Shakeology: a perpetual over-sharer makes no exception.

Stick with me on this one.

Juuuust give it a read.

If it still sounds nutso at the end, then ok.

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So I talk about Shakeology a lot. Pretty much all the time. I’m a perpetual over-sharer and this is no exception.

YOU ROLLED YOUR EYES, DIDN’T YOU?!

It’s ok.

But since I tend to get a ton of questions from people trying to figure out what all the fuss is about, I wanted to try to answer a lot of those questions together in one place. I know it’s hard (and unnatural) to trust a product you’ve never used or heard much about. There are tons of places to get info and the best place to start is here, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ve combined information from lots of resources to create the FAQ below:

What’s your deal; why are you so obsessed with it?
When I first heard about Shakeology, I thought it was an overpriced scam. I already ate healthy and didn’t want to add anything that came in a shiny bag from a company called Beachbody to my regimen. But after reading testimonial after testimonial, and with an urge to boost my immune system and energy as a brand new mom, I decided to try it. After one week though – of one shake a day – I had lost weight and had a huge increase in energy. I felt like a fog had lifted; like I finally got the right prescription for my vision, only it was for my body and brain.

After three weeks of one shake a day, I felt happier than I had in a long, long time. I had gained muscle, had lower anxiety and was sleeping better. I had fewer sugar cravings and was less bloated. The benefits only continued as time went by. I noticed how the shakes boosted my workouts and that my nails and hair and skin were healthier. I stopped taking my other vitamins and the iron supplements my doctor had prescribed, as well as other medications, and when I had a full blood panel a month later, all my results were better OFF my meds and on Shakeology.

Will it help me lose weight and feel better?
It absolutely can, as part of a healthy lifestyle. When used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise program, it works wonders and can dramatically improve how you look and feel. BUT…it works as part of an overall commitment to health. Meaning, if you drink a shake every morning, but then have pizza or a cheeseburger for lunch, beers every night and find excuses not to work out, you’ll certainly still get the nutritional goodness packed into the shake, but I don’t imagine you’ll see dramatic changes to your energy or appearance.

Does it taste good?
It’s delicious; not grainy or artificially sweetened. My favorite flavor is vegan chocolate. I blend mine with water, ice and unsweeteend almond milk. Sometimes I add greens, or berries, or peanut butter, or peppermint extract…

Why is it so expensive? Because it’s part of a giant corporation?
It’s expensive because – as in most areas of life – you get what you pay for in terms of quality and results. Shakeology doesn’t claim to be the cheapest, it claims to be the best. And for everything you get in one shake (nutritionally) for about $4, you’d pay $41 in groceries, vitamins and supplements. And that ‘giant corporation’ sources fair-trade ingredients, creates jobs in underprivileged nations and prioritizes philanthropy in incredible ways.

From the Shakeology blog: Sure, Shakeology is a bit more expensive than other protein shakes on the market. But there’s one very important thing you’ve got to remember, and that is Shakeology is far beyond a protein shake. It’s a nutrition shake. Designed for people who know they need more than just protein. The truth is, protein alone isn’t enough to make you, and keep you, healthy. Your body desperately needs other stuff like fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, superfoods, adaptogen herbs, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes (just to name a few) to run at optimum capacity. You could spend more than $700 on supplements, just to re-create all the healthy ingredients in one bag of Shakeology.

I already eat super healthy and make green smoothies, why would I want to use this?
One big reason is soil depletion. Because of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. So while you may be making solid efforts to consume a nutrient-rich, balanced diet, your food alone can’t give you everything you need. This article gives a scary but interesting summary. Other perks:

  • Shakeology has been tested and certified by an independent lab to have a Low Glycemic Index (GI) of between 14 and 29 (depending on the flavor). This is lower than most fruits (an apple has a GI of 39, and a ripe banana has a GI of 62).
  • Shakeology’s ingredients are derived from whole-food sources. All too often, the “magical ingredients” in other shakes have been isolated from their enzymes and phytonutrients. And when that isolation occurs, those magical ingredients are no longer effective when consumed.
  • Shakeology is specially formulated so all of its ingredients work together like a symphony. While each and every ingredient has a strength of its own, when partnered with the right supporting ingredient, they form a bond that’s undeniably stronger than when they stand on their own. This is why some brands of vitamins are way more effective than others, it’s their ‘delivery system.’
  • Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)—the protein source used in Shakeology—is a very pure form of protein that contains 87% to 95% protein and almost no fat or lactose. On the other hand, Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC – found in many protein powders) is only 34% to 80% protein. So even though a WPC label can legally say “100% Whey Protein Concentrate,” technically that means there might be only 34% protein content in that shake.

