Sunday, November 23, 2014

say "WHOAH!"

First: WHOA--only a few days left to enter the healthy recipe book giveaway!  Get delicious recipes to help restore your health.

You may recall that my running stalled the last couple months due to illness (boooo).  I'm finally easing my way back in; I spent much of November walking on the treadmill (cold weather!), doing yoga and Pilates, and even taking a Spinning class or two more recently.
WHOA cold weather!
It's felt good to get moving again, but I didn't want to dive in head-first.  I did go to one BODYPUMP class, but my back hurt for a week after.  So... not heading back there until maybe later in December. For now, I've been enjoying simple movement, bodyweight work, and cycling--easier on the joints.

Speaking of easy on the joints, let's talk CUSHIONING... 

There's a new sneaker on the market, and it is nice.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to try it out myself (still in recovery, anyhow), but Eric did, courtesy of the kind folks at Saucony.

He was elated when his Saucony Triumph ISO sneakers arrived, and when he opened the box, it literally spoke to him: "WHOAH"!  He unfolded the panels of the high-tech box to find the shoes.  Watch how it happened below:

When he reached the sneakers, he literally said "Whoah" aloud, followed shortly by, "They're bright!"

His WHOAface was more subtle than mine:

They're lightweight, too--only 10.3 oz!! Whoah!!

PWRGRID+ Premium Cushioning Foam has 20% more cushioning than standard midsoles!

Watch to learn more about the technology:

But don't take it from me or the promo video -- let's hear what Eric had to report:

"Shoes were great" --> After taking them out several times, Eric confirms that they're really comfortable!  I hadn't primed him with any of the above info--about the cushioning, etc., but he was able to tell right away that it was a key feature of the Triumphs.

Here's what he had to say, as dictated to me:

Overall, they're good. I'll go through the negatives and positives, negatives first: 
Negatives: They're too bright, and the box was extremely annoying.  [Meredith's insert: Um... those were my two favorite parts.]  The shoes were very bright, and the laces kind of feel like they're going to fall apart.  They're stretchy, but if you stretch them too far, they feel like they might break. 

Positives: They're comfortable.  They have really good support on the heel; I feel like it's cushiony and bouncy.  The shoe is really wide and well-padded, so it's comfortable. 
I wore them to walk, run, and go to the gym [to lift weights], and they were comfortable for all three.  They're very forgiving--the padding.   
Also, I ran on the treadmill with them. Sometimes, my knees hurt when I run on a treadmill, but my knees were fine in these sneakers.   
I'm happy with them. 

Me: "Okay, they're brighter than you like, but will you keep wearing them?"
Eric: Yeah. 
So that does it!  Bright or not, he's a fan of the cushioning. As long as they support his feet, he'll keep wearing them. 

He just kept repeating how cushioned and comfortable the Triumphs are.  He's happy, I'm happy!  And now you can be happy, too!!! Learn more here, OR enter theeee.....

Want to get a pair for yourself?  Dare you to enter to win a free pair of the Saucony Triumph ISO on the FitFluential blog!!  

Get comfortable, stay warm, and good luck :D 

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Saucony. Shoes were provided for review, but no monetary compensation was received, nor does sponsorship affect the reviews reflected above. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Live Positive

Hey friends!  Popping in for a quick post, because there's a cool contest going on at I want to share with you.  They're looking to give a generous holiday gift to someone who demonstrates how to #LivePositive.

Here's how it works:

You nominate someone who is deserving of a BIG ACT OF KINDNESS, everyone votes online, and then Tommie Copper gives the winner $10,000 !!!  How awesome is that?

They're spreading the message
with the hashtag #LivePositive!

You can enter by clicking here to submit a photo or video telling your nominee's #livepositive story (and enjoy %15 off your next order, while you're at it!).  There's just three more days for nominations to be accepted, so get moving if you know someone you'd like to nominate!

Starting next week, everyone can go on and vote for the the winner (November 24 - December 7), so get ready to log in and vote for a deserving nominee who truly showed that they #livepositive.

Watch the video below to learn more, or head right on over to the contest website to enter now! Dare you to!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Try a new food: Sunchokes

Psst! Don't forget to check out last week's giveaway to win an amazing nutrition/health/recipe book, signed by the author!

It's been a while since a new food post, but I recently tried a food that was brand new to me: Sunchokes.

Have you heard of this vegetable?  I had never, but then I discovered that it's simply another name for the Jerusalem artichoke.  I'd never actually seen or eaten one of those, either, but had always assumed it looked more like, well, an artichoke (click to learn all about that "new food" dare here).

Intrigued, I gathered the details on this native North American tuber:

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, come from a plant that looks a lot like their relative, the sunflower.  What I found, though, looked nothing like a sunflower.  It's the tuber beneath it that looks like a knobby, rough, light brown rock. It looked sort of like ginger, but I honestly questioned whether it was even edible.

Peeled, cut, and cooked, it wasn't so bad!  Its flavor resembles that of good old artichokes, hence the nickname.  In fact, many sources described its flavor as a cross between sunflower seeds and artichoke hearts.

What's inside:

  • Contains vitamins: A, B-complex, iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. 
  • Source of inulin (could be good for diabetics, could be bad for people who don't easily digest it --> may cause gas and bloating, beware!)
  • Reportedly relieves asthma symptoms
  • Reportedly treats constipation

How to choose: Buy sunchokes in season during fall and winter.  You want to choose ones that are firm to touch and free of wrinkles or green or blotchy soft spots.  Before peeling, you can store in the refrigerator for up to a week or two.

Even though it's a root vegetable, it doesn't come with all the starchy carbs found in most tasty root veggies, so if you're watching your carb intake for any reason, that could make these a good option for you.

How to eat: After cleaning or peeling, enjoy sunchokes any which way you like!

  • You can enjoy them raw for a crunchy, sunflowerlike addition to your meal.  Simply slice or chop to add to salads or slaws, sort of like you might do with jicama. 
  • You can puree them to make a soup!
  • Or, you can cook them using your favorite method: roast, boil, saute, steam, fry (online recipes even exist for sunchoke chips)... the sky's the limit! Sunchokes are versatile, like potatoes, so they can be cooked in a variety of methods.

I roasted mine in the oven (seasoned with oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper).   Because I'm still figuring out my new oven's temperatures, they got a little toasty...

Still, they paired nicely with some juicy chicken for a fancy-looking meal!

My first bite:

Pretty good!  They didn't have all that much flavor (most of the flavor seemed absorbed from the oil and rosemary), but I ate them up anyhow.  Not bad!

I wouldn't say it's my new favorite root vegetable, but it's an option I'm happy to have learned about and would gladly meet again in the future.

Have you eaten sunchokes? 
If so, what's your favorite way cook them?

Sources: WiseGeek, Bon Appetit, Local Harvest, Eat the Seasons, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia