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Friday Favorites

19 Jul

Happy Friday! Thought I’d pop in and share a few things that I’ve been groovin’ on this week…

1. Running skirts!


These have become a summer staple. Since I’m in workout clothes for both work and play, it’s fun to mix things up with something girly 🙂 Running skirts- love ’em or hate ’em?

2. Cereal

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Ice cold breakfasts are a necessity on smokin’ hot STL summer mornings. Even before 7am the air was thick and sticky this week. I enjoyed my cereal in many ways- with milk and yogurt, parfait style, and on top of a thick smoothie (the last one is my fave!). I don’t have a go-to cereal, but I try to stick with these rules:  

  1. At least 4g fiber
  2. At least 3g protein
  3. Less than 8g of sugar (I’m willing to flex on this one if #1 and #2 are stellar)

This week I went with Kashi GoLean Cinnamon Crumble because it was on sale. Great in the fiber and protein department, but 12g of sugar will keep it off of my “staples” list.

3. This salad


I ate this salad at Companion this week and it was INCREDIBLE! A HUGE bowl of spinach topped with tomatoes, edamame, sunflower seeds, avocado, and feta with lemon vinaigrette and a hunk ‘a crusty bread on the side. Definitely recreating this at home!

4. Circuit training

The heat makes me feel like a slug and completely “melts” my motivation 😉 So most of my workouts have been indoor circuit-style workouts that give me  a good sweat and sore muscles. Look forward to more gym and at-home circuit workouts!

5. Cha-cha-cha-chia!


We were out of flaxseed this week, so I pulled the chia seeds out of the depths of the freezer for my omega-3 fix. Just like flax, you can put them in smoothies, on cereal, and salads. My seeds made their way into my green juice and smoothies.

Have an excellent weekend! Thanks for reading 🙂

Cheat Meals and an All-in-one Workout

23 Jun

Hi, happy weekend!

I’m not a huge fan of the term “cheat meal” because of its close proximity to the other bad word- “diet”. However, a cheat meal is a helpful concept for many people. I also loosely abide by this healthy eating guideline. JWD and I generally choose one meal per week to indulge- and by indulge I mean go out to eat. This is primarily a budgeting tool, but it helps keep us healthy too.

Many of my clients designate a cheat meal because it forces them to put thought into their splurges and gives them an incentive to stay on track the rest of the week. They plan ahead, pick a meal or event where splurging is inevitable (dinner with friends, birthday party, etc.), and savor and enjoy every bite when they sit down to that meal. It also stops them from eating so-not-worth-it stale birthday cake in the break room. Who wants to waste their cheat meal on that??

WARNING: a cheat meal is NOT an excuse to eat everything in sight. After all, it’s your cheat meal not last meal. Keep it reasonable.

So if I had to choose a cheat meal for last week, Thursday night’s pizza and beer would be it! First, let’s back up a bit…


I started Thursday with a tall green juice, coffee, and overnight oats (oats, soymilk, greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, stevia, and cinnamon).


I worked all morning, then threw together lunch with leftovers before heading to a meeting. Greens, salmon, millet, avocado dressing, and melon on the side.

The afternoon included a grocery store run, a bike ride, and a quick shower before a fun night out!

JWD and I went to an O.A.R. concert. Pre-concert festivities:

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Pizza and beer! The Pageant is an awesome venue in St. Louis. They serve craft beer and allow you to bring in your own food, so we ordered a Pi pizza to go. 

The show was AMAZING! We didn’t get home until after midnight (wayyy late for us), so I was a tired girl on Friday. To rebound from a “cheat meal” night, I drink plenty of water (the sodium is what kills me), resume my normal healthy eats, and get in a good workout. No need to deprive or “burn off extra calories”.

I want to share Friday’s workout with you because it was a fun one.


Cheat meals- yay or nay?

Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend! Thanks for reading 🙂

Getting in the Groove + a Cardio Workout

19 Jun

Hey there! Wow, two posts within less than a month- I’m on a roll 😉 This week I finally feel like I have a rhythm going in my new work/life schedule. I used to despise transitions, but I’ve had so many in the past few years that I’m learning to roll with them (and even enjoy them a little). Anyway…

I spent most of Tuesday in meetings and at my desk, so when I found an opportunity away for a workout in the afternoon I gladly took it. St. Louis gets pretty sticky in the summer, so late afternoon workouts will only be bearable for a little bit longer. I was in the mood to get my heart rate up after so much sitting, so I adapted this workout from my blog idol, Peanut Butter Runner.

