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Heart-beet Smoothie

16 Feb

Hello there and happy weekend!

Whether or not you spent Thursday with someone else’s heart in mind, the first heart you should be caring for is your own!

Heart disease is serious business. It’s the leading cause of death in Americans. The good news is that most heart conditions (even if you have a family history) are preventable and food and fitness are your most effective arsenal.

One of my favorite heart-smart foods: beets! …Wait! Don’t close your browser yet. I know what you’re thinking: “This chick is a crazy freak of nature vegetable worshipper! If she thinks she’s going to convince me to eat beets, she’s out of her flippin’ mind!” Most people who tell me they despise beets are only acquainted with the gelatinous canned version of beets. They were forced to eat them as a child and still have nightmares of their mother dumping the cylindrical jelly glob out of the can and slicing it into circles of disgustingness (this is a real description from one of my clients 🙂 ).


{Boulder, CO farmers market}

Beets are rich in nitrates which lower blood pressure and in turn protect your heart. Newer research boasts the benefit of beets for exercise. Nitrates reduce the amount of oxygen that is required during exercise which improves exercise performance.

When I think of beets, I imagine the vibrant red root vegetable roasted up with olive oil and spices or peeled, steamed and blended into a smoothie. Yep, you read that right- a smoothie!

Heart-beet Smoothie

adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1/3 cup sliced cooked beets

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries

  • ¼ cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt

  • ¼ cup orange juice

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

  • 1 tsp honey (optional)


Place all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute or until a smooth consistency is achieved. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

PicMonkey Collage

Still not a fan of beets? No worries, nitrates are found in many other veggies including leafy greens like kale and spinach, lettuce, parsley, and celery.

Now, go do something for YOUR heart today: take a walk, eat a beet, have a salad.

Thanks for reading 🙂


Homemade Chocolately Millet Granola

8 Feb

This granola has been a big hit at our house lately! It’s easy to whip up a batch on the weekend and enjoy as a quick weekday snack paired with yogurt or sprinkled on top your morning oats!


Chocolately Millet Granola

adapted from Oh She Glows Lightened Up Summer Granola



  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 t vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325*F
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly, allowing the mixture to come to a simmer. 
  • Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir… and stir, and stir, and stir until thoroughly combined. 
  • Spread granola evenly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Allow granola to cool and then break apart into clusters. 


Thanks for reading 🙂

Secrets From a Dietitian’s Kitchen: Invert the Pyramid

4 Feb

If I could give you only one tip- whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, run faster, get stronger, or just have more energy- this would be it.

As I write this, most Americans have already set up their day to eat like a pyramid. They rushed out the door with a measly 100 calorie granola bar in their hand or , worse, rushed out with no intentions of eating breakfast at all! Their briefcase was not equipped with a midmorning snack and lunch was quickly nibbled at their desk. Now they are arriving home totally ravenous, causing them to demolish a bag of chips during dinner prep before inhaling a hefty meal and following up with an impressive primetime TV snack fest.

They’ve eaten like a pyramid- the bulk of their calories fall at the end of the day. This pattern sets you up for failure no matter what your health goals. Eating like a pyramid can lead to poor quality sleep, eating more empty calories, and low energy levels.

So, I’m asking you to invert the pyramid! Eat the bulk of your calories in the first half of your day and taper as the day goes on. Start with a hearty breakfast, a balanced lunch, a healthy snack or two, and a smaller dinner (maybe just one helping instead of two or three?). Relative to your daily calorie needs, your day should look a little something like this:






Easiest ways to invert the pyramid:

  1. Bulk up your breakfast. Add some fruit and yogurt to that cereal or pair your eggs with some avocado and whole grain toast. 
  2. Fill half your dinner plate with veggies. Load pasta and rice dishes with vegetables or serve a salad with dinner every night.

Need more proof?

Are you trying to lose or maintain your weight? Research shows dieters who eat breakfast are more likely to lose and maintain a healthy weight compared to those who skip the most important meal of the day.

Are you an athlete? Elite athletes eat a whopping 20% of their daily calories at their first meal of the day!

I suggest this tip to my clients of all types and it’s usually the first place we start when revamping their diets. I challenge you to refresh your health tomorrow by turning that pyramid upside-down!

