Category / Health

Hello Yum | Bestowed Box

When Bestowed contacted me to ask if I’d like to try and review one of the company’s monthly subscription boxes, I couldn’t hit “reply” quickly enough to say yes. I had seen advertisements for the company and while I’m a fan of subscription boxes, I hadn’t yet tried one for any of the natural/healthy snacks that are out there. I’m always on the hunt for new healthy snack and meal ideas, and the more “ready to eat” options I can learn about, the better. And a company whose mission is to help teach people to eat better is right up my alley.

Bestowed boxes

The first thing that struck me about the box when it arrived was the weight – this thing was literally loaded with goodies. Some were from brands I’d seen in the health section and others were new to me. I design for a food ingredients group through my day job, so I found myself scrutinizing the labels perhaps a bit more than a typical consumer, but was impressed to see lots of familiar labeling I’ve worked with before including Certified Vegan, USDA Organic, and Non-GMO Project Verified. Here’s the rundown of the contents and some notes on my favorites:

Bestowed-August-2013-Box

 

Lundberg Family Farms Santa Fe Barbecue Rice Chips. My box arrived right at lunchtime in our office. My coworker and I took these down, well, instantly. I don’t have a need to go gluten-free, but for no other reason than switching it up, I liked the nuttier taste of a rice based chip than a corn or potato one. The flavor was delish – I do love a BBQ chip!

Living Healthy World Flax & Chia Stick. I recently discovered chia and have been adding seeds to my cereal and yogurts, and drinking kombucha with chia floating in it (I know, sounds weird, but YUM). I also regularly make homemade protein bars for Page and me using milled flax. I’d use this product in either application – it was really fresh (no clumps!) and I liked the convenient grab-and-go packaging. I added some to my yogurt with a touch of cereal at the office one morning – very yummy.

Mighty Leaf Sunburst Green Iced Tea Pouch. I made a pitcher of this for the weekend and it didn’t hang around long. Very refreshing with the heat we’ve been having, but I’m lazy when it comes to my iced tea and for convenience alone, would probably keep buying the pre-brewed jugs from the store (we’re mildly addicted to our Trader Joes tea).

Cascadian Farm Crunchy Oats & Honey Granola Bar. I know some people don’t like these super-crunchy bars because they ARE messier, but they are my favorite kind! Reminds me of the Nature Valley ones I’ve been eating since I was a kid, but the healthier/organic kind! This served as a quick breakfast one morning last week and got me to lunchtime with no problem!

Miracle Noodle Angel Hair Noodles and Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar. I haven’t used these yet, but I expect them to be some of my favorites in the box. I often make a dinner that uses both of these items, a veggie and steak stir-fry. I always start with a rice vinegar when I’m cooking meat in my wok, along with a little sesame oil. I did taste a little of the vinegar out of the bottle and was pleased that it tasted fresh and very flavorful (some can be more on the bland side). I have bought these ZERO CALORIE (!) noodles before, not understanding that they expire, well, more quickly than regular pasta. 🙂 I love any noodle and especially one with a fraction of the calories!

And to keep it real, I did have a least favorite item — the seaweed snacks. I’ll just leave it as a simple, “no thank you.” 😉

My husband, Page, the less health-food-prone of the two of us, did immediately call dibs on the Reboot supplements, which are more his thing than mine. The packaging was especially cool on these, with a seam separating the water from the dissolving powder, all in one packet. The purpose of the supplement is to combat oxidative stress, and you can drink right from the packet, on the go. (Perfect for after workouts!)

Aside from the items themselves, there was a booklet detailing all of the contents, along with recipes for ways to use them, and coupons along with suggestions for places to buy more of an item I liked. Especially with items I wasn’t certain what to do with, the booklet was especially helpful.

If you’re curious to try this subscription for yourself, you can receive $5 off your first box with code: 5OFFBESTOWED03. Just click their logo below to be taken to their site. Thanks to Bestowed for the opportunity to try a box!

logo

 

back to running and another bucket list item

runner

[Instagram, via Diptic and A Beautiful Mess]

“Whether you run a mile or a marathon, you’re a runner.” (Anonymous)

I am still very much at the lower end of this spectrum, but I am starting to feel like a “runner” again. A little over a month ago, I started up again. I’m a regular gym-goer, but I haven’t done much running since the fall we moved into our house (2011). I’m not sure if I burned out last time, or things came up and I fell out of the routine (probably!), if the seasons changed and it got too cold to run outside, or if I got sucked into some different workouts for a while. One way or another, I got away from it. And in recent weeks I was suddenly determined to pick it up again.

