Confidence Is The Most Attractive Thing

Hey all!!

Last night, my husband & I were discussing our “beginnings”… how we met & how our relationship began. I asked him if there was anything about me back then that’s different than how I am now. He thought for a second & then said, “I think more than anything I’ve watched you become a more confident person. You’re less self conscious than you were back then & you’re just confident in who you are, and that’s very attractive.” This struck a chord with me & we talked a little bit about the transformation that I’ve gone through in the (almost) 8 years we’ve been together.

Back then, I was so obsessed with my weight & self image that I was blind to the fact that I was beautiful. I was just never good enough for myself. I worked out hard every day, no matter the cost (lack of sleep, skipping a meal, etc) & if I didn’t get a workout in one day, I’d beat myself up & would instantly see myself in the mirror as 5 pounds fatter that day. On top of being obsessed with my workouts (mostly long duration cardio), I obsessively counted everything I ate. I ate everything low fat, low sugar, low calorie, low carb (AKA low nutrition), to stay under my 1,200 calorie limit, & played a game with myself to see how low I could keep it (sometimes only 700-800 a day). I remember moments during my senior year of college, stepping on the scale & crying that I couldn’t get it below 125 pounds no matter how hard I was working (yeah…. 125 lb’s). When I think back on it now, I can honestly say I had an eating disorder.  Food controlled me, even though my twisted mind at the time thought I was the one in control.

After my wedding in 2012, I indulged at our honeymoon & my shorts barely fit me on the day we left (talk about a shot metabolism). I continued to fight this battle with my metabolism for the next year… working out hard, eating little, trying desperately to control my weight but gaining immediately when I’d indulge ONCE or eat a few too many calories that day (like 1,500 – oh no!). The next year, a heart to heart with my best friend (who is now an integrative dietitian) inspired me to free myself from calorie counting, focus on the QUALITY of food I’m eating, not just quantity, & listen to my body for what it needs rather than trying to “outsmart” it by calculating input vs. output. It finally clicked that our bodies don’t work that way, & I finally faced the realization that I had been in a very unhealthy place for a long time & I was going to try & dig myself out of it.

I’m not going to say it was all butterflies & rainbows. It was hard as shit. Because I had messed up my metabolism so bad through years of restrictive eating & over-exercising, I gained weight when I started eating a normal amount of food, even though it was healthy. My “rock bottom” came in 2014 (picture #1 below). I couldn’t lose the weight no matter what I did. I had shaken the calorie counting obsession, but I was still working out hard every day & was eating healthy food. I cried trying on my summer dresses & swimming suits for our winter trip to Mexico because nothing fit me & I felt like crap. I was tired all the time. I felt sluggish. I had no sex drive. I hadn’t had my period in a year. I felt like my hormones were literally shut off. I was sick. Bottom line.


Another life changing conversation with that same best friend (she is truly a God send!) inspired me to seek help from a functional medicine practitioner in Kansas City. The test results were what I expected. My thyroid was low from years of self-inflicted damage, which caused my metabolism & sex hormones to say good-bye as well. I was also deficient in some other key nutrients. A gluten test indicated that I had a gluten sensitivity & that I’d be better off without it. My “prescription” was as follows:

  1. Get rid of gluten in my diet & eat REAL high quality food (note: taking out gluten naturally helps you “unprocess your diet”
  2. Get rid of all high intensity exercise which is MORE damaging for people with low thyroid problems, & focus on MOVEMENT instead (this is when I fell in love with walking & eventually yoga)
  3. Take supplements (several of the key nutrients I was deficient in)

That’s it people. That is it. No medications. No crazy procedures. No hormone replacement. Just very simple lifestyle changes.

I started this protocol in September of 2014 & by January 2015, I was a new person. I had energy. I had my sex drive back. I got my period. I lost weight. I felt invigorated. I felt balanced. I felt healthy. I remember trying on my summer dresses & swimming suits for my winter trip to Jamaica that month (picture #2) & crying tears of joy because I felt completely different than a year before when I was so sick & miserable.

Picture #3 is from this summer. Nothing has really changed, & to me, that is music to my ears. I finally have BALANCE. I eat well, most of the time. I indulge sometimes, but that’s OK. My metabolism is now healthy enough where it won’t make me blow up like a balloon if I’m not perfect in my diet. I walk every day, focusing on movement rather than exercise. Sometimes I like doing higher intensity exercise too, so I do. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not, I don’t. If I feel like exercising, I do. If I don’t, I don’t. I listen to my body & do what it tells me instead of relying on tracking devices to tell me how many calories I consumed, how many I burned, or how many steps or miles I got in that day.

