Take it with a grain of salt

I can confidently say that within the almost-5 years I’ve been writing this little thing, I haven’t really experienced much writer’s block. In all fairness, the first two years’ posts were mostly fluff and getting the hang of blogging (there’s some background stuff that goes into it and I’ve never been very tech-y). Since then, I feel like I’ve always had something to say and on the days I don’t have as much, I just post less.

Two nights ago, I had nothing.

I sat down at the computer, only had a half hour -usually posts take +/- an hour to edit photos and write- and on the forefront of my mind were the ludicrous workouts I kept seeing pop up all over Pinterest.

In a nutshell, someone without any fitness credentials or background will post a picture of a super fit girl and her toned abs, along with some asinine workout (“every day do 100 burpees, 80 jumping jacks, 50 sit-ups and run 5 miles!”) and it will be pinned from here until eternity. So, BOOM. I thought, “I’ll write about scary fitness trends!”

Wait a second…

Did I write about that already?

Yep. A year ago. And I called it “scary fitness trends.”

It was a clue to step away for the night.

Yesterday, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the day (4 classes: Zumba, Barre, Latin dance and stretch)


and actually have things to talk about now πŸ˜‰

I was thinking about last week, when a friend’s daughter came over to make raw desserts. She’s a college student and is really getting into health and fitness, so I lent her some of my favorite cookbooks.

Some of the books in the stash:

(she’s interested in the vegan diet and cooking techniques)

Let Them Eat Vegan!

Detox for Women

Ani’s Raw Food Essentials

Everyday Raw Desserts

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch <– awful name, some pretty great recipes


While I was handing her each book, I couldn’t help but give a disclaimer for most of them:

“This women is incredible and has extensive knowledge of nutrition and detox techniques, but she’s a little cray-cray about food combining, which I don’t totally agree with.”

“This one has awesome recipes, but some of them need specific kitchen tools- let me know if you want to borrow anything!”

“This book has a ton of good recipes, but also a lot using processed ingredients so just a head’s up.”

The only books I didn’t have much to say about (other than the fact that I adore them) are the Ani Phyo and Dreena Burton book: whole healthy foods and simple recipes.

While I’m not going to play the “eating plans I like” banjo again (haha), I think it’s important to note the extra consideration that must be given with any food or fitness plan. You have to take it with a grain of salt, research, and experiment to determine what works best for you.Β 

Some of the things I wish I would have known when I was first getting started with health and fitness:

-Stay away from the processed stuff. I used to abuse Splenda and my poor friends had to eat baked treats that I made using it. I’m sorry, friends.

-Fats are not the devil. I can’t believe how much life I wasted without nut butter. I like to think that I’m making up for lost time πŸ˜‰

Salmon  1 of 1 2

-You really can enjoy everything in moderation and maintain your goals. My eating has changed so much through the years as it’s been a process to educate myself and find the best methods for me. I eat the widest variety of foods now and feel better than I ever have. I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss, even though my daily menu includes much more than the packaged and microwaved “health” meals of my past.

Carrot cakes

(Renee’s Organic Oven carrot cake: gold star)

-On the same note, there really is no “one size fits all.” I would love to be vegan; however, my body does better with some animal proteins mixed in. I just try to be aware of their sources, Β remain mindful of my consumption, and emphasize organic and local whenever possible. You do what you can.

-Quality > quantity. It’s possible to get in a killer strength and cardio workout within 30 minutes if time is limited. (HIIT is AWESOME.)

What’s something you learned the hard way with nutrition or fitness? What’s a fitness or health book that you still use and love today?Β 

I always find myself going back to these books when I need a boost with meal revamp ideas:

The Raw Food Detox Diet

Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Canyon Ranch: Nourish

See ya later today <3



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  1. Sarah Anne on February 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I do the EXACT same thing, Gina! It was funny – the comment on good recipes but lots of processed food? It *had* to be Skinny Bitch in the Kitch! I have that cookbook and I actually really liked it when I first started cooking vegetarian/vegan food. It was really handy and they recreate a lot of ‘known’ dishes. But now that I cook pretty much all the time, I find I’ve definitely grown out of it. I don’t like all the fake meat dishes etc.

    I almost *always* go to Dreena Burton’s cookbooks! If you haven’t gotten “Let Them Eat Vegan” DO IT! Oh goodness. I have EDBV too but this new one, is AMAZING. So So SO great. Truly. It’s kind of been my go-to since I got it last May.

    The other cookbook I got recently which was really great was the Food Matters book. I got it at a discount shop here for cheap, (Like TJMaxx or Marshalls) and it’s been such a great addition. Emphasizes whole foods, mostly plants with some meats and a good amount of fish/seafood. I love Mark Bittman so no surprise there,b ut it’s great. The Edamame cakes in that book might be something Liv would like! (Here’s a blog post about them http://www.crunchyrock.com/2010/12/edamame-cakes-with-soy-drizzling-sauce.html)

    Anyway, TL;DR: I agree. There are a lot of things you really have to take with a grain of salt, and look at how it fits YOUR life and You, right then, right there. There is no one size fits all unfortunately, but at the same time, that’s kind of beautiful!

