Not a Greek Yogurt in Site

During my travels over the last few weeks, I had my fill of restaurant food. For 12 days straight, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, consumed in a place other than my home sweet home. I know there are many people that would consider this a luxury, but eating out all of the time can get old fast. By my 6th day on the road, all I wanted for breakfast was a Greek yogurt, something I was used to having every week, if not every day at home. However, in our staff lounge, the convention center only provided “regular” yogurt. No matter how much I begged, pleaded, and flirted with our lounge staff, no one could seem to find a Greek yogurt within two miles. Sad, but true.

Little did I know what was waiting for me when I arrived home one week later.

While away, Scott called to tell me that I received several packages in the mail, one being a perishable package. Lucky for me, I arrived home to find a dozen perfect cartons of Siggi’s yogurt! Now I know Siggi’s is not “Greek” yogurt per se, but after tasting it for the first time that night, I can honestly say it is VERY similar to Greek yogurt, and maybe even better! Gasp!

Siggi’s yogurt is a type of skyr yogurt – the traditional yogurt of Iceland. It’s similar to Greek yogurt in that it is much thicker than regular yogurt because it’s strained several times. Because of the straining process, it has a significant amount of protein. But, unlike most Greek yogurt brands, Siggi’s skyr is comes in several flavors, including vanilla, grapefruit, blueberry, orange, acai, and more. Plus, Siggi’s is fat free and only flavored with real agave nectar  – no sugar or artificial sweeteners.

So how does it taste? I have to admit, the vanilla and blueberry Siggi’s hold their own against any Greek yogurt I’ve tried, but the orange flavor is more of an acquired taste.

Although I am still partial to my Greek yogurt (oh how I still miss you!), Siggi’s is really giving Greek yogurt a run for it’s money.

5 Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate Every Day

Dark Chocolate

(Photo source)

The health benefits of dark chocolate have been widely reported in the last few years. It has even been called a superfood due to its positive impact on a variety of health conditions. I rarely need an excuse to eat chocolate. But if you were looking for another reason to eat chocolate every day, here are five good ones!

5 Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate Every Day

  1. Helps our Heart – Numerous studies have associated heart health with eating dark chocolate. Even recent studies have shown that the powerful antioxidants, flavanols, in dark chocolate can help prevent the activation of platelets in the blood, which contribute to heart disease. Other studies show that the antioxidants can even reverse some of the artery damage cause by smoking, although this is definitely not an incentive to keep smoking nor is it a good excuse to start.
  2. Makes You Smarter – Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) is a major source of magnesium, a mineral essential for brain health, while it also helps prevent the plaque build-up that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, there is evidence that chocolate boosts memory, attention span, and increase our reaction time.
  3. Boosts Our Immune System – A 2009  study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that dark chocolate has immunity boosting power, possibly helping us fight off infection.
  4. Reduces Stress – Eating about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day may help to reduce your stress level, particularly those with moderate to high anxiety.
  5. Helps Us Live Longer – Finally, Harvard researchers found that people who ate chocolate lived an average of one year longer than those who did not, although the association was stronger in men than women.

Have a great night everyone – I’m off to eat some chocolate!

A Swim, Bike, Run Weekend

My husband Scott did the Olympic distance Chicago Triathlon this morning. But before I get to that, let me rewind a bit. We headed downtown early yesterday to check into the hotel and check out the Tri-expo. I headed straight to the Larabar booth to pick up a bunch of swag…

I love these bars and they came in so handy today while waiting for Scott to finish. The kids and I didn’t get to eat lunch so it was Larabar to the rescue! After the expo we walked around for a bit in downtown Chicago. I had heard the Eiffel Tower was making an appearance at Macy’s on State so I just had to stop in to see it for myself…

The girls at the Lancome counter probably thought I was crazy – or at least a tourist. I am neither, thank you.

After dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy, we attempted to go to bed at a reasonable hour, considering Scott needed to be up at 3:45 AM in order to get his bike to the transition area. But on our way back to the hotel, we heard the familiar sounds of Chicago’s Summer Dance Festival – Puerto Rican salsa music, definitely one of our favorites. Since the festival was literally right across the street from our hotel, we decided to stop for a few minutes – it was a beautiful night to listen and dance to music under the stars!! On nights like those, I really miss living in the city.

We ended up not falling asleep until after midnight, then both woke up at 3 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. Ugh!!!. Not fun for either of us.

In spite of our unintended lack of sleep, Scott was out the door on time. I even managed to get the kids up, ready, and out the door in time to see Scott shove off for the swimming portion which started promptly at 7:52 AM. The rest of the morning was spent walking around the race area and tracking Scott on his bike and run portions. Runkeeper is very cool in the iPhone – when it works – and really helped me pinpoint Scott in the last 20-30 minutes of the race. Toward the last stretch, I was able to see exactly where he was on the course. So, when he came into view, Mr. C and I ran out to jog with him for a minute – Mr. C was so excited to run with his Dad! I was so happy and proud of Scott that I almost cried!

It really amazes me that Scott trained for the last 6-7 months and accomplished a full swim, bike, and run – something I have no interest in doing at this point in my life. He and the other triathletes are truly inspirational. They trained so hard and you could see the deep emotion in their faces as they ran along the last stretch of the race – excitement, exhaustion, determination, pride – you name it, every emotion was there. Scott ended up finishing in about 3.5 hours – that is amazing to me, especially considering it’s his first race AND he was racing in 90+ temperatures! I’m actually surprised we didn’t see more runners pass out from the heat, but I’ll consider that a blessing. By the way, if you want to know how many calories he burned for his 3.5 hour workout – that magic number would be 3,500 calories! Yes, he definitely deserved that huge piece of chocolate cake tonight.

Congratulations to Scott and Ryan (Scott’s brother who also raced) for a fantastic triathlon today! Just let me know when we’re headed to St. Croix for the next one! 🙂

Headed to the Chicago Triathlon

This morning, I went out for a fast 5-mile run, which was fantastic! It’s been really cool the last few mornings – around 60 degrees with no humidity. Yeah, Fall is coming! About halfway through my run, I noticed one of those speed monitors sitting in the road up ahead. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen one while running, but it’s the first time I saw one and had my iPhone with me to take a photo! As you can see, I was running approx. 7 miles per hour, which is roughly 8.5 minute miles – not bad!

On another note, I want to send a huge thank you to Life After Bagels – I was the winner of her Terra Chips giveaway! Yesterday, I came home from work to find a big box waiting for me. Ooooh, who says good things come in small packages 🙂 I tore open the box to find 4 large bags of Terra chips…

As well as chip clips – always handy -, a recipe book, and a martini serving bowl for the chips – how clever!

Terra chips are super yummy and they DO really taste like veggies. The sweet potato ones are my favorite but I’m dying to try the Mexican and the Mediterranean flavors.

I may be out of pocket on Saturday and at least part of Sunday. Scott is doing the Chicago Triathlon on Sunday so we’re heading downtown tomorrow to check into our hotel and do “race stuff”. I might be doing some live tweeting from the event on Sunday -so stay tuned!

FYI – if you’re wondering why I’m not doing the triathlon, it’s because I do not swim or bike – I run and that is what I do best. But I give HUGE amounts of credit for people who can do all three back to back! Good luck to all of the Chicago Triathletes!

Chip and Dip Bowl Giveaway!

When I attended the Healthy Living Summit, I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of the Frito Lay plant in Wisconsin. I learned so much about Frito Lay chips and was quite impressed at all of the steps they are taking to make healthier and greener products.

Now, you all know I’m a chip addict. But I also love dips! I love dips of nearly every kind – bean dips, fruit dips, taco dips, veggie dips, chips dips, etc. However, I’m quite aware that dips often contain high amounts of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. That’s why I was so glad the girls at Frito Lay sent me a fantastic dip recipe made out of plain Greek yogurt.  Take a look at the recipe – it’s so much healthier than most dips. Hint – it only has 45 calories per serving!

Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

Serves: 8; Serving Size: ¼ cup


  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
  • 1 ½ cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Cumin to taste


  • Grate cucumber halves by hand or chop in a food processor until coarse, but not mushy. Place grated/chopped cucumber in a strainer and cover with a paper towel to squeeze out the excess juice. You may need to change the paper towel a few times.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Fold in the cucumber and season with salt and pepper. Add cumin to taste.
  • Refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.
  • Nutrition Information (per ¼ cup serving):

    45 calories, 5 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 91 mg sodium

    The other day I was craving something crunchy and salty, so I promptly made this dip and paired it with some Frito Lay SunChips. Fantastic! The creamy, spicy dip was a perfect combo with my SunChips, although I probably ate more chips than the dip! But hey, they have 18g of whole grains per ounce!

    Frito Lay Giveaway

    As I mentioned last night, I will be doing more giveaways in the future. And guess what? I have another one for you right now! Frito Lay has graciously offered to give one of my readers a fabulous Crate and Barrel chip and dip bowl, with extra dip bowls. Plus, they are throwing in a bag of Lay’s, SunChips, and Tostitos Scoops!. And all of this just in time for Labor Day weekend! I sooo wish I could enter this giveaway myself! But because I can’t, I’m giving it to one of you.

    How to Enter

    All you have to do to enter is either:

    • Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Frito Lay product OR
    • Tweet/retweet this post on Twitter

    You must enter the giveaway by 9 PM Eastern on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. After that, I will pick a random entrant and post the winner on the my blog. Easy peasey, don’t ya think?

    Good Luck! Now, let’s get snacking!

    Everything In Moderation, Including Chips

    Have I ever told you how much I love chips? I don’t mean just love , I mean LOVE!!!! Hi, my name is Jennifer and I’m a chipaholic. And this isn’t a new love affair for me either. I’ve loved chips for as long as I can remember. I know what you’re thinking – I’m supposed to write about how to live a healthy lifestyle – and chips are bad, aren’t they? Well, it’s true that chips have little nutritional value – aside from standard carbs, fat, and calories that our body needs. However, my feeling is that no food should be bad or good. Eat any food that you like, as long as you eat it in moderation and balance it with a variety of foods from all of the food groups. So, I can absolutely have my chips as long as I balance them with vegetables, fruit, etc.

    In the last few years, Scott and I have been trying to eat foods in their most natural state – even chips. About 5 years ago, we were determined to find chips that had the fewest ingredients and ingredients we recognized. We settled on Cape Cod chips for the simple reasons that they tasted good and only had 3 ingredients – salt, oil, and potatoes. For years, Cape Cod chips were the ONLY chips we would eat, but we have since broadened our horizons.

    Last week, when I attended the Frito Lay tour, I learned that Lay’s signature chips – the plain potato chips – have only 3 ingredients – oil, salt, and potatoes. Shocking! I mentioned this to Scott over the phone who believed the ingredients, but was skeptical about the taste. But something must have peaked his interest along the way because he went out and bought 2 bags of Lay’s reduced fat all-natural potato chips made with sea salt. Tonight, while eating them with our turkey burgers and carrots, he said, “these taste better than Cape Cod, I don’t know why”. I admit, I felt the same way. Sorry Cape Cod, there’s a new chip in town.

    Anyway, after the Frito Lay tour, I begged and pleaded with the Frito Lay girls to give me a shirt, but alas, they had no more. Fortunately, they found a extra shirt back at the office and mailed it to me. Thank you!! It arrived today and I couldn’t wait to put it on. The shirt actually has a dual meaning for me. Not only did I want the shirt because I love chips, but I’m also an alum of Central Michigan University, home of the Chippewas – or the “Chips” as we would call them.

    And, as they say at CMU – Go, Fire Up, Chips! Have a great night everyone.

    Healthy Living Summit Goodies!

    Morning everyone! I just came back from my awesome 5.5 mile run! We’ve finally had a reprieve from the heat so it’s been much cooler in the mornings, which makes for much easier running.

