Eat this, not that: nutritional shakes

organ nutritional shakes

Product showdown: nutritional shakes!

A client of mine, who has a very busy schedule, was looking for a healthy nutritional shake that she could have when she’s on-the-go and doesn’t have time for a meal. She asked my thoughts on Ensure nutritional shakes, thinking that they would be a good option for her. While Ensure is marketed as “healthy,” they contain artificial flavors and sugars, genetically modified ingredients and loads of preservatives and additives – not exactly what I’d consider to be a nutritious!

Instead, I recommended Orgain organic nutritional shakes.

organ nutritional shakes
They are full of vitamins and minerals from organic fruits and vegetables, have plenty of protein as well as a balanced blend of carbs and fats. They are free of artificial sweeteners, preservatives and do not contain gluten, soy or corn.They also make a vegan version for those who do not tolerate dairy.

Orgain products can be found online and in stores like Vitamin Shoppe.

This is definitely a better choice! Think before you eat!

Be well,


FitJoy protein bar review

I always keep a protein bar in my purse in case hunger strikes while I’m running around. I picked up a few of the new FitJoy protein bars while I was at Vitamin Shoppe this week. While I find that many of the protein bars on the market today are filled with very questionable ingredients, FitJoy bars are gluten-free, GMO-free and do not contain artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Each bar has around 220 calories, 13g of fiber and pack 20g of protein, making them a great, filling snack. The bars come in 6 different flavors, and I purchased the 4 flavors that most appealed to me.

fitjoy protein bar review

Here is a run down of the FitJoy flavors I tried:

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – FitJoy’s take on this classic flavor is subtle, but solid. The texture of this bar is very “doughy” with chocolate chips throughout. It’s not overly sweet and doesn’t have an artificial-tasting cookie dough flavor like some other bars I’ve tried. I give this flavor an 8/10.

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Chocolate Iced Brownie – While I love chocolate, when it comes to protein bars, it usually isn’t the first flavor I’ll gravitate towards, but even so, I really enjoyed this flavor. It had a similar texture to the cookie dough, and if you’re a chocoholic, this will be a winner for you. I give this flavor a 7.5/10.

Chocolate Peanut Butter – Being a lover of all things peanut butter, I had high expectations for this flavor and was sure that it would be my favorite of the bunch. It has a chocolate fudge-like layer on top with peanut pieces sprinkled on it. Sadly, I found it to have a fake peanut butter taste to me (think powdered peanut butter, like PB2) and the chocolate was overpowering, so the peanut butter flavor I was hoping for didn’t come through enough. I give this flavor a 6.5/10.

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Mint Chocolate Crisp – This bar has a crispier texture than the first few bars I tried, which I liked. I am a fan of peppermint + chocolate, but this bar has more of a menthol minty flavor, which I still liked. I give this flavor a 7/10.

The two flavors I passed on trying were the Frosted Cinnamon Roll and French Vanilla Almond. If anyone has tried these, I’d love to know what you thought!

Overall, I did like them! Compared to Quest bars, they are softer and chewier. The bars have some “whey protein crisps” scattered throughout which added some crispiness, but they don’t have the chunks of goodies (chocolate chunks, pieces of dried fruit, graham cracker bits, etc.) that Quest bars have. (Side note: I’m comparing them to Quest bars because they seem to be one of the most popular protein bars that many have tried. While I am a fan of some Quest Bar flavors, I find their new formula to be a bit “artificial tasting,” so I haven’t been having them as much. Plus, nothing can take the place of real food. ☺)

EDITED TO ADD: I just tried one of FitJoy’s seasonal flavors, Winter Peppermint Bark.

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I’m a fan of mint chocolate everything, so I had to give this flavor a shot. The texture of this bar is great! It is crispier and less chewy than some of the original flavors and has a strong peppermint flavor, so if you are a mint lover, I’d give it a try!

Be well,


Pure Barre Platform review

IMG_5592I’m a HUGE fan of barre-based workouts. Not only do I love taking them, but they are also one of my favorite classes to teach (I’m a certified group fitness instructor in case you didn’t know ☺). Today, I’ll be giving my review of Pure Barre, a barre-based fitness class.





Pure Barre classes focus on muscular endurance, using body weight along with some resistance equipment (light weights and resistance bands). It is a total body workout that concentrates on constant muscle engagement through small contracted movements, working until muscle fatigue.

First, let me tell you why I love Pure Barre:
~The music. I’m obsessed with the playlists, which consist of high-energy electronic dance music (my jam).
~The flow of the class. You’ll start off with a quick warm up, move onto upper body, lower body, core work and finish with a nice stretch. There are also small stretch breaks in between. This format doesn’t change, so you’ll always know what to expect.
~It never gets easy. While the format of the class remains the same, the actual workout routine changes frequently, so your body is constantly being challenged.
~Mind-body connection. Throughout the class you are directed to really focus on the muscle you are working. As a fitness instructor, I know how important the mind-muscle connection is for results, so I appreciate that this is emphasized in the class.

The cons to Pure Barre:
~The instructions can be very difficult to follow, especially if you’re new to the class. To maintain the quick pace of the class, most instructions are given verbally, and depending on where you in the room, it can be tough to see the instructor when they are demonstrating the moves. Ideally, the instructor will come over and correct each person’s form, however this is tough to do during a packed class. Just like anything else, the more you take the class, the more you will get the hang of it. Also, most studios offer a free “Breaking Down the Barre” instructional class that can be very helpful.
~Not enough upper body work and cardio. While the classes are a total body workout, the focus is definitely on lower body.


Pure Barre recently released Pure Barre Platform, “a new fast-paced class designed to optimize cardiovascular results and increase total body strength. This heart-pumping class combines quick bursts of high intensity, yet low impact cardio work with periods of lower intensity muscle-sculpting movements. These 55 minutes of high energy, fun and intense interval training at the barre will help you burn calories, jump-start your metabolism, and increase your overall endurance. It is the perfect cardio complement to your Pure Barre class to help you achieve even greater results, while still holding onto the traditional pieces and parts of a Pure Barre class that we all know and love.” Read more directly from their website here.

I saw snippets of the platform “jumps” on social media and was excited to try it out! I took my first Pure Barre Platform class last week and I walked in expecting a traditional Pure Barre class with some cardio mixed it. My initial thoughts: It’s very different than the traditional Pure Barre class.


The movements are BIGGER, and more exaggerated. Almost everything you are taught in their traditional class is thrown out the window. There are no “tiny, little movements” and there are no “tucks.” The class is less strict about form and is more focused on fast-paced, large movements.

I LOVED the platform jumps, but wasn’t a huge fan of some of the other platform work. I also didn’t expect the platform to be used the entire class, which it was. Had they kept the traditional class, but added in just the platform jumps for a cardio element, I would have LOVED the class. Here are my final ratings:

Pure Barre traditional class: 9/10.
Pure Barre Platform class: 6/10.

Keep in mind that these are my thoughts of Pure Barre Platform after having only taken it once. If I continue to take the platform class, my option could change, however I plan to stick to the traditional Pure Barre classes and get my cardio in on my own time.

Have you taken Pure Barre or Pure Barre Platform? Let me know your thoughts!

Be well,