Because, We All Deserve Some Good Clean Fun

There is no better prep for a clean eating month than the complete over indulgence of the holidays — at least for me — but the most painful part (aside from the complete and total withdrawal from my holiday wine pours) is social time out in public.

It’s not that it’s forbidden to go out, or that it’s that difficult to modify dishes to comply with whatever your preferred ‘clean’ mode of eating is — in fact we have a number of favorite restaurants locally that are amazing about modifying to be compliant, and have gone above and beyond to be safe havens for those brave enough to venture out during a ‘clean’ January.

The struggle, for me, is when I’m the only one at dinner in the early stages of cleaning up my fuel sources and I see someone fully enjoying my favorite red winter wine, or get a waft of some hot french fries passing behind me.  It’s the sensory overload of smells, emotions, and the connection between the two that initiates the game of personal restraint to not go full primal madness and launch my body across tables to secure my coveted wine simultaneously securing the french fries directly out of a small child’s hands.  And that is why I say with full conviction, that the struggle isn’t just for me, it is me, and the first two weeks are the absolute hardest. That is why we’re so pumped to hold our 1st ever Private ‘Whole Damn Thing’ Paleo/ Whole30 compliant dinner event at Timbercreek Market.

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I don’t know if you’ve experienced the dinner service at Timbercreek Market, but it’s amazing, and could not be more authentically farm to table.   They’ve put together an amazing three course meal for our community, all compliant with ‘The Whole Damn Thing,’ with a vegetarian option as well.

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Please join us for this one of a kind dinner event, and take a much needed night out to engage with the community, relax from cooking, and experience this amazing restaurant and menu.  Space is limited and spots are filling, so make sure you REGISTER on the b:core mindbody site to reserve your spot! Note: The event is listed on the schedule for Tuesday 1/17, and ticket purchases are listed under workshops/events.

 

 

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THE WHOLE DAMN THING v3.0

The first time we mentioned ‘clean eating’ at MADabolic Cville, and hosted the first ever seminar with 28toLife, we had 7 people show up…two of which were coaches.  A year later we launched the inaugural ‘Whole Damn Thing’ clean eating challenge and had 95 participants.  The community has steadily grown here in Charlottesville between our MADabolic and b:core methods clientele, and also grown strong at MAD Charleston over the last two years.

We’ve developed some amazing relationships, including with some awesome ‘clean’ partners in our efforts including our long-time friends at THE GOOD KITCHEN, formerly MODpaleo, who have just re-branded and improved their already amazing meals/meal plans.

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If you haven’t checked them out yet – do it immediately.  They provide clean (in all aspects) paleo/whole30 compliant meals that ship overnight in amazingly packaged shipments for the best on-the-go, or just simply delicious (or ‘GOOD’) meals you could imagine – and now also meal plans.

PSA: the last two years I’ve actually ordered their Thanksgiving meals for my own family holiday celebrations, and I now stock pile their paleo stuffing, green bean casserole, and mashed sweet potatoes with mushroom gravy because it’s better than anything I’ve ever had before, paleo or not.

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We’ll be sharing tons of resources over the next few days to help everyone get started with the best possible foundation, but don’t forget (if you haven’t already) to join the Whole Damn Thing Facebook group for community support, sharing, questions, answers, and usually some pretty good humor – you will not regret it, and geography does not matter.

As we prepare to kick off the 2017 edition it really brought my attention back to my own…well, lack of attention.  This blog was my motivation for so long, an outlet for things so far and distant from my day-hustle, and sometimes the easiest mode of communication with these amazing communities when the days seem to slip by too quickly, or when weekend fuel + sweat inspirations get buried too far under the stress-laden rubble of, say, a Monday.

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As we march hard into 2017 (there’s no turning back now), I’m re-committing myself to the vulnerability, connectivity, and ever-loving-catharsis of sharing the resources, lessons, inspiration and strength that I try and fail with in my life. Even just for the benefits of going through the process I’m excited to get back to the structure and motivation that comes along with commitment — passionate commitment.

Here’s to a stronger, healthier, and all around amazing year of kicking ass.