    This cooler weather reminds me that summer is quickly coming to an end, sniff…But that also means that Autumn will be here very soon. For those of you who have been following me all the while, you know that Fall is my favorite time of year. Aside from the cooler weather, I love all of the Fall activities – apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides, corn mazes, etc. I’m trying not to wish for Fall too hard, because it also means that my BIG business meeting will be here soon, and I’m so NOT ready for that.

    Healthy Living Summit Update

    • Business Cards – I mentioned last week that I had ordered business cards for the Healthy Living Summit – well, they arrived yesterday, 4 days early! I am extremely happy with the service and the results – they turned out perfect! If you haven’t already ordered business cards for your blog, I highly recommend ordering them from Moo Cards. They are a British company (which I love!) that specializes in design-your-own paper products, like business cards, holiday cards, etc. The Moo Card system is very easy to use and you can either choose from one of their many designs or you can upload your own images to put on the cards. I decided to go with one of the premade designs and add my own graphic on one side. I can’t wait to show them off at HLS!
    • HLS Giveaway – Also, for all of you bloggers going to HLS, I will be bringing a few goodies to give away! I will only have about 50, so find me early and you may be one of the lucky ones who gets a giveaway! I’m going to try posting a picture of it later so stay tuned!
    • Cocktail Dress Search – I’ve been out shopping twice this weekend to find a cute cocktail dress and I’ve had NO luck! I waited too long as usual so all of the cute summer dresses are picked over or gone completely. Blah! I hate when I procrastinate buying clothes that I need. It puts me in a desperate situation where I’ll end up buying things I don’t really like for too much money.
    • Frito Lay Tour – I’m also a little unsure about what I’m going to wear on the Frito Lay Tour. We are not permitted to wear shorts, jeans, or open-toed shoes. However, long capris are fine. I’m just not sure how capris look with close-toed shoes??? Some of you have mentioned wearing yoga pants, which I may decide to do – thank goodness Lucy always has cute yoga pants in stock!

    Gotta run, my in-laws are coming over and I’ve got to get crackin’ on the cleaning 🙂

    Eat, Drink, And Run

    A woman at my office is a marathon runner and a triathlete. She often talks about the energy bars and gels she eats during her workouts and her races. This got me thinking about my eating habits while running.

    I’m torn on this issue. As a personal trainer, it is part of my job to address the nutritional needs of clients and/or people I administer advice to. Yet, as a runner, I know what my body needs and doesn’t need. I have never been the type of runner who needs to eat before a run or even during a run. The thought of eating during a run actually makes me a little nauseous – anyone else? I think my no eating while running mindset is spurred by the idea that I’m not really a competitive runner anymore. Although I still run 5K’s and 10K’s, I still don’t feel the need to eat during the runs.

    Putting my personal trainer hat back on – here’s my take on eating and running. Obviously, if you’re a competitive runner, eating for performance is key. But for new or noncompetitive runners, there are just a few basic eat and run principles to consider:

    Principles of Eating and Running

    Before Your Run:  If you’re a morning runner, who’s out the door before breakfast, you may want to grab a little nourishment before you’re workout. Don’t eat too much or you’ll risk cramping or even nausea. Have a 100-150 calorie snack that has some form of carbohydrates, such as a ½ cup of oatmeal, a small banana, or half a power bar. Drinking a few ounces of water prior to running is also a good idea. Resist gulping or else you may feel waterlogged even before you start your run. For afternoon or evening runners, avoid eating a heavy meal prior to running. Schedule your run in between lunch and dinner, or 1-2 hours after dinner. Remember, there are plenty of runners who CAN run on an empty stomach with no problem (yours truly included), but eating a little something beforehand is also fine.

    During Your Run – The rule of thumb is – runners really do not need to eat during a run unless they run 60 minutes or more. Our bodies have stored glycogen (our energy source) that can help us through the sub-hour runs. If you plan a run that is 1+ hours, take an energy gel or a small box of raisins for refueling along the way. For long runs, staying hydrated is also key so remember to drink your water – at least a few sips every 15 minutes!