Thanks for reading 🙂

This Week’s Eats

13 Oct

I get extremely excited for the weekends these days. My weeks and weekends are such stark opposites. I run around like a crazy person Monday through Friday and then relax, sleep in, and do all things calm and mellow on Saturday and Sunday.

A peak at some recent eats…

Wednesday breakfast was smaller than usual because I had early morning workout plans and wanted something that would digest quick.

Coffee, a Trader Joe’s frozen waffle topped with almond butter, banana, and honey, and a taste of JWD’s smoothie (served up in a teeny beer festival glass).

I did a full-body strength workout at the gym and enjoyed post-workout pumpkin overnight oats at my desk.

Old-fashioned oats, plain non-fat greek yogurt, soymilk, pumpkin puree, bananas, walnuts, stevia, and cinnamon. Yummy!

Lunch was leftovers.

Tofu stir-fry with homemade peanut sauce. 

Afternoon snack:

Trader Joe’s whole wheat mini pitas, hummus for dipping, and an apple.

Dinner was a little unconventional.

Eggs with veggies and toast. Plus a bowl of frozen yogurt topped with chocolate peanut butter 🙂

I’m off to start my Saturday with cleaning, foam rolling (this week’s workouts have left me SO sore!), and plans with friends! 

See you soon to talk workouts! Thanks for reading 🙂

Rice Cooker Oats and Vagabonding

26 Aug

Hello friends!

Hope you had a great weekend. Although we were travelling, mine was pretty low-key. We went to a soccer game with friends on Friday and a going away party for a friend on Saturday. Today I caught up on emails, blogs, and perused Pinterest. I am not a very committed Pinterest user, but when I log on you can count on at least an hour of browsing and many, many new pins! I’m in a crafty mood right now and have several Pinterest-inspired projects in the works that I’ll post about. Follow the madness:

When we were in Colorado, we stayed with our friends who make their daily oatmeal in a rice cooker. It eliminates the need to babysit the oats- brilliant! This allows for morning multi-tasking. The oats turn out deliciously thick, creamy, and hearty. We’ve visited JWD’s parents for the past two weekends and pulled out his mom’s rice cooker to make oats both times.

So easy and convenient. This might be my next kitchen gadget!

Lately I’ve gotten much of my dinner inspiration from the new Forks Over Knives cookbook. Monday’s dinner:

Spicy Thai Sweet Potato Stew (made with lentils)

This cookbook is full of recipes I want to try.

Remember how I said we recently moved? We’ve been temporarily residing with our kind friends who offered to take us in while we searched for the perfect apartment. Last week we found it! It has everything on our “want” list, even space for a garden. I’m excited to share it with you when we get settled in.

Have a great week and thanks for reading 🙂

French Press Iced Coffee

14 Jul

Those that knew me in a time that now feels like a past life would probably not use words like “simple” or “low-maintenance” to describe me. You see, I used to really love my “stuff”. It was the time of watching Clueless on VHS non-stop (“as if”, “whatever”, and “loser” with the accompanying hand gestures were in my day-to-day vocabulary), crying because Santa got me the wrong color of Limited Too striped pajamas, and having an older sister with the best nail polish collection ever. It didn’t stop in grade school. I spent the majority of my high school years in heels, with a designer purse on one arm and a Tiffany’s bracelet on the other. I was still the same person I am today, I had plenty of substance under my “stuff”. However, my reference point for “need vs. want” has greatly changed- particularly during the recent past. It’s been a year of changes, surprises (both wonderful and horrible), and many transitions. Welcome to adulthood, Kayli. 🙂

A few examples of how we’ve reassessed our need vs. want:

  • Most people consider Kleenex to be a “need”. Not us. Have a runny nose? Find something reusable like a towel or your sleeve. We’ve also gotten quite skilled at the “Hobo Blow” technique 😉
  • If you come over, wear as few clothes as possible. It’s hot in here- sometimes even hotter than it is outside. Good thing I like to sweat.
  • Unplug every appliance if you aren’t actively using it. And the wireless internet. And the television. If we factored in the time it takes to unplug and re-plug in everything, I’m convinced we might break even on this one, but every little bit helps right?
  • Oh, and unplugging the television is no big deal because we don’t have cable anyway, but who needs cable when everyone in the apartment is half-naked? 🙂
  • No, please don’t throw away that stale bread and random broccoli stalk. It will be re-purposed into dinner. Waste not, want not….

