Yoga Workout for Active Recovery + Daily Multi-Vitamin for Wellness!

New-Chapter_Blog-Photo-11Training is hard. Rest days are harder, often they can be a hard pill to swallow!  I hear this from dedicated runners, triathletes CrossFitters, obstacle course racers, weight-lifters and other hard-core athletes all the time. In fact, I often fight the urge to workout 365, even when I know rationally that my body needs adequate time to recover from a hard effort on the track or in the gym. In part, it’s this drive to go balls out regardless of pain and suffering that distinguishes winners from losers on game day. However, keeping this mindset every day of the week can wear you down mentally, tear you down physically and get you stuck in a rut where you’ve plateaued and are no longer making gains.

jennifer laughing crossfit situpBut who among the athletic elite (and even us regular people just striving to be the best we can be) want to sit around on the couch all day, waiting for some sort of generic mandate of “not moving a muscle” to pass?!  That’s not really the best option mentally and physically either. Activities on these light load days should take into consideration your current fitness level and fatigue felt from the previous workout – less volume, less intensity (less than 60% effort) and keeping it fun are the key points!  My go-to active recovery day includes a short walk followed by a gentle, stretching yoga sequence to help flush out toxins and encourage mobility so I’ll be ready to go harder the next day! Here is one of my favorite active recovery “Rest Day” Yoga Workouts:

Yoga Rest Day Workout for Active Recovery

Getting enough sleep (7 to 8 hours would be optimal), rehydrating with plenty of water (check out my post on 50 Shades of Pee) and eating well with a focus on fresh vegetables and fruit paired with lean proteins are also important to workout recovery.

Another important part of recovery is eating right, right?! Most of us are aware that carbohydrates metabolize into the quickly-sourced energy that powers performance and that consuming a protein-rich snack post-workout (in a 3:1 to 4:1 carb to protein ratio) helps repair muscle and tissue taxed by exercise. But what you eat every day, day in and day out, has a profound effect on athletic performance too – you can’t outrun a poor diet!

New-Chapter_Blog-Photo-24

In addition to eating a balanced diet of lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies and healthy whole grains, I I also take a daily multivitamin to make sure my bases are covered. Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin from New Chapter caught my attention from the hundreds (if not 1000s of different brands out there) because of the way that it’s made. These vitamins are fermented with probiotics and whole foods and gentle enough to take any time – even first thing in the morning on an empty stomach!  I’ve never feel woozy or nauseous after taking any of their products.

Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin from New Chapter is ideal for active women because it contains extra nutrients for energy support, stress support†, immune support and bone support.* And, this award-winning vitamin (BEST Multivitamin Award.  Delicious Living 2016 Supplement Awards) is Non-GMO Project Verified, made with certified organic vegetables & herbs, vegetarian, kosher, gluten free and has no synthetic fillers. I love how they are equally helpful to the planet as they are to us – all ingredients are mindfully and sustainably sourced!

You can purchase Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin at a number of online retailers including Amazon.com– love how I can usually get free shipping and also save by setting up a subscription (because, it really sucks to run out of vitamins)!

What are your tips for recovery and general wellness for an active lifestyle? Are you racing competing, training or taking it easy this weekend — please share in the comments, I’d love to chat! XOXO — Jennifer 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, care, or prevent any disease.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Live Happy, Live Healthy, Live Now + NOW Foods #Giveaway

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of NOW Foods.