  2. Jane on February 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Gina! I love your blog. I’m pretty new to it, and I’m keeping busy with all your previous posts! I’m learning so much–you’re like the trainer-nutritionist sister/BFF we all want at our disposal πŸ™‚

    I have a question about protein powders. I know you’re not a fan of processed foods, but you do like your protein powders. Do you consider those processed foods? Why/why not?

    Thank you!!! Keep up the great writing. You’re making a lot of us healthier and fitter because of it.

    • Fitnessista on February 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      aww thank you, jane!! πŸ™‚
      while i like protein powder, i’m picky about the ones i choose. they’re still processed but have more simple ingredients (like the sun warrior and vega)- i love them, but i’m not using them as much as i used to since i’m getting lots of protein from other sources.

  3. Purelymichelle on February 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    great post, and so true about experimenting as each “diet” has pros and cons. and it will be different for each person. It is crazy for me to think how much diet has changed not just within a few years but over many years.

    just thinking about our days at 105 πŸ˜‰ love raw foods!

    • Fitnessista on February 28, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      i think about our 105 days often! that was so much fun πŸ™‚

  4. Nic on February 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Something I learned the hard way…

    The best form of exercise is the one you actually DO. I think I agonized over so many types of exercise and determining what would be the best, steady ellliptical vs. intervals vs. weight lifting vs. HIIT vs. spinning vs. yoga vs. strength training vs. blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    I’ll always try new things, but ultimately, for me, it doesn’t matter what it is, if you fall of track, it’s not doing any good. So I stopped beating myself up for not mixing things up enough or not following some special set routine and started doing whatever the heck I wanted (in other words, whatever I thought was FUN). For me, it’s about being healthy in the long term and I’m not going to with keep up with something that’s overly complicated or hard to get to or with people who are rude or just plain boring and that’s OK.

    • Miss Molly on February 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Me too! If I’m not going to stick with it for whatever reasons I need to skip it and try something new!

  5. Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily on February 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    For years, I would try every diet out there, tried calorie counting, low carb, weight watchers, etc. Last may I tried an experiment that changed my life. For 6 weeks I stopped counting calories, weighing and measuring foods and every other food rule I had set for myself I walked away. At the end of those 6 weeks, I was down 20 lbs. As of now, I’m down a total of 45lbs and couldn’t be happier. I get all sorts of comments about how I should be doing this or that or eating this way or another if I want to lose weight faster. I don’t. I have finally found my happy place, I eat salads because I like vegetables, I eat brownies because they’re amazing, and I stopped beating myself up if the husband wants to bring home pad thai for dinner!

    • Fitnessista on February 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      amen to that, and congratulations to you! you are amazing.

  6. Kelly Kurcina on February 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    OOoo, love the vegan post! I went grain free vegan 4 months ago and LOVING it! :=)

  7. Babs on February 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I still adore Veganomicon. For me I have a lot of nutrition knowledge, but don’t always decide to listen to it. If you’re not walking the walk then don’t talk the talk. But every day is a day you can be the person you want to be πŸ™‚

  8. Karissa on February 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Hey Gina!

    When I was in high school, I realized how overweight I was (it was pretty bad)- I ate to compensate for a bad home life and some messed up situations. At first, I started by just cutting stuff out and adding exercise but got to a point where I really had disordered eating- counting calories to a crazy (unsafe) extreme, balancing anything I was allowing myself to eat against a workout, etc. I was also way into processed diet “health” foods- I did the Splenda thing too with some batches of cookies! (Sorry to everybody I made eat those…)
    I love what you said about each person needing to find what works for them in terms of healthy eating style- I have been trying to take healthy eating/living and fitness to more of a lifestyle over the past year and your blog is a HUGE go-to for me, not only because it is packed with awesome advice, killer fitness tips/workouts, and yummy recipes, but also because I love how wonderful you are about really wanting to help and not slamming people if they aren’t following the EXACT diet/fitness/whatever plan you choose to follow. You are so encouraging!! πŸ™‚
    I really want to get let them eat vegan- I don’t follow a vegan lifestyle but it sounds so yummy (from what you’ve posted)! I like Clean Eating magazine (mostly follow online recipes, yummy).
    I’m still getting refining what food/eating style “works” for me; cutting out processed foods and diet soda (my former BIG time vice) has made me feel fantastic! πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on February 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      thank you karissa! it makes me happy to hear that you’re finding the healthy balance for YOU
      thank you for reading πŸ™‚

  9. McKel | Nutrition Stripped on March 1, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Hi Gina,
    Great post, I’ve been a long time follower and I love the “behind” the scenes version of blogging haha. I’ve tried every diet out there in the past and you’re so right- there is no “one size fits all” we are all completely unique and have to learn, experiment and grow from each “try out”. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  10. Beth C on March 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Gina! I’ve been reading your blog for years and find it inspiring. Like a lot of women I went though a phase of not respecting my body & “punishing” it with overtraining and not eating enough. (A lot of it was fear of gaining the weight back after losing around 35-40lbs) Your blog has taught me the importance of fueling and being kind & respectful to my body. You are an amazing role model for women- you have helped me to develop a positive relationship between food, exercising & loving my unique body. πŸ™‚

  11. Gena on March 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Looks like we both wrote posts this week encouraging folks not to be dazzled and seduced by extremes πŸ™‚ I laughed at your disclaimers here. And I have always appreciated the balance and reasonable approach to health that you share on the blog!!


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