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Celebrating Swanson’s 45th Anniversary: $45 Giftcard Giveaway

July 21, 2014

As I alluded to in a previous post, today I have an awesome giveaway lined up. In celebration of Swanson Health Products 45th Anniversary, we are teaming up for 1 lucky DDD reader to win a $45 gift card to!! This website has a great selection of healthy and unique food items (from coffee to pastas to your specialty nut butters and more) which will be delivered straight to your doorstep. Now that is convenience if I ever did see it!

Swanson 45


Some highlights of the Swanson site I find incredibly useful for busy folks like myself is 1: the ability to create a list of your favorite products for easy referencing back when you are ready to re-order, 2: the ability to schedule deliveries, and 3: the MASSIVE selection of products, which are all discounted quite substantially from retail (I.e. For all of you Quest Bar lovers you can order boxes for 25% off retail)! I honestly think you could order all of your food needs – besides produce, meats, and dairy – from Swanson. Talk about a grocery store time saver! :-)

Here is the list of the goods I tried out – along with a grade of each!

  • Choice Organic Northwest Blackberry Tea Not my favorite tea flavor. I will be sticking with my go-to Chai and Peppermint teas most of the time. Grade: C
  • Pereg’s Israeli Couscous Peark Pasta w/Pumpkin Seeds I was really looking forward to this, but wasn’t overly impressed. However,  I am not a pasta person, so that is likely why. Grade: C
  •  Sahale Snacks Glazed Cashews with Pomegranate and Vanilla Oh my goodness, amazing! Slightly sweetened and full of flavor. I actually ordered 2 bags and am so glad I did! Grade: A+
  • Peanut Butter & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter Despite being a ‘PB-purist’ (i.e.- just give me plain legitimate peanut butter, please) I really enjoyed this tasty twist. However, I am not a fan of the added oil. Moving forward I may just mix some cinnamon and raisins into my regular peanut butter when I want a little something more. Grade: B
  • Walden Farms “Calorie Free” Caramel Syrup I know a lot of people who use Walden Farm products and I have been curious to see what they hype is all about, so I eagerly added this item to my cart. I found this to be overly sweet – which is saying something since it is supposed to mimic a very sweet product as is. I do see the appeal of using these very low-calorie products (let’s be honest, they are not truly calorie-free!), especially if ya know, you’re dieting for a bodybuilding show like moi :-), but it hasn’t become something I will use frequently! Grade: C
  • Andean Dream Quinoa Cookies – Coconut If you can get past these cookies being very tiny, they are quite tasty. I really like the quinoa and subtle coconut blend of flavors. Grade: B.
  • Dastony Hazelnut Butter In a world where Nutella reigns supreme and I constantly see folks justifying consumption because, “hey, it has hazelnuts in it”, I was excited to try out just pure hazelnut butter. While good, it doesn’t come close to replacing peanut butter as the #1 but butter in my life and I understand why it is usefully found mixed with chocolate and sugar! Grade: B.

Besides food, Swanson has a large inventory of hair and skin products as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. You guys know I am not about encouraging the whole world to reach for bottles of supplements, but if you take any you can bet Swanson carries what you are looking for!

So now, let’s get you entered into the giveaway for a $45 gift card to spend as you please! Mandatory way to enter is to post a comment on this post telling me what product(s) you would purchase if you win the $45 gift card. For an additional entry, tweet about this giveaway making sure the include 1. the link to this blog post, 2. my Twitter handle @NutritionNerd and 3. Swanson’s Twitter handle @SwansonVtitamins. Contest closes at 11:59pm EST on Friday, July 25th. Winner will randomly chosen and announced Monday, July 28th.

In addition to the giveaway here on DDD you should also go and check out Swanson’s Sweepstakes page for a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE of 45 Awesome Food Items and $500!


Finally, to stay up to date with Swanson and learn about future events and promotions, get social with their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts!

Until next time,


Disclosure: For teaming up with Swanson Health Products for their 45th Anniversary Celebration I received $45 of free products to try out. As always, views and opinions expressed here are my own! :-)

Protein Bars vs. Whole Food Meals

July 16, 2014

Let’s talk protein bars today. Are they convenient? Yes. Are they tasty? Some are. Some are terrible. Can they be included in a healthful diet? Of course. Should we turn to them on a regular basis instead of whole food-based meals and snacks? No, no, no!

Protein Bars

Do I use protein (or ‘energy’) bars? Occasionally. I have certainly promoted them as a food option on this blog before (exhibit A). So why don’t I consume them regularly? 1. I prefer eating whole foods verse a candy bar in disguise (let’s be real, some have a similar nutrition profile as a Snicker’s bar). 2. Volumetrics! Protein/sports/meal replacement bars generally pack a hefty caloric punch in a small package. This can be a great reason to turn to them if you require a VERY high caloric intake each day, are out backpacking, or in a variety of other situations. However, generally they leave me unsatisfied and wanting more!

I am frequently asked about recommendations for different protein/sports nutrition bar and often it is from people trying to lose weight! While I always give some suggestions, I  put in the caveat of “use whole foods” first as much as possible. Doing so will keep you more satisfied and also supply you with more micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients for the same macronutrient breakdown. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to share with you a whole food-based meal/snack that is matched on grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat (and therefore total calories) as some popular protein bars.

BREAKFAST: CLIF Builder Bar (Chocolate Peanut Butter) vs. Oatmeal (1/3 c. dry), peanut butter (~1 Tbsp), blueberries (~1/2 c.), and egg whites (1/2 c. before cooking). Each come in at:

  • 20 g protein
  • 29 g carbohydrate
  • 10 g fat

However, in the fiber department the oatmeal breakfast outshines the CLIF Builder Bar (6 v. 4 grams).

CLIF v Oatmeal{1 Bar vs. Traditional Breakfast}

SNACK: Simple Truth Protein Bar (Double Chocolate) vs. 190 g Chobani Plain, Non-fat Greek Yogurt (~1 and 1/3 of the single-serve 5.3 oz. containers), almonds (~9), and ~1/2 a small-medium apple. Each contains:

  • 21 g protein
  • 16 g carb (2 g fiber in each)
  • 4.5 g fat

Simple Truth v Yogurt{1 Bar vs. Yogurt, Apple, and Almonds}


LUNCH or DINNER: PowerBar Protein Plus (Chocolate Peanut butter – Reduced Sugar) vs. 3 oz. tilapia (baked), 4-5 cups Sesame Kale Salad (45 g kale, 45 g carrots, 45 g cabbage), with sesame-dressing (7g olive oil, 5 g sesame seed oil, 5g sesame seeds, 20 g rice vinegar), and 3 oz. sweet potato. Each contains:

  • 22 g protein
  • 30 g carbohydrate
  • 9 g fat

Again, the meal wins in the fiber department (1 g v. 6g)

PowerBar v. Meal{1 Bar vs. All This Food!}

So…looking at them visually, which would you rather have on a regular basis – 1 protein bar or a more cohesive meal?


Sweet Potato Muffins: Travel Recipe Essential

July 7, 2014

After my last post I had quite a few people asking me about the muffins I mentioned using as “ice packs” in my travel day cooler. Since I am in the air again today I made a batch yesterday and wanted to share this VERY simple (3-5 ingredient!) recipe with you. Be warned – these are not your typical gigantic, sugar-laden muffins….

Sweet Potato Muffins - Ingredients


These are bodybuilder diet-approved Sweet Potato Muffins! I think they taste pretty good, but to be sure I also had a non-RD, non-dieting friend test them out, and they received good remarks!

Sweet Potato Protein Muffins (adapted from my coach, Kurt Weidner’s recipe):

1. In a blender, combine

  • 6 oz. sweet potato (cooked) – I include the skin!
  • 80 g (about 1 cup) dry oats
  • 2.5 cups liquid egg whites
  • Optional, but recommended: Cinnamon (to taste)
  • Optional, but recommended: Stevia (or sweetener of your choice) to taste

2. Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes in a preheated oven.

Sweet Potato Muffins -Pre


Sweet Potato Muffins - Post

{Post Baking}

This recipe fills 12 regular sized muffin tins with each muffin containing 7g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrate, and 0.5 g fat. I highly recommend eating them topped with peanut butter! :-) I bet Kurt’s original recipe produces better results as it incorporates more ingredients, but this is the bare bones recipe approach I tend to take with most things!

Sweet Potato Muffins w PB

To use them as temporary ice pack, I freeze them in 2 sets of ziplock bags and pop them in my travel cooler, eat some when thawed, and store the rest in the refrigerator when I get to my destination!

What is your go-to travel recipe? How about your best “bare bones” – i.e. minimal ingredients and instructions – recipe? Share the link with us, please!

Until next time – and P.S. an AWESOME giveaway coming up on the 21st (July, 2014) so check back for that!


Healthy Travels: The Food Packing List

July 1, 2014

Happy 1st day of July everyone! I hope that the warmer days full of sunshine are treating you well so far. I have been away from home quite a bit this summer (St. Louis, Orlando, Iceland, Sweden and Norway so far), and still have more traveling left to do!

