. It was difficult to cope with the stress. My mom and dad passed away 11 months apart (I took care of them with the help of my husband) for a year. I could see my future with the genes I have been dealt. I was very skinny at that time (110, size 0), and then the weight started, menopause kicked in too, hot flashes, night sweats, fat around my tummy, I was up to 129(size 10) in no time.

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL

 In March 2007  I had a TIA (mini stroke) my genes had caught up with me(high blood pressure) this was a wake up call. I started walking again with a very good friend Carrie, from March to Oct 2007 we trained for a marathon for my 50th birthday, we went on to do several 1/2 marathons, I was down to 114. I just looked skinny, yuck...So I started classes at the gym, weight classes, yoga, kick boxing. My body didn't change much, but then I was given a chance of a lifetime. Don Brower(former body builder) asked me if I wanted him to help me gain muscle as he knew I ate well. He had never professionally trained anyone because he said most people do not listen and end up quitting and that was a reflection on him. I'm now in my 3rd year training with him and the changes have been amazing! I am extremely healthy now, I can do things most 20 year olds can't do. I am more active than ever, I feel like I'm 17, the confidence and positive attitude that I have gained has really helped me come out of my shell I was in way too long. I have some bad genes I will be fighting and I have chose to fight them with clean food and exercise instead of prescription drugs and I am succeeding. I am 58 years old and proud of it. Please DON'T ever think you are too old, I simply started by walking at 49, then walking distance, classes at the gym and I will always train with weights, It has changed my life and health, mentally and physically. Thanksto Don Brower for pushing me and believing in me to do what I thought was impossible to a body that started lifting at 55 years old.

Who knows maybe at 60 I will compete, I'm a bit stage shy. But, one thing for sure I will lift, eat clean and stay super active because life is good, I sat on the couch long enough! A friend of mine recently told me he heard this in a movie...

"We can get busy living or get busy dying!!"

It is a choice, I chose happy and healthy living!!

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL 

Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit
Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit


I will be 58 next month. Besides the fact that I fell in love with weightlifting & health in my 20's, going through all the years doing this really made me aware how important it is to be healthy & strong as we get older. You just do not know it until you get there. The body changes so much in the 40's & especially 50's! Women are going to have to realize they need to be fitter & healthier to make it through the hormone change in tact! 😊

For me it was about being able to care for myself, do things for myself as I got older, play with my grandchildren & be around for their weddings. I did not want to have to have others care for me as I got older. I want to be able to take care of myself for many more years to come! The best person you can take care of is YOU! If you take care of you, you are a better person for all those around you!

Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country

I have always had a passion for fitness.  I was not really an athlete in school {unless you count cheerleading}, but I became interested in running in my twenties.  I always belonged to a gym, I took classes, watched what I ate and just took care of myself. I loved doing anything that had cardio and weight training.  I think because I am short, I would worry more about weight than if I were taller. I have always continued staying on track.  I have done Yoga, Pilates, Spin Cycle, Weight Training. 

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country

I have had three children, they are now 25, 15 and 13.  To be honest, my body handled pregnancy well.  Never any stretch marks, and not much weight gain.  I maintained an active and fit lifestyle throughout all three pregnancies.  I loved so much my cravings, but really wanted to stay in tune with my body and keep healthy.  I wanted to be able to bounce back once having the kids and being fit, helped me accomplish that.

I just turned 48 this past August.  I thought the 40's were going to have me bummed out.  This is so cliche, but the 40's are amazing!  Seriously, I have never felt so great.  No joke, I feel amazing and I think I look better as I get older, which has me baffled.  A combination of clean eating, a healthy diet {moderation with treats}, lots of water and exercise is always key to my lifestyle at this age.  Good habits are not only great for my body, but my skin also.  I care about that just as much.  Hydrating all day everyday is so very important.  I have just made it a habit to make sure I am taking in water all day long. 

Running is my passion that I have picked back up again in the last two years.  I am working on my 6th half marathon now {this weekend} and have another next month.  That along with regular Pure Barre classes, keeps me strong all over and fit.  Slipping into a pair of jeans without having to squat and stretch them on to my body, is awesome!  I love the feeling of just getting dressed and not fighting to fit into something.  I recall recently my mother telling me that I was no longer in my 20's {she wanted to remind me of this with all my running}, it threw me a bit and had me responding something like this ... "I realize I am no longer young, however I plan on keeping myself as young as I can and running is doing just that".  Until my body says no more and I can't do it, then I don't intend to stop anytime soon.  It is okay to be older women now and have fitness goals and regimens, we don't need to stop and "grow old".  I believe in embracing my age and I am actually looking forward to the journey my 50's will have.  

