Category Archives: exercising

Sponsor Post: Wine and Chocolate 5K

I like wine
gluten free jacksonville gluten free wine

I like to run


And now I get to combine the two at the Wine and Chocolate 5K in San Marco.

wine17-266x200gluten free jacksonville wine and chocolate 5k

Join 1st Place Sports and Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Saturday April 22nd at 4:30pm in San Marco Square for the Wine and Chocolate 5K. This will be my very first Wine and Chocolate Run and you can’t beat getting a souvenir wine glass and wine and chocolate post race. I am very excited!

It is rare that there is an event that time of day, it should be beautiful and it takes you through the beautiful San Marco Neighborhoods. I haven’t run since the Gate River Run so I am excited for a much shorter run.  Check out their Facebook event page for more info.

This blog is sponsored by 1st Place Sports and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. You should try an Acai Berry Boost TM with Acai, pomegranate, banana, blueberries & strawberries.

tropical smoothie gluten free jacksonville


Are you running?

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Filed under Events, exercising, Indulging, Sponsors

Fresh Jax: Gluten Free Goodness

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxI was recently contacted by Jason at FreshJax to stop by and see their almost one year old store. I have known about FreshJax for a few years now through their strong presence at the Riverside Arts Market and just hadn’t had the time to make it to their store. Prior to opening their store they invited me to a wonderful gluten-free dairy free meal that was delicious.  Fresh Jax is the brain child of one of the sweetest couples you will meet, Jason and Hilary.

As I walked in I was kindly greeted by one of 2 staff working at the counter. I asked for Jason and was asked if I would like a tour while I waited.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxAs I approached the cafe counter I could quickly see chili, broccoli soup, donuts, kale wraps, yoga bars, a TON of amazing spices and a nice menu of fresh to order food options. The thing that is so hard to believe is that their entire menu is clean and the ENTIRE STORE IS GMO-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE AND DAIRY-FREE. No joke! Staff are not even allowed to come in with gluten-containing foods.gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

How do they do it?? They use a ton of locally sources fruits and vegetables and use a variety of replacement options such as organic coconut milk and organic maple syrup.  They also have a vast array of spices that they create in house.  A sample of their amazing spices include:

  • Bold Bayou perfect for pasta, potatoes, corn on the cob or as a marinade. It is made from Ancho Peppers so it is not too spicy but has a nice flavor.gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Grill Master: one of their most popular seasonings this time of year as people start firing up their grills. Great on burgers!gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Their signature coconut bacon that tastes just like bacon.  Great to add to on saladsgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Thai Coconut Curry includes real coconut and thai spices
  • Himalayan Sea Saltgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Italian Herb Blendgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • A tofu scramble spice that makes tofu taste just like scrambled eggsgluten free jacksonville fresh jax

They also have an entire case full of Kambucha and turmeric drinks. Turmeric is all the rage right now for its ability to decrease inflammation in the body which is very helpful for those of us living with Celiac Disease and other gluten-related illnesses.

They support a ton of local products such as 5 Points Candle Co. – they are organic soybean food grade essential oil with wood wick and a 60 hour burn. They are colorless so you are not breathing artificial coloring as they burn.

I tried their sushi bowl which is made of home made pickled veggies, carrots, ginger, seasoned rice with wasabi and cashew cream, black sesame seeds and guacamole. The flavors of the pickled veggies and the cream and guacamole make you forget that there isn’t ahi tuna in it. It was delicious and so fresh!gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

In addition to the cafe, spices and local products they also have a yoga studio attached. They have thought of everything! They offer 40 classes a month and they pride themselves on providing restorative yoga for every body! It is a beautiful space and you can purchase a class pass or a regular membership. They also host cooking classes and movie nights.gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxgluten free jacksonville fresh jax

They recently started catering office lunches to provide a healthy option during work meetings.  They are now offering boxed lunches for $15 per person that includes a kale wrap, yoga bar, cashew cheese and healthy chips, clean pickle and a pass for a free yoga class!  Here is an example of the yoga wrap they use for their wraps.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

