Tea is . . . my cup of tea! I love that there are so many varieties available that meet me my body where it is for the day, whether that’s requiring an instant pick-me-up, desperately craving better sleep, or feeling bloated and in need a diet detox. Plus, the world’s most popular beverage, is packed with an abundance of antioxidants (varies on the type of tea) to help boost immunity and optimize overall health and well-being. This month, I’ve been jump-starting my mornings with Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte, it’s a exponentially more wholesome, herbal alternative the carbonated sugar-free energy drinks I sometimes guzzle prebreakfast (we all have vices, people). After just a few sips of this steaming green goodness, I know that the cold weather, shortened daylight levels, and lengthy to-do list are going to be so much more bearable.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewWayToSparkle #CollectiveBias
I’ve got my sparkle on! Not just the skirt or the sweat, but I’ve been making every moment sparkle with Dasani Sparkling, a delicious and healthy alternative to sugary carbonated beverages. I drink a ton of water to support my sweaty lifestyle as a runner, obstacle course racer, CrossFit fan and yoga enthusiast – it’s so important to stay hydrated. However, sometimes water starts to get boring and I need a little treat to top off my tank.
Enter Dasani Sparkling . . . especially the two new flavors of this sparkling water brand, Tropical Pineapple and Raspberry Lemonade. Refreshing, flavorful and just the right amount fizz to make me feel like celebrating . . . without the consequences of a cocktail or other adult beverage. It’s easy to transform a can of this no-calorie carbonated water into a yummy mocktail – one of my favorite ways is to add pressed ginger root, stevia and a bit of mint to a can of the Tropical Pineapple flavor. That’s it! Check out the recipe for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca below!
We all know drinking water is essential for athletes, but did you know ginger also works wonders on a physically stressed body? In addition to a host of other benefits, ginger eases up inflammation and muscle pain for those days when you’ve gone all beast mode on a workout. Ginger also helps quell nausea – like when that sprint to the finish line has made you feel like hurling in the nearest trash can. And, if that isn’t enough, ginger boosts the immune system, protects against many types of cancer and relieves migraines.
I hope your enjoy my recipe (below) for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca – the bubbly water has hints of pineapple complemented with the zing of ginger. Dasani Sparkling has no calories straight out of the can, and this drink stays very, very low calorie yet thanks to the addition of a little stevia along with the ginger.
Find more easy-to-make recipes that are refreshing and fun to make with Dasani Sparkling Water by visiting this link: NewWayToSparkle. Purchase the new, sleek cans of Dasani Sparkling at your nearest Target on the bottled water aisle (near the sodas, juice or on an end-cap) for a special intro price of 3 for $9 (plus a 5% cartwheel offer) now through May 1, 2016. #NewWayToSparkle
Do you have a favorite mocktail? Are you a ginger-lover? What do you drink after a workout? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Wild Blueberries . . . I’m, well, just wild about them. I stir them in my oatmeal, toss in my salads, and blend up in smoothies – like this recipe for Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie I’m sharing today. This smoothie is super yummy, and yes it tastes like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided! In one tall glass, you get natural energy and antioxidants from Wild Blueberries, hydration-balancing electrolytes from coconut water and satiating, muscle-making protein from low-fat cottage cheese. I love to make this vibrant Wild Blueberry smoothie for a quick breakfast, as post-workout or long run refueling or as a healthier dessert option after dinner or before bed.
So, back to the berries. Did you know Wild Blueberries aren’t the same thing as regular cultivated blueberries? I was already stalking the frozen aisle to buy these special berries for their intense sweet-tart taste long before I came to learn of all the healthy attributes. For example, Wild Blueberries have double the antioxidant capacity of regular blueberries and recent research is suggesting that they may play an important role in gut and brain health and also lower the incidence of diabetes and certain cancers. Talk about small but mighty!
Wild Blueberries are primarily grown in Main and Eastern Canada and date back more than 10,000 years! About 99% of the crops today are individually quick frozen to lock-in nutrition and taste – it also means you can cater to blueberry cravings anytime of the year just by grabbing a bag out of the freezer. There are many “brands” of Wild Blueberries, and I don’t prefer one over the other — just look for the word “Wild” on the package to ensure you’re getting the most potent and powerful blueberries around!
So, have you ever eaten WILD blueberries? What is your favorite ingredient to put in a smoothie — surprise me, I’m always looking for creative new things to try. Share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
This Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to my Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate – it’s a mug of hot, steamy love. There is no better way to warm up on February 14th, with the exception of a great big hug from your honey. Homemade from the heart, your favorite guy or girl will be tickled pink to sip away at this berry blissful beverage – and you’ll fall in love with how simple it is to make. Read to the bottom for giveaway.
