Friday, July 25, 2014

Quest Reviews

Hello my beautiful friends!

I'm so excited that we are blogging again (sorry for taking a long break)! We're here to share with you our thoughts on Quest bars. So many people say that they are just amazing and that you need to try them, but is it true? See for yourself...

* Brownie *

Olivia - "Wow. Where should I start? This was the very first Quest bar that I ever tried, and let's just say... it was really good! I had always dreamed of tasting one- after all, you see them advertised everywhere, and they look mouthwateringly delicious. Back to the bar...

When I tried it, I warmed it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and when I pulled it out of the microwave it smelled exactly like a real brownie! Because it smelled great, it made me want to taste it so badly, but I didn't realize that I would be in for a real treat. 

The bar tastes like a freshly baked, warm brownie. It was rich and chocolatey, so it will cure your sweet tooth! The flavor is just right, it doesn't taste artificial and it doesn't taste like a healthified brownie. Nope. It tastes like one of the best brownies you've eaten. Ever. It was amazing, and I'd definitely get it again!"

* Coconut Cashew *

Mariah- "For my body I try to keep my diet high in veggies and protein. I like to include a serving of protein in every meal, so I usually opt for a protein shake when I'm ready for a snack. However, when I was about to make myself a shake, my sister offered me the coconut cashew Quest bar - my life would never be the same... ;)

But seriously, for soooo long I wanted to try a Quest bar. It seemed like everyone was eating and loving Quest bars and I wondered what I was missing out on. The coconut cashew bar was soooo amazingly delicious and satisfyingly filling - it was perfection all wrapped up. :)

I loved the unique coconut cashew flavor and it was unlike any protein bar - or any bar for that matter - I had ever tasted. I love that this bar has 20 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar. That's unbelievable!! I've had some seriously delicious protein bars before, but they had more sugar than a candy bar and less than 10 grams of protein. The Coconut Cashew Quest not only is low in sugar an high in protein, it also has no artificial ingredients and is only 170 calories! Besides all of the nutritional information, it is just plain delicious! I loved this bar and can't wait to try more."

I'm on a quest for Quest! ;)

* Peanut Butter Supreme *

Michaela- "I love peanut butter, and I love Quest bars. When those two loves are combined they transform into something incredible, something I didn't know was possible. Quest's Peanut Butter Supreme protein bar is just that - absolutely incredible. It was like getting a taste of heaven, that good. I absolutely loved the smoothness of it and the rich flavor. Honestly, I couldn't even believe how good it was. I had only one Quest bar before trying this flavor, and I hadn't been impressed. But this, this was amazing. 

I microwaved it for a couple seconds, and the flavors just burst in your mouth. I can hardly wait to try it again. I was doing a bit of reading about Quest Nutrition, and found out some things that make me appreciate Quest protein bars even more. All of their ingredients are natural and they don't add any sugar outside of ingredients such as chocolate and fruits to their bars. They have created something absolutely sensational without adding in all the ingredients that are unhealthy. It really is the ultimate #cheatclean!

A quick shout-out to all you peanut butter lovers out there: You need to eat this bar! Seriously, it is amazing."

*Chocolate Peanut Butter *

Olivia- "To start off, I love sweets. I'd eat sweets with every meal, but... you get the point. So whenever I get the chance to grab a bite of deliciousness in a healthy form, it's a winner! That's just what this Quest bar was: a winner!

It was on a practice night (I play a sport) when I got really hungry. You know that gnawing hunger that just won't go away? Well that's how I felt. I had thrown the Chocolate Peanut Butter Quest bar into my backpack before heading out the door- it was a "just in case I get hungry" sort of thing. So since I was super hungry, I decided I'd eat the bar then and there- don't forget, I was running/exercising. 

It was so delicious I was actually happy I was hungry! This was the 2nd Quest bar I had tried, and I liked it. A lot. The bar was so perfectly made. What I mean to say: There was just enough peanut butter to leave you satisfied and just enough chocolate flavor to cure that sweet tooth. It was perfection in a bar. :) The consistency was like any other protein bar that you'd get. It was really good. Not just that, but the extra + was that it gave me a lot of energy, left me satisfied, and it wasn't a  heavy snack, I guess you could say, so I didn't get cramps! It was a winner in my opinion!"

*Lemon Cream Pie*

Michaela- "This flavor really intrigued me, partly because I like lemon a lot, and partly because I like pie. After trying this bar I realized something: 

Lemon + Pie + Quest = Deliciousness

I decided to try something a little different than simply eating the bar. So, I cut it into fourths and rolled each chunk into a ball. Then I popped them in the oven for about five minutes. They smelled great when I took them out, and to top everything off, I sprinkled some powdered sugar on top (optional). I let them cool and they were amazing! I loved the flavor of the tangy lemon and the consistency of the bar. 

