8 Ways to Be Healthier While Traveling

Hello, hello!

Can you guys believe that we’re already towards the end of July? It seems like the summer is just whizzing by!

headstand play at sunset

Next weekend starts the beginning of a month of travel for me. First, I leave for the east coast to spend time with my family and friends out there for a few weeks. My hubby was already scheduled to take a trip to Philly for a weeklong class to start his Masters degree at Temple University, so it seemed like a good time for me to head east too. I’ll be based at my parents’ house in Jersey, but will also traveling around the state to visit in-laws and friends, heading to Philly a few times to see my hubby, and will probably visit NYC once or twice.

Then, I come back to Cali for a week of normalcy before heading out to Ireland. I’ve never been there before and am excited to go! I’m expecting lots of greenery, pubs, and castles, and will of course keep you guys in the loop about what I’m doing in Dublin and around the country. If anyone has must-see recommendations, please let me know!

Photo via Ireland.com

Photo via Ireland.com

I adore traveling. It’s a passion of mine to see and explore new places. But traveling can certainly make it more of a challenge to live a healthy lifestyle. Since it’s important to me to consistently feel my best, I’ve developed some healthy habits that serve as guidelines during my experiences traveling. Here are 8 ways that I stay super healthy while traveling!

Keep up with a workout routine. While I might not get in as frequent or as long of workouts as I do when I’m in a normal routine, I make sure to still fit in exercise when I’m traveling.

A shot from a hotel room yoga session in Mexico in June

A shot from a hotel room yoga session in Mexico in June

Sometimes I bust out a quick HIIT routine or yoga session in my hotel room. I use whatever I have available to me, which sometimes is a treadmill, other times is a few sets of dumbbells, and at times may be just a floor with a bit of space to jump around.

It also helps that my hubby is the same way. When he opts to go for a quick run around whatever city we’re in, I push myself to get in a workout as well!

Tahoe smoothies

A healthy smoothie lunch in Lake Tahoe

Keep it healthy for breakfast & lunch. Let’s be honest, I love food and when I’m traveling, I’m going to splurge sometimes. Food is no doubt part of experiencing the culture of different places. But, if I eat a big breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I feel bloated and gross. Instead, I try to keep it pretty healthy for breakfast & lunch, and then I indulge at dinner.

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Pizza in Venice — which was even better than it looks!

In example, if I know I’m going to eat Italian for dinner and bathe in a pool of pasta, I make sure to get in protein and go light on the carbs during the day. Or, if I order pancakes for breakfast, I’ll eat only half of them to avoid feeling stuffed. It’s all about balance.

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What my breakfasts looked like while vacationing in Italy

Love a big fancy brunch? Go for it, but then even it out a bit with a lighter dinner. All in moderation my friends!

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Peaches & Cream Muffins [gf]

All of us have a few pretty useless talents up our sleeves, and one of mine is knowing the lyrics to about a million songs. I can hear a song once or twice and forever have the words in my vault of a brain. For some reason I’m especially good at remembering lyrics from songs that came out when I was in middle school and high school.

I attribute this partly to my strange but good memory, and partly to my musical abilities thanks to playing the piano from age 4 up.

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Do you know when my lyrical memory comes in handy? When I’m driving with my hubby listening to the Pop2K and 90’s stations on Sirius XM radio. They play nonstop music from all of the 90s and 2000s, and it’s nothing short of awesome.

Usually as I rap Ashanti and Ja Rule tunes, A looks at me and shakes his head as he asks, “How the hell do you remember this song from 20 years ago?”

I may be more entertained than he is, but I find it so fun(ny) to jam out to songs that came out when I was just a kid and had no idea what the actual lyrics meant. Music has such a cool way of bringing back the most random of memories.

Enter 112’s “Peaches and Cream.” 

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The song came out in 2001 when I was in 8th grade. It brings me back to the days of hanging at my grandma’s house in their computer room with my then girlfriends, giggling as we talked to complete strangers in online chatrooms and lied about our ages.

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I got away with a lot of teenage shenanigans at my grandma’s growing up, and I don’t think that these girls were the best influences on me. This was also around the time that they persuaded me to call a psychic hotline on my grandma’s landline phone, and we spent an obscene amount of money having our futures “told” – but I digress.

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I remember playing “Peaches & Cream” along with songs like, City High’s “What Would You Do” and Usher’s “U Remind Me.” I was more of a late bloomer and I’m pretty sure that these girls understood the meaning of these songs better than I did, but you better believe that I knew all the words.

I swear, I have a point! I’m telling you guys all of this because it’s how I came up with today’s recipe…

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Chocolate Cake Batter Hemp Super Smoothie [vegan & gf] + Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!

Hi friends!