    After Your Run – After a long/hard run, aim to eat within 30-45 minutes of ending your workout. This will help prevent your blood sugar levels from dipping too low. Aim for 200-400 calories that includes protein and carbs. My post-run snacks are often Greek yogurt, protein bar, peanut butter, Kashi cereal, etc., Also, drink plenty of water after your run and throughout the day to rehydrate!

    Eat, drink, and run well.

    Mom Always Said, Eat Your Vegetables

    (Photo Source)

    Most moms, at some point in time, struggle to get their children to eat vegetables. Even the sneakiest of tricks, like adding shredded veggies to stews and sauces, don’t always work. But new research shows that the ongoing veggie struggle may now be over!!

    A new study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that kids will eat their veggies if they are served them prior to a meal. Let me clarify – they will eat their veggies before the actual meal is served, not with the meal. Apparently, if we give kids a vegetable snack or first course prior to the actual meal, they will gobble it up. Hmm…a bit skeptical? Think about it, after bringing the kids home from a long day of school, followed by soccer/baseball practice, they are likely to be so hungry while waiting for dinner that they would eat anything, including their vegetables.

    This strategy hardly seems sneaky, but I am convinced it works – at least most of the time. While in Michigan last weekend, I attended a family BBQ at my sister’s house. Around 5 PM, the natives (aka the 5 kids) were getting restless and hungry! We were still waiting for several family members and friends to arrive to the potluck dinner, so we were hesitant to start without them. Instead, we set out chopped fruit and crudites of raw veggies and dip. It was almost comical to watch the kids dash inside from the backyard, grab handfuls of carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, and pepper strips, and then quickly run away as if they just snagged a bag of candy. Within a very short time, most of the vegetables had been eaten by the kids, so much so that we needed veggie reinforcements. Thank goodness that the one vegetarian person in our group arrived and brought another veggie tray!

    At first, my sister and I were amazed at how fast the veggies went and even more surprised that they were being eaten by the children at the party. But it really makes sense. If you’re kids are hungry enough, they will eat whatever is put in front of them. And, as the “mom”, your job is to make sure that what’s put in front of them is something healthy.

    So the next time your little ones are begging you for a snack before dinner – offer them an assortment of veggies – what’s the worst that could happen? They could become too full from vegetables to eat their dinner….we should all be so lucky!

    New Chip On The Block

    Last night, I came home from work to find that Scott had went to the grocery store. We were out of everything that I would consider essential – like peanut butter, Luna bars, vegetables, etc. Aside from getting our staples, he also surprised me by getting a new product – popchips. I’m sure many of you have already heard about this snack, but this is the first time I have consciously heard about them. I vaguely remember seeing them in the store and reading about them in a magazine. Scott said the chip was ranked very highly in his triathlete magazine as well as Real Simple.

    I will completely admit – I am a chip person. If chips are in the house, I will eat them. And, I won’t just eat them with a sandwich or at a meal, I will snack on them like crazy. In other words, I don’t like chips being in the house! Most of the time, chips are loaded with fat and calories and practically zero nutrients. But these popchips are a little different. They are not fried, not even baked – they are popped. Apparently, they are pressurized so much that they just pop into a chip. Because they are not made with oil, they have just 120 calories per nearly 20 chips and they have less than 1/2 the fat of fried chips. Plus, they are all natural – no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Maybe I would actually feel good about eating these chips. But, how about the taste?

    OK – sold. I tried them.

    Hmm…to my surprise, they were actually good. The consistency of the chip was a little strange at first, kind of like eating a very thin rice cake. Still, in a very strange – I can’t eat just one way – they were very good. However, I will not go as far as saying popchips will be making regular appearances in our house. Seriously, most potato chips – all potato chips – even popchips – have very little nutrients in them. And, if they are a snack food or even a mealtime food, then you would be eating nutrient shallow food, which equals filling up on needless fat and calories.

    True – I would not hesitate to pick them over fried chips, but in all honestly, I just need to cut down on my chip habit in general.