I love this place! Not only is it a really nice environment, it is nice to support a business that is owned by passionate people who love what they do and believe and live out the mission of their organization. As I left I tried the chocolate donut with blueberry jelly.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxOMG! I was just thinking about how much I miss Dunkin Donuts chocolate donuts and this hit the spot and tasted just like it and yes it is organic, gluten-free and dairy free (I seriously asked 3 or 4 times because I couldn’t believe it).gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

If you are in the area- they are near 2-95 and Gate Parkway- I suggest you stop by.  Not only is it delicious but you are supporting this great couple who are truly following their dream.  gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

Update: As of June 30th Fresh Jax has announced that they will be closing their store. However, you can still find all of their delicious spices and food at the Riverside Arts Market each Saturday.

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Sponsor Post: Run 13.1 and 5K

gluten free jacksonville run13point1

Hi Friends- There is another super fun race coming up  the Run 13.1 and 5K put on by 1st Place Sports and sponsored by Tropical Smoothie Cafe– what a team!   I am still recovering from the Gate River Run which was a perfect race this year.  Great temperature, no rain and everyone was in high spirits. I saw the craziest food on the course this year.  In addition to the hot dogs, donuts and fruit I saw people passing out jello shots, rice crispy treats, full bottles of beer and so much more it was a hoot.  I was so happy that I was able to be seeded so I didn’t have to get passed by too many people however, during the crowded areas I did get elbowed a few times by runners passing by.

One of the greatest challenges of running is planning what are you going to eat on race day.  I am great at the carb loading but I am always nervous about what I eat and drink on race morning.  I try to make sure I eat enough calories to get me through the run and that I pre-hydrate without having to run with a full bladder.  I usually eat gluten-free bread with some Trader Joes Better’ N Peanut Butter and a banana. During the week when I am training but not racing I love a good smoothie for breakfast.  I could have a banana, strawberry, spinach, PB2 and coconut water smoothie every day practically.   Why PB2 in my smoothie vs Trader Joe’s Better’N Peanut Butter you ask?  PB2 is a powder and much easier to add to a smoothie than taking out a spoon and trying to scoop into liquid.

Are you into smoothies?  Check out Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s awesome smoothie concoctions (YUM):

  • Chia Banana Boost with Strawberries (Coconut, almonds, dates, cinnamon, whole grain oats, chia seeds & roasted banana with strawberry).
  • Chia Banana Boost with Peanut Butter (Coconut, almonds, dates, cinnamon, whole grain oats, chia seeds & roasted banana with peanut butter).
  • Acai Berry Boost TM (Acai, pomegranate, banana, blueberries & strawberries).

Don’t miss out on this fun race.  The race details are as follows:

  • Sunday, April 2, 2017, 7 am
  • The Jacksonville Landing
  • All participants receive moisture wicking, technical shirt and a sling pack goodie bag!
  • Large finisher medals for participants
  • Post-race celebration with music, beer and food

Follow along on Facebook.

gluten free jacksonville run13point1 1st place sports tropical smoothie

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Sponsor Post: I Love The Gate River Run

gluten free jacksonville gate river run tropical smoothie cafe
I ran my first Gate River Run put on by First Place Sports 12 years ago; and ever since then I vowed to run it every year. There is just something about getting up early, the rush of a crowd of thousands of people running together. You feel a part of something.  I have never had the feeling quite like the feeling I have running the Gate River Run.  I love running and people watching. Along the route you see people drinking Mimosa’s, drinking beer, handing out hot dogs, handing out orange slices and my all-time favorite people handing out popsicles around mile six. It feels as though the entire community is coming together. The spectators and the runners are all one even though we’re not talking to each other.

While I don’t run as fast as I did when I was 28; each  year I think this is the year that I’m going to beat my 28-year-old self. I’m not running against the person to my left or the person to my right I am running to beat my previous scores and be my best self. One of the greatest things about each race is there are people that come out every year to watch me run. My parents, sometimes my nephews, my brother but always my husband (just his excuse to blast music, make funny signs and crack open a beer before noon)!  My nephew Ryan even joined me for about 100 yards one year it is one of my favorite memories.
gluten free jacksonville gate river run tropical smoothie cafe
I love the carbo loading on Friday and the awesome expo where you pick up your packet.  But nothing compares to the feeling I get when I crank up my radio as I drive over the Matthews Bridge on my way to the race.  Each year I play a fun, loud song that really fires me up. On March 11 I will run my 12th Gate River Run with over 20,000 of my close running friends. I can’t wait!

Check out the view from my last few races:

gluten free jacksonville gate river run tropical smoothie cafe

gluten free jacksonville gate river run tropical smoothie cafe

Details of the Race:

Gate River Run put on by 1st Place Sports: Saturday, March 11, 15k and Florida Times Union 5k for Charity.  For more information on the 1st Place Sports Gate River Run click here.

What I eat:
1. Pasta- CARBO LOADING!!!
2. Smoothies like the Jetty Punch from Tropical Smoothie Cafe.  
Special Gluten-Filled note: If you eat gluten and love flatbreads try out the Cha Cha Sriracha Flatbread at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.  It is made with grilled chicken, mozzarella, shredded carrots, house-made roasted pineapple salsa, cilantro, scallions & caramelized pineapple Sriracha sauce on a toasted flatbread.

What I listen to: I love it- Icona Pop, Safe and Sound- Capital Cities, Fancy- Iggy Azalea, Sugar – Maroon 5.

Where I train: First Coast YMCA

Gate River Run Advice: Nutrition, Training and Preparation


Filed under exercising, Nutrition, Sponsors, Training

Gluten-Free Running

gluten free jacksonville running

Last month I ran the Donna Breast Cancer Half Marathon. I have run half marathons before, however, I had not run one since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I started noticing a difference in my energy levels about 1 year before my diagnosis while running. I would just feel so tired during and after running.  Now that I have my Celiac disease under control (some-what) I have started running again and it feels great. Whenever I am feeling sluggish or moody from being glutenated, a run almost always helps me feel better.

gluten free jacksonville running
I felt amazing after the Donna. Ok, I felt sore on Monday and Tuesday afterwards but nothing out of the ordinary. I really tried hard to prep correctly the week of. I took some steps prior to the race that helped me so I thought I would share with the hopes that you will share some with me!

  • Find a training program that fits you. I cannot run more than 3 times a week. I am 5 feet 11 and my body just can’t take running two days in a row. There are a ton of resources online to help you come up with a training program. I like programs that include a little speed work one day and cross training on other days. I like to do Yoga once a week while I am training for a long race, it helps strengthen and stretch muscles that get overused during long runs.
  • Avoid eating at new restaurants up to 2 weeks before the race. Try to make as many meals at home so that your body is healthy and stores up energy prior to the race. I can always tell when I have had gluten from cross contamination, the run is extremely hard and I feel terrible afterwards
  • Hydrate with water and sports drinks 2-4 days before the race.
  • The Day Before:  No alcohol; drink plenty of water and sports drinks;  Carbo-load (gluten-free of course) early in the day; layout your outfit; set out your race number and put the safety pins already on the number to make pinning it on easy; make a music playlist that keeps you motivated while runninggluten free jacksonville running
  • Day of:  Get up no less than 3 hours before race time; drink 16 ounces of water right when you wake up; eat foods you are familiar with (I like a banana and peanut butter toast). I think the goal is around 300 calories 2 hours before race time. Try to eat and drink with plenty of time to use the restroom (#1 and #2) before you leave and leave with plenty of time to get to the race – traffic is almost always an issue arriving at races.
  • During the run: Have fun- talk to people cheering; give high fives to spectators; take pictures of your surroundings; take water breaks at every single water station to help you stay hydrated and give yourself a little break; listen to your body and walk if you want to; set a goal for you not someone else; and start slow- real slow.
  • After the run: Stretch and cool down- ice bath optional; Enjoy the free beer (I have never seen gluten-free beer) or champagne at the end of the run
  • Don’t forget: Congratulate yourself!  You did it!  Smile!  There is no better feeling than finishing a race you trained months for.  No one can take away the fact you set a goal and achieved it.
  • A few site links that have offered me help:
    a. Jeff Galloway
    b. Healthy Tipping Point
    c. Runners world

This weekend I am running the Gate River Run. Are you? Do you do any of these things to prepare? What are some of your tricks and tips?

Congratulations to Lindsay for winning the Tuttorosso Giveaway!

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Groupon/Living Social Workout Plan 2011

I am a member of the Brooks Family YMCA, yet somehow I don’t feel like the classes at the YMCA are as strenuous as the classes taken at facilities that specialize in specific workouts.  Exercise has always been important to me, but since being diagnosed with Celiac disease I have experienced huge mood swings and lethargy so motivation to exercise has been tough.  (See Mayo’s 7 benefits of exercise). I needed a workout that could provide some variety, excite me and motivate me to put on my gym shoes (or yoga pants) on a regular basis. Which is why the Groupon/Living Social Workout of 2011 worked for me!

What is the Groupon/LIving Social 2011 Workout?  Since January 2011 I have bounced from yoga studio to exercise program trying to find the one I like the most while trying out new things and saving money in the process.  Here is the workout:

The Deal: 20 days of hot yoga for $20.  Radiance of San Marco is one of the newest Bikram Yoga Studios on the scene.  Bikram Yoga is “hot yoga.”  Each class is 90 minutes and you flow through the same set of poses each class.  It is led by an instructor who tells you everything you need to be doing so that you don’t need to look around the room to see how you should look in the pose.  Time flies by because you are constantly listening to the sound of the instructors voice to inspire you to go deeper into each pose. Bikram Yoga works every single muscle and tendon in your body, however, it is not for everyone.  The room is close to 100 degrees and there are times you may feel light headed or dizzy.  I did Bikram during my training for the Gate River Run and while I usually have some sort of knee injury, I was able to avoid any injury.  My only criticisms of the practice is that there is not a whole lot of upper body strengthening and there is no music, not even during savasana (my favorite pose, haha).  There is no vinyasa, downdog or updog or plank positioning which usually are used in yoga for arm and core strength.  However, there are a lot of other core strengthening exercises as well as lower body strengthening exercises in this work out.  Probably the best core workout of any of the exercises in the Living Social/Groupon workout plan.

The Deal: One month of unlimited personal training sessions for $23. Timed Exercise is scheduled in 30 minute blocks of time.  Each day has its own workout that mixes up reps and sets so that there is never a duplicate workout throughout the month.  The object is to complete the workout as fast as you can and try to finish before the 30 minutes are up.  You are assigned your own pod to complete your workout in and all of the equipment is right there for you, except for pull up bars that are shared throughout the class.  They play awesome music really loud to motivate you and there are 2 instructors who constantly walk throughout the room to scream your name, correct your form or help you out if those last two reps are difficult to complete.  The instructors get to know each and every person and they remember your name every time you attend (this impressed me most). Each workout includes some type of push up, some type of sit up, some type of pull up, some type of row and some type of full body exercise.  I have never been so sore in all my life as when I did Timed Exercise.  While I loved the intensity this is not the work out for me.  I liked how quickly the exercises could be completed, but I need a workout with more of a warm up and cool down.  I have a lot of friends who have lost a ton of weight and have great biceps from these classes.  I will say, my upper body strength was the best it has ever been after these workouts.

The Deal: $15 for one month unlimited.  I have been to this yoga studio before.  It is located in San Marco between Emerson and University Blvd on Hendricks Avenue in a nice space with an outdoor courtyard.  It is an older studio by a busy and sometimes loud road.  The instructors are very informative and there are all levels of yoga practitioners in the room.  This practice incorporates the yoga flow with down dog and up dog in a soothing relaxing atmosphere.  Yogi’s in this practice are quiet before and after each class and the smell of insense fills the studio.  The room is not too warm and they rely alot on various props from blocks to straps to bolsters.  Classes are one hour and any fitness level can attend.

The Deal: 35 days of yoga for $35.  MBody has been winning awards from various publications as the best Yoga studio around.  This was the first time I had ever tried it.  This deal was good at their Southside and Neptune Beach locations and not good at their San Marco studio.  This is a very popular practice.  Unlike Bikram and Power Yoga of San Marco this is a very active and social and engaged practice.  Everyone is talking, the instructors are loud, you are forced to have your mat relatively close to your neighbor. At my first class we were encouraged to use our neighbor to help us with certain poses.  The instructors are very loud.  At first it was distracting, now I have realized that they get loud right about the time I feel I can no longer hold a difficult pose.  This helps me push through. The room is heated but it is not as hot as Bikram.

The Deal: 5 hot yoga classes for $25.  Bikram Yoga Jacksonville is located in Neptune Beach close to the intracoastal just off of Atlantic Boulevard.  This is the hottest of all the yoga studios. It is run by Rob who actually used to be one of my Junior Volleyball coaches in high school.  His friendliness creates a nice environment in this studio.  If this studio was closer to where I lived I would become a regular.  It has such a great beach feel to it.  There was usually plenty of space in the studio to practice.  After each class, when I was drenched in sweat I looked forward to the outdoor showers located behind the studio.  It was such a nice reward.  On one particularly hot day during the summer, Rob bought watermelon for everyone.

The Deal: One month of unlimited dance classes for $29. I have known about Dance Trance for some time.  Many of my girlfriends have told me how fun it is.  So I was excited to try out this deal because I love to dance.  I was not prepared for my first class at all.  I knew none of the dance moves, the music was fast paced and loud, but I had a blast.  There is some repitition to each of the dances so I picked them up pretty quickly.  I was not the only person there who didn’t know the routines so I just hung out in the back of the class with the rest of the relatively new crew.  If I got completely lost I just shook my hips and waved my hands in the air.  They have a class called breakdown where they teach the new songs for the week.  I loved the music.  Almost all of the songs were current popular songs and were about feeling strong, getting over that guy, feeling good about yourself, etc.  It was such a great workout, I forgot I was exercising a few times and found my self smiling ear to ear the entire time.

Prior to beginning each of the deals, I would call the facility to tell them I am a new student and ask if I need to do anything or come on a specific day.  The only deal that had a specific start date for new students was Timed Exercise.  Not really sure why because you have to sign up online to schedule your “pod” and pretty much every day I was there there was someone else who was new.

There was something that I liked at each of the facilities.  I thought I would do a little “best of” from each of the classes.  Here go:

Best Deal: Radiance San Marco 90 minute classes, 20 classes for $20 at $1 a class and you could take multiple months to complete
Best Overall Workout: MBody 90 minute classes
Best way to build large bicep muscles: Timed Exercise
Loudest Instructors: MBody
Best Savasana: Power Yoga San Marco (because they play music and they have props)
Best at remembering your name: Timed Exercise
Best changing/shower facilities: Radiance San Marco
Best overall wellness program: MBody
Most social: Tied: MBody and Timed Exercise
Sweatiest: Bikram Yoga Neptune Beach
Best snack and beverage options: Timed Exercise
Most likely to pick up a date: Timed Exercise
Most coordiation needed: Dance Trance
Best place to go if you need a pick me up or just had a break up: Dance Trance
Best music: Dance Trance

Where is your favorite place to workout? and why?


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