Sunday, November 23, 2014

I'm Reset and Refreshed.

It's Day 21! So here's a post full of hyperlinks! ;-)

Today is my last day of Ultimate Reset. I couldn't stand the anticipation as I pinned oatmeal recipes all week, looking forward to an oaty breakfast Monday morning. I was so freaking excited about oats--I was like a kid at Christmastime. Can't I just open one present on Christmas Eve?
OK! So I ate oats on the last day! I don't regret it! I pored over recipe after recipe on Pinterest before deciding just which one to have---Carrot Cake Steel Cut Oats! I plan on tweaking the recipe a bit and making it my way for my next video.
Who knew a person could get so fired up over oats? LOL

I'll finish the rest of the day according to the plan, but I just couldn't face 3-1/2 cups of fruit for breakfast again. I'm just considering it my weaning back to normal diet a day early. 

I already took my measurements today, too. What can I say? I'm impatient! I'm back to my pre-convention weight and measurements, (scroll down past all the guys in dresses and you'll see me kicking back with my feet up) and according to my Libra scale, I'm down 7% body fat. I'm not quite as light as after my first Reset back in May, but I'm happy with my results. 

My daughter and I are leaving in the morning for a 3-day mini-vacation to the desert. We are looking forward to our annual trek to the Coachella Valley more than usual, since October and November were especially hectic for us.  We will be staying in a beautiful condo at a resort in Cathedral City. I've researched online and found three vegan restaurants that we are excited to try. I'll have to let you know how we like them. I'll also have to be careful the next few days to not flood my body with too many grains and legumes all at once, since i've been on only  fruits, veggies and a little oil for the last week...but just try and stop me from ordering Channa Masala! 

We're also looking forward to visiting The Living Desert. As luck would have it, despite my complaining about too much Christmas before Thanksgiving, their Wild Lights event begins Tuesday and we will attend. We also have a hike planned at Indian Canyons, one of my favorite places. I'll be sure to keep a bird list, and share some of my little-used knowledge of the native ecosystem with the kid. We thought about taking the Tram  but there is no snow yet, I'm trying to be frugal, and our trip is short, so that will be a "maybe." My favorite time to go up there is Springtime anyway.

Please check out my other blog for our travelogues, and general geekiness. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Over the Reset Hump

I'm on day 12 of the Ultimate Reset, a 21 day nutrition and supplement plan. The objective is to balance body chemistry, remove toxins, reset digestion and restore normal intestinal flora, and break some bad eating habits.

I did the Reset last spring with amazing results. Not only did I lose 10 pounds, but I got my cholesterol in the normal range for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE. I also tried new plant foods and liked them (all except for seaweed--that made me cry).

I decided to Reset again in November because I had fallen off track. I was eating vegan, but eating too much, and in the wrong proportions--too many grains and nuts, and sneaking in sugar in the form of maple syrup or coconut sugar. October was busy (an understatement), and I realized I hadn't been treating my body as well as I could have been. I put on about 8 pounds since August and I was feeling puffy and achey.

So I'm just over halfway through the program. It's so much easier this time. Maybe it's because I'm a "seasoned" vegan now, or maybe because I wasn't needing to detox as much this time, since I just did this 6 months ago. Last time I was in the process of weaning myself off of a very low dose HRT and when I started the Reset I just dumped the pills and went cold turkey. I also quit coffee cold turkey last time. I had every symptom of caffeine withdrawal for 4 days and was miserable with headaches, joint pain and insomnia. Even though I was down to 3 hormone pills per week, the combination of quitting them and coffee together may have been the reason for my misery. At any rate, I've felt absolutely fine for 12 days now, and have not experienced any hunger or discomforts of any kind. I also weaned off the coffee in the first few days, just to be sure--1 cup on day one, down to half a cup by day 4. I don't even want coffee in the morning now, but I do enjoy a cup of herbal tea in the evening.

Another reason why this was good time for me to do the Reset is that 2-1/2 weeks ago I broke my big toe. OUCH. So, since strenuous exercise is a no-no on the Reset, and also not recommended for my busted bone, this is a perfect time to chillax. I have been doing some Pilates, & 10 Minute Abs from the 21 Day Fix and some gentle yoga from Some of that yoga is challenging with a broken big toe, so I've had to modify, but I've enjoyed the shorter beginner sessions.

In the first week I did lose 4 pounds, but week two I'm holding steady. Week 3 is the most restrictive, so perhaps I'll get the rest off then. If not, I'm sure getting back to regular sweaty workouts and dialing in my nutrition will get me back to my goal.

Some things are the same as my first Reset. I feel the need to purge--I've started a cleaning/purging project in my office and went through the clothes closets again. I've also had vivid dreams this week, but I am sleeping well.

If I'm missing anything during the day, it's oats. Breakfasts on most of the days are huge servings of fresh fruit. I want OATS! Guess what I'm having for breakfast on day 22? THIS:

In the meantime, I'm enjoying recipes from the Reset, and I'm going to share one with you now!

From The Ultimate Reset
1 Serving

1 cup water
1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and cubed
¼ medium bell pepper
1 tsp fresh ginger root
1-1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Miso paste
1 cup vegetable broth
Bragg Liquid Aminos or Himalayan salt to taste
Bragg Herbal Seasoning Blend to taste

Roast bell pepper on grill or gas stovetop. Turn frequently until skin is evenly charred. Pace in a medium bow and cover with a kitchen towel for 10 minutes. Peel skin under running water. Remove seeds.

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; add sweet potato and cook 5-7 minutes. Drain.

Place sweet potato, bell pepper, ginger, oil, miso, broth, aminos and seasonings in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If too thick, add a bit of broth or water. Heat in saucepan if necessary.

Cinchy, right? Also, perfect for a chilly autumn lunch, paired with a big salad!  

Let me know if you have any questions about The Ultimate Reset. I'm loving it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I'm Grateful for Healthy Eating!

Oh my gosh it really almost the second week in November?! All of the stores are already pushing their holiday stuff, including sugar-filled candy and box mixes. Are you tempted?
I'm not! As a matter of fact, I'm well into my first week of the Ultimate Reset, a 21-day program for  detoxing, improving digestion, and restoring overall health without starvation or harsh "cleansers."  I did the program last spring and shed 10 pounds and 2 inches and felt absolutely fabulous. So far I am loving the food and the regimen. I know exactly what to eat and exactly when to eat it--and the portions are huge! 

