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.

 

 

Alright Spring, Let’s Do This

There’s something so comforting about spring; even in it’s earliest moments. I’m not sure if it’s the subtle smell in the air, the vitamin D finally returning into my life, or the visible bliss of the dogs when they find that perfect sun spot to lay in, but all of it makes me soul so happy — almost in an instant.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the winter grind; I need the seasonal rebuild time to anchor down into planning for all the businesses, to set the strategy and pace for my day j.o.b.,  and of course there is always the amazing and fun adventure that is tax season.

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The cycle is critical, but there’s still that powerful feeling of loading a spring (literally); it’s  a set up that holds a specific power, an anticipation, and a please-just-freaking-let-me-go feeling that can’t be denied when you’ve spent months preparing to inevitably hurry up and wait.  As one of the least patient people in the world, winter can be pretty unbearable for me.  I’m great at planning, I love long term strategy, and I’m certainly going to want to have a plan before implementing, but beyond that, deliberating is a soul crushing practice and it’s always that last 5% of the wait that does me in.

This past week finished out, for me, what’s been a LONG start to the year balancing my real job, the businesses, and cold weather travel. Thankfully it finished out strong with some amazing  road-sweats in Burlington and NYC as I did my northeast tour — so much so that I almost forgot that a short preview of summer weather hit Charlottesville while I was gone.

I finished out the week with a little solo dinner in NYC to close out the craziness and some down time without any responsibilities or distractions, and was finally able to take a breath before heading back home for what is slated to be a pretty insane month.

IMG_7693.JPGI’m excited about the direction of all the things that are currently hanging in the balance, and, of course, the impending warm weather certainly is not going to hurt.

[Want to get the latest in exciting news of what’s on the horizon? Follow ME, b:core methods, MADcville or sweatIXcville for daily updates and all the big announcements coming out of our compound this month.]

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.

A Week of Travel, Organization, Work, and Feng Shui MADness

Life lately has been a little bit of everything; it’s been the good, the bad, the ugly, the exhausted, the energized — and all the things in between.  My instagram feed would detail the below as the highlights, but it hardly captures the ‘all’ that it entails.  So, join me as I head back to the chronicles, and warm the blog back up in tandem with the newly launched website/blog for b:core where you’ll be hearing from me, some of our favorite partners, and of course, our teachers.  We’ve got a lot to say, me especially, so I’m pretty excited to welcome in the hibernation and existential thought producing season that winter is.fuel sweat grow: life lately instagram @valeriemorini

Last week I was in Charlotte for work, which is always a little bit of an adjustment to my personal time and life management style. Somehow I always forget how crazy the traffic has become since I first moved there in 2009, and just how unbelievably convenient life in Charlottesville is with everything falling within a 1 mile radius and 5-10 minute commute – tops.  Running in line with that is just how much I love my #sweatIX compound, and all of the things that keep my life motoring along [almost] effortlessly now that we’ve got all the tacos and coffee that we could handle.

After a full week of all things work, and some mid-week celebrations for the MADabolic CLT 4 year anniversary, I could not have been more ready to head back home — of course with a 10 foot box truck filled with all the favorite things that filled the Charleston MAD apartment for the last 6 months.  For whatever reason, come Saturday morning, my exhaustion turned a corner (or came full circle) and in a post-interval craze I felt compelled to begin what can only be classified as an all-day over[u]haul of MADcville and b:core methods to bring all the happiness and warmth to the spaces, and my sanity. [And this is where I’d like to thank West Elm and HomeGoods for always being there, powering my home decor and nesting addiction, and being ever so clutch in my life – here and everywhere. I love you.]

And here it is, my home away from home, my work-day office, and the #sweatIX think tank where all the decisions are made and grand ideas are launched (or decidedly not).

fuel sweat grow: office juju home decor

fuel sweat grow: Office organization and MADcville

It might not seem like a lot, but it has truly changed my whole world — and while I don’t really go around spouting about feng shui per say, my environment and it’s set up makes the full difference in how productive (and happy) I am.  There are few things I love more than a good scorch and burn of closets and living spaces to make room for organizational bins and everything HomeGoods, so this was probably the best possible way for me to close out a long week.

Oh, and this: FREE coffee being served up outside of Whole Foods on Sunday thanks to Allegro Coffee Company and their #FLXBUS.

fuel sweat grow: Allegro Coffee bus #FLXbus

At b:core we’ve been slowly but surely adding all the things that make it feel the appropriate winter level of warm and welcoming, and over the last few weeks we made a few updates that have majorly contributed to our love affair with the sweeter, softer, and very deceptively [not so] gentle side of the building and it looks a little like this:

fuel sweat grow: b:core methods cville barre studio and core life

Our teacher photos are hung, happy, and will soon all come to life with some more never been seen shots as we release our teacher features on the blog.
fuel sweat grow: b:core methods teacher photos

Just to add a little to the ‘everything’ theme of the weekend, we also went to Red Shoe Cville’s AMAZING Rocktoberfest at the IX art park on Saturday Night, and it was so. much. fun.  Next year we are certainly all going to rock out at this event, so stay tuned for my full recap and launch of the really amazing opportunities and experiences that are about to come to life through this partnership.

fuel sweat grow: Red Shoe Cville ROCKTOBERFEST

So now, I’m just slowly recovering from a week of the non-stop in a city so far from the quiet convenience of this small Cville town, and I’m doing it from my newly happy-fied office in this place that owns my heart at it’s core.