Sweet Potatoes 5 Ways

White potatoes are so 1999. Sweet potatoes are where it’s at now and if you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?! I almost never eat a potato that is not a sweet potato so I’ve got a few recipes up my sleeve. I haven’t made sweet potato waffles yet, but they are on my short list. What I have made are these 5 dishes that will definitely bring you over to the sweet potato side if you’re not already there.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

When I started trying to eat healthier I essentially gave up all forms of potatoes. Coming from a family that has a potato dish as a side to almost every dinner, that meant seriously craving mashed potatoes sometimes. Then I learned I could eat sweet potatoes and not derail my diet, so I threw this together as fast as I could and damn I’m glad I did. All you need is 3 ingredients: sweet potatoes, vanilla greek yogurt, and cinnamon.

  1. Peel and chop sweet potatoes (4-5 for about 5 servings)
  2. Boil sweet potatoes and then mash
  3. Add 1/2 C greek yogurt to taste
  4. Add cinnamon to taste

Sweet Potato Chili

For a chili cook-off at my work one year, I decided to try and win over the vegetarians with a 5 ingredient sweet potato black bean chili. It was a major hit, though sadly it couldn’t beat out the chili cheese fry contestant…

In terms of health though, it’s definitely a winner. Follow the recipe from Minimalist Baker!


Credit: Minimalist Baker

Sweet Potato Fries

Even at restaurants where they aren’t really healthier, I still prefer sweet potato fries (or tots!) to regular potatoes. Naturally, I needed to make them at home so I could have a healthy version, too. Here’s what you do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Clean and slice 4-5 sweet potatoes, leaving the skin on.
  3. Place foil on a cookie sheet and drizzle with EVOO
  4. Spread fries over the EVOO and drizzle some more on top
  5. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning (I usually use Mrs. Dash saltless chipotle and chili lime seasonings, but cinnamon is another winner here, too)
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how you like your fries
  7. Enjoy!

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato

Talk about comfort food. This meal will leave you feeling stuffed like you just had a cheat meal but it’s totally good for you. Here’s what you need to make a “Burrito” stuffed sweet potato:

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 C brown rice
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Optional: corn
  • Seasonings: cumin, cayenne, chipotle
  1. Bake your sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until they begin to soften
  2. Remove from oven and add your cooked rice, beans, seasonings and any other optional ingredients
  3. Continue to bake another 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are done
  4. Remove from oven and top with salsa and guacamole

Sweet Potato Cheese Fries

All you have to do here is add in some parmesan and nutritional yeast to the fry recipe above and you’ve got CHEESE FRIES! Sprinkle the cheese on toward the end of your baking time so it doesn’t burn and you’re good to go.

If you’re really grossed out and confused by nutritional yeast, here’s an article explaining it’s awesome health benefits.

The ONE Thing I Do Everyday to Stay Healthy

There are days I don’t workout, days I don’t watch what I eat, and days I straight up eat crap. But the one thing I do every day to stay healthy is drink my FAVORITE shake. I’ve tried quite a few protein and meal replacement shakes over the years and this one is by far the best. A lot of people think it’s too expensive, but it breaks down to less than $5 per serving, which is cheap if you’re using it to replace a full meal. Even when I use it as a snack it still saves me money since I don’t have to buy as many groceries. Plus it tastes amazing and you can get really creative with it!

So what is it?


Ever heard of it? It’s a Beachbody product that some of your friends on Facebook may have tried to sell you before. If you thought they were crazy, here’s why you thought wrong:

