Lookin Like a Snack

When you’re eating real food (i.e. food without labels), the point isn’t to ever be hungry or feel like you’re being deprived, it’s to fuel your body with good, real food and maintain a consistent insulin level to increase energy and avoid crashing.

When you’re in a groove with your grocery shopping and menu planning, it’s not hard to get through key meal times with enough clean fuel to fill you up. During the first week or two while your body is detoxing from any sugars, carbs or dairy that it may be used to, it’s typically the snack times when the cravings will be the strongest; it’s also the time that we’re most likely to break from our plan and make an impulsive food choice. Pro-tip: if you or anyone you are doing the plan with happens to trend hangry over hungry, it’s essential to plan ahead for those between meal snacks.

There are a few key items that I like to largely keep on hand for when the energy low strikes:

Fruit / Veggies / Natural Carbs:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Carrot sticks / baby carrots
  • Coconut Flakes – Unsweetened
  • Cucumber Slices

Nuts / Nut Butter / Fats + Proteins:

  • Almonds
  • Almond Butter
  • Avocado
  • Cashews
  • Cashew Butter
  • Walnuts

One of the keys of a real food program has to do with managing insulin spikes (highs and lows) to establish more consistent energy levels. Outside of the real foods and ingredients you choose, it’s also about how food is being paired; fat, protein, natural carbs.

If I’m having an Apple, I’m going to pair it with almond butter to get the good fats and proteins paired with the carb / natural sugar aspect of the Apple. Just recently when i hit 7:30pm and was feeling like i had a little hankering, I mixed Blueberries with raspberries, banana and almonds; drizzled over top was a little ‘cocoa-nut drizzle,’ which is essentially coconut milk, cocoa powder, a drop or two of vanilla extract (non alcohol / non sugar) shaken up with ice to add some froth and frost to it. If you’re over any serious sugar cravings, but want something ‘sweet’ in your post detox world, this will taste SO good; the sweetness of the berries will more apparent to you than ever before, and for the :90 you spend inhaling it, you will be in bliss. So learn from mistakes; slow down, enjoy it, and maybe follow it up with a little sleepy time tea as a prelude to a satisfied slumber.

Carrots also happen to be surprisingly good with Cashew or Almond Butter, and an avocado paired with cucumber and a little olive oil / apple cider vinegar, that can really hit the spot amid the pre-lunch or dinner hunger pangs.

The actual pro-tip here is to always be prepared; pre-pack these snacks in the fridge or pantry so they’re easy to grab in a pinch, or take with you on the go.

So, how do you do that without spending your whole weekly food budget just on nuts and nut butter? Typically Trader Joe’s will be your most economical one-stop shop for all of these items, but you an also find a number of them in larger quantities at Costco and other bulk stores if you’re feeding more than just yourself, or splitting your order with someone else. You just need to be mindful of the perishable foods, and maybe opt for the frozen option (with no sugar on the ingredients list).

  • Apples
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Blueberries (Fresh or Frozen)
  • Raspberries (Fresh or Frozen)
  • Blackberries (Fresh or Frozen)
  • Carrots
  • Celery

Go forth and crush the week ya’ll; be prepared, be full, be free in that real food freedom way that our girl 28toLife always teaches.

The Breakfast Base

There is one key to my personal sanity through the work week, and that’s making sure that I’ve got some food packed to take with me for when I get the morning hunger.

I’ve never been a huge breakfast person when I first wake up. I prefer a slow start to my day with coffee, and will eventually get around to eating when all the engines have been started. That being said, once the engines start, they need fuel, and they need it fast.

My weekly wakeup is usually between 5-6am; depending on what I’ve got going on with my workouts, dog mom duties and work schedule, I don’t have a lot of excess time to be worrying about prep and cooking in the moment. I can usually muster the 10 minutes it takes to fry a couple of eggs in coconut oil, but that’s about it.

To help myself get through the early uphill of the week, I’ve gotten into the habit of making a large base on the weekend’s that I can just grab and top with eggs in the morning rush.

There are so many veggie combinations that work well with eggs, but my go to, most clutch combo these days is a mix of onions, sweet or bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower rice, and my new thing is adding sliced cherry tomatoes for a little sweetness. It’s a pretty spot on representation of the ‘eat all the colors of the rainbow’ goal, and is amazing for soaking up a runny yolk, (you know, if you like that kind of thing).

As we get deeper into the month I’ll feature some fo the ‘warmer weather’ and more ‘cruciferous’ vegetables. I’ll frequently trow together for a more savory and at times very deep green blend that will change your life when you’re needing a little comfort and warmth from your breakfast bowl, but will also clear out your entire office pantry and turn most of your friends against you if you heat it up in any sort of public and enclosed space.

When I bring my big green mix to work I usually make a short disclaimer speech prior to peeling the lid off so everyone can mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for how about I’m about to create a hostile breathing environment. If you’re thinking, ‘I bet she likes brussels sprouts,’ you’re damn right I do, and I love broccoli and kale and all the smelly veggies, and I’m sorry that I will make every office microwave smell like farts through the cold winter months.

If you’re digging breakfast bowls, check out our highlights on instagram for some updates coming in hot of some of our favorite’s, and we’ll be sure to keep them flowing through the month to shake things up a little.

