Hi friends,

sorry I’ve been so M.I.A recently, this time I actually have a good reason for it, Health Heart and Hustle is moving! I upgraded it, gave it makeover, overhauled the aesthetic and and so happy to announce the healthheartandhustle.com is finally live, up, and running!! Thank you so much to everyone who stuck with me through my super inconsistent blog posts and at best mediocre usage of the wordpress platform. It honestly makes me so happy thinking my random fitness and health musing are read by even one person. I’m super excited about this launch and would love for you to check out my new site, and give it a follow if you want to keep seeing my (much more consistent!) content and for a VERY exciting update coming next month – ohh cliffhanger..

Hope to see you all at healthheartandhustle.com !

How To: Buy Quality Activewear on the Cheap

So if you’re anything like me and you work out on average 6-8 times a week, your wardrobe is likely at least 70% activewear. Because when I say workout I don’t mean some light yoga stretching, I mean real, get your sweat on kind of workouts. So re-wearing workout clothes isn’t really a option (hello, hygiene..). In order to not be forced to do laundry every 3 days I concequentially own a lot of activewear. This means theres no chance I can afford a complete Lululemon wardrobe (dare to dream) that will outfit me as many days as I need, so I’ve had to get a bit creative with finding good quality activewear at a reasonable price. Here are my top 5 favorite places for a good, wallet friendly find.

  1. T.J Maxx and Marshalls. Fair warning these stores can be hit or miss, sometimes they are the holy grail, and sometimes its like looking for water in a desert. However, more often than not they have a pretty good selection of activewear from brands like Nike, Rebook, 90 Degrees, and Underarmor in the $15-$30 range. Not bad.
  2. Nordstrom Rack. While there will never be a better deal in life then Nordstrom Rack boot prices, seriously do yourself a favor and go check them out, they also have a great range of activewear and sneakers for a fair price. They have a great stock of Nike and Acsic Sneakers for ~$50 and lots of cute workout gear that ranges about $20-$50 in price.
  3. Fabletics. So I do have some reservations here, the first outfit is a amazing deal, it’s usually $25 for a full outfit, but then after that the prices are a lot pricier and you have remember to skip each month if you don’t want to spend $60 each month on their clothes. That being said I was pleased with the quality of their clothes and they are undeniably very cute.
  4. Target. Target has been a longstanding go-to for reasonably priced workout gear, but honestly Target has just about everything you could need in life. They have tons of cute clothes from tried and true brands like Champion and RBX that range in price from $15 – $45.
  5. LuluLemon. I’m actually not kidding. So if you shop them online they have a little “we made too much” section where they have some discounted items. While they still wouldn’t really be considered affordable, there are a few items in the $30-$50 range. The quality really is impressive, so every now and then treat yourself when you reach a landmark. Finally ran that extra mile? Mastered the pull up? Did 100 burpees? Reward yourself occasionally with some while deserved new activewear to to motivate you to keep killing it in the gym.

One of my favorite workout outfits, sweatshirt and pants from Fabletics, sports bra from Aerie

Happy hunting if your on the activewear search, thanks to the athelisure trend, its more available then ever, because sometimes a new workout outfit really does make all the difference in the  workout!

How to: Eat healthy at resturants

Restaurants, so delicious, and yet so often unhealthy. Most people unknowingly consume hundreds of calories when eating out at resultants without realizing it. You can easily eat more than 1000 calories in just one night out. Yikes. But eating out at restaurants  doesn’t have to be a unhealthy caloric nightmare, there are lots of tips and tricks you can employ to make eating out a stress-free and healthy experience.