Overall, the Lemon Cream Pie protein bar has been one of my very favorite Quest bars. Quest creates the most awesome protein bar flavors! :)

Thank you for stopping by to hear our thoughts on Quest bars. We're so thankful for your support. Have an amazing day, everyone, and keep shining for Him! 

Lots of love,
Mariah, Michaela, and Olivia

Friday, June 27, 2014

Robyn Coale Interview - Part 2

Hello my friends!

I hope you are all excited to continue reading about Robyn from The Real Life RD! She posts frequently on her blog, so make sure you subscribe to get her posts :) Before you start - if you enjoy reading this interview, please make sure to share on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media websites!

6. I know that you stress the importance of having a balanced diet. When you’re not eating “clean,” what is your favorite indulgent meal?

I like to view foods in terms of a “focus.” So I focus on all those nutrient dense plant foods- fruits and veggies [especially dark leafy greens], whole grains that are the least processed like rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc, beans and legumes and healthy whole food fats like avocado, nuts and seeds. Then if I want other foods, that’s totally okay, but I focus on wholesome foods that nourish my body so I know I’m getting all the nutrients I need. It’s all about balance, and if I want something- I’m going to eat it. But overall I find that when I’m eating the “focus” foods, my body just craves the good stuff most often- but when a craving does strike... I LOVE a wood fire, veggie pizza with a really good goat cheese, a glass [or two!] of red wine and then follow that with some really good ice cream- mint chocolate chip or cookies and cream are my fav. 

7. Is there any  piece of advice/knowledge that has helped you most in your life?

To be okay with not being okay. We don’t always have to be okay and do all the things and have it all together. When I finally realized it was okay to not be okay all the time, I not only fully embraced who God created me to be, but my relationships with others grew stronger. I was able to love others better, and I found so much more joy in life. I stopped trying to perfect everything and instead started seeing everything through a grace-filled lens. It’s something I have to remind myself of everyday. 

8. Reading your “About the RD” page is truly inspiring. You have accomplished so many incredible things, and you continue to amaze me. If you had to choose one thing that has been your greatest achievement, what would it be?

Well, I’d say anything and everything in my life is the Lord’s doing- He has blessed me more than I ever imagined, and I just feel really grateful. Of course I have my struggles too, I’m human, but I feel very blessed. Being accepted and starting a graduate nursing program at Columbia University is definitely up there, but overall I’d say seeing Nutshell Nutrition grow into the private practice it’s become is at the top. When I started Nutshell, it was really just to make a little extra money so I could pay off my student loans from undergrad. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, my mom was a single mom of 5 working as a teacher, so I wanted to be able to get myself out of student loan debt as fast as possible and then start saving. And at first, I had a few clients and I was blogging, but I hadn’t really found my niche yet. I was practicing the same way I am today, but I hadn’t realized that the way I practiced nutrition as an RD was something that was different than most RDs, and that’s what I should start blogging about- my passion for helping people find food freedom, eat more, and nourish their bodies well. Today, it’s my sole source of income and the business has grown into something I never thought it would be. Everyday I’m thankful for what it’s become, and I hope to continue to grow the business while I’m in nursing school.

9. Is there anything “big” that your are working towards? What is one major goal that you hope to achieve?

I actually just started an accelerated nursing program at Columbia University to become a Nurse Practitioner. After working as an RD for a year and a half, I realized that my passion for helping others extended far beyond food. Especially as Nutshell Nutrition grew and I was seeing more and more clients, I wanted to know more and help them, but I felt like I was at a dead end in my practice- I couldn’t comprehensively care for people like I wanted to. The program is 2 1/2 years and after the first 12 months I will have a BSN and be an RN, then over the next 18 months I will do the master’s portion and graduate in December of 2016 as a Family Nurse Practitioner with a speciality in women’s health. Then if I decide to go on, I can do another 18 months of school and graduate with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice. So that’s where I’m at now. I’m still an RD and although the program is very intense, I will continue to do Nutshell Nutrition as long as I am able while in school!

10. On busy days, or when you just don’t know what you want to eat, what is your go-to healthy meal?

Hands down, roasted potatoes [yukon gold and sweet potatoes] that I slice into discs, toss in coconut oil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Along with that I love a homemade veggie burger I’ve had in the freezer or a good quality one from the store- like Sunshine brand or Hillary’s burgers- and a kale salad [massage kale with EVOO + lime juice and sea salt] with sliced avocado on top!

