The holiday season is officially here, and so is that annual struggle to keep it tight. With an endless flow of stuffing, cocktails, and pumpkin everything, the struggle is definitely real. Thankfully, I’ve been sampling a few hot new items in the world of health and fitness this month and it’s helped to keep me out of trouble!
With the carefully portioned, month’s worth of clean food delivery from Fitzee Foods, and the super food snacks and baking ingredients from Navitas Naturals, there is no way I can justify a whole month of “dirty” eating. As icing on the cake, I had the chance to experience a “calorie burning” infrared sauna with SenSpa (too good to be true?), and the Zinio app is keeping me entertained through my boring elliptical sessions on low intensity training days.
Bonus: A wrinkle remover for the chest! Yes, that’s right, a between the boob de-creasifier (not a word). Read on!
In all seriousness…
Aside from the novelty of trying new things, the number one piece of advice I have for keeping on track during the holidays is to 1) keep moving, and 2) stop eating when you’re full. Simple, right?
At the very least, overdoing the sugar and carbs can really power up a workout. The morning after Thankgiving, I hit a personal best in Barry’s Bootcamp. Consolation prize!
Health & Fitness Round Up: The Latest in Food and Fitness
Fitzee Foods – Fresh, Clean Food On Demand
After a long day, I’m usually way too tired to spend more than ten minutes getting myself dinner (for the record, my fiance just stays at work and has gourmet meals catered…#toughlife). For this reason, I’m forced to spend a few laborious hours per week food prepping. If you’re someone who likes doing this, I’m jealous, and I wish I could hire you!
Fitzee Foods aims to solve this exact problem for the health conscious but busy (slash, lazy) individual. They offer a huge range of breakfast, lunch and dinner meals for pickup (if you’re in San Diego) or delivery (all over the United States). Fresh and not frozen, they’re packed in cooled containers for shipment.
Are you dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian? They have you covered! Fitzee Foods uses all natural ingredients, grass fed beef, free range chicken, and hormone free turkey. SELF magazine, CNN, and Sports Illustrated have already covered them (I feel so special).
My had enough small sized meals to feed me dinners for a month or every meal for a week. They are individually packaged and bear all the nutrition detail on the label. Each were delicious, and I actually had to freeze some of them (they thawed out nicely).My personal favorite featured in the month of November was the Paleo BBQ Chicken with Carrots and Brussels Sprouts (below) which clocked in at under 300 calories (261 to be exact).
At $9.95-$12.95 for a Jill-sized meal, this is definitely something I would consider having on hand for lazy nights. I trust the ingredients more than I do from other delivery services (who I feel are starting to cheap out…chicken thighs and beans, oh my!) and I like the stronger dedication that Fitzee has to keeping it clean.
Zinio App: Endless Fitness & Fashion Magazines For Long Cardio Sessions
Since my weekly fitness schedule has always alternated between HIIT and long steady state cardio sessions, I often use the elliptical trainer. It used to bore me, until I trained myself to read (and yes, still work hard) while I used it. I always had a few battered fitness and fashion mags hanging around in my gym bag for this purpose.
Trying out Zinio changed that game (pictured at top of post). With this app you can subscribe to almost any magazine out there, or buy them by the issue. All I needed to bring with me to the gym was my super light tablet, and could swap between tons of magazines if I lost interest in one. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself for steady state cardio, training yourself to read while you ride might be the right solution.
Subscriptions I’m digging now: Muscle & Fitness Hers, Self, In Style, and Fitness.
Navitas Naturals: Superfood Snacks
What is a superfood? According to Google, it’s “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Amen to that! Navitas Naturals prides itself on being a “superfood” company, offering a ton of snack options as well as superfoods in powder or berry form (cacao, camu, maca, goji, and acai) to add to smoothies or other recipes.
Recently in San Francisco (at an event that sadly, I couldn’t attend) they demo’d some amazing recipes, including some insanely delicious looking cacao bark that my girl Ashley over at A Lady Goes West tried out.
I keep their cacao nibs on hand for a spoonful of crunch after dinner to help ward off any sugar cravings and their Tumeric Tamari Almonds are to die for (tumeric is so hot right now). The Coffee Cacao Power Snack cubes (with cacao, maca, chia, and camu-camu) pack a chocolaty, coffee flavored punch when you need an afternoon snack (below).
