How to read labels and my favorite Costco items

I grew up living an hour and a half away from a Costco so we never went! All these years I never knew what I was missing out on!! I LOVE COSTCO. They have a lot of really good items that are clean and healthy if you take the time to read some labels! Today I want to teach you how to read labels so you can make your own wise decisions on the products you choose.

First when reading labels, you want to make sure that they contain clean oils. The bad oils are: sunflower, vegetable, safflower, canola, peanut, palm, corn, soybean oils. Avoid oils that are refined, or hydrogenated. These oils are only okay to get if they are expeller pressed! The oils that are better for you are: coconut, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, butter, and flaxseed oil. Yes, I know the good oil list is a lot smaller than the bad. These bad oils are man-made and are refined so much that they lose their properties and cause cancers and illnesses. So when you are looking for packaged items, check the labels for these oils first!

Second, avoid refined sweeteners! The bads are: high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, agave, aspartame, saccharin, sugar,  These sweeteners claim to have no calories, and many people may think this makes them better! But instead they again are man-made in a lab, and contain sugar alcohols which are so bad for us. The better sweeteners include: honey, maple syrup, monk fruit (personal favorite), dates, coconut sugar, stevia, blackstrap molasses.

Avoid these guidelines when you are picking out packaged foods, and of course buy non-packaged foods whenever possible! Fresh is best!

Here is a list of my top 15 favorite Costco items!

Favorite Costco items:

  1. Dave’s killer bread
  2. Organic restaurant style salsa
  3. Kirkland Signature dried mango (perfect for a beach snack)
  4. Kirkland Signature maple syrup
  5. Kirkland Signature almond butter
  6. Mozaic’s organic popped veggie and potato chips
  7. Sweet mini peppers
  8. Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Seed and Flax Granola
  9. Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage (sweet basil and roasted garlic flavor is our favorite)
  10. Kirkland Signature frozen triple berry blend
  11. Organic Tropical Dragon Fruit (frozen)
  12. Sambazon Organic Acai Packets (frozen)
  13. Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice packets
  14. Coconut Clusters
  15. Organic Cacao Powder

My go-to Ab Workout

So right now being 8 months pregnant my abs are definitely non-existent. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t hiding out under there and I am hoping to get back at them when it’s okay to do so after the little guy arrives! For all of you that are not pregnant and are wanting a good shredder for your abs, I’ve got just the workout for you. This is my favorite go-to ab workout, that you can do every day or every other day if you choose! I get asked often the key to getting abs, and my answer is it definitely is a mix of workouts and clean eating. You can work out your abs all you want but if you are covering them up with crappy food, they will never show. The key is to eat clean and do a little for your abs every day and I promise you will start to see definition!

WORKOUT:

Hi-lo abs: This is a workout I learned from the drill team at my high school they taught us soccer girls and it has seriously been my go-to since! It is basically all crunches, starting with regular crunches, with your feet touching the floor: 8 crunches to the left side, 8 to the right side, and 8 in the middle. Then move to your feet bent and crossed in the air: 8 crunches to the left, 8 to the right, 8 in the middle. Then raise your legs straight up and do: 8 crunches to the left, 8 to the right, 8 in the middle. Last, keeping your legs raised in the air spread them wide as you can and do 8 crunches to the left, 8 to the right, 8 in the middle. You should be burning by now!!

Planks: 30 seconds on each side and 1 minute in the middle. Keep your butt down!

Kneeling side reaches: 2 minutes straight through- on your knees, lean laterally down the seams of your leggings until you feel the stretch, then back up to center. It might feel like you aren’t really getting a workout on this one but trust me you will feel this tomorrow!

Commandos: 30 seconds- in a plank position you’ll be going from your elbows to your hands, one hand at a time. Then back down to elbows one hand at a time. Keep your core engaged!

Toe touch pulses: 50 total- laying down with your legs straight up in the air, reach your arms as if you are trying to touch your toes, then back down to a flat back.

V ups: 25 total- laying completely flat on the ground with arms and legs extended long, bring arms and legs together in the air in a v position, then back down.

Russian ab twists: 50 total- balancing on your tailbone, lift your legs off the ground so your abs are flexed, then twist to the right and the left.

Repeat all of this through one more time- you should be burning!!

Make sure to tag me on instagram if you try the workout and I would love to shout you out! 🙂

5 Favorite Beaches On Oahu

 I am so excited to announce that I have created an Oahu travel guide for you! I have poured all my energy and passion into creating the best guide for your travels to this beautiful island we call home! This guide includes tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your vacation here, where to stay, best eats, favorite hikes, adventures, best beaches and much more! Head on over to the store tab to get yourself the guide for your upcoming trip. I wanted to make it affordable for all of you to experience the things we love so it’s only $10! I can’t wait to hear what you think. As a teaser, I wanted to give you all a little insight into my top 5 favorite beaches on Oahu. This is just a start, as there are many, many beaches to enjoy. ​

KEIKI’S BEACH: 
Our favorite beach on the North Shore for just kicking back and relaxing, and swimming in the shore break! In the winter months the shore break can get very dangerous but normally is super fun to play in. There are also whales that can be spotted jumping. This beach goes on forever and is so big there is room for everyone.
WAIMEA BAY:
This is probably the most popular beach on the North Shore, but for good reason! It is so beautiful to be at any time of day, but I especially love when the sun sets and there are sail boats out on the water, and it is so so calm. In the summer months you can snorkel by the rocks and there are even underwater caves to explore. Make sure to jump off the rock!
LANIKAI:
A beach that is very different from anything you will experience on the North Shore. It is located on the east side of the island. The water is always calm, with no shore break which makes it perfect for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable swimming but still wants to get in the water. Lanikai town is a nice area and the beaches are always well kept. 
YOKOHAMA:
Our favorite camping spot on the island. We love to head over there for a weekend in the summer and stay the night either in a camper van or in a tent on the beach! There are usually not that many people during the day, and there are lots of tide pools to play in. The mountains are so majestic  and make it feel like you are on a different island.
CHUNS:
All around a good beach for everything! There are turtles that can be spotted, sometimes up to 15 or so just hanging around the rocks on the left side of the beach. You can take surf lessons here in the summer months, and the beach itself is very pretty. On a day with good weather, the water is glassy and so clear, you could even snorkel.

If you’re coming to the island, check out my Oahu Travel Guide http://www.britkent.com/product/oahu-travel-guide/

Cardio vs. Weights

Should I be doing cardio or weight lifting to get the most out of my workout? Will I be skinnier if I just do cardio, or will I bulk up if I only do weights? I get asked this question of what is better all the time and I have done my research on the topic so I can give you my educated answer!
I have learned more and more lately that there is no one size fits all for the perfect workout. Some people enjoy only cardio, some would rather lift weights, others choose group classes or sports only. All of those options are great, and the truth is you just need to find what works for you. For me, I find I get bored doing the same thing every day and I like to mix it up every day!
The key to whatever you choose is to make sure it is SUSTAINABLE and something you want to do for the rest of your life! Fitness is a lifelong process and it doesn’t end so you better find something you like to do 🙂 #amIright?
There are pros and cons to both cardio and weight lifting. When you lift weights you burn fat for up to six hours after your workout as your muscles rebuild themselves. So you are burning less fat for a longer period of time, versus cardio where you burn more fat in a shorter period of time depending on the intensity of your workout. I recommend doing a mix of both, because there are great benefits for both. Weight lifting reduces the risk of osteoporosis and builds greater bone density, cardio helps lung capacity increase and is good for your cardiovascular system. So enjoy a little of both and don’t stress so much about what kind of workout you are doing, just focus on being active in some way!

Water and our Health

Water is so important to our health! It is vital for our bodies to perform daily functions. It eliminates toxins and waste, helps our skin, and hair. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Maybe the most important for these last months of summer is the ability to have an internal air conditioner thanks to water. It regulates our temperature through perspiration, and thank goodness for that!  ​
The rule of thumb I have always lived by is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water at least every day. The hardest part for me of drinking enough water daily is to make it a habit so I don’t forget. I have come up with some of my own ways to help with that! 
-Get yourself a hydroflask or water bottle that keeps it cold so it tastes better!
-Put cucumbers, lemons, or mint in your water if you want to mix up the flavor, try to avoid water flavorings like Mio or Dasani.
-Make a time schedule check. For example, drink 16 ounces by 10 am, another 16 before lunch, another 16 before dinner, and another 16 before bedtime. This helps to make sure you’re on track throughout the day. 
-Choose water over soda or juice!
Your body will love you for it! Ready set go.