Oh, and something else to adore – instead of fake flavorings, peculiar preservatives and corn syrup sweeteners found in many hot chocolate mixes, this made-from-scratch recipe uses fat-free milk (for the best frothing!), real strawberries and just a touch of added sweetness from Nektar Honey Crystals.
Can you believe this recipe makes it’s own whipped cream?! Well, not really cream, but the air that gets whipped up while blending makes a nice creamy top that is dense enough to hold sprinkles or colored sugar! I don’t really know the science behind it, but fat-free milk works the best for creating foam in the blender or with a frother. If you don’t do dairy, you can swap out for almond, coconut or cashew milk and still end up with a delicious drink.
Since this recipe isn’t over-the-top sugary sweet, indulge your loved one with the perfect pairing – Dark Chocolate Covered & Nektar Honey-Crystal Dusted Pretzels. Ahh, strawberry hot chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels ARE a delicious duo, trust me!
And, it’s always tasteful to express your sentiments with food, words are also nice! Send a FREE “HoneyGram” to your sweetie – along with your personalized note comes with a complementary packet of Nektar Honey Crystals to melt your loved one’s heart. Go HERE to send a HoneyGram – hurry, ends 2/7!
I first discovered Nektar Honey Crystals when looking for a way to pre-sweeten the homemade holiday tea bags I was gifting family and friends – you must check out my DIY Tea Bag post, it’s genius. You also need to check out Nektar Honey Crystals, an equally clever and convenient idea Forget about the sticky mess usually associated with honey, these 100 percent natural crystals are super yummy sweet and deliver the familiar flavor of honey and the convenience of cane sugar anywhere — at home or on-the-go. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten free – pick up a bottle of spoonable crystals or a box of individual on-the-go packets at your local Walmart and also enter my giveaway at the end of this post!
Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate (serves 1)
- 8 ounces fat-free (skim) milk
- 2 to 3 large strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 ounce quality white chocolate, broken into bits
- ½ to 1 teaspoon Nektar Honey Crystals (depending on sweetness preference)
- Garnish: colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired
To make, place milk and strawberries in a blender. Blend together for approximately 45 seconds until strawberries are incorporated and froth areating up on top (strangely enough, skim milk works much better than higher fat milks).
Place blended mixture into small saucepan along with honey crystals and white chocolate. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring gently until white chocolate is melted and drink is heated through. Pour into 12-ounce mug, top with colored sugar or spinkles if desired.
Enter giveaway below to try a bottle of Nektar Honey Crystals!
This post and giveaway sponsored by Nektar Naturals, however the recipe, opinions and enthusiasm are all mine!
Fall and winter are prime time for pomegranates, a delicious superfood with juice and arils (fleshy seeds) that appear in everything from seasonal salads and smoothies to holiday cocktails and desserts. But there is much more to a pomegranate than festive flavor and ruby-red good looks, the prized fruit offers an abundant supply of vitamins, essential minerals, and a rich assortment of antioxidants – it’s also a good source of dietary fiber. It addition helping optimize health and wellness for the general population, pomegranate has several distinctive benefits for runners, ultra runners, cyclists, triathletes, obstacle course racers and other endurance and strength athletes.
Reduces DOMS: A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that the polyphenols found in pomegranate juice may help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in previously resistance-trained individuals. Study participants who drank pomegranate juice, rather than the placebo, reported less incidence of discomfort in the exercises administered to provoke arm and leg soreness. Take away: Drinking pomegranate juice before exercise may lessen soreness and quicken recovery so that you can train again sooner.
Increases Exercise Efficiency: A 2014 study reported in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, sports scientists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say that the nitrates in pomegranate extract enhance exercise efficiency by decreasing oxygen consumption during exercise without limiting performance, increasing blood lactate or increasing energy contribution from glycolysis or the phosphagen system. It’s the same sort of benefit that has also been attributed to consuming beet juice before endurance exercise. Take away: Pomegranate juice or extract supplements may enhance exercise efficiently and increase the amount of time it takes to get to reach exhaustion.
Reduce Inflammation and Bolster Immunity: Pomegranate seeds are rich in specific polyphenols, such as tannins, quercetin and anthocyanins — all of which may offer both heart health and anti-cancer benefits. Studies have shown that quercetin can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation and serves as a natural antihistamine to fight seasonal allergies. Additionally, studies specifically on athletes have suggest this phytochemical bolsters health during the 3 to 72 hour window of impaired immunity following heavy training and also may help increase endurance. Take away: Recover faster and keep from getting sick during intense training cycles with pomegranate.