 I think my new “Live Happy, Live Healthy, Live NOW” shirt sums it all up to a T! When a company whose products you already love, loves you back with double-puffy-hearted hospitality, it’s a win-win-win – for me, for them, for YOU! Recently, I was invited to visit Now Foods at their Midwest Operations Facility and Corporate Headquarters in Bloomingdale, IL (a suburb of Chicago) to learn more about their products lines, core values and mission to “enable people to live healthier lives.” NOW Foods Blogger Immersion 2016 It was a fun and fact-filled two days with a group of other health and fitness influencers.  Of course, we naturally had fit a group workout into the festivities and headed over to Lifetime Fitness for a specially developed HIIT workout that targeted 9 body parts to promote Target’s awesome athletic line called “C9.” That serious sweat session was followed by a bit of relaxing yoga and a delicious post-workout smoothie made with nourishing NOW products. NOW Foods Blogger Immersion 2016 My excitement is bubbling over from seeing with my own eyes how NOW products are made from start to finish and meeting with company executives including Jim Emme (CEO) and Dan Richard (son of founder). Oh, and by the way, please feel free to take a virtual tour of the Midwest Operations Facility yourself! NOW Foods Midwest Operations Facility Not only did I get a chance to tour the facilities, but also got to participate in some fun and educational sessions including a presentation by the lovely Dr. Wendy Bazilian on Food Tribes (more about this in an upcoming post) and impact these different diet choices (like Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan, etc) have on athletic performance. It was also fun to partake in a DIY session where we made our own Aromatherapy Bath Soak and also Exercise Equipment Cleaning Spray using very versatile and pesticide/herbicide free Now Essential Oils. So, to recap my amazing experience, I want to share with you three awesome things I learned about this honest, totally-transparent and quality-focused company that started out way-back-when in 1968 as a simple health food store.  Also, make sure to read through to the end, they are generously sponsoring an enormous giveaway of products for one lucky reader to win! 1) NOW Foods makes and sells nearly everything on my shopping list! Seriously, I think this company makes almost everything I need to support my healthy living . . . except fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only does Now Foods make a vast array of vitamins, supplements and sports nutrition products (how I first found them), but they also have an impressive selection of personal care and wellness items, essential oils, healthy foods and even natural pet care products! Even though this large company produces so many different items, each individual product is very thoughtfully and carefully made — it’s as if each came from a single-focus boutique operation. There is just that much passion among the employees at this company that has been recognized as one of the “101Best & Brightest” to work in the nation!

Now Sports Plant Protein Complex and Sprouted Brown Rice Protein  Over here to the left, a couple of the protein powders that started my love affair with NOW Foods. Oh, and their food lines is amazing and so many of their products, from BetterStevia™ (it really is better) to gourmet, small-batch Ellyndale Foods™ to  , are the foundation for many of my healthy recipes on the blog including my Kiwi, Apricot and Feta Salad with Hemp Honey Dressing   (I used their organic hemp seeds and avocado oil for this yummy summer dish). Gold Kiwi Apricot & Feta Salad with Honey Hemp Dressing is an easy, elegant and amazingly nutritious addition to your dinner party. Also, the Living Now™  line up is has a nice variety of tasty, junk-free products that make it easier and more convenient to keep a gluten-free diet. Ellyndale Gourmet Oils by Now FoodsWe also had an interesting and informative “oil tasting” led by the adorable and talented Executive Chef in their corporate test kitchen. Apparently, there is a proper way to appreciate the flavor of oils (think wine tasting) and I slurped in little bits of various oils one at a time, from pumpkin seed and almond to olive and sesame, and let them slowly wash over my tongue!  At the end of this taste-test, I have very moist lips as a whipped up a homemade berry salad dressing using the macadamia nut oil.  We also made to-go salads for our travel home that day and packed our jars from a rainbow array of produce, nuts and healthy grains – of course, I went straight to the Organic Tri-Colored Quinoa from  NOW Real Food™ , one of my favorites ( because, when meat isn’t on the menu, this near-celebrity-status seed offers a complete amino acid chain). Jar Salad with Now Foods Tri Colored Quinoa 2) NOW products are a blessing for my body and budget Now Foods products are both affordable AND high-quality — gasp, I know!  These two factors are important to so many of us trying to live, role model and share our passion for the “fit life.” It’s such a common assumption in the natural health food and supplement industry that the more expensive, the better   — not so! In fact, many times (not always), an expensive product is actually quite cheap in quality and just jacked up with a big marketing budget. But NOW Foods never tries to trick you into thinking that you’re getting something you’re not. They don’t waste money (which is ultimately your $) on overkill advertising because they are confident that their products always stand up to the test – literally!

My reaction at the hotel to my bags full of NOW products! High quality and affordable, whoohoo!

