Healthy Living Blog Tour of Cleveland: Day 1

Fitness + Travel… this is essentially my life.

IMG_2274It took me about 12 attempts to get this hotel window selfie… I hope you appreciate it.

I travel frequently all over the country for work, and probably go to Ohio every other month. I’d only been to Cleveland once before, but hadn’t really experienced much of the city. I was really excited when Positively Cleveland, the city’s visitor bureau, invited me up for a Healthy Living Tour, hosted by Cleveland health blogger, Alicia H., of Poise in Parma. It’s awesome that Positively Cleveland has a website that not only lists museums, restaurants, and the usual city guide info, but also lists its upcoming running and cycling race schedule, trail maps and national park information. They’re not just trying to “entertain” you while you’re in town. They’re trying to introduce you to all the ways the city can keep you active and outdoors, two things that are truly my jam.

Traveling all over has it’s obvious advantages, but one of the hardest things about being on the road frequently is keeping up healthy habits. When you’re out of town and off your normal routine, workouts tend to get pushed to the back burner and finding restaurants that offer healthy options can be hard to come by if you aren’t familiar with the area. There’s so much listed, it actually seemed like a daunting task to narrow it down. I’m so grateful Alicia put together such a kickass weekend for the two of us. Here’s what went down:

When I pulled into town last Friday night, I checked into my room at Aloft Cleveland Downtown. I’ve spent my fair share of nights in hotels all over the world and the things I love most, simplicity, comfort, and productive design, were all included in this stay. I had an awesome bed, a great view while working at the desk (complete with all the outlets I needed for my various electronics), and a great group fitness schedule in the hotel’s gym. While my schedule was too packed to take advantage of any classes there, I love any hotel that provides their visitors with several options to keep consistent with their workouts! Taking advantage of group classes is a great way to get your workout in without having to think about what you’re going to do, wonder if you’re doing it correctly, or being tempted to stop too early.



After freshening up in my room, I headed about 15 minutes southeast of downtown to meet up with Alicia and take her Friday evening Vinyasa yoga class at Evolution Yoga. After the 5 hour drive, my body was ready to loosen up and it felt great to keep things mellow in mood, but challenging, physically. Alicia taught a great flow and the hour flew by. We even got to rock out some fun inversions. I suck at inversions, but I’m trying to hold a handstand for more than .5 seconds so any practice helps…


Next on the schedule was dinner, as we were both ravenous by this point in the evening. The restaurant was located in Eton Chagrin, a boutique shopping center not far away that includes Apple, The North Face, Anthropologie, and Lululemon. Danger! I was able to keep myself out of Anthro, but we did make a quick pit stop at lululemon, because some things just can’t be helped…


Alicia raved about the gloriousness that was Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, and so that was our destination for the evening. After having a delicious guacamole appetizer with chips of tortilla, yucca, plantain, and malanga, I ordered the Blackened Fish Tacos with a cilantro adobo sauce that made me completely thankful for my sense of taste. Overall it was a fabulous meal to share with a new friend. It was wonderful to share such an amazing meal and chat up another blogger, dog-lover, and fitness instructor. We could have sat there for far longer, but had a busy day lined up for Saturday… so we clinked our margarita and mojito glasses in toast to a great weekend kickoff and called it a night.



IMG_0748Me, taking a photo of Alicia (and our drinks), taking a photo of me and our drinks. #shitbloggersdo

If you’d like to check out any other part of our tour, search the hashtag #ThisIsCLE and you’ll see our other posts from the weekend on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram… if you didn’t already see us blowing up your feeds. Day 2 is coming soon!


{This post was sponsored by Positively Cleveland. All thoughts/opinions are my own!}

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Recipe: Bean and Kale Soup

I’m a huge fan of soups, stews, or anything else where most of the work is chopping ish and throwing it in a pot. This soup is no exception. It’s very easy to make, super yummy, and a great healthy option that’s cheap! I think all the ingredients cost me about $15. My roomie and I will be eating on this for at least a couple days. All those things make this soup my jam. : ) No need to type out the whole recipe, so go here.
A couple things I did differently the 2nd time I made this:
*I used a combo of red/purple potatoes, just because Trader Joes sells them in that little combo bundle. And I like the color purple.

*Since the cream was optional, I opted out. One less thing to manage.