Staying fit as I age is just something I chose to do, it makes me happy.  I love feeling great.  I love being a role model for my kids.  I love being the "younger" older mom.  I love that I can keep up with them and have the energy to be active with them.

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country 

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success, doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today."

-John C Maxwell

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

Believe it or not Chris and I don't actually have a lot of family meals together. We eat differently for our individual goals and I have allergy restrictions that he doesn't. We usually fix our food separately and then sit down to eat together when we can. Well, we wanted to switch things up a bit and do more family meals, so recently we stocked up on a bunch of high quality meats through a grocery delivery service here in NY. We wanted to give this whole family dinner thing a try. I also wanted to start using our crockpot more for things other than bone broth.

In my early 20's, I cooked one-pot-meals all the time in the crockpot. One of my favorite things was to fire up the crockpot in the morning and come home to a delicious smelling house in the afternoon, then sit down to a hassle-free dinner. Best. Thing. Ever.

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

So last Monday morning, that is exactly what I did. I fired up the crockpot, added our pre-cut beef, chopped up veggies - which only took minutes to prepare, sprinkled on the seasonings, and left that bad boy running all afternoon until we came home for dinner. It was amazing! Chris actually couldn't believe the yummy smell in our building hallway was coming from our apartment. Oh, but it was!

We both loved hitting the "easy button" on this family meal so we could spend less time cooking, and more time eating....and watching season 5 of The Walking Dead. Yes, please! 

I was so inspired by how easy that meal was that I used the leftover raw veggies that didn't make it into the stew to make an overnight crockpot  chicken dish the next day. Recipe to come soon...

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

  • 2.5-3 lbs organic beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 cups chicken or beef bone broth (I didn't have fresh broth made at the time so I used 1 cup Pacific Foods rosemary chicken bone broth and 1 cup of broth made from Kombu seeweed: 1 cup water + 2 inch Kombu, boiled 15-20 minutes)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, cut into thick slices
  •  3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


1. In a crockpot (I use an 8 Qt., but a 4-6 Qt. should work well), add broth and cubed beef.

2. Add half of all seasonings to the top of the beef.

3. Place the chopped vegetables on top of the seasoned beef and then sprinkle on the remaining seasonings over the veggies.

4. Place the lid onto the crock pot and cook on the low setting for 8 hours or if you are in a hurry, cook for 4 hours on the high setting.

5. Be prepared to have your entire house smell of amazingness, then later...Enjoy!  

What is your favorite easy crockpot meal?

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

9 Amazing Benefits Of Starting Your Day With A Glass Of Warm Lemon Water

Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day because it boasts amazing health benefits that will give you super human powers! Ok…so maybe super human powers is a bit of stretch, but it is a simple, cheap and enjoyable way to improve your overall health. This is one tool that I recommend to most all my clients and they just love it!

So first, I am going to give you the “how to” of making and drinking your lemon water so you can grab a glass and start sipping while you read all the yummy benefits below.

I recommend you enjoy your warm lemon water first thing when waking up on an empty stomach, say about 15-30 minutes before breakfast so your body can soak in all the nutrient benefits of the lemon.


  • 12-16 oz glass of warm, not hot, filtered water. You can heat your water up in the microwave for a couple minutes or turn on the tea kettle. Just make sure that the water is not too hot to drink.
  • The juice of ½ or a full lemon. I recommend starting with a half at first to get used to it, then work your way up to a full lemon when you are ready. Cut the lemon in half and juice it right into your cup of water.
  • Gulp it down and enjoy!

A question I get from clients all of the time is if the acidity of the lemon water is bad for their teeth enamel and how long after should they wait to brush.

This is a great question and yes, it will soften the enamel on your teeth which can lead to erosion, so you definitely want to take care when drinking. You don't necessarily want to swish the lemon water around in your mouth, instead the goal is to get into your throat. What I do is open the back of my throat and pour it right in, that way it barely touches the teeth. You can also drink it with a straw to avoid touching the teeth if that feels better for you, but it will take longer to get down. Once you have enjoyed your glass of warm lemon water, you want to wait about 60 minutes before brushing your teeth to avoid any damage.

Another question I get from clients is if they can continue drinking lemon water throughout the day to keep the benefits going.

Absolutely! The lemon water goodness doesn’t have to stop in the morning, you can make a whole pitcher of it and drink it throughout the day to stay hydrated! When possible, use a glass water bottle to avoid the break down of plastic inside you water from the acidity of the lemon.

