Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You're so Vanilla

You're So Vanilla...

Why do these words mean something negative. In my opinion, vanilla is the most amazing flavor out there. Better than chocolate, mint or fruit...vanilla has a unique warm, spicy yet unique palate pleasing flavor that until now has been hampered by less than healthful ingredients. 

We all want the best for our bodies, our family and want flavor too, so why give yourselves vanilla flavored products that the FDA allows to have been produced with GMO's (Genentically Modified Organisms), propolyne-glycol and silicon dioxide? Yuck...but there is good news! My favorite meal replacement, Shakeology, is now availible in vanilla flavor. It wasn't easy. They had to travel the world and go through years of testing as nothing added up to healthy and delish. 

Until now. That's why I'm wearing this super happy face: 

Shakeology is a meal replacement shake that I drink daily for breakfast. It features over 70 super ingredients, many, many of them are superfoods. I can't eat this many vegetables in one day if I tried. 

Click the link below to check out a short video on where the best vanilla in the world comes from:) I found it super interesting to see how even in a large company like Beachbody, they still strive to make farming their materials sustainable and wholesome. 
Vanilla Shakeology is Finally Here!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Locavores, Venison and Smores

Just kidding about the smores part, but hey, maybe it got your attention. 


For dinner the other day, I created one of the best meals I've ever had rolled up in a wrap.  Many of the elements were either found in the woods, given to me by a friend or purchased at our local farmer's market.  It was a locavore meal!
What's that you might ask?  Locavores are people who find out where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible.   The great thing about eating local is that it's not an all-or-nothing venture.  Any small step you take helps increase your family's health and supports small farmers in your area.
Take a couple steps toward eating food that is grown closer to home with these tips:
1) Visit a local farmer's market.  Farmer's markets keep small farms in business through direct sales.  Rather than going through a middleman, the farmer takes home nearly all of the money that you hand him or her for a delectable apple or wonderful bunch of grapes.  Check out our local Alpena Farmer's Market every Wednesday and Saturday from 8am to noon.

2) Buy from local vendors.  Can't find locally grown?  How about locally produced?  Many stores and shops have locally produced jam, jellies and breads as well as locally roasted coffee and locally created confections.  While these businesses may not always use strictly local ingredients in their products, by purchasing them you are supporting the local economy.  I can think of 10 different businesses that offer local products.

3) Grow your own food.  I can't garden to save my life, but I can grow fresh herbs, recycle green onions for garnish and grow cherry tomatoes on my patio. I'm sure anyone with a window could to that much.  If you have a green thumb and space, plant a garden of food you like to eat.  There is nothing more fun than harvesting your own dinner.
The Locavore Wrap

Here is the wrap I made the other night.  I love it.  I hope you do too!

-2 servings of venison (harvested in the woods of Presque Isle) or other lean protein you have on hand
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-3 TBSP olive oil
-1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
-2 cups of baby kale, chopped fine (purchased at the Alpena Farmer's Market)
-1 tsp vinegar
-salt and pepper
-1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
-2 large shallots, sliced thin (given to me by my friend Monica Joy)
-1 cup oyster mushrooms (purchased at the Alpena Farmer's Market)
-3 TBSP chopped chives (from my window sill)
-2 TBSP prepared horseradish or brown mustard
-2 whole wheat wraps


In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, oil and Worcestershire sauce and add your protein.  Let it marinate in the cool fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours.  When you are ready to eat, take it out of the fridge and get your other ingredients prepped. Wash and dry the kale, chop finely.  Add to small bowl with the vinegar, salt and pepper and toss a bit.  Set aside.  In a small saute pan, start the shallots on medium low heat and stir frequently to avoid burning.  Add squirts of water to keep from sticking as needed.  When the shallots are looking caramel colored, heat the grill and toss on the venison.  Add the mushrooms to the shallot dish and cook for about five minutes. Take the venison off the grill and chop into chunks.  Heat up your wrap; and layer with the horseradish, gorgonzola, chopped venison, shallots, mushrooms, baby kale and sprinkle with chives.  Wrap it up and enjoy!

