Holistic Approach to Fitness and Nutrition Helps Your Whole Life!


Making a commitment to fitness is something that can change your entire life. You can become a better friend, worker and creator. Fitness helps keep you focused and disciplined. It brings balance to your life.

I came across a good article about how fitness helps people recover from addictions. It puts their focus into a new, healthier arena and gives them a renewed sense of self.

As you workout and force yourself to hit the gym, remember the crazy good impact that your commitment to fitness has on your entire being! Forcing yourself out of bed at 5am on a cold morning is good for you in more ways than you realize.

There’s a reason that a lot of people in the fitness industry find success elsewhere in life, whether that is as a motivational speaker or business professional. The habits you form through working out carryover to every aspect of your life.

Now get to the gym!

Nuts & Berries Protein Shake Recipe

½ cup water 1/3 cup plain coconut milk yogurt ¼ banana 2 tablespoons walnuts 1 tablespoon blanched almonds 1 teaspoon agave nectar ½ cup frozen unsweetened raspberries 1 cup ice cubes 1 scoop pea protein 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted

I think squirrels have the right idea with their diet.  You never see them lining up at the doctor’s office needing shots and medication.  So what better ingredients for a protein shake than nuts and berries?  I usually use at least one kind of berry in my protein shakes every day but I don’t typically add a lot of nuts, just a scoop of almond butter usually.  So to mix things up a little (and add some more protein), I made this one extra nutty.

My favorite berry is raspberries but I think strawberries or blueberries would taste good in this one too.  I like to use unsweetened berries as much as possible to make sure I’m not taking in any extra sugar.  I try to buy organic berries too even though the price tag is a little higher.

Almonds have long been touted as a healthy snack but did you know walnuts are really good for you too?  I didn’t really pay them much attention (other than to use them in one really good pesto recipe) but do a little research and you’ll find they contain tons of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties!  Adding more than one kind of nut, ups the amount of “good fat” too.

I use coconut milk yogurt and agave nectar to keep the smoothie dairy free and refined sugar free but you can always use low fat milk and honey if you prefer. I really like to use pea protein to keep it as healthy as possible too. My favorite pea protein is Now Foods. It’s tasty stuff!

With all of the antioxidants and nutrients in this protein shake recipe, I like to use this after a long, early morning workout in the fitness pool or a late night date with the weights at my favorite gym.

Either way, you’ll find this one takes like a yummy bowl of cereal all mixed up in a shake!

Simple Sweet Potato Smoothie

1 cup red grapes
½ medium orange, peeled
½ cup cooked sweet potato, peeled and cooled
½ medium apple, seeded
½ teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
¼ cup frozen cranberries
2 cups ice cubes

When fall/winter rolls around, I start craving things like pumpkin, apples, caramel and sweet potatoes.  I don’t know what it is, there’s just something in the air.  And I must not be the only one… because that’s when Starbucks comes out with their seasonal drinks!  Well, maybe not a sweet potato one.  Which is why I wanted to find a good smoothie that uses them.

I played around with a couple recipes until I found a combination I like and this one checks off all the boxes.  The cranberries, grapes and orange give this smoothie just the right amount of sweetness to offset the spiciness of the ginger root.  Of course, ginger root is a wonder ingredient in and of itself, with tons of health benefits for your liver among other things.  It will be the strongest flavor you taste, so adjust it accordingly if you want more or less intensity.

Adding a sweet potato to the smoothie gives it a big fiber boost and a creamy texture too, just be sure to use a cooked potato that has cooled completely.  For the apple, you can use any kind that you like, but I usually use gala or fuji apples because of their sweetness.  If you find that you want it a little sweeter though, you can always add a few drops of liquid stevia to your liking!

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Key Lime Kiwi Protein Smoothie

¼ cup water ½ lime, peeled 2 kiwis, peeled and seeded 1 pear 1 tablespoon agave nectar 1 cup ice cubes 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted 1 small scoop vanilla protein powder

My mother’s favorite dessert was key lime pie.  No matter where we went, be it a fancy restaurant or a hole in the wall, if key lime pie was on the menu, she was getting it.  Little things like that stand out in your mind after someone is gone, so I’ve found myself paying homage to this love of hers lately.  First with a sparkly slice of pie Christmas ornament and then with a key lime inspired smoothie.