How’s the weather by you? It’s feeling pretty hot in SoCal this week! I realize that hot is a relative term and that some might not consider 82 degrees all that hot, but the California sun is STRONG and I don’t have air conditioning in my house… (which is a pretty common thing in SoCal) so it gets toasty!

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Luckily my house has lots of ceiling fans and I have a pool (which is currently 85 degrees!) to keep me cool, but some tell-tale signs of summer lately have been: a.) the fruit in my fruit basket is ripening in the blink of an eye, b.) I took coconut oil out of my kitchen pantry to bake earlier today and it was complete liquid, c.) my plants need some extra loving to stay alive, and d.) I’m drinking smoothies like it’s my job.
Chocolate Super Smoothie-2

Oh smoothies, you forever have my heart. You’re refreshing, filling, healthy (mine are at least!), and you never get boring, thanks to endless options. Today I’m sharing a brand new smoothie recipe that is perfect for those that want to fuel their healthy lifestyle…but also want their smoothie to taste like dessert! (Meeeeee!) 

Chocolate Cake Batter Hemp Smoothie

Earlier this month I posted a cinnamon chai banana protein shake made with Bob’s Red Mill chai protein powder. Today, I’ve teamed up with the folks at Bob’s Red Mill to bring you another Protein Powder Nutritional Booster smoothie – along with a giveaway!

Chocolate Super Smoothie-3

This time, I used Bob’s Red Mill chocolate protein powder. As with all of their protein powders, the chocolate flavor offers a wholesome protein, fiber and probiotics boost. It’s made with pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, beneficial probiotics, and monk fruit extract for a touch of sweetness. It’s gluten free and vegan, along with being a  good source of omega-3 and  iron.

Chocolate Super Smoothie-1

As if the protein powder isn’t enough goodness by itself, I amped up the nutritional power in this smoothie by using omega fatty acid and protein-rich hemp hearts, heart healthy dark chocolate, potassium and manganese-rich banana, calcium & vitamin E packed almond milk, and my forever love, peanut butter.

Chocolate Super Smoothie-4

The addition of vanilla, cocoa, and cinnamon gives this smoothie a cake batter taste. I won’t lie, it’s pretty awesome!

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IDEA World Convention 2016: Working Out with Jillian Michaels & Trying POP Pilates

If you’re an exercise enthusiast, the IDEA World Convention is a wonderful event to attend. Not only does it attract lots of personal trainers, but it also brings bloggers and health coaches like myself together, along with fitness lovers who don’t work in the industry and come solely to participate in the workouts and get inspired by motivational speakers in the fitness world.

IDEA World Convention

Last weekend I got the chance to attend this year’s IDEA World Convention. A few years ago I was able to go to Fit Approach’s Blogfest within IDEA World (recaps here, here and here), but unfortunately this year I could only make it up to Los Angeles for a day. There were some seminars that looked interesting, but I decided to keep it simple and instead participate in a few workouts, then explore the expo floor.

On Friday afternoon, I drove (more like crawled in my car – oh SoCal traffic!) up to Long Beach to spend the night with my cousin. I timed it up so that I could spend time with my cousin, then have a shorter drive in the morning to the Los Angeles Convention Center. We went out for drinks and to an event that the Long Beach Museum of Art was having.

LB Art Museum showcase

An art showcase at the museum

The museum is right along the water, and it was nice to enjoy a glass of wine outside while listening to the live music they had and checking out the art. Afterwards, we went to another bar for awhile.

LB Art Museum-cranes

A display of cranes in the museum

The night was a lot of fun, and while I woke up early Saturday morning feeling like I could have used another hour or two of sleep (and maybe one less glass of wine the night before!), I also woke up excited because…. I had the chance to workout with Jillian Michaels that morning!

IDEA World Jillian-3

If I had to name one person that I geek out about seeing in the fitness world, it would have to be Jillian. I love how she’s a down-to-earth chick who has worked really hard to become the celebrity trainer that she is. I’ve been doing her workouts for years, and got to see her speak at IDEA in 2014. After so many DVD sessions with Jillian on my TV screen, I was psyched to get to workout with her in front of me in real life.

IDEA World Jillian-5

As I walked into the ballroom for her BODYSHRED class, the energy was awesome. Everyone just seemed excited to get sweaty with Jillian Michaels!

That’s one thing that’s awesome about IDEA World in general: There are so many go-getters there that are high energy, dedicated to helping make America healthier and passionate about healthy living. It’s a great vibe to be around!

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The Best Day Date Ever

Happy Friday friends!

What’s up for your weekend? I’m heading up to LA later today to hang out with my cousin and stay at her place, and then tomorrow I’ll be attending IDEA World to workout with Jillian Michaels and see the latest & greatest in the fitness world! If any of you are attending IDEA as well, definitely shoot me an email or let me know in the comments below. I love meeting fellow fitness enthusiasts & bloggers!

