Archives for food

Mana Bars Product Review

When I first joined Instagram, I wasn’t really an avid user… now I absolutely LOVE it! I started to realize how I could use it as a tool to connect with other people with similar interests. One day, I came across this gal – how could I not want to follow her posted pics??

susie_snow_2She seemed both fun-spirited and a laid back yogi.

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It also appeared as though she lived in Arizona like me – in one of my favorite AZ towns – Flagstaff. It is a gorgeous mountain town and if I wasn’t such a city girl, I would move there in a heartbeat. As I was following her, I noticed that she took a “vacation” to Hawai’i and was keeping up with her yoga practice! I loved her passion for yoga and following her posts made me want to make it part of my regular routine again. I don’t do it as often as I should and Susie had become my inspiration! I truly admire her for being so disciplined.

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Then something incredible happened. I saw that she was NOW in the UK running the Brighton Marathon!! I thought to myself, “This girl travels!” After a bit of stalker-like research (oh come on, in today’s social media infested world, it’s not that hard to dig) I found out she was merely visiting AZ, lived in Hawai’i and is native to the UK. At least as far as I can tell… 🙂

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Love this picture.

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So, why am I showing pics of a gal I’ve been following on Instagram for about 7 months now? Well, the beauty of social media is how it allows you to connect with people you otherwise would never have crossed paths with. The more I utilize social media, the more I realize there is TRULY only 6 degrees of separation. Either that, or the running community is pretty small. The story of Susie from the UK/Hawai’i/Flagstaff would never be told by me, and you never would have heard of her (unless you follow us both of course) if I didn’t also connect with her on Instagram.

I’ve made some really great friends through social media and I’m happy for its existence, despite it’s stalker-like capabilities.

It’s pretty awesome when I stop to think about it. Anyway, that brings me to my looooooong overdue Mana Bar Review. I’ll give you ONE guess as to who sent me these bars.

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If you guessed Susie from Hawai’i, you would be correct! Look at the awesome packaging! You can really tell they are handmade. 🙂

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I was given instructions to put them in the fridge as soon as they arrived in case they got a little soft during travel. (I’m embarrassed to say just how long overdue this post is, but, let’s just say I received them Sept. 13th, when Phoenix was still reaching temps in the 100’s.) It was a Friday and I had a run the following morning, so I was going to wait until then to enjoy my first one!

Let me step back for a second and let you know HOW I even received these in the first place! One night as I was doing my daily browsing on Instagram, I noticed Susie posted this pic… beautiful latte, one of my favorite books and a Mac… things just keep getting better and better. Then, I read the caption…

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“Working on a post about Eat&Run with a delicious almond milk mocha!”

Wait, what?! She has a blog too!? AWESOME. I quickly became a follower of her blog, and she started following me as well! Shortly after we connected via email and the rest is history folks. One day, we might even meet in person. 🙂

I was honored when she asked me to do a review of her Mana Bars. I received 6 bars in the mail and got to personally enjoy 4. Mr. Zucchini Runner enjoyed 2. 😉

I was SO EXCITED to open them up the following morning after my run! They looked delicious and I was starving!

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I didn’t want to eat my first bar BEFORE a run until I had the opportunity to try one and see how it sat in the ole tummy. IMG_5815

Filled with pineapple, coconut, macadamia nuts, taro and honey, these bars tasted like Hawai’i. I especially love pineapple and coconut, which was a nice compliment to the somewhat earthy taro.

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As I stood in my kitchen munching on my first Mana Bar, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that these were made by a gal who I connected with via social media. What an odd set of circumstances… or was it? Maybe this is just the new normal.

The Mana Bar sat very well in my stomach, so I had another one BEFORE my evening run that same day. I was training for Ragnar Trail Relay AZ, which I just completed this weekend (recap coming soon!)! The 4.44 miles were to honor RunEMZ on completing her 100+ mile treadmill run the night before. Oh, by the way, Susie and RunEMZ know each other too – 6°!!

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It was AMAZING. Not a single burp of Mana Bar. (I can’t say the same for some of my other favorite foods – I’m talkin’ to you peanut butter.) It fueled my run – IN THE HEAT – tasted great, is a whole food bar and sits well. Total win for this runner.

For my remaining 2 bars I had one for breakfast on my way out the door before work and another one before a morning, weekday run. Another characteristic I like about these, is that they don’t sit like a brick in your stomach like some food bars.

I’m so excited for Susie and her food bar endeavor. If you’d like to try them out for yourself, or just read the full story behind Mana Bars, head over to Susie’s blog, Longrunergy. The photography on her blog is amazing and her posts are smart and filled with great informative yogi-runner inspiration.