THIS IS HOW EVERYONE SHOULD FEEL!!! I’m no longer that self conscious girl that I was. I’m not perfect, & I have my days. This world makes it a constant battle. But, the majority of the time I look in the mirror & I’m happy with what I see. I tell myself positive things instead of breaking myself down. Am I as skinny as I was on my wedding day? No. Do I have cellulite? Yes. Do I have some junk in the trunk? Yes. (haha) But, guess what? I’m healthy. I feel great. Those “imperfect” things about me are what make me ME & after working on my MIND day in & day out for YEARS, I am finally at that place. That’s why it breaks my  heart when I see other people struggling with what I struggled with, & that’s what made me finally write this blog post today.

Balance, people. It’s not about eating less & exercising more. Please don’t make the mistake I did. Just listen to your body & guess what, if you exercise less you probably won’t feel like eating as much & if you exercise more, you’re probably going to want to eat more. BALANCE. Eat well. Live well. Move well. Be kind to yourself. TRUST yourself. Not the app on your phone that’s telling you what to do. Not the crazy fitness model instagram posts telling you how you should look. BE YOU & be confident in that. THAT is what is most attractive, take it from my husband 😉

– Janeen

PS: If you would like some more resources & people to follow who believe in this same thing, here are a few of my favorites:

Robyn Johnson 

Dietitian Cassie 

Shawn Stevenson (specifically his podcast, the Model Health Show)

Dr. Jade Teta 

Abel James (specifically his podcast, Fat Burning Man)

Dr. Mark Hyman 

Erin Mullins, Fit Rocker Chick (she has my SAME STORY, I swear…it’s craziness

– Natalie Jill ~ she’s very into fitness but from what I’ve heard her talk about with her new book, “Unprocess Your Diet” her views on nutrition are on point

Italian Sausage & Veggie Pasta with Garden Fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce

Well hello there!!

Yes, I’m still alive! Haven’t posted in awhile because of our busy season at work (which will be over in about a month & then you’ll be hearing from me a lot more) but I’ve missed my blog! Plus, after creating this DELICIOUS recipe with tomato sauce I whipped up from my very own garden, I could not help but share.

So, the awesome thing about having a garden is obviously that you get heaps of garden fresh produce at your fingertips. However, it’s a lot of work & with the busy season & not as much time in the kitchen, I was neglecting some of these ripe veggies 😦 Eventually, I found myself in my kitchen staring at a giant heaping bowl of tomatoes trying to figure out what to do with them (I have already made several giant batches of salsa so wanted to try something different).

Solution: Homemade Tomato Sauce.

I searched the web for the easiest method & I found the winner! Easy peasy. Ready for this?

1. Cut tomatoes in half & cut out core.
2. Drizzle rimmed baking sheet with olive oil & place tomatoes face down.
3. Throw in some fresh garlic (chopped or whole cloves), & fresh herbs. I just tore up some fresh basil & oregano I have growing.
4. Drizzle olive oil & some salt & pepper on everything. Admire the beauty 🙂


5. Place in oven preheated to 250 degrees for 3-4 hours, or until tomatoes are soft & bursting. Mine only needed about 3 hours, but they were pretty ripe & soft already so depending on ripeness of your tomatoes, they may need longer. When they’re done, they’ll look like this. Nice & juicy 😉

6. Once tomatoes are cooled down a bit, work in batches & spoon tomato mixture into a blender. Here, I added some more salt & pepper, a few more fresh herbs, & some dried herbs (italian seasoning). Blend up to your liking (less blending if you like it chunky, more blending if you want it smooth). Taste & add more salt & pepper if needed. Pour into a container & voila! You have homemade delicious tomato sauce.


This actually made about twice as much but I froze half of it. Also some of my tomatoes from my garden are an orange color (not sure why that is, but whatever, they still taste good), which is why my sauce is an orangey red.

For a printable version of this sauce recipe, click here.

So, now that I had this delicious tomato sauce made, I had to think of something to do with it! I immediately thought of using Italian sausage & making a pasta dish. I have always LOVED pasta, but since I’ve gone gluten free, I don’t eat pasta much anymore. Luckily they’re making it a lot easier on people with gluten sensitivities nowadays & you can easily find gluten free pasta noodles, even in my small town! So I went to pick some up & came up with this recipe.

And I must say ….. it was a treat. Here’s how you make it!