Kelly Bowlin
Kelly Bowlin
Administration Director & BAC Foodie :) 
Bay Athletic Club

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Support Your Local Farmers Market

 Fresh Baby Kale from my local Farmers Market

I have a wonderful farmers market here in my town of Alpena, Michigan that goes above and beyond to bring good food to our area, even having a musician playing acoustic guitar last week. Unfortunately  so many of the people I talk to don't go. I asked around and here's some common reasons:  it’s an extra stop, they don’t accept Visa, they don't know what the foods featured are… 

Sure, there are lots of reasons not to go, but so many more support why you should make the trip. Let’s break it down into three reasons: 

1. Stall Diversity, Much Like Stock Diversity 
Make sure that these local farmers can continue operations...and add a little more cash flow into their businesses. This will allow them to diversify their vegetables and add more options to the food stalls. Win. Win. 

 2. It's Fun  
It's really fun to meet the person that grows your food. This concept is foreign to so many Americans, especially those in an urban environment, but it can change. Farmers markets are setting up in Urban environments more and more frequently and its impact on children is profound. Watching a TED Talk by  Ron Finley recently, who plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA--in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along curbs. Why: For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where, "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys." Ron says in his talk. See it here:

3. Pad your Pockets

The final reason? Save your money! The cost of farmers market food is typically less than your local grocery store. You don't have to pay the costs of markup after the farmer sells their produce at wholesale prices to a wholesaler who then sells it to a grocer who then sells it to you. Cut out two steps, two potential prices increases and just buy it from your farmer. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Three Themes for a Summer Outdoor Dinner Party

Let's Party...Outside please! 

June and July are the prime time for outdoor parties.  In northern Michigan, we have an especially short period of time to make the most of the beautiful weather, so I love to live it up.  If you want to host a party, but perhaps feel a little less than inspired, allow me to help you past the slippery macaroni salad slope.
There are so many ways you can have a beautiful setting, healthy food and not bust the budget.  Here are three themes, menu idea and decor descriptions for your next outdoor party.
Feature a menu using lots of fresh herbs, baguettes, olive oil dips, grilled meats and salads.  The decor would include small tables, wrought iron or long wood tables covered in checked table cloths, little jars filled with a variety of wild flowers and string lights through the trees.
Feature a menu of simple foods that speak for themselves like fresh mozzarella, basil, grilled vegetables mixed with olive oil, vinegar and herbs like rosemary and chives, pizza cooked on the grill, polenta (see recipe below) and anything lemon. The decor can include white linens, rustic pieces, informal seating arrangements, mismatched silverware and china and perhaps a little yellow as your highlight color.
Feature a menu with seasonal foods including local seafood, lightly steamed vegetables and berries in sweetened yogurt.  Pairing this with a decor that reminds one of the days at the beach is a sure fire hit.  Combine green and blue sea glass as a table confetti with old Mason jars filled with sand and votive candles.  Keep the focus on the food and conversation by having other elements in neutral blues, beige and cream. 
I am always looking to add variety to my dinner party menus and love to elevate above the norm of potatoes and rice.  This week I cooked Polenta, which is a simple, rustic Italian dish.  It can be served hot or cold, reheated on the grill or served fresh after cooking.  Incorporate this dish into your menu rotation and benefit from the variety of ingredients that can be added to change the texture and flavor.  It's simply delish.  Enjoy!

Gorgonzola Spinach Polenta
-6 cups of water
-2 tsp of sea salt
-1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
-4 cups of spinach, chopped fine
-3 TBSP fresh rosemary
-1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (optional but recommended)

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large sauce.  Add the salt.  Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Add the spinach, rosemary and gorgonzola and stir until wilted.

Turn out into a lightly oiled bowl and serve immediately or wait 10 minutes and slice it like a pie.  These slices can be quickly (and deviously) reheated on the grill at high heat for 3 minutes per side.
Kelly Bowlin
Kelly Bowlin
Administration Director & BAC Foodie :) 
Bay Athletic Club
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Go from Average to Awesome. Just Start!


Growing up, we dreamed. And our dreams always painted the portrait of the adult us living an awesome life… as an astronaut, a pro wrestler, a movie star, a bee keeper, or insert your dream here. We don’t set out for average. But that’s exactly where we end up after listening to our fears day after day, year after year. Our dreams take a back seat and eventually are left stranded by the side of the road.
This is the problem Jon Acuff wants to solve with this funny, inspiring, straight forward book, Start. 

