Health & Fitness Grade = A.

Yesterday was a surprisingly health-focused day, and, with the exception of my workout and Zumba, the extra emphasis on health was not even planned. If I could hand out a letter grade for being “health-focused” for the entire day, I’d give myself an A. Normally, I’m a B student on the “health-focused” grade scale. I was able to balance health and fitness in several different ways: 1.) I stayed focused on healthy eating at every meal and snack time; 2.) I explored the new Lexington farmers market at the University of Kentucky; 3.) I pushed myself in the weight room with a tough lower body/leg workout; 4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba; and 5.) I “attended” an informative Twitter chat about Soy Protein, which was organized by FitFluential and Solae. Let’s break these activities down:

Salsa Lime Tofu. So delicious!

1.) My overall food and nutrition intake was on par and I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I had an omelet for breakfast, oatmeal for a midmorning snack, Salsa Lime Tofu with veggies & strawberry banana Chobani for lunch, a Green Monster protein smoothie for dinner, blueberries and a piece of organic dark chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious and nutritious, just the way I like it.

Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus.

2.) I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus. While I love the grocery, I really enjoy shopping for locally grown produce. I mingled with the very people who grew the food before my eyes. I love asking the vendors questions about their produce and I’m always amazed by the new knowledge I take away each time I go. I stopped by a vendor offering samples of strawberries and they were divine! They were juicy and delicious down to the very last bite. I wanted to buy a carton, but they were all sold out. (I would have bought the rest of these samples if there wasn’t a line for them already!) Hopefully strawberries will be at the market next time.

Free pedometers were being handed out to the employees in attendance, so I gladly accepted. It’s nothing fancy, but I’ll where it at work to keep track of my steps taken throughout the work day. I’ll test it out and see what number I’ll get today. While I try to stand a lot at my desk, I don’t do too much walking. This just might be a wake up call for me to get moving even more.

3.) Yesterday’s strength training was focused on my lower body. And boy, did I workout my lower half. Having a weekly training plan has helped me concentrate on getting more out of each and every gym sessions. When I came to my final set, I thought about giving up. But winners never quit, and the pain only makes you stronger. So I pushed myself and I didn’t regret it. Today I’m feeling that good kind of soreness you get after you’ve put in a good workout.

Workout Proof. Don’t mess with these “guns”.

4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba once again. After reviewing my thoughts, I’ve found that letting loose with my coworkers and simply moving my body after a long day of work – even if it’s not pushing me physically – helps make me feel better about my over all wellness. I didn’t realize that I had previously placed a pressure on myself to get a good workout in every time I had previously attended a Zumba class. I would always feel stressed because I couldn’t figure out how to get more out of it.  By switching my focus now on the enjoyment of the activity, I’m more in the spirit to dance off stress that has built up throughout the week. I simply feel better going to that group class now without feeling the pressure of a workout.

5.) The soy protein Twitter chat organized by FitFluential and Solae was informative and left me wanting to know more. Since I’ve  been upping my workout routine, higher protein intake is a necessity for me. I always use whey protein in my smoothies, but I’ve recently started limiting the amount of dairy I take in. Personally, I’ve found that limiting dairy  improves the way I feel. Soy protein is fairly new to me and I want to learn more. I had a few questions answered during the chat, but I also came up with more questions that I’d like to research before ditching whey completely. The two things I learned from the Twitter chat are: 1.) Whey is a “fast” protein because it’s rapidly absorbed; Soy protein is“intermediate” & casein “slow”, taking several hours for the body to absorb, and 2.) Soy Protein contains more glutamine & arginine than whey protein or casein. I still have a lot to learn, but I enjoyed the little knowledge I did gain.

Have you entered my giveaway going on now from SlimKicker? There’s still some time left! SlimKicker wants to give one of my readers a 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Imagine all of the healthy, easy to prepare recipes where you can use this, like my Mexican Salsa Chicken recipe. There’s still time to enter to giveaway! Read all about how you can win, here.

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

I’m curious to see what today holds. This evening after work, I’m hoping to attend a “skirt! After Work” party for a grand opening of House, an interior design and housewares store in Lexington. They’re having a grand opening sale and Saul Good, one of my FAVORITE Lexington eateries is catering. Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you incorporate soy protein into your daily diet? If so, how?
If not, how do you make sure you get enough protein into your daily diet?

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Lex Eats | The Corner Cafe

You know I love smoothies. I have one nearly everyday.

There’s this little cafe in Lexington, Kentucky that opened about a year and half ago called The Corner Cafe (and yes, it’s literally on a corner). I pass it nearly every evening on my drive home from work and I’ve always wanted to give it a try. Numerous times I’ve been stopped at a red light outside of the cafe, and I’ve read through their advertised menu: smoothies, lattes and wraps. I finally gave it a go and pulled into their parking lot on the corner yesterday afternoon. If you frequent my blog, you know I love making protein packed smoothies. I consider mine pretty great, so I was taking a risk trying someone else’s creation…

And WOW! I was thoroughly and pleasantly impressed with this little cafe. Immediately walking in the front door, you will notice there’s something different about this place. It’s not your typical Jamba Juice or Tropical Smoothie pretending to be healthy yet offering menu items loaded with added syrups and sugar or only traces of actual fruit. No, it’s not that at all and I am relieved by the difference. Instead, The Corner Cafe promotes health from its core. The decor is a composed of a cool slate grey and black color palate, seemingly minimalistic. While the menu has several options that include smoothies, lattes and wraps, the true speciality is the smoothie selection. Rich Vaux, the owner, suggested that I try the #12 (Banana Raspberry Blueberry Smoothie). It’s much different from the typical green smoothie I make at home.

