5 Ingredient Oat Balls

It’s September. For me, that means it’s just like every other month. I don’t have kids and I don’t teach, so life goes on as usual.

For others of you though…September is a time to reinstitute a routine. You wake up early, workout (or try to), get the kids up and fed and head to work/school.

You had better hoped to regain your strength over the summer because the fall requires energy…and lots of it!

My favorite time to create recipes is usually during this time of year. Everything is so pumpkin-y and maple-y and spice-y. It’s the precursor to Christmas, which is just heavenly in itself. (minus maybe the cold and snow!)

I made these oat balls a few weeks ago and in true me fashion, they were devoured within less than two days.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 packet maple/brown sugar instant oatmeal
  • 1/2 crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 handful of chocolate chips
  • dash of non-dairy milk to cut the dryness

You simply mix in a bowl until desired thick consistency and roll into balls!

It’ll be hard not to lick your hands afterwards! ;)

These balls are awesome for storage up to 1 week frozen and 3 days in the fridge. It makes meal prepping that much easier for healthy snacks! :)

Peace, love and easy balls!

~C.C.D.

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I’m NOT Half Crazy…YET

Everyone has a little bit of crazy in them. Whether it’s pouring a bucket of ice water over your head for a good cause or eating an entire loaf of amazingly soft bread (yes, unashamedly ME!) instead of finishing off a handle of vodka. To each his own…

As you may or may not know, I’m always up for a challenge. I cannot just work out for the sake of working out. I know it’s great for me but the whole purpose becomes like a boring office job. Do I ever want my life compared to an office? No. The only cube life I want to experience is in the form of an iced beverage.

As for the challenge part, I have decided to actually SIGN UP for a 10K. That means live running with other people, race numbers, packet pick ups and times.

For a while I have been running solo and to be honest it can also be filed away under “boring office job”. Leading up to my runs is always a huge surge of energy but when I’m actually doing it, there’s zero exhilaration.

I’m registered for the Women’s Health Run 10, Feed 10 race in NYC this September. I have also recruited my boyfriend as my race buddy. This will be my FIRST EVER OFFICIAL race. Take that, boring workouts!

As for training, I have been following the awesome training plan provided by Women’s Health and for the most part sticking to it!

I’ll have you know the furthest I have ever run is about 4 miles..so indeed this will be a challenge. If I master this…maybe I’ll actually be able to qualify for a half crazy marathon! :0

The only thing missing now are my kicks of choice…I have about 3 different pairs of sneaks (Saucony, Reebok, Mizuno) I rotate around with…but they are all getting pretty worn, so maybe I should splurge for a new pair.

I’ve been searching for a great pair of running sneakers for about a month now, so clearly I am indecisive.

These are my new babies:

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Peace, love and challenge yourself!

~C.C.D.

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Deconstructed Cherry Chocolate Mint Blizzard

If your tastebuds are anything like mine and you were lucky enough to live near a Dairy Queen that was opened year round, blizzards were ARE the hallmark of life. Along with… maybe…your tamagotchi and cabbage patch doll.

Dairy Queen was my equivalent of today’s Mickey D’s. I always had a tendency to crave more towards the sweet and less toward the salty.

I lived off of blizzards for probably way more of my childhood than I should have. When I actually discovered how detrimental these blizzards were to my health, I knew it was time to eliminate them.

Eliminate is a powerful word…maybe it’s more appropriate to say I took a blizzard hiatus.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started making healthier substitutions for foods/sweets I loved. I’ve become pretty good at subbing this for that, without any outside help from the Eat This, Not That diet.

The past few weeks I had been craving ice cream in the worst way…the blizzard way!

My frozen banana faux yo wasn’t cutting it, so I was faced with the temptation of DQ Chips Ahoy commercials and actually contemplating giving in.

Luckily for me, my willpower and the fact that my stomach was beginning to resemble a flat tire, stopped me. A trip to Whole Foods proved to be a healthy substitution.