*Used 4 carrots and 4 stalks of celery, just to even up the broth to veggie ratio. It was a little skewed to the broth side the first time I made it.
*I left the broth/water/potatoes boil for a while longer before I added the veggies to it. The first time it took forever for the potatoes to cook through because I jacked it up.
*I also put the onions in the pan to cook alone for a few minutes before I added the other veggies, just to make sure they were nice and soft. This is just something I needed… I can’t stand onions so I needed them DONE before anything else. : )
My roomie snapped this photo as she walked in, wondering why the hell I was sporting shades on a cold, cloudy day.  I always wear eyewear when chopping/cooking onions. That ish hurts. (Ski goggles work really well if you have them!) She also wanted to know about the ear warmers, but I just hadn’t taken them off when I walked in the door earlier. They were keeping me warm and cozy. ; )
Happy Weekend, Guys!
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Easiest Salmon Recipe Ever

The biggest excuse for not eating healthy is, “It takes too much time.” So people grab fast food or pre-packaged, processed junk. I don’t like spending a ton of time on food either, but I’ll FEEL like crap if I EAT crap… so I cook. I really don’t enjoy cooking. I wish I did, but I just don’t… so I tend to gravitate toward the recipes with the least amount of work, like this one! I found it a few months ago online (don’t remember where though!) and it’s become a regular in the rotation. It’s take less than five minutes to prep, 30 minutes to bake and then voilà! You’re eating and enjoying dinner!

{Thaw salmon}
(An important step. I always forget to do this so I end up eating dinner about 30 minutes later than I’d planned) 
{Preheat oven to 375 degrees}
{Lightly pour extra virgin olive oil to cover}
{Sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil, and parsley}
{Bake for 30 minutes}
I usually steam some veggies while the salmon’s baking…
 {Stuff your face}
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Cleansing the RIGHT way

I wrote a bit about fad detoxes/cleanses a while back and wanted to give you some info on how to do a healthy cleanse. I asked my good friend and nutrition expert, Sara Grout to write an article on the right way to cleanse your body. Thanks, Sara! This is what she wrote:

The topic of detoxing is a hot one, there’s no debating this. But what is it about a detox that makes them so appealing? Is it because they work, or is it because they offer a ‘quick fix’? There’s no shocking surprise here when I tell you we’re a nation of ‘quick-fixers’ and one of the reasons we’re so drawn to the word ‘detox’ is that it appeals to that shameful side of us…..the side of us that wants to do something for 7 days (or possibly even 4 weeks, god-forbid) and magically have the body and life we’ve always dreamed of. So, this is where my role as a functional and holistic nutritionist is crucial; to EMPOWER YOU to take action over your own health via EDUCATION. What information out there is right for you? And how can you identify what’s a trend vs. what’s legit? So, is a Detox a ‘trend’ or is it ‘legit’? Let’s take a look.

First of all, it is important to understand what a detox is, who it’s appropriate for, and when you might want to use one. The body is a truly intricate and INDIVIDUALIZED piece of work. Just like one diet is not right for all people, one cleanse is not right for all people. But like all things, they have their TIME and their PLACE.
The first step: Get to know YOUR BODY. If you don’t know you, how your body functions and what your body needs, how will you know which (if any) detox is right for you? There are many ways to get in tune with your body and figure out what it needs, and this should always be the first step in any health plan. Detoxing should not involve liquid diets, restricted portions or fancy generalized supplements but rather, a lifestyle that is based around whole foods that are known to be beneficial for YOU and your specific metabolic type, constitution, environment and current situation. An individualized approach. This also includes the addition of fortifying foods and the removal of foods that may be causing a low-grade chronic inflammation in the body and/or in the gut. When the chronic stressors are removed and strengthening foods are added in, your body will naturally detoxify itself. And what’s even more exciting? Cravings will go away and counting calories will be a thing of the past. Giving your body the foods and nutrients it needs is the MOST powerful thing you can do for your health, life, and longevity.
The second step: Why do you want to do a cleanse? Are you looking for a ‘quick fix’ or are you looking for a true health transformation? If it’s the latter, you might want to consider hiring a nutritionist who looks at individuality and optimal functioning of the body. By examining these key factors, you can give the body what it needs and remove any hidden stressors. Once this is done, you will no longer need to search out those ‘quick fix’ deals. The body needs to be in a solid, strong and healthy condition before starting a strict cleanse so that the liver, kidneys, skin, and lungs (the main detoxifying organs) can function at their best.
The third step: Look at the claims. Is it realistic? Is it based around whole foods or liquid shakes, drinks and supplements? Remember, the quicker we take off weight, the more likely it is that it’s water-weight or muscle that we’re losing. When diets or detoxes deprive the body of the fuel it needs to survive, we move into starvation mode, utilizing our own muscle, altering thyroid function (the master metabolic hormone) and setting off a horrible cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Each time we place our body into starvation mode, our metabolism grows weaker and weaker and the yo-yo dieting actually creates an increase in weight and fat gain that continues to grow with each failed attempt. NOT our idea of optimal health and well-being!
In general, cleanses and detoxes can be ultra healing and leave you feeling better than ever before. However, if the cleanse is too strict or not appropriate for YOU, there may be a better way to spend your money. The most important thing to remember is: what does YOUR body need? There are detoxes out there that have a more healing and holistic approach, allowing the body to find its balance naturally. A detox that EVERYONE can benefit from should look something like the following:
-A full health assessment or questionnaire should be performed prior to the detox to make sure that your body is ready, and to determine what type of detox is best for you.
-Add in fortifying foods (especially if performing the cleanse in cooler months) like broths and stocks that also give the digestive system time to rest.
-Depending on when you perform a detox, the plan should be based around easily digestible, warming foods in the cooler months and light, raw and cooling foods in the warmer months.
-Removal of all potentially irritating, allergenic and inflammatory foods (sugars, glutenous grains, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, nightshades, additives and preservatives, etc) is essential.
-Work with a professional who can identify your Metabolic Type. This should be the first step in all detoxes. And for some, this may be the only “detox” you need.