  1. GO OUT. Okay this may seem obvious but it’s crucial. Don’s stay home because you don’t want to eat too much or are too worried about your calories and food consumption. You have a life to live, don’t let you healthy intentions hold you back and pass up opportunities for a good time to stay home and eat steamed veggies.
  2. Research. If you know you’re going to dinner somewhere scope out the menu ahead of time so you know what kinds of things they offer and see if there are options that you would feel good eating. Go to the burger place and order a juicy burger every now and then if you really want it, but a lot of restaurants will have some healthier options if you look for them.
  3. Speak up. I used to get totally frustrated when my friends or family picked a pizza place or somewhere to eat without healthy options that I wanted to eat and then I’d feel like I was forced into eating something I didn’t want to. That was stupid, I admit it. Offer to pick the restaurant if you’re worried about what’s onto menu and pick somewhere you know there are things for you.
  4. Don’t arrive starving. Often times people who know they’re having a meal out later they tend to skimp on food beforehand so they arrive ravenous. This really only tends to lead to overeating. You end up shoveling food down quickly so you’re body doesn’t realize it’s full until you’ve eaten much more then you needed and then you’re left feeling gross and like you need to unbutton you pants.
  5. Easy on the bread. It’s such a trap. You sit down, hungry and ready for dinner and then you eat 5 pieces of bread while waiting and you’re barely even hungry when you’re meal comes. It’s a classic mistake, don’t fall for it.
  6. Order a appetizer as your entree. Most of the time a appetizer size portion is the perfect amount of food for my meal. So if there’s a yummy looking appetizer I order it as my meal and ask it to be brought with the rest of the food, that way I don’t get a enormous portion and end up eating way more than I meant to. Plus its always less expensive.
  7. Go halfsies. That’s not a real word but you know what I mean. Order a entree and split it with someone at your table. Sometimes restaurants will even split the portion for you and bring it out on two plates and more often then not its enough food for two people. If its not enough split a appetizer too. This is also really cost effective, so tip generously!
  8. Dressing on the side. It may make you feel like a basic white girl on a date but most times salads at restaurants come drenched in sugary dressings that negate any of the health benefits of the vegetables it smothers. Ask for it on the side and dress up the salad the way that works for you.
  9. Look for buzzwords. You know the ones, (deep) fried, breaded, battered, crispy (i.e fried in oil), crunchy (see crispy), smothered, loaded – stir clear of anything described this way! Instead look for items that are baked, grilled, boiled, fresh, light, roasted, seasoned, or steamed, they’re much healthier dishes.
  10. Treat yo self. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Indulge a little, enjoy life. A little while ago I was out eating a quinoa and apple salad that, while tasty, I realized I pretty much eat similar food all the time at home. Order something you wouldn’t make yourself at home and just enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to take leftovers home.

A particularly delicious meal from a restaurant in NYC (yes I shared it)

So thats about it. Life is about balance, go out and order dessert after your meal sometimes! You don’t have to be limited to the salad section if you want to be health conscious when you eat out, just be mindful of portions, they tend to be way more than you would usually eat and enjoy your meal out!


Sugar-Free Chocolate Drizzled Pumpkin Bread

You heard me right.

So if you’re like most people and can’t get enough of the fall flavors, pumpkin bread is pretty much a necessity to get through the autumn months. For those of you who follow my blog you know I’m doing sugar free October. Full disclosure this recipe does have about 1/4 cup of honey in it, so its not 100% sugar free, but it does have no refined sugar, and unlike other sweeteners honey actually contains some nutrients. So its not quite perfect in that sense but if you’re looking for a healthier (and delicious) alternative to a staple fall treat, this one’s for you. Feel free to play with the ingredient amounts, especially for the chocolate drizzle and substitute gluten free flour if need be.

Here’s watcha need:

For the bread:

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs or you can use egg whites
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • optional walnuts

For the Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey (to taste)
Here’s watcha do:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a loaf pan – I’m a fan of coconut oil spray.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together all the wet ingredients, stirring in the pumpkin last.
  3. In a separate medium size bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients and then pour into loaf pan. 
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Check that its done with a toothpick. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for a few minutes, then move it to a cooling rack. 
  6. While the bread is cooling out of the oven prepare the chocolate drizzle. 
  7. Once the bread is cooled drizzle the chocolate over the top, bonus points if you make a pretty pattern, slice and enjoy!


Sugar Sugar

Ah sugar you sly dog, it sneaks it’s way into just about everything, hiding under so many different aliases, don’t let it fool you. Dietary guidelines for American suggest that added sugars (not the natural good stuff in fruits or milk) should make up only about 10% of your total daily caloric intake, a percentage that many Americans exceed after breakfast alone. Yikes. Many people have no idea how much sugar they are actually consuming, in part because food labels make it tricky. Ever notice that sugar is the only ingredient that does not have a daily percentage next to amount of grams on a nutrition label? Yeah that’s intentional, some food companies don’t want you to know that the 22g of sugar in your granola is actually about 50% of your daily sugar intake. Furthermore, the ingredient list is equally sly. Sure we all recognize the big players; cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup, but sugar is so much more than that including, brown rice sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, glucose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, honey, agave nectar, even coconut sugar to name a few added sugars.


