Friday, December 21, 2012

My Time at Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop

I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop in Chicago. The workshop took place over a period of roughly two days. I took the train to Union Station and headed over to the Congress Hotel by cab.

I arrived around 9:30 am and introduced myself to a few bloggers over breakfast. We then moved to a conference room where we listened to a few presentations regarding, health, nutrition and the role Coca-Cola is trying to play in both.

I was surprised to learn that Dasani water and Smart Water were both brands under Coca-cola.

I laughed silently to myself because my dad will only buy Dasani bottled water because he says the taste is so superior to other bottled waters -- a true example of brand loyalty!

I also found it interesting that outside of providing different types of actual products, Coca-Cola has many other types of programs. One program I thought was particularly interesting was Troops for Fitness. Through a huge grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation (we're talking like 3 million), the Chicago Park District (CPD) has created the Park Families Wellness Initiative which offers affordable nutrition and active lifestyle programs for communities in Chicago. In addition (which I think is the best part), the grant also supports the CPD in hiring U.S. veterans to teach military-style fitness classes.


The “Troops for Fitness” program, in conjunction with the CPD’s “Fun with Food” nutrition education curriculum, will be available in more than 60 Chicago-based community facilities. Talk about a win-win: supporting our troops and offering kids tip-top fitness classes. I love it!

We worked out way through lunch and then had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with nutritionists and fitness experts.

Photo Credit: The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography

Oh. My. God. Is that really me doing a lunge in my jeans in the hallway of the hotel? Yes.

But on the bright side of this slightly strange picture, is that my awesome fitness adviser created the perfect customized circuit for me. I almost feel like she read my mind. I have spent countless hours scouring the internet for circuits that fit my needs -- never to find one. She surprised me by presenting me with this circuit complete with how-to instructions.

As far as my diet, I was most interested in discussing with the nutritionist how to get certain nutrients (i.e. calcium, vitamin D) since I don't eat dairy. She gave me handouts detailing which foods are highest in certain nutrients and exactly how much of said nutrient is contained in them. If you recall from my last post, I was concerned about the amount of eggs I had been eating and she assured me it was fine. In fact, she told me something I never knew and found quite interesting: Our cholesterol isn't increased from foods that are high in cholesterol; our cholesterol rises when we consume too much saturated fat. Eggs get a bad rap for no reason at all!

The highlight of the afternoon, though, was meeting with celebrity fitness trainer, Harley Pasternak.

Photo Credit: The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography

I think I was one of the few bloggers who chose not to stay overnight, so I didn't bring a change of fitness clothes because the thought of lugging that on the train depressed me. So once again, I was "fitnessing" in my jeans which is really really odd. But Harley Pasternak's fitness ideology was refreshing. He talked about how you can't really spot train and walked us through a few exercises that instead, focused more on opening us up (decreasing the slouching, hunched over look). We practiced the Superman and planks, to name a few.

He then gave us copies of his new Wii and Kinect fitness workout game. It was a great end to a great day!

The next morning I arrived again by the express train that I swear felt like Ozzie Osbourne was driving. I had to put my knitting down a few times to hold onto the arm rests.

We were whisked away to the local Jewel grocery store where a nutrionist walked us through each aisle explaining how to make the best choices while shopping for food. I found the cereal aisle to be the most enlightening.

I am always trying to find good choices for my kids and I tend to look at the sugar, but the nutritionist told me it may be a better idea to look at the fiber and if the fiber serving supplies at least 20% of your daily serving, it's a good choice. Great tip, I must say!

After Jewel, we headed over to the Merchandise Mart where we had a cooking lesson at the Chopping Block.

We took turns preparing all sorts of dishes, including chicken breasts, hummus, crudite, baked pita chips, green beans and my favorite, roasted fingerling potatoes. The workshop ended with a great meal with a great group of bloggers!

Photo Credit: The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography

I took a cab straight back to Union Station where I caught the train in perfect time. It was a wonderful end to a very enlightening experience! Thanks so much to BlogHer and Coca-Cola for an awesome event!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your take on the Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop last week. It was great to meet you there and I really enjoyed reading what stood out to you about the event. Awesome that you knit, too! My paternal grandmother did that often and I have always wanted to learn. Anyway, I am glad that we got to experience this together and hope that our paths cross again in the future! :)


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