9 Amazing Benefits Of Starting Your Day With A Glass Of Warm Lemon Water

Here are 9 Amazing Benefits Of Starting Your Day With Warm Lemon Water:

-  It can combat bad breath by killing odor-causing bacteria inside the mouth, throat and tongue.

-  It helps to keep you looking younger by providing vitamin C that helps with the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps to rejuvenate our cells, blood vessels and tightens and strengthens our skin.

- It strengthens your immune system and fights off infection that can cause sore throat. This another amazing benefit of the high levels of vitamin C and because of its antibacterial properties. Just a half cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (not the bottled stuff) contains 93% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C and it's a pretty tasty way to get it in too! 

- It helps keep you maintain better digestion by stimulating stomach acid and bile productions helping you to break down food in the stomach. Many people suffer from poor digestion whether they know it or not so giving your body a little boost in the morning can go a long way.  

- It will help keep you hydrated, by helping you stave off hunger and quench your body’s need for fluids especially when we are drinking too much coffee/tea and not enough water throughout the day. It also improves the absorption of good minerals and nutrients. 

- It can help to your body to detox by stimulating your liver and improving bile production so that your body can excrete the many toxins that we are exposed to daily. This also goes hand-in-hand with drinking plenty of water daily and keeping our digestion moving so that our body is able to flush out toxins that can potentially cause us harm.  

- It helps to boost weight loss by fighting hunger and cravings with pectin, a fruit fiber that can help you to feel fuller longer. Drinking lemon water throughout the day is also a great way to stay hydrated so your body doesn't mistake thirst for hunger, this probably happens more than you think! 

- It will break you of the coffee habit or at least cut back if you feel like your morning coffee ritual is getting out of hand. The acidity from the lemon water can really help with wanting to grab the morning cup of Joe. Plus it's more hydrating rather than coffee which will actually dehydrate you. (Another great coffee habit buster is our flat belly tea recipe!)

- It can naturally help to dissolve mucus in your body when dealing with respiratory issues and allergies. It is a natural astringent, which helps to break up mucus for easier removal.

Now you tell me, what is your favorite way to enjoy the amazing benefits of lemon?

Amber Williford, Health Coach

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe (Soy, Dairy & Gluten-Free)

All I've been hearing lately is talk of Fall, apple picking, changing of the leaves, hot apple cider and all things pumpkin...I am 100% A-OK with this and plan to indulge in all of the Fallyness every chance I get. Actually, Chris and I have invited his mother up for a visit this weekend so we can go apple picking for the first time! At least it's this Florida girl's first time. I seem to always miss out on apple picking season so this year I was not letting the chance slip away from me. 

So in honor of all things Fall-y I decided it's time to whip up one of my favorite easy yummy pumpkin recipes that I have been making for several years now as a topping for my rice cakes, pancakes, and a dip for apples. Each year, it seems to evolve and get better as I discover new ingredients that I love to use.

One of my favorite ingredients that I discovered at the beginning of the year is Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder.  I had never heard of it before and so I thought I'd give it a shot. I knew that there were many benefits to including pumpkin in the diet such as it being rich in vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese and other minerals including zinc, iron and copper and it is also great for removal of intestinal parasites...yucky sounding but totally necessary. It is also high in protein, it has only one ingredient - ground pumpkin seed - so I don't have to worry about any other unnecessary ingredients lurking in my protein, it's not chalky or gritty tasting, and it has almost no taste so it mixes really well in everything. Lastly, it's soy and dairy-free which are both foods that I avoid because of food allergies and intolerances. This protein is a WIN-WIN in my book and a constant kitchen staple for me.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

The pumpkin pie protein spread over rice cakes make a great pre-workout meal as it give you the perfect amount of fuel to crush your workout which I am about to do! It's also the perfect meal to enjoy with a homemade pumpkin spice latte that I have been making with Trader Joe's delicious Pumpkin Spice Coffee, stevia, cinnamon and coconut milk creamer. It's WAY cheaper and has WAY less sugar than the PSL that is being served up at Starbucks right now. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and all the Fall-y things as much as I do! :)

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe

Mix all ingredients together and spread over rice cakes, pancakes or as a dip for apples.

Note:  If you don't need as much protein, you can make this recipe without the protein powder or cut the protein in half and use less almond milk. It tastes delicious either way!

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach




Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Get Cut Like a Jack-O-Lantern Kettlebell Workout

What’s up guys! It’s hard to believe that October is already here and soon Halloween will be knocking on our door.  What the @!&@# happened! Personally, I love the months of September/October. As much as I love summer, the warm weather, going to the beach and not having to bundle up in a million layers, fall is one of the best times of the year. The air is crisp, the changing of the leaves are awesome and as great as summer is, it’s great to have a break from 90 degree weather with humidity. Fall adds balance and symmetry to the year.

