Product Review: Simple Mills Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been noticing the Simple Mills brand popping up all over Instagram and everyone has been raving about all the products. Simple Mills makes their products using simple ingredients, like you can actually pronounce the ingredients, they’re that simple. Their products are paleo, dairy and gluten free, GMO free, Soy free and they have no added sugars or sweeteners. So when I went to Michigan last week, I kept an eye open for their products – I don’t think they are in stores in Canada yet but I just realized that a bunch of their products are on naturamarket.ca so goodbye bank account.

I am a sucker for anything chocolate and cookies are like my most favourite thing, besides doughnuts so of course I had to buy the Simple Mills Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was excited to try them on our 3 hour trek back home to Canada. As soon as I got back in the car, I ripped the box open, the smell of the cookies reminded me of Chips Ahoy and it gave me so much nostalgia. I remember sneaking Chips Ahoy cookies behind my mom’s back and eating like 10 at a time. I bit into the first Simple Mills cookie (they’re the size of a two-bite brownie – so really, you can eat them in one bite) and I knew it was love at first bite. They had the exact same crunch of the Chips Ahoy cookies that I had loved for many years, except these Simple Mills cookies wouldn’t give me a raging stomach ache. I’m not going to lie, I pretty much consumed that entire box because they were just that good. I’m giving these cookies 5 stars, I would definitely buy them again except this time I’m going to try out some self control and not eat the entire box in one sitting.

In case you didn’t believe me about the simple ingredients, here is the side of the Chocolate Chip Cookie box:

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Source: Google Images

The Ingredients are literally just almond flour, chocolate chips (cane juice, cocoa liquor, cocoa butter), organic coconut sugar, tapioca, organic coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt. Simple af guys.

I recently bought their Pizza Dough Mix, Banana Bread & Muffin Mix and their Vanilla Frosting and I am so pumped to try them.

The Fit Girl’s Gift Guide

I am a huge fan of gifts, like give me all the gifts always. I pride myself on giving people gifts that are thoughtful and 100% them, no generic gifts here, ever. This post is for all the people out there that are trying to find the perfect gift for the fit girl in their life. I’ve got you covered from stocking stuffers to gifts under the tree.

The best damn stocking stuffer ideas:

stocking

  • Nut Pods – this dairy free, sugar free coffee creamer is what every fit girls dreams are made of. It can be found on amazon or if you live in Canada visit naturamarket.ca
  • iTunes Gift Cards – because every fit girl loves music and making a killer workout playlist.
  • Dry Shampoo – not washing your hair after every workout is key to a happy life.
  • La Croix or Zevia or both – La Croix is a sugar free flavoured water that is amazing and Zevia is a great replacement for Pop, using stevia to sweeten instead of aspartame or other nasty sugars.
  • Lifting Straps – saves her hands and helps increase her grip strength.
  • Hair Elastics – because you can never have enough, the invisibobble elastics are the best – they don’t leave a nasty line or bump like ordinary elastics.
  • Protein Shaker Cups – because again, you can never have enough.
  • Protein Bars – food is always a good idea.
  • Chocolate – Eating Evolved Chocolates are amazing, they’re gluten free, vegan and paleo!

 

Fucking amazing gift ideas:

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  • S’well Water Bottle – these bottles are amazing, they keep liquid cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. There’s even one that can hold an entire bottle of wine.
  • Subscription Boxes – Give gifts all year long, some boxes come monthly, some seasonally it’s the gift that honestly keeps on giving. Try FabFitFun.com or barbellabox.com
  • A new gym bag – I personally love the gym bags from Lululemon, they have lots of pockets and are super durable. Find a brand she likes and go from there, most fitness brands will make gym bags.
  • Cookbooks – if she’s into fitness, she’s probably also into food – get her a new healthy cookbook to give her some new ideas for meal prep.
  • Foam Roller – Foam rollers are honestly live saving, the ones with the grooves on them are the best.
  • Wireless Headphones – Wireless headphones changed my life and my workouts for the better, I recommend Beats by Dre but I’m biased.
  • Activity Tracker – who doesn’t want to track their heart rate and steps throughout the day?

 

 

 

25 Days of Fitmas

I love Christmas. I love watching lame Christmas movies (I’m watching one right now), I love drinking egg nog and hot chocolate, I love the decorations and the holiday baking, basically I love everything about it. You know how some girls wanted to grow up and marry a prince? Well my dream was to grow up and marry Santa’s son, so that I could live in the north pole and hang out with the elves.

