No Day Like Today

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"Pay the Farmer Now or Pay the Doctor Later"

Posted by [email protected] on March 7, 2015 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

That is the motto my friends and family hear me say all the time when I am asked why I would want to buy only organic food. If you are still on the fence about switching over to real food and price is a main factor, I have listed some ways I make buying organic, free range and real foods possible without breaking the bank.

1) Cooking from scratch and eliminating processed foods from our diet has dramatically decreased our need to go visit the doctor. This saves us on co-payments for the doctor and medication. No one in my family is dependent on medication for illnesses due to poor diet such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes etc.

2) By shopping in bulk, the perimeter of the store, and avoiding processed foods, our grocery bill has not gone up and in fact I have noticed a decrease in our food spending. While cooking all of my own foods may take more preparation and planning than buying a frozen dinner, it is healthier, more cost effective and I know exactly what ingredients my family is eating.

3) Making my own laundry detergent and home cleaning products. While this saves us money, it also is better for our health and the environment. Making detergent is also quick to make, my 13 year old can make it in 5 minutes. If you are interested in making your own, I would be happy to share which products we use to make our laundry detergent.

4) Living a zero waste lifestyle we are very conscious of buying second hand items whenever possible. This is a huge money saver which allows us to manipulate more money into our food budget if needed.

5) "Couponing" has helped our family get the products we need at acceptable prices and often times even free. I started couponing a few years ago and it has dramatically changed the way we shop and helped us save hundreds of dollars on shopping expenses. While most food coupons are for processed foods, there are still some great coupons out there for the organic section at my local supermarket. Couponing doesn't only help us save money when it comes to buying groceries, either. It also helps us save on other expenses as well, for example: shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream and razors, feminine products, toothbrushes, and more. The best part is that with our advanced technology we can still cut back on waste by uploading the coupon to our smart phone and scanning our phone at the register, rather than printing out so many coupons and wasting paper.

Eating organic does not need to break the bank. It depends on how you budget your money and what is important to you. For us, eating food without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and free range free is our priority. If eating healthier and being healthier is important to you, then these changes will become easier over time and you should start noticing a positive difference with your health and not your wallet.

All you need is YOU: Bodyweight Training

Posted by [email protected] on February 12, 2015 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Fitness exercises can come in several different forms - some exercises use weights, and others don't.  Many believe that, in order to get a good workout, you need to be using some piece of fitness equipment.  Whether it be a cardio machine (elliptical, treadmill), weight machine, or hand weights, if you're not using one, you're not working out.  Others will use their belief of a workout requiring equipment as an excuse not to work out. 

"I don't have enough time to go to the gym",  I don't have any equipment", "I can't afford the gym" or my personal favorite:  "I won't do strength training because I don't want big muscles" -- I'm sure a handful of you have heard others, or possibly yourselves, use excuses like these to shy away from a workout.


Well, I'm here to tell you that you can throw those excuses in the garbage!!!  For this week's blog, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite exercises to get a great, well-rounded workout -- two total body exercises, one lower body exercise, one upper body exercise, and one core exercise.  And get this -- there's only one piece of equipment you need:  YOU!


This is a great total body exercise which really focuses on your shoulders and core, along with your legs! Here's how it works: 

  1. Stand tall with your legs straight and your hands straight above you
  2. Bring your hands to touch the floor below you
  3. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lower your torso to the floor, and walk your hands out to be directly in front of you.
  4. Once you are in a push-up position (wrists directly beneath the elbows and shoulders), slowly walk your hands back to meet your feet, and then return to a standing position.  