As we train, balance and symmetry are also what we are chasing with our workouts. Whether you are seeking symmetry just for aesthetics or muscular balance and control to be better able to move and perform outside the gym, balance is a key component to that. Balance from our left to right side and front and back of our bodies.

With that in mind, today’s kettlebell workout will focus on unilateral movements combined with supersets. Supersets are performing two exercises back to back with no rest in-between. If you haven’t used supersets before they are a great way to really up the intensity factor and get yourself going. Not only that but they can allow you to pack in more work in less time. There are many ways to do supersets but for this workout we’ll have you targeting the same muscles for each pair of exercises.  

So get ready to push yourself with this pre-Halloween workout, but most of all have fun with it and keep challenging yourself!

Get cut like a Jack-O-lantern kettlebell workout

Perform each pair of exercises then rest; repeat the same pair for 3 (or 4) sets  

Sets: 3x (4 if being ambitious)

Reps: 15

Put the candy down...It's time to get cut like a jack-o-lantern kettlebell workout

Rest: 45 seconds between supersets  

** Perform a dynamic warm-up to prep your body to train**

Let's Get Started

1A.) Single arm overhead shoulder press

1B.) Single arm upright row

(do both these exercises for reps on one side and then transfer over and do the same on the other side)

2A)  Bent over single arm row, elbow in close to the body leaving your hand in a neutral grip postion

2B) 2 arm kettlebell swing X 2 (1 set after each set of rows)

(do the row for reps on one side, the kettlebell swing, then transfer over and do row on the other side followed by another kettlebell swing)

3A) Single arm press laying on the floor

3B) Push-ups – as many as possible (AMAP)

  1. Regress this exercise if you need to. Knee pushups, or pushups on a raised surface will work. Keep form good! Put your knees down or work at an angle if your pushup form looks like a wet noddle with no core/trunk stability

4A) Single leg squat (weight held by your side on the same side as your squatting leg)

  1. Regress to two legged squats if your balance or strength won’t allow you to single leg squat yet. Hold the kettlebell in the rack position for this regression. Each circuit switch up which side you hold the weight on.

4B) Single leg deadlift (hold the weight in the OPPOSITE hand from the leg you are standing on)

  1. Regress to two feet on the ground and two hands on the kettlebell if unable to stand on 1 leg

5A) Seated Russian twist

5B) Crunches – 20-50 reps depending on ability

Chris Hale, On-line Personal Trainer at Awakened Nutrition

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

Fall is officially here, it is time to stop slacking, get back to the weights and put the work in! Hopefully the summer happy hours and vacation off-plan eating hasn’t wrecked you too badly! We’ve all been there…. I mean I haven’t (who am I kidding), but I understand things happen. Haha!  Fall is a season of change and if you are looking for a new and exciting way to change up your workouts, kettlebells just might be the answer. So have some fun, mix things up, and starting adding some kettlebell work into your weekly workout routine.

Strength in large part is a neuromuscular skill. It’s not simply about having more muscle mass. When we are training with kettlebells we are working on improving the skill of your nervous system. The purpose is not to approach it like a traditional body part split routine training only parts of the body but working with an eye to improving how your body moves as a unit. Control, speed, accuracy and consistency that you can skillfully apply are the goals. As your movement patterns improve and your body adapts, your ability to work with heavier loads and do more complicated moves will bring about the strength that most of us are after.

Aside from strength, doing this circuit is also an awesome way to get off the treadmill or other machine and start using your body for real to do cardio. Instead of jumping on a machine for a one plane of motion boring routine think about picking up a kettlebell and use more muscles to achieve better results!

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

Circuit: 3x

Reps: 15-20

Rest: 60-90 seconds between circuits

** Perform a dynamic warm-up to get the body better ready to move

NOTE: during the circuit don’t put the kettlebell down unless you are moving to another exercise & you have to or you need to grab a heavier or lighter kettlebell to work with. Your goal should be to be able to do all the exercises with the same weight.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

Let's Get Started!