For more info on the Ultimate Reset, click here: Ultimate Reset (hot tip: it's $30 off this month!)
This will be our first Vegan Thanksgiving. I've been trying to decide what to make. It will be just my husband, daughter and I, so simple and no-fuss seems the way to go. I may buy a small turkey breast for my husband the carnivore, and maybe try a grain roast for me and kid...unless I go with a lentil dish.

I thought I'd share a couple of side dish recipes that would go nicely on a vegan or traditional table. They are healthy alternatives to the butter and sausage saturated bread and Campbell's soup bean casserole that I grew up eating on Thanksgiving.

Speaking of healthy eating during the holidays, my coaching group has a 21 Day Holiday Survival Success Group on Facebook starting on November 17th. We want to help you with your your holiday-time needs with tips and recipes plus quick workouts to keep your health and mindset from getting too far off track with all the hustle and bustle. Here's a link to the invitation: 

And now for those recipes:
Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts

from Whole Foods

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice or wild rice mix
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes. 
Stir in basmati rice, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in cranberries, parsley, thyme, and walnuts, cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste. 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Transfer rice mixture to dish and bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Tahini-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

from Whole Foods

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Lower heat, partially cover pan, and simmer until potatoes are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, return potatoes and garlic to pan and add tahini. Mash with a potato masher or large fork until very smooth. Place over low heat and stir in soymilk, lemon juice and salt; add a little more soymilk if potatoes are too thick. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.

5 Minute Cranberry Relish

from Forks Over Knives


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • Zest and fruit of 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup pitted dates (or more, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium husk (optional)

In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process all ingredients until the desired chunky texture is reached.

Balsamic Green Beans

  • ½ C pine nuts
  • 3-4 C water
  • 1 lb. Green beans
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced or ¼ C chopped scallions
  • ¼ C balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ C. olive oil
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • slat and pepper to taste

Toast the pine nuts for about 10 minutes at 350 until golden brown. While the nuts are toasting, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the ends of the beans. Boil the beans for about 3-6 minutes, until just tender.
Combine the shallots or scallions, vinegar, oil and herb of your choice in a medium bowl. Drain the beans thoroughly and immediately add them to the bowl, tossing them with the dressing. Stir in the toasted pine nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or chill for 20 minutes then serve.
Let me know if you try any of these, and what your family thought of them! 

All the best,

Christine Rideout
(760) 855-5571

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Get in a Healthy Halloween Spirit!

Is it me, or is October flying by?! Just 9 days until Halloween. Are you dressing up? I will be masquerading as Elastigirl, so eating clean will be key to looking my best in spandex!

Before I share some spooky recipe ideas, I wanted to remind you that Tony Horton's latest program, P90 is now available with discounted pricing through the end of October. Beachbody is also donating $5 from every P90 Challenge Pack sold in October to Wounded Warrior. For more info on P90 click here: P90 Info

Feel free to email me with any questions about the program before ordering. I want you to have the program that fits YOU.

Please check out my Facebook page for recipes, nutrition & health tips every day, too!

Now, how are you going to get into the "spirit" of Halloween without blowing your nutrition? Here are some fun ideas.

Banana ghosts with mini chocolate chip eyes and chocolate chip mouths (or carob) and peeled mandarins as pumpkins with celery stems. This is a bootiful idea for a snack or potluck tray.

Here's a yummy lentil Shepherds Pie recipe. Mound your mash into ghost shapes and use peas for eyes, and voila! Your baking dish is transformed into a graveyard.

And how about some Cheesy Witch Fingers from One Green Planet? Now these are creepy! Here is the spell...Umm, I mean recipe:

These cheesy fingers may look really scary, but don’t worry, they are also really yummy. They are just cheese crackers with a chilling “handmade” touch. Combine 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. cayenne pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix everything together. Add 1 cup room-temperature vegan butter and 1 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds and process until everything is well-combined. Sprinkle some flour on a work surface. Remove the mixture from the food processor and shape into a tube. Divide the tube into 2-inch pieces. If you want to make witch toes, make 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a thin tube, pinching the tube slightly in the middle to make it look like a finger. Look at your own fingers for a guide but pretend you are a hundred years old – no smooth skin here. Using a toothpick or a fork tine, draw on knuckle lines. On the end of each tube, add a raw, skinless almond slice, pointy side up so that it looks like a fingernail. Arrange the fingers on a baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Be careful when you’re eating these – keep track of whose fingers you’re chewing on.

Whatever you have planned for All Hallows' Eve, make sure you give that trick or treat candy to the Great Pumpkin and stay on track. Holiday parties are just around the corner, and you'll want to look and feel your best in your fancy party clothes! Have a howlin' good time!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Have you missed me?!!

I've been crazy busy, and spread thin online, too. My Instagram (@fitfangurl) and Facebook (Facebook) have been busy, I've been making a few videos for the You Toobs (YouTube),  but I've not been too active on Twitter (@FitFanGurl) and this blog has been neglected!
I aim to remedy that! I hope to be able to post at least weekly now.

So, to catch you up on the last six weeks:

     I'm in Physical Therapy for my knee. I had a Synvisc-1 injection, which was a waste of money, because my problem is really not in the joint space. It's a functional issue.  Evidently, my Vastus lateralis,  (the big outer quad muscle) is quite tight and my Vastus medialis (the small quad muscle toward the inside of the thigh) is quite atrophied. This causes my knee cap to be pulled toward the outside and because that tracking is off, I have pain in the kneecap and the tendon in which it is situated.
     The VMO muscle is hard to isolate. I've been put on restriction--no riding my bikes (wah!!) and no regular workouts. I can do upper body and core, but no squats, lunges, cardio, etc. It sucks. I have certain rehab exercises to do 2-3 times a day and I am supposed to ice 5 times a day, in addition to my twice weekly appointments with the therapist. Can you say TIME SUCK?