I love it and have been listening to it on my commute to and from work. He's easy to listen to, makes me laugh and makes me want to be better. 
Do you want to be awesome? Heck yes you do! Nobody wants to be average, so why do 99% of us stay on the path to averageville? Listen or read this book today and Start! on the right path to awesomeville. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Put the Ranch Down

Excuses and Salad Solutions

I hear many reasons why people don't pack lunches or have time for healthy eating in my role as a fitness and nutrition coach.  I hear you!  It can be hard, but the number one thing you have to do is be prepared.  Go grocery shopping regularly and buy healthy foods.  Sounds pretty simple huh?  Well, it can be, but you do have to take it a step further and actually eat the stuff.
At times our best intentions of eating lots of fresh veggies go south when they sit in our fridge too long.  My solution?  Try combining them in different quick and easy combinations.  Each day for lunch this week I had a new combination of salads that literally took one minute to throw together.  I started with a big container of spring greens, grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, strawberries, edamame, fresh herbs and seeds and nuts.
Here are some real salads that I created for lunch this week.

Monday: spring greens, strawberries, edamame and walnuts
Tuesday: spring greens, edamame, shredded carrots and seeds (pepitas and sesame)
Wednesday: spring greens, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, pecans and walnuts (pictured)

Thursday: spring greens, strawberries, chives, mozzarella and walnuts
Friday: tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella

See?  That is five day's worth of salads using the same eight ingredients.  Love it!
Life Gets Real and You don't always have good stuff.
I know! Here's me...the weekend arrived and I hadn't gone to the store yet.  I was starved.  My fresh veggie supply looked pretty dire, until, I got a little creative.  A leftover lemon half, salad greens that were on their way out, pepitas and frozen was amazing!  Honestly, one of the best salads I've ever made.  I loved it so much, I wanted you to try it too!

 Corn and Fresh Herb Salad

-3 cups spring greens
-3 TBSP fresh chives
-1/4 cup pepitas
-1 large corn tortilla toasted and diced
-1/4 cup salsa
-1/4 cup frozen corn, defrosted
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-1 tsp siracha sauce (it's so good, but spicy so leave it out if you'd like)

While the corn tortilla is toasting in a dry skillet, toss the greens into your salad bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and chives.  Add the pepitas, corn, salsa and siracha if using.  Toss gently and then garnish with the chopped tortilla.  Serves one.

Use this basic recipe and toss in some of your favorite foods that you might have on hand like black beans, tomatoes, olives, peppers, broccoli (goes great with spicy foods) or cauliflower.  Explore your palate!
Kelly Bowlin
Kelly Bowlin
Administration Director & BAC Foodie :) 
Bay Athletic Club
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Monday, June 10, 2013

A Video Pick Me UP

This video is for my friends that might need a little pick me up, a little inspiration, two minutes to wake up your brain and feel life smack you in the face. I loved it and would challenge you to visit the Upworthy folks who have a whole section of inspirational content.

In a world that is filled with negative commercials, programming based on the predilections of serial killers and drug dealers...we need more positive content. Period. 

Smile and feel the love spreading one person, one positive thought, one action of faith in humanity. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Let's be Dream Buddies!

John C. Maxwell is an industry expert in leadership personal development. I have started to read his, Put your Dream to the Test. It's not a light read, but rather a way for you to focus 100% on what your personal dream(s) are. Don't have a dream? Why not? The most successful people, whether in terms of money or living the life they should be living, have dreams and further more, they write them down. 

So I challenge you, what is your dream? I'll share mine with you and I'd love to hear more about yours. 

Here we go...I dream to: 
1. To be married for life with growing love 
2. Live without worry or anxiety 
3. To increase my income by 2x 
4. Retire with enough money to support the lifestyle I want to live. 

Email me about yours and I'll be your dream buddy and keep you on track. or lets connect on Facebook:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eat Healthy While Traveling

This past week, I've been traveling through the mountains of Montana with Trina who, as you know if you read the newsletter, is presenting to various clubs on some key Bay Athletic Club programs.  This trip was absolutely amazing.  The drive through the mountains, meeting so many enthusiastic people in fitness, sharing quality time with my amazing mentor, was all so fun...truly a life-changing experience. 
The beautiful scenery and wonderful people will certainly bring me back to Montana, but there is one thing missing on any amazing trip--food from my own kitchen.  I am such an avid home cook and do miss it when I cannot get in my kitchen, but the wonderful meals and shared experiences certainly make up for it.
Over the years of coaching people with the Corporate Fit Challenge, I've heard that people have a lot of trouble sticking to healthy eating when away from home. I get it. You are out of your routine, it's not always convenient to get healthy foods and sometime the adage, "well, I'm on vacation" allows you to cheat a little more than normal.  However, I didn't want to go home feeling tired, bloated and unhappy with my choices, so I came up with some solutions to stick to my healthy eating plan over this trip.  I'd like to share them with you.
1.  Pack smart.  I created my own energy mix with the recipe from a previous WUYP, click here to see it again.
2.  Fresh fruit travels great!  As long as it has a skin on it, like citrus, apples, bananas and are easy to peel or eat.  Pack them in your carry on.
3.  Raw walnuts and pecans are a hungry travelers bff.  Fill up a small ziplock with your favorite combo of healthy raw nuts.
4.  Be an adventurous eater.  If you don't recognize certain menu items, just ask your server what they are.  If the dish is mostly veggie, you should be good to go. Don't fall back into old habits and order the same old, unhealthy thing.
5.  Drink loads of water.  You are already out of your normal routine, but don't forgo the usual water you should be drinking.  Always have a bottle on hand. Better yet, pack a metal water bottle in your luggage and fill up frequently.

While I was traveling I was looking forward to a fresh, summery salad to come home to and I couldn't get a Caprese salad out of my head, so I headed straight to the grocery store when my flight got in.

Try out my favorite summer salad featuring ripe tomatoes, fruity olive oil, basil and bright apple cider vinegar.  I know most of these salads you've had before feature balsamic vinegar, but I love how the lighter flavor of the apple cider vinegar allows the other ingredients flavors to soar.  My salad was delish and just the perfect way to bring me back home after an absolutely amazing trip out west.

Caprese Salad

-1 large Heriloom tomato
-1 bunch of fresh basil, torn or sliced into strips
-1 small ball of fresh mozzarella
-1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
-3 TBSP organic apple cider vinegar
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-5 turns of fresh black pepper

In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar together.  Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into similar size slices.  For the best results, try 1/4 inch diameter slices or thinner and then layer on a plate with alternating slices of tomato and then mozzarella.  Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar mix.  Sprinkle with basil and allow to marinate for a half hour.  Scoop up a serving and enjoy! Serves four.
Kelly Bowlin
Kelly Bowlin
Administration Director & BAC Foodie :) 
Bay Athletic Club
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Seeds for Change

Seeds for Change

Last week, I went on a shopping spree, but instead of shoes and purses, I came home with 4 kinds of seeds all available in our rural grocery store: sunflower, chia, pumpkin and sesame. I recently read an article from a Certified Nurse Practitioner that the one thing she would change in a person's diet would be to incorporate more seeds.  They are a wonderful compliment to almost any meal.  Sprinkle chia seeds into your shake for breakfast, snack on a handful of sunflower seeds, toss pumpkin seeds into your salad for crunch and dress your fish with toasted sesame.  There are so many ways to add this healthy addition into your existing diet, but you may be wondering why you should.

Seeds are high in fiber, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats that can help keep our heart healthy and our body disease free.
Healthy seeds are also great sources of protein, minerals, zinc and other life-enhancing nutrients.  Numerous studies have shown that different types of seeds and nuts can actually prevent weight gain, the development of heart disease and the accumulation of LDL cholesterol.  All that healthy and they still taste sweet, nutty and crunchy!  I'm sold, are you?  Well, give them a try in my new recipe!
Seeds for Change Crumble

Try this mixture a top grilled veggies, cold Asian noodle dishes, rice, fish or yogurt.

-1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw, unsalted
-1/8 cup chia seeds
-1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, shelled (pepitas)
-1/8 cup brown sesame seeds
-2 TBSP local honey
-1/4 TSP sea salt
-1/4 ground cayenne pepper (optional)
In a dry skillet, add the sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds to the pan over medium heat.  Swirl the pan frequently to avoid burned seeds.  Continue to heat until the sunflower seeds are slightly toasted and honey colored.  Add chia seeds, salt, cayenne pepper and drizzle with honey.  Mix well and cook until clump form. Turn out onto a non-stick surface and let cool.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.  Serving size is 1 TBSP per person.

I'd love to hear your feedback!  
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