1.)    Goblet squat

2.)    Deadlift

3.)    Rack postion, single arm front squat (10 right, 10 left) 

4.)    Single arm overhead shoulder press 

5.)    Standing upright row (2 hands on the kettlebell) 

6.)    Pushups, 1 hand on the kettlebell, one on the floor

a.       Regress this exercise if you need to. Knee pushups, or regular pushups on the floor or a raised surface will work.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners

7.)    Wide elbow, bent over kettlebell row 

8.)    Front plank (on forearms) - 30 seconds, Side plank - 30 seconds, Side plank - 30 seconds

a.       Try and transition from front to side planks without coming down to the floor

9.)    Seated Russian twist  

Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners
Personal Trainer, Chris Hale
Full Body Kettlebell Workout For Beginners


Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa


It's hard to believe that summer has come to an end and we will be welcoming the new fall season tomorrow! Chris and I have been holding onto summer with everything we've got and made one last beach trip last Saturday. The weather was absolutely amazing and we stayed pretty much all day. Thank goodness we chose to go Saturday because the weather immediately changed to a nice breezy fall day on Sunday. No complaints here though because we love fall just as much as summer!

Are you the type of person who holds onto to your favorite seasons? Or how about your favorite weekly meals? 

It is easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same foods over and over each week. To be honest, I find I am able to stick to a healthier meal plan when I don't have to think too much about what my next meal will be, but that can be so boring at times! So this summer, Chris and I have tried to live a little more adventurously and try some new foods and recipes to spruce up our menu. Some of the foods we have been enjoying are organic corn, shrimp, goat cheese, cauliflower pizza crusts, farina (ground brown rice), and gluten-free flatbread buns made out of tapioca flour. 

Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa via AwakenedNutrition.com

One of our favorite recipes that we have made over and over is this zesty avocado shrimp and corn salsa. It's a great recipe because you can change it up each time by adding or taking away ingredients and it tastes delicious every time! We love to make ours a little spicy and with extra pink salt. :) You can enjoy the shrimp salsa over a salad, as a taco in a corn or brown rice tortilla, or on a simple organic corn tortilla chip. 

This is a great recipe to try now that summer is coming to a close, because soon our shopping carts will be filled with pumpkins and squash. YUM! 

I realize that not everyone can eat corn these days so I have included some swaps for corn below. Maybe you have some other favorite veggie ingredients that would taste amazing in this salsa mix. I would love to hear what amazing things you come up with so make sure to keep me posted in the comments below. 

Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa 

Zesty Avocado Shrimp and Corn Salsa via AwakenedNutrition.com
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb or 1.5 cups raw medium size shrimp, peeled/deveined
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil for shrimp sauté 
  • 2 cups organic frozen sweet corn
  • 1.5 cups Roma tomato, chopped 
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup avocado, chopped 
  • 1 lime or lemon juiced 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Penzey’s forward spice or use any other spiced seasoning of your choice such as cayenne, chili and cumin powder to taste 

Additional ingredients that could be added for extra flavor or substitutions:

  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Red or green pepper instead of corn
  • Chopped zucchini instead of corn
  • Jicama instead of corn 


  1. In a sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium or medium-low heat. Add peeled shrimp, salt, pepper and forward spice to taste. Sauté a couple of minutes on each side until shrimp is pink and no longer translucent. Once done, set aside to cool. Once cool, chop shrimp into small chunks.
  2. Defrost frozen corn in either the microwave or on stove top with a little water. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Chop your avocado and Roma tomatoes into small cubes and dice red onion finely by hand or in a food processor. I used the Cuisinart Mini Food Prep.
  4. Juice your lime or lemon.
  5. In a large bowl, add all prepared ingredients, extra salt, pepper and forward spice and mix thoroughly. 
  6. Place in fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool and serve with either organic tortilla chips or corn tortillas. Enjoy!




Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!


What The Hell Are Kettlebells? And What’s With All That Swinging?

Kettlebells have been around for a really long time and are nothing new to fitness, but in the last 5-10 years kettlebells have become much more prevalent in the big box/corporate gyms that many of us go to.  Unless you are the gym, Planet Fitness…. Then you have only treadmills, a smith machine and a small smattering of dumbbells. I kid! Not really though.  Just make sure not to make any noise or put any effort in there or you might be asked to leave. Ok!  Mini rant over.  Ha!

What The Hell Are Kettlebells? And What’s With All That Swinging?

Kettlebells originated out of Eastern Europe many moons ago. As folklore would have it Kettlebells were used as counterweights in Russian markets, then after hours when the market closed, farmers would use the Kettlebells to swing and toss around both for fun and for physical exercise.  

As with most resistance training techniques the Russians/Eastern Europe where the first to start incorporating kettlebells for exercise.  In the 1980s Russia, Kettlebells started to be used to raise the popularity of physical culture.  In 1981, the USSR Weightlifting Federation established a Kettlebell commission in order to keep the masses fit and help decrease healthcare costs. Kettlebells were an easy way to get weights in people’s hands and get them moving without having to have an entire collection or different weights and machines.

The USSR had a unique position in history. 