    1. Shakeology is expensive when you think it’s “just a protein shake.” Truth is, it is SO much more than that. It has nutritionist approved “super foods,” probiotics, digestive enzymes, fruits and veggies. Know another shake that has ALL that? Compare ingredients and I think you’ll find that Shakeology always wins. And it’s still less than $5 per serving.
    2. Shakeology tastes GOOD. I’m personally not a fan of the vanilla, but chocolate and cafe latte are amazing. I drink cafe latte EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Plus, sooooo many recipes.
    3. You CAN use Shakeology as a meal replacement but you don’t HAVE to. Some people are really skeptical of meal replacements and think they are scams, but Shakeology is good enough that you totally could use it as a meal replacement, especially in a pinch, but you don’t have to; you can drink it as a snack or have it as a TREAT! (I usually mix it with almond milk and drink it for breakfast.)
    4. Shakeology actually improves the way your body works. With probiotics + digestive enzymes + REAL food, your gut is happier and healthier when you drink Shakeology. If you want increased energy, decreased digestive issues and an overall BETTER feeling all day long, you should start drinking “ShakeO.”
    5. Shakeology can help you lose weight! With all these good, filling ingredients, Shakeology crushes cravings and keeps you from overindulging on things that might ruin your diet or healthy lifestyle. Plus having a healthier gut is linked to weightloss too, so YAY for probiotics and digestive enzymes!

I challenge you to drink Shakeology once a day for 30 days and then STOP drinking it. It won’t be easy! This shake has come through for me so many times I can’t even count, and I know I would have chosen something fast and gross if I hadn’t had it with me. Or I would have had a protein shake and been hungry 45 minutes later!

Want to know the specifics? Read all about Shakeology from Beachbody.

Interested in snagging some of this superfood shake for yourself? Use this handy link.


The Truth About Detox Baths

This post was originally published on ColeTries.com


Just the thought of taking a bath disgusts me and sometimes makes me gag, so deciding to take a “detox bath” was very out of character for me. And now that it’s over I can confidently say NOT worth it.

So how did a girl who nearly throws up just thinking about a bath wind up paying $30 for French clay and sitting in a too-small tub? Goop. Yes, Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog, Goop, comes through once again. If you’re ever looking for something weird and expensive to try, just peruse Goop for a minute and you’ll be fine. And also possibly bathing in clay…

Obviously I put this bath off for a bit after it came in the mail because… ew. But after drinking for 8 hours on a Saint Patrick’s Day pub crawl onSaturday, I knew Sunday night needed to be spent in the tub. Which, by the way, was not big enough for me. I felt like Buddy the Elf at the North Pole trying to pretzel myself into a position that allowed for the majority of my body to be submerged. I managed to cross my ankles and get everything under except my kneecaps. I’m thinking this didn’t have a prominent effect on the overall detox but I’m not an expert, and I might have some pretty toxic kneecaps now.

Anyway, I followed the directions as best I could, but I usually manage to mess things like this up. I ran the bath water for what felt like forever until it looked like it was full enough. This might be simple for someone who takes baths often, but I had no clue what I was doing here. Next, I took the salt packet out of the bag and dumped the whole thing in. It dissolved pretty quickly and then it was time to get in and add the clay. I weighed my options for a minute and decided it didn’t make any sense to get in and then add the clay so I dumped it in first. Again, I don’t think this had a prominent effect on the overall detox, but not an expert.

Once I climbed in, which was a big step for me, I quickly realized I was severely lacking in water. Not sure if you’ve ever gotten into a bath with too little water before, but it’s awkward AF, like sitting on the shallow end of a wave pool except you’re naked. So I turned the water back on and sat there feeling very uncomfortable. I also started to get really self-conscious because I was sure my roommates could hear the water running and were judging me for how much I was using. Water in Southern California is a rare commodity, so I apologize to the environment.


Once I finally had enough water, I turned my Spotify Soft Pop Hits playlist on and set my timer for 20 minutes. Retrospectively, I’m not sure this was the best idea considering the detox I was doing was a “digital detox” meant to cleanse my body of the toxins it absorbs from using my phone all the time, whatever those may be… but I wasn’t about to sit in the tub for 20 minutes with no music, so I used technology. The review I read of this product on Goop said that when I was done I would feel very heavy getting out of the tub and then sleep for a really long time. This is not what happened.

In the bath’s defense, I drank a small iced coffee around 7 p.m., and that’s probably why I didn’t sleep well, but I was hoping the detox would be so intense the coffee wouldn’t matter, especially since I finished this bath around 10:30 p.m. Regardless, I didn’t feel any heavier getting out of the tub than any normal person climbing out of that much water would, so I started to get worried that this was all for nothing.

Afterwards you’re supposed to rinse off but not shower and then wrap yourself in a warm blanket for 30 minutes while you relax/sleep and sweat it all out. I’ll admit I was sweating a bit toward the end of the bath, but once I got in bed I was no longer hot, and I also only had a room temperature blanket handy, so that may have had a bigger effect than I intended. I struggled to fall asleep even though it was now 40 minutes past my bedtime. Yes, I go to bed at 10 p.m. Judge me.

As I lay in bed pissed about not being able to sleep and dreading my 6 a.m. workout alarm, I somehow managed to doze off. Waking up wasn’t as bad as I anticipated but then there was the workout part…


Being as I was supposed to sweat out the toxins after the bath but that didn’t happen, I think it all started to kick in during my workout. I did not feel right at all and every exercise felt abnormally tough. My stomach wasn’t feeling right and I decided to blame the bath. It could have been a myriad of things, like having an iced coffee for dinner and then working out on an empty stomach, but I am choosing to ignore that and place all blame on the bath. Even after the workout experience though, I do not feel better. I definitely do not feel rid of toxins and I definitely do not have a newfound appreciation for baths.

So what did I get out of this? A clean tub, I suppose, but not from the clay – I wiped that whole thing down with acetone before I got in because again, baths are disgusting.

What I Learned:

  • I do not fit in my tub
  • Baths are stupid
  • I am likely still very toxic (cue Britney Spears sing along)

Why You Need to Strength Train Even If You Don’t Give a Shit About Muscle

If you hate lifting weights and prefer cardio over strength training I have all the praise hands emojis for you.

🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻

I get it. I feel the exact same way. How you can top a runner’s high with bench presses? You can’t. But strength training is a necessary evil. Even if you aren’t working out for a goal and don’t care one bit about gaining muscle, you still need to strength train. Here’s why you should suffer with the rest of us:

Your Metabolic Rate is Crucial

When you lose weight, about 20% of it will probably be muscle. The less muscle you have, the lower your metabolic rate (how you burn calories). So as you lose weight, your metabolic rate will decrease and you’ll have to eat less to maintain your new weight, or to keep losing weight. But, if you take your time and lose weight slowly, you may be able to maintain your progress. Strength training more often than doing cardio can help you maintain or build muscle, which can increase your metabolic rate. The more you’re burning, the more you can eat and still reach your goals!

You Can Eat More Food

Muscles need fuel and lots of it. If you’re doing cardio only to lose weight you’ll eventually hit a plateau and either need to add more cardio or eat less calories. Sooner or later it will become unmanageable. There’s only so many hours in a day to workout and you can only cut calories so much. Strength training, as I mentioned above, lets you eat more while still reaching your goals. Even if you don’t care about gaining muscle, you probably care about your long term fitness goals and success, and if you’re just doing cardio, you’ll definitely burn out.

Your Results Will Be Sustainable

If you have to keep increasing cardio and decreasing calories, you’ll cease to exist. That’s how that works long term. But, if you keep increasing your weights, gaining muscle, getting stronger, and eating more, you’ll become a badass. That’s how that works long term. Strength training is more sustainable than cardio alone, and it makes your results sustainable too.

Strength Helps Prevent Injury

Weak bodies get hurt. The more you push yourself to eat less and do more cardio, the more likely you are to get hurt. Granted, doing strength training poorly is a really great way to get injured as well, but that’s another blog post. Strong is the new skinny y’all. Get on board.

So You’re Stuck in a Rut … Here’s How to Get Out

I’ve been in more ruts than I can count, but I’ve never given up on my fitness journey. These are my tried and true ways to get unstuck and back on track!

Do a Workout Because You Love it, Not Because You “Need” it

Working out will naturally feel like a chore sometimes, even if you’re doing something you like. But if you’re stuck in a rut, you obviously need to try something new or get back to the basics.

I know that strength training is good for me and lifting weights will help get me the body I want, but I also LOVE cardio and the high I get from a good run or Soul Cycle class. When I find myself dreading my workouts because I’m bored or feel like I’m just going through the motions, I get out there and do the things I’ve been neglecting. I book a Soul Cycle class; I go for a night run; I swap Netflix for a hike. It never fails to remind me how much I actually love working out. Then I get back to the grind.

Set a New Goal or Find Something to Train For

I do a pretty terrible job when I don’t have something to work for, so when I get stuck I try to set a new goal or find something to train for. Even if it’s superficial, like looking good for an event, it usually does the trick. What are you working toward? Is it motivating enough?

I encourage you to drop a couple hundred bucks on a race like a marathon or triathlon; every time I spend a significant amount of money on something (like a juice cleanse…) I COMMIT. Go buy some new clothes or put a down payment on something you know you’re not quite ready for. Whatever works!

Make it Social

I’m not always a fan of working out with others; I like to do my own thing, I don’t want self conscious feelings to take away from my workout, and I like having space and equipment to myself. But, sometimes you just need a partner or a group of strangers to push you harder.

If you’ve been skipping workouts, booking a class or making plans with friends will hold you accountable. And if you’re competitive, working out with others will push you to be the best in the room. Plus, friends make everything better, so make it social and you’ll enjoy it again in no time.

Top 6 Fitness Mistakes Even I’ve Made

We’re all learning as we go, and fitness isn’t intuitive, so mistakes will be made. If you’re doing any of these terrible things, check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.

1. Not eating enough

Gone are the days when I would eat 1,200 calories and workout too much, but I can’t deny that they happened. Will you lose weight while eating very few calories and doing tons of cardio? Fa sho. Will you lose a lot of other things too, like your sanity? Most definitely. It’s not worth it. Fuel your body so it can do cool, strong, dope shit.

2. Treating all workouts the same

Hmmm, which is better for me: 45 minutes of high intensity cardio plus resistance and strength training at Soul Cycle, or 30 minutes of moderate cardio on the elliptical? Obviously the former. You can’t treat all workouts the same and expect to get or maintain results. Train with a purpose. Push yourself. Rest days are rest days but workout days are work. the. hell. out. days. Be honest with yourself when you know you aren’t doing what you’re capable of.

3. Adding back calories after a workout

I think most of us have tracked our calories at some point, whether on an app or in a journal. But if you added back in the calories you burned during your workout, you did it wrong. You don’t want to eat too little, by all means eat enough to sustain your workout, but don’t undo everything you worked for in the gym by eating an extra 200-400 calories.

4. Skipping meals

When I’d go out in college and eat pizza at 2 a.m. I would try desperately not to eat again until 2 p.m. because I read that you should have 10-12 hours between your dinner and breakfast. Don’t be me in college. Don’t skip meals. Feed your muscles every 3-4 hours regardless of your drunk food. Eat when you’re hungry. Do good, smart things.

5. Not recovering properly

If I could offer one piece of advice to you, it would be to take your recovery seriously. I’m still paying for my mistakes 5 years later and it’s depressing and expensive and time consuming. When you don’t stretch and foam roll and treat your body nicely, it will rebel and let you know who’s really running the show. If you work your muscles, reward your muscles. Treat them like good friends, because when they stop working and you can’t do the things you want to do, you will very much regret all the times you took them for granted. R.I.P. to my running career.

6. Being too strict

Orthorexia is a thing. Balance is a way better thing. I became obsessed with reading labels and would only buy specific items from the store because I had compared them to every other brand and found the “best” one. When the store was out of what I needed, I had no idea what to do or buy or eat. Fun fact: Just because light Progresso soups have like 150 calories doesn’t mean they are good for you. I wasn’t doing it right at all but I was obsessed with the way I was doing it. Eat real foods most of the time and processed (but delicious) foods some of the time. Carbs are not the enemy. Neither is fat. Neither is sugar or dairy or gluten. Trying to be perfect and not letting yourself enjoy the meals you eat is the real enemy.

Baseball Workout: Train Like a World Series Champ

It’s officially baseball season! Baseball is my favorite sport because I can actually follow the game, and because who doesn’t like being at the ball park in summer with a beer and a Chicago style hot dog? But preparing for the beer and the helmet nachos and the cotton candy requires hard work. Here’s a baseball inspired workout to get you in the perfect shape to watch the Cubs beat the Dodgers 😉

Batter Up!

Mimic Kris Bryant’s home run swing with a squat and weighted twist.

Start in a squat position (except point your toes forward unlike me. Fitness modeling is hard.)


Then twist the weight to the side, working your abs, while keeping your feet and knees pointed forward. Twist 10 times on the right and 10 times on the left.


Catch a Fly Ball

These single arm jump squats will have you catching like Fowler (before he went to the Cardinals… 😡).

Start in a squat position…


Then jump up with one arm and catch that figurative fly ball! Do 10 reps with the other arm, 20 reps total.


Pitch a No Hitter

The best pitchers have a strong core and lots of balance. Get in shape with some single leg deadlifts.

Start in a semi accurate pitching position with weights at your shoulders and your knee at (what should be…) a 90 degree angle. Again, fitness modeling is hard. Please ignore my photographer’s shadow as well.


Next, extend forward and bring your bent leg behind you, keeping your back in a straight line. Do 10 reps on each side.


Get on Base

The sprint to first base is always the longest. Build your endurance with some back and forth sprints! 4 seconds in one direction and 4 seconds back. Repeat 4 times.

I blame the terrible sprints in the video below on my lack of proper shoes. But you probably know what a good sprint looks like, so just do that.


Slide Into Home

Practice scoring runs in style with some sit-throughs. Don’t let your booty touch the ground!

Start in this awesome and somewhat awkward position…


Then cross your right leg under and lift your left arm up.


Next, go back to the start position and cross your opposite leg over on the other side, lifting your opposite arm. Do 10 reps on each side, 20 reps total.

Field Some Grounders

If you want to get outs like Baez, you’ve got to be quick on your feet and get your glove down. Shuffle squats with a touch will make sure nothing gets passed you. Shuffle for 1 minute without stopping!

Start in a low squat and then shuffle three times to the right


End with a touch, then shuffle back on the left!


Repeat this circuit as many times as you want, with 30 seconds of rest in between, then go enjoy America’s favorite pastime and have a beer for me. Go Cubs go!

“We’re Vegans Now” – Cole Tries Going Vegan for a Week

By Cole Rush

It was one of those groggy wake-ups inspired by the previous night’s shenanigans mixed with sleeping in an unfamiliar place. I opened my eyes, stretched, and warmed up the vocal chords with a simple statement:

“We’re vegans now.”

Erin, my girlfriend, replied with an indiscernible noise, likely a distant cousin of “ughhhhh,” and our friends Dylan and Christina laughed. Harry Potter themed clothing lined the hotel room in Grand Rapids where we made our home for the night. The Michigan city’s symphony orchestra had played a Harry Potter symphony the night prior, which we attended after consuming copious amounts of delicious tapas.

It was by pure chance that our week of veganism began the same day we were scheduled to return home from Michigan, but we made the most of it and downed some coffee, avoiding any artificial sweetener that may have been processed with animal products.

That first day was by far the hardest for one reason: Denny’s. We stopped in a small Michigan town for breakfast, perusing the menu for vegan options. This proved difficult–amidst the bacon and eggs and sausage, items lacking any animal product were scarce indeed. I decided on a veggie skillet with a side of butterless toast. I was heartbroken when the toast came with butter, and only cried a little. The waitress kindly corrected the kitchen’s mistake, though, and I munched on the butterless toast as I stared longingly at the incorrect batch glistening with melty greatness.


One sad sugar packet in an otherwise black coffee

Erin and I traipsed through the rest of the week with relative ease, only occasionally whining about lack of meat. Surprisingly, eggs and cheese occupied most of our mourning; we missed those ingredients and the food made with them much more than anything else.

Thanks to our roommate, we found a handful of local restaurants boasting plant-based menus and took full advantage. Native Foods was my personal favorite; we liked it so much we had it three times throughout the week. The lentil and bean burger with cashew cheese was delectable. We also tried local joint Vegan Plate, where we enjoyed soy orange chicken.

Native Foods.JPG

Native Foods!

We tried a few vegan recipes at home as well, including a kidney bean and avocado pita, vegan pasta with vegetable sauce, and a cauliflower buffalo wing wrap. Each was tasty in its own right, even though certain dishes felt like they were trying to imitate the inimitable (lookin’ at you, cauliflower buffalo wings).


Vegan orange chicken from Vegan Plate

During my time as a Vegan, I mainly took away a strange affection for soy milk. I put it in my coffee and frequently sipped at a glass of the beverage on its own. Of all the things I tried, it was the most welcome new addition to my palate.

Physically speaking, I didn’t notice much of an effect, but I imagine a long-term commitment to veganism would yield tangible changes, likely a loss of weight and a need for more deliberate protein intake. I lost a few pounds along the way, but a veritable smorgasbord of meat-based fast food less than an hour after my veganism ended quickly remedied the miniscule change in my weight.

It’s worth noting that my view of veganism, even after such a short time, has changed for the better. It’s a commendable cause to avoid animal products if that’s where your ethics land, and the benefits of eliminating butter and cheese are certainly worthwhile! However, as a diet or lifestyle change for someone who typically eats hot dogs by the pair, it’s not exactly practical. Still, considering the most palpable results of my veganism were a few new restaurant options and a new affinity for soy milk, I count it as a big win. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to continue dining on my bacon mac and cheese.

Like this post? Read more at Cole Tries!

Single on Valentine’s Day? Count Your Blessings

It’s easy to see the reasons why having a date or boyfriend on Valentine’s day would be desirable, but it’s much harder to see the reasons why being single on a day meant for couples has its benefits. Let me break it down for you – here are 10 solid reasons why it’s more fun to be single on Valentine’s Day:

1. The gym is basically empty


2. You don’t have to share your chocolate


3. You don’t have to share your wine either


4. Less money spent on a boyfriend = more money for workout clothes


5. You can watch Beyonce’s Single Ladies video 8 times

(and then bust out some inspired squats sans judgement)


6. Heart-shaped pizzas have a smaller surface area, so lovers get less pizza


7. You don’t have to buy a super-tight fitting dress to try and fit into…or super expensive spanks to help…


8. You can binge watch the Bachelor and remember it could be worse. You could be getting dumped on TV for millions of people to watch.


9. You don’t have to shave your legs (!!!!!)


10. You can go to sleep at 9:30 if you want. Sleep = Gainz.


Low Calorie Drinks to Down at Your Super Bowl Party

I’m not going to tell you not to drink alcohol at your Super Bowl party, I’m just going to tell you to drink alcohol smarter at your Super Bowl party. Less calories spent on drinks equals more calories spent on food, and while I may be in the minority, I’d choose more food over more alcohol any day.

These low calorie cocktail and beer options will save you some calories on game day, so you can have more room for what really matters: pizza and wings.

Old Fashioned > Whiskey Coke

An Old Fashioned has about 154 calories and a whiskey coke has around 195.


  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 small slice orange peel
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Sea Breeze > Vodka Cranberry

A Sea Breeze will run you about 180 calories, while a Vodka Cranberry (with regular cranberry juice) is about 201 calories.


  • 4oz unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 1/3 oz vodka
  • 1oz grapefruit juice

Michelob Ulta > Bud Light

I’m not saying either one tastes great, I’m just saying one has less calories. A Bud will cost you 110 calories, but a Michelob is just 95.

Paloma > Margarita

I love a giant margarita as much as the next girl, but it’s definitely more of a treat yo’self kind of drink. Instead, whip up a Paloma at just 166 calories.


  • ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup club soda

Champagne > Wine

A 4-oz. glass of champagne is just 85 calories, which is 15 calories less than a 12-oz. light beer or an equivalent size glass of wine. In conclusion, pop bottles if you want to save calories.

As always, drink responsibly. Unless your team loses.