5 Keys to Happy, Healthy Travel

Whether your flight is early, late, short or long, it takes aΒ lot out of us. Every time i see a plane land at the airport, it unleashes a hoard of tired, hungry, cranky, and dehydrated zombie-like humans that look effing miserable. If you’re trying to sustain a healthy lifestyle, flying can be even more daunting.

I’ve done my fair share of travel, and standby travel at that – so I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way. These 5 steps are easy, cheap, and help you stay happy and healthy no matter where you’re headed to.

1. BYOB

I know this one seems obvious, but it’s sooo easy to forget to byob when it’s 5am and you’re headed to the airport. Plus, airlines seem to barely even hand out water these days. I bring a full water and chug it on the way through security, then fill it back up and sip on that sizzard throughout the flight.

2. Bring Electrolytes

Not only do I bring a water bottle, I also bring an empty shaker bottle with an electrolyte packet to drink. Depending on how long the flight is, you might want to bring more than one. My personal rule is one packet per 5 hours of flight.

3. Snacks on SNACKS

Back in the good ole days, the airlines used to feed you. While they’re forced to feed you on international flights, you’re lucky if you get more than a packet of five mini-pretzels and 4 oz of water flying domestic. So, I keep myself stacked with items that won’t get taken away at security. My faves are fruits, veggies, hummus packs, Lara bars, protein packets, and nuts. I would not recommend bringing any nut butter – mine always gets taken away. Sad.

4. Melatonin is LIFE

I used to have the hardest time sleeping on planes, but was scared to take any sleep aid because most of them give me terrifying nightmares. Which, naturally, I don’t want to experience in the air.

However, personally, melatonin is my bestie during times of travel. On a 12-hour flight to china, I spaced them out so nicely that I slept for eight beautiful hours straight. For long flights, I like to take two 3-5mg tablets at first, and then take 1 every 4 or 5 hours as the flight goes on.

5. Bring a Book/Journal/Planner

I’m not sure why, but traveling – even en route – brings about a lot of clarity. There’s been many, many times when my electronics die or I’ve exhausted my playlists or the movie selection is lame (or not free) and I’ve wished I brought a damn book. Flights are a great place to plan out your day/week/trip/life, or catch up on a great book. BRING IT ALL.

You Don’t Need a Makeover: Food Freedom Friday


You don’t need a makeover.
Yep, you read that right – no matter your weight, size, shape, gender or age, you DON’T need a makeover. The fitness/diet industry does. 


Imagine if you had a store that sold a single size of clothing – or offered a single, specified entree – or if Jamba Juice offered ONE smoothie?

It’s illogical to sell one specific item because we all know people are different. Some people like berries, some people like citrus fruits. Some people are short, others are tall. 

Yet, the diet and fitness industry gets away with selling us a single ideal per gender – a tall, muscular, chiseled and well portioned man, coupled with a slender, yet muscular, yet still distinctly feminine woman. And they make billions of dollars a year on the mere fact that the majority of the population is physically incapable of achieving the image they’re selling.


If you sell an unreachable image, customers will never stop buying. If we all looked perfect, why would we buy powders and pills and capsules and workout programs? There’s no money in the achievement; there’s money in the chase. 

So no, you don’t need a makeover. Healthy eating and exercise do yield a wonderful breadth of benefits, like increased energy, deeper sleep, higher dopamine and serotonin levels, better focus and cognitive function, improved digestive health, and the list continues. But being healthy looks different on every. single. person. Be you, and be healthy if you choose – but don’t let clever marketing and photoshop make the choice for you.

Training While Injured


It’s been almost two weeks of non-soccer/non-running existence and let me tell you – the injured life is not a fun one. With lots of life changes like moving apartments & possible career shifts, it’s been a major struggle not being able to run through it all. Running is my mediation, my quiet, precious ‘me’ time, and I’m going a little bit crazy without it.

In a nutshell – resting ain’t easy.


To keep myself in shape for a busy marathon season, I’ve been supplementing as best as I can with bike riding, swimming, and lifting at the gym. The only good news is that I’m able to lift a lot heavier than usual because I’m not running. So, I’ve gotten to play around with compound movements like squats and snatches to keep myself strong.

I’ve also been stuck with the very boring task of ankle PT. I can’t explain why I hate it so much, but I totally do. I hate every second of it. I know it helps, but it’s so boring it’s like watching paint dry, except you have to be an active participant. Ugh.