Farmers Market tomatoes

Backing it up to last weekend, today I want to recap my date last Saturday with my hubby — AKA the best day date ever. We decided to head south into the area we used to live in in San Diego. First up on our agenda was hitting up my favorite farmers’ market, the Little Italy Mercato.

Farmers Market Flowers

I used to go this market nearly every weekend when we lived nearby, and for good reason: It’s awesome! When we got to the market, I was immediately reminded why I frequented it so much for years. From fresh green juice and organic seasonal produce to freshly baked cookies and gelato, this market is a foodie’s dream. Some vendors also offer crafts, decor and clothing. There are even booths geared towards pet owners.

We walked around the entire market, did some taste testing and purchased a couple of things: including the above pictured hydrangeas, the below watermelon cucumbers (how cute right!!) and micro greens…

Farmers Market greens

…along with locally made honey. This is the first time I’ve ever found cinnamon honey, and I was pretty excited about it! I love cinnamon and I use honey daily, so when the woman who makes it said that her favorite way to eat it is on pancakes, my pancake loving self had to nab a jar.

Farmers Market honey

After we got our market fill, we left downtown and headed into the area we used to live in, Mission Valley, to visit Mission Trails Park. This was my favorite park for the 3+ years that I lived just a few minutes down the road from it.

Mission Trails biking

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The Healthy Habits I Practice Daily

The following post is sponsored by Dandy®. health is wealth

If there’s something that every single health professional and enthusiast in the world can agree on, I think it’s that being healthy is not a destination, it’s a lifestyle. It’s something you have to put in the effort for each and every day.

Consistently making healthy decisions makes me feel strong, capable, and confident, and it transcends into every other area of my life. Today I wanted to share some of the healthy habits that are part of my everyday routine. They’re ways of life for me that make me feel vibrant and energized, and help me to be the healthiest, happiest person I can be. Let’s get to it!

Morning Stretches Collage

Stretch. Stretching is something that I not only do before and after my workouts, but also on my rest days too. I think it feels great to stretch my muscles, and I’m always working on my flexibility in my yoga practice. I also keep a foam roller, tiger tail, and trigger point bar in my living room so that I remember to use them while I’m watching TV.

Harley beach walk-May 16

Walk. I go on long walks with my dog every day. What started off as something I did to just get her puppy energy out has turned into a daily practice that we both enjoy. We typically go for at least a half-hour walk around my neighborhood, at the beach or a nearby park, and I usually take her hiking with me on a longer excursion once a week. The time in nature is calming and energizing, and we both come home happy!

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Eat a healthy dose of fruits & veggies. Scanning through my social media feed on Instagram and Twitter, you can easily see that I enjoy lots of real foods. I’m all about nourishing my body with food made by nature!

With having such a sweet tooth, I could easily eat a ton of fruit and not eat quite as many veggies. I never go a day without eating veggies, but there are times when I don’t eat them until dinnertime. That’s where my new favorite healthy munchies comes in: Dandy® portable snacks.

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In business for 90 years, Dandy® produces produce from their family farms in Florida and California. One thing I love about the company is that they’re committed to non-GMO farming practices. Another thing I love? Their new peanut butter + celery snack on-the-go snack packs!

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Dandy® has partnered with one of my favorite nut butter brands in the world for their snack packs, Peanut Butter & Co. I’m a huge fan of their Smooth Operator peanut butter paired with Dandy® celery.

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Apricot Almond Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies [vegan + gf]

Hello,  hello!

Let’s sweeten up the start of this workweek with some cookies, shall we?

Apricot cookies-3

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. One of my favorite ways to experiment in the kitchen is to come up with recipes and meal creations that are healthy ways to satisfy that sweet tooth. Today’s recipe is a perfect example of that: apricot almond oatmeal breakfast cookies. 

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Summertime is my favorite season for produce. I just cannot get enough summer fruit in. Cherries, nectarines, strawberries… you name it, I love it. The fruit star of today’s recipe is the adorable apricot.

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Hiking Cuyamaca Peak

Happy Friday guys!

I’m sure you all are looking forward to the weekend! And speaking of days off, whenever I have a long weekend, I like to do spend part of it doing something fun and new. For 4th of July weekend, this was no exception.

4th of July pancakes

My festive pancakes over the holiday weekend

We had a party at our friends’ on the agenda, which I made my very first red, white & blue cake {angel food cake with cream cheese frosting & a fruit flag} + caprese pasta salad for. We also had some house stuff to do (homeowners, do you also feel like the work is never-ending?!), but that was pretty much it… so, we had some time to go on adventure!

4th of July cake

I decided that a new area hiking spot was to be explored, and the weather was perfect for doing so. A lot of hiking trails in San Diego County are inland, and inland areas can get HOT in the summer, but last weekend, temperatures in the 80s meant decent summertime hiking. After doing some research – when I realized that I’ve done the vast majority of hikes within a 2-hour radius! – I found one called Cuyamaca Peak.

