Blend Retreat — The Hike!

So, our time in Park City for BLEND Retreat this weekend wasn’t only about food. Mostly food. But not only food 😉

(Funny story, I told my mom I wanted to show her pictures from Utah last night and I started showing her my previous blog post…halfway through, not realizing that the post had a theme, she goes, “Did you do anything but EAT?!” HAHA!)

There were also two Boot Camps scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings, hosted by GPP Fitness.

I heard it was great {and exhausting! They did the Deck of Cards workout in 7,000 ft altitude, whew}…but I didn’t go.

photo cred: Heather (Kiss My Broccoli)

You see, I got back to the hotel room around midnight after grabbing a drink {and playing some Buck Hunter, obvi} on Main Street in “downtown” Park City. I was all set to wake up at 6:45 and drowsily walk down to the ballroom where Boot Camp was taking place. However, my body decided to freak out and wake up once an hour, every hour, during my fitful 6-7 hours of sleep. I decided to let my body recover for a little bit so that I could definitely enjoy the rest of the weekend, and went for a short run instead.

Rainy

Or…attempted to anyway. It was so rainy! I ran up and down a few hills and sets of stairs and got super winded, super quickly. Must have been the 7,000 foot elevation!

I’m so glad I let my body recover, because I was feeling quite a bit better after we had our Laughing Cow/Muesli Fusion Breakfast and it became time to go on our hike!

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Check out all those girls gathered in the lobby ready to hike!

For those who didn’t want to participate in the hike, a Zumba class was held in the ballroom. I really wanted to try it, but I decided my belly was too full of bagels and muesli to jump and dance around!

The hike was sponsored by PROBAR, who provided us with their CORE energy bars and BOLT energy chews to get us through the hike. We all loved the energy chews, which had a good ingredient list and tasted like fruit snacks!

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As for the hike, it started out a little shaky…

MUD

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The mud on the road leading us to the trail was REALLY bad. You see, it drizzled on and off most of the weekend that we were in Park City, which created some pretty wet conditions. Quite a few people turned back after seeing how treacherous it was just to trek through the mud (I swear my feet weighed an extra 5 pounds!)…but I definitely already felt guilty for skipping the morning workout, so I trudged along.

And I’m so glad I did!

duringhikeThe trail itself wasn’t nearly as muddy.

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And the views were spectacular!!!

There was even some snow on the ground still:

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It was crazy to me that, even though there was still snow on the ground, everything looked so lush and spring-like.

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Hi Ashley and Becky!

Eventually we made it to the top, and of course gathered to take pictures.

Me, Carly @ Snack Therapy, & Becky @ Olives n’ Wine {photo cred: Becky}

photo cred: Ian from Muesli Fusion {their first Instagram pic!}

I loved how everyone’s workout gear was always so bright throughout the weekend. I am all.about wearing obnoxiously bright clothing to work out!

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Back down we went!

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after

By the time we got back to the Canyons Resort area, the clouds had lightened up a little bit and I realized my face was actually a bit sunburned. WTF? Although, am I really surprised?

The trail itself was supposed to be about 3 miles, but here’s how long it ended up being total, including our muddy little jaunt to the trail:

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20130521-120643.jpgCheck out that elevation!

I’m very glad I decided to stick with the hike, because history repeated itself on Sunday morning…I missed Boot Camp again.

I know, I know. I went to a healthy living blogger retreat and didn’t go to EITHER of the workouts.

Let’s just say on Saturday night, we got plenty of ab exercise by how much we laughed! But that’s a story for another post 🙂

Stay tuned for more about all the SWAG we got (you think all these sponsored meals sound awesome? Wait until you see our SWAG BAGs!) and some stories and tips from the Canyons Resort area and Main Street in Park City! I’ve also been busy incorporating all the swag into some recipes (Muesli Fusion/Silk/Bobs Red Mill overnight oats, anyone?), so I should have a recipe for some protein muffins to share by the end of the week! I mean they definitely gave us enough.

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My giant container of protein bars, and bag full of protein powders!

Where is your favorite spot to hike?