1. Gather up all your ingredients. You will need a package of Italian sausage, penne pasta noodles, your homemade tomato sauce (or any sauce that you like), green pepper, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, & spinach. Oh, and wine….but that’s just for drinking while you cook (optional but recommended).


2. Start heating up your water to boil the pasta noodles.

3. Heat up olive oil in large saute pan & place whole sausages in pan. Disclaimer: I tried cutting some up first before cooking. This makes it really hard to get an even cut as the insides like to squeeze out of the casing (that sounds gross but whatever). SO, with some input from my brilliant husband who was just watching me cook this & drooling, we decided it would work best to cook them a bit whole, then cut them. I ended up doing both as I had already attempted to cut up a few. Oops. Cook them whole & throw some chopped onion in the pan while you’re at it.


4. When the sausages have a nice sear, remove them from the pan & let them cool a bit. Throw in some chopped green & red pepper (I used 1/2 of a large each). Sidenote: If your pasta water is boiling by now, toss about 1/2 package of penne into the water & get that cookin!

5. While the peppers & onion are cooking, slice up the sausages. The insides will probably still need to be cooked through, so toss those back in the pan to finish off. Throw some mushrooms in there while you’re at it too (I love mushrooms so I added a whole package of sliced mushrooms). As you can see, I’m making a ginormous batch of this pasta (my husband can eat a lot & we like leftovers…ha)


6. Once the veggies & sausages are cooked through, throw in some spinach. Cook for a minute or so until wilted down slightly, then add in your wonderful sauce!


7. Drain your pasta if cooked through & toss into the pan. Top with more fresh herbs if you please 🙂


     8. Taste & add more salt & pepper & Italian seasoning if needed (try not to eat the whole pan while you’re at it). I had some fresh mozzarella cheese in the fridge, so I decided to grate some of that on top. Oh so goooood!


     9. That’s it! This pasta dish took me less than a half hour & it made a ton. I’d say about 6-8 servings depending on portion sizes. Serve with garden fresh green beans (or your veggie of choice) & some wine & enjoy with someone you love! 🙂 We made this a special date night & ate in our dining room (with placemats & everything…ha!)


Hope you enjoy this recipe! If you’d like a printable version, click here.

Thanks for following!

Until next time (which I hope is sooner than later),

 – Janeen

My Weekend Coffee – A Simple, Healthy, Delicious, & Satisfying Way to Jazz Up Your Normal Coffee :)

Hey hey!

As I’m sitting here on this fine Saturday morning enjoying my “weekend” coffee on my deck, I thought this was just way too delicious not to share on the blog! Normally just a black coffee drinker during the week, I like to enjoy this delicious treat on my mornings off on weekends, BUT the nice thing is that it’s healthy & all clean ingredients so no feeling guilty indulging in a frothy coffee drink. Sooooo feel free to have this during the week too if you want too 😉

As I talked about in my last post about Robyn’s CPF+, (go here if you missed it) I try to incorporate healthy fats into every meal. My weekend coffee recipe gives me a good dose of those healthy fats for sure! Ready for the recipe? Get the blender out & let’s go 🙂

Start by assembling your ingredients. I usually like to make 2 servings, to either share with the husband or to just sip on & enjoy myself throughout the morning 😉 SO, in that case, you’ll need 3 cups of freshly brewed coffee, organic grass-fed butter (yep you got that right), & coconut oil. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can totally customize it & do whatever you want. If you like coconut oil more, just double up on that & skip the butter (vice versa if you’re a butter lover……which who isn’t? Ha!) Other optional ingredients are: unflavored gelatin (I like to throw this in to anything & everything I can for a little extra protein boost), honey (can sub pure maple syrup if you want or completely omit), cinnamon, vanilla, or any other clean flavors you’d like to add. This time I added gelatin, honey, & cinnamon.


OK, next is the measuring………which I don’t do. So I guess I’ll just do my best guesstimating for you (see this is really impossible to screw up). Pour your brewed coffee in the blender & add about 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil & butter (I know it seems weird but trust me), 2 tablespoons of gelatin, 1 teaspoon of honey, & a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon.

Blend it up! See the frothy goodness?!?!?


Done!!! Pour into a big ol’ mug (compliments of my best friend Robyn for my birthday), top with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon if you want & enjoy on a nice quiet spring morning on your deck or patio (optional but highly recommended).


Hope you enjoy this guys!! When I first read about this I was super skeptical, but once I tried it I never looked back 😉 I’d love to know what you think of this if you try it! Leave me a comment to let me know!