I ended up creating a deconstructed blizz with the following ingredients: (cherries for added antioxidant benefit)

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  • 1/2 c mint chocolate chip organic ice cream (Whole Foods brand)
  • 1¬†crumbled soft chocolate chip cookie
  • 3 frozen sweet red cherries
  • lightly drizzled maple cinnamon agave syrup

I’m no calorie counter but I can guarantee you this is nowhere near the calorie/fat content of what a regular blizzard clocks in at.

What are your favorite versions of the worst desserts/snack foods?

Peace, love and blizzards!

~C.C.D.

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Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Since the eighty degree temps and high humidity have gotten us all pregamed up for summer, the only perfect way to celebrate is with food and beverage.

Frozen beverages are my kryptonite during the summertime. A kryptonite I will completely accept any day of the week.

I’ve been back on a mainly liquids as nourishment kick and figured I’d try to fuse my two loves…juices and chocolate.

(The only pre-prep you need to do is freeze some ripe bananas and make some iced coffee cubes.)

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2-1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2-3 frozen iced coffee cubes (I used vanilla creme brulee flavor)

This has been tripling as my breakfast, pre-workout and caffeine boost in the morning. It’s also super satisfying in that it abates sweet cravings. I have noticed my cravings at night have decreased immensely while incorporating this smoothie into my diet.

What’s your favorite beverage or food during the summer?

Peace, love and smoothies!

~C.C.D.

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The Bone-Breaking Facts About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a term many of us millennials have probably heard, but few of us are actually privy to what it means.

Osteoporosis is the breakdown of calcium in our bones, which makes fractures more likely to occur. The disease has been said to be a “silent killer”, because most of the time individuals aren’t aware they have the disease until a bone has actually broken.

Osteoporosis tends to affect adults over 50 years of age, as bone density tends to decrease in that range. Women are two times more likely to develop the disease than men.

While there is no cure, there are ways to prevent and treat the disease:

1. Ensure that you are acquiring the proper daily amounts of vitamin D and calcium. (especially if you’re under 18)
2. Resistance training and regular exercise will help maintain the vitality of the bones.
3. Quit smoking and don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage per week.
4. Get a bone density test from your healthcare provider.

Did you know that May is National Osteoporosis Awareness month?

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courtesy of Mario Trucillo, Managing Editor of The American Recall Center

If you or someone you know is at risk for osteoporosis, talk to a healthcare provider about getting a bone density test.

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Your Two Dollar Alternative To A First World Problem…the spa

DIY ideas are a no-brainer way to save a ton of money while still gaining the benefits of a product or service you’d shell out a lot of dough for.

As a struggling entrepreneur, I find it incredibly comforting to know that there are ways to still have it all without spending it all.

Being pretty low maintenance, it’s probably hard for you to believe that I really dream of pampering spa days. I’ve only gone to a spa twice but it was glorious enough for me to add it to my “Routine things to do when I’m rich” list.

I’ve been training a lot lately. My muscles ache, my energy has been extremely low and I’ve been generally crabby. (and yearning for a masseuse)

My pain was intense enough for me to cancel Saturday night plans and lay lifeless on the couch.

I figured I’d try an epsom salt bath to alleviate my aches.

Epsom salt is a centuries old cure to a few different maladies. (aches/pains, constipation, wrinkles) Even though it’s a salt, it actually reduces inflammation and acts as a calming aid when poured into a bath.

Epsom-Salt

It’s recommended to pour about 2 cups into a warm bath for optimal support. I also had two cups of honey chamomile tea at my side while in there.

I only was in the bath for a total of 15 minutes but it was just enough to loosen up my pulled muscles and sore knee joints. It felt just like the spa minus the expense and extra tipping principles.

I highly recommend pampering yourself and your sore muscles at least once or twice per week. Epsom salt runs between $2-$5 and can be found at your local pharmacy, health food store or other retailer.

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Group Ex Woes: Bullying the Newbie

In all my years of endorphin filled exercise, I never realized how much of a utopic cloud I was living in.

That was until…I changed gyms.

Being an avid group ex-er, I grew accustomed to seeing the same faces and having the same conversations repeatedly. It became like brushing my teeth…except way more sweaty fun and less sudsy.