So a few days ago a friend asked me to do a 21 day sugar detox with her, it takes 21 days to make or break a habit so in theory after 21 days we should be no longer craving sugar, I was immediately like, YES lets do this! October is sort of the perfect month for a sugar detox, there are no major holidays, excluding halloween at the very end of course and all those tempting pumpkin and apple fall treats have been on the shelves since September so I’m betting you already had a apple cider doughnut and pumpkin spice latte or too. So if you’ve ever wanted to do a sugar detox join me! I started yesterday but I won’t tell if you just jump in now  🙂

Here’s a few things you can do to make it easier:

  1. Rid your house of sugary snacks so you won’t be tempted. You won’t cave and eat 4 slices of pumpkin chocolate chip bread if its not in your house now will you…
  2. Familiarize yourself with nutrition labels, you’d be suprised where sugar is lurking that you might not have thought. I’m talking whole wheat bread, lunch meats, Wheat Thins, even some salsas, so make sure to look over food labels for any of those sneaky sugar aliases.
  3. Realize what you can eat. This is actually really important, quitting sugar should be empowering, not enslaving and disheartening feeling like you can’t eat anything. I stocked up on fruit and made a few batches of date-almond butter-coconut bites and Larabars so I had something to grab when I wanted something sweet.
  4. Don’t just replace sugar with “sugar free” alternatives like sweeteners like Splenda, a little stevia is okay but the rest are bullshit that reek digestive havoc. Pass those up for berries or a date, all natural baby.
  5. Don’t give up! Okay so on day four you slipped up and had a bit of apple pie? That’s ok! Sure ideally you go completely sugar free for 21 days but don’t quit and throw it all alway after a slip up or two. Our bodies can process small amounts of sugar so all your hard work it not suddenly gone after a spoonful of this or that, just do your best and believe that you can do it!

So good luck if join me on the sugar detox! Some sugar free recipes will be coming your way soon. Who knows, by the time halloween rolls around you might not even want that halloween candy…

Fact or Fiction?

The truth behind popular health and fitness myths

First up basically anything the Kardashian family has endorsed is not a valid health or fitness plan. Cutting all carbs? Working out in Sauna Suits, the FitTea, and come on those waist trainers they’re all always running around in, or drinking ghee in the morning (hello thats just fat) or wrapping your body up like a sausage in a wrap… Just no. You guys are better than to believe in that. They’re gimmicks. They are not legitimate health or fitness techniques or in any way conducive to creating a sustainable healthy and fit lifestyle. Lets move on.

Next granola. I know I’ve touched on this before but granola just totally irks me. I apparently have a lot of grievances against it. The issue with granola is that it pretends to be healthy. Its all, “Oh you had yogurt and half a cup of granola for breakfast? Gold star for you!” Except with the exception of a few brands, shout out to Simply Elizabeth granola, its not all that good for you. I get it, I really do, granola is delicious, you pound a bowl patting yourself on the back for your healthy breakfast choices and then look at the bag and realize you just consumed the sugar equivalent of a cookie or two. It’s such treachery. So just beware of all those seemingly “health foods” and be sure to check the label…

Third, weight training will make girls bulky. I feel like we have come around on this some in resent years as more and more girls conquer the weight room, but lets break this one down. Lifting weights increases one’s muscle mass, that’s true, however the more lean muscle mass we have, the more our metabolism works and the more calories we burn, even when we are just sitting around, our resting basal metabolism is way higher. So unless you’re shooting up some testosterone as a pre-workout snack, it’s unlikely weight training is going to make girls look like the hulk.

Fourth, carbs are the devil. No they are not. Lets get some perspective here. Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient for our bodies. They supply the energy we need to go out and slay our day. But that being said there are actually two kinds of carbs, simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are the refined and processed breads and baked goods that we tend to picture when thinking of carbs, but complex carbs are a necessity, fruits are a carb and so are many other essential foods! Furthermore our bodies need carbs after a workout in order to replenish our glycogen stores that we just incinerated during that workout. So well all carbs are not created equal, they should never be totally eliminated.