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

Food Lately, November Style

The last two weeks have been about cleaning up from the chaos of the previous few months, organizing everything within reach, and setting up for a solid start to 2016.

I’ve been doing a little more of a local and multi-source roundup for food stuffs lately, trying to both create and save a little change in the process.  Last weekend, however, with limited time and limited need, I hit up Whole Foods, my own personal Kryptonite.

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I’m going through a pretty serious chicken phase at the moment, trying to move away from the all too frequent steak indulge – both for a little reining in of my food expenses, and also for a little change up to get out of the repetitive meal rut that I’ve been in for a while.

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Whole chickens are totally my jam, so I kicked off the week  on Sunday with a little grill action; all the chicken, asparagus, and my favorite kale slaw [shredded kale, cabbage, green onion, carrots with bonus radishes and avocado dressed in fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil and himalayan sea salt].  Dinner = Yum.

IMG_4031Tuesday night I took a different twist on one of my absolute favorite meals.

Salad was just a simple love [torn romaine, cherry tomato and slivered almond combo (avocado added as the finale) dressed in light olive oil and truffle salt].

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The main love of the meal (for me) was simmered ground beef and onion (with coconut oil), zucchini, and mushrooms, with spiraled sweet potato noodles added in for the last 5 minutes to soften and absorb the flavor.

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When I say I loved it, I think I’m actually not fully doing the meal justice since it was absolutely everything I wanted and nothing that I didn’t.  The red wine that accompanied it also didn’t hurt.

When I make the time to refocus in the kitchen to allow for creativity and  a little personal therapy, having time away from everything else that takes my attention, it is usually the best way to infuse energy back into all aspects of my being.

This weekend, which ‘thankfully’ started two days early, is a long awaited opportunity to get all of the things organized, strategies completed, and life organized as we march hard into December and the scheduling chaos that is before us.

Tomorrow we’re doing a b:MAD misfit toys paleo potluck hosted by part of the original tribe, so get pumped for the recap of what will undoubtedly be a crazy amazing holiday to remember.

Local Loves: Hellos, Goodbyes + See ya Laters

This past weekend was all about local living and embracing the beginning of the new, and finally a weekend (though just barely) to check in on Charlottesville.  New chapters, jobs, businesses, and lives; there is so much change happening these days that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it, and it’s damn near impossible to anticipate.  But, thankfully, the first adventure of ‘the new local’ came by way of Brazo’s Tacos, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

fuel sweat grow: brazos tacos

Last summer when Brazos popped up temporarily in the IX building for 60 days, they became the 60 best days of summer.  Locally sourced ingredients, clean and delicious, and so freaking convenient to MADabolic that sweat + tacos began to define the MADlifestyle.

fuel sweat grow: brazos tacos

This summer, especially with the impending addition of b:core right around the (other) corner, it’s so huge that Brazo’s has set up shop — for good.   Sweat it out, taco up, and shake it off….all in a days work at IX.  Plus, I mean, can you really beat the indoor/outdoor friendly vibe?  Taco ’bout a sweet new spot, right?

fuel sweat grow: brazos tacos

After that taco action and a quick (and fun) check in with our photographer for b:core to plan some awesome projects, it was off to Pippin Hill for an afternoon of goodbye and good luck to Elly, our lead trainer at MAD in Charleston who is leaving us for new love, life, and adventures in dog mommying — which trumps most other things, in my opinion.

We were a little late with the pictures so we missed a whole lot of the crew, but these jokers managed to stay to the last minute to join in on our quick snapshot of beautiful Viriginia.

fuel sweat grow: elly goodbye pippin hill

And if it wasn’t just organically beautiful enough of a day, our friend Bill who happens to be the Chef at Pippin, made sure that we were taken care of — and free of the un-paleo menu anxiety that typically plagues so many MAD lives.  Pumping up some serious veggies, with honestly the most amazing hummus I’ve ever had, was definitely not a bad place to start.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill food

Then this happened — along with other incredibly amazing and saliva inducing dishes that rocked our world (including the non-paleo but very-life changing homemade bananas foster that pretty much changed our lives.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill food

I don’t have a picture of the dessert because honestly, while my heart and soul will never forget the moments we shared, my mind was desperately trying to wipe it from memory so I didn’t go to a dark place of addiction and full on NEED.

So, instead, I (eventually) put down my spoon and finished off my wine to appease the now full blown sugar craving that I just made happen.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill

Sunday brought a return trip to Charlotte that was a little too quick for my liking, but with just one day separating me from vacation I managed to push through it, and just to give myself that little extra boost, I made a stop in my happy place (Erin McDermott’s Jewelry Studio) for a little Suki love and jewelry stockpiling to round out my packing.

fuel sweat grow: erin mcdermott

Since I pretty much only wear Erin’s jewelry these days, this trip was about rounding our my outfits specifically, and pairing up some new things with some of my favorite old pieces — and here’s what we came up with.

fuel sweat grow: erin mcdermott jewelry

I seriously love love these, and also LOVE how they’re going to pair with my outfits, so I guess I’m finally ready for vacation.

While I’m going to miss the mainland — mostly the four legged creatures that are being left behind — I’m most certainly not going to miss all the other garbage that comes along with too much chaos.  I’ve got a lot going on, and a lot coming down the pike, so a little re-boot is definitely in order.