Nov 21 2014

Thanksgiving Recipes

Looking for healthy Thanksgiving recipes. VIDA Registered Nutritionist Cat Taylor shares a few suggestions below.

1. Roasted Root Vegetables

2. Wild Rice Salad

3. Healthier Green Bean Casserole

4.Kale Harvest Salad

1. 1/4 Cup lemon juice
2. 2 T Dijon mustard
3. 1 T minced shallot
4. 1 garlic clove grated
5. 1/t Kosher salt
6. Gr. black pepper
7. 1 1/2 pounds Kale- cut thinly (center stem removed)
8. 12 oz. Brussels sprouts-shredded
9. 1/2 cup olive oil-divided
10. 1/3 cup almonds/skins, chopped
11. 1 cup grated Pecorino or Parm

Combine first 6 ingredients, (set aside).
Mix 7 & 8.
Spoon 1 T of 9 into hot skillet, lightly brown #10 stirring about 3 min.
Transfer browned nuts to paper towel, drain and lightly salt.
Whisk 9 into dressing. Mix with greens and cheese.
Garnish with Almonds and Cheese.
Serves 8-10
Bon Apetite

Great Sides

Vegan Gravy
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Quinoa with Garlic, Pine Nuts, and Raisins
Mustard Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Lemon Maple Squash

Sure, keep your turkey, stuffing, and gravy. But add some of these nutrient-dense dishes to provide both color and filler to your Thanksgiving plate!

Smarter Desserts
1. Apple, Pear, Cranberry Crisp with nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt
2. No Sugar Added Fudge Brownie Bites
3. Oatmeal Nut Crunch Apple Pie

Nov 21 2014

Staying Healthy While Traveling

By Danielle Michels
VIDA Blogger

Every year, like clock-work, I used to get the worst cold when I arrived home after traveling around the holidays.

Part of this was due to stress; working hard for a break and then when it finally came my body’s defenses would completely drop. The other factor was simply coming across all the icky stuff we encounter in places like airports, buses or trains when my immune system wasn’t at its strongest.

Once I was able to identify this pattern, I took some reinforcements, and I’ve been holiday-season-sickness free for the past three years.

Since that seems like a pretty good track record considering my previous ailments, I thought I’d share with you so you can enjoy the season by celebrating instead of sniffling!

Nutrient Pack Your Meals

Obviously this tip doesn’t apply because you’re already getting your full serving of fruits and veggies, right? Well, if we’re being realistic, you and I both know that when you’re juggling work and life in general, adding an upcoming trip makes pizza and take-out a lot more appealing than it might be on other days.

Even though it will take extra meal-planning and prep, eating home cooked meals that are fresh and full of nutrient-packed ingredients will keep your body in prime condition to ward off other traveler’s germs and keep your immune system strong.

You’ll also feel more energized and less fatigued, which is always an additional perk when you’re traveling.

Take Your Vitamin C

You may not think multivitamins or supplements are necessary, and it’s fine if you don’t, but taking some Airborne or an Emergen-C pack the day before and morning of your travels doesn’t hurt.

Giving yourself a little boost can keep your immune system on the defense against all the germs you come across in airports, taxis, hotels, which brings us to our next point…

Scrub and Wash

Wash your hands constantly and don’t touch your face, eyes or mouth without washing your hands first!

Before you eat anything, sit down to start working on your lap top, etc. make sure to scrub and wash your hands, or invest in some antibacterial gel.

This is really a tip we should follow all the time, but when we’re in the comfort of our own homes (and germs) we don’t think about it as much. Not picking up something while you’re traveling all comes down to being more mindful.

Stay (Somewhat) Diligent During Your Travels

Yes, you may be on vacation, which is always a time you should sit back, relax and indulge more than you usually do, but try to keep some of your routine in tact while you’re away.

Try to stay active by incorporating “workout” type excursions in to your trip, or just make it a point to hit that hotel gym for 30 minutes before your day starts. Also, making sure to continue eating those healthy meals. Feel free to indulge, but still make sure you’re getting what your body needs to run optimally.

Relax Before Your Break

Last, but not least, I believe this tip is key to not letting your body get the best of you. I used to make myself work incredibly long hours and feel pressured to finish and get ahead on my work to try to avoid stress after coming back from vacation.

While the idea seems like a good one, working this way will not leave your body less stressed after the fact. Sure, you can get a little ahead on work to prevent getting behind, but set your limits on your hours and consciously choose to unplug for the day when you’re done.

Additionally, treating yourself to a massage or facial (or something with the purpose of pampering yourself) in the weeks leading up to your time off can truly help you to feel refreshed and energized rather than tirelessly working toward those precious days off.

What are some of the steps you take to prevent catching a cold during the holiday season? And if you do get a cold, what are some of your tricks for squashing it quickly?

Nov 17 2014

How to Have a Healthier Thanksgiving

By Danielle Michels
VIDA Blogger

turkeyIt’s the most gluttonous day of the year, but that doesn’t mean you get a a green light for having a free for all.

We need to remember that Thanksgiving is really all about spending time with family and reflecting on what we have to be grateful for as the holiday season gets underway. The food is just a traditional method of celebrating.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving for the buffet of deliciousness as much as the next person, however, I think if we take a close look at where our personal fitness and healthy diet practices take a tailspin during the holidays, Thanksgiving is the beginning.

So if you’re determined not to let the holiday pounds creep up on you this year and you want to end the season feeling like you got to indulge in your favorite things, but you also can still fit in to your clothing comfortably, here are some tips you might want to put in to action for a healthier Thanksgiving:

Do a Turkey Trot

These kind of events have grown tremendously over the past few years, and I think it’s because people are starting to see that breaking a good sweat Thanksgiving morning means you can feel less guilty about indulging later.

Plus, it’s a fun way to kick off the day with not just with your family, but also with other members of the community.

If you’re someone who revels in having a day off and you’re just not in the mood to run the morning of Thanksgiving, that’s also okay. But embracing the “spirit of the turkey trot” and getting out for a brisk walk or taking a tough group fitness class before the holiday will leave you feeling a little more at peace with that big meal.

Check out one of the events we have going on at VIDA before turkey day!

Eat a Solid Breakfast

Raise your hand if you’ve ever skipped all other meals on Thanksgiving except for the big dinner? Great, that’s everyone, so no judgement in my next confession, okay?

When I skip breakfast on Thanksgiving with the anticipation of eating a lot for dinner I usually attack the buffet in a similar fashion to that of a lion who hasn’t eaten in several weeks, which inevitably leads to getting stuffed to the point of feeling sick. It’s so gross.

One year, I woke up and thought, am I really “ruining my appetite for dinner” by eating breakfast? No, I’m not. And then I ate breakfast.

I can still enjoy Thanksgiving dinner just as much as I would if I had a meal earlier in the day, so now I always eat breakfast to avoid feeling ravenous come dinnertime.

In the same way that you should never head to a holiday party starving with the anticipation of eating a lot there, you shouldn’t starve all day just because you know a big dinner is coming. There will be plenty of time for leftovers.

Prepare a Healthier Meal

I come from the South, so believe me when I say I had no idea there were other ways to prepare a turkey for Thanksgiving other than it being fried until a few years ago when I made my first Thanksgiving dinner.

In addition to how you prepare your turkey, look in to classic-made-healthier recipes that use less sugar, less butter, or less cream. There’s a ton of them out there and I promise they taste just as good.

And it’s not to say you can’t still make grandma’s famous sweet potato casserole with brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, marshmallows and pecans (y’all, I wish I could share this recipe with you, but my grandmother’s ghost would probably haunt me), just try to pick a couple items off the menu to substitute that you don’t mind being different.

For example, mashed cauliflower tastes pretty similar to mashed potatoes, and it’s a lot healthier. Or skip the rolls, steam your green beans instead of making a creamy casserole. Whatever it is, sometimes it’s just little sacrifices that add up to bigger nutritional gains.

Hold the Extras

Salt, butter, an extra sprinkle of sugar, just hold off on adding it until you taste the food first.

Sometimes we slather on butter because we’re already on a feasting rampage, but if you took a test bite you might discover it actually tastes just fine without the extra stuff.

Also, when it gets to dessert time, either choose a little bit of all the desserts offered, or settle on just a single serving of one dessert.

For whatever reason we all feel like it’s okay to take that extra scoop or slice even though we’re not hungry for it just because it’s Thanksgiving. Any other day we might question ourselves on another helping, so don’t let your intuition get bogged down by extra stuffing.

Nov 17 2014

Hit A Wall? Here’s What You Need to Get Over It

By Danielle Michels
VIDA Blogger

Ever have those times where you’re like, “yeah, I found my stride; I’m motivated, I’m working hard, making progress, nothing can get in my way,” that is, until you wake up one morning and you just feel like you’ve slammed in to a wall?

Your body is kind of stiff, you’re in this sleepy/cozy mood that can’t be shaken, and it’s not that you don’t want to workout, you do, it’s just that your body is saying, “ugh, you can do it if you want, but it’s not going to be awesome.”

Sometimes this feeling happens not because we’ve overexercised or we’re hitting a motivational plateau, but because we haven’t been properly integrating other things in to our fitness routines that prevent the “wall slam feeling.”

If you’ve experienced this feeling recently, take a look at some of things you might be missing:

Proper Warm Up and Cool Down

We completely understand that fitting a workout in to your day can be tough. It’s only 45-minutes, but if were easy, well, everyone would do it.

However, if you’re not allotting at least five extra minutes of your time in the gym to a proper warm-up and cool down (okay, so that’s technically 10 minutes) you’re holding your body back from reaching its full potential both during and after your workouts.

You’ll be preventing injury and preparing your muscles for optimum performance, and isn’t that what you’re trying to achieve with your workout?

Even if you’re a group-fitness junkie where class time includes a warm up and cool down, you may still need do a little extra on your own. Do a brisk walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes before class or do some extra static stretching afterwards for those areas you feel like your muscles need a little more attention.

I promise if you start making it a point to do a proper warm up and cool down, you won’t feel like you’ve spontaneously aged twenty years when you get out of bed the next day.

Foam Rolling

This could be part of the warm up/ cool down section, but once you start foam rolling you’ll understand why it needs it’s own category.

Foam rolling is really a love/hate for most people, but I think the majority of it is love. Foam rolling your muscles allows for improved muscle recovery and assists in keeping your muscles elastic and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.

Although it can be a tad painful, your body will thank you later by not tightening up or creating muscle strain in areas that are difficult to stretch, such as your IT band.

If you’re not sure how to foam-roll properly, ask a VIDA personal trainer about how you can get a quick info session on how to properly foam roll or cool down after a tough workout.

Inward-focused workouts

Basically, yoga. Yoga is by far one of the best workouts you can do to ensure you’re focusing on what your body is telling you.

When we put all of our energy in to workouts that are intense and all about pushing through the burn and getting our blood pumping, it tends to drown out anything our body might be telling us unless it an intense, sharp message.

For example, when I’m doing a hard hitting workout rarely do I notice my little shoulder problem because my whole body is in an “amped up” mode. When I’m in yoga, it’s much easier to “hear” what parts of my body need special care, and then I make sure to tend to them.

Yoga requires introspection, a slowed down process that is more conscious, and once you are more in-tune with your body it will carry over in to every other area of your fitness routine. And before you know it you won’t hit a wall that holds you back from doing the workout you want to.


If you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, and week after week, your body might just be telling you it wants something different.

In the same way that your motivation can decline with the same ‘ol, same ‘ol routine, your body will subconsciously get tired of it too.

Try a workout that fires up your muscles and get’s your heart rate up in different ways, and even though you may be feeling sore the next day, you won’t be feeling lethargic.

Nov 15 2014

iRIDE Instructor Highlight: Joel Patton

By Danielle Michels
VIDA Blogger

joelirideOnce my energy levels stabilized after iRIDE (seriously, it’s the only class that could make you feel energized enough to run a marathon afterwards), I caught up with the iRIDE instructor/DJ/ultimate motivator, Joel Patton, about some of the things he loves about the iRIDE class format, why it’s different and how it’s going to benefit you.

What other classes do you teach other than iRIDE?

I teach the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes in addition to iRIDE, which I’ve been teaching since October when this new class format was introduced.

What’s something specific about iRIDE that you enjoy that’s different than the elements you experience teaching other classes?

What I like about iRIDE is that it is a very different format than your traditional spin class. There’s been a big demand from people are wanting classes that are different, fresh and challenging in different ways other than it just being physical.

All of my class-goers are very smart and they like to be challenged not just physically, but mentally as well. They don’t want to come in here and do the same old routine week after week. They want to take it to the next level and they want something more interactive and fun.

iRIDE also allows me to be more involved with the participants because people are more opened up with this format.

As an instructor, you never know what people are coming in to class with, their struggles, worries or apprehensions. This fun and high-energy format really allows people to just escape and just let go whatever they’ve got going on, even if it’s just for an hour.

Venturing in to a class you’ve never experienced before can be intimidating, who would you encourage to take iRIDE?


That’s another thing I really appreciate about the iRIDE format: we can switch it up from week to week, but we can still keep it safe. We’re not doing anything so crazy that you’re going to get injured, but we can do things that are different while keeping it friendly for all fitness levels.

Just because iRIDE is different doesn’t mean you have to be an advanced level. If you’re a regular spinner, if you’re interested in something more interactive, or even if you’re brand new to the entire fitness scene, we can still give you everything you need to get started and build.

Favorite songs that get people going?

Currently, “I wanna rock” by 2 Live crew.

But with all the music I play, I love the hard-hitting and fast beats.

And I find that if I use the music I really love I can further motivate and affect the class participants because they see I’m really having fun and it makes them want to join in.

It’s also surprising because there are times people who I never would’ve guessed would know a song start singing along!

People really let go and just get in their zone in this class. I just give people the tools and the instruction on what to do, they’re the ones that find their comfort level and their zone where they really push themselves to put in the work.

What would you say to someone who may doubt if they can keep up in a class like iRIDE?

Just come in and try. Let go of your preconceived notions. If you’re willing to learn and to try, you can absolutely do it.

Also, repetition is key. If you come in and you feel a little offbeat, keep coming in. You’ll catch your stride and it’ll click, but you have to give things a chance and not get too cerebral about it.

Let the music be your friend, and let me be your coach.

(VIDA blogger’s note: Joel had the whole class captivated from the get-go. And any instructor who successfully incorporates the greatness that is Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” in to their class has my seal of approval.Seriously, you have to try this class.)

To see when you can catch Joel teaching iRIDE, visit our class schedules on