Monthly Health Challenge- July 2015

Good Morning!

It’s July 1st today which means it’s time for a new monthly health challenge. Whether you have been succeeding at these challenges or not it’s still worth giving each one a try. This month’s challenge you may find very hard or very easy.

July Health Challenge Is: Give up soda and replace it with something healthier.

For me this will be a challenge free month. No, not because I can’t give up soda or refuse to try. This challenge is one I gave up years ago. I will occasionally have a soda while we are out somewhere (maybe twice a year) but for me this one is a no brainer. Soda is simply empty calories and sugar, neither of which I choose to put in my body on a regular basis.There are so many better options.

Like I said, this one is going to be very difficult for many of you soda drinkers. Start out slow and replace one soda a day that you would normally drink with some other type of beverage and work your way up to a soda free day. After you reach an entire day, up the ante and make your next goal soda free every other day until ultimately you reach an entire week of no soda.

Good Luck!

How My Family Is Training For Distance and Elevation Hiking

We have started our training plan for our upcoming hiking vacation which will include carrying day packs, photo equipment, high heat, and elevation.

First, let me remind you that my husband and I did part of this same hike a few years back for our 20th anniversary. That was the first trip ever we took of that type and thankfully we opted for a guided trip on that occasion. We learned so much in three days with the guides we had that I could never thank them enough. We also had about 6 weeks to train for that trip and I believe it made all the difference in the world when we arrived. We had no issues keeping up, dealing with the elevation, or making the mileage asked of us. I returned from that trip with so much knowledge and a HUGE desire to return as soon as possible.


Which brings us to today. We are going back, adding a few more destinations, and staying a lot longer this time around. However, this time we have two big changes among many little differences. This time we are doing it on our own (no guides) and bringing our 20 year old son with us. As you can imagine I am over the moon excited. It will be a dream come true for me to go back since mountains are my favorite adult playground. Plus, our son, being an up and coming photographer, will be completely in his element.

My first priority was to come up with a training plan so this trip can be enjoyable and not leave us in pain every single night after a big day on the trails. I knew what we did last time was very beneficial although, because of the last minute booking it also only gave us 6 weeks to train which was super difficult. This time I wanted to make sure we had a few more weeks so we would not be pressured to hit the goals we knew we needed to hit. Plus, we are all at different fitness levels and some of us need a more work than others in certain areas. And don’t forget, I am still trying to recover from 6 long weeks in a boot for my torn ankle tendon.

This is what I came up with to start our training:

Monday: 5 mile walk and stretching (gradually increasing and eventually reaching 10 miles total)


Tuesday: 3 mile walk and stretching

Wednesday: 60 minutes yoga, hill climb=10 times up and down , steps= 10 times up and down


Thursday: 5 mile walk and stretching (gradually increasing and eventually reaching 10 miles total)

Friday: weights/squats/ankle bands/stool step ups


Saturday: off (it’s summer time so we’ll either be kayaking or standup paddling anyhow)

Sunday: 60 minutes yoga, hill climb=10 times up and down , steps= 10 times up and down

Of course we may need to change this up a bit here and there but this is the plan. When we get closer to leaving we will be adding our loaded packs for our walks. This time we are adding steps and hill climbs to our training plan since elevation is a major part of every trail we plan to hike. Last time we did not do this and I think it would have been very helpful. We concentrated more on mileage last time and I don’t think we needed to as much as we did. We will top out at 10 miles total by the end of our training.

I also found that yoga was extremely helpful for keeping me stretched out well. I even did it in them mornings while we were there before meeting up with the rest of the group. So I added that into our plan here at home too.

Since our training is taking place during the summer months, the heat should help prepare us for what’s ahead. Our destination tops out at about 85-105 degrees at this time of year. And if it would rain, our walks can be taken to the gym on another aerobic machine or even in our home gym.

All in all, my hope is to leave home feeling ready to conquer what lies ahead.

Would you ever train to go on a vacation?



Hillshire Farm American Craft Sausage Review

Upon receiving two free coupons for two out of the three flavors of Hillshire Farms American Craft sausages to sample I was pretty open to giving these a whirl. We are not big processed food lovers at our home but sometimes a quick meal is just what needs to happen and this was perfect. These sausages come in smoky bourbon, jalapeno cheddar, and garlic onion flavors. They were priced at $2.89 each on sale at the time, but again, I was able to try these for free.

I choose smoky bourbon and jalapeno cheddar for my family then had my husband grill them one night for dinner. I had a smoky bourbon link and was happily surprised with the taste. Sweet,smoky, and not too greasy.


My husband had one of the jalapeno cheddar links and he was also surprised at the kick of heat that this sausage offered. He said it was tasty enough to eat alone with no additional condiments added.

The only down side to these sausages were the nutritional content. At 22g of fat, 260 calories and 630g sodium per sausage in the bourbon links and even higher in the jalapeno links, this was a huge drawback for me. Even though I would not expect  a processed sausage to be on any great diet list, I normally would never purchase these and feed them to my family or myself on a regular basis. Now, if you are not health conscious, I can say without a doubt, these you will find very appealing because they were very good.


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