nutrition

Step Up Your Game

BEC Green Smoothie

 

Isn’t the BEC Green Smoothie THE BEST SMOOTHIE EVER? Guys, it really is. But, believe it or not, I have a few ways to make it pack even more punch without realllllllly changing the taste (too much).

1. Mix in a little water.  I like my smoothie with a looser texture so I used to add extra coconut milk (my current non dairy milk of choice). Recently I starting using half coconut milk, half cold water and you cannot taste a difference.  Love the texture, love using less milk, and obviously it contains less calories!

2. Throw in some seeds.  I used to swallow a spoonful of chia seeds every morning then it got to the point where I would rather stay in bed all day then walk down the stairs and choke down chia seeds. Now I drop a tablespoon of the white or black variety into my smoothie (we love the seeds by Health Warrior). Chia can makes things “gelatinous” but this small amount doesn’t change the consistency and adds Omega-3s, protein and fiber.  Flax seeds are also always in my smoothie; they’re cancer and disease fighting so why not?

3. Camu Camu Powder. I love throwing some of this fine powder in my green smoothie every day. It is full of immune boosting antioxidants and Vitamin C.

4. Cinnamon has so many benefits we should all be sprinkling it onto everything all the time. To name a few it’s anti-inflammatory, contains antioxidants and multiple nutrients, and can even boost your mood!

5. Change up your greens game. We know the usual green smoothie suspects…kale and spinach. But try mixing it up. Today I used a bag of romaine in mine and as usual, delicious. Try micro greens, beet greens, collards or dandelion greens (these last two can be bitter so maybe use a little less for your first attempts). Different greens give us different things, y’all!

6. Throw in a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar.  Just a bit won’t alter the taste but you get loads of benefits such as lowering blood sugar, aiding in weight loss, and fighting bacteria!

Do you have any smoothie tips that you love?  Let me know!

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My Morning Routine

Stop! Warning! This is not very glamorous.

But, as you know, I love reading about your day, your schedule, your routine, your ritual, your whatever.  I find it fascinating. Mine not so fascinating; but I am really liking my mornings now that I have a great rhythm with my ONE YEAR OLD. If you don’t care, keep on scrolling but if you’re like me and enjoy a peek into the start of someone else’s day read on.

My morning routine often starts the night before. I pull out my three tea bags and place them in a mug near my Keurig. I take a (clean, empty) baby food jar and dump about two tablespoons of cold pressed coconut water and a tablespoon of Spirulina or Chlorella powder, give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge. These couple of steps maybe save me two minutes in the morning but to me, every second counts.

Also, I don’t set an alarm, I have a baby who lets me know when it’s time to wake up.

He. Is. An. Awesome. Sleeper.

So, every morning starts the same around 7:00 when I hear Aubrey starting to coo and talk from his room across the hall. Thankfully I have always been a pop out of bed, non snooze button user so I do just that. I get right up and hit the bathroom to chug 8 oz of water and then spend about two minutes dry brushing my body. IT IS THE BEST. You can read my post on it here and a great goop article here.

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I then take a quick shower and get dressed. Aubrey is still chatting away playing in his crib with his lovies, happy as a clam.

My three dogs and I head downstairs, they go outside, I flip on the news, and I am off to the kitchen.

I get the hot water flowing into my mug with the tea bags I laid out the night before. Green Detox, Dandelion Root, and Skin Tea are my current favorites. I also love Big T NYC tea but if I need to grab something quick I like the Yogi brand I can buy at my local market.

 

After adding 16 oz of water to my large mug I throw in two scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Powder. I then set it aside to cool, dissolve, and steep.

I drink a warm lemon water to chase my made-the-night-before green algae drink from the baby food jar. Guys, it isn’t tasty, it isn’t pretty, but it’s doable and it is super good for you.  I take it like a shot and drink a bit more of my lemon water.

I fix a big glass of ice water and take five pills: ashwagandha, DIM, turmeric, biotin, and a Klaire Labs probiotic.

I then whip up Aubrey’s milk, let the dogs in and feed them, and then FINALLY go get my baby (literally my favorite part of the day) around 7:30.

