10 posts categorized " Lithe Inside: Unrefined Carbs & Sugar Challenge "



Check out Annette one year ago!

Well, friends, I did it. I survived turning 40. Somehow I woke up this morning without my face shriveling into a wrinkled prune, my (nonexistent) boobs drooping to my knees, or needing bifocals and dentures. It's really turned out to be a day just like any other day. It's a day where I get to open my eyes and be grateful for the opportunities that lie ahead, be humbled by the strength my body provides me, and awed by what this world has to offer. I think birthdays are just a perfect reminder of what we should be doing that each and every day.

Other than the two cheat days I mentioned at my midway point, I stayed pretty on-point with the diet. I eased up a little bit this weekend, sharing some sorbet with a girlfriend at a pre-birthday dinner, and then fully taking advantage of shared pieces of chocolate cake and Nutella cheesecake as well as an aged Napa cabernet at dinner last night.
I am happy to say I surpassed the class goals Lauren and I set for myself. In these past 40 days, I've taught 38 classes, and have taken 52 classes.  I had one "off" day in those 30 days where I wasn't in the studio. Honestly my muscles are fatigued. I'm looking forward to a day off tomorrow and a massage, but I'm already signed up for the Summer Bodies Are Earned In Winter Challenge. I figure it's good to keep the momentum moving forward, though I might relax a bit to more of the 80/20 lifestyle with my diet.
I can now do triceps push-ups in full plank,  I'm not afraid of 8 pound weights during a bicep series, and I don't hate cardio nearly as much as I did. I don't think I'll ever be able to do teasers though, and still have those days when I don't always tuck enough when I'm in Liberty at the barre.  
I am ever so grateful for all of the support I received from the Lithe community. I never considered myself one of the "cool girls," but everyone has made me feel special and encouraged beyond words. Thank you so much for all of your inspiration. I look forward to taking up the mantle with those of you that are going into the next challenge, and I'm just plain excited to see everyone who is present in-studio for your own personal fitness goals in the days to come. You are strong! You are fierce! You are amazing! Woo hoo!
Images of Annette via Lauren



Annette's Lithe Inside Challenge!

So, I just passed the halfway point in my challenge to my 40th birthday.  I'm 22 days in.  Since January 1st, I have taken 25 classes, taught 25 classes, and trained to teach three more. My body is a bit fatigued, but overall I feel great. 

I'm amazed by the reserve of untapped strength we all possess. I see it in class when in the last 10 minutes, I challenge Lithers to give it their all, and they dig deep and do. That has been something I hold onto when I am taking class and thinking, "I probably could do 10 more plyos, I just don't want to."
I'm doing my best to pick sculpting classes that target different body parts to allow some recovery time, and since I have been teaching a lot of cardio this month, I've been lightening up on those in my own schedule. If you've ever taken one of my classes then you know it's really hard for me to stay on the platform and just watch. I love being down on the floor, sharing the energy and spirit. I definitely bounce around and get my heart rate going. So all of this has been a great lesson in listening to my body, feeling what it's telling me, and trying to adapt as needed.  
I've been surprised by how my body is physically responding to all of the training. It was exciting when we got down on our side in Endvy to do clams and I felt the strength in my back as I lifted up through my shoulders and ribcage. It was enlightening when I thought I was going to have an easy time in Floored, and then my muscles started to shake like crazy with every leg lift. It was humbling when I got to the end of Skinny Jeans and my thighs and glutes were burning so bad from the fold-over work that I had to come up for a break. But, it's also rewarding on the days when I make it through one class and realize I just might have enough reserve to push to take another that day. Each day is very different, with its own successes and challenges, and I am muddling through the best I can, looking for the little victories in each.  
I am the first to admit that my numbers might be a bit excessive. It just worked out for me that the beginning of the year is a quiet time for me in regards to acting work. I also suffer from the cold weather blues and don't do too well with excessive down-time. I have been focusing my energy on keeping my endorphins pumping.  
As for food, it hasn't been nearly as bad as I imagined. Yes, I miss my wine. That is a given. :)  But I'm not too much of a carb craver, so cutting back on the refined carbs wasn't too hard. I have however been eating A LOT, and I mean A LOT, of fruit to satisfy my sweets craving, which has been the toughest for me.
I've had two cheat days since I began. The first was New Year's Day as it was the first day of the challenge and I was out of town staying at a friend's house. I didn't plan far enough ahead. I did bring ingredients to make Lithe breakfast quinoa. But, as morning slipped into a lazy afternoon, and then into early evening, my host made us a lovely dinner. It was pretty healthy, but I can't say it satisfied all of the restrictions of the challenge. My other cheat came this weekend while I was at a funeral. Sitting around the table with loved ones, sharing stories and laughs, I realized life is too short not to partake in some of its sweetness (and the four cakes people had baked) every once in a while.
It has been easier than I thought to go out to dinner. Most places have a grilled fish or salad which is genuinely tasty with just a little cold-pressed olive oil and lemon.
My weight hasn't changed at all which wasn't a goal one way or another. I notice my arms becoming more cut, but my abs aren't necessarily responding the way I anticipated, making me think it's time to reevaluate a little bit and kick it up just a notch for the second half. Maybe subbing a yellow pepper for a mango or snow peas for pears.
I realize at this point that it's the little steps and the small changes that are going translate into maintained behavior. I have a 21-year-old California cabernet sitting in my basement waiting for midnight on the 9th. And I am dying for a slice of pizza from anywhere at this point. These things will definitely come back into my life. But I also can see moderation is easier than I thought, and allowing yourself that little bit of grace on the days you need it will do your heart and soul a world of good.  
I learned to appreciate modifications! Don't be afraid to modify in class. Right now, you might see me flat-footed at the barre or on my quads for push-ups. But also, find the day you're feeling strong to try and start that ab work on the mat with 5 lbs. You can always drop down to 3 lbs. after the first set if you need to, but at least you got that one set in. And trust me, next time you just might make it through the second set.
So much for keeping this short, but I have to say, the best part of the entire challenge has been the Lithe community. Everyone has been so supportive which really means so much. That encouragement has pushed me through the shake and burn to finish each class. I LOVE hearing about everyone's personal challenges that they have taken up in the new year as well. Some of my favorites have been, "I stopped after just one Girl Scout Cookie!" (Seriously WHO can do that with Thin Mints?) Or, "This is only my second class since the new year, but I'm here!" It's everyone's determination and passion that keeps me going strong. Thank you all for your inspiration! It is a gift!!!!
As you hear me say in class, "We're already halfway there. It's just a little muscle fatigue. You are SO MUCH stronger then you realize! Keep going!"
Annette's "before" image via Lauren



I've been traveling a lot, so my challenge has become how to create a super-healthy breakfast that can be easily packed into a carry-on and eaten on the road (in the car, on a plane, in the airport, or even in a hotel room) that is both delicious and nutrient-packed, so that I feel energized for the long day ahead.

You guys already know how to make the original, so give this decadent superfoods recipe a shot. It contains a ton of nutrients and fits perfectly in a Ziploc bag or your travel cooler bag. And, now that you're comfortable making almond milk, you can easily learn how to make goji berry milk! 

  • Lithe Museli Ingredients
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. cacao nibs
  • 1/2 c. raw cashews
  • 1/4 c. goji berries
  • 1-2 tbsp. raw honey


  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Spread oats onto a large baking sheet.
  • Once oven is warm, place oats in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until slightly toasted. 
  • While oats are toasting, chop the raisins into small bite-sized pieces. 
  • Once oats are toasted, place them in a large bowl, and then add all other ingredients except honey.
  • Mix thoroughly and store in a container. 
  • When you are ready to eat it, add muesli to goji berry milk, and drizzle with raw honey.

Goji Berry Milk Ingredients  

  • 4 c. filtered water
  • 1 c. raw almonds
  • 1/2 c. goji berries
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 cheesecloth or nut milk bag


  • Soak almonds in a bowl of water overnight (soaking allows nuts to soften and sprout which is easier on the digestive system).
  • The next day, strain/rinse almonds.
  • Add nuts and goji berries to your Vitamix or high-powered blender along with water. Blend for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Place nut milk bag or cheesecloth in a medium-sized bowl, pour milk into cheesecloth, and squeeze the bag to release the liquid “milk."
  • Once the almond meal inside the bag is dry, pour the liquid back into blender and add the sweetener of your choice. Blend for 30 seconds. The milk will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Goji berries (lycium barbarum) are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth. They are a member of the nightshade family (solonaceae), which contains many other common vegetables such as potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper. Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, the goji berry is now grown in many other countries as well. Although they have only been introduced in Western countries in recent years, gojis have been used for thousands of years both as a culinary ingredient and medicinally.

Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the goji is a nutritional powerhouse.

This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal compounds. Its powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides boost the immune system. It’s no wonder then, that in traditional Chinese medicine they are renowned for increasing strength and longevity.

Image via Lauren



Lithe inside? Here's a perfect weekend breakfast recipe! This is a warm, filling, wholesome breakfast featuring maple syrup, banana, and cinnamon. It’s easy to make ahead of time and reheat on busy mornings. I know some of you are thinking ... rolled oats!?  Sure, you can always soak and make the healthier steel cut variety, but for those of you who are looking for an "instant" healthy (and minimally processed) breakfast, it doesn't get any easier than this and it only takes 5 minutes.


  • 1 c. Bob's Red Mill rolled oats 
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup



  • Prepare oatmeal as directed. Add salt. 
  • Slice banana, sprinkle on cinnamon and maple syrup, and then divide among two bowls. 
  • Serve with almond milk and more cinnamon if desired.


Image via Lauren

TEA RITUAL 6 Jan 2015

Tea 2

I not only love the ritual of preparing and sipping tea, but one of my secrets to being Lithe Inside (successfully) is sipping loose leaf tea throughout the day. It's delicious, interesting, keeps my hands busy, hunger at bay and helps me stay hydrated and away from drinking excess coffee.  Jordan gave me this Hario Japanese tea kettle for Christmas along with some of my favorite black, green and herbal loose leaf teas from Kusmi Tea & Steap

Do you guys love loose leaf tea? What's your favorite? 

Image via Lauren



Nothing can truly take the place of a piece of freshly baked warm bread, but today I'm sharing five alternative bread recipes that I've tried and tested. Each one is absolutely life-changing (I promise!). You DO have to put in some work, but seriously ... say goodbye to refined sugar and carbs: Petite Kitchen coconut bread, My New Roots loaf, Deliciously Ella cauliflower crust pizza, My New Roots crackers, and Oh She Glows crispy quinoa cakes.

Images via brand websties


Annette 40

Lithe Instructor Annette Kaplafka is on the cusp of her 40th birthday and celebrating with a Lithe Inside Challenge: forty days without refined sugar and carbs until her 40th birthday. We met for measurements last week, so she's a week in at this point. Join her here and stay tuned for updates!

Here's what she said:

Okay, I'm owning up to a fact I've kinda hid from for a long time: My age. I'm celebrating a milestone birthday this coming year (gulp!). I turn 40 in February. Actually, it really wasn't something I thought too much about until recently. 

I set many goals and milestones for myself while in high school and college: "I'll star in my first feature film at 25" or "I'm not going to get married until I'm 35." As time passed and some of those thing passed with it, I realized how little control we have over so many aspects of life. 

We can and should set our sails and chart our course, but sometimes the winds take us where they may.  Knowing this, I decided to embrace the things I do have control over. How I care for my body, what I put in it, and how I embrace it are things that are totally up to me. Therefore, I'm using this challenge as a way to take charge of my fitness and food habits, so that when 40 does hit, I can stand proud and say it really doesn't look so bad! I plan on being in the best shape of my life to greet it head-on as I push forward to all the new goals I set for the next 40 years. Feel free to come along for the ride and set your own challenge in the new year and definitely offer words of encouragement (I'm gonna need them if I'm giving up wine and refined sugar for 40 days). Just don't tell me I look good for 40! I'm not there yet :)

"40" image of Annette via Lauren



Happy New Year! This complete list contains everything that you need for Lithe Inside: Unrefined Carbs & Sugar Challenge. Keep in mind that this challenge is AT WILL, meaning it's just for YOU.  here are no menus to follow.  We'll post recipes and tips/tricks on Monday, but we encourage you to search out your own recipes on Pinterest and share/inspire each other!  



Summer Fruit

Here at Lithe, we don’t believe in demonizing foods, as we're all about eating all foods sensibly. We prefer to swap highly processed and refined foods with their whole food counterparts whevever possible. For some of you, the Lithe Inside Challenge may mean cutting out all refined sugar, carbs, and processed foods from your diet during the work week and relaxing on the weekends. Others may want to take it a step further and reduce their consumption of sugar from ALL areas. It's totally up to you...

If you know me well, you know that I'm a true chocohololic. There aren't too many days that I haven't had a square of dark chocolate. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat every now and again (I'm certainly guilty). But many of us with a sweet tooth often overdo it, and rely on sugary food to kill a craving, boost our energy, or even to improve our mood. We indulge, then soon those cravings return, accompanied by lethargy, moodiness, and to top it off, you're back to where you started – wanting more sugar.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all sugars are ‘bad’, in fact, sugar is critical for adequate metabolic function, to prevent stress on the body, and to avoid the depletion of critical cellular components. But as you are probably aware, sugar comes in a wide variety of foods – from natural plant based foods such as fruits, grains and starchy vegetables, to animal foods such as cheese and milk, as well as processed and refined foods such as crackers, chips, cake, and chocolate. It is the processed and refined sources that we should be avoiding. You know, the stuff that we've been indulging in for the past few weeks!

So, why should we avoid refined sugar?  Any sugar that is unrecognizable from its natural form should be avoided. Conventional sugar is generally processed through extreme heat treatments, chemical purification, and bleaching. Even brown sugar should be avoided, as it is generally white, refined sugar that has either had molasses added back into it to make it brown (or it's artificially colored). The end product of this sugar is therefore nutrient-empty, calorie dense and chemical laden.

Refined sugars are easily digested and absorbed straight into our blood stream, causing elevated blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels put a massive strain on our organs and body’s systems, causing wear and tear, aging, and decreasing its functional ability. Excess sugar consumption has also been associated with tooth decay, contributing to weight gain, compromising immunity, and many other consequences.

The amount of sugar in our food is downright shocking. If your food is packaged, it probably contains added sugar. This includes ready-made sauce and salad dressing, bread, breakfast cereal, potato chips ... And the list goes on. When you sit back and think about what you eat on a typical day, you may be surprised at how much sugar you are actually consuming. You can see how easy it is to consume a ton of sugar and just how quickly it adds up.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned on how you can eliminate refined sugar and what you can do with it (on Monday) in lieu of throwing it away!

Image via Lauren



I've always said what you eat is 80 percent of the Lithe equation – it's SO important to nourish yourself from the inside. Many of us are in the studio 5-7 times a week, but aren't feeling our best on the inside, and aren't reaching our true potential on the outside.

Beginning on Monday, January 5th, we're banding together post-holiday for the Lithe Inside: Unrefined Carbs & Sugar Challenge! We challenge you to 30 days of Eating Lithe without refined carbohydrates and sugar. We believe in 80/20, so you're off on the weekends. For those of you who want to take it to the next level, you can include weekends as part of your challenge. There is no sign up or workout component to this challenge.

Try not to think of this as a restrictive diet (we know that diets don't work) and get super-excited about all the delicious things that you CAN have. You're about to embark on a huge attitude shift that is going to enable you to transform your body and get into the best shape you have ever been in! 

Eating Lithe (clean eating) stems from the idea of eliminating or reducing all chemicals from the body. This means getting back to basics: no refined sugar, no unhealthy refined carbohydrates, and minimal processed foods. It’s all about nourishing that gorgeous body of yours and fueling it with nutritious whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible: healthy unrefined carbs, Lithed Up salads, veggies, fruit, lean meats, healthy protein, and good fats.

Are you in? Check in on Saturday and print out your shopping list and everything that you need to succeed! Each week we'll post recipes, tips, and tricks so please share and follow us here and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Happy New Year Lithers, let's make this our best year yet! 


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