Quick Source of Energy: A glass of pomegranate juice diluted with a bit of water makes a healthy “sports drink” that will fuel your brain and body with quickly-sourced, natural sugars. Take away: Ditch sugary, store-bought sports drinks and power up with the healthy carbohydrates and antioxidants found in pomegranate juice.
A mocktail featuring pomegranate is the perfect way to ring in 2106 – it’s a tasty toast to your health with no worries about driving home or feeling bad the next day. Shake up your holiday libations with my Smart Tart Pomegranate Meyer Lemon Spritzer, the recipe is simple, has no added sugar and features less acidic Meyer lemons (a hybrid orange-lemon) and the previously mentioned benefits of pomegranate arils and juice — it’s also no coincidence that both these fruits are in peak season as we speak!
Directions: In large pitcher, pour 2 liters sparkling water and mix in 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice, 4 packets Stevia (more or less to taste), and 4 ounces pomegranate arils (along with any juice in bottom of carton). Serve with thinly sliced Meyer lemon. Serves 8.
What are you drinking for New Year’s Eve? Do you seed your own pomegranates or buy the packaged arils?
Since 2013, Starbucks has peddled hundreds of millions of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes making it the unofficial drink of the Fall season. I’ve served up . . .errr, dozens and dozens of my “not so scary” version, but drinking one gets you membership in a much more exclusive club – a club where members care about what their dumping down their bodies.
Did you know that a typical 16-ounce (“grande”) Pumpkin Spiced Latte has more than 50 grams of sugar coming mostly from sweetened condensed milk and 14 grams of fat. Oh, and another surprise, the original coffee shop drink doesn’t even have real pumpkin in it! You can google all the other unhealthy benefits, but these are some that bother me the most!
You can still enjoy a steamy, sweet mug of creamy cinnamon-nutmeg-clove goodness without popping the buttons off your jeans with this pop-culture addiction. My Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte can be made two ways – either with your milk of choice . . . or I often like to use a Vanilla Core Power to get a little more protein in the morning.
My 16-ounce Core Power version Pumpkin Spice Latte is so much better with 252 calories, 27 grams sugar, 3.5 grams fat (with no whip) and 26 grams of protein. If you don’t use Core Power, the calories are likely to be a bit less . . .but, also less protein. You can stock up on Core Power High Protein Shake here.
Also, would you like a Sugar-Free Protein Pumpkin Muffin with Cinnamon Frosting to go with your muscle-making PSL? I can hook you up with my recipe here!
Are you a pumpkin spice addict (anything), or sick of the trend? Do you make coffee at home, or hit a coffee shop daily? Have you ever been to a pumpkin chunkin’ or hurled your jack-o-lantern? Just wondering! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Bowflex Body.
I am totally in love with Bowflex Body, a collection of premium nutrition products that features a French Vanilla Fitness Shake powder with packets of “mix-ins” including fat-burning rich chocolate, protein-boosting peanut butter or antioxidant-packed mixed berry. Bowflex Body is one of my secrets to staying lean. The other tactics I used to keep my body weight and fat ratios where I want them include with eating adequate protein spaced through the day, monitoring my carb intake (but keeping some for quick energy) and continuity and variety in exercise — I like to mix it up with running, obstacle training, CrossFit, yoga, paddle boarding to keep my body and mind prepared and motivated. Anyway, I’ve shared about this great product earlier in the summer along with a Bodyweight Leg Workout – if you missed it, check it out! Also, read to the bottom of the post, because I’m hosting a giveaway.
I really love the idea of the mix-ins to the base protein shake. It kind of reminds me of asking for a “booster” at that not-to-be-named smoothie chain I pass on the way home from the gym — but with hardly any of the sugar that those types of “healthy” blended beverages hold in disguise. The raspberry smoothie in a 16-ounce small size packs 290 calories, just 2 grams of protein – and 54 grams of sugar! Compare that to 125 calories, 15 grams of high quality protein and only 5 grams of sugar for the Bowflex Body French Vanilla Protein Shake — I’m sticking with the latter to stay lean!You can workout all you want, but you won’t get to that point of good muscle definition if you’re not lean. Yes, I stay at a low body fat through exercise, but also by making sure I’ve been eating enough protein spaced through the day.
So, instead a smoothie shop stop, I’ve been sticking my blender bottle pre-filled with a scoop of the French Vanilla Fitness Shake and a couple of the boosters in my gym bag to refuel with after a hard workout or intense run – or often just to see me through a session, since I’m usually breaking sweat over the lunch hour. All I have to do is add cold water and shake, shake, shake!