Anyways, I just go cleared to ‘lightly jog’ for a few minutes and come back next week to get the final go ahead. I’m still benched from soccer, which starts this weekend, and banned from my Old Pali Road race this Sunday. So, for the next week, I’ll still be grumpy and difficult but hopefully will get my happy time back soon. πŸ™‚

Happy Healing!

Nicole

The Small Kine Vegan


As you all probably know, I’ve been a vegetarian on & off for over five years now. I love it, I dig it, I do it, and have totally found my groove and established the habits to keep it that way. However, being a vegetarian – and not a vegan – has it’s benefits. Mostly that I can eat cheese, which means that friends can make mac n cheese when I come over, I can share pizza with my boyfriend, and have a breadth of options when I eat out.

But here’s the thing – morally, I don’t think my convenience to myself and others is worth the suffering of other beings. I don’t think it’s fair that animals have to suffer and die so I can eat a slice of pizza or order an omelet at brunch. Plus, there’s the health issues I have always had digesting dairy. I’ve gone vegan a couple dozen times in the past five years, for these exact reasons. And given all the major life changes I’ve made lately to boldy craft the life I want – quitting my job, starting a business, and completely changing up my life – this is the last piece of the old me i’d like to kick to the curb.

I decided to do a 30 day vegan challenge, just to ease myself into this new lifestyle and make it fun and exciting. I’m proud to fall asleep each night feeling light, healthy, and cruelty-free. I’m on a culinary adventure to try new things and swaps, and have found everything hauntingly simple and easy. Since I’ve done it before, it’s territory I know well.

So far, I’m incredibly healthy and happy – as if I’ve taken a large moral weight off my shoulders, because, well, I have. I feel that I’m living truly, honestly, and according to my values, embodying more of the person I’m truly meant to be.

Here’s a typical day for me (with a work shift in between, to keep it reals) of well-rounded, plant-based, super-yummy delicious vegan meals. I’m going small kine vegan, one day at a time πŸ™‚

Silver Fern Brand Review!

Let’s be honest – I’ve reviewed my fair share of products. From granola bars and energy gels to plant-based protein powders, I’ve had quite a time tasting, testing, reporting and reviewing the latest and greatest fitness food stuff.


While I usually enjoy the taste testing process (I mean, who wouldn’t?) it’s rare that I encounter a product that I truly love. And it’s especially rare that I encounter an entire box of a wide arrary of products and absolutely love and enjoy each and every one of them.

I got a big ol’ box of goodies from Silver Fern Brand, who I found – and was found by – on Instagram. First, I was wowed by the variety. From chocolate bark to probiotics (lots of probiotics), protein powder, and fiber – there it was, y’all.

I’ve suffered from digestive issues my entire life, so I was thrilled by the prevalence of prebiotics and probiotics in pretty much everything. The reason I eat the way I do – mostly gentle plants, soups, sweet potatoes and healthy fats – is because my poor tummy can’t handle much else.


So when you I get sent something like Silver Fern Brand’s Kai Meal Shake, it feels like Christmas. Taste-wise, this baby is smooth, simple and not too sweet (my flavor was banana) and is super easy on my very sensitive stomach. I actually found myself craving these shakes after my workouts and soccer games. It also has pro- and prebiotics crammed in, along with21 essential vitamins and minerals to make a well-rounded mini-meal. Hands-down, A+.


I’m also a huge fan of their Cenavi Chocoalte Bark, which was dotted with Cranberry, Blueberry and Ginger-y gems. This stuff tasted bomb, but had no added sugar or sugar alcohols, touts low calories and net carbs, and is a natural prebiotic. WIN.


Third favorite is a tie for the Wai Porbiotic Drink Mix and the Ulitmate Probiotic Supplement. Again, I have pretty serious tummy issues, so I try to take in as much probiotics as I can – but let’s be real, a girl can only eat so much Kimchi. The Wai drinks – which came in a breadth of yummy flavors – were all yummy, low in carbs and sugar, and not too sweet.


So, here’s the thing – Silver Fern Brand hooked it UP. And truthfully, honestly – their stuff is off the chain. It’s a relief to be taking in so many pre- and probiotics in a variety of ways, instead of scarfing down miso and plugging my nose at kombucha. I loved their products, and the honesty and simple, straight-up goodness. I’m really touched that I was able to try out such quality products! I absolutely recommend everything, and thank them for opening my eyes to awesome, yet wholesome, alternatives to keep my gut healthy and happy.

A+++++,

Nikki

 

New Year, New Intentions!