After getting him changed we head downstairs where he has his milk and I make him a scrambled egg, a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread raisin toast and cut up fruit (a lot of strawberries, blueberries, and mango this summer). While he eats, I drink my tea and make my game changer green smoothie with SO MANY GREENS and throw in add ons like camu camu which is super high in Vitamin C.

I share my smoothie with Aubrey and he absolutely loves it!

By this time, his sitter is arriving and I am heading to Iron & Grace for a killer workout and then off to start my day.

I am usually so full from my breakfast routine that I don’t need anything further until 1:00 when Aubrey and I have lunch together.

It probably seems like a lot but this routine really flows well for us! Now, I would love to know how you spend your time each morning!

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Heading to College this Month? Read This First!

Well, we all know those days are long behind me but I vividly remember the excitement, the nerves, and the weight I gained my freshmen year at VCU. More importantly, I remember feeling super unhealthy because of a sedentary lifestyle, eating everything from a can or a buffet, drinking beer and jungle juice and whatever else we could get our hands on, and not even thinking about working out much less walking to the gym.

Recently I stumbled upon the Instagram healthycampuslifestyle and was amazed that the pics and food choices came from a college “kid”!  I had to know more.

Turns out, Katelyn Barker is a freshmen at Virginia Tech and a Lynchburg, Virginia native (small world, once again I am reminded!).  She is majoring in human nutrition, food, and exercise with the goal of becoming a registered dietician. So she knows her stuff!

 

As a vegan and a dorm dweller, I was curious how Katelyn managed to eat, cook, exercise, etc. Thanks Katelyn for sharing your tips with BEC!

Tell us about eating on campus at Virginia Tech.

I live on campus and although there is one kitchen in my building, I never use it just because it’s a hassle. But there are definitely a lot of healthy options on campus, as well as a nutrition app for all of the dining halls and ways to make things like oatmeal and sweet potatoes in the microwave. I always have oatmeal, it is definitely my go to breakfast food with bananas; rice cakes and peanut butter is another and then I always have a bag of almonds or some other type of nuts. I don’t keep too much in my fridge, but there’s apples, maybe some carrots and hummus, and cashew milk.

You’re vegan, right?  What’s up with that and how do you get enough protein?

Even though I was eating fairly healthy before, veganism definitely ensures that I keep a clean diet which can be really hard on a college campus with all of the temptations. Now I can honestly say I don’t even think about eating any of those foods after being vegan for about three months. To get my protein without meat I try to eat a lot of beans, one of my favorite things to get on campus is a burrito bowl with pinto beans and black beans. Another thing I’ll do is make my own salad at the salad bar with spinach, which surprisingly has a substantial amount of protein, and add chick peas, kidney beans, green peas, and tofu. One thing people aren’t aware of is how much protein is in plant foods, getting protein definitely isn’t something I focus on because I know I’ll get enough as long as I eat enough natural plant foods in a day. Since I do lift I usually drink a vegan protein shake after just to get that extra boost but that’s definitely not necessary to get all the protein you need.

What do you recommend college students do for exercise?

Use the gym! It may be only time in your life you won’t have to pay for a gym membership so take advantage of it! If you don’t like going to the gym find something fun like an intramural sport, you won’t even feel like you’re exercising (you also don’t have to have ever played the sport before). If your school has an app to tell you the nutrition information of certain foods they’re serving definitely take advantage of it. By looking at VT’s app I’ve learned that a lot of the foods are very calorie dense and have a lot of sodium in them… like unnecessarily a lot, so I try to stay away from those foods. Don’t buy unhealthy food to keep in your room, if it’s there you’ll be tempted to eat it! And if you’re really trying to not put on weight, don’t drink too much alcohol. It’s definitely a big thing in college and it’s a fun way to celebrate after a hard week, but it can get the best of people and needs to be moderated. 

 What do you like to do specifically to stay in shape?

