Find Your Fit.

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Bibbidi Bobbidi…Pumpkin?

Fall semester is in full swing and I can feel the magic in the air. The leaves are changing and hoodie season is on its way. As we gear up for cool weather, costumes, and turkey dinner. Fall would not be fall without the all so delicious pumpkin flavored food products.

Marking companies have taken full advantage of this fall delight! Originally pumpkins were utilized for Halloween décor and as a Thanksgiving dessert. But, these days you can get just about anything in pumpkin flavor- ANYTHING!

While browsing the grocery store and searching the web, I ran across some of the most unusual pumpkin spiced products. While these products seem neat, they are just down right vicious! Let us take a sneak peek of what is out there.


Pumpkin Spiced Latte-


There are 380 calories, 13g of fat (8g are saturated fat), and 49g of SUGAR!

Pumpkin Spiced Alcohol-


In just 12oz of this product, you can receive 185 calories and 18g of carbohydrate. Compared to other alcoholic beverages, this one does not necessarily top the charts on the carb factor, however you should consume in moderation!

Pumpkin Spiced Cookies-


The serving size for this delectable is 2 cookies. In one serving you can ingest 150 empty calories, 18g of saturated fat and 22g of carbohydrates.

Pumpkin Spiced Oreos-


I do not know ANYONE that eats only TWO Oreos….do you? Well my friends that is the serving size for these tasty bites. In only two cookies there are 150 calories (60 calories from fat), 7g of total fat and 20g of carbohydrate.

Among these items, you may also find pumpkin pie pop-tarts, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin spiced whipped peanut butter, pumpkin spice marshmallows, and pumpkin ice cream. There is one last item I seriously thought was a joke! To my surprise, I found this product to be true. “Drum roll please”- Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles.

Now that we have established a few outrageous sources of pumpkin flavored products, let us take a sneak peek at some nutritious products.


Pumpkin Seeds-


I had to share a picture of the entire nut/seed shelving due to the fact this bag was the ONLY bag of pumpkin seeds on the shelf. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.

Pumpkin Spice Flax Granola Bars-


The serving size for this product is 2 bars. In one serving you will get 170 calories, 0.5g of saturated fat, 2g of polyunsatured fat, 3g of monounsatured fat, 26g of carbs, 4g of fiber, and 5g of protein.

A whole pumpkin-


Pumpkins are low in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium and a good source of vitamin E, iron and magnesium. This delicious fruit can help lower your risk of heart disease and improve your digestive system. Antioxidants, vitamin A, C, and E, can help with vision, immunity and cell health. Minerals, potassium, iron, and magnesium, can help with kidney function and muscle performance. Magnesium also assists most body system functions.

As we approach fall and are tempted to over indulge in pumpkin flavored goodies, skip the processed non-nutritive store packaged pumpkin products and go back to the roots of this nutrient dense gourd. Purchase a whole pumpkin and create more than just a fabulous carving by utilizing the nutrients within to whip up your favorite dish. Pumpkins can be used for soups, bread, and a magnitude of side dishes.

While your pumpkin might not turn into a carriage, it can turn into a magical nutrient rich snack!- Christina

What is your favorite pumpkin delight? Share pictures and recipes!

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Take coconut oil to a whole new level

While reading my favorite blogs on BlogLovin’ the other day I stumbled across a new grocery product that I have to share with you guys.

Coconut oil is so hot right now (I watched Zoolander last night, so coconut oil may be just as hot as Hansel).

I have been hearing a lot about different ways to use coconut oil, but most recently here in Huntington the buzz is all about putting it in your coffee. Ugh, what?! Sounds a little funky, right? Almost as funky as Oil Pulling… I still haven’t been able to get used to that. Sorry Christine, yuck!

Enter this amazing coconut oil from Nikki’s Coconut Butter. I don’t know what she does to it to make it butter as opposed to oil, but this stuff is GOOD. Oil is used for cooking and baking, butter is used as a spread or condiment.