     The bad news, is that it's not working! My V. lateralis is tightening up worse and giving me pain, and my VMO is not growing, and my knee pain is not improving. Even the therapist is getting disappointed. I have a couple more visits before I see my Orthopedic doc again, and then I suppose we'll have to make a new plan.
     In the meantime, I'm feeling the effects of not getting my cardio fix. It's odd, but when I work out more, I actually eat less. I have been eating clean, but eating more, and I have been struggling with too many grains. This is ending TODAY. I am spanking myself and getting back on track.
     Besides the knee issues, other things going on that have been keeping me super busy are mostly kid-related.  My daughter is now in Middle School and she landed a big role in the upcoming musical production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is a Narrator with lots of stage time and solos! I'm very proud of her, but between rehearsals, taekwando, ASB, and her regular workload (she homeschools 2 days a week but 1 of those days she has a 5 hour rehearsal!), her schedule is HECTIC.


We went to Long Beach Comic Con this past Saturday and cosplayed together as Elastigirl and Violet from the Incredibles. It was a long day and a long drive, but fun!

     My best friend, Melissa, and I started a local social group for Star Trek fans.  We've had a few Away Missions, and hope to increase attendance at these. We went to the local Renaissance Faire last week in uniform, and to a Sky Show with telescope viewing at the Science Center last night. If you are in the greater San Diego area, check out our group page on Facebook! San Diego Away Team

     There is also a lot going on in my business. I'm blessed to have an amazing team of business partners and coaches to work with. The are positive, supportive and smart! We've also got some of the best world-class training and great programs to offer our clients. Even though I'm benched right now, I am still helping others change their lives, and that is a great feeling.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where do you get your protein?

Many of you may know that I am a mostly-vegan. I occasionally have dairy, but only when I'm not home and the “vegetarian” choices are limiting.

The most common question asked of us vegans is, “Where do you get your protein?”

Protein is easy! You don't have to eat flesh or eggs to get enough a protein, as many vegan athletes can attest! As a matter of fact, the developers of Shakeology, Isabel Daikeler and Darin Olien, are vegans!

But before I go on, let's decide how much protein we need. In essence, the more you exercise, the greater your protein needs will be.

How to Calculate Your Protein Needs:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg
2. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.
Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

154 lb male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights
154 lbs/2.2 = 70kg
70kg x 1.5 = 105 gm protein/day

Another (easier) way to calculate how much protein you need is by using daily calorie intake and the percentage of calories that will come from protein. The percentage you choose will be based on your goals, fitness level, age, body type and metabolic rate. Most experts recommend that your protein intake be somewhere between 15 and 30%.

For a 140lb female, calorie intake=1800 calories, protein=20%:
1800 x .20 = 360 calories from protein. Since 1 gram of protein = 4 calories, divide protein calories by four:
360/4 = 90 grams of protein per day.

My foremost source of protein is my daily Vegan Shakeology. It provides me with 16 grams of plant-based protein. Sometimes I add some PB2, which boosts the protein count by 5 grams.

The highest sources of vegan protein are tempeh and seitan. Tempeh has 31 grams per cup, and seitan has 21 grams per 3 ounces—almost double the amount in beef!

Us vegans eat a lot of beans and lentils. Yes, they contain carbohydrates along with their proteins, but they also provide fiber and are so versatile! Lentils provide 18 grams per cup, and depending on the type of beans, 12-15 grams per cup. I use lentils to make tacos, and shepherd's pie, and lentil bread, among other things. Beans can be found in my homemade veggie burgers, hummus, soups, salads, and more!

Quinoa (9 grams/cup of COMPLETE protein), oats, nut butters, leafy greens (especially kale!) and broccoli all are great sources of protein.

Just look at how the protein stacks up in this sample vegan day:

Meal           Food                Protein     Calories
Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal        6g          158
              1 T almond butter     3.5g       100
             1 sliced peach            1.5g         59
             ½ C almond milk        .5 g        15

Snack: Vegan Shakeology      16g         170

         3 cups mixed greens        3g           25
         1 oz pepitas                     5g           126
        1 cup sweet potato cubes 2 g           114
        ½ cup chickpeas               8g           134
        2 T tahini dressing            6g           178

             Apple                            .5g          90
            1 T peanut butter            4g          94

            ½ C tempeh                 15.5g        160
           1 C broccoli                   2.5g           31
             ½ C quinoa                   4.5g         111

Oh my gosh, that's 1565 calories and 78.5 grams of protein about 20%)! Without any animal products.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I won $1000 just for getting healthy!

After I completed my first Beachbody program, Focus T25, I was down about 13 pounds, but 19 inches overall. My coach encouraged me to enter the Beachbody Challenge, but I never got around to it. 
Fast forward 7 months. I am now a Beachbody coach, myself, and I went to the Coach Summit in June. It is the annual convention where we go for training workshops, recognition, and corporate launch news. 

The official opening of Summit was on a Thursday afternoon, but our large team had a Summit of it's own during the day. I was asked to be the opening speaker and spend 5 minutes talking about my fitness journey. You can view that talk here: My Story

At Summit, the Beachbody Challenge Contest finalists were on stage. There was a male and female from each of the age categories. A snazzy video presentation for each of them was played for the 9000 coaches in attendance. The videos were emotional! Each person's story was compelling and special. Their lives were transformed on many levels. This isn't just about losing weight, it's about changing lives.  There were "before" photos of the contestants and they each spoke about how they felt and what struggles they had before the challenge. They discussed what programs they did and how their lives had changed. Each one of them brought tears to my eyes. They were all amazing and dramatic transformations: one woman's husband didn't recognize her when he returned from deployment!

The winner of the Challenge lost 203 pounds in 9 months! WUT!! You can read his story Bradley J
Bradley won $100,000 in addition to his monthly and quarterly prizes! WOW! The "runners up" had to settle for only $25,000 each. However, even if they never got a penny, they were all winners, because they got their health back. They got their lives back!

My teammates, after seeing the inspirational stories, and hearing mine, encouraged me to submit my photos and story, so when I did I got online and finally did it. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Three weeks later I opened up my email and saw this: 

      Congratulations! You've won $1,000 in The Beachbody Challenge!

Thank you so much for sharing your incredible, life-changing transformation story with us. Helping people achieve their goals to lead healthy, fulfilling lives is our mission in life, and YOUR story is a shining example of the success that real, honest people can achieve with Beachbody® programs. Thousands of Beachbody customers submitted their results to The Beachbody Challenge last month, and YOUR story scored the highest from your respective age and gender group. As one of our monthly winners, it's an honor to offer you a prize of $1,000. You've EARNED IT!

Wow! What a nice surprise that was! So, I submitted my paperwork and spoke to a nice man named Arte on the phone on Monday. He told me that my story is very unusual for someone "in my age group" and that results were great. He said I am automatically entered in the Quarterly Contest at the end of July and it would be up to the Internet to vote for me, but if I win that I'll get $5000 more! Wheee!  He also told me that no matter what happens then, I am eligible to compete for the Grand Prize next June. They will send me a reminder, ask for fresh pictures with a dated newspaper, and I could very well be one of those people on stage at Summit next summer! 

So, here is my story, on the Beachbody Challenge website: BB Challenge Monthly Winner Christine R

Do you know what I am most excited about? My mission as a Team Beachbody Coach is to Inspire and help others to get healthier. By winning this contest, and moving ahead to the next stage, my story is getting seen by thousands of people that would not otherwise have seen it. I hope that it will be inspiring and motivating to some of them!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our Veggies Aren't Vegan!

I am a subscriber of J.R. Organics CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Being a subscriber means that I pick up a box of fresh, organic produce at my local Farmers Market biweekly. 
I look forward to my box, and feel great knowing we are eating clean, chemical-free food and supporting a local family business. 

Today we took part in a farm tour.  The Rodriguez family has been farming in Southern California for 6 decades. Three generations work the business and live on the property. The proprietor, Joe gave us a a little history, and walked us through some of the property. He told us that they used to do conventional farming, but years ago he got sick from the chemical pesticides on the farm and learned organic practices and got certified organic as a result of that. 

We saw the greenhouses where tender seedlings are started in cooler months, shaded germinated areas, fields of squash, beans, tomatoes, kale, cauliflower, and more. We learned about crop rotation and pest control. We saw the washing and packing area where the various farmers' market orders are prepared
. Then we had a long walk to the strawberry field where we each got to pick a basketful to take home. 

A huge buffet awaited us after our time in the fields. There was strawberry lemonade and cucumber lemonade (so yum!), fresh guacamole & chips, rice, beans, turkey meatloaf (us vegetarians skipped that) squash soup, mixed steamed veggies, sautéed chard and at least 7 kinds of salads. I loved the spinach and strawberry salad and the kale salad. My overflowing plate of greenery was more than enough to satisfy. I skipped the strawberries and cream for dessert. 

It was a lovely outing, however there was a huge snag!

My eleven year old daughter is a 90% vegan/10% vegetarian, mostly for reasons of animal rights and not wanting to kill or abuse animals for food. While I support those reasons, I also value the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet just as much. 

At one point Joe spoke about fertilizer for his farm. He said that they use, among other things, chicken manure, bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion. (He also mentioned trapping and drowning squirrels). Well none of that sat very well with the kid.  She is very bothered that dead animals' parts are used to grow her food. She sent me these two texts from across the table: 

        Mom -.- this isn't even VEGETARIAN


So what now? My kid can't eat anything? She'll starve herself? One could drive oneself mad over this stuff. Even the certified organic chicken manure could come from chickens being kept in crowded poultry buildings on factory-chicken ranches. Ugh. 

I spoke with Joe and he basically told me that these fertilizers are standard organic farming practice. Yikes. Even my veggies aren't vegan!

I seem to have convinced my daughter that we could go to grocer & buy organic veggies and fruits and they would all have similar fertilizers. She's a bit resigned to this, but I've promised to research organic VEGAN fertilizers, at least to use in my own home garden. At least that is some mitigation of her concerns. 

I love her heart and passion. I've learned a lot because of it. But man, ignorance is bliss!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Reset Bloodwork Results are AMAZING

I'm so excited to report the results of my lipid panel after doing the Ultimate Reset!

I've struggled with high blood lipids my entire life. At one point my triglycerides were as high as 575! (normal is <150)
I can't remember ever having a normal cholesterol profile. Well I'm here to tell you that I've now got the best numbers of my entire 53 years!

Here are my before and after the Ultimate Reset numbers:

Total Cholesterol      218      185        Normal <200
HDL                         40          40        Normal >39
LDL                         151      123         Normal <99
Triglycerides            137      111         Normal <150

Let me do the math for you: my total cholesterol dropped 33 points, LDL (the BAD cholesterol) is down 28 points, and triglycerides are down 26 points. My HDL (good cholesterol) held steady.
I'd still love to see my HDL creep up a bit and my LDL go down, but my doctor no longer threatens me with statin drugs (I will NEVER take them), and my heart disease and diabetes risk are low.

My commitment to regular exercise and a clean eating program has lowered my lipid profile significantly over the last two years. In March of 2013 my total cholesterol was 278 and in March of 2012 my triglycerides were at 316! My HDL was only 30 and my LDL was at 194. Not a healthy lipid profile, at all.

When did you last have your labs done? It's great to assess your complete health profile, including fitness tests, cancer screenings and bloodwork, on at least an annual basis. Go call your doctor for an appointment now!

Need help getting started on a good fitness and meal plan? Message me at and I'll share some program options with you. My coaching group has a new 21 day challenge starting June 2nd!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Ultimate Reset Part 3--I'm Smaller and My Head Is Clearer

Yay! I'm on the last day of the Ultimate Reset. I did it! 21 Days of structured eating and supplements...and NO exercise! Here's how my week went down:

So week three is the "Reclaim" phase, where the Detox supplement is replaced by the Restore supplement, which is probiotics. The Alkalinize, Optimize and Soothe supplements are continued.

The major change this week is dietary. Veggies and fruits and a bit of oil, and THAT'S IT. No grains, no nuts, no beans, no legumes. The portions are huge, though, and the only time I felt hungry was at about 10 a.m. every morning, which is normal for me. My body still wants a midmorning snack, but I just drank 2 big glasses of water with my supplements and held out until lunch.