I’ve never really been a huge fan of lime (except with my tequila!) so I knew I wanted to add another flavor to ease up the tartness a little.  Kiwis have always been a favorite of mine and hey, they’re in the green family too.  The mixture of the two flavors is refreshing and light and the addition of a pear gives it a unique taste and a soft consistency without having to add yogurt or milk.

I don’t like my smoothies to be sickening sweet either so I always opt for an “alternative” sweetener like stevia, xylitol or agave.  You can also use honey in place of the agave if you want.

It’s not as decadent as a piece of key lime pie but I think my mom would still give this one a thumbs up!

Almond Joy Protein Shake Recipe

1 banana 2 cups chocolate almond milk ¼ cup almond butter ¼ cup vegan carob or chocolate chips 1 scoop pea protein 8-10 drops liquid stevia, to taste ½ cup ice cubes 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Almonds are a great way to get protein in your diet, as well as fiber and healthy fat.  But if you’re not a big fan of popping them in their natural state, adding almond milk or almond butter to your protein shakes is a great way to get an extra boost of protein.

I’m not a big fan of coconut (although I use a lot of coconut products for their health benefits!) so even though I call this an Almond Joy shake, it doesn’t taste exactly like the candy bar.  It does have coconut oil in it, like many of my smoothies, because it’s good for the digestive system.  But the main flavors in this one are almond and chocolate.  Yum!

I like to use vegan carob chips to keep it dairy free but you can use chocolate chips too if you don’t like the taste of carob.  It’s an acquired taste but one that I really started to like when I was on a doctor-directed break from regular chocolate.

Pea protein is my go-to protein because it’s wheat-free, soy-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.  You might have to get used to the flavor the first few times you use it, but I find that when I add almond butter to my shakes too, it disguises the flavor.  It also blends well and doesn’t feel gritty.

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie Recipe

2 avocados 2-3 cups unsweetened coconut milk 2-3 tablespoons carob powder 10 drops liquid vanilla stevia 1-2 tablespoons coconut nectar, to taste 1/2 cup ice cubes 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted

It’s hard to believe now that there was a time when I didn’t know the wonder of avocados.  Sure, I had eaten them before, but usually just in guacamole.  I hadn’t yet discovered their true awesomeness and versatility.

When my friend suggested to me that I add avocado to my smoothies, I looked at her like she was crazy.  Most likely because I associated avocados with a more savory flavor while I like my smoothies to be sweet.  But oh, how wrong I was.

First of all, I can’t even really taste the avocado when I add it to a smoothie.  But the part I didn’t even know I was missing is the awesome texture avocados add!  This smoothie is one of the creamiest and well… smoothest ones I’ve ever had.  And the flavor of the carob powder gives it a delicious flavor that reminds me of a chocolate milkshake.

I use vanilla-flavored stevia to sweeten it but you can also use regular stevia or vanilla extract.  You can also add more carob to your liking or use cocoa powder for a more chocolaty taste.  I love adding coconut oil to my smoothies too because of its many health benefits, especially for your digestive system.  This smoothie is the best of both worlds… indulgent AND good for you!

How many protein shakes should you drink each day?


A common question I get is how many protein shakes should somebody be drinking each day? This is a tough question to answer because it depends on diet, what type of shakes you are drinking and body type.

A lot of people believe that protein shakes alone make you stronger or build muscle. That’s just not true. The reason people drink protein shakes is to easilly get more protein into their daily diet without having to eat an entire meal full of calories. Protein shakes can be used as meal replacements and that can work very well for people as well.

Muscle tissue needs protein as a key building block for it to grow. Other nutrients (and water!) are also important as well, but protein is your most important muscular fuel.

In the end, the number of protein shakes you need each day all goes back to how much protein you want to take in every day. A lot of body builders try to have at least as many grams of protein per day as they do carbs. The average diet is very carbohydrate-heavy so protein shakes can help offset that ratio.

For me, I shoot for 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbs and 20 percent fats. Depending on my training and daily schedule, I’ll have between 1 and 3 protein shakes each day. On most days, I’ll have one protein shake between breakfast and lunch and then another shake in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. I’ll then have my final one post workout.