Cardio Workout

1.5 mile run

*10 burpees

Run stairs – 2 laps

*20 squat jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*30 box jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*40 mountain climbers

Run stairs – 2 laps

*50 jump rope singles

1.5 mile run

After my workout, I downed a smoothie and headed back to the gym (shower not required = best perk of working at a gym) 🙂 Dinner was easy and amazing:


Smashed pinto beans that I seasoned with cayenne, paprika, and chili powder combined with sautéed onions, peppers, yellow squash, corn, and tomatoes. I topped it with avocado lime dressing, greek yogurt, and nutritional yeast. I ate mine on a bed of salad greens, JWD ate his in a tortilla.

Today had an unexpectedly calm start when my early client cancelled, so I took advantage and had a quick breakfast before heading to the gym for a strength workout before my next appointment.


Egg + egg white open-faced on an english muffin, a pile of juicy melon, and coffee. (and unpictured green juice).


I spent the rest of the day working at my desk with a lunch break featuring dinner leftovers and a snack break.


Hemp-a-licious (seriously, that’s what it’s called) brown rice cake topped with coconut almond butter and nature’s candy farmer’s market berries. This almond butter is my obsession right now. So. Good.


I was feeling fancy for dinner, so we made salmon and a crazy concoction of millet, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed beet greens.

Now it’s time for reading and early bedtime! We have fun plans tomorrow night, so I need my rest tonight!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Building The Perfect Workout Routine

21 Oct

I get a lot of questions from readers and clients about starting a workout plan and about my workout schedule. My schedule tends to vary from week to week, but I try to stick to a general routine. Today I’m going to break down my workout routine and the four elements that I include when putting a routine together for myself or someone else. I also added a new tab ↑ (look up!) ↑ where I will update my weekly workout schedule, links to workouts, etc. for your sweating inspiration 🙂

Part One: Strength

Strength training really is the foundation of my routine. I think it yields the best results for weight loss, body composition, and overall health. I like to do my strength workouts at a gym, but strength exercises can be done anywhere with bands, dumbbells, soup cans, and even your own bodyweight! I think strength workouts should be done at least two times per week. It can be as simple as a 30-minute routine done in your living room. I would love to make some videos of my favorite strength workouts for you guys soon! I strength train 3 days per week.

Part Two: Endurance

I think of endurance exercise as longer, slower, bouts of cardiovascular exercise. Think walking, running, swimming, biking at a slow and steady pace. It keeps your heart healthy and builds stamina. I try to include at least one endurance workout per week, lasting about 30-60 minutes. My favorites are running, swimming laps, or a long walk or bike ride.

Part Three: High Intensity

High intensity workouts are the opposite of endurance- shorter time and faster pace. Workouts that fall into this category include sprints or intervals on an elliptical/treadmill/bike. I also put plyometrics into this category. I include at least one high-intensity workout per week for about 30 minutes.

Part Four: Flexibility

This is the component that is often forgotten, yet it is so important! Flexibility and stretching exercises keep me feeling limber and healthy. This component can be as easy as stretching for 5 minutes after a walk or run. I include one yoga practice per week to fulfill my flexibility needs.

Now this sounds all fine and dandy, but most peoples’ lives do not allow for structured, elaborate workout schedules. Exercise is a substantial part of my life, but I understand that certainly is not the case for others.

So what should you do if you only have a small window for workouts? Research shows that shorter bouts of exercise, like 10 minute increments, can be just as effective as longer bouts. Try to find at least 10 minutes in your day to move on most days of the week. I don’t care what you do- play with your kids, walk your dog, dance naked in your living room- just move! Do what you can when you can. Here are a few great 10-minute routines to get you started…

A power sculpting workout for the ladies

The time crunch workout for the guys

The 10-minute flat abs workout

A 10-minute yoga workout

Happy sweating! Thanks for reading 🙂

Running on Sunshine Favorites List

6 Oct

Happy Saturday, everyone! Mine started out with coffee and computer work on the couch, a successful trip to the farmer’s market, and babysitting. JWD and I are about to have “date night”, but before we do I wanted to share with you ten things I’m loving right now.

Running on Sunshine Current Favorites List

1. Trader Joe’s Frozen Vanilla Greek Fat Free Yogurt

This is amazing stuff, my friends. For only 100 calories you get 1/2 cup frozen yogurt and 6 grams of protein. A great low-calorie dessert option!

2. Trader Joe’s Raw Crunchy Unsalted Almond Butter

This almond butter is addictive. I put it on everything from apples to rice cakes to oatmeal. It’s drippy, sweet, and crunchy. AND it only has one ingredient: almonds!

*Tip* Want natural nut butter but hate stirring it? Store the jar upside-down in the pantry and it will mix on its own.

3. Salt & Vinegar Popchips

I am a sucker for salt and vinegar chips. These Popchips let me get my fix without the extra fat and calories. If you aren’t a salt and vinegar fan, they make tons of other flavors to choose from. I love them all!

4. Nike Frees

I am on my third pair of these babies. They are a great “minimalist” running shoe. They’re light as a feather, breathable, and come in great colors. I wear mine for everything- to run, lift, run errands, and to work.

5. Coconut oil as moisturizer

I’ve always had troublesome skin and for many years focused on drying out my skin to prevent breakouts. I avoided moisturizer like the plague. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that moisturizer is my ally in having good skin. I prefer something natural, so every night I slather my skin with coconut oil. It makes my skin soft, minimizes redness, and smells great. The Trader Joe’s brand is incredibly affordable!

6. Sunwarrior Protein Powder

I’ve been on a kick with Sunwarrior protein shakes. I’m constantly on the go, so I blend a shake in the morning and store it in an insulated travel mug with an icepack in my lunch bag. It makes a perfect post-workout or midmorning snack. We don’t often think of smoothies as “on-the-go” food, but it actually works great as long as you keep it cold!

7. Yogi Tea Pomegranate Green Tea

This tea is my after lunch staple. It gives me a little caffeine boost and keeps my tastebuds occupied so I don’t reach for my afternoon snack too early.

8. Sparkling water

I love my tap water, but sometimes it’s fun to have bubbles! To me, sparkling water is fun to drink and I find the carbonation very satisfying. If I’m feeling really crazy, I’ll throw some frozen fruit in it. You can get store-brand sparkling water at any grocery store and it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s a great zero-calorie option for those of you trying to cut down on soda!

9. Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Hot Cereal

I got a free sample of this hot cereal at a women’s health fair I worked at and its been a staple in my pantry ever since! It’s a nice alternative to oatmeal and I love the creamy texture.

10. Strength training

Strength training has been my workout of choice recently. It makes me feel strong, toned, and I love the satisfaction of bumping up my weights as my strength increases. Tune in next time for a full breakdown of my workout routine!

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 🙂

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

19 Jun

A little plant-based diet humor for you 🙂

This is the cliche question that every “meat as a condiment”-eater dreads. I actually enjoy answering this question because it gives me a chance to address a very hot topic. It’s no secret that Americans love their protein. Especially in the Midwest, a hunk of meat is the star of the show at most meals. But many myths and misconceptions surround protein, so today I’m going to set the record straight.

What is it?

Protein is one of the “big three” nutrients along with carbohydrates and fat. It plays many roles in the body including immunity, skin, hair, nails, and metabolism. But the one most pertinent to this conversation is its role as the building blocks for our body and muscles. You can’t reap the health rewards of lean muscle mass without adequate protein.

How much is “enough”?

You’ve probably heard all sorts of things about how to figure out how much protein you need. The general recommendation for a healthy person is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you are trying to lose weight, 1 gram per kilogram of body weight may help kickstart the weight loss. One easy way to get a rough estimate is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by 2 and subtract 10. So if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 65 grams of protein a day. I rarely recommend more than that unless it’s for an athlete who is constantly breaking down and rebuilding muscle in strenuous workouts.

Can you eat too much protein?

Many people say “no”, but I say “yes”! This is not a “more is better” situation. More protein does not equal more muscle. Our bodies are very smart. If we give them more protein than they need, they simply dispose of the excess. This disposal process can be hard on our kidneys, especially for people susceptible to kidney issues. Also, the excess protein may cause other systems to go awry. A few studies have actually shown that high protein diets may decrease testosterone (a hormone that contributes to muscle growth)- I assume that’s not the effect those body builders are looking for 🙂 Also, high protein diets are being investigated for a possible link to cancer. The documentary Forks Over Knives talks about this quite a bit. Moral of the story: more is not better!

When should I eat protein?

It’s important to spread out protein foods throughout the day because our body cannot absorb it all at once. Try to include a protein source with each meal and snack. Protein is especially important after workouts, but IT MUST BE PAIRED WITH CARBOHYDRATE! Carbohydrate is like a key that lets the protein into the muscle. So add some fruit to that low-carb protein powder and turn it into a smoothie.

Where do you get your protein?

I’m sure you’ve heard foods called “complete proteins” and incomplete proteins”. This refers to the amino acids they are made of. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. A good analogy for this is a long train with many individual train cars. Not all trains (proteins) are made of the same cars (amino acids). Some amino acids have to come from food and some can be made by our body out of other amino acids. A “complete protein” contains all amino acids that our body needs. An “incomplete protein” is missing one or more of the amino acids our body needs. All animal foods (meat, dairy) are complete proteins.

Is animal protein the best protein?