SenSpa’s Infrared Sauna: Burn Calories While You Sit On Your Bottom!
In the past, I’ve heard rumors that infrared saunas provide a calorie burn equivalent to doing light cardio. Obviously, I was skeptical about this, but after Googling like crazy I wasn’t able to find science refuting this claim. I did find a discussion of some scholarly articles that presented some evidence that they actually do.
I also saw discussions about the other health benefits of using the infrared sauna, including stimulation of the immune system, and increase circulation which can aid in speeding recovery. After some tough workouts the week that I tried it, that was a big seller for me.
I arrived at SenSpa in San Francisco with one of my blogger’s in crime, Ashley from A Lady Goes West to give the sauna a shot. We were treated to a salad lunch from The Plant Cafe in the spa’s restaurant area, and the relaxed in the meditation room while we took turns doing our sauna sessions.
The spa was nicely laid out and decorated, and I appreciated the laid back, zen vibe. When it was my turn in the sauna, I was greeted with a big stack of magazines, some plush towels, and a digital thermostat.
At first, the air felt like a warm hug. As time went on, the temperature went up and I started to sweat. First, just a few drops, and then soon, a ton! Once the temperature went north of 130 Fahrenheit/48 Celsius I had to crack the door.
But, I proudly toughed through 27 minutes of dry heat, and my body felt fantastic for the next 24 hours. I’d probably have to do this daily for a month to see if it had any personal benefit from a calorie burn perspective, but I can say that it definitely helped my muscle recovery post HIIT/bootcamp workout.
I would definitely recommend the sauna as an add on to a massage treatment post workout. For a full list of SenSpa’s services, click the “Services” menu here.
Decollete Smoothing: Not A Chest Wrinkle In Sight with SiO
Full disclosure: I have no wrinkles on my chest. Why? At first I thought it was my age, but now I’m pretty sure it’s because my skin hasn’t seen ‘sun’ since I last hit a tanning bed in 10th grade. Use SPF everyday people, sun-wrinkles are real!
Regardless, as a skin care freak, I was ALL OVER the opportunity to try SiO Beauty’s system a try (they had me at #goodnightwrinkles). SiO’s founder created the line when she started noticing chest wrinkles at the ripe old age of 29 (!), thanks to a lifetime of sun exposure and side sleeping (which can apparently cause permanent creasing in your chest…sigh). When she found out that silicone sheeting has been used for years to fade scars, she decided try it out on her chest wrinkles.
The SiO silicone skinpad (that you apply to your chest at night for 15 nights before switching to a fresh one) is said to create the perfect environment for skin healing and collagen reproduction (i.e. the stuff created by your body that fills in wrinkles).
The skinpads are complimented with wipes containing glycolic acid ( it encourages exfoliation of dulling skin cells), and a day-time serum (wear sunscreen on top!). Both are paraben free, for the record.
I’m on night two, and I must say my chest-skin feels pretty darn good! I offered one of the pads to my guy to try, but he declined.
Bloat Free Energy Bars: Low FODMAP Happy Bars
I’ve gone on about it before, and I still swear by the FODMAP diet to cure bloating and stomach discomfort when it strikes. One challenge of following this eating plan, is finding energy bars that don’t contain at least one or two bloat causing ingredients (like the Quest Bar, which I used to love but has now gone off the FODMAP charts with their corn fiber ingredient). I’ve sampled some pretty delicious low FODMAP bars, and the Happy Bar is definitely up there.
Happy Bars were created by a doctor and mom of three (Rachel Pauls) who follows a low-FODMAP food plan to help with her IBS symptom. She combined her medical, research and baking skills to create these all-natural bars. My one complaint is that they’re a little too high in sugar for my liking (12-ish grams).
Natural sugar is still sugar, and it impacts energy levels for a lot of folks and aggravates certain diseases. Maybe a sugar-free version that substitutes stevia is in their future? If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll love these (especially the Chocolate Chip Delight).
So, there you have it! Thanks to these great brands for letting my try them out, and for helping me keep a healthy focus this season. Cheers to that!