Meal Prep At It’s Best

In an age where convenience is key is this fast-paced world we live in, it can be hard to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. For most people, convenience is found in high-fat,high sugar,high carb foods that are low in vitamins and nutrients that are body needs.These foods, although affordable in this case cheap doesn’t mean better, if it comes out of a package or a can odds are it’s not good for you.  In recent years,those looking to lose weight, get fit, maintain their weight or just lead a healthy lifestyle have learned that meal prep is key. Meal prep, tracking calories and keeping a food journal are integral keys to success. In the long run, meal prepping can save you time,money and maybe your life. Meal prep keeps you accountable,motivated and focused. There are different avenues and different ways to meal prep, some people choose to plan and measure out their food for each day the night before, others might choose to meal prep on the weekend,prepping vegetables or proteins for the week. However, for those who don’t have the time to prep or feel intimidated by the whole process, there are many options and meal prep services out there that would be happy to do it for you.  Some of those services,include meal delivery and prep services like Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron for already prepared heat and eat meals with macros included there’s Icon Meals, Bite Meals and Diet to go are a few of the many options. When choosing a meal prep service, its important to think about what you need in a service, budget or pricing, fresh vs.frozen, ease to prepare and taste. In weighing my options, I choose a new local meal prep service blocks away from my home called Fit-With-Flavor.

Fit-With-Flavor is owned and operated by certified personal trainer and NPC bikini competitor Leah Fairchild. Their motto is ” Fit tested,Foodie approved” and the talk lives up to the hype. The meals are made to order, with fresh ingredients that enhance flavor without adding fat and calories. I choose it because it is close to home,offers a variety of clean eats and rave reviews and word of mouth is everything when you are looking for an honest review on a product. To review the products I decided to try a breakfast,dinner and dessert item from the rotating menu of options Fairchild varies each week.

For my breakfast option I opted for a Banana Chip Protein Muffin, I’ve had a few protein muffins from many reputable retail brands so I was still a bit skeptical that it wouldn’t taste like your typical muffin but my fears quickly dissipated after a taste.  Protein muffins can tend to be spongy, dense and have an aftertaste but hands down this was the best protein muffin I’ve ever tried. There is no aftertaste it’s flavorful,filling and who doesn’t like chocolate? The macros for the muffin are as follows:214 calories, 5 grams of fat, 19 grams of protein,27 carbs and 6 sugar. The muffins come in a package of 2 but the macros are per muffin. When the muffin is paired with some fresh fruit and you have a balanced meal.  Another breakfast item I chose was the Wild Blueberry Protein Pancakes with scrambled egg whites.

The pancakes include blueberries throughout the pancakes as well coming with a side of low GI blueberry syrup chock full of whole mini blueberries. It’s just the right amount of syrup and sweetness. The scrambled egg whites were ok, but that’s just because I am not a fan of the texture of scrambled egg whites. However, all in all it was a flavorful meal.The macros for this meal are 333 calories, 3 grams of fat, 41 grams of protein, 36 carbs and 16 grams of sugar. For my dinner of choice,I chose one of Fit-With Flavor’s monthly specials Chicken Ropa Vieja.

Chicken Ropa Vieja, is a traditional Cuban dish named “Old Clothes”, the dish consists of slow,cooked chicken breast in cuban spices with jasmine rice and green beans. The dish tasted like a cross between a buffalo and BBQ chicken with a bit of tang,I’m guessing to do with some of the citrus in the dish.It was flavorful but as a lover of spicy food,I would have loved a bit more heat.  The macros on this meal 323 calories,5 grams of fat, 40 protein,35 carb, 1 sugar.  Finally, saved the best for last,dessert.

For my dessert option, I tried their Valentine’s special, protein chocolate truffles. The truffles looked and smelled like a chocolate truffle with a rich cocoa smell and taste. The were rich and flavorful, with an interesting texture, it had a somewhat like cakey texture in between a cake and a brownie and was chewy. I am guessing the chew comes from chia seeds adding to its bulk but that’s just a guess. Coming in a package of three for one of these truffles macros are 106 calories,6.2 grams of fat, 6.2 carbs and 8.2 protein.