 

February is for All the Things

So far 2016 has been a little bit of everything.  It’s been stressful and exciting, chaotic and simple, passionately driven and at times, completely draining. So basically, it’s just another January trying to get all the things done, working towards a better blend of work, life, businesses, and well, wine.

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The Whole Damn Thing happened, and it happened pretty well again this year, up until the great snow storm of 2016 which made clean eating a very manageable reality (thanks to the in-house imprisonment) but pretty much guaranteed that 90% of our community would be reaching for some non-water beverage to help cope with the confinement.  And also, because, well, happiness.

This year, the beauty of the Whole Damn Thing was that it wasn’t just MADabolic Cville, and it wasn’t just 28toLife or Paleo.  It was about the embraced effort to eat clean, local, healthful, and body fueling meals that would promote strength and health in anyone, whether you eat meat or you’re a vegan-veggie-tarian.  We’ve long been fans of the Dar Salad (paleo/28tolife) at Citizen Burger Bar, for obvious reasons, but this year, we had our amazing friends and favorite neighboring food source join in to create a menu that our clients could not only love, but could also EAT.  Brazo’s Tacos released a paleo menu that essentially kept me, and many other people (as a result) alive for the duration of the month, and continues to be my lifeblood as when I find myself bound to the building several days a week.  Also, online ordering — it will change you forever.  You’re welcome.

In addition to the food efforts, we experienced the inevitable, yet fully embraced post-holiday influx of clients old and new, both at MAD and b:core, inducing wait list stress, scheduling trickery, and most importantly, a whole hell of a lot of excitement and energy in each class to kick off a brand new year.  With new interval and coaching developments at MADabolic (including what feels like the most innovative and freaking challenging intervals to date) and the launch of our cardio barre and core CARDIO class schedules at b:core that have us sweating our asses off every day, it’s hard to think that there could have been more on the docket for the month, but alas, it was also time to launch the sweatIX pricing, and so we did.

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Other highlights of the month include (but are not limited to):

  1. I was able to start using my Simplified Planner, and somehow, having each hour of the day filled out + up magically became appealing ‘structure’ rather than pseudo-organized chaos (although that’s already wearing off to a degree).
  2. We had an amazingly badass and physically/emotionally inspiring photo shoot of the sweatIX team with Andrea Hubbell that was nothing short of amazing and will continue to be coveted.
  3. The Mayor of MADville (Dar) turned 50, and no one wanted to believe it.
  4. Bug turned 4, and I cried.
  5. We had a delicious (and clean) happy hour at The Juice Laundry, and in addition to my obsession with the ‘Rinse and Refresh’ and ‘Cold Brew Latte,’ I finally had the vegan chili w/cashew cream, and some new Chicory Cold Brew coffee from the local Blue Prairie brands.
  6. Most importantly, we survived.  From the snow to juggling everything, January was unbelievably stressful this year with too little bandwidth and too much to-do, so getting through it is something to be celebrated with full abandon, and a deep exhale.

I’m still pending on really dedicating time to digging into my goals, development, and really any balance for myself, but I did book my first (adult) impulsive vacation, so right now, I’m just going to appreciate the fact that I’ve made it through the start of the year, and in many aspects am already beginning to feel like I’m getting my bearings, slowly.

Here’s to an amazing new year, built upon the foundation of chaos, experience, and all the good, the bad, and the strength, that has evolved up to this point.

In Case you Missed It, Christmas is Over.

Christmas happened.  I know that because I was there, but also because that’s what the calendar tells me, and the calendar seems to rule all.

When it comes to managing life and time, the calendar presents as my perpetual nemesis.  Whether it’s moving at a clip that’s too fast, or painfully slow, disagreement on what reality is seems to be perpetual.

So, while I recognize that chronologically speaking Christmas (and Hanukkah for that matter) has come and gone, I still find myself in a state of disbelief.  This was hands down the least festive holiday season I’ve ever known, and I blame both myself and mother nature in equal measure.

I’ve been spending all my time keeping my head above water, to the point that I didn’t have time for a tree, much less decorating, and most of my shopping was done either online or locally in November, without even the excitement of seeing people savagely elbow each other in line at some overpopulated department store.  And then, of course, there was the easter bunny weather that threw off all bearings related to space and time.

