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.

The Whole Damn Thing – Guidelines

Today is the day my friends. We’re kicking off The Whole Damn Thing; 30 days of real-food focused clean eating, sweat and overall mindfulness, and we’re doing it as a community.

For any first timers still trying to figure out what level of commitment might work best for you, I wanted to share a few archived posts that we’ve used in the past to provide a little more insight into the differences between Whole30, Paleo, 28toLife, and the new(er) kid on the block, Keto, which I won’t cover as much in this program, but is still an option for you if you so choose.

Here’s a post from a previous year of The Whole Damn Thing that details out the guidelines and differences between our three main programs: Whole30, 28toLife and Paleo.

The real baseline here is removing any packaged foods in your home and daily life, creating fuels and meal simply out of fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, and lean meats. Preparation is key, and finding easy meals that work for you and can yield leftovers to carry you through the next several days will be essential. No sugar, no alcohol, no gluten, no dairy, those are the common keys.

This also means steering away from any prepared condiments like salad dressing, ketchup, mustard…. everything. If it has a label, it’s likely got chemicals, added sugars, and other ingredients that you want to eliminate. Simple or home-made olive or avocado oil based vinaigrettes and dressings with different spices and flavors will help add some additional variety to salads throughout the month.

If you’re following along on the blog, we’ll be posting some baseline posts throughout the week; Full January Program Members will get all the communications, shopping lists, meal prep tips, recipes and other daily resources (including at-home workout resources and tips for the hard days). If you want to sign up for the full program, local to Charlottesville or Virtually anywhere else, you can sign up HERE!

Alright ya’ll, let’s do this! Happy Day 1.

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.

 

 

THE WHOLE DAMN THING v3.0

The first time we mentioned ‘clean eating’ 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 and in 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.

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.