All in all, with an eclectic and rotating menu featuring rotating options of foods along with Paleo and gluten-free foods and monthly specials,Fit with Flavor is just that flavor packed affordable meals for a healthy lifestyle.Give it a try and leave a comment here.I would love to know what you think. www.fit-with-flavor.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5k The Shape Way

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Do it like a Diva, I like to think I’m a diva, I mean I wear make-up to the gym and color coordinate my gym outfits to match my make-up. Doesn’t that make me a diva, LOL in all seriousness as a fitness enthusiast and someone who loves to challenge herself and run I decided it would be fun to do the Shape Diva Dash. The Diva Dash is sponsored by Shape Magazine and supports an organization called Girls On The Run which teaches girls to be  joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. The race itself is a 5k or 3.1 miles and the participants are dressed in diva fashion, from bright colors to tutus and wigs or capes these divas are dressed to kill.  From Blow up bouncy houses and borders to take pics in front of colorful buffs, temporary tattoos shape made sure their divas were ready for action. The course itself is of varied terrain, starting out on flat ground and navigating it’s way through the woods through hills and valleys, and with the rain the night before there were some slippery spots as well. Along the course there as was a variety of obstacles to get through first was a blow-up maze, the next were Monkey bars you had to walk across laterally, then there was a Swiss Ball pit that you had to walk across to get through to the other side, a contraption that was a cross between a balance beam and a see-saw that I skipped because of the height and probable cause of injury due to the fact that it was a bit slippery, then there was a net attached to ropes that you had to use to pull yourself across, hurdles, and the last obstacle which was a net you climb up and slide down what looked like a fireman’s pole. I got all the way up the net but didn’t slide down the pole because the drop looked scary.  I look at it this way did I chicken out maybe, could I have been braver, stronger, maybe but I did it. I completed most of the obstacles and got through the race. Would I do it again, no for a few reasons, I don’t think the obstacles are for me, the cost of the race and what you get for it aren’t worth the money $55 for the race and we didn’t even get a T-shirt or picture to commemorate the experience, they also gave us no info on how to find out our time or results.  I had someone come with me who told me I was 17th I am assuming there were at least 250 people there but I am not sure because they had different waves. It was an experience and I’m glad I did it but maybe next fun run I’ll try a zombie race… Nothing will get you running faster than a psycho chasing you.

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The Great Pumpkin Debate

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As a fitness and health enthusiast I try and choose snacks that will benefit and fuel my goals that’s why I was excited to try the latest creation from Quest Nutrition, their limited edition Pumpkin Pie Quest Bar.  I wanted to try it to see if all the hype was valid but as a not so pumped about pumpkin fan, my pumpkin tastes are limited to pumpkin ice cream or bread, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I was lucky enough to get the last two Quest Bars at GNC figuring I would scoop it up in case they were really good.  When I decided to do a review on the bars, I thought to make things interesting instead of just doing a review I would do a comparison of the Pumpkin wars so to speak. The Pumpkin Pie Quest Bar vs. Lenny & Larry’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies.  So here’s the skinny on battle Pumpkin.

The Pumpkin Pie Quest bar clocks in at 220 Calories, 19 carbs 12 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. The bar itself is like many of the other Quest bars a dense, chewy texture, the difference between this Quest bar and others is this is the first coated quest bar coated in a pumpkin coating with graham cracker pieces. In other words a clean-eating version of Pumpkin Pie, but I guess as a person not being a fan of Pumpkin Pie is where this bar fails me. I found the coating to be off-putting and unnecessary and I also thought that although the bar had a sweetness the Pumpkin flavor was lacking and almost non-existent and certainly not one I would compare to Pumpkin Pie, maybe they should have called it Pumpkin essence.  I know it must be hard to come up with flavors and craft bars that contain all the necessary components of a Quest Bar and still taste good and although you can’t please everyone I believe this bar was an epic fail and I would happily give my extra bar away for those calories are not some I would want to expend again.  In comparison, the Pumpkin Spice Cookies by Lenny & Larrys are quite different, granted one is a bar and one is a cookie but the key word here is pumpkin and that’s where Lenny & Larry’s has Quest beat.

Lenny & Larry’s Complete Pumpkin Spice Cookie  clocks in at 210 Calories for 2 servings 29 Carb and 8 Protein and 7 grams of fat. The cookie is soft baked texture of a freshly baked cookie and immediately smells like Pumpkin and the flavors of fall and looks authentic and natural.  As far as flavor it’s all pumpkin it hits you right away and is a great way to cheat clean if your macros allow. It’s really a matter of macros and preference with less calories and fat but more carbs one has to make a choice

but that is also for two servings. So for more bang for your Pumpkin buck I’d grab a cookie and split it with a friend. Sorry Quest you lost this one.

