REVIEWS! Kardea Bars and New Balance Walking Shoes

By Katie, 5:20 am

I apologize upfront for being a little behind on offering my reviews of these products. :-(

It’s not that I don’t want to share product information with you, since I certainly believe in being an informed consumer. The problem is that I always have so many other topics I’m itching to write about and hear your feedback on that the products took a back seat. But today that is rectified! :-)

Kardea Nutrition Bars

Recently I was asked by the folks at Kardea if I’d like to review some of their new gourmet nutrition bars. Of course I said yes!

According to the website, the company’s goal is to provide great-tasting, natural foods that help people manage their cholesterol. The founder of the company created this bar specifically to help lower his own personal cholesterol level.

What I Liked

  • These bars were soft, chewy, and dense, but still had a touch of crunch.
  • The stats are pretty darn good: 7 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 4.5 grams healthy fat (from nuts)
  • Very filling! These bars kept my hunger at bay for quite awhile.

What I Didn’t Like

  • These bars are a bit sticky (as in, if you hold it in your hand you’ll probably want to wash your hands afterward). It was almost like an old-school Powerbar.
  • I was extremely thirsty after eating one. Parched, really. Although maybe that’s actually a good thing, since it then encouraged me to drink more water!

Flavor Rankings

  1. Chai Spice: This flavor was by far my favorite! It really was like a cup of chai tea in bar form, which is not as weird as it sounds.
  2. Cranberry Almond: While I would have liked the cranberry taste to be stronger, the almond flavor was bold and delicious!
  3. Banana Nut: Similarly, I thought this flavor was more nutty than banana-y, if you will, but still good!
  4. Lemon Ginger: Dave actually sampled this one – ginger is totally his thing – and he was disappointed, saying there simply wasn’t enough ginger. But then again, he loves ginger, so take it with a grain of salt.

You can check out Kardea’s website for more on their products and purchasing information. Thanks, Kardea, for the opportunity to try your nutrition bars!

New Balance rock&tone Walking Shoes

When I attended FitBloggin’ back in March, I signed up to be on the mailing list for New Balance. Low and behold, a pair of their new rock&tone walking shoes appeared on my doorstep.

I will admit that I laughed out loud when I realized what they were. I have openly poked fun at the advertisements for shoes like these, because if getting lean and toned were as simple as buying a new pair of shoes, our bodies would all look like Heidi Klum’s or something. :-D

Here’s what the New Balance website has to say about these shoes:

The rock&tone’s rounded sole encourages muscle activation and calorie burn with each step.

Apparently wearing the shoes will help you: burn calories, activate muscles, slim down, and tone your calves, glutes, and core.

So I gave them a shot, wearing them on the day Dave and I went to Artscape. I figured that would be a good test because I knew I’d be on my feet all day long. Here’s what I thought.

What I Liked

  • The look. While these shoes are a bit on the clunky-side, they’re not nearly as high or ugly as some of the others on the market. In other words, I’ve seen worse.
  • As soon as I put the shoes on, I noticed a difference; I felt the instability immediately. But I got used to it pretty quickly, and soon completely forgot that I was wearing special toning shoes.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The look. Even though they’re better than most, they’re still not my first choice in terms of fashion.
  • The claims about these shoes are…how shall I put it? Far-fetched? Dubious? Doubtful? At least according to research. This study from the American Council on Exercise found that none of the toning shoes tested (which actually did not include the New Balance version, but it’s the same idea) showed significant increases in exercise response or muscle activation. Of course you feel different when wearing them; they are different because of the extra cushioning and rounded sole. And yes, you might feel a bit sore at first, just like you would with any abnormal shoe. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting a workout.

Overall, I will wear these shoes again. But not for the purpose of toning my glutes. ;-)

Have you tried either of these products? Do you want to?

AND

Have you tried any other new products recently? Anything you’d recommend I check out?

Find Your Pause

By Katie, 5:57 am

I don’t know about you, but there are usually several times throughout my day when I just want to make a “T” shape with my hands and yell “TIME OUT!”

(Source)

I want the world to stop spinning…just for as long as it takes me to give my goalie a pep talk, find a sub for my fatigued offender, and set up for the next play. Then, GAME ON!

I’m guessing you know the feeling: your thoughts won’t stop turning, or your to-do list refuses to get shorter, or you feel like you’re living every day on autopilot. You’re desperate to feel re-grouped, re-centered, and re-ready to tackle life head-on.