Is Shakeology Organic?​​​​​​​​​​
Beachbody has put every effort into making sure that the ingredients in Shakeology do not contain pesticides, are not destroyed in processing, are produced using the best of the fair trade practices and have many of the benefits of what is considered “organic.” You might ask why it is not “certified organic?” The experience of the Beachbody development team has shown that sometimes certified organic does not necessarily translate to higher quality. Certifying something can simply drive up the price, especially with ingredients of this quality and quantity. Beachbody decided to focus on making sure the quality and integrity of the product lives up to the promise, without asking you to pay the premium.

Is Shakeology safe for pregnant and nursing mothers?
I get this question a lot, and am not super comfortable giving medical advice since I went to med school online at google.com. From the website: Shakeology should only be taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers under the direction of their physicians. From dozens of people I’ve spoken to and know personally: I had a shake everyday pregnant and nursing and felt amazing. Bottom line: do what’s best for you and your family, and talk to your doc first.

What if I can’t have gluten/dairy/soy?
The Tropical Strawberry and Chocolate Vegan Shakeology are dairy free, lactose free and soy free. Shakeology is not certified gluten free but is made with gluten-free ingredients.

What is the Beachbody “Bottom of the Bag” money-back guarantee?
Shakeology is sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Customers can return Shakeology packages that have been opened and used, even if the bag is completely empty.

Is Shakeology FDA approved?
The FDA does not approve any dietary supplements. Chew on that for a second, will you? Because that is straight TERRIFYING.

A multi-billion-dollar industry of things we consume, for health, isn’t regulated by the FDA. However, the FDA does set regulations and guidelines for the manufacturing of supplements, which the creator’s of Shakeology follow. Shakeology is manufactured in a facility that is registered with the FDA, adheres to current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and is GMP-Certified by the NSF (National Science Foundation) and the NPA (Natural Products Association).

Are there any chemicals or artificial sweeteners added to Shakeology?
No, there are no chemicals or artificial ingredients in Shakeology.

Should I try it? How do I get my paws on this magic?
A thousand times yesssss. You can comment on this post, email me {jesstaylor55@gmail.com} or visit my site to order.

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“And now is right on time.”

Sometimes the simplest advice – the words we hear most often, starting as children – are the hardest to follow. There are some phrases we hear so often throughout life we completely tune them out, dismissing them as frivolous niceties. We stop paying attention because they’re said in passing, or without deeper explanation.

One phrase I’ve heard my whole life is, “Just be yourself.”

I kind of hate it. What does that even mean…Who else would I be?

The more I think about this though, the more I realize it means lots of things. To trust your instincts…to not live in fear of consequences…to be mindful in the present moment and gentle with yourself.

So all of that being said, at 32 years old, I’ve decided to be myself. Finally.

You know that episode of Seinfeld where George decides to place his exact opposite deli order? And amazing things start happening? That’s pretty much me. I’m changing my approach to thinking and doing what naturally crosses my mind, and in just two days I’ve become the Costanza of the Modern Era.

This doesn’t mean anything drastic is changing. I’m not flying off the handle. In fact, I predict that if anything, these changes will only be evident to me. But the freedom this decision allows is bananas.

I suddenly feel this tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. It might make some things harder, but I think it’s going to make most far easier.

Part of this madness stems from some big thoughts and dreams brewing lately. Another part of it comes from getting older.

Getting older is awesome because it means you’re also getting wiser. You’ve done more life and you know how to handle more situations. You learn what matters and what you can let go; where to hold your ground and where to compromise. You begin to recognize who you really are. Not who you want to be, or used to be, but who are are in this moment.

quotable

An unorthodox prescription for happiness

My husband and I were out to dinner a few weeks ago — a treasured luxury as new parents — and through the course of conversation and shoveling food THAT WE DIDN’T MICROWAVE into our mouths, I paused to ask a question.

“Hey, have you noticed I don’t cry anymore?”

Now, before your brain dashes through a million scenarios pegging me as one of those girls who cries at the drop of a hat, or whenever she sees a kitten, or if a Coldplay song comes on at the wrong time, pleaseeeee check yourself.

I’m not emotionless. But I’m more practical than dramatic. My default setting is to talk or write through feelings, and it takes a great deal for me to cry in front of anyone. Meaning, if you see tears, shit has gotten real and you’re in for the long haul. However, if you are lucky enough to be married to me, besides essentially winning the life lottery, you see the good, the bad and the ugly–which in this case, is me crying. A lot. Spouses get all the unedited bonus scenes. The tears, sick days, meltdowns, bad moods, violent flip outs over laundry…amiright?

Wanna know my sweet husband’s response to this?