This DOES NOT mean that animal foods are the best proteins. Our bodies can store amino acids until the right combination comes along. The key is to be sure you are eating a variety of protein foods throughout the day, whether from plants or animals. One downside with animal foods is they usually come with a big dose of unhealthy saturated fat. With plant proteins, saturated fat is not a problem!

Protein rule of thumb: Lean and clean, the less legs the better.
I picked this up from another dietitian and it’s a great rule! “Lean and clean” refers to the amount of fat, so choose lower fat sources. “The less legs the better” is just a fun way to remember which sources are lowest in unhealthy fats: fish and plants have 0-1 leg, poultry has 2 legs, and cows and pigs have 4 legs.

Protein Foods

Do I need a protein powder?

You most certainly do not need one and no matter what the packaging claims, a powder will not make you healthier or thinner than eating real foods. A protein powder is a supplement, so it should be used to supplement your diet and not to replace whole foods in your diet. If a protein powder works for you for convenience reasons, then go for it. But keep in mind that these powders are usually heavily processed and typically low-carb, so use sparingly and pair with a carbohydrate food. My favorite protein powder is Sun Warrior. It’s plant-based and minimally processed.

So back to that initial question, where do I get my protein? I like a variety of plant-based foods with a few animal sources sprinkled in. Stay tuned for a video of my favorite protein-packed smoothie!

Thanks for reading 🙂

It’s All About The LBM

6 Jun

Over the last 10 months, when my life was not my own and I was required to eat, sleep, and breathe nutrition (also known as “the dietetic internship”), I lost a lot of things: sleep, my social life, maybe some blog readers due to my lack of posting, and, from time to time, my sanity. BUT one of the most important things I lost this year is… muscle.

My wonky workout schedule over the past 10 months has caused my muscles to dwindle. Muscle is an undervalued player in the game of weight loss, health, and body shape when it should be the MVP. My mission for the summer is to get it back (along with other minor details like sleep, sanity, friends, and readers 🙂 ) Here’s why it’s all about the LBM…

What is it?

Lean body mass (LBM) is the nonfat mass of the body- everything minus the fat. This includes muscle.

Why should you want it?

  • LBM revs your metabolic engine. In other words, muscle burns “hotter” than fat- burning calories even when you aren’t doing a darn thing. This is one of the reasons why men can eat more calories than women- they naturally have more lean body mass. Building a body that is a calorie-burning machine (aka lots of muscle) is key to weight loss and preventing weight gain.
  • LBM helps you age gracefully. Muscle mass starts to plummet with age, which means less strength and more frailty. Also, as muscle is lost our metabolism starts to slow and our bodies burn less and less calories. Building muscle as we age can keep us strong and agile and prevent body fat from creeping up.
  • LBM will give you the body that you want. “Toned”, “strong”, “firm”, “lean”- these are all common words I hear clients use to describe their ideal body. Building muscle is the best way to alter your body’s shape. Ever heard of “skinny-fat”? People who only do cardio workouts and severely restrict calories are not metabolic engines. They may be thin, but they lack muscle tone and their slow metabolism requires them to eat very little in order to maintain their weight. Someone with more muscle not only looks better, but they are stronger, burn more calories, and can eat more.

How do you get it?

  • I’ll say it again if it isn’t already obvious: strength training! Yes, the weight room at the gym can be intimidating. Most gyms offer free consultations with personal trainers, so ask the experts to help you get familiar with the equipment. Strength classes are a great place to start if you’re new to lifting weights. Check out fitness websites and magazines for printable routines. If you aren’t a fan of the gym, find body-weight routines to do at home or at the park. I am working on a Running on Sunshine workout series so stay tuned for that!
  • Don’t forget about nutrition! I always say exercise and nutrition are inseparable and that is definitely the case with building muscle.  Protein is the the building blocks for muscle, so be sure to include a serving of protein at each meal. As Americans, we get PLENTY of protein, so overall intake is usually not a problem. Protein deserves it’s own post, so tune in next time!

*I quick note to my lady friends: You know who you are, you cardio queens. You are a tough crowd to convince when it comes to strength training! But trust me, it will give you the results you are looking for! You aren’t going to get amazing toned shoulders and a perky booty from the elliptical alone. You always tell me “but I don’t want to get bulky.” You won’t! Our hormonal makeup won’t let us beef up like the dudes. Would you believe me if I told you I bench-press 20lb. dumbbells on the regular? I do! If you are still anti-weights, try other strength workouts like advanced yoga or Pilates. However you do it, I encourage you to muscle up!

You may find it funny that I chose National Running Day to talk about strength training, but that’s usually how I roll- against the grain 🙂 Although, I did celebrate with a quick spin in my new kicks!

Off to an outdoor concert/picnic with JWD and friends! Have a great night!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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