Do you ever talk yourself out of workouts? How do you know when to convince yourself to stick it out, and when to give your body a rest?

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Product Lovin’

Last night, I edited and resized these pictures while doing laundry at my parents’ house. The highlight?

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Awwww yeah. Turned the TV on right at the best part of She’s All That. The 90’s high school rom-com at its finest. I was 10 years old when this movie came out…I remember really wanting to see it in theaters too, what was I thinking? What was a 10 year old doing wanting to watch a movie about 23 year olds playing high schoolers? Kids growin’ up too quickly, I’ll tell ya.

Um, anyway.

I mentioned that I’ve been depending a lot on bars lately. I also talk frequently about how I rely on a lot of quick soup cup lunches.

Well, I’ve been trying out all sorts of products lately and gathering my thoughts (and pictures) of them. Here are some of my faves, and not so faves… and to keep things interesting, I’ll even rate them on a scale of 1-5 🙂

Bars

Why I eat them: I eat bars (protein bars, fiber bars, nutrition bars) to supplement my meals in order to make sure I’m hitting my nutrition goals. I like my bars to be low-ish in calories, and high in good nutrition stats. I could be better at checking the ingredient list, but since I’m not aware of any intolerance or allergies I have, it’s kinda low on my radar. I try to never replace a meal with a bar, but sometimes on dodgeball nights when I have a game at an awkward time, I will have a Luna bar before the game to tide me over until I can get something in my belly after the game.

The goods:

Luna Protein Bars
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Pros: 12g of protein, stays filling for a while, high in calcium, and the mint chocolate chip flavor is deeelish!
Cons: High calorie for how small it is (170), pretty high in fat (6-8g), and the peanut butter and cookie dough flavors are bleh.
Final Thoughts: As long as Groc Out is still keeping these in stock for 50 cents each, I’ll keep buying them. But their high calorie count is a little guilt-inducing…. 3.0/5

Fiber One Chewy Bar

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Pros: TONS of chocolate! Really chewy texture, tastes great, and has a whopping 9 grams of fiber.
Cons: Kinda small for 140 calories. Prooobably has a questionable nutrition facts list.
Final Thoughts: I found this at a gas station to eat for breakfast this weekend, and I will definitely be looking out for it in the grocery store. 4.0/5

Luna Bars – Chocolate Dipped Coconut

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Pros:  I had never tasted this flavor before and, even as a coconut hater, I loved it. Kinda tasted like a Samoas Girl Scout cookie. Luna bars are somewhat high in protein (this one has 9g), can be low in fat, and are loaded with vitamins.
Cons: Not as much fiber as I’d hope for in a bar that’s usually 160-190 calories. Again probably questionable ingredient list.
Final Thoughts: I love Luna bars, but they could be more complete as a stand alone “whole nutrition bar”. I eat em weekly all the same! 4.0/5

Fiber One 90-calorie Brownies

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Pros: They taste like BROWNIES. I also love the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. They are only 90 calories and have 5 grams of fiber, PLUS they taste delicious.
Cons: Not much other nutritional value besides the fiber.
Final Thoughts: These are one of my favorite products. I eat them with my yogurt in the morning to add some fiber to my breakfast, and I would snack on them all the time. 5.0/5

Quick Breakfast/Lunches

Why I eat them: I try to make my own lunch every day of the week, but sometimes that’s just not possible. And if I have to choose between eating out, or eating a $2-$3 soup cup, the choice is obvious for me 🙂 As for breakfast, I love making breakfast food on the weekend, but during the week, FAST is best! I have low bone density, so I try to incorporate either yogurt or some form of almond milk in my breakfast for calcium.

The goods:

Chobani Non-fat Greek Yogurt

chobani

Pros: I prefer the consistency of Chobani over a lot of other Greek yogurts I’ve tried. It isn’t as tart and tangy. Each one has 20% of your daily calcium and upwards of 12g of protein! Also, live active cultures like Acidophilus…Which are good for the tum tum.
Cons: Expensive. They run $1/each or more at Safeway most weeks. I only get to spring for them when they’re on sale, or when I spot them at Groc Out.
Final Thoughts: Definitely worth the buy if you’re willing to pay more than $1 per yogurt. 4.5/5

PS. Check out the Chobani giveaway on the Blend Retreat blog!

Trader Joe’s Nonfat Greek Yogurt

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Pros: Pretty much all the same health benefits as Chobani – protein, calcium, probiotics. And most of the flavors taste really good (I only didn’t like pomegranate). They’re also affordable at 80-90 cents per yogurt.
Cons: They’re only 110 calories, and leave me a little hungry. Also they blend the fruit into the yogurt instead of leaving it at the bottom.
Final Thoughts: A good alternative to Chobani, but probably not a favorite. 3.5/5

Dr. McDougalls Asian Entrees- Pad Thai

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Pros: I usually LOVE Dr. McDougall’s products. They are all natural and usually vegan. The flavor in this cup was good.
Cons: WTF? The noodles only filled up HALF the cup! No wonder it was only 200 calories.
Final Thoughts: This was a tasty cup, but it was barely a snack. It was low in fat and calories, but I probably won’t buy it again. 2.0/5

Dr McDougall’s Asian Entrees – Teriyaki Noodle

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Pros: I bought two of the Asian entrees at once, so I sucked it up and gave this 2nd one a try. A bit more filling than the Pad Thai, and it was low in sodium compared to most store-bought stuff!
Cons: This may have been more filling than the Pad Thai, but not by much. It had a lot less flavor too.
Final Thoughts: I’d say this is a much healthier alternative to Top Ramen/Cup O Noodles…if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll stick to Dr. McDougall’s Split Pea and Black Bean Soups, which are my favorite soup cups! 2.5/5

Et cetera

Tazo Teas

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Pros: Anyone else get a ton of Starbucks cards for Christmas? I love the Zen green tea and the new-to-me Vanilla Rooibos Parfait! (pictured below)
Cons: I’m actually not the only one who has said this, I think Starbucks is a little heavy handed with the cardamom in their chai tea. I think they have the same problem in their “Spiced Vanilla Latte”
Final Thoughts: Solid tea. Probably wouldn’t usually spend so much on it if I didn’t have a gift card. 4.0/5

rooibostea

Cupcake Vineyards- 2011 Red Velvet (Red Blend)

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Pros: More affordable than our standby red blends (Menage a Trois and Apothic Red)
Cons: Not as tasty.
Final Thoughts: This would probably be a good wine for someone who isn’t really into red wine. The bottle and name are cute though! 2.5/5

Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Peppermint

babylips

Pros: OK sorry, I veered away from food stuffs. Haha. But this lip balm with sunscreen is destined to become a standby for me now that Spring has arrived, since my beloved Burts Bees flavor doesn’t include sunscreen. This has a similar tingly minty feel! Also, hello, cute tube!
Cons: It’s not Burts Bees.
Final Thoughts: Definitely going into the rotation. 3.5/5

Do you eat nutrition and/or protein bars?

What are some of your favorite products?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions shared are my own! I am also not a registered dietician – please speak with your physician before embarking on any diet/exercise plans.

Week in Groceries

Calling all grocery shopping cart voyeurs!

Am I the only one who thinks it’s super interesting to see what other people buy during their grocery shopping trip? I hope not, because this post is allllll about groceries.

As I’ve mentioned before, where I shop for groceries is mostly a matter of convenience. I don’t have a car, so if the store in question is more than .5 miles away, I probably don’t shop there regularly. This is the same principle that keeps me away from Target (thank heavens) and, until Saturday, Trader Joe’s.

The funny thing is, both of these places are actually only 2 miles from my house. Could totally bike there if I wanted…but I don’t. So Safeway and Groc Out it is.

I decided to wander outside my norm this weekend. I batted my eyelashes at T-Man and asked if he’d drive me to Trader Joe’s…And I had every intention of just buying some “bulk” items at TJ’s, then biking the (gasp) 20 blocks, or 1.6 miles to get the rest of my produce at the Sunday Farmers Market bright and early the next day.