“Huh. Yeah, you don’t. Are you on a new medication or something?”

(It’s ok to laugh.)

But here’s the thing. I’ve made some big changes in my life over the past few months, and the combination, although largely unorthodox, has had a significant impact.

The first change was leaving Corporate America after seven years spent in three giant public companies. I relish the experiences I had, the crazy opportunities these roles presented and the amazing friends who entered my life. I’m grateful for the ways I was pushed and challenged to grow professionally and personally. But I was burned out and disenchanted. I made a transition into a smaller, non-profit setting and am so much happier. Is my new job perfect? Well, no job is perfect. I still have long, hard days and moments where I want to pull a Jerry McGuire exit. But I am so much more at peace. I’m more relaxed and connected to my work than I have in a long time.

The second change was prayer. Now if you know me, you’re possibly shocked to read these words. You may be composing a text to me that reads as follows: “Dude, are you ok? Are the Sunshine Carpet Cleaners there?” And truthfully, I’m still surprised to write this. I considered not sharing it with the blogosphere. But I don’t like censoring life and we’ve already gotten this far. Incorporating prayer into daily life brings me the kind of calm that I’ve always loved getting from meditation and yoga. It’s just more personal, and frankly, way more necessary as a mom. Prayer isn’t necessarily about religion to me, although it’s definitely connected to faith. It’s more just a way to focus, regain perspective, practice gratitude and soothe my wackadoo anxious tendencies. At the risk of sounding crass, it’s like a cozy, emotional security blanket.

And the third change? Brace yourselves. It’s been drinking Shakeology. At this point in the post I anticipate that I definitely have some concerned people poised to text me. But wait! Here’s what I mean. I first tried Shakeology to help support my immune system. Not to get bikini ready. Not to be a hot mom. Please. Barf. I have a baby in daycare and she is a germ sponge. Anyway, after trying these shakes and learning more about all the things they do for my body and health, I was sold. I’ve never felt better. It’s premium fuel you can consume. I was so taken by the product that I almost immediately became a coach so that I could learn more and share them with others. Coaching is incredible. I’m connected to an amazing network of women and am humbled everyday to see the ways we are able to help others work toward improved health and fitness. This isn’t about all the things you might think. It’s not about money or weight loss or marketing ploys. It’s about inspiring others to feel and look their best. I wrote more about my journey here.

So in summary, all you have to do to achieve true happiness is quit your job, pray and drink a superfood shake.

I kid. Sort of.

I genuinely don’t know that any of this makes much sense, but I’m going to hit post now and try to avoid oversharer’s remorse.

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5 Things to Say to the Working Moms in your Life

1. “I’ll drive.” This is music to my ears because my car is full of stuffed animals and tupperware and you might find yourself akwardly siting on a pacifier.

2. You’re doing a great job.” I often feel my life is a tornado, and that I’m failing at everything rather than balancing anything. There’s no such thing as too much  reassurance.

3. “We can do this meeting by phone,” or, “You can work from home.” Please and thank you. It means I can save precious time and spend more time with my offspring.

4. “Remember, your family comes first.” It seems so natural to assume we know this, but work — particularly leadership roles — come with a lot of pressure and expectations. Reminders of what really matters are a good thing.

5. “I know it’s hard.” I don’t want sympathy or special favors, but at a very basic human level it’s nice to know someone else recognizes the things you are juggling. If you’ve never worked while parenting a small human, I don’t know that there’s any way to fully explain the way things are sometimes just HARD, despite flexibility and support and good childcare. There’s an emotional tax on even the best situations, that sometimes just needs a pat on the back.

tina

we all can grow in tandem

In yoga, intructors often remind us that we’re ony competing against ourselves. We’re told over and over again to ignore others in the room and focus only on our own practice. And it’s an easy enough thing to embrace this in yoga — because we are independently struggling to not faceplant into another person — but harder to sustain in other parts of life.

This is how real growth takes place though: when we intentionally wear spandex.

Awkward pause…

Kidding. It happens when we focus on our own progress, devoid of comparison to outside influences. If we start to base success on a comparison to others, we put ourselves at a disadvantage (in yoga, this is when you fall over). But when we stay focused and support others’ success, we all can grow in tandem.

It’s a lesson you learn in any introductory business class — how supporting your competition strengthens your market niche. When others in your sector succeed, it also positions you for success. But when you strive to be the only player in a space, you isolate the demand for your services and limit your growth potential.

There’s certainly a need to differentiate your product and offer something unique, but it doesn’t need to come at the expense of eliminating others. I can name my favorite provider in any market from airlines to donuts, but I can’t think of a thriving industry where only one player is successful.