You could plan an impromptu trip to Hawaii. But if that’s not in the cards, here’s a simpler alternative: ask yourself, “Where’s My Pause?”

I got this idea from Thomas Roberts, author of The Mindfulness Workbook. In it he writes a very compelling description of watching his newborn daughter as she slept in her crib. As he observed her breathing, so simply and peacefully, he noticed that after each exhale there was a pause before the next inhale began. And it occurred to him that – through our natural, relaxed breathing – we actually have built-in pauses or rest periods.

There are tons of breathing exercises and meditations that you can do to help bring peace and calm to the stresses of everyday life, and I do many of them regularly. But this is perhaps the simplest of all: just stopping, even for a few seconds, to notice the brief, still pause at the end of each inhale-exhale cycle. Whenever I do this I feel an instant sense of calm; I’m brought out of autopilot and back into the present moment. I’m reminded that life is bigger than whatever issues I’m immediately facing.

So the next time you feel that bubbling urge to throw your hands in the air and yell “TIME OUT!”…

 (Source)

…perhaps try asking yourself the simple question, “Where’s my pause?”

Have you ever tried doing some kind of breathing exercise to give yourself a break, or to help you remain calm and focused? Does it work for you?

CSN Stores Winner and a New Blog!

By Katie, 3:21 pm

Thanks to everyone who entered the $50 CSN Stores Gift Card Giveaway! The winner, generated through Random.org, is…

TRACY!!! :-D

Tracy said:

My favorite kitchen gadget is an apple peel/core/slicer machine from Pampered Chef. Makes apple pie creation a snap!

Congratulations, Tracy! Be on the lookout for your coupon code in your e-mail Inbox!

Also, a friend of mine just started a blog called Exploring Ordinary, and it’d be very cool if you showed her some love!

Jory is an amazing athlete and an all-around fun gal! 8-)

Have a great evening, everyone!

Intuitive Eating: Tougher than a Diet

By Katie, 5:36 am

Today’s post is an extra-special one! I’m excited and honored to bring you this message from Christie, whose words of wisdom about making peace with food inspire me every day!

Hello, everyone! I am so excited to be here on Health for the Whole Self because, well, it is one of my very favorite blogs and I am delighted to be a part of it! My name is Christie; I’m a health and wellness coach specializing in changing the relationship that women have with food and their bodies. I’m also author of the intuitive eating blog, Honoring Health. On my blog you will find my insights into intuitive eating, emotional eating, holistic health as well as a heaping side of recipes. Today, I’d like to share with you a little about my path to wellness and hope that I can inspire you on yours!

When I started blogging three and a half years ago, I had no idea my life would change so dramatically. At the time, I thought I was in for the easy way out. I was tired of dieting, binging and starting over every single Monday. Honestly, I thought intuitive eating was going to be my magic pill.

It wasn’t.

At least not in that instant results and everything is wonderful kind of way.

It was, and still is, so much more work than any diet I was ever on. And I’ve been on every diet known to woman.

Before I found intuitive eating, I was a chronic yo-yo dieter and had been binging since I was a small girl. In my teens, I would stuff down boxes of Little Debbie cakes after school followed by hours of Jane Fonda.

I’m old.

Do you even know who Jane Fonda is?

Anyway, through the obsessive exercise and teenage metabolism, I maintained a healthy weight though I always thought of myself as fat. By the time I was in my mid 20′s, I was 220lbs and miserable but I never really realized that I had an issue with food. I had no awareness of what I was doing, why I was doing it or even that I weighed so much. And then one day, I saw myself in a mall mirror and didn’t recognize who I was and a day later, I joined Weight Watchers.

And what a love affair that was.

For the next couple of years, I dieted and binged, dieted and binged still completely unaware that I had some serious problems with food and my body. Eventually, I found intuitive eating and the rest, as they say, is kind of history.

Through the exploration of the principles of intuitive eating, I found myself under that layer of fat. I discovered that I had some deeply ingrained habits of using food, obsessive exercise and negative self talk as a way of coping with life. I had been suppressing all of my emotions for so many years, I had to re-learn how to think and, most importantly, how to feel. And once I learned to just be with my emotions instead of eating them, everything else sort of just fell into place.

Fast forward to now, I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been and I’m now helping women from all over the world learn to do the same. It wasn’t magic but it does feel kind of magical.

Stay in touch with me by visiting my blog or following me on twitter!

Questions from Katie:

Can you relate to Christie’s story?