-          They had complete control over what to use/promote for health and fitness

-          They had the most advanced sports and human performance scientists at the time

-          A need to minimize upfront costs & a desire to reduce long term health expenses

-          Desire to maximize the longevity and work capacity of its population

Their choice of tool to achieve these goals was the Kettlebell.  Today, we live in a society that’s sole motive is to sell and market without a need or concern if what they are selling is actually achieving the results that are desired.

 Kettlebells are about efficiency. Efficiency of movement, cost , space needed and they are multipurpose. Perfect for a home gym setup as all you need is 1-2 appropriately challenging Kettlebells, a little bit of space and you have a home gym!

Another aspect that makes Kettlebells unique from other weights is that the weight is not perfectly centered in the hand. The weight and center of gravity is away from the hand on a handle and better mimics objects that one would actually come into contact with in the real world. ie.  A backpack. You have a strap with off centered weight from the handle or strap.  The take away here is that Kettlebells will better mimic the type of objects we will actually encounter in the real world.

The benefits of Kettlebells include:

-          Strength

-          Endurance

-          Caloric expenditure

-          Functianal movement patterns

-          Improvement in timing and space awareness

-          Better balance

-          Improved coordination

-          Focus

-          Injury prevention

Injury prevention is one of the big benefits of Kettlebells. Most often injuries incur during deceleration of weight . For example jumping.  Landing and absorbing the force of the jump is where most people injure themselves. Not the initial leap.  Kettlebells help teach your body to better manipulate weight that is not perfectly centered in your hand and to better absorb force through rapid, smooth deceleration by spreading forces through the body.  Kettlebells help promote trunk stability and encourage hip dominant movement.

In summary, Kettlebells are great for training the body to manipulate weight more efficiently, learning to absorb force through the body, are low cost and easy to have and use for home (or in the gym) to achieve great results in less time.

 “Physical fitness is the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness without undue fatigue and ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies”. -  According to The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport

So the next time you are thinking about what to add to your home gym arsenal without spending a fortune or you want to add a new challenge to your body and shake up how you go about your workouts give Kettlebells a try!


Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotic Review


As most of you know, I have suffered from food allergies, leaky gut and some other really fun health issues for a little while now. Ever since I started my health journey several years back and became a holistic health coach a couple years ago, I’ve been on a search for great information on natural gut health and ways to detoxify my body to keep me as healthy as possible. I have a few go-to websites that I frequent often and one of those sites is Mercola.com. Dr. Mercola is an Osteopathic Physician which means he practices a “whole body” approach with his patients rather than treating just the symptoms. He empowers people to be an advocate for their own health by providing tons of valuable information on pretty much any natural health topic you are looking for. Any time I want to learn more about leaky gut, a specific herb, or any other health related topic I search on Dr. Mercola’s blog because he seriously has it all! So when I was contacted by them to try out some of his health supplements and host a probiotic giveaway this summer, I was really excited! Especially when they told me what they were going to send me.

I received the following awesome products:

I wanted to host this giveaway because I really believe in power of probiotics and the amazing benefits they can have on our health and digestion. I love to get probiotics from food, such as delicious sauerkraut, and supplement sources because I feel that I personally get great benefits from both!

About 80% of our immune system is in our gut and over the years, I have found out firsthand how important it is to keep gut health in check in order to digest food and absorb nutrients from food, keeps inflammation in the body down, keeps us from getting sick as frequently, helps boost brain health and improves mood, and helps to overcome leaky gut. There are so many more reasons out there why someone would want to take a probiotic, it’s really amazing what they can do for us!

Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotichas a whopping 70 billion CFU (colony-forming units) per serving and has been tested for survivability in the stomach and intestinal track. This is important because we need to make sure that the good bugs can actually survive the trip in order for them to do their jobs efficiently! I took the probiotic capsules each night before bed so the good bugs could get to work while I was asleep. I could really tell a positive difference in my digestive system as it helped keep things moving right along as they should...if you know what I mean. ;) I also loved that it is a multi-strain probiotic and that there are no added fillers like milk, soy, corn, or gluten. Those extra ingredients are just unnecessary!


The Full Spectrum Enzymes were a nice addition to my meal time routine as I always use a digestive enzyme with meals to help break down the food I eat and to make sure my body is absorbing all the nutrients and to keep my digestion working well.

So today I am giving away 1 bottle of the Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotic (click the link to learn more about the product) so you can have the chance to give them a try too! All you have to do is leave me a blog comment on why you want to win the Dr. Mercola's Complete Probiotic and confirm you did that in the Rafflecopter giveaway box. The winner will be selected at random. You must be either a US or Canadian resident to win. The giveaway ends on Sunday, September 20th and with winner will be announced on Monday, 9/21. Good luck!



Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post and I only received products to use for myself and for giveaway purposes, the opinions expressed in the post is based on my own experience with the products.

5 Yummy Recipes To Try During The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Exsoycise is now Awakened Nutrition & Training, a blog for health seekers, food lovers and dream body builders!

5 Yummy Recipes To Try During The 21 Day Sugar Detox #21DSD

When I did the 21 Day Sugar Detox a couple years ago to curb my sugar cravings, I had really amazing results like better sleep, more energy, clearer skin and weight loss. It wasn't all roses and daisies the entire time because I missed a lot of foods that I loved, but I was on a mission to get through the 21 days. So to keep my menu exciting, I was always looking for new amazing recipes. This week, I want to introduce you all to some yummy new recipes from some fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors that you will definitely want to add to your menu whether you are doing the 21DSD or just looking to shake things up in the kitchen! These recipes are all soy, dairy, gluten, grain and sugar-free. If you aren't familiar with the 21DSD,  you can read my recap of it here or check out the book here or the online program here. Let me know which recipes you will try!

Carrot Ginger Meatballs via Plaid and Paleo


Raw Carrot Onion Crackers via Healthy Helper Blog


Easy Chicken Kebabs via Food Pleasure & Health

No Fail Cauliflower Crust Pizza via Healthy Helper Blog


Curry Spice Drumsticks via Awakened Nutrition & Training

Leave me a comment below and let me know what some of your favorite sugar detox approved recipes are!


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Full Body Stability/Strength Workout that Will Kick Your Ass (If you do it right)

This workout is a great way to use those dumbbells that you may have lying around your house and squeeze out more strength and value from them. If you are in the gym you can take your pick with any dumbbell you think you can use and keep the tempo and form. At home you are probably limited to 1-3 different dumbbell weights so your options are more limited… but that’s ok! The slower tempo (if done right) is going to make the workout and exercises much more challenging!

Full Body Stability/Strength Workout that Will Kick Your Ass (If you do it right)


Stability ball

1 or 2 dumbbells

Strategies Used:


Slower tempo (4/2/1 count)

Approximately 4 second to lower a weight or your body, 2 seconds to hold and stabilize the weight, 1 second to press or pull a weight


  • Circuit: 2x through working up to 3x through
  • Reps: 20
  • Tempo: slow (4/2/1)

 Full Body Stability/Strength Workout

1A) Stability Ball plank: 30-60 seconds

  • Forearms on ball, feet on floor
Stability Ball plank

1B) Glute bridge on the stability ball

  • Upper back on ball face up position
  • 2 seconds squeeze at the top of the movement
Glute Bridge on Stability Ball
Single arm stability ball DB chest press

1C) Single arm stability ball DB chest press

  • Lay on the stability ball so that your head and upper back are supported and your hips are lifted. Feet should be about hip to shoulder width apart with your feet staying straight

NOTE: Regress to 2 arms if you are feeling too unstable or can’t maintain form


Standing Single arm “birddog” row

1D) Standing Single arm “birddog” row

  • Start with left hand on ball and a dumbbell in your right; hinge at the waist so that the opposite leg from your rowing arm is lifted up and pointed straight back (maintained through the whole movement).


1E) Single leg squat OR slow tempo squat

Standing single leg/single arm dumbbell side raise

1F) Standing single leg/single arm dumbbell side raise

  • ie. Stand on your left leg and with the weight in your left hand bring the weight out to your side approximately shoulder height. Hold the weight at the top for 2 seconds before slowly lowering back to your side and repeat for reps.
Chris Hale

Easy Scrambled Avocado Ham Egg Cups

We are always looking for ways to make our lives easier while using the best possible ingredients to keep us healthy and stay in line with our personal health goals. One thing we do often is prepare our breakfast meals at the beginning of the week especially if we have a busy week ahead of us. An easy breakfast to make are these scrambled avocado ham egg cups. They are great when you are on the go and don’t want to sacrifice taste! Plus they take care of your protein and fat needs so all you have to do is cover your clean carbohydrate and you have a complete meal! Chris loves to make a big batch of oatmeal ahead of time for the week and I am more of a sweet potato gal so I will roast sweet potatoes in the oven. This recipe only calls for 6 eggs which will last about 3 days at 2 egg cups per serving. If you want to make egg cups for the whole week, just add 2 extra egg cups per mix or you can just double the recipe. Also, you can use different ingredients in each egg cup if you really want to have variety throughout the week! Try to use organic ingredients when you can to avoid GMO’s and harmful pesticide residue on your food. Enjoy and let us know what egg cup combinations you come up with! 