If you are a personal training client of mine, you know this is probably my favorite total body exercise!  Usually when I inform my clients burpees are on the agenda for the workout, I hear a loud groan.  Here's the thing though:  burpees are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises you can do!  You may hate me, but your body certainly won't:  

  1. Start in a squatting position with your hands directly on the floor below you.
  2. Next, jump your feet back so your body is in a push-up position (modification:  If you can't jump, walk your feet out one at a time behind you)
  3. Immediately return your feet into a squat position
  4. Lastly, leap up as high as possible before repeating the sequence (modification:  Reach up onto your toes if you don't want to jump)
  5. One last modification:  If you are unable to put your hands on the floor, you can also do this exercise using a bench instead of the floor).


Ready to engage your quadriceps (aka:  thighs)??  This exercise will certainly do the trick.  Oh, and you will need a wall to complete this exercise:

  1. Stand upright against the wall.  Slowly slide your back down the wall so your thighs are parallel to the ground (NOTE:  Make sure your knees are directly over the ankles, and that your back is straight against the wall.
  2. Hold this position for 30 seconds to start.  As you get more comfortable with this exercise, you can increase the time you hold the wall-sit, or you can intensify the exercise by placing a weight on your lap or lifting one leg in the air at a time.

Arm Circles

This arm exercises targets your shoulders.  I'll note here that if you would like to increase the intensity on this workout, you can hold a soup can or a weight in each hand.

  1. Stand with your arms extended to the side (arms in a "T" position)
  2. Slowly make small arm circles clockwise (towards the front) for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Next, switch the direction of your arm circles to you are circling your arms towards the back for approximately 30 seconds.


Planks are a great exercise because they focus on stabilization of the core.  The core essentially is a term used to describe the muscles that control your spine, waist, and lower back. There is a misunderstanding that the "core" muscles consist of only your abdominal muscles.  That is not true.  While abdominal muscles are a key component of the core muscles, your back (especially the lower back) and hips are also at work.  Planks target all of those essential core muscles.

  1. Start by laying face down on the floor or on an exercise mat (stomach on the floor).
  2. Next, press yourself up into a push-up position.
  3. Then, place your elbows on the floor so that your forearms are resting directly underneath your shoulders (you want your elbows and wrists to be in line with your shoulders).  Make sure your feet are still in a push-up position.
  4. Hold the plank for as long as you can, making sure your but doesn't float up in the air and your back doesn't arch up or droop down. 

That's all for this week!  If you have any questions about the workouts I have provided, please don't hesitate to ask!.

Until next time...

Video with Trey

Posted by [email protected] on February 4, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

When my family changed our eating habits, Trey, my youngest, was not on board in the beginning. He even told me once that I was ruining his life when I wouldn't buy cake with bright blue frosting. Last week Trey and his brother Noah cheered when I said I was making chicken and broccoli quesadillas. It warmed my heart to hear cheers over broccoli. It is amazing how our palate changes over time.

Here are Trey's thoughts and feelings about our new eating habits. 

Until next week,



Making the Change

Posted by [email protected] on January 19, 2015 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

When you make changes in your life, which of the following best fits your personality?

A) Do you stick your toes in slowly?

B) Walk in slowly halfway then when ready, dunk the rest of your body in?

C) Dive right in?

If you are A, I would recommend reading labels and researching ingredients that are foreign to you. Then decide which foods/drinks you would be able to eliminate first. Every week or two, when you feel ready, eliminate one more processed food. Learn how to make a real food version of it at home.

I am most like B. When the doctor told us to make changes, I first cut out soda. I chose soda because of the following statistics. (Sorry, this part might be dry for some but I love statistics.) The World Health Organization reports that 27% of adults and 55% of the children who consume one soda a day are more likely to become overweight. Also those that have one can a day have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The ingredients are pretty scary as well, containing several different cancer causing ingredients. Those few facts made me take a long look as to why I was letting this product in my body or my children’s. Especially since I was drinking around a 6 pack a day.


When I first cut out soda, I would dream about it. After a few days, I immediately noticed my head aches were not occurring every day at noon. After a month, when I tried a diet coke it tasted awful. I couldn’t believe how much my taste buds had changed.