And that's all, folks! I hope you've enjoyed this two-part interview! Make sure you subscribe and comment below! Have a super, super great week and keep shining for HIM.


Friday, June 6, 2014

5 Ways To Slim Down 4 Summer

Hello my friends!

It's another beautiful, sunny day here in Florida! Thank the Lord that mostly every day is this nice. I can hardly imagine waking up each morning to a dark, drear-looking sky that make me want to cuddle up next to a warm fire and drink hot chocolate. Sounds nice though, huh?

Since summer is here, and everyone is trying to slim down and get that perfect, bikini body, I have some great tips to let you know how you can do it. Whenever I look at my twitter feed all I see are ways to lose weight quickly and how to get the 'perfect' body for summer. It seems like that's what everyone wants. Well sometimes the advice that is given isn't so good. What I mean is that it isn't healthy to do these things to your body. But in a world were skinny is the 'perfect body', how can you expect anything other than that? So here are some really good ways to slim down for the summer. :)

1. "Drink 8-10 glasses of water, and only water, every day. Cut out all those sugary soft drinks and juices and load up on water. Not only will you save money, cut a large amount of unnecessary sugar from your diet and facilitate fat metabolism, you will end up eating less because water fills you up. So before you devour your long-awaited lunch, chug a full glass of water." -10 Slim Down Tips

2. Swap long hours at the gym for interval training. Studies show that doing high-intensity workouts "increase your metabolism and burn calories long after you workout."

3. Eat breakfast. We always say that. Are you wondering why? Studies show that when you skip a meal, you blood sugar drops exceedingly low, and your metabolic rate slows. This results in hunger and lack of energy which leads to over-eating. 

4. Fill up on anti-fat foods. Those are... fruits. Simples as that! Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water, so they actually help rid the body of water and bloating. Melons, grapes, tomatoes, etc. are all great fruits and vegetables to start adding to your diet.

Those are all great ways to slim down for the summer, but here is a way you can flatten your stomach (definitely) and actually lose a little weight: Try Temple Cleanse!

Temple Cleanse is designed to gently cleanse your colon from impacted waste. It not only cleanses your colon, but also will jump-start your wight loss! Try Temple Cleanse today! 

Seriously, have an absolutely amazing weekend, and don't forget... SHINE FOR HIM!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quest Review - Apple Pie

Well hello everyone!

I've been completely ignoring the blogging world, so I'm sincerely sorry. The good news is... I've got a pretty fantastic review for you today! I mean I've already expressed my complete adoration for Quest Bars, right? Many times I see puzzlement about whether Quest Bars are really worth the extra money. If I had to answer, I know I would say "yes." 

No, not every flavor is my favorite, and not every texture is amazing. But I have to say, in the 
end, they definitely win as one of my favorite protein bars. They are so filling and most of them have a pretty awesome flavor. Not every company can always produce a 'wow bar', but for the most part, Quest has a selection of bars that are quite good! So today I'm going to focus on only one bar, but trust me - it'd definitely one of their very best!

Quest - Apple Pie - Protein Bar Review

Quest surprised me extremely with this delicious protein bar! I will admit that I have not had apple pie for a long time, so when I say it reminded me of apple pie so much, remember that it is based off of my vague remembrance of when I had it. :) 

When I ripped open the bar, I could smell a delicious mixture of cinnamon and apples and... you get the point. 
The bar already got a +1 for just the smell- and I hadn't even tasted it yet!! I couldn't not take a little nibble of this bar before I mixed it all up for the dish I was planning on making, so when I did taste it for the first time, it tasted exactly like apple pie! Amazing, right? 

So now that we know it's a great-tasting bar, we can continue with our baking. I used this bar to make little apple pie cookies. I originally found the recipe for Quest cookies on Blogilates, but I had already devoured the Quest bar it called for so... I used the Apple Pie! No regrets. 

                                                               Quest Apple Pie Cookies

                                                                           2 Apple Pie Quest Bars
                                                                           1/4 C. Milk
                                                                           2 Tbsp. Applesauce
                                                                           1 Tbsp. Coconut oil, melted (or canola)
                                                                          3 Tbsp. Flour 
                                                                          1/4 Tea. Baking Soda
                                                                          1/2 Tea. Butter (optional)

Mix everything together in a bowl, and pop into the oven for about 5 - 7 minutes on 375. I mixed up some powdered sugar and butter/oil to drizzle over the top of them, and then I sprinkled cinnamon. I'm sure they would be delicious with other toppings!

