Monday, October 6, 2014

Eat for your Health!

Welcome Twitter chat friends and old blog friends alike.

In case you missed the Twitter Chat, here are my questions and answers:

Q1:  What is your go-to snack when you need an energy boost?
A1:  I love fresh fruits and veggies. Celery, grapes, apple slices & carrots. Energy Bits are great to keep in my bag, too!

Q2:  When you have a busy day what foods do you eat for sustained energy?
A1:  Beans are my go to! In a salad or wrap, they give help me to stay full & feeling great. A banana w sunflower butter is another go to of mine.

Q3:  Lunch box check: what do you pack in yours?
A3:  I always have a fresh fruit or veggie, BabyBel cheese are my fave, too. Nuts, multi-grain chips & maybe yogurt.

Q4:  If you feel an illness coming on, are there any foods you eat to try and keep it at bay?
A4:  Citrus fruits, chlorella algae from @RecoveryBits, ACV with honey & warm water all help me to feel better fast. 

Q5:  When you feel dehydrated, from weather or working out, what helps you feel refreshed?
A5:  A smoothie with kale, spinach, berries & water always does the trick.

I chose the topic "Eat for your health" because I really do feel like food can be a powerful "medicine".  I spend a great deal of time working out and teaching Pilates and I know all too well that a meal, good or bad, can make or break the entire day. Training myself to make the healthier choices has been a game changer for my energy levels.

Recovery Bits and Energy Bits have been so helpful in keeping me energized and healthy. I would love for you to get to try some! To enter, simply comment below with an answer to at least one of the questions above. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Please include your email address in the comment so that I can let you know when you win! 

Winner will be randomly selected on Thursday, October 9, 10:00 pm CST.

Thanks again for stopping by.

If you are interested, here are a few of my most pinned posts!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

If you have followed this blog for any time at all, then you know how much I love Energy Bits and Recovery Bits. Yes, they help me to have sustained energy throughout my day, give me power for my workouts, and are great to tide me over til my next meal. But they are also great for the entire family.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stop yelling at me!

I feel like I am a pretty great Pilates instructor. No, wait. I know that I am. I am highly trained, by some of the best in the country. I practice and I research and I stay on top of my game. But.

I yell.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rest. It works!

I hear from runners all the time how they push through pain only to be injure later. I even have a few students that can no longer run at all because of years of over-work and no rest. I cannot say that I have never been guilty of this, but I am trying all the time. That is one of the blessings (and curses!) of working in the fitness industry. I know exactly what happens to the aging body, whether it is from over or under use. I hope to fall somewhere in the middle.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why I don't like stevia

I am so over hearing about or receiving products that say they are "all natural" and "healthy" only to scan the ingredients and see that Stevia is an ingredient.
I know that for many, Stevia is a great option. If you are diabetic and must have something sweet, I can see how it could be a life saver. I also understand that Stevia comes from a plant, stevia rebaudiana. But, sugar, real sugar, also comes from a plant, and it isn't the best, either.
Anything that is sweet, whether real or chemical, causes a change in the body. While a natural change is better than a chemical change, like from aspartame or sucralose, our body still perceives that it is getting sugar and prepares itself to handle that. This leaves your body in the same predicament that chemical sweeteners do, meaning that the body amps up it's production of cortisol, glycogen, adrenaline, etc, to help break down the sugar, only to have no sugar to break down.
So, stevia is not quite the miracle plant it is touted to be and, in my opinion, has no place in a clean diet.
Honey (go local!) and maple syrup are my two favorite ways to sweeten naturally. Agave is another option, but it is also a bit controversial for some of the same reasons as stevia. Also, in my opinion, I feel like if you "have" to have a sweet treat, live it up. Have real, raw sugar in a cookie or ice cream. Not everyday, but for a treat. Your body does know how to process this and, while it isn't ideal daily, your body can handle it every now and then. (Unless you have a medical condition that causes you not to be able to have sugar.)
For food and drinks that don't require sugar or sweetener, just let it go! Drinking black coffee, unsweetened tea and unsweetened milk (think coconut or almond) may not be great at first, but I switched all of those and now I can't stand sweet drinks.
I love to bake and will splurge and use real, raw sugar every now and then, especially if others will be eating it. Other than that I use local honey or applesauce.
Plus, you guys, I just tried a shake that was sweetened with stevia and it tastes gross. Fake sweet. Icky sweet. You don't want fake. You want real.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Girly Stuff: Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick

I don't chat about it much in this blog but I do go gaga for girly stuff like make-up. I may not be an expert at applying it, but I love collecting and trying make-up and I swoon over skin care products daily.
I am lucky to be a part of Influenster and the most recent treat I received is the Rimmel Moisture Renew Vox Box, in which I found a complimentary tube of the newly formulated Moisture Renew lipstick.
The shade is "As You Want Victoria", a deeply bright pink.
I don't often wear lipstick, I tend to opt for gloss or stains, so this vivid color is a shock when I first apply it. A shock in a good way. It is a punch of pink color that stays on for hours and leaves lips moisturized. The texture isn't too heavy or sticky...if it weren't for the bright color I wouldn't even know it was on! This will not be a color I wear every day (my Pilates students would think I had lost my mind!) but I will keep it in my make-up drawer for special occasions.

Rimmel London does quite a few giveaways and other fun things via social media so you may want to check them out on

I also have a few Influenster invites to give out. If you would like to be a part of this awesome social group and you like to review products and share on social media, let me know your email address and I will send you an invite. The more active you are on the site the more opportunities open up to try and review products so you have to be active!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Energy Bits Party!

I have been meaning to write a post on Energy Bits for a few weeks now and, thanks to Energy Bits sponsoring a giveaway, it kicked me into gear.
Since last summer I have consistently been eating Energy Bits and Recovery Bits almost daily and I have seen some amazing results.
I have already shared about the natural energetic feeling I get from these lovely little algae bits and today I would like to give 3 more reasons I love them!

1. A bit (or 20) a day keeps the doctor away
I wanted to wait until spring officially arrived on the calendar to make this proclamation and now I can. I went this entire winter without being sick! Seriously. There was 1 day in January that I had a sore throat and was a bit achy, but I didn't run a fever and after spending a day on the couch and upping my intake of Recovery Bits I was back in business. So, no flu, no stomach yuckiness, no strep throat or even an ear infection. And I credit that to the fact that bits boosted my immune system and gave me the proper nutrition for my body to stay healthy.

2. A great source of food when you are unable to eat
Unable to eat? That sounds odd, but think about it. There are some days I am just not hungry but know that I need to have some sort of food to function. Maybe my appetite is down or I don't want to be full. I am weird in that I don't like to be full when I travel, when I have a big day of teaching, or anything where I am active. In times like this I typically have 10-15 of Energy and Recovery Bits. This allows me to have the protein and nutrients I need to get through without sitting down to a full meal. I never leave home without my tin of bits!

Bits in the sky!

3. Really all-natural. Like, really.
There are many products that claim to be organic, natural and healthy and then I look at the ingredients only to find sugar, fake sugar, chemicals and...junk. I get so disappointed when I see this not only because I hate false claims but because I just want all the people that are being duped by these "healthy" products to instead try Energy and Recovery Bits.
They are:

  • 100% organic
  • 100% algae  That's right. Look at the package. O N E Ingredient. Dehydrated algae. Just like a raisin is a dried grape, a bit is dried algae. Nothing else.
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan

Energy Bits are spirulina algae and they give me a natural boost of energy that feels like I just woke up from the best sleep. More even feeling that a shot of espresso and more filling, too. It's like sitting down to eat a salad in a tab form!
For even more details on Energy Bits click here.

Recovery Bits are chlorella algae and they digest a bit slower which means you don't get the quick burst of energy but you do get a steady feeling of wellness. I love to have Recovery Bits first thing in the morning with a tall glass of water. ***Major News*** I have noticed that if I have 15-20 bits after a long run I am much less likely to suffer from a headache. I tend to get a migraine-like headache after long outdoor runs so I make sure to have my bits immediately after.
For even more details on Recovery Bits click here.

If you have any questions about bits please let me know. When you decide to order, use the code HEART to save 20%. This code never expires and you can use it over and over!

I have shared bits with family, friends and students and they typically always go on to order their own bag. Just this week two of my Pilates students were singing the praises of Energy Bits as they were walking into class. So cool!

Located in Boston, Energy Bits is very involved in the Boston Marathon. They have a booth at the expo, so if you are running, make sure you stop by and tell them I sent you. For those of us that are not in Boston, they still wanted us to get to take part in the fun and that is where the giveaway comes in. One lucky reader will win an Energy Bits swag bag filled with bits samples and some other fun swag. To enter all I am asking is for you to do ONE of the following:
- subscribe to my blog in a Reader
- follow me on Twitter
- Like me on Facebook
- Follow me in Google+
Do one of the following and then leave a comment below saying that you did and letting me know your name on any of the above social sites so that I can say hi. Also include your email so that I can contact the winner. For each one you do, you will get 1 entry, so you can get up to FOUR entries! The contest ends Tuesday, April 22 at 5:00 pm CST so you better get a move on!