Each morning's breakfast consisted of about 4 cups of fresh fruit. Thankfully there are some amazing fruits in season now at Farmer's Market. I enjoyed white peaches, apricots, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango, papaya, tangelo, and grapefruit--all organic and fresh! It was delicious, but I am looking forward to some oatmeal tomorrow.

Lunches were always a ginormous salad, sometimes with something on the side, like a sweet potato or some avocado. Some days I got roasted pumpkin seeds. I joked that I've eaten more pumpkin seeds in the last three weeks than in my entire life, but guess what I made more of last night for the coming week? Yup, roasted pumpkin seeds for my salads! I love them, and they are so full of protein, good fats, and minerals.

Dinners were always too much. For example, one night it was whole head of broccoli with 15 asparagus spears and a roasted fennel bulb. All of the dinners were delicious, and consisted of nothing but veggies, and a little coconut or olive oil.

Snacks were either a half a scoop of Shakeology with fruit and coconut water or some raw veggies or and apple and some blueberries.

The first half of the week I was moody and my energy level was much lower than last week. I perked up midweek and felt pretty normal. My "regularity" suffered a bit in the beginning of the week, but this was a big dietary shift.

All in all, I made the program work, even on days I couldn't be home much, by planning ahead. I packed salads for lunches and took extra mineralized water and my supplements with me in a small cooler. At the movies I took raw veggie sticks to munch on instead of chemical-laden, greasy and oversalted popcorn. It didn't even smell good to me! I swapped dinner meals one night for one that had less cook time and prep when I knew I'd be home late.

I feel great, and I'm definitely smaller! Are you ready for my stats? Here goes:
Day 21:
Down 10 pounds
Body fat down 2 percent
BMI down 2 points
7 total inches lost
 I am having a lipid panel drawn tomorrow. I'm excited to get the results of my triglycerides and cholesterol and I'll post them when I get them.

For more info on the Ultimate Reset click here

And now, for my before and after pics. I had a very hard time posting this because I'm still not where I want to be and I don't like the pics. I'm looking forward to working out again and getting rid of the last of that belly fat! ::deep breath:: Here goes!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Ultimate Reset Part 2---I'm Melting Away!

Phase 2--Detox
I didn't set out doing the Ultimate Reset to lose weight. I thought it would help me continue losing weight after I completed the program, as my system would be clean and my metabolism would be honed. However, weight and measurement reduction has been a pleasant side effect!
At the end of week 2 here are my losses:

  • down 7-1/2 pounds
  • 1" off my waist
  • 3/4" off my hips
  • 1/2" off my bust
  • 1-1/2" off my midriff
  • 3/4" off my lower ab
  • My arm and thigh measurements remain unchanged
Holy smokes!

So what was week two like? Kinda crazy! 

Day 8 Started the Detox phase of the program. I decided to try oil pulling first thing in the mornings and added the new detox supplement to the rotation. Breakfast was a huge bowl of fresh fruit, a giant salad for lunch, watermelon and ginger in my Tropical Strawberry Shakeology for a snack, and pinto beans and rice with steamed zucchini and string beans for dinner. I had SO MUCH energy! I reorganized every drawer in the house! I cleaned out my closet (again), vacuumed, mopped, walked the dogs, coached clients, and did laundry. This went on all the way until 9 pm until I was suddenly, extremely exhausted. 

Day 9 I woke up feeling energetic. I did Yoga Fix.
I did more spring cleaning, a little outdoor cleanup and garden harvesting, visited Farmer's Market and tried a new Shakeology recipe for my snack: coconut water, dried coconut, frozen pineapple and half a scoop of vegan chocolate Shakeology. OMG so good! I had what was essentially hummus for breakfast, and a big salad and pinto beans with rice for lunch.  I loved the dinner, which was roasted asparagus and sweet potato soup, which is surprising, because sweet potatoes aren't my favorite. As the day wore on I got more and more sniffly. By nightfall I had the sneezes and my sinuses burned and I had an alternating stuffy and runny nose. Since it was very windy out, and unseasonable hot, I wan't sure if this wass allergy (although I'm not usually allergic), a germ, or a side effect of the cleanse. 

Day 10 sinuses were worse. Sore nose. Lots of sneezing and nose-blowing. Many people in the Ultimate Reset Facebook Group were reporting sinus symptoms as part of the detox phase. I didn't feel sick, just sneezy and sniffly/stuffy, and I had another productive day. Rearranged furniture, cleaned, reorganized bookcases, and sold 3 challenge packs! It was still terribly windy and dry. We had 4% humidity and 60 mph winds! Our gazebo canopy was shredded. :-(  I bought summer veggies but didn't plant. The Lentil Quinoa Pilaf for dinner was yummy!

Day 11 I woke up with sinus pain. I used my Neti pot, which at first HURT, but gave me relief. OMG WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS 2 DAYS SOONER?! 
I was having "spring cleaning" issues all week. I mean I went to find the neti pot in the cabinet, and an hour later...after cleaning out all the expired medicines and reorganizing the cupboard, I finally got what I came for. I couldn't stop myself! I've been acting totally OCD about cleaning and organizing! Wednesday it was the bookcase. I took every book off every shelf, dusted, and categorized them. The day before I reorganized all the drawers in the kitchen and bedroom. I've tossed a lot of stuff and took donations to Goodwill. Oh yeah, and I did 5 minutes of the 10 Minute Abs workout in the 21 Day Fix.

3-1.2 miles was al little much
Day 12 Sinuses are much better, continued using the Neti pot and oil pulling. The wind finally stopped but it was still very hot. I went for a 3-1/2 mile walk. I felt a little more stressed, and had unfinished cleaning projects. I managed to finish a second bookcase and cleaned out my cookbook collection. Because of a school event and not planning my meal prep very well, I didn't get to eat my dinner until after 8pm.  That's pretty late for me. 