The main thing to take away with you is: detoxes have their time and place and can be very healing. I personally love detoxes, if done appropriately and for the right reasons. My motto in life and health is, “take back your power”, learn how your body is currently operating and what it needs to function at its best. Eliminate all processed items and look to the earth for your foods. Eat what nature provides. Steer clear of food labels, boxes, cans, and bags and go straight to the colors in the fresh produce isles. Or even better, support a local farm share or visit a farmer’s market regularly. Re-learn what ‘real food’ tastes like and how good it feels to be truly nourished, not only for a few days, but for a lifetime.

If you’re unsure of what your body needs or how to get started on a plan that’s right for you, please feel free to send an email or

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Thanksgiving Day Fitness Tips

I’m not even gonna pretend that I don’t love Thanksgiving food. I’m sure we all do. However,  if you’re currently trying to get in shape and worried about calories this year, here are a couple tips to help you enjoy the day without going overboard.
1. Work out BEFORE the stuff-your-face-fest. A little boost to the metabolism, ya know? You’ll burn more calories during the day. Take a quick run/fast walk Thanksgiving morning. If you’ve got family in town, try to recruit them to come with you. You don’t have to run 10 miles or anything, but getting your body moving will help. Aim for 20 – 30 minutes, alternating a light pace with a fast pace!
2. Choose REAL foods for your plate: things that were here 500 years ago. Cranberry sauce, from a can, was not here 500 years ago. Go for the turkey and the veggies.
3. Pace yourself: Put small portions on your plate for the first round and eat slowly. A portion is what you could fit in the palm of your hand (your hand, not Shaq’s hand) You won’t choke, you won’t look like the pig at the table, and it helps with the next tip…
4. Finish what’s on your plate, then wait 10-20 minutes before going back for seconds. When you give your body time for the food to reach your stomach, you’ll be full and won’t eat so much the 2nd time around, if you even want seconds by then.
5. If you’re dying for pumpkin pie, eat a piece! Just don’t eat 5 pieces.
I hope you guys enjoy the holiday!!
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Confession #1: I love sweets. Blame it on the Southern/Midwest upbringing. Family cooked desserts are the best and I know a TON of great recipes, none of which are even REMOTELY healthy. Dang.

Confession #2: I love to bake around the holidays. It usually doesn’t start ’til around Thanksgiving time but I’m on a kick a little earlier this year. Maybe because I’m back in my home town and surrounded by family so I’m feelin’ a little nostalgic. Or maybe I’m just hungry…

Predicament #1: Being in the fitness industry and blogging about health isn’t exactly conducive with baking and eating a bunch of crap. Practice what you preach, right?
Solution #1: So while looking for healthy Banana Muffin recipes online and elsewhere, I found this lovely little blog, Half Baked. And in it, a lovely, HEALTHY Oatmeal Banana Muffin recipe. It’s low-fat, gluten-free, and looks extremely yummy. I’ll let you know how they turn out. First time’s always a hot mess, so maybe I’ll show you a photo from the 2nd batch…
Have a lovely Tuesday!

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