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Meeting Amanda Latona: Inspiration and Motivation

With my last blog, focusing on the negativity of Nicole Arbour, I decided to counter that negativity with some positivity meeting my inspiration and motivation in my weight loss and fitness journey BSN Athlete and IFFB Pro Amanda Latona Kulco. When I first got interested in fitness and began researching new exercise and fitness tips, I came upon the Fitness RX webpage on Facebook, it offered tips and tricks from some of the top athletes and professionals in the field and Amanda Latona was one of them. Before I watched the first video of her Fitness Rx for women series ” No, if’s ands or butts” I remember thinking how pretty she was and how someone who looked like her would probably be so into fitness that she would talk down to or dimiss others that might not be so fit like some other videos I’ve seen but that was nothing of the sort. Her videos were inspiring and engaing and motivating. She talks to her viewers and fans like old friends, and tailors her exercises to fit every woman’s fitness level. She is real and down to earth and says it like it is, so when I heard about the Europa Games in Atlantic City I knew I had to go, not only because it would be a fun day getting to experience new and different things like seeing a bodybuilding show, participating in contests and getting free samples of fitness goodies. I hoped I would be able to meet her. I tweeted her a number of times to find out where she would be appearing and she said she would be making a number of stops but didn’t list anything specific except the Arnold. I waited and kept checking to see where she would appear, still nothing. When I heard about the Europa Games, I asked her if she was going to go and never got an answer, I decided to go anyway, the day before the expo she tweeted she was on her way to Atlantic City and I knew THIS WAS IT! I was going to meet Amanda Latona I had no doubt in my mind it was going to happen.

When my companion and I got to the expo I made a beeline for the BSN booth the company Amanda represents, It was only the first few minutes after the expo doors had opened but I found my way to the BSN booth and low and behold standing in front of me was Amanda Latona,  I think the first thing I said was ” You’re beautiful” and she said “Thank You” I showed her my Team Amanda shirt and talked to her about the Oxygen Challenge and my weight loss and showed her the pics. She spent almost 30 minutes with me chatting, listening, giving me tips and tricks on exercise and nutrition, she said I’m here to help. She is so sweet and motivating and real. She’ll tell you to eat that Peanut butter cup, or that she eats chocolate every night.  With the challenege having so many different body types and different people with different goals she tries to help us all and accept everyone for who they and not what they look like. What makes us beautiful is what’s on the inside and that’s radiated to what’s on the outside. I am so happy to have met her because she truly is beautiful in every way. I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason, everyone in my life has taught me a lesson, or given me a gift whether, it be friendship, love, advice, inspiration. I just hope I can give some of what has been given to me back to others.11988678_10153660456003092_1244119304766118194_n

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DEAR FAT PEOPLE: MY RESPONSE TO NICOLE ARBOUR

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DEAR FAT PEOPLE! Now that I have your attention this is my response to the controversial video posted on You Tube by “Comedienne” Nicole Arbour. Although many have commented on the video and although it has been said many times it is an example of fat shaming, done in the most derogatory, insulting and hurtful way. It is obvious in her delivery that Arbour’s whole point was to create a social media buzz, as negative as it may have been, what’s that saying “ There’s no such thing as bad publicity” just ask the Kardashians, so we can go on talking about Nicole Arbour, how bad it was and why she did it but then we would be just feeding the controversy. It’s really in her rational that I have a problem,

As a former “Fattie” having lost 100lbs and kept it off, but someone who also still struggles with her own body image issues is you can’t make assumptions and generalizations about all overweight and obese people. There are many reasons for a person to be overweight whether it’s genetic, or health related, are they an emotional eater? Is it to medical condition they are suffering from? These are some of the questions she and others should ask themselves before they judge others for their own amusement and make assumptions many most of the time aren’t true.

Not all fat people are obese, not all fat people are lazy, and not all fat people eat a lot. In her video Arbour makes all of these assumptions and more. If you have to judge someone to make yourself feel better about yourself or think it’s funny it’s just your own insecurities that will come to light and like many have said if you have to say you’re a “comedienne” 20 times throughout your video you become the butt of the joke because many of us missed your punch line.

Everybody has their breaking point, or moment of transformation where they want to change their life and take that step to lose weight to get healthier, fitter, look better, so many take longer than others or never decide to change but that’s not anyone to judge. For me, the breaking point was the number on the scale and not being able to recognize myself in the mirror. Dealing with what made me overweight a medical condition and the medication I was on was hard to deal with and I am proud of what I was able to accomplish and do but it isn’t easy every day is a struggle to reach goals and get where I want to be and it takes effort, determination and belief that you can get there. Even with the weight loss, I have experienced skinny-shaming for those who can’t understand why I want to be fit or healthy or look good, but it’s not about them understanding it’s about what I want and what makes me happy. I have good days and I have bad days, but I will never go back to where I used to be. I might never hit the number I want or be Miss America, but I won’t stop making goals or chasing my dreams and what is important to me. I don’t think someone like Nicole Arbour should judge anybody because you can be pretty on the outside, but ugly on the inside and what Arbour has done is nothing but ugly, so before you judge someone, look inside yourself first.