Leaving my bubble and changing gyms wasn’t my choice. Moving was. I didn’t give the new gym atmosphere much thought until I took my first group exercise class.

Upon entering the room, I wasn’t greeted with the familiar faces I had always known (obviously). Instead I was greeted with what appeared to be Mean Girls: When Moms Take Over.

It wasn’t the way they were standing or that first “Hi, I’m new…and awkward, what’s your name?” engagement that immediately sent me into a negative headspin. It was actually the verbal bashing I received when approaching the contact kickboxing bags.

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Evidently, this band of bullying moms keep a very tight knit circle. They also claim their bags even though they all appear like every other manufactured bag known to man. Oh, I’m sorry that I didn’t notice rudely disrespectful was your name and it was printed on this exact bag.

The story is actually one that bears striking rememblance to children and their toys. They become terrirtorial and the moral of the story is they learn to share…even their most favorite toys…or public use kickboxing bags in this case.

The moms acted no different than a bunch of minors congregating around lockers chatting about the new girl who just moved here from a town that they can’t even pronounce.

I felt threatened and completely humiliated over something so minuscule. I know Mrs. Roosevelt always tells us that no one can make us feel inferior without our consent, but I’m sorry a bunch of jab happy moms were enough for me to surrender.

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When the class finally began I felt like I was in a huge competition. I had taken kickboxing classes before but this one was different…I had to prove myself to these…bags.

I saw eyes on me the entire time. Yes, ladies, just because I’m new doesn’t mean I’m new to exercise. I didn’t let them know I was rattled. I also didn’t make eye contact or utter a word to them. I was trying to be as Switzerland as possible.

I still continue to go to this class because I truly enjoy the class and instructor. The moms are still mean.

I have noticed a group exercise bullying cult. Most of the people who take these classes usually love the instructor or the type of exercise or both. That’s why I go personally.

I am noticing a trend of people ganging up on newbies either by shunning them or verbally assaulting them in some way. Imagine if this were me like 5 years ago? I would have walked out crying.

I think it’s super important to maintain your ground when encountering people of this negative nature. And to think…these women were MOMS! What exactly are you setting your kids up for?

I usually don’t rant but I had to get this out because I’m not the only victim in these kinds of situations. No one has any right to bully you no matter what situation it may fall under.

Bullying isn’t just something that happens on the playground…it’s a very real problem that traverses many different age groups.

Have you ever been a victim of the group ex bully or band of bullies? I hope you never were the one doing the bullying!

Peace, love and no more bullying!

~C.C.D.

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Beat the Bulk: Add more cardio

There’s a new age wave of grunts and ferocious weight slams in the gym. They aren’t emanating from your typical sweaty, muscular guy. These sounds of hard and desired results are coming from a group of women (growing exponentially as we speak) who have also realized that they can have muscles too.

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Many women are leaving behind decades old information from fitness professionals stating that cardio/aerobics is key and weight lifting creates a more masculine figure in exchange for more weights on their plates.

Every time I walk into the gym it fills my heart with joy that women are gradually abandoning the hour long, resultless workouts on the treadmill and opting to play with the big boys in the weights area.

If you know and follow me, my general style is weights, weights, weights and cardio thrown in 4 days per week. I’ll be honest…I’m NOT a cardio queen. I’m a lifting lover. Always have been, always will be.

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Over the past three months, I have attempted to up my weight lifting game in preparation for summer and a possible bikini competition. I researched what others who are in my same boat do to achieve that lean, sleek and toned feminine physique. I adapted my routines to include a little bit of everything, but mainly focusing on MORE weights than cardio.

My end results have been anything but lean. My diet for the most part is generally on point, however my thighs and upper body are looking quite hulky. I didn’t realize how much weight it looks like I’ve gained until friends, co-workers and gym members began to bluntly remind me of the elephant in the mirror (a.k.a. ME).

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Four months earlier

 

I’ve stayed the same weight plus about three pounds since January. For my petite frame, that might as well be like me wearing a fat suit. Most of this weight is the result of too many weights and not enough cardio.

