wellness wednesday: my trader joe's favorites

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Happy Wellness Wednesday! One of the most basic tenants of wellness is nutrition and, while I love Whole Foods, I really think Trader Joe's is such a great resource for anyone looking to eat healthy and interestingly on a budget. Their prices are so much better than traditional grocery stores, yet they offer a ton of healthy and convenient products. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite go-to items at Trader Joe's that will help you eat healthy this summer and all year.

General Produce Section
There's always a large selection of competitively priced produce, ranging from classics like bananas and apples to more interesting things like pre-chopped vegetables and cold pressed juices.

Fresh Flowers
The flowers at TJ's are so inexpensive which makes sourcing for arrangements really fun and easy. I especially love the eucalyptus branches and the hydrangeas.

Healthy 8-Veggie Mix
A mix of jicama, cabbage, carrot, bell peppers, and more that's great for eating raw in salads or sautéeing.

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Almond Butter
I love this almond butter for spreading on toast, mixing into smoothies, and making protein truffles.

Rolled Oats
You can't really tell in the photo, but this bag of rolled oats is huge! They last forever so you can use them for hot oatmeal, overnight oats, baking, and smoothies.

Unsweetened Almond Milk
While my all-time favorite almond milk comes from Califia Farms, the TJ's unsweetened original version comes pretty close.

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Orange Juice
Aside from fresh-pressed orange juice from Whole Foods, this Trader Joe's orange juice is the best. It doesn't have the artificial taste so many orange juices have. It tastes like you literally just squeezed the oranges yourself.

Nutritional Yeast
I'm a longtime fan of nutritional yeast, specifically Bragg's, and recently have been using Trader Joe's version as well. This is a dairy-free seasoning that has an umami, slightly cheesy flavor. I often sprinkle some on top of my steamed broccoli or mix it into a buttery popcorn topping.

Island Soyaki
This is TJ's cleaner version of your typical teriyaki sauce. It's great to mix in with rice and the 8-veggie mix.

Coconut Aminos
Another longtime favorite of mine is Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids. Trader Joe's version is called Coconut Aminos. This works as a perfect substitute for soy sauce.

Organic Tahini
I love Tahini. It's a mediterranean staple and there's so much you can do with it! Its flavor is deep and nutty, so you can use it to make a salad dressing or a dessert.

Maple Syrup
Can you believe this 25 oz maple syrup bottle is only $12.99? This thing lasts forever, plus it's great quality and tastes amazing.

Maca Powder
TJ's maca powder is super affordable. Mix it into your smoothies for natural energy, make hot cocoa out of it, or mix it into waffle batter.

Cacao Powder
This is a healthier version of traditional cocoa powder and it's super accessibly priced at Trader Joe's.

Coconut Cream
I love TJ's coconut cream cans so much! Usually, I'll buy them when I want to make dairy-free whipped cream. I just blend the cream with a bit of powdered sugar using a hand mixer then use the liquid content in smoothies.

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Dried Fruit
Yes, dried fruit has quite a bit of sugar but it's still a great alternative to most snacks on the market. TJ's has a pretty good variety, but I'm partial to the dried mango.

Fiber Crackers
These are similar to the famous GG crackers so many wellness bloggers like. They taste a bit better though and are definitely filling. 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
I love treating myself to a box of these sometimes. They're basically mini Reese's cups but made with dark chocolate.

Vanilla Meringues
Another easy dessert I like to treat myself to is the TJ's vanilla meringues. They're crunchy, sweet, and fat-free.

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
This is a go-to staple for just about everyone I know because it's literally just a bottle of the seasoning they put on everything bagels. This stuff is so good on avocado toast so if you've been sleeping on it, go get it now!

workout review: soulcycle + cyclebar

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One of the little series I'm going to do as part of Wellness Wednesday is workout reviews. I've been to a good amount of group workout classes and have done even more at home using online resources, so I want to share my experience with you guys to help you pick which classes you want to add to your routine or just try out for fun!

I'm starting with the two versions of indoor cycling that I've tried: the iconic SoulCycle and a similar class called CycleBar which is found in more locations.

overview of workout
SoulCycle - The class is held in a dimly lit room with a loud, energized soundtrack that's different with each class. Sometimes, there are even special themed rides (i.e. Taylor Swift, Hamilton). Upon arrival, you get signed in and rent your cycling shoes if you don't have your own. There are lockers in the lobby for you to store your things (especially your phone). 

When you initially enter the classroom, you want to go ahead and get clipped into the your bike. If you need help with this, don't hesitate to ask because the instructors are more than happy to get you clipped in and adjust the bike height for your body. Once you're clipped in, you'll want to start pedaling to get warmed up.

Each class varies, but typically you'll go through different resistance levels and positions (standing, sitting, and the signature 'tap it back') for the majority of the class. Toward the end, there's a seated arms portion where you used hand weights. 

Classes regularly cost $34.

CycleBar - This workout is pretty similar in nature to SoulCycle but there are a couple of differences. The vibe is the same, with a dark room and fun music.