The best part is  that it comes in an assortment of flavors. I ordered Vanilla Cake Batter since that flavor appealed to me the most, but now I see they have Pumpkin Spiced Donut. I better order some of that before she runs out.

Nikki’s coconut butter is gluten, GMO, soy and dairy free. It’s also a paleo product. I take about a half teaspoon (I don’t use as much as it says you can) and just stir it into my coffee with the creamer I use, and hello most delicious coffee I have ever tasted! Nikki’s site also has a bunch of recipes that I am dying to try.

You can order the oil online and it shows up in just a couple days from Florida. Thank you Nikki, you have made my mornings a little brighter with this wonderful product!

Have you ever tried Coconut Butter?

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Empower Your Workout.



Last week, I attended the free trial for the newest class offered at the Rec, Buti Yoga. I was expecting it to be a little high energy with some yoga moves added in, but boy did I get a surprise.

Buti Yoga is an AWESOME workout. And when I say workout, I mean WORKOUT, sweat dripping off your face, muscles burning, and the whole shebang. I left the class feeling like I had just done one of the best 45 minute workouts of my life, and even after the first class, I could already tell that my body and muscles were changing in a good way.

And the instructor…Randi Greene is great!


She was supportive and helpful, especially because some of the moves take a little getting used to. She kept the class moving, but also gave us breaks when we needed them.

So what exactly is Buti Yoga?

Well to be honest, when I first heard about it, I thought it was “Booty Yoga,” because that’s how it’s pronounced, and you get plenty of “booty” workouts during the class. But the class is actually more traditionally-based than that.

Buti yoga is a movement practice that fuses power yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics into a high-intensity workout that transforms the body from the inside out. Founder Bizzie Gold structured the practice to train the core using the Spiral Structure technique that transforms the way the body looks and performs almost instantly.


Buti Yoga is also about female empowerment (it’s a ladies-only class). The mission of Buti Yoga, taken from their website, is as follows:

“We are committed to the creation of a community of empowered women who support one another in their pursuit of health and happiness. We draw on ancient and primal energies and movements to nurture our bodies and thrive. Buti is unwavering in its commitment to demanding support and connection among students. In our classrooms, studios and online forums you will never see competition or catty behavior – only soulful camaraderie. We refer to our classes, studios and groups as a tribe because we see great value in reflecting on our past to create bonds to build our future.”

The class involves a lot of hip action and isolation moves, with yoga poses mixed in. The music is great too, very high energy like “Turn Down for What”, that puts you on the mood to get fit.

As someone who usually prefers to work out on her own, I can honestly say that this is a class you should check out. It will push you to your limits and make you move your body in ways you probably didn’t think it could move, but it’s all worth it when you start realizing the ways your body is changing. The day after the free trial, I immediately went and registered for the Session 1 class, and I plan on doing Session 2 as well.

It’s a high energy class, with awesome workout tunes that gives you a different workout that, for me, was better than any 45 minute workout I could do on my own.

If you’re interested in signing up, and I highly encourage you to do so, you can register online on our website here.

Or you can register at the Welcome Desk at the Rec.

The class is Thursdays from 6:30pm to 7:15pm.

Session 1: September 25th – October 16th

Session 2: October 23rd – November 13th

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Going Bananas: Why You Should Be Eating This Super Food Right Now

As someone who consumes bananas pretty regularly, I can honestly say that they are one of the best healthy food/snacks I’ve come across. They’re healthy, easy to eat, and they can be fixed a multitude of ways…all of which taste great.



How Healthy Are They?

Serving size = 1 medium sufficiently ripe banana [about 7″ long and 126 grams (0.28 pounds) in weight]

Total Fat = 0 g; Cholesterol = 0 g; Calories = 110

Potassium = 400 mg (10% of daily recommended value)

Dietary Fiber = 4 g (16% of daily recommended value)

Sugar = 14.8 g

Protein = 1 g (2% of daily recommended value)

Vitamin C = 16% of daily recommended value

Vitamin B6 = 20% of daily recommended value



1. The banana—especially when it’s still a little green—is a great source of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that keeps you feeling fuller longer.