Things have definitely changed around here- in my opinion, for the better. Those Starbucks cups that used to be part of my everyday uniform? No longer an option. However, making and drinking coffee at home with JWD every morning has become a ritual I greatly cherish. But what’s a girl to do when it’s 95* in this city and 100* in the apartment? You know what they say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”- or in this case, iced coffee.

I am always blown away by the cost of iced coffee at coffee shops- especially when I realized just how easy it is to make!

Easy French Press Iced Coffee

Step 1: Grab your french press. If don’t have one, then get one. French pressed coffee will change your life. This is the one I have. Add coarse coffee grounds and water to the french press. I like 1/2 cup coffee grounds and 4 cups of water. This makes a strong brew. It’s easy to dilute the final product- but there’s no turning back if it’s to weak.

Step 2: Give it a little stir.

Step 3: Put the lid on, make room in the ‘fridge, and refrigerate overnight (for about 12 hours).

Step 4: After 12 hours, gently press the coffee.

Step 5: Pour over ice, add water and/or milk to adjust the strength, and enjoy. I store the extra in a jar in the refrigerator. Love having iced coffee on-hand for the week!

I like mine strong with a little almond milk.

Yesterday’s breakfast was full of jars.

I made overnight oats using steel-cut oats for the first time. They stay really chewy kind of like Grape Nuts. I added some old-fashioned oats and cereal for texture variety.

In a society driven by money, materials, and “things”, it is all too easy to lose sight of what really matters in life. We let our stuff define us. Sadly, it usually takes a life-altering turn of events to learn this. When I look back at the girl I once was and the life I once had, I don’t feel sad. In some ways, I am still that girl. However, I am grateful that the shifts in my life have touched my feet to the ground and opened my eyes to all the wonderful, incredible, priceless, “non-things” that I have. So when life gives you lemons, make iced coffee, raise your glass, and repeat after me “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough.” Cheers.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Video Post: The Sunshine Smoothie

26 Jun

Hello, friends!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. JWD and I enjoyed an amazing weekend of wedding festivities. Love was certainly in the air.

Now, back to the purpose of this post.

I am a die-hard, heart fluttering, boy band-style fan of smoothies. We already know this. I have a Vitamix. Special smoothie straws. Special smoothie cups to be used only for smoothies and if they are seen being used for anything other than smoothies or, worse, being put in the dishwasher (I’m lookin’ at you, JWD) you will receive a death glare. I know all the best smoothie places in the city. I have seven, yes seven, smoothie recipe books.

But I don’t know why I bother with all of this because I always come back to the same recipe: the Sunshine Smoothie. Watch and learn, my friends.

Don’t I look tired? If you answered “no”, you are lying. I filmed this a few months ago when the internship was still in full swing. I look much less like a zombie today.

A few more smoothie tips:

  • My friend came up with the fabulous idea of using frozen spinach instead of fresh. Not only is it cheaper and lasts longer than fresh, it also adds thickness because it’s frozen. Genius!
  • Bananas going bad on you? Stick ’em in the freezer and they’ll be perfect smoothie additions. But don’t forget to peel them first! Otherwise, the peel basically freezes shut. It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all done it 🙂
  • Add less liquid for a thick soft-serve style smoothie. I love to put thick smoothies in a bowl, top with a sprinkle of granola, and eat it with a spoon.

I really love the video posts (and I think you do too?), so I want to do more. Any ideas? Do you want lunch ideas? Breakfast ideas? Workouts? Want to see what’s in my fridge? Q & A? Leave a comment here, on Twitter, or on the Running on Sunshine Facebook page to tell me what you want to see!

Have a fantastic week! Thanks for reading 🙂

Breaking Bread

3 Sep

Friendships are beautiful things. Old ones provide warmth and comfort; and new ones bestow a gift of excitement and “newness”.

The awkward time between summer and fall is notorious for friendships. It marks a year’s beginning- not of the calendar kind, but of the school kind. Change is in the air. A piece of us clings to warmth and familiarity of summer while the other piece longs for the exciting, fresh start that fall brings. Much like the merging of two seasons’ edges, this “in-between” moment marks a merging of friends- old and new. We find comfort in reuniting with old friends and seek the excitement of meeting new ones.

One of the most intimate acts we can share with other humans is that of sharing a meal- or “breaking bread”. Food is personal, food is cultural, food is symbolic. Food is life.