One thing I’ll say about Bowflex Body products, they really do taste great straight from the blender bottle mixed with plain water. Other protein powders I’ve used have often had a chalky, hard to swallow texture if they weren’t combined with some sort of milk (alike almond or coconut) – or pureed up into a smoothie with banana for creaminess. But, really and truly, the French Vanilla Fitness Shake stands on its own merits for deliciousness. Plus, the exclusive blend of premium ingredients combined with powerful antioxidants, essential nutrients and immune enhancing ingredients help burn fat, build lean muscle, and protect my body.
I’ve been drinking these shakes all summer, and they’ve helped to curb my cravings and made me feel full longer – it’s been a great addition to my protein challenge when it’s not convenient to whip a steak or rotisserie chicken out of my purse. With only 125 calories per serving and 15 grams of the highest quality proteins, a shake makes a great meal replacement once a day to drop a few pounds quickly and safely (check out the success stories here). I suggest adding the Peanut Butter Protein booster (+10g) for sustained energy.
I’m happy where my weight is, and honestly I could stand to gain a little muscle in some places (uhhh, my booty), so at dinner time, I use the Vanilla Fitness Shake as my beverage of choice along with the light salads and grilled dishes I typically eat. For the ladies who “wine,” you’ll find yourself in such a leaner place if you swap out your nightly “sip” with a protein shake – 5 ounces of wine has 123 calories and has no protein while 1 scoop of the French Vanilla Fitness Shake mixed with water has 125 calories and 15 grams protein!
Premium French Vanilla Fitness Shake: Start with this powdered mix as your base and blend into water or your milk of choice. The instructions say use 8 ounces of liquid but I’ve used more and it still tastes great. Not only does it taste super creamy and delicious, but for just 125 calories, you get 15g high quality protein, 5 g prebiotic fiber, only 5g sugar and 16 potent antioxidants including acai, goji, pomegranate, mangosteen, spinach, kale and more. It is also lactose free, soy free, low sodium and low fat.
Rich Chocolate Booster for Fat Burning: Toss in one of these 10-calorie packets to kick up your metabolism with Garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean, African mango and cocoa exacts.
Peanut Butter Booster for Muscle Management: Add a packet of this booster to help grow, maintain and provide workout recovery benefits to your muscles. This advanced protein formula gives you an additional 10g on top of the 15g already in each serving of shake.
Mixed Berry Booster for Extra Antioxidant Benefits: This refreshing mix-in gives the already vitamin and antioxidant-loaded vanilla shake an extra one-two punch of protection with blueberry, raspberry and strawberry extracts blended to help fight free radicals.
Use the discount code BOWFLEXSHAKE to get 20% off products along with free shipping and handling. You can also enter the giveaway to win a Bowflex Body Sample Pack that includes the vanilla shake (3 packs) along one each of the boosters plus a pack of their Daily Energy and Pre-Workout Energy (Sample Pack is also available for sale at Bowflex with free shipping and handling). Enter for chance to win via the Rafflecopter app below:
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.
The sun is out for summer and my blender is back in action making smoothies nearly every day for a quick breakfast, healthy dessert or post-workout refueling. I have so made so many crazy, creative smoothies in my day along with all the tried-and-true classics, I’m sure my family sometimes wonders if I can come up with a new flavor combo. But, fear not my friends of blended beverages, I can! Today I’m serving up a Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float Smoothie, so line up at the counter in an orderly fashion please.
I know that a Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float Smoothie sounds sort of decadent, but this one is super healthy. It’s made with Almond Breeze Almondmilk (Hint of Honey Vanilla flavor), frozen dark cherries, ice, root beer extract and protein powder. The whole, huge serving has just 250 calories, 22 grams of protein, 87% daily value for calcium and loads of vitamins and minerals – especially vitamins D and E from the almondmilk and vitamin C from the cherries.
Hint of Honey Vanilla Amondmilk from Almond Breeze is the perfect creamy foundation for any smoothie creation – it’s also ideal for drinking cold right in a glass or pairing up with your favorite cereal, oats or granola. Made from real almonds and sweetened with honey, this alternative to diary milk contains medium chain fatty acids; is lactose, soy and gluten-free; is an excellent source of calcium; and works with vegan and kosher diets. I also love how it has no added processed sugar and only 60 calories per one-cup serving. Another great thing – Hint of Honey Vanilla Amondmilk from Almond Breeze is available in a 32-ounce, shelf-stable version which means that I can keep my pantry stocked for impromptu smoothie making or take along for travel without worry of refridgeration. Of course, you can also get the original in the dairy section.
What is your favorite smoothie combo? Are you remembering someone special this Memorial Day? Please share in the comments – xoxo Jennifer