Good luck and I hope you win so that you can be Powered By Bits!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patricks Day from Debby Downer

If there is one thing that I do well, it is ruminating over a completely irrelevant thing, allowing it to make me upset.  This past week, it has been the Irish Yoga graphic.
It has been around for years, it has always annoyed me, but this year I feel like I have to say something.
So, if you don't care or if you personally find the Irish Yoga thing hilarious, go ahead and click on through. 
I will also add the disclaimer that I am a borderline teetotaler and prude. I know this. My idea of a good time is going out to lunch on chicken salad and iced tea. Or if I am out after dark, I like to be home in my pajamas by midnight. When I drink, finishing 8 ounces is an accomplishment. I hate feeling the slightest bit tipsy because I like to always feel in control of myself. I know this is rigid and not "normal" but it's me.
So, here is an example of what I am talking about:

There are t-shirts, memes, real-life re-enactments. Friends have sent this to me. I see fellow yoga instructors, students, studio owners all sharing this, pinning it, glorifying it.
To me, it is not funny at all and actually pretty offensive.  For many different reasons.

1. Okay, so these people drank so much that they passed out, bottles strewn about. Great. They have poisoned their systems so much that their body had no other choice than to shut down to recover. Excellent! Lets make fun of that and also condone it.

2. Think of other ethnic groups and negative stereotypes placed on them. Now make a t-shirt out of it. Or post it to your Facebook page. If you need examples, just let me know. 

3. I will be the first to admit that I am a Pilates instructor first, with some training in yoga. But I am practiced enough to know that the art of meditation and many levels of a yoga practice have nothing to do with drinking so much that you pass out. 

I could go on and on, but I won't. I just needed a place to vent what has been boiling under the surface for quite some time.
I know that my opinion is very rigid and I get that it is a joke.  I just don't find it funny.
It's not cute, funny, or in any way healthy to get drunk. And getting drunk because of a holiday that was started by Irish immigrants in America, to help them band together and have a little happiness at a time when they were treated like second-class humans, is not really that cool. Maybe instead of drinking until passing out we could find something better to do to celebrate the oppressed Irish-Americans of years past. Like watching Gangs of New York in our pj's sipping on kale water.

Am I over the top? I would love to know your feelings. These are mine and I really feel so much better after sharing them. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The new goodbye

Several years ago I was working with a co-manager on email and website policies.  As I was explaining the process of getting a response to a mass email that says "unsubscribe" or "remove me from your mailing list", the co-manager, a very caring and talkative person, asked if it would be nice if we then sent another email, thanking them for following along for the time that they did, and if they ever needed [our fitness studio] in the future, not to hesitate contacting us.
It's a funny story to re-tell, and at the time I just laughed and said no, that would be annoying. They want off the list. They just aren't that into us. They moved. Whatever. They said no more communication, so no more. But, still, years later, each time I send out an email newsletter and receive the inevitable handful of "remove me" responses...I have to wonder. Do they maybe want to hear a good-bye? I manage a small studio and it isn't in our budget to use one of the programs that does automatically remove people. So it is me, going to the contact list, painfully removing the person that I could have taught to scoop, stand tall, and be strong. Or maybe they never came in and just filled out a slip at a health fair. It is hard to say. And I will more than likely never add the final good-bye email. But it is something I think about. In our fast-paced, quick-decision lives, maybe we should be a little more caring. 

Maybe good-bye should be more than just a click. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And here we are

I remember when I was a waitress, after a busy Saturday evening or Sunday brunch rush, looking around the restaurant, after we had closed, at all of the empty tables.  Exhausted, my mind still buzzing from balancing the demands 4, 5, 6 different tables.  It was hard to believe everyone had gone home.  I could relax and not worry who had hot coffee, who needed more bread, and could stop looking out of the corner of my eye to see if food was up in the window.
I very much have this same feeling today.
After a fall and winter filled with continuing my education in many different ways, I am finished.  For now.

