Guest Post: Getting Back To Goodness With Quality Nutrition, Quick HIIT Workouts, & Homemade Salt Scrubs

This is a guest post by Brooke Benlifer.

Part Seven of her Back To Goodness Series.

Brooke is a good friend of mine and one of the very best Registered Dietitians I know.

Quality nutrition, quick intense HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, new recipes, and how to create your own homemade salt scrubs… it’s all in here.


Welcome Brooke! Always great to have you here.

Thanks Mike – always a pleasure to be here.

This month was all about fitting in quality nutrition and super quick, intense workouts.

As part of the DietBet I am participating in, I pledged to donate my winnings to the UCSD NICU (neonatal intensive-care unit).

I achieved my goal and love paying it forward to a well deserved cause and a facility that is amazing.

I kept my meals simple and predictable, generally eating small meals every 2 hours from mid morning to early evening and choosing foods that I love.

These foods included lots of egg white omelettes w/avocado oil, mayo, tuna salad, salmon, carrots, turkey, roasted almonds, and some 87% dark chocolate.

I always need to be careful with chocolate because there’s been many times where it has induced migraines.

Small, frequent meals that are roughly equivalent to each other in size and nutrition density helps to stabilize blood sugar and energy levels.

For workouts, I literally do 20 minutes every day, that’s it.

Anything else is considered a bonus, such as a walk with my kids in the stroller, which I try to do often when we visit the library or run a quick errand.



Here’s a breakdown of the 20 minute workout I complete daily:

3 hill sprints outdoors (7 minutes total)

13 minute HIIT routine performing each of the following exercises for 1 minute each:

Squat presses with dumbbells

Upright rows

Lateral raises

Bicep curls

Overhead presses

Bent over rows

Kettlebell swings

Push ups

Side to side rotation holding one weight


Plié squats

Cat/cow pose

Running with high knees

I do this first thing in the morning and am ready to go for the day, knowing that I have taken good care of myself and can then focus on taking care of my family, etc.

My kids play while I do the HIIT routine. They’ve even begun imitating lifting weights and squatting too – it is so cute.


4 Mile Walk / Run

My husband and I did our monthly race a couple of weekends ago. It was a 4 mile walk/run.

He ran fast and I walked as fast as I could pushing the kids in the double stroller. I finished by running the last stretch with my husband and the kids.

It was a lot of fun to cross the finish line as a family. I’m a firm believer that exposing kids to events such as road races is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle and lead by example.

Next month we have a fun 5K trail run… bring on the hills!


Favorite Back to Goodness Items This Month

Theodent Kids toothpaste (Whitening Chocolate Chip). I’ve NEVER spent this much money on toothpaste ($12.99/tube). It’s made with quality ingredients and best of all, it tastes like chocolate cheesecake. You cannot go wrong.

(Note From Mike: I need to get me some of this toothpaste!) 🙂

Simply Gum (Fennel Licorice flavor)

Yogi Egyptian Licorice herbal tea

Tazo Wild Sweet Orange herbal tea

My husband and I both enjoy drinking tea. I love ending the evening meal with hot tea.

There are endless flavors to choose from, and it is a perfect way to relax and unwind. I often will have some tea while I am studying for my personal training exam too.



Finding ways to relax and recharge without food or drink is something I think is vitally important.

I know that for me, when my kids were sick or I was feeling exhausted, I literally made myself take time to rest when they were napping or read a good book or just let a friend or my husband know how I was feeling.

I made sure to tune into my body.

I learned that certain foods I was eating were causing me to feel not so well the next day and that I feel much better when I stay hydrated all day long, rather than waiting till the afternoon to drink water.



This month has been all about fresh produce and herbs.

I enjoyed making the following using fresh basil and indigo heirloom tomatoes:

Garlic Infused Ravioli with Indigo Heirloom Tomatoes

1 pkg stuffed ravioli
fresh or powdered garlic, to taste
¼ cup high quality olive oil (we enjoy various flavored oils)
3 indigo heirloom tomatoes, sliced


IMG_5743Tomato and Basil Salad

2 cups mini heirloom tomatoes
fresh basil, to taste.

2 Tbsp each balsamic vinegar and olive oil (we like blackberry balsamic)
buffalo mozzarella (if desired)


Recipes This Coming Month

  • Wild sockeye smoked salmon
  • Organic eggs (I enjoy them fried in coconut oil and topped with lemon balsamic vinegar)
  • Organic sweet basil and roasted garlic chicken meatballs (I stuff them in bell peppers
  • Portabella mushrooms (these are awesome for making “burgers”)
  • A variety of lettuce wraps (with tuna and salmon salads)
  • Nuts and nut butter (perfect for snacks and travel)
  • La Croix sparkling water
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fermented olives and vegetables (excellent source of probiotics)


All Natural

Another fun thing I’ve been doing this past month that has greatly contributed to well being is swapping out any unnatural cleaning products such as soaps and body washes, with homemade salt scrubs.

I literally used what I had on hand, with the exception of Epsom salts, which I purchased, to create a variety of scrubs.

Epsom salts are a great source of magnesium, which relaxes sore or tense muscles and coconut oil is both cleansing and moisturizing. In addition, the salt crystals are great exfoliators.

My favorite scrubs to make are:

Coffee Cocoa Scrub

Epsom salt

Coconut oil

Coffee grounds


Vanilla extract

Cocoa powder

Vanilla Coconut Salt Scrub

Epsom salt

Coconut oil

Vanilla extract

Honey Coconut Salt Scrub

Epsom salt

Coconut oil

Raw honey

Lemon Coconut Salt Scrub

Epsom salt

Coconut oil

Organic Lemon juice

Wishing YOU a month full of getting Back to Goodness!

If you’ve missed any of Brooke’s past Back To Goodness posts, not to worry… you can access them below.

Back To Goodness: Part One

Back To Goodness: Part Two

Back To Goodness: Part Three

Back To Goodness: Part Four

Back To Goodness: Part Five

Back To Goodness: Part Six


BrookeBenlifer1Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD is a Cornell University graduate and Registered Dietitian. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and twins.

“My passion is preventative health through optimal nutrition. I want to lead people toward healthier, more fulfilling lives.”

To connect with Brooke, please leave a comment below.



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