I have some getting in shape to do before I can cover any real distance, and I’ve definitely learned my lesson about starting slowly to avoid injuries. This time around, I’m using the Zen Labs C25K app and I LOVE it. I like that they don’t interrupt you too often except to tell you when to start running/walking and when you’ve hit the half-way point. And I love how I can control my playlists from within the app (no switching back and forth to my iTunes). I can look ahead and see the details of any of my workouts — I like to know what’s coming, even it freaks me out! 🙂 I’ve actually already downloaded the 10k app as well that, when I’m ready, will pick up where the 5k ends (whaaa?! me? a 10k?!). I’m about 2/3 through the 5k app (an 8-week program) and running about 5 miles a week right now. I feel great…so much so that I’m just starting to think about setting a bucket list goal for myself in the next twelve months…to tackle a half marathon. Not to accomplish an amazing race time or anything, but to simply say I did it. Augh, I’m hesitant to put that out there in writing, but it IS something I’m considering!

moving in mint.

My fixation on working out and in general being healthier lately is starting to become pretty transparent here on the blog…but who can’t use a little dose of inspiration, or in this case, some cute workout gear ideas?

Ever since taking on mint for my Oscar party this year, I’m obsessed with the color. Here are a few things that have made their way to my house, or are currently on my workout wish list!

moving in mint | life in yellow

Water Bottle: LifeFactory  |  Flip Flops: Nike  |  Phone Clip: Amazon
Revenge R20: FuelBelt  | Sports Bra: Lululemon

I like to move it, move it.

For the past month or so, Page and I have re-committed to being more active and eating more healthily. I don’t mind the five pound loss I’ve experienced so far, but even more I just FEEL so much better after a couple months of letting the diet slip and not breaking a sweat as often. I have never felt guilty about spending money on anything health-related, so as the seasons have turned a bit, I’ve invested in some new gear – after all, getting to sport a new gym outfit is half the motivation to get me there!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m much move likely to purchase something if I know it’s been tried and recommended by another person firsthand, so I’m more than happy to share why I love these items so much…

workout essentials | life in yellow

Tee: Under Armour  |  Shoes: Nike  |  Socks: Thor-lo
Shoes: Nike  |  Headband: Amazon  |  Sports Bra: C9 by Target  |  Capris: Old Navy

  • I love the striped Nikes (Free Fit 3 model) for classes like BodyJam or Zumba – where there’s more dance involved and you want to be able to actually point/flex your feet and turn on a dime. I would NOT be comfortable running in these; not nearly enough shock absorbency for me. I strongly prefer to do Pilates and yoga barefoot, but I’ve seen a couple people go through class wearing these because of how close to barefoot they feel.
  • The neon orange Nikes (Lunarglide +4) have a lot more support than the Frees, so I like them for cross training stuff like the elliptical or a Body Pump class where I don’t need as much flexibility in the soles. I get lateral side-to-side support that I wouldn’t get from my regular running shoe (my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s – best running shoe I’ve worn to date!).
  • I’ve spent too many dollars on “non slip” sport headbands – mostly for yoga, where I find myself upside down and my hair in my eyes. Either they’re WAY too tight and I have a headache by the end of my workout, or they still manage to work their way back until they’ve popped off my head. I couldn’t find the exact one I love (it’s a dry-fit material), but I’ve learned that any WIDE headbands work wonders when it comes to staying in place, are SUPER comfortable, and hold just fine to my hair, without all that nonslip gel that pulls and hurts.
  • If I’m going to work out in a t-shirt, I like them to be v-neck because they keep me that much cooler. I love the Under Armour heat gear tees because they’re tissue thin and really soft. This particular one has a huge “She’s a FIGHTER” graphic on the back with the pink ribbon – a portion of the proceeds go to various breast cancer centers and charities.
  • I haven’t been a big Old Navy customer lately, but after trying their active line and specifically their capris, I feel like they’ve really stepped up the construction and quality of these particular garments. The fit is just right, the waist bands don’t roll, and the material wicks sweat like a dream. I honestly feel little difference between these and my Lulus which cost three times as much!
  • I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I spend $15 on running socks, but I do. I have a couple different styles of these Thorlos and reach for them every time. I can honestly say I have never gotten a blister running in these, or even a hot spot. They keep their size and shape after multiple washings (I do put them in the dryer) and they just FIT like I didn’t know a sock could.
  • I was thrilled when Target released this sports bra for those of us with C-cup or larger ladies who want to do anything more than walk and not spend upwards of 50-60 bucks for good support. Plus, I’m not sure what it is, but once you get anything beyond B, and into the “high impact” tags, the variety of colors suddenly narrows to black or white. Boring. The photo online doesn’t do it justice – this steal (at $22!) is neon pink – love it!

planning for some down time…

Next week is Pager’s surgery, and while I initially only “need” to be home with him the first 24-48 hours, I foresee a lot of evenings at home in the coming couple of weeks until he’s a bit more mobile on his crutches.