Every winter I tend to fall more towards weights and less towards cardio. Winter puts me into a deep hibernation so any movement for me is considered an accomplishment. Weight training is much more convenient and less challenging to me than any kind of cardio.

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the bulky hulky thighs

Mind you, I still grin and bear the cardio part during the winter. These last few months for instance my workout weeks have consisted of: 3 days HIIT or treadmill interval runs. However I have come to the conclusion that these workouts were not pushing my limits.

I highly advise anyone who is considering following the advice of so many talking heads and fitness fanatics to balance out your cardio and weights. What tends to work for me are 4 days of running or HIIT and two MAX three days of weight training. On those two or three days I do one day of lower weights/high rep exercises and one day of higher weights/lower rep exercises.

I have found that this ratio works for my body quite well. Following a 5 day per week weight lifting schedule in my opinion is the quickest route to sideline yourself from an injury or impede your muscle build.

Women are definitely made to lift heavy, don’t get me wrong, but NOT 5 days per week.

What’s your take on weights and cardio? Do you notice a difference when you do one and not the other? Is balance important to you?

Peace, love and happy mediums!

~C.C.D.

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#MotivationalMondays- Bikini Body Blast

It’s March 24, which means while the forecast doesn’t indicate it’s actually spring, the calendar does. And after spring comes the most wonderful time of the year…SUMMER.

It’s about this time (or sooner) when all those New Year’s Resolutioners slack off and slip back into their old habits. It’s also the time when all you spring breakers fast or cleanse in order to try and attain your best body physique before heading towards the equator for some fun in the sun.

Obviously, weight loss must happen gradually in order to properly maintain. So while you may believe you’re beginning to see some cuts in your abs due to all your crash dieting and starvation, it’s all a figment of your beer goggled imagination.

The more appropriate approach to bikini season is to allow yourself a few months of proper nutrition and exercise for longer lasting results. Don’t act like you haven’t heard it before!

I’ve been really trying to focus on my nutrition lately…have you heard I’ve even given up bread for lent? That’s how you know it’s on…

I’ve also been tightening up my workouts. Not that I wasn’t beast mode before, but now I focus on a few muscle groups as opposed to several all in one day.

Here’s a good overview of some exercises to perform in less than 30 minutes at the gym to get that bikini bod:

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Oh…and hey there, giveaway…it’s been a while…sorry I’ve been MIA…here we go with the winners:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats ladies!

Peace, love and bikinis!

~C.C.D.

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-Things To Try Thursdays- Protein Supplements Review

You know as much as I know that we all need protein. It’s essential for muscle building, proper energy and picking things up in the gym and putting them down. :)

Protein is readily available for your body to convert to energy and muscle in several forms. The most stigmatized and notorious that we all know of is probably animal products…any meats, poultry or fish usually tops the list.

While those are excellent, viable sources of gaining your daily protein, they sometimes can prove to have other negative effects on our bodies. (high blood pressure, cholesterol, weight gain, etc.) if consumed too frequently.

The word “protein” has become such a trite buzzword of many food companies that it has a tendency to lose it’s veracity at times. If you walk into any grocery/convenience store, you’ll notice PROTEIN is highlighted in huge caps all over most packaging. It makes it confusing and overwhelming to decide which choice is right for you.

A particularly popular protein sector I’d like to highlight involves protein as a supplement.

We now have proteins available in powder form, chip form, fro yo form, bar form, muffin form and shake form. Protein supplements are huge, trendy commodities nowadays.

With all of these over saturated protein items on the market these days it can be hard to decipher between which is the good vs. the not so good.

I had the opportunity to review a few products out there in the protein black hole and am happy to share my thoughts with you all. Also, stay tuned for a giveaway at the end! :)

Sidenote: I rated everything based on first taste (1-worst, 5 the best) and secondly nutrition.

My first dabbling was focused on protein bars. I received a few boxes of Kind bars and also some from a company called, Power Crunch.