My reaction at the hotel to my bags full of NOW products! High quality AND affordable, whoohoo!

Just one example, I can get NOW Whey Protein Isolate for double the amount for half the price (okay, that’s a generalization, but the point is it’s a very good deal) as many other brands I’ve tried – plus the macros are spot on in my opinion, as opposed to many of the other protein powder options out there. Same goes for product after product in their collection of hundreds (if not thousands) of different items. NOW also maintains a highly efficient, low-error operations facility that helps keep costs down.  And, because NOW is privately-owned, they don’t have to jack up prices to please profit-margin focused shareholders – actually, NOW wants to please YOU, even if that means a little less moola in their own pockets 3) NOW Tests to be the Best

NOW Foods labratory

Learning some of the high-tech testing that goes on at the $40M lab at NOW.

So what did I just mean when I just said in #2 that “products always stand up to the test”?  I mean that NOW is highly committed to quality and bringing you the cleanest, safest products. Their 263,000 square foot facility is widely regarded as one of the most scientifically-advanced in the natural products industry. The $40+ million lab of this privately-owned company is simply amazing and is nearly unmatched both nationally and world-wide. I could tell from the giddy grins on the otherwise serious chemists, bio-scientists and other laboratory professionals’ faces that the NOW lab was THE place to be. jennifer now foods facilityNot only does NOW test the quality of their finished products, but they also monitor and maintain quality all through the entire manufacturing process which starts with product development and receiving raw ingredients from vendors and ends with storing in appropriate thermostatically-controlled environments and shipping out from a precision-inspired, highly-streamlined warehouse.  They also keep samples from each batch of products for a lengthy six years to ensure that if there ever is a problem, they can identify and correct immediately. I really appreciate that NOW is very transparent about the make-up of their natural products, ingredient lists and macros for nearly everything on their website. Plus, with all this testing I’ve described – I am 100% confident I’m getting what’s sold. Plus, they stand by their products if there ever is a rare, rare, rare exception.  The overwhelming majority of NOW products certified organic and non-GMO, those few that aren’t are always in the pipeline to meet those standards as soon as viable in the ingredient sourcing process. Feel free to read more about the Must Use Ingredients and Must NEVER Use Ingredients. Join the twitter chat on June 16th (9PM EST) to learn get into the conversation — follow @NOWfoodsand #NOWgetfit Gigantic giveaway of NOW products Enter my giveaway for a huge haul of NOW products, the same two huge bags of items they sent me home with!  It’s so much stuff, I can’t even describe it all – but it’s a bit of everything (probably $200+ at least) and you won’t be disappointed! USA only! Thank you FitFulFocus.com for the photo of loot, because I was so excited to try everything that I forgot to snap a pic! Don’t miss #NOWGetFit Twitter Party 6/16 9pm EST w/ me @NowFoods and @Fitfluential #ad a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giant Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie #TheNaturalCitizen

Sometimes I stumble onto something while shopping and I’m all like “ooooh, I want that so bad. . . but I totally don’t need it right now, I have way too many.” Usually, I cave in . . . and quick! Case in point, the continually growing size of my already enormous running shoe, compression sock, flip flop, trucker hat, miniature bowl, exotic herb, flavored tea and protein powder collections.

The Natural Citizen Organic ProteinYeah, yeah, I have a stock pile of protein powder of all different ilks and ingredients . . . some of it I found, must most found me for review or recipe development.  Naming a “best” protein powder is really so subjective, basically it boils down to individual nutrition needs, lifestyle, taste and tolerance. But, dang, some protein powders are definitely choices than others! My practical side tells me to use up all my stash before I actually BUY the product I prefer.But let me tell you, I recently found a protein powder that had me running to the trash with my mother lode of “meh” products – it’s the Organic Protein from The Natural Citizen. By the way, use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com        

Baking with Organic Protein from Natural Citizen

This new plant-based Organic Protein powder is totally on point to boost your next smoothie, but I’ve also used it for baking everything from pancakes and cookies – check out my Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie recipe below!  This protein powder is sublimely simple, and that gives me control over what I do or don’t put it my recipe. On its own, this powdered supplement has just four organic, whole food ingredients – hemp protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi protein. One serving delivers 15 grams of vegan protein per serving along with fiber, omega fatty acids and amino acids – oh, and for only 80 calories!  Plus, there are no added flavors and other undesirable “extras” so the taste of Mother Nature’s other wholesome food can shine through.Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.