A quick break down of where I have been:

  • September - Teaching 7 days a week to make myself a little more known in the community and raise funds for my Level III Pilates training.  Also a 4 day trip to Austin, TX for training.  While in Austin I hosted my first #poweredbybits Twitter Chat as part of being a brand ambassador for Energy Bits.  If you have never taken part in or hosted a Twitter chat, try it.  You learn a lot and it is a whirlwind of fun.  I had so much activity that I got put in "Twitter Jail" which is technically a great thing!
  • October - Teaching 7 days a week STILL!  Every Sunday in October I had the pleasure of teaching Piloxing at the Kansas City Athleta store SO fun!
  • November - 3 day trip to Austin, TX for my second weekend of training.  No more Sunday classes, but picked up quite a few Saturday Reformer students.
  • December - Studying for and taking my Peak Pilates Comprehensive exam.  This was about a 7 hour day filled with practical and written assessments.  This was also another 3 day trip to Austin, TX.  Oh, and the holidays!  I also had the pleasure of writing a small piece about the Studio On Main for a local publication.
  • January - Began the 5 week FastTrac course for New Venture small business owners.  This class met once a week for 5 weeks from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.  Because the class fell on a Tuesday, I would go straight from class to work, working with clients from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm.  A three hour work day doesn't sound too bad, until you add that to the fact that my brain was on extreme overload from all of the great information in the FastTrac course!
  • February - completed the FastTrac course!
And, here I am today.  With "just" my regular work week in front of me.  Don't get me wrong, graduating from FastTrac and becoming comprehensively trained are actually just the very beginning of a brand new chapter in my life and career.  BUT for now, I am going to take just a few days, maybe weeks, to breathe.  And do laundry!  It feels great to be able to sit here at home, enjoy a cup of coffee, blog, dust my mantle and scrub the bathroom.

Keep scrolling to check out some of my favorite pictures from the past few months!

Stay tuned, dear readers.  I am hoping to fill the pages of this blog once more with workouts, recipes and wellness tips just like before.  

What have you been up to so far in 2014?

Did you read about how we almost were zapped into smithereens overnight?  It is always fascinating to sit back and really think about how we are just floating along in space.

Day one of my Level III training!

Hill Country, I miss you!

Walking near the UT campus.

Powered by Bits at 30,000 feet!

Piloxing fun at Athleta, KC!

Finished my Level III exam and took a short climb to the top of Mt. Bonnell.

Barton Springs Creek


Glitter folders let them know you mean business.

Matching socks for business partners. Happy accident!

Goin' Uptown
I can't help it, I love all photos having to do with airplanes, airports, etc.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A snow storm is like anxiety

I have lived in Missouri nearly my entire life.  Each year we have at least one major snow of ice storm that moves through.  Yes, the winter weather puts a cramp in my daily life, but it is almost always manageable.  Even when it's a big storm, facing the foot of snow to be shoveled or the few days of cabin fever isn't too bad when looked at with a positive attitude.
On Tuesday, the Kansas City area was hit with a winter storm.  Not a blizzard, but we did get about 11 inches of fluffy, sparkly snow.
The day before, on Monday, I had several errands to run and it was then that it struck me that the way some people handle an impending snow storm is very similar to how those living with anxiety may handle their day-to-day lives.
A few people that I crossed paths with didn't seem troubled by the snow much at all.  "It will either snow or not.  It's just weather."  Was the attitude of some, and my attitude as well. 
 [Thanks to 4 years of cognitive behavioral therapy ;)]
Then there are the other reactions.  People talking incessantly about what time the snow will start.  Should a class or event several days away be cancelled?  How dare an employer expect its employees to be at work.  All of these conversations happening while the sun is still shining and the storm has not even begun to develop over the western plains.
I had to stop by the grocery store to drop off milk bottles, not really thinking about how crowded it may be.  I had hoped to pick up chocolate milk per a request from E, but after waiting nearly 10 minutes just to return bottles and seeing the long lines at the checkout, opted to wait.
As I looked at the people buying frozen pizzas, bags of chips and cases of soda, I couldn't help but wonder if their pantry at home was truly bare.  Yes, it is nice to have all of the comfort foods you crave, but I always think that, if we were in an emergency, we could survive off of the 5 lb bag of lentils, 6 boxes of mac and cheese, and the Costco bag of fish sticks.  The people that frequent grocery stores the day before a storm can't be much worse off than that.
When my anxiety was at it's worse, I felt like Chicken Little.  Always waiting for and anticipating the next disaster.  To allow yourself to do that robs you of the precious joyful moments of life.
To face an incoming snow storm with dread and fear is much the same.  Enjoy the sunny day before hand.  Make sure you have enough to get by if you can't or don't want to drive for a few days, but don't get so caught up in the weather that you are a nervous wreck.  I have been there, cowering in my basement during tornado season while others finish up their grilling and yard work as the rain starts to fall.
It's okay to be prepared.  But don't become obsessed. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chocolate Covered Cherry Frosty Malt

With a title like this the recipe most definitely couldn't be healthy, right?
Surprise!  The recipe is totally good for you AND includes the average serving of Energy Bits organic spirulina.  Perfect news for those of you that 1) love chocolate 2) don't like swallowing bits and 3) love frosty treats!