The big difference is that CycleBar has video monitors in the front of the room that show how your performance ranks in the class. This is really great for someone like me who is fairly competitive because it really makes me want to perform better. If I look up and see that I'm near the end of the pack, I'm really motivated to step it up. If you're new to cycling and are feeling less confident or if competitiveness isn't something you enjoy, keep that in mind and maybe select a different class.

The other difference is that I don't believe CycleBar has a weights portion. It's all cycling, the entire time. Aside from those two differences, these classes are interchangeable and I love them both!

Classes regularly cost $18 and you can get a free intro ride.

what it's actually like
Challenging but really fun! The first time I did SoulCycle, my lungs were on fire after the first five minutes. I was not at all new to fitness and worked out a lot at the time, but it was still really challenging. Those first five minutes honestly felt like I was going to die! Haha. But then, I got into a groove and the rest of the class was super fun and invigorating. I remember leaving class and being able to breathe so well! The fresh air felt amazing on my lungs. My friend and I went to dinner afterwards, had healthy salads, then ran up multiple flights of stairs to our hotel rooms (we were living in a hotel during an internship). 

So yeah, I won't lie and say it isn't hard. It is challenging and at some parts, unpleasant. But the music and energy of the instructors make it so much fun. Plus, you'll feel amazing afterwards.

what to wear
I recommend moisture-wicking, cropped leggings. Bike shorts work too, although I think cropped leggings to be more comfortable. Definitely avoid any long, flowing yoga pants. Pair your leggings/shorts with a tank top because you're going to sweat! 

what to bring
A headband to keep hair out of your face. A full water bottle to stay hydrated. Your own clip-in shoes if you have them. A hand towel just in case your studio doesn't provide one.

wellness wednesday: cute workout clothes to get you motivated

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

I've been doing the Tone It Up bikini series since May 7th and am really loving this round! I've done the series before but this time around, I'm feeling really motivated and excited about getting up to do the workouts each day.

I swear, a cute outfit always makes me more motivated to do my workouts, whether they're at home or at the gym. Over the years, so many brands have popped up in the activewear space and it seems like more and more cute options are in the shops every time I look. 

I did a little round-up of cute workout clothes that will get you motivated for your workout. They're also perfect for summer with a neutral, sort-of bohemian color palette and featured a . beautiful assortment of patterns. 

wellness wednesday: must-read books

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It's Wednesday and that means another wellness post! Since we're still in the early stages of Wellness Wednesdays, I thought this would be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite wellness related books. The ones I'm sharing cover everything from beauty and lifestyle to fitness, nutrition, and spiritual wellness.

Let me know if you've read any of these or if you have others to add to the list!

Goop Clean Beauty by The Editors of Goop
Lots of great information about non-toxic beauty from the wellness mothership that is Goop.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
An insightful look into the Danish concept of hygge which, to me, is the ultimate wellness concept.

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba shares the story of her company as well as ideas for healthier meals and a non-toxic home.

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz
I can be hesitant about celebrity penned wellness books but this one is exceptional! 

The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas
The story behind one of my favorite skincare brands, Caudalie, and how French women do beauty.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This memoir is always such great wellness inspiration!

Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
A look at the lifestyles of those living in the 'blue zones' where communities experience the most longevity and best qualities of life.

The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt.
So much more than just delicious recipes, this also offers great ways to integrate plant nutrition into your lifestyle.

High Vibrational Beauty by Kerrilyn Pamer & Cindy DiPrima Morisse
An all-natural and mindful beauty book from the founders of CAP Beauty.

what i ate wednesday - 5.9.18

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Happy Wednesday, you guys! Today's another edition of 'What I Ate Wednesday' and I'm just going to get right into it.

I forgot to take a photo, but breakfast was two scrambled eggs, a piece of sprouted organic toast, and a few pieces of watermelon along with a big glass of ice-water.

After my workout, I like to have a protein snack and this week I'm really enjoying the chocolate coconut protein truffles I prepped on Sunday. They're made from almond butter, cacao powder, shredded coconut, honey, coconut oil, and oats.

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For lunch, I had a big salad made with whatever I found in the fridge. The base ended up being spinach and romaine (chopped with scissors, which I find is the way to go) topped with cherry tomatoes, pepitas, pistachios, goat cheese, and avocado. I dressed it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. On the side, I had a slice of toast with Earth Balance and a protein truffle.

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For an afternoon snack after swimming in the pool, I had a glass of ice water and caprese avocado toast. That's just avocado toast topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. 

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For dinner, I had a few slices of takeout pizza as a treat and then for dessert, I had some leftover key lime pie from my birthday yesterday. I love that the pie is dairy free and actually really clean, so it's pretty much a guilt free dessert. The only sugar comes from agave nectar which has a low glycemic index.

So, that's what I ate! Right now, the plan is to do this kind of post once a month with all of the other Wednesdays being dedicated to other wellness topics. Let me know if you have any Wellness Wednesday requests!