Thanks for visiting & happy weekend!! 🙂

– Janeen

P.S. Don’t forget to follow the blog if you like it! Muchas gracias.

Keep Healthy Eating Simple with CPF+

Hey guys!!

Jeeze, sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile on here! Since we opened for the season at The Prairie Club, I’ve been busy busy with work….all the more reason to dive into this topic on how I keep healthy eating simple with a super valuable acronym/practice taught by my best friend & registered dietitian Robyn Johnson. I’ve bragged about her before in other posts (like this one) about how valuable she’s been in my health journey & the good news is, she can help you too!

The concept is called CPF+ and it stands for:

  • C = Carbohydrates
  • P = Protein
  • F = Fat
  • + = The BEST, most nutritious version of all 3 (aka: REAL FOOD)

Seems pretty simple right? Well, the good news is that it IS!

What I love about this way of viewing nutrition is that it is BALANCED & that’s what I’m striving for in all areas of my life! This is NOT a diet. I hate diets to be honest with you because I know that, quite simply, they don’t work for long-lasting health. There’s plenty of research backing that, but more importantly, I can speak from personal experience that obsessive calorie counting & any form of deprivation, including restricting calories to an unhealthy level (which most diets do), can & will completely backfire eventually! CPF+ is a way of thinking about your nutrition & practicing healthy habits that you can sustain for LIFE.

Since implementing CPF+, I’m healthier, but more import than that, I’m WAY happier! Eating real food & listening to my body for what it wants & needs is way more sustainable than relying only on the numbers & counting every little thing that I put in my mouth. I’ve learned that not all calories are created equal, so eating the right  calories instead of getting under my calorie “limit” is the key to lasting health (and sanity….ha!). I now focus more on the ingredient list (the shorter the better) instead of the calorie or fat content.

OK, so let’s dive in shall we?! I’m going to keep it pretty simple today, but will include a link to more info from Robyn if you want to dive in further.


  • No, this does not mean highly processed, junk carbs, like most breads, cereals, & pastas.
  • The most nutrient dense (+) carbs are found in the form of good ol’ fruits & veggies!!
  • Contrary to some popular diets (ugh) out there, YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS. They’re our main source of energy in the body. Don’t listen to any diets that suggest cutting out or extremely limiting one of the macros (CPF). You need all 3!
  • My go-to healthy carb sources: all fruits & veggies, beans, rice, oats, & quinoa

Carbohydrate Foods

P = Protein 

  • Protein is essential for muscle building, hair & nail health, tissue repair, & so much more!
  • Complete proteins contain all 22 amino acids, which are essential for our body to function optimally.
  • My go-to healthy protein sources: beef, pork, chicken, fish, gelatin, eggs, & greek yogurt


F = Fats  

  • One of the most detrimental dietary recommendations in America has been the low fat craze!! We NEED healthy fats (just make sure they’re the right kind)!
  • Fats are essential for carrying nutrients throughout the body, building hormones, absorbing vitamins, & providing satiation.
  • Avoid any food product that’s labeled “fat free” or “low fat,” as they’re always supplemented with artificial, crappy ingredients like sugar, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives, to retain the flavor that is stripped away when they take out the fat.
  • My go-to healthy fat sources: olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter, avocado, olives, natural peanut butter, almonds, chia seeds, & flax seeds
  • Fats that I avoid like the plague: vegetable oil, canola oil, margarine, shortening, or any food product with “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients list

Foods containing healthy fats

That’s IT! Pretty simple right? Just remember CPF+ when meal building & you’re good to go! I keep this in mind any time I eat meals or snacks & it really helps me control blood sugar imbalances, curbs my hunger, & keeps me energized & satisfied throughout the day.

Here’s some examples of my favorite CPF+ meals:


  • Local eggs (P+) cooked in coconut oil (F+) with a banana (C+) & natural peanut butter (F+)
  • Smoothie with spinach, bananas, & strawberries (C+), gelatin powder (P+), & chia seeds (F+)


  • Salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, & carrots (C+), deli turkey breast (P+), homemade olive-oil based dressing (F+)
  • Burrito bowl with rice, black beans, tomatoes, & salsa (C+), diced chicken (P+), olives & sour cream (F)


  • Grilled steak (P+) with a side of potatoes, peppers, onions, & mushrooms (C+) grilled in a foil packet with organic butter & olive oil (F+)
  • Sweet potato hash made with diced sweet potatoes, onion, peppers, kale, & other veggies (C+), cooked in bacon fat or coconut oil (F+), mixed with chopped bacon & topped with 2 fried eggs (P+) – find recipe here!

For more awesome information about this, click here for Robyn’s free CPF+ nutrition guide! You can also follow her nutrition facebook page, or follow her on instagram @personalizednutrition_ 

I hope this is helpful information for some of you striving to live a more balanced, simpler, happier, healthier life. I’d love to hear what you think so comment below or like this post if you found it useful 🙂 Also, if you liked this, don’t forget to follow the blog so that you’re notified when I post new content!

Thanks so much for following my journey.

Until next time,

– Janeen

Sweet Potato Hash: My Go-To Recipe for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner! :)

Hello everyone!

One thing that I love to do is COOK & experiment with healthy, balanced recipes 🙂 So, today I thought I’d share one of my go-to recipes for ANY meal! Seriously, I make this at least twice a week & always make enough to have leftovers (that is, if my husband doesn’t eat it all first!) It is super quick & easy, not to mention healthy & DELICIOUS!! The other thing I love is that is is very customize-able (is that a word?) – you can throw in literally any veggies that you like or have on hand & it’s always fabulous.

OK, so here is how to make Sweet Potato Hash (this recipe makes around 4 large servings, so feel free to adjust as needed):

  1. Heat up your electric skillet (or large saute pan on stove) to medium heat. I like using an electric skillet b/c it is BIG, & like I said, I like to make a lot of this stuff 😉
  2.  Cook up some bacon! I usually just throw in however many slices I have on hand or however many fit in the pan. This time I cooked 9 slices of bacon. Cook approximately 3 minutes per side or however long it takes to get nice & browned & cooked through. Mmmm bacon…..


     3.   While the bacon is cooking, start dicing your sweet potatoes. I diced up 2 medium sweet potatoes this time around.

     4.   When bacon is cooked through, remove from pan & place on a plate lined with paper towels. Leave a couple tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan (you might have to drain some off depending on how much grease your bacon produces).

     5.   Toss the diced sweet potatoes into your pan.

     6.   While your potatoes start to cook, dice up some onion. I used 1/2 of a medium sized yellow onion. Toss those in the pan with the sweet potatoes.


     7.   Next, you can add any other veggies you’d like! This time I chopped up some sweet mini peppers & kale, but have used lots of other veggies in the past (mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, broccoli, etc.). Let me just tell you though, I’d highly recommend kale because sweet potatoes & kale go together like PB & J. Sounds strange, but trust me, it’s a fabulous combination. Toss the rest of your veggies in the pan, add about a tablespoon of chili powder (or to taste), & salt & pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes & rest of the veggies are cooked through completely (usually about 20 minutes total for the sweet potatoes).

     8.   While veggies are cooking, chop up your cooked bacon. Add to the pan when veggies are cooked & heat through (about 1-2 minutes).

*Look at this bacon/veggie yumminess!


     9.   Turn off heat & cover veggie/bacon mixture with a lid to keep warm. In a separate pan, fry 2 eggs over-easy (keep yolk runny in the middle) for each serving. If serving 4 people, fry up 8 eggs. I just did 2 here because I was just eating 1 serving for me!  Use a healthy fat option to fry, like organic butter or coconut oil (my personal favorite with this recipe). Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

     10.  Spoon some hash onto your plate & top with the 2 fried eggs! Sometimes I top this with some avocado slices, but I didn’t have any on hand this time around.


     11.  Dig in & enjoy!! 🙂


Hope you like this recipe! Like I said, it’s my go-to & you really can’t mess it up! It’s perfect for any meal, too!

If you want a printable version, click here.

I’d love to hear what you think! 🙂

Happy eating!

– Janeen

From Cardio Junkie to Yogi: How I Made the Transition & Why

Hello again!

I am busting at the seams excited to talk about this today because I feel AH-MAZING. It’s about my latest workout of choice: YOGA. If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would eventually fall in love with yoga, I would have thought you were crazy. At that time, I was a cardio junkie, doing intense cardio exercises 6 (or sometimes 7) days a week, thinking that was the way to stay fit & healthy. However, since starting my healing journey toward fixing my low thyroid issue (which you can read about here if you haven’t already), I have learned the beauty & healing power that comes with regular yoga practice & have said goodbye to the intense hardcore cardio that wreaked havoc on my body.