The #12: Banana, Raspberry, Blueberry Smoothie. Ingredients: Banana, Raspberry, Blueberry, Whey Protein Powder and Multi Vitamin Supplement

Friends, let me tell you that this smoothie was delicious. It wasn’t overly sweet. As a person interested in nutrition, I appreciate that there was no added sugar or syrups. What truly sets this place apart from all of the “trendy” smoothie joints is The Corner Cafe’s attention to  health and nutrition. My monster of a smoothie (24 ounces) was packed with 24 grams of protein and was only 290 calories. With all of the smoothies choices on the menu, customers have the option of adding in a supplement like weight loss, fiber, energy or vitamin. I chose the multi vitamin.

This #12 was very filling. Usually I get the “munchies” in the afternoon, but this smoothie stayed with me all evening long. And while I didn’t choose the energy supplement, this meal replacement gave me quite an energy boost, too. If I ever need a boost to get me through a slump in my work day, I’ll remember The Corner Cafe.

I enjoyed talking with Rich, the owner of The Corner Cafe, about health and nutrition. Though he claimed not to be an expert, his personal study and interest in health matters provided for great conversation and he offered helpful insight on overall fitness. Thinking about stopping in? The cafe offers free wi-fi, so feel free to bring a laptop and stay for a while. (I think I may write some future blog posts from this place.) Another cafe perk includes a frequent reward card where, if you buy 7 smoothies you get the 8th one for free. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, look for The Corner Cafe’s special deals. When I stopped by yesterday, The Corner Cafe tweeted a limited time smoothie deal of $3.99 for any smoothie, regularly $5.39. Additionally, if you appreciate mixed media artwork, pieces by Keith Linton of Louisville, Kentucky are on display and available for purchase. You have to stop in to The Corner Cafe if only just to see this unique artwork.

One down, six more to go until my Free Smoothie!

Final Thoughts: The Corner Cafe is NOT your typical fad “diet” smoothie joint. The owner genuinely cares about promoting and providing healthy options for his customers. If you’re looking for an over the top, extra sweet, “fruity” drink, this isn’t the place for you. BUT, if you’re looking for a healthy, delicious and nutritious, good for your body meal replacement/recovery drink that’s made with REAL fruit, no added sugar or syrups, is very filling and is local, try The Corner Cafe. You don’t know what you’re missing, but I do. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

While other options are offered on the menu, from wraps to lattes, a smoothie is a must try at this location.

The Corner Cafe is located at 384 S. Mill Street #125, Lexington, KY. They are open Monday & Wednesday 8:30AM – 8PM, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 8:30AM to 6PM, and Saturday 11AM to 4PM. Find them on Twitter @The_Corner_Cafe or on Facebook.

Wishing you the best. katie

*A special “thank you” to Rich Vaux for allowing me to come review The Corner Cafe. It truly was a pleasure and the smoothie provided was the best I’ve tasted in Lexington. Wishing you lots of success in all you do and I’ll stop in again soon.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Have you tried The Corner Cafe? Leave your review in our comment section.

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Your City’s Fitness Personality.

I’ve asked my brother Jordan to guest write this morning about a particular area of healthy living he is really into…being ACTIVELY involved in our community. Jordan is involved in all kinds of community teams that help keep him both trim and social. From tennis to baseball, church league softball to volleyball, and coaching flag football and basketball, he dabbles in everything this city offers. Here’s what Jordan has to say.

Jordan playing in a Lexington baseball league.

Every city has a fitness personality.

In the cosmopolitan blugrass city I live in, that personality seems to be volleyball. (when it’s not derby season of course!) Every day of the week somewhere in town there is a volleyball game going on. It’s one of the many ways that I choose to keep on shape, and there’s a few reasons why:
  • Duh, it’s active! Volleyball is one of those amazing sports that scales with you. For those who don’t have natural ability, it can wear you out. For those who know the skills and drills, it should wear you out! Unlike my nemesis, golf, volleyball gets harder as you get better!
  • Leagues and teams are inherently social. Not only does it require a great team-dynamic, but it’s generally set up that you must interact with the other team at some point! And because of the variations in skill level, even many churches offer recreational leagues that anyone can come and enjoy.
  • Finally, it’s generally not an aggressive sport. Oh it gets heated alright, but unlike bench-clearing basebrawls, or upending football collisions, volleyball is more about bringing your best strategy, positioning, and sending the ball over to see what they can do with it. It’s common to congratulate the other team for well-placed hits.

Volleyball leagues are popular in Lexington. Jordan has played on church and Y leagues.

Sure, there are many different ways to be active. You can do anything from run a 5k with thousands of other people to shooting basketball by yourself. My sister can tell you that I’m not the most health-conscious eater (though I’m trying better to limit my gallon-a-day ice cream habit!), but I excel at the other side of the equation… burning the calories off. The keys I’ve found most helpful are to choose things you love to do, choose to do them with other people who in turn become good friends, and to choose something that you actually desire to improve at.

So what’s your city’s fitness personality? Perhaps it’s the outdoor skiing and adventurism of Aspen, Colorado. Or maybe catching waves near Hilo, Hawaii. Even if it’s the love of curling that envelops Winnipeg, Manitoba think about ways you can take your fitness to the next level by challenging and improving with others that are around you!

Stay thirsty, friends!