Next, the scale. They’re has been a huge movement to screw the scale and that’s awesome. Remember you are not a number and that number does not define your worth. While it’s discouraging to work hard, eat right and not see the number drop, or instead go up, remember muscle weighs more than fat! What’s more BMI our body mass index is not the end all be all. BMI classifies you into a weight category (underweight/average/overweight/obese) based on your height and weight, but again, it doesn’t account for muscle! Because I’m only 5’00ft and I’ve always had solid muscles, according to BMI I’m considered overweight. So yeah, take all these so-called “measurements” with a grain of salt.

And finally, this one is a little different, but there’s a belief that people who live the health and fitness lifestyle all have great abs all day and never eat doughnuts and are obsessed with kale. While some people do live this way, and that’s they’re choice, the majority of fitness and health lovers don’t enslaves themselves to this restricted lifestyle. We don’t rock abs all day, we do enjoy an occasional treat, or okay twelve, but the point is it’s really important to create a LIFESTYLE that is sustainable and what’s more enjoyable for yourself rather than limiting your life by your desires to have a flawless toned bod. You’re a human, what good is that killer bod doing if it’s tucked in bed by 9 o’clock Friday night getting plenty of sleep…

Trader Joes – the skinny

Ah Trader Joes, my second home. I love it there, like a lot. When I was out-of-state at college and missing home I would go walk around Trader Joes until an employee asked me if I need help, because it just felt familiar and reminded me of home. It’s not as weird as it sounds, okay maybe it is. Anyway, I love it there. However, I do think people tend to look at it as like the little cousin to Whole Foods (the motherland). They don’t carry generic brands and have a fraction of the products most supermarkets do, so many fall into the trap of thinking that everything there is pretty much healthy. Sadly no. So I broke it down for you on the best of the best uniquely Trader Joes products, what’s worth buying there, the healthy and the just plain yummy.

Favorite Healthy options:

Peanut Butter with Chia and Flax seeds: I’m obsessed with this stuff. Seriously I’m not above just eating it out of the jar with a spoon. It’s affordable, tastier than plain peanut butter and devoid of sugar or extra add-ins. It’s so good in smoothies too.

Joes Lows wraps: Low carb and only 45 calories in these little cuties. They’re a nice small size, high in fiber and low in carbs and calories, perfect alternative to most wraps that are closer to the 180 calorie range.

Ancient Grain Super Seed Oatmeal: I love oatmeal in the winter and this stuff is next level. Oatmeal mixed with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds and quinoa for an added protein boost is the perfect healthy start to chilly mornings.

Quest bars: While not uniquely Trader Joe’s products, you won’t find them at a better price than at Trader Joes, $2.39 can I get a Hell ya?!

Avocado 4 pack: Because avocado toast is life and you can’t beat the price.

Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip: This is like a healthier version of sour cream and onion dip, but somehow just as good. Seriously they’re taste twins, except this version has only low-fat yogurt, chives and garlic. Amen.

Quinoa Infused black Bean Chips: A better options to potato or corn chips, these guys are yummy but still give that satisfying salty crunch.

Kombucha: I love this, it’s priced better than Whole Foods and its so popular it’s almost always sold out, so grab it while you can, it’s truly the perfect summer drink. They only have 2 flavors but they’re both fire, so you can’t go wrong.

Side note, most things at Trader Joe’s are pretty affordable, but they can easily add up quickly, so choose your items carefully. Trader Joes doesn’t have sales so I tend to get my berries and fruit elsewhere. The veggies are a pretty fair price though, as is their Greek yogurt and cheese.

The Just Plain Yummy:

Cookie Butter Ice cream: Yes, it’s exactly how it sounds, the legendary cookie butter mixed in with ice cream. My sister bought a gallon once and we ate the whole thing in a day and a half. I’m not even sorry. Rough break up? Girls night? Friday night? I don’t care the occasion, when you need it, you need it.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread: Full disclosure I haven’t actually tried this but I’ve heard its out of this world.

Chocolate Coconut Almonds: They are everything. But anything dipped in chocolate is.

Seasonal Candy Cane JoJo’s: These taste like Christmas. They sell out super fast so I always buy them the second I see them on the shelves in November.

They also have amazing trail mix, I could honestly go on for days. Anyways, hope I inspired a trip to Trader Joes, just remember everything there isn’t necessarily healthy, but there are tons of good options. Happy shopping!