April 30, 2013

Enjoying Kodiak, Alaska...

I am in Kodiak this week for the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance annual summit and the island is stunning this morning.

Have a great week...

April 19, 2013

And I'm off...

I'm headed to Iowa and Missouri for a week to spend time with my family and watch a very special friend get married. I will also be catching up with some of my favorite friends.

Should be a wonderful adventure...

April 16, 2013


My thoughts and prayers go out to all people affected by the Boston Marathon explosions. Let us not forget about the dedication, passion and inspiration by the 25,000+ runners who had no fears but only high expectations for an awesome day...doing what they love...in a city that embraces one of the most historical races in the world.

April 15, 2013

What I'm liking...

It has been a LONG while since my last "What I'm liking..." post. Needless to say, it was a long winter and I didn't really have any favorites to share. However, with spring in the air and almost 14 hours of daylight, here are a handful of things I'm "liking" lately...

1. Goji berries

These little gems are spendy, but on occasion they are a fun splurge, especially because of their dense nutritional value. According to Northwestern University, goji contains all essential amino acids and is filled with powerful antioxidants that combat heart disease, boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. Goji has the highest concentration of protein of any fruit (I love this) and are loaded with vitamin C and iron (IRON!). Studies have shown goji can improve mental health (major plus), athletic performance (nice advantage), quality of sleep (never hurts) and overall happiness (miracle drug). While most of these positive side effects of goji are inconclusive (darn), why not include goji in your daily diet in hopes of fending of illness and securing a more peaceful REM? 

2. Quinoa flakes

I've recently tried quinoa flakes after much hype on Twitter. I think they taste great mixed with oats for a yummy breakfast. Why quinoa flakes AND oats for breakfast? Quinoa stands alone as a complete protein grain and the oats provide much needed fiber to keep me full throughout the morning. A winning combination.  

3. Greek yogurt

Chobani Greek Yogurt. Enough said. My favorite flavors are lemon, pineapple, pomegranate and cherry and the plain flavor tastes great on my oats in the morning. I love that Chobani is packed with protein and made of natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners. Another plus? Chobani is made with milk but contains less than 5% lactose. It makes a great pre AND post workout fuel source.

4. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato fries...sweet potatoes mashed...sweet potatoes whole...sweet potato hash...the possibilities are endless. Actually a root vegetable, the sweet potato is packed full of nutritional value and according to a 1992 study by the Center for Science, may be one of the healthiest vegetables that can be consumed by humans when considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. 

5. PB2

If you haven't tried this stuff, try it soon. PB2 is a powder form of peanut butter minus all the fat and oil. By adding just a bit of water, PB2 tastes just like real peanut butter. It comes in two flavors - plain and chocolate - and both taste pretty good (I purchased both...why not?), but I am a bigger fan of the plain. Matt loves the chocolate. I really enjoy the plain sprinkled on my oats in the morning or mixed with plain greek yogurt for a snack.


I've been training for a half marathon in May and am really enjoying getting into the running groove. This weekend, Matt and I looked at the Anchorage running calendar and discussed the runs we plan to participate in this summer. Most of them are trail runs with a few road runs in towns outside of Anchorage. I'm still contemplating a few more half marathons...

7. Nashville

Love this show. Nashville is my Wednesday night guilty pleasure...a perfect combination of new music and high drama. 

8. GAIN app 

Looking for a workout app? GAIN is the next best thing. The main app is free and it comes with three prebuilt workouts. Additional, more specific training packages, charge a fee. However, the prebuilt workouts are great...especially the "abdomination" workout. Try it. You'll feel the burn, guaranteed!


April 07, 2013

No-Bake Protein Bars

I have been experimenting with homemade protein bars for a couple years and really have had no luck in finding a bar that is worth making over and over again. However, I definitely think I have landed on to something spectacular with these protein bars. They were super quick to make and can be easily modified to accommodate ingredients currently stocked in the cupboards. These were so good though that I highly doubt I will change them too much in the future.

I found the protein bars via sparkpeople.com. I further adapted the recipe to cut out nearly all of the added sugar.

No-bake Protein Bars


1.5 c oats
1/2 c goji berries (any dried fruit will work, such as raisins, cut up dates, cranberries, cherries, apricots)
1/2 c pepita seeds
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed (can be substituted with chia seeds)
1.5 tsp cinnamon

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 c cashew butter (any nut butter can be used)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple syrup (the original recipe called for 1/2 c maple syrup; however, I reduced the amount of maple syrup to keep sugar content low)


Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Mash banana in small bowl and add wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well, stirring ingredients together with a fork.

Once all ingredients are well combined, pour mixture into a 9x9 or 8x8 baking pan lined with wax paper or saran wrap. Press down mixture until flat. 

Place pan in freezer for three hours or until mixture is very firm. Remove pan from freezer and cut into squares or logs. For an easy on the go snack, wrap individual bars in saran wrap. 

Store bars in refrigerator or freezer for up to a month. Bars will soften quickly at room temperature.


April 01, 2013


On Monday, April 1 consider joining the #Move40Days challenge. #Move40Days is a challenge that was started by Lean Power Yoga to encourage participants to move in some way for 40 days straight. Participants are asked to post about their activity on the Lean Power Yoga Facebook page and/or tweeting about their movement using the #Move40Days hash tag. 

Why make activity part of your lifestyle?

New research at Oregon State University suggests the health benefits of small amounts of activity - even as small as one-minute and two-minute increments that add up to 30 minutes per day – can be just as beneficial as longer bouts of physical exercise achieved by a trip to the gym.

The nationally representative study of more than 6,000 American adults shows that an active lifestyle approach, as opposed to structured exercise, may be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes, including preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Our results suggest that engaging in an active lifestyle approach, compared to a structured exercise approach, may be just as beneficial in improving various health outcomes,” said Paul Loprinzi, lead author of the study. “We encourage people to seek out opportunities to be active when the choice is available. For example, rather than sitting while talking on the phone, use this opportunity to get in some activity by pacing around while talking.

You hear that less than 10 percent of Americans exercise and it gives the perception that people are lazy,Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise and sport science at Oregon State University said. “Our research shows that more than 40 percent of adults achieved the exercise guidelines, by making movement a way of life.

Cardinal, who has studied the “lifestyle exercise” model for more than 20 years, said one of the most common barriers people cite to getting enough exercise is lack of time. He said the results of this study are promising, and show that simply building movement into everyday activities can have meaningful health benefits.

This is a more natural way to exercise, just to walk more and move around a bit more,” Cardinal said. “We are designed by nature as beings who are supposed to move. People get it in their minds, if I don’t get that 30 minutes, I might as well not exercise at all. Our results really challenge that perception and give people meaningful, realistic options for meeting the physical activity guidelines.”

For example, Cardinal said instead of driving half a mile, try biking or walking the same distance; instead of using a riding lawn mower, use a push lawn mower. Instead of sitting through TV commercials, try doing some sit-ups, push-ups, or jumping jacks during the commercial breaks; and instead of sitting and being a spectator at a child's sporting event, try walking around during the halftime break.The researchers emphasized that for health benefits, people should seek out opportunities to be physically active.

In our society, you will always be presented with things that entice you to sit or be less active because of technology, like using a leaf blower instead of a rake,” Cardinal said. “Making physical activity a way of life is more cost-effective than an expensive gym membership. You may be more likely to stick with it, and over the long term, you’ll be healthier, more mobile and just feel better all around.

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Oregon State University via The Iron You blog.