So, raise your hand if you want a cookie for breakfast but thing you shouldn’t?!  Well, my single-serve Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie will make you think you’re really splurging first thing out of bed, but actually its super healthy and balanced with 25 grams protein for sustained energy and muscle-making and 25 clean carbs to help power your body and brain for the morning’s tasks, workouts or whatever you do! In about 15 minutes from start to finish, you’ll be enjoying a super-sized, under-300-calorie cookie with your morning coffee – and that’s my cup of tea!  It’s also gluten-free, if that is a concern.

Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a gluten-free, single serve way to start the day -- or eat later for a healthy snack.

The Natural Citizen has a full line of other wonderful products that are all non-gmo, organic, gluten-free and vegan including Organic Digest, Organic Greens, and  Organic Energy.natural citizen productsAs a totally on-the-go person who probably doesn’t get as much sleep as she needs, I’ve fallen in love with the Organic Energy. This blend features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support – no more getting jacked up on too much caffeine.  I found the ripest, sweetest Texas melon yesterday and blended up this recipe for a Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie.

Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support.

Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie - Natural Citizen

This is how you make the Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie:

Blend together and pour in tall glass (or melon bowl):

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2/3 cup chopped honeydew
  • 1 scoop Organic Energy
  • Stevia,  to taste
  • Ice, as needed

 

This post is sponsored by The Natural Citizen, however all opinions, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!

Use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com

What is your go-to morning meal? Are you getting enough protein at breakfast (you need around 25g)?! What are your non-negotiables in a protein powder? What do you “collect”? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
Print Recipe
3 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking blend 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons e 1 teaspoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon dehydrated cherries (about 10)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
Print Recipe
3 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking blend 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons e 1 teaspoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon dehydrated cherries (about 10)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, mix together protein powder, oats, baking blend, stevia and chia seeds until combined.
  2. To these dry ingredients, add coconut oil and egg white and stir until incorporated. Use hands to form into one large dough ball.
  3. Spray center of baking sheet with cooking spray, or use silicone baking sheet. Set dough ball on top of this spot.
  4. Use hands or spray a flat-bottomed bowl with cooking spray and press down on dough ball until spread out approximately 5 inches in diameter. Use hands to shape sides, if needed.
  5. Top cookie dough with dehydrated or dried cherry pieces and almonds and lightly press down with bowl again to “set” them. You can also just mix these into the dough, if you don’t want to get fancy.
  6. Bake at 350 F degrees in the oven (or toaster oven) for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or center set and edges and top turning light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest on pan for 2 minutes. Eat.
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Buh-Bye Bloat! Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.Oh, we all have those days when the dreaded bloat is out of control. Personally, sometimes my tummy can stick out more than my butt.  I’ve reduced my family to tears of hysteria (and fear) on more than one occasion by sticking out my distended middle as far as humanly possible – I look like a skinny 6-month pregnant woman or have an awful basketball sized tumor!  Maybe it’s too much salt, not enough water, low fiber intake, that time of the month . . . or all of the above. I think we can all agree that being bloated and retaining water is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but also a self-confidence shaker – even though we all know that by eating healthfully, this gut grief not a lasting situation. Can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’ll share pictures of me taken within a short period of time — before dinner and already bloated (left) and feeling fabulous early one morning (right)! .

Rather than staying swollen up like a balloon, you can stop the suffering and get on the path to that slim and trim you with my Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie.  Packed with all sorts of healthy ingredients that promote healthy digestion and hydration, this green smoothie recipe is also very light, so you don’t have to fret about overdoing the liquid calories.

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles

detox smoothie nutrition

For under 120 calories, you get a 20-ounce glass of goodness that has no added sugar, progresses you towards your daily fiber needs, and even has a touch of protein from the dandelion (surprise!) It’s also rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin K.