Senior year of high school I started lifting weights and found that I really liked it. So now I have a three day plan that I try to follow. I do chest and tris, back and bi, and legs and shoulders. I also am part of the Dance Company here which is a super fun way to do cardio because let’s be honest, most of us don’t like running on the treadmill for hours. I find lifting to be challenging to the mind and body and I’ve seen progress in my body so fast. It might be intimidating to start lifting when you’ve never done it before, especially in college when the weight room is filled with a bunch of buff guys, but I promise they’re all focused on themselves and if you need help with anything most people are more than happy to help you. 

We love your instagram!

I started my Insta mostly to motivate myself to eat healthy on campus and when I went vegan I used it as a tool to keep myself liable. I definitely slipped up a few times while transitioning to veganism, but that’s okay because everyone is different when it comes to switching their diet and it takes time to make that transition official. These slip ups didn’t hold me back, they just made me work harder to change my diet to a vegan one because sometimes your body craves things and its okay to give into those cravings as long as you get right back on track afterwards. Strive to be healthy for yourself and be the best you can be and you’ll be more motivated to stay on track than if you’re trying to look different for someone else. 

Thanks Katelyn for the awesome tips and beautiful pictures of your healthy food!  Follow her here at @healthycampuslifestyle.

Share this post with anyone heading off to college in a few months!

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Spotlight on the Fabulous Lauren Bender

Who is Lauren Bender? Where do you live? 

I’m a beachy blonde 23-year-old girl with a passion for health and wellness. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, crave adventure and love connecting with likeminded people. I’m from South Florida and currently live in my quaint beach town of Palm Beach Gardens.

What do you do? 

WHAT DON’T I DO?! I like to keep my life busy – the bigger the challenge, the better! I’m a model, workout fanatic and creator. I’m in the works of starting my own brand (lots of exciting things to come), modeling, the CEO of my Rodan and Fields team (BEST skincare, changed my life), getting my Pilates / Megaformer certification, and working in the business department of my dad’s nonprofit, Place of Hope.

What is a typical Tuesday like for you from sun up to sun down? What are you eating? Drinking? Doing?

Tuesdays get me motivated. I like to plan out my week the Sunday before, so I know what to get prepared for. My alarm goes off at 6:50 am and I tiredly put my slippers on. I normally jump in the shower, throw on my robe, and head straight to my Nespresso machine. I add collagen peptides and cinnamon to my Italian cappuccino. I love slow mornings, being able to sip on my coffee and read my devotions. Once I’m ready to go, I grab a yummy Whole Foods granola bar, a glass bottle of water and head to Place of Hope. I make sure to drink A TON of water throughout the day… like I flood my body with it. I like to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day to keep focused and have motivation to workout later. I don’t like to snack either, which I think is a major struggle for some people. I head home for lunch and normally make some organic bone broth, so yummy. During my lunch break, I like to get caught up on emails, follow up with people, and brainstorm my next project. I’m constantly working, but I love it! I always make afternoon hot tea with a teaspoon of ashwagandha (stress reliever, natural energizer and mind clearer). Right before I workout around 6:15 I eat a pre-workout snack – been loving a spoonful of almond butter lately. I workout at Core Evolution (Megaformer / Lagree Fitness workout – killer toning and cardio!) for an hour and normally head to my favorite vegan restaurant, Christopher’s Kitchen. My go-to meal there is their macro kale salad – quinoa, kale, chickpeas, cucumber, sunflower sprouts, beet, carrot, avocado, and cashew cheese. After a long, productive day, I put my favorite pj’s on and enjoy the rest of the night with my family. I jump in bed around 10pm (or earlier) with a cup of citrus chamomile hot tea, turn on my Spotify sleep station, and get ready for the next day.

What is a typical Saturday night for you?

Totally depends on what mood I’m in! If I don’t have any travel plans, I love finding the best local spots to hang at. I probably spent the day at the beach or on the boat, so I keep it pretty low key at night to catch up on rest. Currently loving The Cooper, a local farm-to-table restaurant with a seasonal menu and unique drinks. I’m either with a group of friends or at dinner with my boyfriend, so my Saturday nights always keep me entertained. I know my body, and I can’t function without sleep. So, I like to turn in at a decent hour, and wake up Sunday morning and head to yoga or Core Evolution.

What’s your workout routine? 

