It’s no secret that we love our kefir here at Lifeway. We truly believe that our fabulously fermented beverage can be a healthy and beneficial part of almost anyone’s diet.
To get a better look at who exactly our drinkers are, and the diverse lifestyles they lead, we reached out to a handful of loyal drinkers and asked them, “what do you eat and drink every day?”
In part 1 of our Lifeway Everyday Series, food blogger and physician assistant (PA) Emily Vanderburg shares with us what she eats every day to feel her best, and how Lifeway Kefir is an integral part of her day.
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How It Started: Meet Emily
I’ve been eating healthy for years. In college, I had to start making healthier choices because I quickly realized that eating fast food and junk makes you feel like junk. Like any college kid will tell you, eating healthy while at school can be extremely difficult. So I didn’t become truly dedicated to health food and exercise until the summer after I graduated.
After starting my first real job, I knew I needed to make some changes so that I could feel my best and tackle PA school. It only took one week of healthy eating, exercise, and drinking lots of water to make me addicted to the lifestyle. You feel so much better about yourself when you live like that – it’s incredible!
I graduated from PA school in February and started working with a family medicine practice full-time. I currently work three twelve-hour shifts each week, so meal prep is a must on those days. I wouldn’t be able to focus throughout the day without lots of good food (and coffee).
Planning meals is really the best way to help you stick to your goals. Otherwise, it’s way too easy to fall into the habit of ordering take out or grabbing unhealthy office/snack machine foods.
On Sweet Potato Sneakers
As my interest and devotion to living a healthy lifestyle grew, my boyfriend started pushing me to create an Instagram account. I mentioned to him that I follow a lot of cool health accounts and that I wanted to make one to share with my patients, many of whom struggle with obesity and diabetes. I wanted to give them a dedicated Instagram account to follow for inspiration and tips. I didn’t realize, until working in medicine, just how many people struggle with their weight and have no clue how to eat healthy.
Emily’s Typical Sunday Breakfast
That’s when my boyfriend created sweetpotato_sneakers for me. Once I started posting, I really fell in love with it. I love helping people learn more about health food and I also love learning so much from all the other health bloggers who are so inspiring to me as well.
Here’s what a typical day of food looks like for me:
I try to keep breakfast easy. Overnight oatmeal is a must on the days I work because it’s so quick! I also love Lifeway Kefir with granola and almond butter (another perfectly quick and easy breakfast), smoothie bowls, and toast with egg whites and turkey bacon (usually on Sundays when I have time to sleep in and cook).
A note on COFFEE: I add one teaspoon of coconut oil, a couple splashes of cashew milk, and stevia to my morning cup of Joe. It’s so good.
Key Lime Kefir Bowl
- ½ cup Lifeway Key Lime Pie Perfect12 Kefir
- 1 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- ½ banana
- ¼ cup of your favorite granola
Directions: Pour kefir into a bowl and top with ingredients! Dig in for a delicious, easy to make breakfast!
I snack all day when I work because I usually don’t have time for a sit down meal. Working three twelve-hour shifts means no lunch break! I always pack kefir or yogurt, protein bars, almond butter, and hummus with whole-wheat crackers and veggies.
For dinner, I like to make THE BIGGEST SALAD YOU’LL EVER SEE. I load my salad up with roasted veggies (my go-tos are sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, okra, broccoli, and cauliflower), lots of avocado, tomatoes (the best in the summer – everybody should grow a tomato plant), and cucumbers. I also add lean protein like grilled chicken, salmon, tuna, shrimp, or turkey.
I eat dark chocolate every day. EVERY DAY! I also love making sweet kefir bowls with fresh fruit as a treat after my long shifts. I sprinkle them with stevia and powdered peanut butter – it’s heaven in a bowl.
I basically eat the same foods all the time. Once you find something you love it is hard to switch it up! Oh, and I drink WATER all day long!
Physical Activity and Exercise Tips
I work out six days a week, for about an hour each day. I usually switch it up with running, cycling, and interval runs (uphill and sprints), yoga, barre, body pump, and other 30 minute workouts. I used to only do cardio but realized how crazy that was – you have to have some weight lifting to build and tone your muscles. I have noticed a BIG difference since doing more resistance workouts.
The best thing I’ve purchased recently is a heart rate monitor. I love that I can monitor my heart rate during my workouts because it keeps me from getting comfortable. If I see my heart rate dropping, then I push myself harder!
What works for me may not work for someone else. It’s all about balance and allowing yourself treats and off days every once in awhile. Once the habit is formed, it becomes much easier to stick with because you’ll love the feeling!
For more from Emily, including her favorite meals and products, follow her on Instagram at @sweetpotato_sneakers.