Page is easy to please and will be good to go between his Xbox, a stack of DVDs and Netflix. I’ll definitely get some Mad Men time in with him and I’ll make him play a board game or two with me, but otherwise, I’m embracing the planned time at home to get to some little projects around the house and some hobby stuff I’ve been wanting to spend time on. I’m anticipating some upcoming posts about some (or maybe all?!) of the following!

YHLbook#1. Devour a DIY book. 

I haven’t even cracked this book open yet, but after all the good reviews (who’s surprised, really?!) I’m anxious to dive in and read and get inspired to take on some smaller-than-finishing-the-basement-sized projects.

 

 

#2. Work on some photography skillz. softbox

It’s been a while since I’ve had a little time to just PLAY with my camera and practice trying some new things. (I need more hours in the day!) I’ve been anxious to learn more about what I’m doing with these light reflectors – I bought a kit with silver/gold/white/black reflectors and this softbox in hopes of learning how to use these to improve my photos. I’ve pinned a couple of tutorials (TGFP – Thank God for Pinterest!) and I’ll report back if I discover anything earth-shattering. 🙂

#3. Repaint some canvases? 

I’m pretty fickle when it comes to accents around the house. After a year or so, I’m ready to recycle them somewhere else in the house, rotate them out for a bit with something else in its place, or change them altogether. I loved the way these canvases turned out last spring, but it’s the red that I’m ready to steer away from. I think maybe coming off of the holidays, I’m just ready for a different color vibe in here. I want to keep our green accents…

greenaccents…but contrast them with a different color. Maybe bring in the yellow from our kitchen, or something all together NEW for me…dare I say something in the blues family?? I’m thinking a trip to the store for some spray paint and a sample can of a new color is in my near future. And I’d like to swap out the flower design for something a little more graphic. I’m inspired by this wall!

#4 Purge!

You know it’s THE single thing I love to do best! I’ve recently taken a pass through some storage spots in our house, and my own closet. Some of it has gone straight to Goodwill, some to the consignment shop, and a few things sold to friends. There’s not enough to do a sale (a virtual one here OR in person) but I’m hoping to get a handful of things photographed and listed on Facebook or Craiglist.

#5 Get to the gym.tights

I haven’t been to the gym for a workout since Page tore his knee the end of January. Yes, things have just been busier than usual, but I think I’ve felt guilty prancing off to the gym while Page can barely take a step sideways. I’m going to have to get over that. Part of the new routine in the coming weeks will be me driving him to his physical therapy appointments (3 or more times a week), and we’re fortunate that the place he will go is literally a half-mile away, and right next to the Y that we belong to. So in a way, it will be a great method for keeping each other accountable. I’ll drop him at PT, go work out at the Y, and swing back to pick him up. Shorts season is coming, ready or not, and I’m feeling motivated to get back into a running routine, especially with my new badass running tights! (Whoever says Instagram is not a legitimate marketing tool is misguided. I literally saw these on Shawn Johnson’s feed and knew I needed some for myself.)

There are several other little to-dos that don’t require me rambling on about them, but blogging, doing some refreshing of the blog design, some client freelance work, and trying some new recipes are all also on the agenda!

Easy, Healthy Lunch: Pita Pizza

pita pizza

This is one of my latest take-for-lunch obsessions. It clocks in under my calorie allowance, I get my veggie fix, AND it tastes great…a hard combo to find sometimes!

ingredients

Start with a piece of wheat pita bread, spread a wedge of Light Laughing Cow swiss on it, and spoon some spicy red pepper sauce on top. Add some fresh spinach leaves and top with a handful of Weight Watchers shredded cheese. The spicy sauce gives it some kick, and the chunks of pepper and little texture.

pizza prep

Pop it in a toaster oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted. Bon apetit!