Your toughest competition usually isn’t among those doing something very similar to you, but in those who threaten your operation through something you can’t deliver. If I’m an average grocery store, I don’t need to be threatened by other stores like me. Should I watch them and monitor their performance? Absolutely. But I should pay closer attention to stores poised to offer things in a different way at a more competitive price point (here’s looking at you, Costco). There are enough people who need groceries for all of these entities to exist when operated efficiently, but generally speaking, competition fuels innovation and growth for everyone.

It’s this way in our personal lives, too. When we fixate on others and try to “surpass” them we gain nothing but a false sense of validation. It never ends. It’s freeing to recognize that there’s no limit to the good things that can occur around us, and we grow the most when we learn to celebrate all of it instead of just our own.

The Day I was Yelled at in the Doctor’s Office

I had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday and arrived a half hour early, as instructed. I filled out forms, provided my insurance information and then I waited, and waited. I’ve spent plenty of time waiting for medical appointments, and typically I don’t mind this unqualified alone time. Have smartphone, will travel.

But on Wednesday I had a lot to do at work, so I was stressed to be away from the office, particularly because it meant I would be staying late, and missing time with baby in the short but oh-so-sweet window between daycare and bedtime. Being a working mom is good, most of the time, but when things interfere with that precious window of quality time, ain’t nobody happy.

After waiting nearly an hour, I went outside to make a work call, asking the staff to grab me when they were ready. So naturally, right in the midst of an intense conversation, I got summoned back in. I was trying to wrap up my call and make mental notes of what I had to do, while stepping on and off the scale and hurrying after a medical assistant.

She showed me to a room and excused herself. Not 30 seconds later she poked her head back in, and when she saw I was still on the phone, promptly shouted at me that she was trying to do her job and I had to get off the phone RIGHT NOW. I don’t do well when people yell at me (…does anyone?), and I was so taken aback, overwhelmed and just tired that she might as well have smacked me in the face.

The irony in this situation that I was also just trying to do my job.

When I shared the experience with my colleagues they asked what I did; if I yelled back. I didn’t – not my style. I was sweating and holding back tears in Introvert Hell after being publicly scolded.

I mean, sure, I had visions of telling her that the jerk store called and was running out of her, but I recognized that I was likely engaging in one of her pet peeves, that she might be having an awful day or enduring hardships I know nothing about. The office delays had nothing to do with either of us, but probably meant that she would be working late and missing time with her family, too. I decided to assume positive intent. Not to excuse her behavior – but because I was still responsible for my own.

Looking back, I wish I’d taken a minute to apologize to her and explain that we were navigating similar circumstances. We probably could have laughed about it. Hugged it out.

Maybe next time.

 

The balancing act 

I think balance is the name of the game I struggle with the most in life. I tend to be a lover of structure — not in the sense of having a spotless home or color-coded calendar — but in terms of how I seek to understand things. If X is right, then Y is wrong. I’m open minded on most issues, but setting parameters in my own life helps me feel like I know what I need to do to succeed. 

Take money for example. I’m a saver, through and through. I’m not over the top (although my husband might disagree), but I worry about financial stability a great deal. Despite the fact that we are in great shape and blessed with a comfortable lifestyle. Despite the fact that we have lots of savings as a cushion. Despite the fact that friends and family would undoubtedly help us out if we needed it in an emergency. I know ALL these things, but sometimes it’s hard to treat myself to a nice haircut or new clothes, because there are more responsible things to do with the money. 

I’m expertly skilled at defying logic to find ways to worry. This comes into play with my health, too. I work out almost everyday and make healthy food choices the majority of the time. Yet when I see someone ordering a salad when I got a burger, I will often question my decision. 

It’s enough to drive you mad, the “shoulds” and the analyzing. Especially because I’ve seen what happens when people fall too far to one side of a behavior. They miss out on trips with friends because they can’t rationalize spending the money; they keep their houses uncomfortably hot in summer to save on the utility bill, they never see anyone because they are always working; they never order what they really want on the menu because of what the nutritional content  is, or they spend endless time in the treadmill that could be dedicated to family. 

Everyone has their own challenges and quirky “things,” and we must be respectful of and embrace these in others, but we also must reach out when we see someone we love losing balance. Because life really is too short to focus on the wrong things. It’s a tried and true cliche, but if you consider what someone on their deathbed* (*what the hell is a deathbed, anyway? Sounds awful) might offer up as advice, it won’t be to spend more time at work or running laps, it would likely be to fill your days with the things and people you love.

I’ve lost friends suddenly –  lives cut short so unfairly and unexpectedly – and when I find myself struggling with balance I think of them, and what they’d urge me to do. Which is exactly why I just went and got a pedicure instead of catching up on work, going for a run or doing laundry.