I decided to make the 25 days leading up to Christmas a little more fun with a fitness inspired advent calendar. The workouts vary in length from 5 min to 20 min and very minimal equipment is required. You’ll need a set of dumbbells, a skipping rope, a kettlebell or you can use the dumbbells in place of a kettlebell, you will also need a medicine ball. I have listed ring rows during one of the workouts, you can use a TRX (if you have one) or do bent over rows with dumbbells instead. I also suggest downloading a workout timer (you can get them free from most app stores), just a basic timer so you can do the HIIT and Tabata workouts and not have to stare at a clock the whole time. Most people struggle to find time for working out in December but these quick and simple workouts make it easy (and fun) to get your workouts in.

Each day has a workout assigned to it, some days are rest days and some days the workouts will be longer than others. Each workout can be found in the 4 pages following the calendar. There is a download link below each page!

Merry Fitmas!

 

Advent Calendar

Download Advent Calendar

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Download HIIT Workouts

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Download AMRAP Workouts

workout 4

Download Tabata Workouts

workout 5

Download Core Blasting Workouts

Recipe: Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

Pies On Thanksgiving

Now that the colder weather is setting in, I want to roast everything. Give me any vegetable and I will roast it. My favourite thing to roast right now is broccoli & cauliflower, like I could eat that shit everyday.

I have some roasting essentials like olive or coconut oil, garlic and onion, I use these as a base spice and then throw whatever else I feel like into the bowl. This week I was feeling some cumin and turmeric. Turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory spice that I’ve been sprinkling on almost everything I make. Cumin besides tasting fucking delicious, aids in digestion, promotes skin health and can fight off bacteria. How neat is that?!

 

Fall Festival With Leaves

This recipe is super simple and can be eaten as a side or added into a rice bowl or sweet potato bowl. My favourite combination is sweet potato, roasted broccoli & cauliflower, plain hummus and hemp hearts, it’s like a harvest party in your mouth.

Happy Roasting!

 

Recipe

How to Choose a Protein Powder

Shoppin' Small Duh Print

I think one of the questions I get asked most often is “What protein powder should I buy?” -literally if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this I would be set for life. As a personal trainer I am not allowed to recommend any powders or supplements (for legal reasons) but I can recommend what to look for if you are considering adding a protein powder to your diet. I’m a huge fan of getting my protein from actual food. But protein powder can be a great addition to the diet especially if you’re looking to fight off cravings, add calories in your diet, or looking for quick protein when you’re on the go. If you choose to use protein powder there are a few things to look for to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

  1. Type of Protein
    • If you have problems digesting dairy then for the love of God, do not buy a whey based protein powder. I’ve heard too many people say they have issues with dairy and then chug  a whey based shake. Whey is dairy y’all. Try a protein that is plant based or made from animal protein like beef.
    • Plant based proteins often have a grainy texture to them, you’ve been warned, I’m still on the hunt for a non grainy plant based protein so if you know of a good one, holla at me.
  2. Ingredients 
    • If you buy anything that’s in a package you should 100% read the label. A lot of powders are loaded with fillers and sugars. Natural sugars are fine, aspartame is not. Avoid ingredients like: corn maltodextrin, artificial flavour, carrageenan, sucralose (stevia is a much better alternative), and any other ingredient that you don’t understand.
  3. Added Benefits
    • If you’re looking at a protein powder just to fight off cravings then this section probably won’t appeal to you. If you are someone who uses protein powder on the daily I suggest you look for a powder that has some added greens like spirulina or chlorella.
  4. Test Drive
    • Don’t be afraid to test out a lot of protein powders, it took me a long time to find ones that I could drink and not feel bloated or sick after. Most health stores will have sample packets that you can buy to test out before committing to the entire tub which is amazing.

My Biggest Pet Peeve

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Source: Giphy

If I’m being honest I have a lot of pet peeves, people chewing with their mouths open, slow drivers, people who are always late, people telling me that carbs are bad and the list goes on. I’m hoping this post won’t turn into a rant but honestly it probably will. One of my biggest pet peeves lately is when people say they need to workout to earn their food. Food does not have to be earned, this mentality leads to disordered eating. If you want to enjoy a piece of cake or a large bowl of mac & cheese you shouldn’t have to put yourself through an intense workout because you think you need to earn it. I often hear other trainers try to motivate their clients by telling them that if they do well during the workout then they’ve earned their cheat meal or I hear them punish their clients when they hear that they’ve had a slip up on their eating (people should not be punished for eating).