Cuyamaca Peak-12b

What intrigued me about this hike is that it’s the 2nd highest point in San Diego County. The summit sits at 6,512′ and the hike comes in at a little under 6 miles with a 1,700’+ elevation gain.  The trail is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – which I didn’t realize that we’d been to until after doing the hike, coming home and checking my blog post about our camping trip there years ago because I thought the park sounded familiar (Got to love that, right fellow bloggers?). 

Cuyamaca Peak-1

From what I’ve read, dogs are allowed on this trail (and I believe it’s the only trail in the park that allows pups), but we decided to leave Harley home. Between the decently long drive and the summertime weather, we figured it’d be easier to leave her napping cozy in her bed under a ceiling fan.

Cuyamaca Peak-5

To get to the trail, we parked in the Paso Pichacho campground area, and walked through the campsites to get to the trailhead in the back.

Cuyamaca Peak-2

Another thing that seemed interesting about this trail is that it’s home to sugar pine trees – something you don’t see too often in Southern Cali. I was also curious about the destruction that could still be seen from the massive fire that I had heard about, which in 2003, incinerated the areas and its beautiful forests.

Cuyamaca Peak-4

Right away, you can tell that there was an enormous fire in the park. While lots of beautiful green can still be seen on the trail, much of the area is a reminder of that fire 13 years ago that swept through 240,000+ acres. Trees caught in the fire still stand high – but leaf-less, blackened and burnt.

Cuyamaca Peak-10

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Cinnamon Chai Banana Protein Shake {vegan, gf}

Being such an active person, one thing I’m constantly paying attention to is my nutrition. Food is the fuel that gives me energy for all of the hikes & bike rides I go on, strength training and yoga sessions I power through, daily long walks with my dog, and the list goes on & on!

My evening workout yesterday = a strength training workout + laps in the pool

My evening workout yesterday = a strength training workout + laps in the pool

Plant-based diets tend to be carb-heavy, and while eating complex carbohydrates is a very necessary part of fueling my healthy lifestyle, one thing I focus on is eating enough protein. Otherwise, I could just easily eat a big bowl of fruit for breakfast, a pb & banana sandwich for lunch, an apple and granola bar for snacks, and rice & veggies for dinner. Is that a healthy day of eating? Sure, but that doesn’t give me enough protein to properly refuel my muscles with all of the working out that I do.

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This is where things like protein powder and protein bars come in handy for me. There are plenty of those products on the market that contain lots of long ingredient lists and too much sugar, but I aim for the ones that are whole-foods based with real ingredients I’m familiar with. One type of protein powder that I’ve recently been using is Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Nutritional Boosters.

Bob's Red Mill protein powder package

I’ve been a longtime fan of Bob’s Red Mill products (they make 400+ of them!), and have used their ground flaxseed and flours for years. I was excited when they recently rolled out a protein powder line, and even more excited to work with them and try out all of their protein powder flavors.

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Bob’s Red Mill Protein Nutritional Booster line is made with a unique blend of pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, psyllium husk powder (great for digestion!), chia seeds and probiotics. The protein powders are vegan, gluten free, soy-free, sweetened with monk fruit, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron and fiber… so pretty much everything I look for in a protein powder!

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12 Recipe Ideas for the 4th of July

Happy (almost) 4th of July weekend to all of my fellow Americans!

Despite the adversities that we as a country face (ahem, one of which is a certain person who has diarrhea of the mouth running for president), I’m proud to be an America. I’m proud to live in a country where a woman like me can be whoever she wants to be.

Looking for 4th of July recipe ideas? In honor of our celebration of independence, today I’m sharing 12 recipes that make a great fit to whip up over this long holiday weekend!

#1. Let’s kick this list off with my most patriotic looking recipe: red, white & blueberry pancakes!

July 4th pancakes-3

Made with oats, banana, and ground flaxseed, and topped with a maple blueberry sauce, fresh strawberries & shredded coconut, these pancakes are a dreamy holiday brunch idea for this weekend. {vegan + gluten free}

Lemon Twist Hummus

#2. Need an easy appetizer idea to bring to a get together? Try this yummy lemon twist hummus! Bring a batch with some pita chips & veggie dippers. {vegan + gluten free}

Mediterranean Feta Hummus Dip-5

#3. Wanna go a little fancier than lemon hummus? Try this Mediterranean dip – lemon hummus with a layer of feta + veggies on top! {gluten free}

avocado fruit salsa-2

#4. Spice up your burgers with this tropical avocado fruit salsa. {vegan + gluten free}

Greek pasta salad

#5. This Greek pasta salad is a light, easy addition to any BBQ!

bruschetta-5-1024x768#6. This white bean bruschetta is whipped up by spreading cannellini bean hummus on toasted fresh bread, then topping with a tomato mixture.

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