2. Bananas are one of the highest sources of naturally available vitamin B6, which helps the body to make hemoglobin – a crucial ingredient of your blood. Vitamin B6 helps maintain a healthy immune response. It also helps to convert carbohydrates to glucose and thereby regulates blood sugar levels.

3. Bananas are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Low potassium levels are known to contribute to muscle cramps, so the high potassium content of bananas means they are great for people who work out regularly.

4. A medium-size banana contains about 3 grams of total fiber. Fiber is a nutrient that helps regulate digestion and basically, keep everything running smoothly.

5. Bananas contain natural compounds that help to boost the body’s natural energy levels in a steady way, being kinder on blood sugar levels.

6. Bananas have been said to make you happier too! They have high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin – the chemical that puts us in a happy mood.


Here are some of my favorite healthy recipes featuring bananas…

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie Recipe


2 whole bananas

2 cups ice

1/3 cup Yogurt – preferably Greek yogurt flavored with honey

1/2 cup oatmeal, cooked

1/3 cup almonds

*Directions: Basically blend it all together…It’s that simple.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie (my personal fave)


10 ounces skim milk or plain soy milk

1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 medium banana

*Directions: Blend it all together.


Banana Bread With Oatmeal


1/2 cup oats

a little over 1/16th tsp salt

2 ½ tablespoons mashed, very-ripe banana

3 tablespoons milk of choice or water

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or coconut butter

1 tablespoon sugar (I usually don’t put any in because it’s a little sweet on it’s own)

Optional: walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla extract, peanut butter, or whatever else you put in banana bread (Chocolate chips?)

*Directions: Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, then mix in wet. Pour into a small baking pan or loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or more until it’s firm. For a nice crust, set your oven to “high broil” for 5 more minutes, or just bake it for 5 minutes longer if you don’t want to broil it.


Frozen Banana Slices (A Paleo recipe)

Cut up banana slices and then spread peanut butter between two slices. Put them in the freezer for 1 hour to get them cold. Dip them in melted dark chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Pop them back in the freezer for another 2-3 hours! Once they are fully frozen you can transfer them to zip bags or storage container and keep frozen.


Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins


1 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)

¼ cup brown sugar

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoons baking soda

½ cup chocolate chips, mini or regular

*Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying with cooking spray or lining them with paper liners. Set aside.

Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips to a blender or food processor and process on high until oats are broken down and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan. Optional: sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the top of each muffin.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.


What are some of your favorite recipes with bananas? Do you think bananas are a “super food”?

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The odds are you have a cell phone. Even more likely, you may not have an ordinary cell phone but a smart phone. Your smart phone is not just smart but the smartest new phone on the market. There are all sorts of trends and fads in our culture today that we have completely embraced.

There is one fad I can never seem to wrap my head around and that is the IPHONE. They release a new edition every year, from the IPOD to the IPHONE to the IPAD, and soon to the IWATCH. We love the latest tech fad. What IPHONE number are we on now? Six? As a poor college student, I have yet to move past the lowly IPHONE 4.

We want to buy every device as soon as it comes out. And you know what we find out? It often doesn’t work the way it was originally promised! We will find bug after bug after bug and have to wait until the company gives a new update to fix everything that is wrong with it! Fads often don’t deliver as they are promised. There are countless external fads we could list, but I want to talk about things that affect us internally

As a dietetics student, the number one question I am asked is, “how can I lose weight fast?”

My answer often leaves puzzled looks across the faces of my friends and family. My answer is always the same solution: a well-balanced diet, portion control, and some form of physical activity. It seems too simple. So much so, that immediately I am then asked a question about a “new diet” that promises quick weight loss.