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Needless to say, the Farmer’s Market never happened.

I was really surprised at how cheap TJ’s in season produce (cauliflower, broccoli, oranges) was. Soo I piled it in.

It had been over a week since my last grocery haul, and this was a big “stock-up” trip for me, as I recently ran out of essentials like rice, quinoa, lentils, etc. Even T-Man found a couple of things he liked (he has been RAVING about their lobster ravioli that he found in the refrigerated section).

So here’s what I got:

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Produce: Cara Cara oranges, kiwis, onions, a russet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, bag of baby lettuce mix, and a bag of pre-cut kale (this stuff is amazing. So much more tender than full leaf kale)

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Bulk items & Dairy: lentils, quinoa, hybrid corn/flour tortillas, brown jasmine rice (this 3 lb bag lasts me over 6 months!), a can of beans (I already had black & garbanzo beans at home) plain Greek yogurt, flavored nonfat Greek yogurt (I tried 1 so far which wasn’t fantastic, but the price was right), and eggs.

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These are two new-to-me products I was really excited about because I’m a food nerd I’ve never spotted them at Safeway before: red lentils and quinoa! I always get green lentils, or plain old quinoa. I haven’t tried the lentils yet, but the quinoa was yummo 😀

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Miscellaneous: tortilla chips (these are DELISH), Luna bars, almond butter, chicken broth, peppermint tea, and light coconut milk

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I spent a lot of time looking through all the protein and nutrition bars, and settled on my tried and true Luna Bars. So many bars are too high in calories and fat, or don’t have enough overall nutrition for me to justify buying them. And the ones that did were all superexpensive. So Lunas it is! I haven’t tried the Chocolate-dipped Coconut or Peanut Butter Cookie before. YUM!

And my grand total (which I’m predicting will last me nearly 2 weeks) only came out to: $54.28!

I was really surprised at how little I spent for so much stuff! Lots of things (coconut milk, tea, yogurt) were actually cheaper at TJ’s than Safeway. And I probably saved a lot by avoiding the frozen/refrigerated aisle.

Also, I had another one of my famous “weird illogical theories” (dubbed so by T-Man of course :-P), I was convinced it would be cheaper to make almond butter than buy a jar.

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I quickly ditched my 1 lb, $6.99 bag of almonds for the MUCH cheaper $5.99 jar. Those almonds would have hardly made one cup of butter!

So what have I made with these groceries?

I made a vague meal plan for the week. Check it:

Breakfast: Used the plain yogurt I bought, and frozen fruit and granola I already had, to made a batch of Lindsay’s Frozen Yogurt Bars. Those bars plus my yogurt cups and Fiber One brownies will suffice for two weeks worth of breakfasts! And if I run out, there’s always oatmeal at the office. 🙂

Lunch and dinner:

Monday: burrito bowl for lunch (black beans, broccoli, hot sauce & tortilla), Kale & Broccoli pasta dish for dinner

Tuesday: leftover pasta for lunch, happy hour & drinks for dinner {I ended up having fries & wine, haha, so I supplemented it with fruit & a Luna bar!}

Wednesday: burrito bowl for lunch (with chicken this time), some kind of lentil + coconut milk dish for dinner

Thursday: lunch with a friend, leftover lentil dish for dinner after dodgeball game

Friday: Wing it! Bike home for lunch, or if not enough time, have emergency soup cup at the office. Make nice dinner with T-Man?

While this isn’t a full list of what I eat every day (there’s been at least one snack of leftover crackers + cheese from my office’s reception each day, plus dessert and other random snacks), I usually stick to a plan much like this…e.g. make dinner Monday and Wednesday, eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

Since I’m just about over my cold, my workouts have been pretty scattered. Usually, I plan my workout days first, then my meals…That way, I know to plan for protein-packed meals on workout days. This week, I’ve just been cookin’ with what I have, and supplementing my meals when I should.

Do you meal plan?

Do you create a weekly fitness plan?

Do you like Trader Joe’s, or do you like Trader Joe’s?