Great, now I want a Mana Bar. 🙂

Thirty Days of Shakeology

Back in September of 2013 I did a trial run of thirty days of Shakeology. I started the journey with no expectations other than sticking with it for 30 days, and posted my daily recipes on Instagram as I progressed. I never drank a packaged shake of any kind before, so I was a little skeptical. However, I wanted to give it a fair shot, since I’d heard so many amazing things about itMy goal was to take it every single day, for 30 days and see what changes (if any) I noticed in my body. (Please note, this post has been updated from my original post, Sept. 2013.)

Here were my personal experiences back in 2013: 

  • With a shake for breakfast every morning, I could actually make it to lunch without feeling like gnawing my arm off, even after a long workout.
  • I felt satisfied and like I was receiving good nutrition, so I didn’t feel guilty if I couldn’t get all my vegetables for the day (nothing can replace FRESH WHOLE FOODS in my opinion, but I felt much better on the super busy days, than I did in the past without Shakeology)
  • My energy levels (given my workouts, lack of sleep and stress lately) have remained pretty high, which is surprising to me. Typically when I run myself like this, I end up getting sick. (Knock on wood…)
  • In the end, I don’t think I ended up losing any weight on the scale, but I’m not as concerned about that, since I’m at a good weight.
  • I feel like I have more muscle definition, but this could be from T25 but I noticed this before T25. Maybe it was just because I FELT better all around.
  • Lastly, I most definitely was more regular, if ya catch my drift. 😉 (Psssst… improved digestion.)

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2013 Conclusion: I’m going to continue taking Shakeology since I am currently on a program where it ships automatically to my house every month. I really like the dependability of home shipment, I do it for a few household items on Amazon too. I came home last week and BAM it was on my doorstep. No thinking about it, not another trip to the store, just right there waiting for me. Overall, I feel better. Not a miraculous OH MY GOSH THIS IS AMAZING. But I did crave a shake every single day… so my body definitely needed what was in this and you cannot beat the convenience. I had a nutritious breakfast every morning in under 5 minutes.

If you are interested in learning more, this site is LOADED with everything you need to know!

2017 UPDATE:

It’s now April of 2017, and with the exception of a month or so back in 2015 I’ve been drinking Shakeology regularly, every day (95% of days) since my original post. I still love it. I still drink the same flavor — chocolate vegan. And I still stand by it as the best tasting, most satisfying plant protein shake on the market. I’ve tried at least three others over the past few years and none of them compare to Shakeology. I don’t want to throw any of them under the bus, but there were some high quality, well-known brands.

Adding to my 2013 experience, I’d say that when I have stopped taking Shakeology, I definitely missed it. I can’t put my finger on it, but the best way to describe it is that I didn’t feel as nourished. If I skip a day or two due to various circumstances, I notice its missing and I’m always excited to drink it again.

Look, I am still technically a Beachbody coach, and I still technically have a link you can purchase it from… but I honestly don’t care if you buy from me or someone you know better. At the end of the day, I’m still drinking it because its the best fit for me and my lifestyle. After every workout it is a great way to refuel, get protein and a ton of other nutrient filled supplements into my bloodstream. Quick and easy. Some days it lasts me an hour and other days it lasts me four; it just depends on how much I’ve burned and how hungry I am.

Bottom line — NOTHING will ever replace whole, fresh, organic, produce. We should always EAT PLANTS FIRST and use shakes and supplements as just that, a supplement to our everyday nutrition. So if Shakeology is too expensive for your budget right now, just simply eat more plants. I have created a quick start guide on how to incorporate more plants into your daily nutrition. You can read about it here, or purchase it for $5 here.

Below are pictures of all 30 shakes I made on my 30 day journey. I posted them to Instagram everyday. If you click on the picture below, it will take you to the Instagram post which includs the recipe as well! {Or you can download a PDF of all 30 days of recipes here. Coming soon!}

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Food for Thought on the Price of Shakeology

Everyone needs to make a living, so I’m sure they make a profit and charge more than the cost of production – but so does the company who produces every bag of protein powder you purchase. Wether it be from Wal Mart or Beachbody.

Everyone, everywhere needs to make a living – you just have to decide for yourself if the product is worth the price. In my opinion, I think it is. Even for someone who is willing to spend money freely on quality nutrition. I definitely had a hard time swallowing the price of Shakeology at first so I get it, 100%. But now, after almost 4 years of taking it as part of my daily nutrition, I don’t blink an eye at the cost. It is my new normal, and I include it in our budget for groceries.

If you are interested in a low-cost Vegan Sampler of Shakeology, you can purchase a sample pack online. It has Tropical Strawberry and Chocolate. Mr. Zucchini Runner drinks Tropical Strawberry everyday and I drink Chocolate! You can also take comfort in their 100% satisfaction guarantee.