Unfortunately, these fad diets deliver quick weight loss at the expense of leaving out major food groups. They achieve their results by recommending excess consumption of certain food groups at the expense of other food groups. In the short-term, this can seem nutritious, but in the long term the results can be vicious. Our bodies are made up of tons of vitamins, minerals, and water. It is not nutritious to eliminate an entire food group from your diet. Each food group plays a vital role in maintaining optimum health. Our bodies need them.

You may read about fad diets in magazines, or hear about them on television shows, such as Doctor Oz. But how do you spot a fad diet? What are the things to look for? I have listed some criteria to follow when trying to figure out if a certain diet is wholesome or simply a fad. Remember, when choosing a diet to follow, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

· The majority of fad diets restrict a food group. A wholesome diet includes dairy, grains, fruit, vegetables and protein.

· Fad diets promote rapid weight loss, typically more than 2lbs per week. A healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs per week.

· Fad diets promote certain foods that will burn fat. Physical activity will do the same.

· A lot of fad diets are not created by professionals. They typically do not have credible scientific research to back up their claims. Look at the author’s title and see if it was created by a professional, such as a registered dietitian or by a person with no education in the dietetic profession.

· Most fad diets have a laundry list of certain foods that need to be eaten at specific times. A well balanced diet will have all 5 food groups at each meal time.

I was curious as to what the latest fads were for this year. So I typed in the Google search bar, fads and trends in 2014. The first couple of links were for home improvements and hair styles. It didn’t shock me too much when I got to the 4th link which was top diet fads. I’m going to share with you 2 of the most popular fad diets I ran across for this year.

1. Gluten-Free Diet

People that need to follow a gluten-free diet are those that have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. But it is becoming a new trend for people to adopt this diet to lose weight. Foods that contain wheat, barley and rye are avoided with the diet.


· This diet is that it includes whole foods. It promotes the intake of vegetables, fruits, beans, dairy, and healthy fats.

· The foods that are suggested for this diet are foods that typically are not packaged and/or processed; therefore they might be lower in sodium and additives.


· By avoiding whole wheat products one is decreasing the amount of nutrients they are ingesting.

· A large portion of gluten-free packaged foods have a higher sugar and fat content.

2. Paleo Diet

This diet is also known as the caveman diet. This diet is a little different than most fad diets that promote weight loss. It is suggested that this diet will increase athletic performance and could eliminate acne.


· This diet promotes the consumption of lean meats, seafood, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and physical activity.

· It also encourages eliminating processed foods, which can decrease the amount of sugar and sodium in the diet.


· This diet eliminates 2 food groups completely, whole grains and dairy. Creating an imbalance of nutrients.

· Foods to avoid eating: whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans/legumes, all dairy products. All of these foods are essential for a well-balanced diet.

· Higher in protein and decreasing amount of carbohydrates.

· This diet can be expensive to follow.

Most fad diets promote the intake of fruits and vegetables, which is a good thing because most Americans do not consume enough in their daily diets. But it is not the best choice to eliminate food groups from your daily diet. Overall, if you want to lose weight or enhance athletic performance, don’t be vicious to your body by eliminating food groups. Stay nutritious by following the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate. You can enhance your diet by focusing on fruit, varying your veggies, making half your grains whole, going lean with protein and getting your calcium rich foods. For more information on food groups and food within those groups, you can visit

Have you tried a fad diet?

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Member Spotlight-Jason Black

The second time is the charm for Jason Black. He has, after one unsuccessful attempt, changed his lifestyle to one dedicated to health, fitness and a long life. Jason has been using our facilities for about a month and has lost 31 pounds; he started at 405 and now is at 374. I sat down with him and asked him some questions about his past lifestyle and his new one.

Jason admits to having bad eating habits throughout most of his life. In fact, he said the only time he can remember being in decent shape was the first couple years of high school when he was playing baseball. Besides fighting off the weight, Black has always had health problems that have made it harder to stay well and committed to a fit regimen.

As college sometime does, it brought out the worst in Jason’s eating habits. After tearing his MCL and later spraining his ankle, Jason found himself unable to work out or do much of any physical activity. At the same time, he started visiting buffets with his friends and say they were his “downfall.” Jason was also involved in numerous competitive eating contests, which helped pack on the pounds too, around 40 pounds total to be exact.