Easy Scrambled Avocado Ham Egg Cups


Scrambled Avocado Ham Egg Cups

2 Egg Cups Per Serving

  • 6 organic pasture-raised eggs (1 egg per muffin cup)
  • 1 medium organic plum tomato, diced
  • 1/3 avocado, chopped
  • 6-10 sliced low sodium, sliced ham (larger ham slices work best)
  • Salt and pepper to taste, cayenne pepper if you are really feeling saucy! 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Grab a muffin pan that holds at least 6 cups. With a paper towel, apply coconut oil to all sides of each tin cup to prevent sticking.
  3. In a bowl, scramble your egg mixture with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you'd like. Use 1 egg for each egg cup you plan to make, so if you make 12 egg cups, you need 12 eggs.
  4. Place ham into muffin cups to form a bowl. If your ham slices are smaller like mine were, then use 1 1/2 slices of ham by cutting ham slices in half and place one slice on the bottom of the cup and the other two slices around the sides to form your bowl.
  5. Place avocado slices and diced tomato into each egg cup then pour scrambled egg mixture into all of the egg cups. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until no longer runny. Enjoy! 

What's your favorite egg and veggie breakfast combination?

Amber Williford, Health Coach

Chocolate Coco Banana Protein Smoothie Recipe

Chocolate coco banana protein smoothie - great post-workout treat!

This smoothie recipe is an old favorite of mine. It has a great balance of carbs, fat and protein which makes it a complete meal when you are on the go or if you are fueling up after an intense workout. It also packs a big nutrient punch with gut flora balancing coconut kefir, antioxidant rich cacao powder, and mineral rich pumpkin protein powder PLUS it's soy and dairy-free.

Chocolate Coco Banana Protein Smoothie - Serves 1

  • 2 Tbsps pumpkin protein powder or 1 scoop of your favorite brand (I shoot for at least 20g protein per serving)
  • 2 Tbsps cacao powder
  • 1 cup coconut kefir, I used store bought but you can make it at home too!
  • 1 small banana
  • 2 Tbsp organic almond butter
  • Stevia to taste (I like mine sweet!)

Mix all together in a blender (I list all my fave blenders here), add cold water or unsweetened coconut milk if needed. Enjoy!

What are your favorite go-to smoothie ingredients?


Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (also, nut-free!)

I have been mostly gluten-free for a few years or so now because of the nasty effects that gluten can have on ones gut and physical health and I really haven't found any gluten-free bread replacements that I can really stand behind. Mostly because of their long list of ingredients and the GF breads that I do approve of are just so darn pricey. So I have cut out all types of homemade sandwiches and wraps over the years and since they haven't been on the menu for so long I don't really miss them very often...BUT from time to time I get a hankering for one.

I've tried making some coconut flour breads in the past but they usually called for a ton of eggs because coconut four is super dense and I just can't eat eggs in large quantities without having respiratory issues. Plus I could never really get them to hold together enough to make a sandwich with. So recently during my 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat group program, myself and others shared a couple soy, dairy, gluten and egg-free tortilla and na'an recipes using different flours like quinoa, almond and tapioca flour. I tried several of my own recipe variations with other fours I had on hand but they just never came out quite right. Then I used tapioca for the first time and noticed how amazingly you could create a bread-like bun using only a few ingredients. So after several experimental recipes I have settled on a delicious gluten-free flatbread bun made of brown rice an tapioca flour.

I've enjoyed the bun with both chicken breast and a burger patty topped with tomato and avocado and the bun has stayed intact every time. Not only does it stay intact while eating the whole sandwich but it also travels well to make sandwiches at the beach or on a picnic. Best of all it tastes buttery delicious! 

I have this sandwich about one meal a day as this is by no means a low carb sandwich as it has about 43g of carbohydrates. So don't go crazy and eat three of them once you taste how yummy they are! The great thing is it's void of all the junk ingredients that most processed packaged gluten and gluten-free breads have which makes your body happier and healthier!

Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)

Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun

  1. Pre-heat a flat pan to medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly stir in olive oil and then water, make sure it does not become too liquidy. If it the mix does look too runny, add less water. 
  3. Spray the pan lightly. I use a misto oil sprayer to avoid soy and chemicals. Pour liquid out into 2 round flat pancake like circles. 
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side until the bun starts to slightly brown. Then flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with your favorite protein and toppings. 

Tips for travel: If you don't plan to eat the sandwich right away, let the bun cool first then wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a ziplock bag. The paper towel may stick to the bun but it will remove easily.

Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)
Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!