Norway{Bergen, Norway}

One of the biggest struggles people run into is staying on top of their nutrition and exercise plans while out-of-town, the state, or the country – and I am certainly no exception to that rule. However, I prefer keeping my routine as best I can so that I feel nourished, strong, and ready to tackle the meetings and adventures I have lined up. Therefore it makes sense (and comes as no surprise to those of you who know me) that my trip planning includes a packing list solely for food!

food to pack

{Ya know…just organizing some of the food to pack for my trip to Scandinavia. Totally normal…} 

Generally it is important for me to have a few staples on hand especially for breakfast and snacks so that 1) I am not spending an insane amount of $$ eating out every meal, and 2) I can fall back on them wherever my travels take me without worrying about having to locate a grocery store that carries EXACTLY what I want. This summer it is more important than ever for me to have packed food for my domestic and international trips because I am dieting for an upcoming bodybuilding show. Yup, secret is out! With my RD-inspired food packing preparation I was ready to weigh out food next to a church in Reykjavik after landing in Iceland post red-eye…and I was all set for my long days at the Karolinska Institute with a massive cooler full of the day’s meals!

Food to Travel{Not sure if my travel companions were making fun of me or impressed with my dedication when they asked to take a picture of me weighing out my food on the sidewalk…}

I have been fortunate to have access to a refrigerator, microwave, and grocery stores everywhere I traveled. Occasionally I even had a full kitchen available! This made the whole experience a LOT easier as I was able to turn my hotel rooms into makeshift kitchens, buy/store perishables upon arrival and even do some “cooking”.

Make Shift Kitchen{Typical set up and food ready to go!}

So back to the main point, what the heck did I actually pack? Here is what made the cut.

The Checked Bag:

  • Oats (I stored mine in an empty plastic rice container instead of the typical cardboard tube so they wouldn’t get ruined during travel)
  • Sweet Potatoes (the ones in plastic ready to be microwaved)
  • Microwavable Rice and Lentil pouches (Tasty Bite makes some great options)
  • Tuna and Salmon pouches – huge lifesaver!
  • Peanut Butter (Don’t leave home without your Krema!)
  • Almond Butter
  • Raw nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • Protein Powder (I prefer De Novo Nutrition whey)
  • Raisins
  • Tea bags
  • Powdered Egg Whites (awkward to work with at first, but so glad I brought along)
  • Protein bars – for when in a super pinch with locating food!

The Carry On:

  • Pre-made and portioned meals for the travel days (overnight oats, rice and veggie dishes, protein muffins topped with peanut butter, etc.)
  • Fruit (apples because they are “tough” and can handle a bit of a beating in the suitcase and blueberries since currently in season)
  • Greek Yogurt (single serve Chobani and Skyr didn’t cause a problem w/security)
  • Hummus (again, no issue with security)
  • Vegetables (carrots, because like the apples they hold up well to travel, and green bell peppers, because I love them!)

Keeping the cooler “cool”: Food safety is a huge concern, so here is what I did to insure my food would stay at the proper temperature while traveling.

  • Make and freeze muffins – they can be used as ice packs and will be ready to eat when thawed.
  • Empty Tupperware – fill with ice once through security to keep your food chilled for the flight!

You may get some weird looks from folks when mid-flight you rummage around in the overhead bin and emerge with a massive stash of food, but it beats airline food by a mile! Also, an added bonus to packing your own food is the inevitable fact that as you eat it up your suitcase lightens up, giving you space to bring back gifts and items from your trips!

I’d love to know – what are your must-have food items for traveling?


ACSM Annual Meeting and Krema Winner

June 2, 2014

Happy Monday everyone! I just got home last night from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. Sadly, no trips to Disney were made as (the inside of) this convention center was pretty much all I saw the past week!

20140527_114722{Orange County Convention Center}

I attended a lot of great presentations, reconnected with friends and colleagues, met some researchers in person that I knew only via Twitter and by their academic work, and had a chance to present some of my own research! It was a jam-packed conference, and while I am worn out I always come back from these meetings ready to get more work done!

1137{Presenting at ACSM}

The one thing that is stressful about being away from home so much – and it’s going to happen A LOT this summer for me – is being off of my normal diet and exercise schedule. While not perfect, I did what I could to turn my hotel room into a mini kitchen and I also strategically packed food for the travel days themselves.

20140526_095717{Food for a Day Spent in the Air and at Airports}

I am planning on getting some posts up about highlights from the sessions I attended at ACSM as well as giving you all deeper look inside my nutrition game plan while traveling! It may be a little while though….because…as at the end of this week I am heading out-of-town AGAIN – this time to Iceland, Sweden and Norway! :-) Talk to you all soon!

Finally – the winner of the Krema/Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Giveaway is….


Congrats, and be on the lookout for an email from me!