AND

Do you know who Jane Fonda is??? :lol:

Southwestern Corn Pudding and Maple Baked Beans

By Katie, 5:57 am

My idea of “comfort food” will always be my late grandmother’s cooking: velvet-y smooth mashed potatoes, thick creamed corn, and sweet homemade applesauce. That food wasn’t just delicious; it was literally an extension of my grandmother’s overflowing love for her family.

While the meal below lacked the nostalgic qualities of that kind of comfort food, it had all of the other elements: simple, home-cooked, warm, filling, and familiar.

First up was this Southwestern Corn Pudding.

Dave and I both went wild over this recipe. The sweet corn, the touch of breading, the tiny kick from the jalapeno – it was all wonderful!

All I did to make this was pulse some corn kernels in the food processor until they were mostly pulp, and then mixed in some whole kernels. Then I stirred in eggs, plain Greek yogurt, cilantro, and jalapeno. Poured the mixture into a baking dish dusted with breadcrumbs, and 40 minutes later…voila!

Very comforting. :-)

Southwestern Corn Pudding
Slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times (I can’t find it online, so no link!)
Serves 6-8 (depending on whether it’s more of a main or a side dish)

Ingredients
1 cup breadcrumbs
4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels, divided
4 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (original recipe calls for sour cream)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeno, minced (2 tbsp)
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray, and dust with breadcrumbs.

2. Pulse 3 cups corn kernels in food processor until pulpy and broken down. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in remaining 1 cup whole corn kernels.

3. Whisk together eggs, Greek yogurt, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt in separate bowl. Stir corn into egg mixture.

4. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 30-40 minutes or until top is golden.

**Alternatively, this dish can be made in small individual ramekins, for added cuteness. ;-)

We enjoyed our Southwestern Corn Pudding with a grand serving of these absolutely-positively-never-eat-them-from-a-can-again-delicious Mapled Baked Beans.

Would you believe me if I told you this was the first time I made my own baked beans??? Shameful, I know! :oops:

This recipe from Angela is done in the slow cooker, which is perfect for this 9-to-5 gal. I used a mixture of Great Northern beans, sweet onion, molasses, maple syrup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, sea salt, and dried cranberries. Check out Angela’s post for the full recipe with measurements.

I cooked the whole mixture on low for 7 hours, and then had my slow cooker switch to its “warm” setting for another 2 hours or so, until I got home from work and cooked the Corn Pudding. The beans didn’t burn at all, and there was ample time for the flavors to fully meld together.

These beans were especially delicious served over roasted sweet potatoes.

And since there were plenty of leftovers, I was able to enjoy this comforting meal over and over again! Can’t beat that! ;-)

What’s your idea of comfort food?

AND

What’s something you’re embarrassed to admit that you’ve never made yourself, instead eating it only from a can or a package? Like I said, I can’t believe I relied solely on canned baked beans for so long!

I Smell a Fartlek

By Katie, 5:31 am

Have you entered my $50 CSN Gift Card Giveaway yet?

It’s really hard to write a post about the fartlek and not make some childish, immature jokes. So let’s just get the laughing out of the way, shall we? :lol:

(Source)

(Source)

For those of who thinking I’ve lost my mind, let me assure you that “fartlek” is an actual term. It comes from the Swedish word for “speed play,” and it refers to a running workout where you occasionally pick up the pace for however long you’d like, and then slow down and recover…for however long you’d like.

If you’re a Type-A personality like me, initially you might be wary of this whole concept; you probably prefer structured workouts and regimented routines. And yet I truly believe it’s important for all of us – yes, even the Type A’s – to let loose a little bit when it comes to exercise. Sometimes we need to throw caution to the wind, let our hair down, and get a little crazy. 8-)

So that’s why I love the idea of a fartlek workout, which is actually supposed to feel more like playing than exercising. As this article from Runner’s World states,“Fartleks get us back to running like we did as kids, treating it as play and not as work.”

Not to mention it makes for an awesome workout! Study after study has shown that cardiovascular exercise is more effective when we vary our intensity level – as in intervals – than when we simply move at a steady pace. A fartlek is really just a free-form interval workout.

And even though the fartlek workout is technically a running one that focuses on speed specifically, the concept can easily be applied to all kinds of exercises: walking (with intervals of either power walking or jogging), elliptical workouts, biking, whatever! The idea is just to have fun varying your speed and intensity level.

So the next time your exercise routine starts feeling a bit too much like work, why not try playing around a bit with a fartlek workout? No snickering required. ;-)

Have you ever tried a fartlek run or free-form interval workout? Do you think this is something you’d like to incorporate into your exercise routine?

Brownie Alert!

By Katie, 5:27 am

No, sorry, this isn’t a recipe post. Although if you’re looking to make some brownies, I would recommend one of these:

(Source)

Lately I’ve been thinking about the fact that while we hear a lot about “emotional eating,” the actual experience of it is unique and personal; no two people experience emotional eating in exactly the same way. Some people eat out of boredom, others out of loneliness, others out of anxiety, and still others out of all of the above. What triggers emotional eating is different for everyone.

Similarly, when we overeat emotionally varies from person to person. This was brought to my attention during a conversation with my mom last week. She shared with me that she’ll often receive some kind of stressful or sad news and then find herself heading to the kitchen to help put it out of her mind. She feels the negative emotion and then soothes it with food.

Interestingly, that’s not how I experience emotional eating at all. For me, the order is reversed. 8-O

Let me explain. There have been countless times in my life when I’ve thought to myself, “Why am I driven to overeat right now? What the heck is going on?” I couldn’t trace my behavior to receiving bad news or experiencing a difficult situation. Rather, I had become so immune to my emotions that I would be driven to overeat before I could even feel them. I so effectively used food to block the stress or the anxiety that I was unaware those emotions even existed – they were buried that deep. :-(

So instead of feeling the stress and then eating, I eat (or want to eat) and that makes me realize I’m stressed. Does that make sense?

On the one hand, this can make emotional eating significantly more difficult to prevent. On the other hand, it serves as a really great warning system. I call it my “Brownie Alert.”

Basically, when I feel the urge to eat and eat and eat even though I’m not hungry, I now see it as a big sign flashing “Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson Katie!” :lol:

In all seriousness, though, engaging in emotional eating – or even just the urge to do so – does help me to see that something is off-balance and it’s time to re-evaluate. It forces me to step back, take a good look at the broader picture of my life, and see where improvements need to be made. Do I have too much on my plate and need to relax a little bit? Am I stressed about work and not managing it effectively? Do I need to work on improving my relationships? Have I been ignoring my emotional wellness, my spiritual wellness?

This, perhaps, is the positive side of my struggles with emotional overeating. I now have a built-in balance barometer, in a sense. When those brownies are calling my name – and not in a healthy indulgence kind of way – I now take it as a sign that it’s time to reassess; it’s time to get back in touch with me. :-)

Do you have some kind of built-in alert system like my Brownie Alert? Something that warns you that your life has become off-balance?

AND

If you struggle with emotional overeating, do you find that you usually feel the emotion and then turn to food, or the other way around? Or perhaps you experience it in another way entirely?

Do You Like Winning Free Stuff?

By Katie, 5:17 am

I figured that post title would get your attention. ;-)

I was recently contacted by the folks at CSN Stores and given the option of either reviewing a product or hosting a giveaway. Folks, I was this close to snagging an ice cream maker for myself. But then I imagined the joy and excitement the winner of this giveaway will surely experience, and I simply couldn’t deprive her/him of that magical feeling! 8-) The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to use at any one of CSN’s 200+ stores, where you can find anything from dining room sets to cookware to dog beds! 8-O Seriously, check out all of the stores!

Perhaps you have your eye on an ice cream maker as well…

Or maybe you’re keen on a new chic bedroom set…

Or perhaps you’d like to add to your home gym…

That $50 can go towards whatever your little heart desires. :-)

You can enter up to three times:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite kitchen accessory.

2. Link to this contest on your blog (and leave another comment letting me know you’ve done so).

3. Tweet the following message (and leave another comment letting me know you’ve done so): Win a $50 CSN gift card from @KatieHWS http://healthforthewholeself.com/2010/07/do-you-like-winning-free-stuff/

I’ll randomly choose a winner on Thursday, July 29. Good luck!!!

**This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.**

The 7 Link Challenge

By Katie, 5:48 am

You know how summer is a very popular season for wedding anniversaries? Well, apparently it’s popular for blog anniversaries too! Over the past two weeks or so I’ve congratulated many of my fellow healthy living bloggers on their success and impact as they celebrate being a part of this online community for 6 months, 1 year, or longer.

Anniversaries inevitably leave you feeling nostalgic, and even though I’m not celebrating an official mark (I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now), lately I have gotten a bit sappy about my little corner of the Internet here on Health for the Whole Self. So when I saw 7 Link Challenge from ProBlogger, I immediately wanted to participate – and encourage others to do the same!

