#momlife

Being a mom is hard. 

Allow me to repeat myself: being a mom is HARD! 

And I think it’s hardest when we don’t feel our best; when we’re tired or moody or feeling like we are our own lowest priority.

I know because this was me as a new mom: working full time and exhausted and sort of awkward in my new identity. It wasn’t until I started taking small steps to focus on my health that I finally felt like “me” again. Nothing drastic or rash, just short workouts at home everyday, and smarter food choices. 

I did this surrounded by a community of supportive women and was so moved by the experience I now lead my own groups – and because I know how much this lifestyle can help mommas, I decided to make my next group a very small private one, just for moms. The group is free and I’ll provide support, meal plans, guidance for working out and overall motivation. 

If you’re reading this and any of it hits close to home, or if you’ve been waiting for a sign to get into better health, I’d be honored if you’re willing to trust me and jump into this journey with me. Send me a message or email (jesstaylor55@gmail.com). 

  

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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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Don’t you already have a job?

A lot of people have questioned my decision to become a Beachbody coach over the past few months. I get everything from sarcastic comments to well-intended questions, and everything in between. And it’s ok, because I admit, it’s a little weird.

Don’t you already have a job? 

Isn’t that just an expensive protein shake?

You seriously only work out at home?

It’s a marketing scam, right?

Players, please.

While I’m usually the type that gets defensive about these kinds of comments, for some reason it just makes me laugh when it comes to coaching. I think it’s because the whole thing was as much of a surprise to me as it was to everyone else, so there’s a hilarious irony to it all.

But here’s the thing: if anyone is a freak about health and fitness, it’s me. I have binders of workouts organized in my house. I’ve belonged to every gym there is, and have easily spent a year’s worth of mortgage payments on personal training. I’ve practiced Bikram yoga, hatha yoga, Sumit’s yoga and Pilates. I’ve trained in functional fitness, Crossfit, long-distance running and aerobics. I’ve worked out in warehouses without air conditioning and pristine multi-million-dollar health clubs. I could do 100 push ups at five months pregnant. It’s just in my DNA. That being said, I ate half a container of chocolate frosting on Saturday night, and way too many tacos yesterday. I recognize that health is an ongoing balance and journey, and that it should never take away from living your life.

But coaching? That’s where the story gets really interesting. Those judgy comments up top are exactly what I said before I joined on. I disliked the shiny packaging, the company name, the endless selfies coaches posted in sports bras. It didn’t feel like anything I could get on board with.

And yet, here I am. I started to see the “why” behind the work and I was sold.

Helping others? Check. Encouraging heathy living? Check. Having a ton of fun and learning new stuff everyday? Check. No coach is perfectly trained or magically qualified, but every coach’s unique story gives her something unique to offer others. You don’t have to be an “after picture” to coach. You just need a drive to inspire.

So if you’re wondering what it’s all about…I don’t have fancy certifications. I didn’t get my degree in kinesiology. I don’t pretend to know everything (or even close to everything) about the human body. But…coaching lets me take what I know and love and use it to inspire others. I’m able to connect people to programs and tools that help them improve their confidence and their health, and I get to create communities of accountability and support. I unite people looking for an outlet — something just for them — and help them do things they didn’t believe they could do.

We all just want to be a tiny bit better today than we were yesterday. That’s all.

I know not everyone gets it, nor will they. And I’ll continue to laugh at myself right along with you! But in just five months, I’m amazed at the ways this opportunity has changed my life.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I might even get a little giddy.

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Cavemen didn’t eat Doritos, and other thoughts on exercise.

Everywhere I look there’s a virtual flood of articles, research and news headlines about the trouble with our food.

GMOs…organic vs. natural…gluten free and dairy free…paleo and raw food…meatless Mondays.

Are we watching sodium or calories or preservatives or trans fats? It seems to change by the week, and every new finding somehow contradicts the last piece of advice we were told was life-saving.

What about food coloring? Sustainable farming? Protein powder? Do I really need to be eating kale?

It’s hard to know what to focus on and how much obsession over what we consume is enough. In the past year, I’ve made changes to keep most of what we eat at home organic. We’re not perfect, not even close (there are absolutely Pop Tarts in our pantry right now). But, small steps have made it a gradually manageable change. I started with a focus on organic milk and meat, and now the majority of our produce and raw foods are organic, too. I’ve tried to eliminate processed foods where possible; instead of buying ready-made pizza crusts, I spend 10 minutes making one from scratch. I don’t buy Rice-a-Roni, I buy long-grain brown rice and season it myself. Soups are homemade rather than from cans. Baby steps, baby steps.

But with all this talk about what we’re eating, where’s the debate on how we exercise? If we’re reverting to a paleolithic approach to cuisine, should we also back off of running a distance of 26 miles for sport, because I don’t think many cave dwellers did that. And what about weight lifting machines? What real-world movements does a squat rack or BowFlex replicate?

I think that if we’ve taking a serious national mindset toward what we eat, it’s just as important that we evaluate our views on physical activity. The way most of us have been conditioned to view fitness is not only inadequate and impractical, but a recipe for overuse and repetitive-motion injuries.

Cavemen didn’t eat Doritos, but they also didn’t spend hours on elliptical machines or doing crunches. Today’s accepted views of exercise are as skewed from their natural state as our diets are. If we’re eating for optimal health and longevity, let’s exercise with that as a goal, too. The fitness industry makes us believe we need washboard abs and a tiny waist to be healthy, which is nothing short of nonsensical.

Without negating the very serious problems with our food system, I’m suggesting we take a more comprehensive mindset toward wellness, and re-examine what we’re trying to achieve through exercise. It’s incredibly important to consider what we put into our bodies, but also how we use, strengthen and protect them.

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I scream. You scream. Snoopy screams.

This weekend I retrieved my 1989 Snoopy ice cream maker from my Mom’s house. Aside from orthodontics, this is the most important investment from my childhood.

Does it still work? Like a champ.

And since I was able to maneuver this delightful apparatus as a wee child, I am quite confident I’ll be able to make even better frosty treats as a quasi-adult.

It’s happening this weekend, stay tuned.

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I’d like these immediately, please.

No seriously, will someone bring these to my cubicle tomorrow morning? Say, around 10:30?

Bless the gal who had the creative dessert genius to envision such a delightful concoction – and double bless all the folks who put this on Pinterest so I could find it. In case you can’t see past your drool to thoroughly inspect the image below, these are tri-layer brownies, that include an oreo middle and chocolate chip cookie base.

And the name? Slutty Brownies. I swoon. Here’s the recipe…

It will be a special day in the not-so-distant future when these are created in my kitchen. And what a day that will be.