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At this point HomeGoods should likely revoke my VIP status, and if it weren’t for the fact that I still obsessively purchased things I barely needed all season, I would just cut my credit card up right now.

In addition to my poor holiday showing, the last two weeks has brought ups and downs of the most unreasonably warm t-shirt weather that took away even the most remote thoughts of holiday hibernation, and for that, I say shame on you mother nature; SHAME.

In an effort to make up for the shortcomings of myself and nature, I did the only other acceptable thing: I ate all the foods.

On Christmas Eve, in full boycott of taking on any personal responsibility of feeding myself or others, we let Orzo fill us with Christmas Cheer the best way they could, with delicious food and wine that warmed the heart (even above the already balmy atmosphere).

Since my parents moved to Charlottesville this year it takes out some of the question of whether or not travel is required during the holiday season (which is great, since holiday travel anywhere that is not tropical and warm is the worst).   The other perk is that the Holidays become an amazing blend of family + friends (that are family), and community roots grow just a little deeper over shared holiday meals, sweats, and overall love.  This is what the Holidays are for me now, and is the real basis for why I’m being agreeable with the fast march into 2016, and the end of what has by far been the craziest year of all.

So, here I stand, just a couple of short hour left in 2015, and while I’m committed to squeezing every last working minute out of each of them, 2016 is kicking off with some amazing promise of just a few of the things I love most: community, professional development, fitness expansion, clean eating, forward progression… and lots of it all.

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This week we kick off the #wholedamnthing16, our annual and not-actually-cliche ‘life changing’ community initiative (regardless of how cliche it sounds), and it’s already better than ever.  More to come on this, but if you’re local in Charlottesville, join us at b:core methods on Sunday at 4:30pm for a kick off community potluck to meet the troops, community leaders, and connect with the resources that will help you evolve your lifestyle into what is healthiest and best for you. [If you’re not local to Charlottesville, you can join us in our Facebook group, or right here, to follow along and engage virtually].

So in summary, in case you missed it, the Holidays happened, and we’re on to a new year.  Clean slate, let’s do this.  Loved to know ya, 2015!

 

 

Holiday Clean Up: Favorite Products + Gifts

I’ve reached a point in life (who’s with me?) where holiday ‘thing’ gifting has become more of a guessing game/chore of not only what someone would want, but also what they possibly haven’t already bought themselves.  Unless it is personal, hand-made, or something I KNOW do/would use on a go-forward basis, I mostly poke around for weeks in shops and online without too much success.

This year, instead of getting real with the struggle,  I’m pumping out the things that rock the top of my list, are great last minute grabs, and will carry value into the new year for any of your sweat-loving, clean eating, or general healthy-living friends and family [that are maybe joining us for The Whole Damn Thing in January].

Sweaty Betty: Our friends at Sweaty Betty are having a big freaking sale [and you can too].  If you don’t know about this awesome fashion for your sweat lifestyle, you need to, and now you can get some of their community favorites for up to 50%, which you will not want to miss.  Things are selling out fast, so get on it.  [click on the link to get yours]

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MODpaleo: this is hands down the best gift for the on-the-go + convenience-loving person in your life that is also trying to keep the sugar/grains/processed foods down to a minimum, while keeping energy up.

To add to the daily-awesomeness of this paleo delivery service, you can also get family-sized holiday sides to take your holiday meals up a notch.

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As we gear up for the Whole Damn Thing, launching for our @MADcville, @MADcharleston and @bcoremethods communities on January 3rd, these clean food focused gifts will come in handy, and in the most dramatic of sugar detoxes will save dozens of lives (mostly of family members and friends). MODpaleo will be running a killer special for a 4 week meal plan subscription, so stay tuned for that news — and in the meantime, grab a gift card to stuff a stocking, or put right under the tree.  I promise, you won’t be going wrong.

hungryroot:  This year, with a focus on expanding the community of food preferences (vegan/veggies unite!) one of our new favorite companies that focuses on keeping food clean of preservatives and gluten is hungryroot, emphasizing the diversity of root vegetable noodles.

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I got my first shipment last week and I have to say it is AWESOME.  It does require a stovetop, and is a little more of a ‘prepared cooking’ option, but it is amazing for the non-gourmet chef looking to learn a little and potentially have some friends over during the Whole Damn month and need a healthy side option that will still be loved by anyone.  You can add chicken to any of the meals, which is great, but also provides a solid veggie-rooted option for all.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.46.50 PMOf course, giving the gift of sweats is also an amazing option, and you can get gift certificates to MADcville, MADcharleston, or b:core methods [barre. cardio. core] through our mindbody sites to help your loved one (or loving self) take advantage of our Holiday and New Year specials.  With so much happening around our #sweatIX compound in 2016, you’ll want to get in on it early and take advantage of our full lifestyle pricing options – more info to come soon.

Until then celebrate the season of giving [to yourself]:  eat well, and sweat often.

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How my Cream of Mushroom Soup Went Paleo to Complete my Thanksgiving and Save my Life

This Thanksgiving has lasted for what feels like forever, yet despite it being December, it’s still not over for my crew.  Apparently 2015 is for epic ‘Thanksgiving Never Say Die’ efforts [read: excuses] to keep the wine flowing until it’s appropriately close to the next Holiday, for eight crazy nights, to then ultimately transfer the blame onto an old fat man and his elves.  Whatever, long live all the holidays, I say.

The truly amazing thing about my Friends/Family-giving crew this year is that over the last two years it has, for the most part, not only evolved into a paleo/cleaneating lifestyle, but actually owns it like bosses…..and at this point, they probably do it better than us.

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After teaching barre at b:core bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, there was nothing more I wanted to do than exactly what happened next; park sprints with the dogs in the 70 degree weather and a full blown dinner with some of my favorite people.

There’s something to say about how food brings people together, and having a group that likes to eat the same way, testing new clean recipes with love and lots of flavor…well that’s pretty much the best possible holiday combination.

Now, I did an absolute garbage job of documenting the first (and probably most important phase) of my Turkey Day kitchen therapy, but thankfully the foundation of it all persisted through two more amazing meals this week.  And it all started with just seeing those green beans.

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I’m pretty obsessed with green bean casserole (alarmingly obsessed), so I didn’t want to forego my one true holiday love, just in the name of Paleo Thanksgiving.  So, like any innovative and desperate meal experimenter, I took to the internet to make my dreams come true.  And I found it, a paleo recipe for cream of mushroom soup that is surprisingly easy to make, and even more surprisingly delicious.

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So, as you’ll see above in my less than delicately organized plate, we had mashed yucca (or YUMMA!) at 12 o’clock; my butter lettuce with cherry tomatoes, almond slivers and truffle salt/olive oil dressing at 2pm; brussels sprouts and root vegetables at what looks like 5:30 and then my coveted, ever loving paleo green bean casserole with oven broiled onion topping (victory!) at 7pm, before filling the rest of the space up with Turkey and carnitas.  Yes, paleo carnitas.  Life was amazing, and when washed down with good wine and great conversation, there was nothing else I could have wanted in life.  Bonus: we were all wrapped up, home, and asleep by 8:30 – magical.

So, what’s the rest of the story?  Well, it all comes back to the cream of mushroom soup that I made with my very own hands and killer hand blender.  It didn’t just end with the green beans; a couple of days later it found it’s second home in a chicken, brussels sprouts, peppers, and brown rice bake that rocked my midweek world.

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The finished product was awesome, and was the perfect pairing for a romaine, tomato, avocado, almond sliver, radish, and tesse mae dressed salad.

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And just when I thought that perhaps the (mushroom) gravy train had possibly ended, I was lucky enough to get whatever horrible winter cold is circulating at the moment and found myself miserable, hungry, and desperate for a little cold weather therapy — so I made some.

Sauted onion, brussels sprouts and zucchini in a pot, followed by the remaining chicken/rice/veggie leftovers, all the rest of the cream of mushroom soup, a full liter of chicken stock, all came together to bring SO much happiness into an otherwise dreary evening of sick.

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Now, off to sleep because there are way too many amazing things happening this week (and that need to happen) to let this cold crush me.  So, in closing, paleo cream of mushroom soup is a real thing, it’s amazing, and it has already begun saving lives this holiday season.