Halo Top Ice Cream: Health Halo?

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We may not actually scream for ice cream (we’re all adults here), but, to be honest, there’s usually a squeal of delight involved.

While visiting the beautiful land of Italy, we neither confirm nor deny placing an equal importance on finding the very best gelateria as visiting all the historic landmarks. We have priorities though and are happy to say we found the top-source gelato in Rome.

This is really to say that we love ice cream. Love it. From putting it in coffee at breakfast to having it as a meal (yes, you read that correctly), it’s pretty much a perfect treat for whenever.

However, anyone who has indulged on a regular basis knows that nothing seems to add on some poundage faster than this creamy delight. So, when our very favorite non-dairy ice cream was discontinued from Giant Eagle Market District, there was a mix of disappointment and relief. Then, curiously, Halo Top emerged into and around the space instead. Eventually we took the mint chip version home and found it to be very light (more air incorporated into the product) and, frankly, delicious.

So what’s in it? Here’s ‘the scoop’ on the mint chip flavor ingredients:

Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, soy lecithin), organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

How do they keep the calories low? Part of the reason why they can do this is because they use three different sweeteners: erythritol (a sugar alcohol), organic cane sugar (really just a fancy way of saying white sugar), and organic stevia. The erythritol contains less than .5 calorie per gram, sugar has 4 calories per gram, and stevia is a no-calorie sweetener which is a couple hundred of times sweeter than sugar.  The other reason is that the Halo Top ice cream is physically lighter (a 1/2 cup serving weighs in at 64 grams vs. about 95 grams for other ice creams). With more air incorporated, you’ll have less calories and ice cream in general.

The calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar content for Halo Top are less than traditional ice cream, while providing fiber and protein. This does not replace vegetables, fruits, healthy protein and fat sources in the diet, but, as far as ice cream goes, it’s a pretty decent choice.

That being said, this product still has dairy (so if you have issues with milk products, beware) and, for some people and in generally higher amounts, the sugar alcohol can cause digestive upset, headaches, gas, and diarrhea.

There is likely to be a bit of a health halo effect with this product – with less calories, it can be very easy to over-consume. Remember to exercise portion control and enjoy it mindfully.

CorePower Yoga: 3 Class Review

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These days it seems you can throw a stone and hit a yoga teacher or studio; so how does CorePower Yoga stand out?

We posed this question to Elizabeth, studio manager of the Easton Gateway location, and here’s what she shared:”CorePower Yoga is an intense physical workout rooted in the mindfulness of yoga. One other thing that sets us apart is our offering of Yoga Sculpt which combines yoga with weight exercises and cardio. It allows students to get more than just yoga at our studio.” This is definitely true, as you’ll see below.

We’ve checked out a variety of classes at each location. Let’s jump in to the reviews!

 

Day 1: C2 – CorePower Yoga 2– Easton location; Teacher: Meghan

First of all, this class is for the advanced beginner; C1 is for those starting out. It will amp up the balancing and strength postures in a heated room. Sweat is guaranteed, not optional – just think of it as great detoxification :).

Challenging balancing postures are a favorite – tree, warrior 3, dancer- but hold them for awhile and the ‘balance’ between thinking this is fun, play-stuff and ‘oh wow this is tough’ shifts to the latter. Luckily, Meghan is a great teacher – she reminds you to connect to your breath and is ready to adjust your posture so you get the most out of your workout.

Coming in after a morning of medical research, this class provided a beautiful alchemy of stress into sweat and strength. Ending in savasana (final resting pose) and getting a mini-shoulder and head massage from the teacher was a nice bonus. Overall it is a treat for your muscles and your mind.

Word to the wise: bring a towel or your yoga mat may turn into a Slip n Slide®

 

Day 2: Yoga Sculpt – Easton location; Teacher: Joshua

Described on the website as:

“When muscle meets yoga, Sculpt is born. Boost metabolism and build lean muscle mass as you move to upbeat tracks. You’ll combine free weights with CorePower Yoga 2 (C2) sequencing and cardio to intensify each pose while mixing in strength-training moves like squats, lunges and bicep curls. It is recommended that you take at least one CorePower level 1 or 2 (C1 or C2) class before a Yoga Sculpt class.”

Do not focus on the word ‘yoga’ in the description – it makes the class seem deceptively simple. Rest assured, it is not. It’s kind of like a lick a dog might give a bone before crushing his jaws around it.

But we mean this in a good way…

This class will kick your a$$. Over and over. When focusing on your intention, the word ‘survival’ may come to mind.

Even if you’re not trying to show off and opt for the 5lb weights, you may find yourself putting them down while some of the class veterans power through.

As a teacher, Joshua is firm but supportive. He briefly shared his weight loss journey during the introductory part of class and regularly reminded us, through the sweat drops in our eyes and muscle fatigue, “you want this more than I do.” And that we did – a more toned and lean body is something you have to WANT, and from there flows action. You’ll still likely find yourself both admiring him and wanting to remove his larynx to prevent further instruction.

Warrior 2 is not that difficult, but try stretching out those arms in either direction with an extra 10 lbs. Pff. Yeah, then try diamond push-ups. In sweet agony you will find yourself in the final pose, delirious with the joy of having completed the class or perhaps of still being among the living. If there were such a term as ‘beneficial torture’,  you may find it the next day when you can’t fit your massive biceps into your dress shirt or blouse. Don’t thank us. Thank Joshua.

This was indeed unlike any other yoga class we’ve been to before. Bravo, CorePower Yoga. Bravo.

 

Day 3: Hot Power Fusion – Short North location; Teacher: Colleen

We’ve found that a key part of showing up for classes is only looking at the time of the class, NOT the description. It’s too easy to wake up and think “I don’t have it in me for a super-tough workout today.” Why not allow yourself to be surprised? That’s the approach we took this morning; no preconceived notions of how easy or hard this would be.

Since we arrived literally 3 minutes before the doors were locked, upon entering, we declared feeling victorious just by completing the challenge of getting to the class, regardless of how it might go.

Colleen is a friendly teacher who will also remind you that we’re still holding a certain challenging yoga position for 3 more counts. Ah yes, and to continue breathing. The various poses help open shoulders and hips as well as strengthen a flexible spine.

Overall, we loved the intense power yoga combined with breath work and meditation. Upon stepping out of the studio, we felt stronger, more balanced and flexible.

Final verdict: we love it and look forward to more of these experiences and results in the future!

Additional information
Each location has a spa-like feel in the showers and changing rooms with various toiletries provided. Lockers are free to use (ask for a lock, if desired). The retail space has clothing and yoga accessories and the lobby area has towels and water (for a nominal fee) in case you forget to bring your own. It’s clean, bright, and inviting. AND….

Great news! Every new member gets a free week at CorePower Yoga (you’re not obligated to a membership but you’ll probably want one!) so call or schedule at the Easton Gateway or Short North location and let us know what you think.