Just Peanuts – Krema/Crazy Richard’s Review, Giveaway and Recipes

May 21, 2014

Hello everyone! While the blogging has been non-existent the past few months I am back today with a review and giveaway for one of my personal favorite products – Krema Peanut Butter! If you know me or have read this blog before you are well aware that I usually don’t go even a day without eating peanut butter. In fact, in 2012 one of the items on my “to-do list” was to limit my peanut butter consumption to 2 jars a month since I was averaging  A JAR A WEEK ! Fortunately that restriction is over! ;-)


Now let’s cut to the chase…what makes Krema/Crazy Richard’s (same peanut butter, just sold under different labels depending upon where you live) Natural Peanut Butter one of my favorites? It’s simple, the Ingredient List has just 1 item: Peanuts! Maybe you are thinking, “umm, Tanya…aren’t all “Natural” peanut butters made out of just peanuts?” Sadly this is not the case as a lot of natural peanut butters will have palm oil, sugar, molasses and/or salt added as well. No thanks to that…give me legit peanut butter, please!


Krema - Ingredients


You guys should have seen the “happy dance” I did when I came home to find a box from Krema waiting for me. Since I regularly buy this brand anyway, it was so nice to have it delivered right to my door and my cabinet restocked for free  – thanks Krema company for helping to fuel my peanut butter habit :-) .


Krema - Delivery


I wasted no time putting my samples to good use. Virtually every morning my breakfast looks something like this. Oatmeal, Fruit (you can’t tell, but bananas were cooked into these particular oats), Whey Protein, and PEANUT BUTTER!


Krema - PB Proats


If breakfast isn’t the above, it’s likely a peanut butter and blueberry protein smoothie. Then of course there is my dessert of choice to end the day, Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein “Cake”. Literally just liquid egg whites mixed with whey protein and microwaved and then topped with…you guessed it…PEANUT BUTTER!


Krema - Chocolate-PB Protein Brownie


And my new favorite way to use Krema peanut butter?


So easy to make that even I can do it

  • 1.25 c. Whey protein (I used Candy Bar flavor from DenovoNutrition)
  • 1 c. Oats
  • 1 c. Krema/Crazy Richard’s Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 0.25 c. honey


  • Mix whey protein and oats in 1 bowl.
  • Mix peanut butter and honey in a larger bowl and microwave ~60 seconds.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix thoroughly.
  • Add water as need (I usually add at least 0.5 c)
  • Pour in pan and stick in fridge/freezer to harden up!!

Krema_CandyBar Protein Bars


While I am in the “Crunchy PB” camp, Krema/Crazy Richard’s comes in both Smooth and Creamy or Crunchy options. Both have a fabulous fresh and rich roasted peanut flavor which leaves their overly sweet and salty competitors in the dust! Anxious to get your hands on some Krema/Crazy Richard’s peanut butter? Chances are that a retailer near you carries it – check the store locator to find out where. If not, you can always order peanut butter or their other products (must get hands on their Cashew and Almond Butter, too!) on-line.

Need more peanut butter in your life? – And you better have answered with an enthusiastic YES! – Start following Krema and Crazy Richard’s on social media. Instagram (@naturalpeanutbutter), Twitter (@KremaPB and @CrazyRichardsPB), and/or Facebook (Krema and CrazyRichard’s). They post some great recipes and hilarious memes about peanut butter like this gem:


Krema - Instagram


Now for the giveaway – how can YOU get entered to win a sample of Krema/Crazy Richard’s peanut butter delivered to your house? It’s simple:

1. Comment on this post (make sure to provide your e-mail in the e-mail box so I can contact you if you win). I would love to know what your favorite peanut butter recipe is!

2. For an additional entry – follow Krema/Crazy Richard’s on one of their social media channels (and indicate that you did so in your comment).

It’s that easy. Contest closes at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 28th so get entered quick!

Until next time…Keep Calm and Eat Peanut Butter.


Disclosure: Although I did receive Krema and Crazy Richard’s peanut butter samples for free, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences. I was not compensated for writing this post. Additionally, this is a product I regularly purchase on my own, truly enjoy and am happy to have the opportunity to blog about! :-)

Don’t Act Like You’re Not ImPRESSed!

February 22, 2014

So, what have I been up to since I last posted? Well, besides working and working out…just winning trophies (actually just 1).

Bench Comp{2014 Virginia Tech Bench Press Competition}

Okay, so it was a default win because 1) There were very few females competing this year and 2) I was the only 1 in my weight class to complete a legal lift. It was by far one of my worst bench days in a while (I only hit my opener), but I am glad I had the competition experience!

What challenge have YOU taken on recently?

P.S. The winner of the giveaway from The Feed is…

WinnerAnne- look for an e-mail from me on getting your box to you!



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