It was NOT an easy switch though. Not at all…

When people ask me what the hardest change was to implement when I started my healing journey, I think they always expect me to say “giving up gluten.” Although giving up the occasional BEER was the hardest part about cutting gluten out of my diet (oops…haha!), going gluten-free really wasn’t the biggest challenge for me. What was? Breaking my addiction to intense exercise.

So how did I do it? Well, for starters, it’s much easier to change something when you have a health professional explaining the scientific evidence that intense exercise makes things WORSE for people with thyroid issues. I knew that making the change was best for my health, but I still remember it being super hard to just WALK instead of run. Just like anything else though, it became easier with time, & my discovery of podcasts really helped me to enjoy the change & it soon became something that I looked forward to. Plus, I started to feel so much better, so that helped!

I was in a habit of doing workout videos in the morning & I really didn’t want to give that up, but knew I needed to make a switch from the high intensity workouts I had been doing. Luckily, my idol Chalene Johnson had just come out with a new, low-impact workout video program called PIYO.

If you haven’t heard of PIYO, check it out here. Chalene jokingly describes it as yoga for people with ADD, because she is someone that just does not like to sit still & always wants to be constantly moving when she works out! I totally connected with that, being a cardio junkie myself at the time, but I needed flexibility & a low impact workout, so this was the perfect fit! This workout really gave me the foundations of yoga & I started to feel the benefits of having more flexible (& stronger) muscles. This is a great workout to use to make that transition if you’re interested in trying yoga but still like a little more intensity (and sweat!) in your workouts.

Eventually, I started going to a yoga class here in my hometown once a week. There, I learned what true, authentic yoga practice was all about. Since I already had the foundations from PIYO, I felt pretty comfortable with it, but it was still a bit of an adjustment. The more I went, the more I loved it, & always felt so great after going to a class! I never thought I would say it, but I felt myself becoming a yogi (gasp!)

Then, a few weeks ago, my friend Robyn told me about this “30 Days of Yoga” challenge she found on YouTube & we decided to try it out together. The videos are only 15-30 minutes long, & for the last 22 days, I have been following the challenge & doing just 1 short yoga practice every day. And now I can do this:


WHAT?!?!?! I was shocked, but it’s amazing what just a little practice every day can do! I feel strong, flexible, powerful, connected to my body, & just plain fabulous…. and you can too! Start here for your 30 Days of Yoga challenge. The instructor’s name is Adriene & she’s great!! She makes it fun & light-hearted & just really enjoyable. I also love the convenience of being able to do yoga at home. We’ve had some awesome weather here lately, so I’ve been loving just taking my Ipad & yoga mat outside & practicing on the deck when it’s nice out!

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I’ve gotten a few funny looks from my new neighbors… they’re probably wondering who the heck the new crazy yogi neighbor is, but oh well! It’s my thing now 😉

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas if you’re interested in dabbling in the yoga world or if you need help working your way into it! I’d love to hear about it if you end up trying PIYO or the 30 Days of Yoga!

Enjoy the journey! Namaste.

– Janeen

I Found the Perfect Water Bottle!

I’ve been going through a water bottle crisis lately. The hunt for the right water bottle seemed endless, trying to sort through all the choices. What material should I pick? What size is best? What type of cap? Dishwasher safe? How durable is it? Easy to fill? What color should I get? And the list goes on ….

I’ve been through my share of water bottles. None seem to be quite right. They either break, or leak, or spill easily, aren’t the right size, or are some kind of obnoxious color that eventually I get sick of looking at, etc. Finally, I was fed up! I was bound & determined to find the best one for me . . . and (drumroll please) . . . I FOUND IT! And I’m in love. Here is the beauty:

The brand is Lifefactory, & they really nailed it with this one! I found it on Amazon for $24 & from what I can tell (in the 2 days I’ve had it…ha!), it’ll last me a LONG time! Click here to get one for yourself!

Here were my qualifications & search criteria in my hunt for this perfect water bottle:

  • GLASS ~ I wanted to get away from plastic because of all the research on harmful chemicals & nasty stuff found in plastic that can leak into your water & eventually into our bodies! I know, they make “BPA free” plastic water bottles, but I just decided I didn’t want to risk it & glass would be the best & cleanest choice for me.
  • STRAW CAP ~ This is a big one for me. I’ve learned that if I don’t have a straw cap on my water bottle, I just don’t drink enough water throughout the day. Apparently lifting up a bottle to drink it is just too much work for me or something, but I tell you what, there’s something about sucking out of a straw that makes you drink more water! Plus, I can sip on it as I’m working, typing, writing, talking on the phone, reading, etc. After my last straw cap water bottle broke, I was stuck with one without a straw, & during that time, my water consumption went down majorly! I think we all know how important it is to drink water & stay hydrated throughout the day (see here if you need more info), so this was a problem for me.
  • AT LEAST 20 OUNCES ~ I wanted a water bottle that was large enough that I didn’t have to go refill so often (had one that was less than 16 ounces once & I learned my lesson), PLUS 20 oz. makes it much easier to do the math on how much you’re drinking. I aim for at least 60 oz. per day, so it’s easy for me to know I just need to down 3 of those babies & I’m good!
  • DISHWASHER SAFE ~ Enough said. I don’t want to hand wash my water bottle, mmmk?
  • WIDE MOUTH ~ There’s nothing worse than a water bottle that has a super narrow mouth where you never fail to spill water or leave ice cubes all over the floor every time you go to fill up. So, wide mouth was key for me. Plus, I’m trying to drink more water with lemon (b/c of the many benefits, some of which you can find here) & a wide mouth makes it much easier to add into my water 🙂
  • NEUTRAL COLOR ~ I wanted a water bottle that I’d feel comfortable taking anywhere, including work or in a professional setting. I used to take an obnoxious bright pink water bottle to work every day, which is totally fine for some people, but it just didn’t feel very professional to me, so I wanted something that was more plain & neutral (black, clear, grey, etc).

This water bottle fit all my criteria, plus some extra features that I wasn’t necessarily looking for, like the retractable straw & easy to carry handle. I’ve only had this thing for 2 days & I can already tell a HUGE difference in the amount of water I’m drinking. Seriously, I’ve mindlessly drank 2 of them already & it’s not even noon. Prior to getting this water bottle, I struggled to even drink 1 full 20 oz bottle (can you say crisis!?) Yeah ….

So this is my recommendation if you’re looking for the perfect water bottle. Obviously, some of you may have other criteria for what suits you best, but this is what works best for me! As you can see, I’m enjoying it thoroughly while working (or blogging…oops) 😉

Enjoy & live well,


My “WHY” for Healthy Living

Hello hello!

Instead of just jumping right in & sharing healthy living tips & info, I though it would be best to first share with you my WHY for this passion of mine! Long story short, I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food & my body image in the past, which led to unhealthy habits, which led to an unhealthy body, which led to medical problems, which led to my journey toward healing (which I’m currently still on). That’s the short version. Stay tuned, buckle your seat belts, & get ready for a bumpy ride if you want the long version….

Let’s start with high school. I never really had body image issues in high school, probably because I was naturally fairly thin without having to worry about what I ate or how often I worked out. I was on dance team & played volleyball, so was decently active, which helped, but I definitely didn’t eat well at all! Let’s just say my favorite after school snack was Mountain Dew & Tostito’s Chips & Queso. Get the picture?

OK, so then there was college. They call it the “Freshman 15” for a reason. Too much booze, lack of proper nutrition habits, & minimized physical activity, led me to put on that dreaded 15 pounds. Well, it was really more like 10 probably, but all I know is that it was enough to freak me out & get my butt in gear! Luckily, I had a great friend, Robyn, who lived on my dorm floor who had excellent eating & exercise habits. I turned to her for advice, she started teaching me things about nutrition, & I’d go to the rec center with her to work out every now & then. (Sidenote: Robyn ended up becoming by best friend & still is to this day. She also ended up becoming a Registered Dietitian & is still my #1 go to for information. I remember prompting her to pursue a career in Nutrition & Wellness our Freshman year in her dorm room b/c she had helped me so much & I could definitely see her potential there). Anyway, back to the story.

Throughout the rest of my college career, I took the knowledge I had & slowly started eating better & working out more. I found my soul-mate workout in JAZZERCISE & was hooked! I went almost every day. I lost the weight I had gained my freshman year, plus some. Eventually, I discovered My Fitness Pal (an online calorie tracker) & became addicted to that too. Soon, my interest in these 2 things changed from a healthy habit to an unhealthy obsession. I would try to eat as little as possible, didn’t pay attention to the quality of food I was eating & only paid attention to the numbers. During this time, I remember being hungry … a lot. I also got to the point where I felt like I had to work out every day otherwise the world would end. Even though I weighed less than ever, I was still never satisfied & wanted to lose MORE. I was skinny, but definitely not in a good place mentally.