I like this because it helps keep me accountable between meals and I am able to avoid snacking on sugar. For me, having a “meal” between solid foods keeps my metabolism running at a faster rate. It took me several years of experimenting to find what my body responded to the best.

What’s the right amount of protein shakes for you to drink every day? That depends on all the factors above. Take a look at your macros and see how many calories you want to be consuming every day. Look at your ratio of protein/carbs/fats. Then look at how that ratio aligns with your current diet and schedule. Protein shakes are a great way to boost energy and carb intake during the day to keep you hitting your magic numbers every day. It helps keep what you are putting into your body consistent.

Easy Strawberry Kale Protein Shake Recipe

1/2 cup fresh strawberries 2 kale leaves, chopped 1 banana Handful of ice cubes 6-8 ounces of vanilla almond milk 1 tablespoon honey

Kale is one of nature’s greatest gifts to those who want to get fit or lose weight. A rare superfood, kale is great in salads, smoothies, shakes or as a standalone side. Kale is loaded with beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium. It’s a superfood because eating it actually makes you healthier!

I don’t buy kale often because it is expensive and, depending on where you live, hard to find in your average grocery store. But when I get my hands on it, I love to use it in protein shakes. You could make a kale protein shake with minimal ingredients, but I love combining its taste and nutrients with fruit. A kale fruit smoothie is as good as it gets!

If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know that strawberries are my favorite fruit to add in to a protein shake. Kale is no exception! I put together this strawberry kale protein shake to give you energy and nutrients to power your workouts or help you recover.

If you have any other great kale protein shake recipes, feel free to add them into the comments section below. Kale is such a wonderful ingredient and I’ll be adding more recipes in the near future that are packed full of this superfood!

Chocolate Almond Protein Shake Recipe

8 ounces chocolate almond milk 1-2 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder Small handful of raw almonds

Almonds and chocolate are a classic combination. You’ll find them in candy bars, coffee drinks and in dry mixes. Now you can taste the great combination in this super healthy protein shake!

I’ve never been a huge fan of almonds but I’ve started to embrace them. They are packed with healthy fats and are among the world’s healthiest foods. Almonds are one of the rare super foods that actually make you healthier by eating them — in moderation of course 😀 So I’ve tried to start incorporating these into my diet in any way possible.

One of the easiest ways is to drop a handful into my Ninja blender and add them into my protein shake. While I don’t love the flavor of raw almonds (I know…weird right?), I don’t mind their taste and texture when it’s chopped and blended into my protein shake.

I also have a big time love for any protein shake with chocolate so this is a nice combination. You can tweak the ingredients or just grab a handful of almonds for a snack with this shake too if that is what you are craving.

Depending on your blender, you may not get the almonds chopped as finely as you’d like them. You can always use almond extract as a replacement.

I usually enjoy this first thing in the morning or at night after my PM workout!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Shake Recipe

1-2 scoops of white chocolate protein powder 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt 6-8 ounces almond milk 1 pinch cinnamon 1 small handful ice cubes (optional)

A guilty pleasure of mine is Dunkin Donuts White Chocolate Pumpkin lattes and coffees. As if pumpkin spice wasn’t good enough, they found a way to make it tastier and even less healthy for you. I can suck those things down between my pit stop and Dunkin Donuts and the five minute drive to the office. I have a problem.

My solution, as usual, was to come up with a way to have a healthier alternative to the Dunkin Donuts drinks chock full of sugar and fat. This white chocolate pumpkin protein shake has protein and mostly healthy ingredients without sacrificing the taste that I am hopelessly addicted to.

You can even add a few scoops of instant coffee to this protein shake recipe as an optional ingredient! You get your caffeine and chocolate and pumpkin fix all in one. It’s a good way to kickstart your day without slowly killing your body.

I strongly recommend using a white chocolate protein powder for the best taste. You can do it with vanilla whey but it’s just not the same. My personal favorite that I’ve tried is Optimum Nutrition’s White Chocolate whey protein powder. It’s great by itself too!

Just add all of these ingredients into a blender and you are good to go. Depending on how thick you like your shakes, you can tweak the greek yogurt amount and the number of ice cubes you add.