Let’s face it: 2016 has been rough. Disappointing, frustrating, paradoxical, stupid, crazy, whatever – all of the above, plus more. I think we’re all ready for a new year, and ready for some new year intentions focused on fixing what we actually do have control over, and just hoping for the best for the whirlwind of worldly problems we can’t do much about.

I’m not a fan of resolutions – they’re too limited, finite and final. Intentions, however, focus on the end game; the idea, the big picture. A resolution  would be to lose 5 pounds in a certain time period; an intention would be to live a healthier and more active life. They both have a similar result, but the latter boasts a much more well-founded and all-encompassing approach than the former.


My intentions this year are simple: to keep chasing health, happiness, faith, and financial freedom. To continue building myself, my spiritual wellness, and getting to know God more and more each day πŸ™‚

I’m starting this year so thankful and grateful for a year of laughter, love, adventures and lessons learned. A year of marathons and races and pr’s and soccer games, filled with friends and family and newfound faith.

I love the spirit of new beginnings and clean slates, and I wish you the happiest, healthiest and most joyful new year! 

Spartan Race Christmas Giveaway!


Merry (almost) Christmas, Spartans! I’m super excited to announce that I’m hosting a very merry Spartan Race giveaway! This prize is good for any open-heat race on the continental United States. Yep!

Entering the race is super easy: just follow this LINK to get to the giveaway page and follow the prompts. Good luck Spartans!

Also, the Spartan team has released brand new, extra badass medals for the new year. Check em out!

Honolulu Marathon 2016!

This past Sunday I woke up bright & early to take on the Honolulu Marathon. The start line was a quick ten minute drive from my apartment, I didn’t have to hop on a plane, and I know the course all too well. The Chinatown – Waikiki – Kapiolani Park – Kahala Loop is the favored long run course for anyone and everyone on the island training for any and every marathon. I know the hills, the heat, the downhills and ebb and flow of the concrete jungle the course winds through. However, I still didn’t exactly feel ready – or all that enthused – the night before.


I trained hard and heavy for the first three months in preparation for my Marine Corps Marathon I did in October. Since then, I’ve barely even hit the pavement aside from a ten mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and a few easy paced five and seven milers here and there. And because I didn’t really care, and figured I’d struggle anyways, I decided that going wine tasting with some friends in Kailua and then downing a few beers at my boyfriend’s office Christmas party was a great idea, because f*ck it – why not?!


Well, surprisingly, it all worked out fine. The race was totally ok, albeit a bit painful. I’ve been extremely lucky in that my other marathons just flew by in a blur. Miles blended together and I felt like I flew through them in batches of five relatively unscathed.


This marathon was different. For the first time, I felt each and every mile. I felt like I actually did run a full 26.2, exactly, to the step and second. For the most part, I hated it. I never bonked or hit a wall, but I never soared through a single stretch of the race either. It was slow, grueling, and packed with people. It was hot and muggy without even a semblance of a breeze. I spent the majority of the race bobbing and weaving through a thick crowd since the Honolulu Marathon apparently doesn’t believe in corrals. I spent quite a bit of it biting my tounge as well, and keeping my temper in check as I was cut off, stepped on, and physically pushed by cute little old ladies and their sharp, bony elbows.


Regardless of all of these facts, I had a fantastic time. I realize it makes no sense, but blame it on the runner’s high – no matter how miserable the race, we always want more. It’s the feeling at the end of the marathon that runners remember most vividly, even though it’s a teeny fraction of the time we spent suffering to get there.

The Honolulu Marathon will never be my favorite race, and I really wouldn’t recommend it. However, it’s in my city and on my turf and it’s impossible not to do it each year I’m still on the island. So, most likely, I’ll do it nextΒ  year with the same lackluster attitude and general ambivalence and inability to simply stay away.


Plus, the medals are pretty cool πŸ™‚

Happy racing!

Nikki

Marine Corps Marathon – Part 2!


I woke up the morning of my second Marine Corps Marathon well rested, hungry, and a teensy bit nervous. I had only gotten about two-thirds of the way through my training plan, I hadn’t gotten over 16 miles on my long runs, and I hadn’t ran much in the past few months. Soccer games and hikes? Yes, ma’am! Running, though? Not so much.


I was so antsy and anxious at the start line the previous year, but this time around it was more like, meh – hopefully I finish without a major injury. My no-effs given mentality was totally freeing and, as it turned out, effective πŸ™‚


I hung out with my dad in the VIP runner tent for about an hour. The tent had a glorious buffet of energy gels, Clif Bars, bagels, cream cheese, bananas, apples and coffee. As in normal life, I stuck to banana, half a bagel, and some coffee to hold me over till the start.

I made a friend at the bar the night before (pro tip: beer has electrolytes!) and we met up at the start line. We expected to be around the same pace, so we linked up and took off together. We stuck for the hilly first eight miles, but I wanted to go slower and he wanted to speed up. This wasn’t my first rodeo, and I’ve made the mistake of starting out too fast – no Bueno.


Despite my lack of training, the miles flew by quickly. The crowd was awesome as always, with especially riveting signs rooted in the craziness of the current election. There were rock and jazz bands, spectators in full costumes, and – best of ALL – a female firefighter running the entire marathon in her full gear. GIRL POWER, YEA!

I kept seeing my dad with his awesome sign at regular intervals, cheering me on and telling me I was getting close to the bridge. The bridge is the cutoff at mile 19, which you have to reach in four hours or else get kicked off the course and ride home on the loser bus with a drill sergeant. I’m not sure if that’s actually true, but my dad swears that’s the case πŸ™‚


Finally, I got to the bridge. I was so excited that I ran up and hugged my dad and almost cried. I was DOING IT. Without fancy gear or trackers, without anyone to run with, and despite the fact that I had every excuse in the book to opt out or quit – here I was. Proudly pushing through.


The rest of the race I ran simply because I wanted to be DONE. I let myself walk for 30 seconds at every mile marker, and found myself weaving through a sea of walkers for the last 5 miles. I hit the wall – the biggest, baddest, meanest wall I’ve ever encountered – right at mile 25. Shit.

I’ve gotten lucky in that I’ve never really bonked. I’ve gotten tired, or bored, or was in pain, but I never got to the point where I felt like I couldn’t continue. That last mile felt like hell on earth. It was the longest and worst part of the entire thing.
By the time I rolled around to the VERY UPHILL finish line (who did that???) I was totally gassed. It was an immense accomplishment and relief to finish. Plus, I found out that I hit a PR – 5:15:05. HELL YEA!


I am so happy and blessed to participate in this kickass event for a great, wonderful cause that I wholeheartedly believe in.

I can’t wait till next year πŸ™‚

OORAH!

Marine Corps Marathon – Part 1!


Last weekend, my dad and I flew out to Washington, D.C. for the Marine Corps Marathon. In 2015, we completed the MCM as our very first marathon ever – both individually and together. It was one of the coolest and most touching thing we’ve ever done. So when registration for 2016 rolled around, my dad hopped on it immediately and bought us two kickass VIP registrations.

These beauties include two registrations, a 5k run and brunch the day before, a pasta carbo-load dinner the night before, a VIP bus to the start line and – my very favorite – VIP PORTA POTTYS. Nope, this is not a drill!


We both started training hard from the start, logging or pace and miles and always checking in on each other. Sadly, about halfway through my dad totally blew out his knee. I mean, possible surgery status.

We patiently waited for his knee to heal, but it just didn’t 😦 my dad was devastated, and we were both unsure if the race would even happen. It was our special thing, and it didn’t look like it was going to occur.

However, after tons of back and forth, we chose to DO IT. I was running, dad was supporting, and we were going to make the best of it. (or, as my dad said, he’d be at the bar until I crossed the finish line).


Let me say – WE HAD A TOTAL BLAST! My dad is always so much fun to travel with, and we made the most of our trip. We flew in to D.C. and hit the 5k and brunch in the morning.

One of the major perks of our VIP status was staying in the super swanky Gaylord Resort right on the Potomac River. All glossed floors, marble and gold, the place gleams from top to bottom. The coolest part is the 19-story atrium, that houses the u-shaped hotel and boasts a small village at its ground floor. Yep, you read that right – a brick road that winds down from the lobby into a cute little village of cottage-like shops, bars and cafes.


The next morning, I absolutely loved the 5K! It was a really fun, gorgeous run along the Potomac in perfect weather. The air was golden and green and crisp, and I made some friends along the route. It was a great way to stretch out my legs before the marathon.


The real treat was brunch, though – we heard an awesome speech from Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World! I definitely freaked out a little – I’ve been reading his articles for years.



We took some time to run around D.C. and explore the city. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my Dad, so it was really sweet to just walk around and catch up on everything going on in our lives.


The night before the race, we headed back to the hotel just in time for our carbo-load dinner. We dined on big plates of salad and gluten free pasta and cookies and bananas. We met some other runners and heard an incredible, touching, moving speech from Native American activist and Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills.


It was the perfect speech before a race – especially a notoriously hilly & challenging one. I went to sleep more than ready to tackle the course πŸ™‚