The idea is simple: link to seven posts that fulfill these seven descriptions:

1. Your First Post

Not counting my initial introduction, the very first post I wrote was this one on Conquering the Kitchen. Even though I have evolved so much as a blogger since writing that post, I still really like it! In it I basically confessed to the fact that I was entering the world of healthy living and blogging with zero culinary knowledge and a complete lack of cooking skills…and then I proceeded to outline the practical steps I was taking to remedy that.

2. The Post You Enjoyed Writing the Most

This is a difficult one for me because I genuinely enjoy the writing process (most of the time, anyway). But my most meaningful writing experience thus far has probably been with my post on Pseudo-Dieting. The reason is that I was truly examining myself while typing the words; unlike with many of my posts – where I’m looking back on a struggle and figuring out what I learned from it – I was actually struggling with the issue in the midst of generating the content. With every word, I was essentially challenging myself, which is always a powerful experience.

(Source)

3. A Post That Had a Great Discussion

This one is a toss up! My post on Last Supper Eating generated some very interesting comments, and it drew the attention of Evelyn Tribole, co-author of Intuitive Eating. That was a proud blog moment, right there! But there was also my more recent post on The Great Scale Debate, the comments on which proved that it is, in fact, a debate. People shared all different opinions, which was refreshing!

4. A Post on Someone Else’s Blog that You Wish You’d Written

Ok, I’m breaking the rule again. So much for only 7 links, huh? ;-)

  • My respect and admiration for Christie at Honoring Health only grows with each insightful post she writes. But perhaps my favorite is her post on the 15 Minute Method. For those of us who struggle with using food to cover up our emotions, this is perhaps the most important step we can take in challenging that behavior. And Christie describes it so clearly and perfectly; it’s definitely worth reading again and again!
  • Finally, I hope Lisa doesn’t kill me for linking to her awesome post on The New Cardio Craze. When I read/watched this post, which features videos of her dancing away in her living room, I was in absolute awe of her beauty, her spirit, and her willingness to be true to herself no matter what. That girl is living her life to the fullest, and that post is the proof of it!

5. Your Most Helpful Post

I think one of my most helpful posts was the one I wrote titled Without Judgment. I wrote it because I felt like the conversation about Intuitive Eating was focusing too much on “eating what you want,” without taking into account that the process is also about examining our relationship with food, and finding ways to make true peace with it.

(Source)

6. A Post with a Title that You’re Proud Of

It’s My Party and I’ll Eat What I Want To

Enough said.

7. A Post You Wish More People Had Read

In my early days of blogging I wrote a post called Turn Off the Television! Eating Without Distractions. I didn’t have a huge readership at the time (well, I still don’t, but you know what I mean), and I wish that post had gotten a little more exposure…the reason being that I’ve learned that many people (myself included!) are very resistant to the idea of eating without distractions – without the TV, or a magazine, or a computer screen. I think that resistance is worth examining…and challenging!

Now it’s your turn! If you write a blog, I encourage you to take the 7 Link Challenge as well! Or, alternatively, choose one of the categories and link to your post in Comments. I’d love to check out your links and share them with others!

Let Us Thank Him For Our Food

By Katie, 5:18 am

God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food…

As a child I was always taught to say a short prayer of thanks before sitting down to a meal. Fortunately it’s a habit that’s stuck; saying grace is practically ingrained in me.

(Source)

For a long time, however, my pre-meal prayers were so habitual and ritualistic that they lost their authenticity. I was just going through the motions…sometimes quite literally, simply repeating the memorized prayers of my childhood. I wasn’t thinking through the words I was reciting; I wasn’t expressing any genuine gratitude.

What brought me out of this robotic state was actually my rocky relationship with food. Not surprisingly, I used to find meal times especially stressful; I wanted to relax and enjoy them, but any situation involving food was a loaded one. :-?

As I began to make peace with food and meal times, taking two minutes to be quiet and thankful before digging in took on much greater significance. I needed that time to take some deep breaths and re-gain my larger perspective on life. Saying grace was about thanking God for the food and for giving me the strength to appreciate it. It was about praising Him for guiding me through my struggles, and calling on Him to continue to do so. And it was about remembering to step outside of my own little bubble and pray for others…particularly those whose struggles with food are about not having enough of it to survive.

Taking a few moments to be quiet, thankful, and reflective before a meal has been a large part of my journey toward making peace with food. It is in those minutes of stillness and gratitude that I am able to gain my footing, find my strength, and be genuinely thankful for my many undeserved blessings.

Do you usually pray or take a few moments of silence before meals?

Panorama Theme by Themocracy