And what better way to reconnect, or connect for the first time, than by breaking bread.

The Best Breakfast Bread {powered by plants}


  • 2 ¼ c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large very ripe banana (or 1 ½ small)
  • 1 zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • cup (or less) maple syrup, honey or sugar (I used half maple syrup, half honey)
  • egg replacer equal to 1 egg (Option 1: mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 2 tbsp water. Option 2: mix 1 ½ tsp ENER-G Egg Replacer with 2 tbsp water)
  • ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit (I used dried cranberries)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or other nut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

How To:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, mash bananas and combine with shredded zucchini. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently mix just until combined.
  • Pour into a lightly greased 9×5 in. loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (My loaf was a little doughy in the middle, in a fabulous kind of way)

  • Cool, slice, add a smear of nut butter.

Mmm… If you make this bread, you are going to have a lot of friends.

I am 3 weeks deep into what I am told will be both the best and worst, most influential and most chaotic year of my life (so far, what I’ve been told is fact). I am officially Kayli, SLU Dietetic Intern.

Luckily, I am not alone. I have friends, both old and new, who will take this journey with me.

Cheers to friends to break bread with.

My time may be sparse, but my inspiration is bountiful. Over the next year (school year, that is) our time together will be limited, but I promise to meet you back here from time to time to reconnect- and I promise that almost every time we reconnect it will revolve around food- naturally 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂

Meal 1: Breakfast

2 Jul

Good morning!! I’m so glad I get to kick off this series of posts with my favorite meal of the day! I am a huge advocate of eating breakfast. It really sets the tone for my day. It can make or break your nutrition mindset for the day and it can also make or break your energy levels. Think about it- your body has been fasting for about 6-8 hours and doing a lot of maintenance work. It needs nourishment!

Before any food touches my lips, I always start my day with a tall, cold glass of water.

On most nights I black out from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. without waking up, so by the time the sun comes up I feel really dehydrated. But I also start my day with a glass of water because it gets the insides of the body movin’.

The timing of my breakfast is dependent upon my workouts. If I am only doing a short cardio session then I workout before I eat breakfast (unless I wake up hungry). If I plan on lifting or doing a long run, then I eat as soon as I wake up to properly fuel my workout. A cup of java or a cup of yerba mate tea accompanies my breakfast…

I love french press coffee so I use this nifty little french press travel mug to brew it. I drink Kaldi’s coffee from a local coffee shop. So good! I should mention that I am not one of those people who can’t function before my morning coffee. I am usually pretty energetic in the morning. I only drink 1 cup and I do so because I enjoy the taste and experience.

My “hungry time” is definitely in the morning, so I need something filling and something that will fuel my workouts. I’ve experimented with all kinds of breakfast foods and I’ve found that oatmeal works best for me. It’s healthy and filling, and it’s the perfect blank canvas for a perfect mix of complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein.

What do I put in my oatmeal? Well, I start with 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed.

Then I add I cup of cooked grains: steel-cut oats, rolled oats, oat bran, or other grains like quinoa.

Next I add my toppings: fruits, nuts, a drizzle of nut butter, cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, almond milk, granola- whatever I’m in the mood for. The possibilities are endless!

Old-fashioned rolled oats with mashed banana, walnuts, and cinnamon

Steel-cut oats mixed with leftover red quinoa, berries, stevia, cinnamon, and nuts

Steel-cut oats with blueberries, cinnamon, nuts, and almond milk, and protein powder.

Kitty is making his blog debut!

Today’s oats: rolled oats, berries, a peach, stevia, and a drizzle of almond butter

I cook my oatmeal on the stove. This allows me to do other things while the oats are cooking without worrying about it bubbling over (in the microwave!). I love multi-tasking! Want some more oatmeal ideas? Check out Kath’s awesome Tribute to Oatmeal

When I’m not in the mood for oats (this is rare) or I want something pair with my oats, I’ll have a few of these guys…

Two egg whites swimming in Cholula hot sauce

Or I make these delicious protein pancakes.

If I wake up hungry and want something quick before I go on a short run, I’ll make something like this…

I little slice of Great Harvest Dakota bread with crunchy peanut butter and strawberry slices.

Now go feed your body with a healthy breakfast and I’ll be back in the next few days to talk about post-workout snacks. Have a wonderful Friday and thanks for reading 🙂

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