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Mint on my Mind: Mint Power Crunch vs. Quest Nutrition Mint Chocolate Chunk

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Let me preface this review by saying I am not a big fan of mint, except when combined with chocolate and in limited quantities. Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream or an Andes thin mint candy now and then are few and far between, but when I couldn’t get a hold of the Quest nutrition, Mint Chocolate Chunk bar due to high demand and limited quantity I decided to pick up the Power Crunch Mint Chocolate Bar and give it a go.

The first thing I noticed about the bar was the smell; it had a strong, minty, smell not overly excessive but pronounced. The next thing I noticed was it’s appearance, unlike many protein bars out there Power Crunch is just that crunchy, it has a wafer like texture similar to that of a Kit Kat or those wafer cookies many of us ate as children. The layers are covered in a thin layer of chocolate and no trace or color of mint is present.

The bar itself is has a strong mint flavor but a dry sandpaper like texture. As far as the nutritious nature of the bar, for one bar it packs 205 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs and 13 grams of Protein, for those on a low –carb diet this is a good option for pre-or post workout snack on the go. The price for the Power Crunch bar is also reasonable you can find them on sale at retailers like GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe for $1.99. In comparison is Quest Nutrition’s newest and long awaited flavor Double Chocolate Chunk.

Quest Nutrition’s reputation for making quality protein bars with good flavor and balanced in carbs and protein is evident, however, I think there marketing tactics and sales approach leave much to be desire. They seem to take forever to get their products into stores, yet splatter and inundate social media with ads for their products which I think in turn alienates customers versus creating further demand for the product and although Quest does offer their newest products online once their “ Unveiled” I find it pointless to order a product you’ve never tried online and pay shipping especially for one bar, it’s crazy and I won’t do it. I ‘ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I think Quest should create combo boxes such as a Chocolate Lover’s box, that includes, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies and Cream, Double Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Mint Chocolate Chunk, as well as another box with fruit based creations, such as Strawberry Cheesecake, Banana Nut, Peanut Butter and Jelly, etc. However, I digress; rant over back to my review.

Quest’s Mint Chocolate Chunk protein bar comes in at 190 calories, 9 grams of fat 21 carb and 20 Protein. Although higher in carbs and protein it is a great option as a post workout snack and trumps Power crunch on calorie and fat content as well as flavor.

The texture and flavor of Quest’s bar is typical of Quest, soft, chewy almost soft cookie like texture and you can see as well as smell the ingredients in the bar. The bar had a good balance of mint and chocolate chunks, and a subtle mint flavor though I would have liked a bit more but it did taste like a Girl Scout thin mint cookie and was of the quality, texture and flavor expected of a company like Quest. Of all the flavors I’ve tried Thus far, from Quest this is definitely part of my top 5. The price however like many of the Quest products is a bit pricey $2.50 per bar. Although both bars are equally good and it really depends on your personal preference and price point for this battle my vote goes to Quest. I’d love to know your thoughts and what you think? What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment below.

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A New kind of “Perfect”

” Found the pieces in my hand, they were always there it just took some time for me to understand.” My weight loss journey, hasn’t been an easy one. It seems like I have always been searching for something outside of myself or a new goal to attain to prove something to myself to reach the perfection that I always seemed to chase after but I am not perfect, never have been and will never be perfect and I accept hat now. I will not wallow in comparison but only compare myself to what I was able to do today that I wasn’t able to do yesterday. Instead of hating my body, I love what it can do and what I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve done things I’ve never thought possible, and the fear of imperfection, rejection, food, and not being “good” enough has gone away because now I am strong in both body and mind.  I have come to a place of balance, maintanance and knowing I am in control of my body and mind and in the end the numbers don’t matter because I have nothing to prove but to myself. In getting stronger and feeding the “Beast” the drive, motivation and determination within me, I never felt more confident, strong and beautiful. I like to push my limits and defy them because in the end there are no limits except the ones that you impose on yourself. I am ready to pursue new dreams, and new realities and outlooks because I truly believe if you can believe it and visualize it you can acheieve it. I saw the person I am today from the beginning because she is what I always wanted to be and now I am ready to let her shine and unleash the vixen so watch out!

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