Day 13 I awoke to the news that my friend, Clay, had passed away. My head just wasn't in the game all day. I got practically nothing done. I spent a lot of time grieving with online friends and scrolling his Facebook page and reading the beautiful tributes and messages posted there. I took my daughter to Free Comic Book Day at the local comic shop, but there was a long line around the building and I just didn't have it in me to stand in that line in the heat. I had to get my tire replaced on my car and go to the grocer anyway. By the time I returned to the comic shop, all the free comics were gone, but I was able to visit my friend, Gen, who was working there and get hugs and share with her about Clay. She gave me her copy of the FCBD Mouse Guard hardcover. It's extra special to me now. On the way home I visited my best friend, Melissa, and we hugged and talked about the brainstorming some of us had about a memorial for Clay at the Star Trek Convention in August. When I got home I tried to watch and take notes on some online training for work, but I just couldn't focus. My dinner was kobucha squash with tahini sauce and it was my least favorite meal this week. I ate half of it, and had an apple, then watched the Amgen Tour of California preview show and turned in early.

Edamame and Roasted Corn Succotash
Day 14 After 10 hours in bed I feel better mentally. I'm driving to Long Beach today to see a Trekkie friend, Karen, who is visiting from Colorado. We will go to the Aquarium of the Pacific. I've packed my supplements, Shakeology, and water. I'm bringing my own salad dressing and pumpkin seeds so I can order a salad at lunch and I've got my Edamame and Roasted Corn Succotash that I made ahead last night in my little cooler for dinner. I am not blowing this on the home stretch!

Tomorrow starts Phase 3, Restore. No more Detox powder, but I will be adding probiotics. I will be eating nothing but vegetables and fruit for a whole week. No grains or legumes! This should be interesting. It sounds worse than it is, actually. The meal plan recipes have all been tasty for the most part and it's never the same dinner twice. The portions are huge and I have never felt hungry so far.

For more information on the program click here: Ultimate Reset 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Ultimate Reset, Part 1

Today I completed the first phase of Beachbody's Ultimate Reset, a program for detoxing, strengthening immunity, improving digestion and resetting metabolism. This program is 21 days and is divided into 3 phases: Reclaim, Release and Restore.

During the Reclaim stage you follow a menu plan that weans you off of meat and dairy, which are acidic and stress your digestive system. The supplements in this stage are Optimize (enzymes, which are necessary for every bodily function), Alkalinize for normalizing the body's pH balance, Soothe (includes aloe and curcumin) for reducing inflammation, and Mineralize (Himalayan pink salt) which is added to distilled water--the only beverage allowed. Once this phase is complete, the body is primed, balanced and strengthened on a cellular level and ready for the next phase of releasing accumulated toxins.

During the entire 3 weeks of the Reset, there is no strenuous exercise. The focus is internal. Daily walking, stretching, gentle yoga or Tai Cheng are encouraged.

Since I was already 90% vegan, I thought Phase 1 would be easy. What I didn't take into account was my coffee habit. The first few days were hellish as I went through caffeine withdrawal. I enjoyed almost all of the food, though, except for one thing.

Day 1 I did Tai Cheng in the morning. After lunch I felt super tired. I slept about 90 minutes on the sofa and when I woke up I had a horrid headache. I felt like my brains were going to explode through my eyeballs! The headache did not let up all evening and I was very tired.  I turned in early.

Day 2 I woke up with that darn headache. I had my regular chiropractor visit, and as suspected, my neck and back were all wonky from sleeping in a hotel the whole week before and then my snooze on the sofa. (I have severe neck issues, btw--the kind that only surgery can fix). The adjustment helped a bit, but my head was not right all day. I cheated on the exercise rule and went mountain biking, but I didn't feel 100% on my bike and actually walked a short way on an uphill. (I'm usually a climber) By the time evening rolled around I had developed body aches, mostly from the waist down. My hips and low back and thighs were all sore, but not the post-workout kind of sore. More like the I'm dying from the flu kind of sore.

Day 3 I had a HORRIBLE night. I woke at 2 a.m. with such horrible pain. I couldn't find a comfortable position. My lower back and legs and hips were trying to kill me. At 3:15 I stripped and got in the jacuzzi. I did deep breathing exercises. I drank 2 big glasses of my mineralized water. I got relief for about 15 minutes. I went on the reset boards someone suggested magnesium. Ding! I remembered that magnesium makes you sleepy, and I also remembered that we have melatonin. I took both. It was about 5 a.m. when I finally dozed off. The alarm rang at 6:30. Fail. I was in pain the whole day. I felt mentally foggy. I felt feverish, but the thermometer proved that theory wrong. I had alternating chills and hot flashes.  I looked up caffeine withdrawal on the internet and found this link. Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms  I had ALL TEN SYMPTOMS. I went in the jacuzzi twice. I tried Tai Cheng but my hamstrings were so tensed up I couldn't even bend forward enough to touch my knees.

Day 4 I woke in around 3 a.m. with the same pain, but managed to get back to sleep after about half and hour. When I woke up my pain was still there, but not as intense. I went for a walk at the local park. There is one hill at the beginning of the trail and I didn't think I'd make it to the top because my knee and ankles hurt THAT BADLY. These are old, healed surgeries that haven't bothered me at all in the last year, except for the most recent knee surgery last November. Weird. Still, I think the walking helped. By lunchtime my pain had subsided. By dinnertime I felt pretty good. Whew!

Speaking of dinnertime, this meal caused me TEARS. I have never in my life eaten seafood. When I was a kid, my Catholic parents had fish every Friday, but mom made me a grilled cheese sandwich. I lived in Key Largo and worked in a fish restaurant, yet I never ate seafood. I can't get past the smell. So the dinner was supposed to be nori rolls and miso soup and a Japanese cucumber salad. I went to 5 stores looking for wakame seaweed and mirin. I followed the simple recipes and made the food. The wakame had to be soaked for 5 minutes and drained. When I drained it the smell reminded me of cleaning the fishtank. It literally smelled like fish poop. I mixed it into the cucumbers with the mirin and rice vinegar and set it in the frig to marinate. Next I laid out a sheet of nori seaweed and piled on the brown rice, carrots, cucumbers, and avocado and rolled it all up. I gagged as I sliced the roll. Then I boiled the water, added the miso paste and green onion, and dumped in some wakame.

I got all anxious.  I didn't think I could go through with it. I tasted a little piece of the wakame in the cucumber salad and it was slimy and smelled so damn fishy. I dumped it down the garbage disposal and cried! I left the nori roll and soup for my daughter, thinking she would eat it after karate because she snacks on dried seaweed.  She tried one bite and screwed up her nose. No way she was going to eat that. So it all went in the trash. I cried again. What a waste. How do people eat that?!