Calories: 310
Fat: 9g

Easy, Healthy Lunch: Tomato Bagel

Easy Healthy Lunch: Tomato Bagel

Like many of you, one of my goals for 2013 is to re-focus on improving my lifestyle to be healthier. One of the ways to do that, for me, is to plan ahead and pack some healthy lunches for the weekdays, so I’m not dashing in a ravenous search for a burrito, come 2:00 in the afternoon. Packing lunches regularly can be hard — it takes extra time and thinking ahead, and to keep it healthy on top of that, even harder. So I’m hoping to post some healthy lunches as I work them into my rotation. This week, one of my “new” lunches has been the oh-so-simple whole grain bagel (I prefer to toast mine) with a thin spread of reduced fat cream cheese, pieces of tomato, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. YUM.

Calories: 280
Fat: 8g

Guest Blogger Series: Kayla Simons, Personal Trainer & Lifestyle Coach

I am so excited to introduce you all to Kayla, today’s guest blogger, and her post couldn’t come at a better time of year! As we all circle the appetizers at various holiday parties, and think ahead to health resolutions for the new year, Kayla has compiled some wonderful tips and tricks for us based on her own experience both with her clients and herself. I have always admired Kayla’s gorgeous, smiley personality and her ability to always keep it real – two things that also describe her approach to wellness! (PS check out her way of attacking the dreaded push-up…I could totally get on board with her version!) Without further adieu, welcome, Kayla!

Hi! I am so excited to be doing a guest post on Life in Yellow!  I have been an avid reader since before it was known as Life in Yellow.

When it comes to health/fitness/wellness the options are endless.  However, there are two areas that I want to share with you that I am both passionate about and find useful whether you are looking to drop a few pounds or stay healthy through the holiday season: Food and strength training.

Food is the most important part to staying healthy or trying to become a healthier person.  Here are my go to guidelines I follow:

  1. You can indulge on major holidays but still watch your portion sizes (see cake in picture below!).
  2. Watch the really fun alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.
  3. Be healthy 85% of the time, no matter the day.

To break these down a bit here is what I do when it comes to major holidays:

  1. No seconds!
  2. Allow yourself a serving of each food but they cannot touch each other on your plate

  1. OR half of your plate is fruits and veggies the other half is proteins and grains.

Beverages: I love peppermint mochas, but a medium with 2% milk and whip cream has over 300 calories.  I try to swap things out, so maybe a small with skim milk and non-fat whip (let’s not kid ourselves, I will always get full fat whip!). I also will not have more than 1 per week.

(Image from www.cariboucoffee.com)

One day does not make a lifestyle change or diet.  What matters is what you do with the meals, days, weeks, and months before that one day.  I like to enjoy the unhealthy food, however the next day I will make sure to go back to lots of healthy options, watching my portion sizes, and keeping my calories in check.

I always tell my clients, you can eat what you want, it’s how much you eat that matters.

The second and most passionate area of wellness for me is being active. I tell everyone that our bodies are meant to be in motion. There is no reason that we shouldn’t be doing something active every day of the week. I will go for a 30 minute walk every day of the week, no questions asked. If you’d rather go to a gym and do a class, do what you like to do. As much as cardiovascular exercise is important, the one area that is underrated is strength training. Below I have my eight favorite exercises that every person should do.

Now, I’m going to say something that can be scary to some people, especially women: LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS. We should do 2-3 sets of 8 repetitions at the heaviest weight you can do. You should not be able to do a 9th repetition. Womens’ muscles cannot get large like mens’ (without chemical enhancement); women do not have the same amount of testosterone as men. Having more muscle mass will boost your metabolism and give you the definition everyone wants. Do these eight exercises 2-3 times per week and you will see some fantastic results!

Lunges

Squats

Straight Leg Deadlift

Push-Ups

Shoulder Press

Bent-Over Rows

Plank

Side Plank

I have been in the fitness industry for over six years. I work as a personal trainer and lifestyle coach in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. I have helped clients lose hundreds of pounds. Personally, I have lost 30 pounds and kept it off for three years. If weight loss is your long-term goal, my number one piece of advice is to track your food. You can eat what you want as long as you stay within your calories goal for the day. If you eat healthier foods you can eat more as they are lower in calories. Food is 85%-90% of weight loss; and the most important thing is having the discipline to say “no” when you don’t need it or are not hungry. Exercise is important and the goal is be active every day of the week. Our bodies work best in motion!

If you have any questions or concerns or need some motivation, please leave a comment for me here and I will be happy to reply!

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Thanks so much, Kayla! (I’m motivated to try weights again!)
To read more of the posts in the guest blogger series, click here.