I remember attending a fitness class at my local gym, it was around Christmas time and the instructor started the class by saying “alright, let’s earn some turkey”. Before this fitness instructor said this I never realized that you were supposed to earn your food. I mean I was going to shovel some turkey in my mouth regardless of whether or not I worked out. So if I didn’t workout should I feel bad for eating some turkey? Fuck no. The same goes for working out, work out because you love it, not because you’re punishing yourself.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably an adult that can make adult decisions on whether or not you want to eat something. Coming from a past struggle with disordered eating, I’ve learned to eat according to how food makes my body feel. I know for a fact that chocolate makes me breakout and gives me a stomach ache or that consuming bread gives me a stomach ache for days and causes me to break out in a rash. I know that when I eat whole foods, my body feels better, I have high energy levels and I’m not bloated. So because whole foods make me feel like my optimal self I tend to eat more of them. Sometimes I risk it for the biscuit and eat some chocolate but I’m an adult and I accept the consequences of breaking out and feeling like crap. If you want to read more on this, check out Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig, it will seriously change the way you view food and eating.

As a society and as fitness professionals I think we need to change our mindset when it comes to the way we view food. Making someone feel guilty or making yourself feel guilty about eating something does not help, it does not make you stronger, it only has a negative effect on your self esteem and self worth.

I’m going to keep preaching this until it becomes common practice.

Surviving the Holidays

All The Winter Deals

As soon as it starts to get colder out, it becomes harder to leave your house and it suddenly becomes easier to eat all the things. The months between Thanksgiving (and by Thanksgiving I mean the Canadian one in October) and New Years seem to be a never ending parade of adorable mini chocolate bars, baked goods and egg nog. Fuck, I love egg nog. Temptation is everywhere and it takes a lot of self control to not eat everything in site because festive food is so dang delicious. This time of year is especially scary for people new to fitness or people trying to lose weight. I have a few tips to keep you falling in love with fitness and on track for success this holiday season.

  1. Meal Prep – I’m pretty sure I over use this tip – but it works. If you have healthy food prepared and ready to eat it is so much easier to say no. I have been known to bring my own food to friend’s houses, work parties and family gatherings.
  2. Visualize Your Goals – I find it helpful to take a moment and visualize my goals before going somewhere that I know will be filled with temptation. If you have your goals on your mind your going to be more motivated to stay on track.
  3. Eat Before You Go – If you show up to a party feeling full and satisfied you are going to be less tempted to eat all the things.
  4. BYOB – Bring your own beverages. If your weakness is alcohol or if you don’t want to feel left out by just sipping on plain water, pack some sparkling water (La Croix is my favourite, Zevia or Kombucha, the bubbly from these beverages make you feel like you’re sipping on something special.
  5. Stick to Your Workouts – Even if you go a little off track with your eating if you stay on track with your workouts you should be able to maintain and not gain during the holidays and maintaining is important.
  6. Treat Yourself – Don’t deprive yourself because you’ll probably be miserable. If you wanna let loose then let loose friends.

 

Good luck out there!

Cheat Meals are Bullshit

Donut Curve

Cheat meals are a weird concept “I’m going to eat clean all week and then reward myself for eating clean by eating a large amount of food”. I get not wanting to deprive yourself of food you enjoy, but what if instead of planning out a binge fest you actually ate food when you truly wanted it and not used it as a reward?

Instead of rewarding yourself with food, try out the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time you eat whole foods and 20% of the time you maybe get a little off track and eat a fucking donut or some other food that truly brings you joy. It’s important to find balance in your eating and not reward yourself with food. I find the 80/20 rule to be less stressful and a hell of a lot more enjoyable. Learn how to make healthy decisions as you go throughout life. Learn how to say no to certain foods when you really just don’t want them or they just aren’t worth it. Making healthy decisions will help you to create positive habits and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle long term. Also, a bit of a side note but I try not to refer to foods as good and bad because when you eat a food that you’ve labelled as bad it makes you feel negative after eating it. Eating should not make you feel horrible about yourself, remember that.

I used to plan my life around my weekly cheat meal, I would stress all week trying to decide what I should eat because I literally wanted to eat everything. I would always go way over board on this “cheat” and wind up feeling ill and horrible about myself. Looking back I think there were very few times that I actually enjoyed the cheat meal itself. I’m not judging anyone who chooses to participate in cheat meals, I just truly believe that we shouldn’t be using food as a reward.