If I’m not at Core Evolution, I workout at the gym with the boys. If it’s leg day, we start with weighted lunges and I like to superset them with banded air squats. We stick to 4 sets of 12 reps for every exercise. We do about 5 different leg workouts and finish with 10 minutes of abs and 10 minutes in the sauna. On other days we workout triceps and chest, biceps and back and finish with 15-20 minutes of cardio. KILLLLER BABY!

Do you stick to a pretty strict diet?  What are some of your splurges?  Any healthy snacks or recipes you can share with us?

I am so against “strict diets” – we weren’t made to be scared of what we eat! I am used to and actually love eating healthy, so it’s easy for me thankfully. I am so aware of what goes into my body, I don’t want to flood it with crap. I have never counted calories or not eaten something because of a strict diet. I simply eat clean because I want to!

If I do splurge, like I did tonight, I have vegan ice cream from Christopher’s Kitchen topped with organic vanilla cookies. I have never had anything so good in my life!

I love finding new healthy snacks! My new favorite thing is going to the Whole Foods protein / granola bar section and picking out different individual bars. You can’t go wrong! Just pick what flavors you’re craving and grab a few for the week ahead. I also love snacking on goji berries and currants – simple but so good for you. Organic kale chips are so so yummy too. I put them in the oven at low broil with olive oil or coconut oil (you choose), pepper, garlic powder, Himalayan pink salt, and hot pepper flakes.

How would you describe your style? You always look so chic! Are you a bargain shopper or labels all the way?

Changes on a daily basis! I don’t think I can describe it with just one adjective. My eye is always drawn to all different styles! I love looking casual and comfortable in my worn out converse, ripped jeans, and white V-neck. I also love grabbing my Prada heels and black dress and heading to The Breakers for a cocktail. Then again, you can always find me in a bikini!

I am totally a bargain shopper. I’ll splurge here and there on a good pair of shoes or a nice bag, but love heading to TJ Maxx and exploring their fun shoes, accessories and tops! A good family friend also owns a consignment shop in West Palm Beach, so I’ll go to City Girl consignment for exclusive finds with a story behind them.

Do you read a lot of blogs?  Food? Fashion? What are some of your favorites?

I am obsessed with podcasts lately! My favorite is The Balanced Blonde. I love how real she is, it’s so refreshing. She blogs about life, health, travel and so much more. I have also been following Gold Fish Kiss for years, and met Rebekah at Miami Swim Week – such a sweet human with a happy soul! Her blog is full of tropical inspiration, and makes me want to be on an island with my favorite bikini. Steph Claire Smith is my IDOL. She’s an Australian babe who models, does kick ass workouts, and has her own recipe and workout books. All these girls are so inspiring – but I tend to drift towards more food, fitness, and health blogs. I go to some fashion blogs like Rocky Barnes, Sincerely Jules, and Jacqueline Mikuta for some inspiration on what to wear.

Beach or pool?

Beach – salt water cures everything!

Flats or heels?

Converse ;)

Drive or walk?

Walk – fresh air!

Smoothie or milkshake?

Smoothie no doubt – love making sweet smoothies that taste like healthy milkshakes too!

Steak or fish?

Fish – all about blackened Mahi

Is there anything else you can share with us?  Anything else you’re passionate about and want the world to know?  

I’m really excited about concentrating on getting out of my comfort zone and exploring. I’m finally making an effort to focus on my wellbeing and happiness. I think it is so important to take care of yourself spiritually, mentally and physically. I’m starting to do some soul searching through traveling, journaling, working out and relationships. I’ve become a huge advocate for living a balanced and pure life.

What’s next for you?  Where will you be in one year?  Three years?

Praying for amazing things in the future and trusting God and His timing! I would love to be modeling more and more a year from now. I truly have a passion for being in front of the camera. I know I will always be building strong relationships with people, no matter where life takes me. My goal is to travel back to Italy within the next 3 years to visit my family again in Milan, Sorrento, and Positano. I am up for anything that gets thrown my way, and enthusiastic for this journey of life!

 

I mean, I am obsessed with this girl!  Follow her on insta and expect <more> AMAZING things from her in the coming months!

Thanks again Lauren for opening your world to us!

xx,

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