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The kind bars were rated at a 3 for taste. I have had several kind bars before. I used to swear by them back in college. My tastebuds changed when I became vegetarian and now I shockingly think they are a little on the sweet side! I rated the kind bars at a 4 for nutrition. They seem well balanced with healthy fats, carbs and proteins. 1 bar has 7 grams of protein. All of the ingredients are pronounceable. I would say this could pass as a snack throughout the day, but definitely pair it with something else to make it a complete meal.

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As for Power Crunch, I rated these bars at a 2 for taste. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners and these had a crunchy, desirable texture, but the aftertaste just wasn’t doing it for me. They contain sucralose and stevia, both of which I do not care for. Nutrition wise, these were a 3. They have a high protein content (14 g.) per bar, but contain too many unhealthy oils and thus are a little bit high in saturated fats.

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*I also received protein shakes from Power Crunch…these actually had a better taste than the bars when chilled in the fridge for a few hours. They have 20 g. of protein and 6 grams of fiber and are super low calorie so I would say they could pass for a small meal replacement if you wanted.

Next, I reviewed Vitatops. If you aren’t familiar, these are fiber/protein muffin tops which are absolutely delicious. They come to you thawed but you are advised to freeze them again for best taste. I used to eat these religiously a few years back and definitely remembered why. They are super fluffy once thawed and when you heat them they melt in your mouth. I rated these at a 5 for taste. As for nutrition, I rate them at a 4. These jam 8 grams of fiber and 4 g. of protein all into a tiny palm sized cake for only 100 calories! After trying one, I wasn’t hungry for quite a long time. My only concern is the extremely long list of ingredients and tons of preservatives.

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After the Vitatops, I reviewed IPS chips. Yes, protein chips!!! This was my most favorite until I had a reaction to the egg whites they are made with. So these chips are pretty cool because they contain 7 grams of protein per bag. The bags are perfect to throw into lunch bags as they aren’t the family sized ones you see at the grocery store. Huge plus! I tried four flavors: White Cheddar, BBQ, Sea salt/black pepper, Cinnamon Sugar. Honestly, I loved every single one. The taste was a 5 in my book. Nutrition I rate a 3, just because there isn’t enough fiber to balance out the carbohydrates.

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Next, I tried Xyience Protein Powder in Vanilla Ice Cream flavor. This actually has been serving as the base for my “proats” (protein oats) in the morning post workout. I rate it at a 4 for taste. Xyience contains tons of extra amino acids which is awesome for those who workout consistently as it helps with muscle repair. In one scoop, there’s 25 g. of protein and 5 g. of fiber! So as far as nutrition, I give it a 4. My only complaint is that it’s sweetened with sucralose, but it’s such a subtle taste that it blends well if you mix it with other ingredients.

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Last but not least, this is just the coolest! (no pun intended)…Protein yogurt!! I was most excited to try these and they did not disappoint. The yogurt was made by Proyo. The flavors of frozen yogurt come in vanilla bean, banana vanilla, blueberry pomegranate and dutch chocolate. You’ll be surprised to know the banana vanilla was my favorite! All you do is thaw these out for ten minutes. (They come packaged sort of like ice pops.) I paired these with one of my morning green juices and it was just fab! I rate this at a 5 for taste and a 5 for nutrition. The bonus is that it also contains probiotics too! Can’t beat some of the two best “P’s” (protein and probiotics) in the nutrition world! ;)

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Now for the super fun part…if you enter my giveaway below, I have a few prize packs going on…

1) Kind Bars ( PB Dark Choc + Protein/ Almond Walnut Macadamia + Protein)

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2) Power Crunch Bars  (wild berry creme/cookies and creme/pb creme/french vanilla creme)

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3) Power Crunch Bars (Gluten free: milk/dark chocolate)

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4) Power Crunch Shake (Vanilla Creme/Double Chocolate)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to send out a huge thanks to Laura at Girls Gone Sporty and all the representatives from these brands giving me the opportunity to try out your products! :)

Giveaway will end on Friday, March 7th at 12AM.

Good luck!

Peace, love and protein!

~C.C.D.

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