After college, Jason moved to Denver, Colorado and got the wakeup call he needed.

“I saw a doctor for a regular checkup and found out that I had diabetes and it was serious. My doctor told me I had 3 years to live if I didn’t change my lifestyle. So I had to change it, there was no other choice.”

Jason said being in Denver made it easier to change his lifestyle because of the frequency of health food and organic options. Plus, he said, working out was the norm; most everybody lived an active lifestyle. Jason also gave up soda and quit eating fast food, which he said made a huge difference.

After 2 years in Colorado, Jason trekked back to West Virginia, and that’s when things went downhill again.

“I gained 120 pounds in a year. I was watching my money, so I couldn’t afford a gym, and it was so much harder to find the healthy foods I had gotten used to in Colorado. And fast food is everywhere. It was too much.”

Once again, it took a serious wakeup call for Jason to get back on track. He realized he had no clothes that fit and even the simplest movements like standing up and sitting down were tough and painful. Jason also saw a picture of himself at his heaviest and knew something had to be done.


So he called his doctor in Colorado and explained the situation and asked for her advice.

“She asked me ‘Jason, what did I tell you about living?” and I answered ‘That I need to.”

Jason bought his membership at the Rec and started working out immediately. He also discovered the Nutribullet and began eating fruit and vegetable blends with total soy meal replacements for meals. His other favorite healthy foods include salads of any kind and grilled fish filets.

Jason’s least favorite part of working out?

“I guess it would be actually getting here to work out. Once I make it here, I’m good to go.”

Jason’s favorite part of working out?

“It’s such a great stress reliever. I just check everything at the door.”

My last question for Jason is one that we ask of all our Member Spotlights, “If you could talk to your former self, before you started your fitness journey, what would you say to yourself to encourage you to get started?”

Jason said showing him pictures of himself at his high and low weights would make more of an impact than words.

“If I could see myself at my worst, I would have the motivation to make a change.”

Jason’s total health goal is to weigh in around 260 pounds, but he says it really isn’t about the numbers or his physical appearance.

“I just want to be healthy and normal and do the things that normal people do. That’s all I want.”

**As of last week, Jason’s blood work came back fine and his blood sugar was regulated.

Way to go Jason! We love that you’ve persevered to accomplish the healthy lifestyle you want. Keep going!!

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Low Carb Cereal

Over the past 8-9 weeks, I have been on a low carb, high protein diet and working out with really heavy weights. The goal has been to replace some body fat with lean muscle, and lower my  body fat percentage. Easy, right?

Wrong. Changing the way you eat is really difficult, and the first couple weeks were filled with headaches and an overwhelming feeling of being tired. I was told the key tones were to blame for the headaches…now I’m blaming everything wrong in my life to these mysterious key tones.

I had to blog today and tell you about the one food that got me through this ordeal. Low carb cereal. That not really what it’s called, it’s just what I named it to distinguish it from all the sugary crap cereal that I have.


Here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup silvered almonds
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup sesame seeds raw
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil

Warm honey and coconut on stove top until melted together. Mix dry ingredients and oil and honey together. Pour out on a jelly roll pan with a silpat mat. Spread out.
Bake 45 minutes on 300; stir every 15 minutes. Let the cereal cool completely before you put it in an airtight container.

I’ve been making a batch every weekend!

I must give cred where cred is due- my friend Martha altered this recipe for the girls in my class before she shared it, so thank you Martha!!


photo (5)

photo (7)

Best. Cereal. Ever. No Joke.

I’m addicted to this stuff, and as you can see I made a little yoghurt bowl out of it. I have also enjoyed it with a few splashes of almond milk, which by the way… have any of you seen this in the store?

photo (8)

Thank you again Gucci Kroger, for getting the Hint of Honey Almond Milk not long after I first heard of it. This stuff rocks.


Have you guys ever tried making your own cereal?


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