Even better news?
The amazing people at Bits of Health (Energy Bits, Recovery Bits, Vitality Bits) are giving away an amazing gift with the purchase of Recovery Bits from now through February 21, 2014.

RECOVERYbits are 100% organically grown NON GMO chlorella tabs - an algae that has been used for fifty years by homeopaths and Japanese for anti-aging, preventing colds, detox, strengthening the immune system, aiding digestion, helping to prevent hangovers, improving athletic performance and more.   

Your gift comes in an cute black organza bag that contains a full tin of RECOVERYbits, a single sample serving of RECOVERYbits, a fun pair of ENERGYbits sunglasses, an ENERGYbits pen and some stickers to show you love of bits. This $35 retail value is yours absolutely FREE with the purchase of at least one bag of RECOVERYbits. It's a fun and healthy Valentines Day gift we think everyone will love, even more than chocolates. BUT with my smoothie recipe you get the best of both worlds...algae AND chocolate!  Nothing says "I love you" like giving someone the gift of a healthier, more energetic life.

Forward From The Heart readers get 20% off any and every purchase with the code HEART!

More info on chlorella here.

And info on spirulina here

I personally have Energy Bits (spirulina), Recovery Bits (chlorella) and Vitality Bits (50/50 blend) currently all in my fridge.  I take Energy Bits pre-workout or at the start of my work day, Vitality Bits when I am teaching/working and only have 60 seconds to re-fuel between clients, and Recovery Bits at the end of a hard day/workout, if I feel a cold coming on, or if I have indulged in too many unhealthy treats over the weekend.  I can't imagine getting through my 9 hour training days, 12 hour work days, or recovering from a run without my bits!  All for just about $1.38/day.  

This recipe would taste great with any of the bits!

1 cup frozen dark cherries, unsweetened
8 ounces chocolate almond milk
30 bits of your choice, I used EnergyBits

Blend until smooth.  I prefer an immersion blender so I really can tell that the bits are fully blended.
It is the perfect mid-day energy booster and also satisfies any sweet craving you may have.

Fun story about how I named this smoothie:
As I was taste-testing I immediately was taken back to childhood.  To me, this tastes exactly like those chocolate malts that come with a wooden spoon.  Those of you that have tasted Energy or Recovery bits know that dehydrated algae has an earthy taste.  In the case of this smoothie, the earthy taste lends the nostalgic "wooden-spoon" flavor of a malt from the ice cream truck.  Quirky?  Yes!  But a little bit of quirkiness is worth it to take in one of the best superfoods!  Enjoy!

Click here to order your bag of bits today, and don't forget to use code HEART to save 20%!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy New Year!
I am so excited for what 2014 holds.  Now that I hold my comprehensive Peak Pilates training I will have much more free time to share my knowledge with you.
This year holds many adventures that I can't wait to share with you.  I am planning Pilates e-courses, videos and challenges for this blog.  Personally I will  be training for my first-ever triathlon and hope you will want to share that journey with me!
For now, I would like to share an amazing opportunity that will help you lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
My friend Kate at The Real Food Runner is hosting an e-course that will give you tips and motivation to create your healthiest year yet!
You may remember Kate hosting several 7 Day Green Smoothie Challenges that took part in last year.  She is so motivating and filled with tips and helpful habits to incorporate into your day.

The 28 Day New Year Healthy Habits E-Course!

Here's what's included:
  • 4 Weeks of Virtual e-Health Coaching
  • Daily Lessons (time released so you stay on track!)
  • Actions Steps (to reach results!)
  • E-mail access to Kate, your coach! 


If you are looking for a way to to start the new year off with healthy lifestyle changes let Kate give you the boost you need!  For $19.99 you will get to work with a trainer daily online for 28 days.  All of the details you need are on her site.   The course just started so hurry, join now!

Let me know if you join, I would love to hear what you think!