I ended up eating some leftover bean/rice/avocado taco from Day 2 and made her a bean burger. My appetite was ruined and I didn't enjoy my dinner at all. My kitchen smelled fishy and it took me the whole evening to get over that.... yeah i have seafood ISSUES.....and it wasn't even fish!

Days 5-7 I felt fine. I never felt hungry the entire week. The food portions were huge, and only ate vegan meals. I usually eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, but most days I only ate the 3 meals. A few of the days I had a half serving of Shakeology with fruit, but some days I just didn't fit it into my schedule toward the end of the week. The supplements have to be taken at specific least a half hour before meals and at least 2 hours after meals.

Other things I noticed this week (all are normal): vivid dreams (I usually don't remember my dreams), increased sensitivity to odors, random mild body aches that move around to different areas.

I'm anxious to start Phase 2, Release, tomorrow. A new supplement will be added to the schedule tomorrow--Detox--and a new all-vegan menu begins. I'm ready for some new recipes. ;)

Finally, let me say that absolutely everyone who I've communicated with that has done the Ultimate Reset says the results are totally worth it. I checked my weight this morning, and after 6 days I'm down SEVEN POUNDS. My waist measurement is down a whole inch. I hope that when this program is over my workouts will be smoother and my weight loss and maintenance will be more consistent. I have had no cravings and despite my painful caffeine withdrawal, I'm glad I'm doing this for my health. I'll indulge in coffee when this is over, but I'm going to try to limit my intake in the future. I figure if you've got a withdrawal that painful you must have been drinking too much!

Find out more about the Ultimate Reset

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

21 Day Fix Review

I almost finished the 21 Day Fix, Team Beachbody's newest fitness and nutrition program by bikini model Autumn Calabrese.

By almost, I mean I stuck to the plan perfectly until day 18 when I ate pizza, then skipped day 19 & 20 workouts and ate a burger a fries! Even though I was vacationing the last week, I was able to stick to the diet and do the exercise in the hotel room, and I have no excuse for the pizza and burger... Day 21 I was back on plan, and did the double workout that was supposed to be on Day 20. 

So what was this Fix about and how did I like it?

First of all, with the program you get colored plastic containers, one for each food group int he meal plan. You do an easy calculation before you begin to determine which caloric intake tier you are in. Then you know how many servings of each container group to eat each day.
There is a list of approved foods for each category to choose from. I am a vegetarian (yeah, we'll just forget that tummy-ache-inducing burger last weekend) so I had to finagle the Red group (protein) a bit. I needed 4 servings per day. A serving of Shakeology is in that group, I ate one Quest Bar for another because I'm using up my stash before going totally vegan, and a vegan protein bar, tempeh, or seitan for the other two servings. Often I'd get to the end of the day short one Red serving, so I'd have a protein bar or shake. It worked.

When I first opened the package I thought the containers looked tiny. They are deceiving, though, because you can cram a lot of stuff into them. I never once felt hungry or deprived on the meal plan. 
I got to eat avocados, hummus, nuts and seeds, fruits, and loads of veggies. I think the real key to the success of the meal plan is the limits on the Yellow food group, which is basically starches and grains. Just two servings a day, and a serving is ONE piece of whole grain bread or about 1/2 a cup of brown rice, etc.

The workouts were 30 minutes a day for the first two weeks, and the third week there were two 30-minute workouts a day, preferably at different times of the day. Most of the exercises use multiple muscle groups. There are usually 1 minute intervals with 15 second breaks in between, so you don't get much rest between sets. There is equipment needed...2 sets of hand weights or an exercise band. A mat is helpful, too. In the hotel, I had a hard time with the band, so I used a couple of gallon jugs of water. Like I always say, there is always a modification for everything. 

The first week, despite just finishing P90X3 and cycling often, I was SORE. I mean really, really sore. My legs were sore to the touch by the end of the week. There are no recovery days in this program, but Thursdays were Pilates and Sundays were yoga days, so that was active recovery. The second week was a lot easier, as my body adjusted to new movements. 

Overall, the workouts were enjoyable, and there is a modifier for everything. Autumn is encouraging, and does almost all of the workout with you, unless she is specifically pointing out some form on one of the other people on the screen. She's also easy on the eyes...

So how did I do? Despite my total fail at the very end, I still ended up losing quite a bit in just three weeks.  I was down 4.4 pounds (actually down more after week 2), lost 1-1/4" from waist, 1" from bust, 1" from midriff and 1/2" from lower ab. 

Would I recommend this program? Definitely for people who struggle with portion control. The meal plan is simple and there is minimal cooking and food prep. Definitely for people who need a quick fix for an upcoming event, to tone up, lose 4-10 pounds in a month. 

I will be doing the program again, after my Ultimate Reset. I will definitely keep the 21 Day Fix workouts in my rotation, along with select workouts from P90X3 and T-25. 

So, in closing, remember to LISTEN TO AUTUMN. Don't undo your hard work in the kitchen (or the pizza place, or Red Robin) and if you're tired of starting over, don't quit!

Find out more here: 21 Day Fix

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I've Found My Bars!

After tireless taste testing and untrackable expenditure I have finally found protein bars that meet my strict criteria of being:  
     *high in protein (15+ grams preferred)
     *low in carbs (under 20 gm preferred)

Here is my review, in the order tested.

Dr. Mercola Pure Power Protein Bar

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip

220 cal, 9g fat, 22g carb, 4g fiber, 0mg, sodium, 14 g protein 
Taste: meh. Started kinda funky & I got used to it after a few bites.

Texture: mushy & oily 
Available only in boxes of 12 online.

While it fits pretty well into all the parameters I set, I just don't love the taste, and there is only one flavor. I will not be buying more of these.

Vega Sport Protein Recovery Bar

Chocolate Coconut
240 Cal, 8g fat, 28g carb, 4g fiber, 40 mg. sodium, 15 g protein

Chocolate Saviseed
230 cal, 7 g fat, 29 g carb, 6 g fiber, 65 mg sodium, 15 g pro

Taste: Delicious, but in hot weather the chocolate would be melty in my pack

Texture: firm
Available at my local Sprouts and Jimbo's stores as single bars. I will buy these again, but won't rely on these as my main go-to bars because of the melty chocolate coating, the higher carb count (fine if I'm cycling), and the limited choice of flavors.  