As you can imagine, the years of this stress I put on my body really messed up my metabolism. After my wedding in 2012, I slowly started to realize that I had led myself down a bad path & what I was doing was not healthy. I turned to Robyn again to vent about this, & the conversation we had that day was the starting point to my healing. I remember her telling me to STOP the calorie counting madness! At this time, she was going through her schooling to become a R.D. with a focus in integrative health & functional medicine, so I really trusted her (plus she’s my best friend, so obviously I took what she said to heart). She educated me on the importance of QUALITY food, rather than quantity, & listening to your body to know how much to eat, rather than the numbers I plugged into a computer. She told me to break up with the scale & focus more on how I FEEL & how my clothes fit, rather than being obsessed with a number. I remember ending that conversation ready to make a change. I stopped my  mad obsession with numbers cold turkey, & I remember it being the most freeing & liberating feeling! But then things got a little ugly ….

As I mentioned before, the years of under-eating & over-exercising really messed me up. My metabolism was majorly sluggish & I had trained my body to only be able to handle like 1,000 calories a day (plus I was exercising hard core, so probably less than that). Therefore, when I started eating more (even though it was healthy food), I gained weight. I seriously felt like I gained 10 pounds overnight. I started trying to compensate for this & increased the intensity of my exercise. This did nothing. I think I had reached this breaking point where my body had had enough. Besides weight gain, I also started experiencing other symptoms, like fatigue, & the most concerning one…no menstrual cycle for over a year. I felt like  my hormones had literally turned off (which is not a good feeling when you’re a newlywed). Long story short, I was a MESS, I was unhappy, I felt like crap, & I had no idea what to do about it.

After months & months of feeling like this, I decided to seek help. In July of 2014, went to a health care professional in integrative medicine (read more about what integrative medicine is here: in Kansas City where Robyn was working. I had several tests done, including several blood tests, urine tests, a stool test (fun), & a gluten sensitivity test. In September, I received my results back, which indicated that I had low T3 (an important but often overlooked component of the thyroid), a sensitivity to gluten, & some deficiencies in certain vitamins & minerals. Therefore, my steps toward healing included the following:

– Cutting out gluten completely (protein found in wheat, barley, & rye)
– Daily regimen of supplements including a probiotic, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, selenium (brazil nuts), & iodine (kelp sprinkles)
– Limiting intense exercise (since this actually makes things WORSE for people with thyroid problems) & doing more slow gentle movement exercises (walks, yoga, moving more during the day, etc.)
– Eating REAL food (eliminating processed foods as much as possible) & paying attention to the ingredients list in foods (the shorter the better) rather than the calorie or fat content.
– Eating a balanced diet (CPF+ as Robyn teaches to her clients, which stands for Carbs (C), Protein (P), Fat (F), & the most nutrient-rich versions of those 3 things (+))

I also began integrating red light therapy, which I learned about through Ari Whitten’s Metabolism Supercharge program (learn more about that here:

Within a few months after starting this regimen, I was seeing improvements in many of my symptoms. I had more energy, I was leaning out, my clothes fit better, I felt less bloated, & I was showing signs that my sex hormones were up & running again (I won’t go into any more detail here, but you get the picture). From the time I began this process in September 2014, I had told myself that I’d give it until January 1 before trying something else or going a different route. Well, God is good, because my “time of the month” (or year in my case), arrived ON January 1. What!?!?! I was shocked. I could feel that it was working the whole time, but that moment on January 1 was the final proof I needed to seal the deal. Sorry if this is TMI, but it’s a huge part of my story, so I feel like I must share! I’ve been “regular” in that area ever since, & I finally feel like myself again!!

This change in my health has improved all areas of my life, including my relationships (especially with my husband), self-esteem, productivity, spirituality, & just overall happiness. I’m still learning every day….I think our health is something that is very individualized & is definitely a lifelong learning process. Slowly but surely, I’m learning how to listen to my body to tell me what it needs. I feel 100 times better than I did a few years ago. I feel like my metabolism is finally working for me instead of against me. I have a stable weight without having to deprive myself or kill myself in the gym. Most importantly, I’m so so so happy!

So, there’s the story of my WHY. Long, I know, so PROPS to you if you stuck with it until the end! Looking forward to sharing more with you in this area, like healthy recipes (& maybe a few indulgent recipes every now & then…gotta keep a balance, right?), products I like, cool workouts I’ve found, etc. Hope you enjoy!

Live well,

– Janeen

Healthy Living

I’m a major advocate for healthy, balanced, & simple living 🙂 More about my “WHY” for this passion, along with a healthy dose of recipes, fitness tips, & more to come!