Here’s a rundown on the ingredients and how they can tame your tummy troubles.

Cucumber: Not only is this veggie is loaded with water (95% to be exact) which helps improve hydration, it also is a good source of a flavonoid antioxidant called quercetin that help reduce inflammation and puffiness – that’s why  we have all long-loved to put slices over our eyes.

Coconut Water: High in potassium and other electrolytes, this watery juice from inside the coconut helps to flush sodium out of the body and restore healthy hydration levels. For convenience, I love to have this Coconut Water Powder on hand.

Banana: Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps manage fluid levels in our bodies and can assist in shedding salt-related water retention. Also, this dietary fiber in this popular fruit keeps things moving along in your digestive system.

Ginger:  This root is a wonder when it comes to health benefits, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, migraine relief and more. It also contains an enzyme that optimized the absorption of proteins and Lessing protein-related bloating and gas in the process.

Dandelion Greens: Dandelion greens (as well as the root) are a fantastic detox food that cleanses the liver, flushing toxins and excess water out – perfect if you have lots of water retention. Dandelions have a surprising amount of protein for a “green” and even more calcium than spinach.  You can also use the greens (mainly found in the early spring) in salads or sautés or reap benefits from drinking a dandelion tea or taking a dandelion root extract or supplement.

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles

Linking Up With: Happy Fit Mama, The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger, Chocolate Runner Girl, Jill Conyers,

Have you ever tried dandelion greens before? What do you do to beat bloating? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothi
Print Recipe
Tame your tummy troubles with this low-cal smoothie filled with bloat-busting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, coconut water, ginger and more.
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothi
Print Recipe
Tame your tummy troubles with this low-cal smoothie filled with bloat-busting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, coconut water, ginger and more.
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 20-ounce smoothie
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into tall glass and enjoy immediately.
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Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Your Body on Stress and How 5-HTP Helps Calm + $25 #Giveaway

Stress stinks and it really does a number on your body, from insomnia and tummy troubles to general grouchiness! Gee, I’ve never had any of these issues (cough, cough). There are some safe ways you can lessen your response to stress though, including working out, yoga, meditation and non-drug supplements.  I’m a big fan of yoga for stress relief (see this past post) and need to make more room for meditation in my life. I also take a supplement called 5-HTP to help support calm and happy mood. Natrol 5-HTP Fast Dissolve

Natrol, a respected manufacturer of vitamins and supplements since 1980, is the brand of 5-HTP I’ve been taking lately. I was familiar with this mood-enhancing supplement previously, thanks to my mom who learned about it from her own healthcare provider.  Knowing I had so many of these symptoms shown below, I immediately started taking it, fingers crossed that it was my stress-busing solution. How Stress Affects the Body

However, I found that I couldn’t keep with the routine of adding even more hard-to-swallow pills to my daily pile of vitamins (I always tend to go for the gummies, chews and quick melts when available). So, I gave up. That is, until I found the Natrol brand that comes in quick dissolve, chewable tablets in a tasty berry flavor. Natrol 5-HTP dissolves 30x faster than regular tablets, meaning your body can more quickly benefit from the bioavailabilty of the active ingredient – and no water is required to get them down the hatch!

Natrol 5-HTP - Fast Disolve

You may be wondering how this drug-free, plant-derived supplement works to boost mood.  Natrol H-5TP encourages calmness in the body by naturally increasing serotonin levels – serotonin is the chemical messenger that pulls the strings on our emotions, mood and behaviors.  Each bottle of Natrol H-5TP has 30 fast-dissolve tablets in a 100mg dose  — look for the purple bottle with UPC: 0-47469-06044-2.  Available at mass-market retailers, online retailers, natural food and supplement stores.

Download the $5 off coupon and try Natrol 5-HTP Fast Dissolve for yourself .

Engage and get in on the social action by following Natrol on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card at TheFitFork.com

I also want to giveaway a $25 Visa Gift Card to one lucky ready, so that you can try this product out yourself – and spend the extra on something that makes you happy! To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter app below by Feb 1,2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway