November 1, 2019

Live Well 2019: November

Welcome to the renewed guest post series of Live Well 2019, thanks to my dear friend/client/Bible study buddy, Sarah! The previous stint of fabulous Live Well guest posting was done by my sister, Lindsay Wampler, from 2016-2017.

This time around, we will post once a month for the year of 2019, in tandem with The Pro Player Timeline posts.

Sarah Blomgren is another California-Christian-Volleyball-Crazy who has played in England, Finland, Serbia, and is now in Spain. Sarah adds a deeper dimension to being a professional athlete abroad with her commitment to maintaining a plant-based diet based on vegan guidelines, developing her professional profile, and growing as an athlete and person.

Sarah and I met through Elite Volley, and we have been a part of Athletes in Action online Bible study groups for professional athletes overseas. It only seemed fitting for us to also share our idea space for 2019 to better equip and encourage our fellow athletes and expats abroad!


Last week, we had a guest speaker at church. He was discussing Mark 4:35-41, when Jesus calms the storm. One thing the speaker said that stood out to me was, "If you had a friend that lied to you as much as fear did, you wouldn't still be friends with them." Fear robs us of all joy. And so I am challenged to not let fear win in my life. Jesus knew about the storm, he knew he could handle it, but the disciples were so afraid they couldn't see past their fear. We should be encouraged to know that, as Christ followers, Jesus is in our boat, and He has power over every storm in our lives.

Smoothie Mixmaster

I don't know if you've ever put avocado in your smoothie, but if you are looking for a super creamy and decadent texture, then you have to try it out on your next smoothie! I personally think it goes best with a chocolate-peanut-butter flavor vibe. But you can add it to any smoothie or "nice cream" bowl.
1 frozen banana
1 handful frozen raspberries
1/2 peeled avocado
1/3 cup full-fat coconut cream
Plant milk of choice
Heaping tbsp cacao powder
2 medjool dates
Dash cinnamon
Scoop of natural peanut butter
Blend it all up!

Dig Deeper Recommendation

I'm reading a book that my amazing new friend just loaned to me. She is leading our women's Bible study group here in Barcelona and she is such an encouragement and a blessing. The book is written by her friend who was once a professing atheist and then had an encounter with Jesus and became a Christian. It's called Finding An Unseen God by Alicia Britt Chloe. Her personal story of finding Jesus when she wasn't even looking for Him -- in fact, when she was opposing Him -- is super insightful. It is a great example of the many ways in which God gets our attention and calls us back to Himself. She also does a good job of explaining the mindset of an atheist and how we, as Christians, can love on them well.

Stay on-task and motivated throughout the month for FREE!

Plant-Based Meal

Who doesn't love avocado toast?... all my Millennials stand up! But for real, it's a great breakfast option if you're in a hurry in the morning. Due to enzymatic activity, our body craves fats and carbs in the morning and the shift to more protein later in the day. That is why it's crucial to break-the-fast with good wholesome carbs and fast (hence why avocado toast is a good choice). Your bread choice is crucial here, because you want to stay away from the processed/refined grains like white bread, which digest super fast, but don't last and can play a role in chronic inflammation in the body. Whole grain breads are way better because they are less refined, meaning they don't take out the germ of the wheat grain which is the actual source of fiber in the plant. And all Americans need more fiber in their diets! I know I'm getting a little science-y, so I'll just give you this awesome recipe that I like:
2 slices whole-grain sprouted wheat bread
Half an avocado (or more depending on the size of the bread slices)
Handful of sliced mushrooms
Salt & pepper
Red chili flakes for a kick of heat
*Sauté the mushrooms in the tamari sauce with the spices
*Assemble: smash the avocado on the toast, lay the mushrooms on top, and BOOM!

Mobility Move

Lately, I haven't been doing structured yoga because I've been learning about the history and purposes of yoga that originated in New Age ideas which go against everything I believe as a Christian. This is a common topic among Christians who like to stretch and enjoy the physical benefits that yoga offers, but wonder should Christians practice yoga? 

Rather than a yoga move, today I will explain a mobility move that I do a lot to release my lower back and quadratus lumborum (QLs). All you need is a lacrosse ball (or a tennis ball if you are more sensitive or just starting out with mobility).

*Lay on your back and lift your legs to a 90 degree bend in hip and knees, place them on a coffee table, end of your bed, chair, something to rest them on.
*Take the lacrosse ball and place between the floor and our back, starting on either side of your spine, mid-back (just where the ribs end).
*Lay on the ball and BREATHE! This is the huge key (it will tell your muscles that this ball is not a threat and after 4-5 breaths they will relax and the ball will go deeper).
*Work your way down your back until the base of the pelvis (butt).
*Feel where you are the most sore/tight/uncomfortable, and when you find that spot, stay on it and breathe.
*After you do both sides of the spine, get out of that position and do a traditional back stretch of your choice to finish it off.

Vegan Treat

I made the most delicious vegan version of Reece's cups the other day! (But minus the peanut butter!) I know, you're thinking if it doesn't have peanut butter, is it even a Reece's? The answer is: not really -- haha! But I bought these cute little rubber Reece's cup molds for 2 Euros, so on the outside, they look just like Reece's, but on the inside, they are a delicious random mix of goodness. Here's what I stumbled upon using what I had in my kitchen:
1 bar of vegan dark chocolate
2 medjools dates
Few Tbsps of tahini
Little bit of agave syrup
Shredded coconut
Finely chopped walnuts
Little bit of coconut cream I had leftover (just a splash for moisture)
*Food process everything except the chocolate
*Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (put some water in a pot, put a glass bowl over it so the chocolate melts slowly) ***DON'T MICROWAVE THE CHOCOLATE!!
*Fill the Reece's mold half way with the melted chocolate and freeze for about 40 minutes
*Fill with the mixture and flatten
*Freeze again for about 20 minutes
*Use the rest of the melted chocolate to cover everything up
*Freeze again
*Peel the rubber mold off and BOOM, do-it-yourself Reece's!
(Obviously you can put whatever you want in the filling (classic peanut butter, jelly, more chocolate, whatever!)


Hey, friends. I'm Sarah. In addition to what Christy mentioned above, I played indoor and beach volleyball in college at The University of South Carolina where I earned my bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. I then went on to get my master's degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology and continued my volleyball career at Northumbria University in Newcastle, England. My first pro season was in Finland, then in Serbia, and now I'm playing this season in Spain.

Since then I've become 100% plant-based (vegan) and I absolutely love this world of plant-based nutrition. One fun fact about me would be that I have an obsession with doughnuts! No, not like Krispy Kreme; like actual artisan, small-batch, crazy flavor doughnuts! I try to use all my traveling as an excuse to visit doughnut shops around the world. Besides that, I love Jesus and I'm just here to figure this thing called life out the best I can through His eyes.

Connect with Sarah on FacebookInstagram, and her website.
You can contact her directly via email for more information on Juice Plus+® sarahblomgren[dot]provolleyball[at]gmail[dot]com.

Let us know in the comments below if you try any variations of these delicious recipes, yoga moves, or have the chance to check out Sarah's recommendations!