Some more pictures, naturally! 

They were soooo good! I would definitely make these again and again! They tasted so much like an apple pie. 

Well I hope you enjoyed this Quest recipe! Have a blessed day, and go get some Quest Bars now! 

Keep shining for HIM,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Robyn Coale Interview - Part 1

Hello my friends!

How has you weekend been? What have you been up to? I'm so excited to share with you a project that I've been working on with fellow health and fitness blogger- Robyn Coale

Robyn Coale is an amazing healthy-living blogger who has created a way to help you begin either your weight loss journey or your quest to live a healthy, happy life. :) If you'd like to find out more about her business, then this link will direct you to her brilliant website: Nutshell Nutrition. If you'd rather see her awesome blog,  check out The Real Life RD. :) 

1. If you had to choose one individual who has greatly inspired or influenced you, who would it be?
My biggest influences in my life are the women in my church, especially those in my Bible study. You're probably thinking..why didn't she say her mom?! My mom is a HUGE part of my life, and we are best friends. My momma is my hero. She raised five kids as a single parent on a teacher's salary and has taught me so much about life. Even though she's 600 miles away, I look to her for wisdom, and she is my biggest encourager. But when I think about the women in my life who are influencing me, its the women I live my day to day life with. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by such loving, understanding, wise, witty, and big-hearted ladies who not only hold me accountable, encourage and support me, but also influence the way I live my life- they've taught me to be more gentle, self-less, bold, and forgiving.

2. Have you felt that maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been difficult? What do you find most challenging in living a healthy lifestyle?

Overall, I would say maintaining a healthy lifestyle is much easier now than it was in college- but really, I wouldn’t say it has been that difficult, simply because nothing is an absolute. I think we can tend to look at food legalistically, when really we should be seeing it as something that’s very flexible. We won’t always be in a situation where there is a plethora of fruits and veggies or vegetarian options or whole grains and that’s the 10%. The other 90% of the time I try to eat well and nourish my body with foods that will give me energy, and the other 10% of the time I go with the flow, enjoy foods I wouldn’t make for myself and see it as just that- as food, not calories or 5 pounds or whatever. I think initially, a healthy lifestyle can be more difficult as you wean off the addictive, high-sugar, processed, unhealthy, fatty foods, but as your palate adjusts and you realize you have more energy, feel better, sleep better etc when you are eating better then you WANT to choose foods that make you feel good. For me, the most challenging thing is finding time to exercise. I LOVE to sweat, but my lifestyle is pretty busy so setting aside time to get in a workout can be challenging- lately I’ve been doing a lot of walking or running and hiking with friends, that way I can socialize and get some exercise too!

3. Do you believe that there is any one factor that is absolutely essential to beginning and maintaing a healthy lifestyle. If so, what do you consider to be the most important factor in living a healthy, balanced life?

Absolutely, you have to do it for YOU and for internal reasons- something more than just vanity. When we want to lead healthier lifestyles simply to lose x amount of pounds or “tone up” then it’s very easy to start to equate food with calories or with weight or numbers in general rather than seeing food as nourishment. And when we only see food as numbers, that is when an unhealthy relationship with food develops. Your intentions have to align with your values. You are much more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle because you want to have more energy so you can invest in relationships better or play with your kids after school or sleep better than if you want to look better in a bathing suit or fit into a certain pant size.

4. How do you feel your blog has helped (or hindered) you in living a healthy life?

That’s a good question I had to think about for a bit. Since my blog isn’t necessarily set up like a food log where I share my daily eats, the way I eat hasn’t really changed. I would definitely say the blog has really helped me to be more in tune with my feelings and body and reflecting on those things in order to put them into words. A lot of times when I blog about touchy or “heavier” topics, it’s because I’ve been through something similar, learned from that and then decided to share that with my readers- so the blog has really taught me to be vulnerable and take time to sit down and reflect. In general though, seeing a lot of blogs that can be damaging and aren’t necessarily “healthy” has really made me aware of what is out there and how to spread a different message about true health.

5. The Bible is an endless source of inspiration and encouragement. Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or one that particularly inspires you?

Absolutely! There are so many but here are some of my favorites :)

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God” Phil 4:6
“Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” Romans 12:2
“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” Matthew 6:34
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for the good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 Thank you so much, Robyn, for taking the time to answer all of these questions! I'm super excited to have you back for Part 2!!

If you haven't already visited her blog, then make sure you do so now : The Real Life RD

Have a blessed day, and keep shining for HIM!