Square Bar

Cocoa Crunch
200 Cal,  9g fat, 20g carb, 2g fiber, 35 mg sodium, 12 G protein
Taste: very strong cocoa flavor,  sweet, I don't care much for it.
Texture: hard & squishy at the same time. 

Cocoa Coconut
220 cal, 11g fat, 18g carb, 2g fiber, 25mg sodium,  11g protein 
Taste: very sweet. Less intense cocoa. Better than Cocoa Crunch.
Texture: soft but dry

Cocoa Almond
210 Cal, 10g fat, 19g carb, 2g fiber, 20 mg sodium,12g protein
Taste: fairly intense cocoa flavor, sweet
Texture: chocolately coating, soft center, almonds are chopped fine.

Available online in boxes of 12, and they do have a variety pack. 
I probably wouldn't order these again. The flavor is very strong, they don't have quite enough protein compared to the calories for me. 

22 Days 

PB Chocolate Chip Nirvana
290 cal, 10g fat, 24g carb, 9g fiber, 280mg sodium,  20g protein

 Taste: mild flavor, pleasant but not WOW
Texture: soft & chewy. No coating. Heavy. A few small chocolate chips inside.
These do have the right protein and fiber counts, but the calories are high. The flavor is not great, but not bad. If I were out somewhere and hungry, and these were in a store, I might pick one up, but I wouldn't seek them out.
Daily Mocha Mantra
220 cal, 12g fat,  21g carb, 5g fiber, 20mg sodium, 10g protein

Taste: pretty good. Can definitely taste the coffee. 
Texture: firm. Chocolatey coating is messy. 

These are a bit low on protein, and high in fat, considering the calorie count. Also, you really gotta love coffee to like this one.

Cashew Cranberry Orange
200 cal, 7g fat, 26g carb, 4g fiber, 100mg sodium, 10g protein 

Taste: yummy citrus flavor, tangy, not too sweet
Texture: soft & chewy. No coating little bits of fruit & nuts inside. 
While these are too low in protein for the criteria I set, I will buy them again as a snack/energy bar or to stick in my pack when I'm cycling. They are delicious!

Almond Blueberry
220 cal,9 g fat, 23 carb, 6 g fiber, 130 mg sodium, 11 g protein
Taste: delicious nutty flavor, not too sweet, pleasant.
Texture: soft and chewy, no coating. Little bits of fruit and nuts inside.

Again, I would buy these again for cycling, my kids' lunchbox, etc., but won't rely on them for protein. Delightful. They are available in several flavors and a vegan variety pack. I want to try them all!

Organic Food Bar
330 cal, 9g fat, 33g carb, 8g fiber, 5mg sodium, 22g protein

Taste: sweet/tart, fruity
Texture: soft and chewy and little gritty. Tiny bits of seeds and/or nuts inside.
Well they are high in protein, but also very high in sugars and calories! I appreciate the "greenness" of the company and the quality ingredients, but this is not what I was looking for. I won't buy them again. I will try to sneak them in my kid's lunch (she can use the calories!), but I have a feeling she won't care for them. I may eat one if I do a long and hard bike ride, but they really are very sugary. I wonder why they felt the need to include blue agave nectar when they are already full of dates? 

GoMacro Macrobar Protein Replenishment

Peanut Butter
260 cal, 10g fat, 34 carb, 2g fiber, 5mg sodium, 12g protein

Taste: gross! Like sad peanuts...
Texture: heavy, chewy, crunchy bits of peanuts inside
I do not like this one.

 How can you seriously call this bar "protein replenishment" when it has only 12 g protein and 34 g carbs! For 260 calories I could have so much more protein and much better flavor. Yuck.

Dale's Raw Protein Bars

Here we have our hands-down winner!! Dale's has many interesting flavors to choose from, and they have regular and lower-carb protein bars. They are all vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, 90% organic and raw. They also happen to be gluten-free and do not contain agave.

Here's a video by Dale about his ingredients: Dale's Ingredients

I've tried several flavors, and liked them all--so much that I've placed another order already so I can try more flavors! I stocked up because there was a recent sale of buy 2 get 1 free and free shipping with orders over $150. That brought the price down from somewhere around $4 a bar to just over $2 each! They freeze well! So, here are the pros and cons:
Vanilla Cashew
259 cal, 15g fat, 16g carb, 7g fiber, 100mg sodium 22g protein
A bit dense & dry but seems to soften up and be more moist and chewy when brought to room temperature.  Flavor is good and no messy coating. Just the nutritional profile I was looking for!

Carrot Cake
282 cal, 11g fat, 33g carb, 8g fiber, 22g protein 
Wow, delicious. 
Not one of the lower carb bars, but I love it so much I don't care!

Raspberry Hazelnut
280 cal, 10g fat, 33g carb, 7g fiber, 100mg sodium, 22 g protein
Yummy and moist. I ate this one at the movie theater during Captain America. Way better than candy! Again, not one of the lower carb choices, but yummy and high protein.

Cafe Mocha with Chia Seeds
264 cal, 16g fat, 15g carb, 7g fiber, 100mg sodium, 22g protein
The lower carb choices are not that much lower in calories. So far I prefer the regular bar flavors, but I haven't tasted them all---YET. This one is good. I enjoyed it with a cup of maté tea. mmmmmm....

Chocolate Chia Maca
252 cal, 16g fat, 13g carb, 8g fiber, 100mg sodium, 22g protein
Another winner. Straight out of the frig they are a bit hard and dry, but left out for a bit to warm up they are delightful. Great numbers here...almost all protein after subtracting the fiber!

Dale's Raw Food Bars need to be stored in the refrigerator. They are fine to put in a pack, purse, lunchbox, etc. but because they are raw, if left out for a couple of weeks they could start to ferment. They are made fresh WHEN YOU ORDER THEM so they may take a little longer to arrive at your door, but they are worth the wait for freshness and they all taste delicious. They keep well in the freezer, so you can stock up on sales or with the coupons you will receive via email when you sign up on their website.

I just received and email that said my next order has been shipped. I can't wait to try some more new flavors!