After that, I dove right in. I cleaned out the pantry, throwing away any processed foods that had artificial colors and flavors and ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. I stuck to the 5-ingredient rule with boxed and canned foods (rule= no more than 5 ingredients and I must be able to pronounce and be familiar with all ingredients). Then I started to research quick and easy recipes that only used real foods. I became familiar with my kitchen and although I can’t say that I love cooking, I do enjoy it more than before because I know I am eating a healthy meal with my boys. I was pleased to witness over time that their taste buds changed. They enjoy eating vegetables and fruits and slowly are not enjoying processed foods as much. I do not enjoy eating processed foods at all, and my 14-year-old likes to joke that soon water will be too sweet for me.

If you are most like C, time to take a good look at what is in your pantry and refrigerator/freezer. Follow the steps I took in B, after I dove in. 

Whether you fall under A, B or C, you will eventually come to the same place. A healthier, energetic and slimmer you!

Please send me any questions or comments.

Until next week,


Commit to get "fit": Tips on creating a successful workout plan

Posted by [email protected] on January 17, 2015 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Beginning a workout program is not easy.  Oftentimes, people who create goals focused on working out and overall fitness have no idea how to get started.  They may be embarassed to walk inside of a gym facility because they aren't sure which machine they should be using, or how the machine works.  They may be afraid of what other people are going to think, and that fear in itself is what keeps them from achieving their goals.  If the person I'm describing here sounds a little like how you're feeling, I'm here to tell you that you are not alone.  I've been in your shoes (ahem:::hip hop dance class) and know how difficult it is to take that first fitness step.  My goal today is to provide you with some pointers on how to implement a successful workout program, as well as open up the floor to any questions you may have on how to "get the ball rolling". 

Tip #1:  Find a workout buddy

Working out with a friend is one of the best ways to begin your workout program for many reasons, but in my opinion one stands out more than others:  ACCOUNTABILITY.  Your workout buddy is counting on you to be there at every workout you have planned, whether it be running outside together or attending a fitness class together.  When you've had a bad day at work, your partner should be there to still push you to be there for your scheduled workout.  When your partner is having a rough time getting through a planned workout, it's your turn to be their cheerleader and morale booster.  Aside from accountability, having a workout buddy allows you to spend time with a friend that you may not normally see during the week.  You can gossip about the newest celebrity, or discuss family life while getting a good sweat on. 

Tip #2:  Schedule your workouts

Preparation makes all the difference in maintaining a successful workout program.  For the last three years, I bought a kitchen wall calendars for the sole purpose of writing my workout plans.  That way, I know every morning what my plan is for the day, and what time I'm planning to work out.  Once I got an iphone, I transferred all of that information into iCal and went even further to share my workout calendar with my husband.  Not only does my husband keep me accountable for the workouts I have scheduled, but he is aware of my plans and when I will or won't be home.  You could even share your workout calendar with your workout partner!

Tip #3:  Diversify your Workouts - Try something new!

It's not uncommon for fitness "newbie" to stick to the one thing they know in a gym - usually that's cardio.  It's pretty easy to hop onto a treadmill, bicycle, or elliptical and watch whatever is on the tv for 30 minutes.  However, if you want to see results and transform your health and overall wellness, cardio alone is not going to get you there.  Try a workout that you've never done before.  If you've never lifted weights, you may consider trying a strength training group exercise class or signing up for a few lessons with a personal trainer.  If you like to dance and get your "groove" on, try a hip hop dance class or Zumba! If you want to increase your flexibility and stretch your muscles, incorporate yoga into your weekly routine. 

Local Spotlight: Aroma Yoga Workshop with Andrea Stuart

Every week I'm going to try and highlight a local (Northern California) event surrounding fitness, health, or overall wellness.  This week's spotlight is on Andrea Stuart, a yoga instructor I practice with every week in Brentwood at the Brentwood Yoga Center.  My favorite class with her is Aroma Yoga:  incorporating aromatherapy and essential oils into a restorative yoga practice.  On Saturday, January 31st from 1-3pm, Andrea will be teaching a workshop on Aroma Yoga.  The workshop is open to everyone, whether you are an avid Yogi or have never practiced yoga before.  Pre-registration is required, so if you're interested in attending or have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a question or contact Andrea (see above flyer). 

Until next time... have a great week and don't be shy to ask me any questions you may have.  Let me help you reach your fitness goals!

- Sandee

Do You Know What You Are Eating?

Posted by [email protected] on January 12, 2015 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (2)

Have you ever noticed how many ingredients are in some of your favorite snacks? Take granola bars for example. One of America’s favorite trusted brand is Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. Their chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter bars all contain more than 25 ingredients. Also, they contain artificial flavors and the artificial color, caramel coloring. Artificial flavors and colors are not safe to consume and not necessary in granola bars. The artificial color, caramel color contains the cancer-causing byproduct 4-methylimidazole.

Do you want to eat processed foods that have to add unsafe flavors made in a lab? Instead you can make the same products at home that are healthier and taste better.

When my family and I decided we would not eat any foods that contained artificial colors or flavors, it eliminated a lot of pre-packed snack foods. We didn’t want to stop eating yummy snacks so I started researching healthier alternatives. We experimented with granola bars that contained minimal ingredients and were quick to make. After several recipes we found one that we have now been enjoying for three years.

These granola bars are so easy to make that Trey, my 12-year-old son, started making them he was 9. The bars only contain real ingredients and have more flavor than prepackaged bars. They take 10-15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to bake. We make a batch every weekend to put in our lunches during the week or as an after school snack. I have received the most requests for these bars than any other food I have made. Below is our recipe for our delicious granola bars.


4 ½ cups Rolled Oats (quick or old fashioned)

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 ½ cups Organic Butter softened not melted (may use conventional)

½ cup Honey

1/3 cup (packed) Brown sugar

1 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

*note we use only ½- ¾ cup of chocolate chips, we find 1 cup is too much chocolate. Play around with the amount until you find what is right for you.


Dash of Cinnamon


Substitute raisins, almonds, and cranberries etc. for the chocolate chips. 


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium size mixing bowl, cream together the butter, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. (I use an electric mixer, however you can use a large wooden spoon).

2. Add flour, baking soda and oats. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Mix with mixer, large spoon or hands.

3. Press mixture into lightly-greased baking dish (I do not grease, I use parchment paper in the baking dish and it does not stick.

4. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-25 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and place dish on wire rack to cool. (I skip that step and place directly into the refrigerator. I find that it helps the bars stay as bars and not crumble.)

5. Once cooled, cut into bar size with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.


Please send question or comments.

Until next week,


Start 2015 on the Right Foot!

Posted by [email protected] on January 8, 2015 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Happy 2015!  I hope all of you out there reading our blog have had a great start to the New Year and had a blessed holiday season!

You've all had an opportunity to meet my partner-in-crime, Maggie -- now it's time for me to introduce myself!

My name is Sandee, and I am both a NASM Certified personal trainer and a family law/personal injury attorney in Brentwood, California.  Many people have asked me questions such as, "How do you have the time to do both jobs?" or "why do you choose to work as a personal trainer in addition to law?".  The simple answer to both of those questions is this:  I don't consider personal training a job - fitness is my passion, and it is my goal to bring out that passion in others that I train.  It gives me great joy to watch my clients become stronger, faster, leaner, or acheive whatever personal goals they have set for themselves. 

To give a little background into how my passion for fitness began, I have to transport you back in time to the year 2002.  I was 16 years old, and had very low self-esteem.  I was an athlete - a Varsity softball catcher, and was more muscular than others in my school.  In my mind, being "more muscular" meant I was fat, and I had to do something to change it.  I began to starve myself, eating maybe a salad a day, and abusing over-the-counter laxatives.  I went from 130 pounds to 98 pounds in less than 2 and a half months, and I looked like a walking skeleton.  Teachers and friends were concerned about me, going so far as calling my mother to inform her of my lack of eating.  Eventually I was hospitalized for anorexia and ultimately bulimia, and went through treatment with physicians, nutritionists, and therapists to help me repair my relationship with food, and improve my self-esteem.

After I realized that "food is not the enemy", I recognized that there was a much healthier way to feel better about myself, my body image, and to improve and maintain my overall health and wellness.  I began to exercise on a more frequent basis, introducing both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to my routine.  Exercising made me happy, and I felt good about myself!  I recognized food was fuel for my body, and nutritious foods would assist me in having a successful workout.  I knew I wanted to make my experience with food and a negative self-image a positive one, and to help others who were dealing with similar situations. 


My goal with this blog is to help you feel good about yourself through fitness and exercise!  The first step in any fitness regimen is to come up with a goal.  In the fitness industry, we call these goals SMART Goals.  Now you must be wondering to yourself, "what in the world does that mean"?  When you're creating a goal, your goals should be:

  • Specific - you want to make sure to target a specific area for improvement (example:  "I want to increase muscle mass in my shoulders")
  • Measurable - you want to quantify your goal (example:  "I want to increase muscle mass in my shoulders by 2 inches").
  • Attainable - you want your goal to be something you can achieve.  For example, if you've never lifted a weight in your life, your initial goal shouldn't be to increase muscle mass by 2 inches.
  • Realistic - you want your goal to be able to be achieved in a practical range of achievement.  For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds within 3 weeks, that is not realistic.
  • Timely - Your goals need to have a specific time frame so that you can be accountable to them.  (Example:  I want to increase muscle mass in my shoulders by two inches within the next 2 months)

So there you go!  Figure out what SMART goal you would like to make for yourself.  If you have any questions, or need help in creating your own SMART goal, please reach out to me.  Let me help you reach your fitness goals!

Until next time...


Welcoming in 2015

Posted by [email protected] on January 3, 2015 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Post from Maggie

Happy 2015! Did you make a New Years Resolution? Did you know that only 8% of all resolutions made are kept all year? 

Like most people, Sandee and I have made several resolutions in the past that we were not able to keep.

Three years ago I was a single mom with three boys, a full time Special Eduction Teacher, and 25 pounds over weight. I used my stove to store things on instead of cooking on it because we ate out almost every night. It was all about quick convenience. I was consistently lethargic, consumed with daily headaches and missed days at work. My children suffered from asthma, ADHD, and lower immune systems needing to take several days off from school. I knew that something had to change when the doctor informed me that my middle son was borderline diabetic. I made a New Years Resolution and kept it.  

I immediately started researching the effects of processed foods, artificial flavors and colors, and sugar. I started making simple changes at first and eventually eliminating almost all processed foods from my and the boy's diet. Over a six month period, I dropped 25 pounds, stopped getting headaches and drastically reduced the amount of colds in the family. My middle son dropped 35 pounds and is at no risk for diabetes. I also witnessed all three boys' over all health improve, with fewer asthma attacks and ADHD symptoms. After eating real foods after six months, our palates have changed as well. This became more than a New Years Resolution, it became a life change. 

If you are interested in changing how you eat, start with small changes. Most people that jump in too fast, become too overwhelmed and are more likely to quit. For the first step, I would recommend reading labels. Take notice of serving sizes. For example, an energy drink has 27 grams of sugar per serving, but one can has three servings equaling to 81 grams of sugar. Also, read the ingredients on a label and if you can't pronounce the name of the ingredient, either put the item back or research the ingredient. Make sure that what you are eating is safe. 

Please send me any questions or topics that you would like to see posted.


The Power of Music

Posted by [email protected] on Comments comments (0)


So you’re on your way to the gym for your daily afternoon workout after a long day at work. You decided to be proactive and packed your gym bag the night before so you wouldn’t have to stop at home first. Great! You’ve got your running shoes, t-shirt, shorts, water bottle, music…. but wait. Where are your headphones?? You then remember your headphones are sitting safely on your kitchen table at home… What do you do?? Your workout is ruined!


All of us at one time or another have run into this scenario. I, too, am guilty of depending heavily on my music to get myself through a grueling workout. I won’t lie to you – there are times I’ve walked into the gym, realized I didn’t have my headphones, and walked right back out to my car. I used to think running was impossible without having my music blaring in my ears, and I tried to avoid entering a race that prohibited or ‘highly discouraged’ the use of headphones! At the same time, I’ve noticed that if I listen to the same songs during a run, I get really bored and frustrated with what I’m listening to! So, within the last week of race training (first 10K is 6 days away), I decided to create a new playlist for one run to “spice it up”, and ditch the music entirely for my next run. I was curious to compare the two, and see how I felt about using music for my runs going forward!


My non-music run

I was extremely nervous about completing my 5 mile run without the music I’ve come to depend upon. Running with a friend for the first mile or so helped me ease into it, but after that it was just me and the outdoor park path. I couldn’t believe how much I ENJOYED running without music! I was paying attention to my breathing and how it correlated with my pace and stride length. There was something comforting in hearing the nature around me – birds chirping, kids laughing, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet. My pace wasn’t the best, but at that point I really didn’t mind how fast or slow I was going. I was just taking it all in, and relishing in the fact that I didn’t need music to do what I sought to accomplish – it was all mental!


My new music playlist

As I had mentioned above, the playlist I was using before was starting to get stale. I would continuously hit “next” when I heard a particular song for the umpteenth time, and ultimately was disappointed with my entertainment for that run. Creating new playlists for my workouts provide me with motivation that may have been lacking. I get excited and energized, ready to lace up my running shoes right then and there and hit the open road! In addition, coming up with a new playlist allowed me to control the speed or tempo of my run or workout. For example, putting slower songs at the beginning of a running playlist helps to keep me from starting too fast and losing momentum later on. This for me was going to be the first playlist where I really focused on the quickness of the songs in relation to my pace. Below is my new playlist that I created for my 10K race on Sunday and tried out for the first time this past Friday:


1.  Billy Joel – All About Soul

2.  Kongos – Come With Me Now

3.  Chris Cornell – Can’t Change Me

4.  Eminem – ‘Till I Collapse

5.  Iggy Azalea – Black Widow

6.  Fort Minor – Remember the Name

7.  Eminem – Lose Yourself

8.  Fall Out Boy – Centuries

9.  Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way

10.  Flo Rida – Right Round

11.  Y3N0 – Foggy

12.  Bon Jovi – Last Man Standing

13.  The Band – Eye of the Tiger (techno mix)

14.  Rocky Theme – Gonna Fly Now [my finish line song!]


Talk about music to my ears! This playlist left me empowered, ecstatic, and ready to accomplish anything and everything! Knowing I was at the end of my run when “Gonna Fly Now” came on, I picked up my pace and imagined myself running up the top of those stairs in “Rocky”, throwing my hands up in the air, and feeling on top of the world. Music can be a powerful thing – it can remind you of particular memories in your life or help you get through a tough or challenging moment. Working out with music is no exception. The music you choose can truly inspire and motivate you to complete tasks you thought were close to impossible.


So now that I have run without music and surprisingly enjoyed it, I can certainly say it’s not impossible. Would I rather listen to my music? Absolutely. However, I’m going to set a goal for myself. Out of the three or four days I run during the week, at least one of those runs is going to be without music. That way, I can pay more attention to my breathing, timing, and the beauty that surrounds me.


I would love to hear your thoughts about running with music or not plugging in at all! Do you have a favorite song or playlist you like to work out to? I’m interested in hearing what you have to say!