Paleo Eats: Game Day Style

So, one of the hardest things about a real food / clean eating challenge can be the social aspect — especially if you’re not surrounded by people who share a similar lifestyle, or that support what you’re doing.  That’s usually the biggest fail point for anyone looking to make a lifestyle change — being surrounded by people and choices that counter the healthy habits they are trying to form.

The first time Dar and I completed 28toLife we were pretty much alone on our own island.  Friends would want to hang out and fear and panic would set in because we didn’t know how we could possibly make it through an outing where everyone else is eating and drinking whatever they wanted.

fuel sweat grow: all i need is food

The second time we went through the 28 days of garbage-free living was a little easier, and we had far greater understanding and appreciation for the lifestyle and how to find that place of complacency even when out of a controlled environment.  This third official time that we’ve completed the full 28 days was the best of all, not only because we had a pretty secure grasp on how to live in normal-ish society, but mostly because the community that surrounds us was a part of what we were doing, all inspired and motivated with the same healthy sense of purpose, and commitment to living a better cleaner life.  And it was awesome.

It’s February now and the ‘challenge’ is over, but the lifestyle remains, and so does the awesome community that came together over the last 28 days, and this weekend we proved it.  While Saturday brought Dar’s 49th (that’s not a typo) Birthday and a little bit of an off-the-wagon wine and beer indulgence (not to mention the most amazing ‘asparagus’ cake from Maliha Creations).

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.07.21 PM

Sunday re-directed itself back on track thanks to sleep, recovery, and the continued culinary expertise of Anita (the love behind Maliha Creations). So, instead of having a Sunday afternoon full of food that we just spent a month detoxing from, it seemed only fitting to re-create our favorite treats, paleo style.

Homemade salsa, to ensure no sugar; stuffed peppers (amazing); spaghetti [squash] + meatball nests, and a veggie ‘chip’ plate for scooping guacamole, all helped us kick off the game.

fuel sweat grow: paleo super bowl snacks

fuel sweat grow: paleo super bowl snacks I brought the guacamole deviled eggs (upper left corner above), which are easily my new favorite quick grab snacks to make.

Quick details:

Ingredients:

  • One Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Sea Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • 1/2 LIme (sqeezed)
  •  Garlic Powder

The quick how-to:

  • Shell the eggs
  • Cut the egg in half with a sharp knife
  • [in a small bowl]: Combine egg yolks, avocado, sea salt, chili powder, garlic powder + lime juice
  • Mash all together (with fork or avocado masher)
  • Spoon filling into egg white
  • garnish with a light sprinkling of chili powder

All in all, while the weekend brought back wine and some dessert cheats, it all came back around in the end, and things went (relatively) back on track.  I’m actually so excited to do food prep tomorrow night for the rest of the week that I almost can’t contain it — and I probably won’t.

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Wine, Apples, Brunch + More: #23to30 Days 4 & 5

This weekend brought Day 4&5 of my #23to30 chronicles, and marked a solid October weekend of both amazing friends and the first convincingly crisp fall air.

Day 4 landed on Saturday, and it kicked off with an abrupt wake up call that was the second to last day of cardio week intervals at MAD Cville. Saturdays, when I’m in Charlottesville, typically always involve taking and teaching the interval, and this week was no different.  While there are some moments when I first wake up that I reconsider this scheduling decision, I have to say it’s by far my favorite day of the week with our community, packing classes with clients from all week-day time slots, always adding a fresh dynamic to the morning.

After class, the second week of patronizing Brazo’s Tacos, the new pop-up taco spot in IX (In the Al Dente space) brought both fuel and happiness into my life, perfectly timed right before what turned into a marathon day of errands and chores.

Thankfully the day ended with some much needed wine with a few of my favorite people, a finale that inspired this #23to30 philosophy for the day:

fuel sweat grow: #23to30 Day 4

All of these things are absolutely true, and just further support the notion that wine = happiness, and since happiness is the basic goal, wine is the foundation for life and prosperity.

Today, Sunday, brings day 5 of the chronicles, and if it’s possible, was end to end one of the best Sunday’s in a long while.  Wake up, grind out a durability interval at MAD, finally have coffee, eat an amazing brunch at the Guptas (the patron saints of Cherry Hill) and then go apple picking with some of the MAD folks? Yes please.

[grain free paleo pumpkin waffles, egg + asparagus fritata, bacon, coffee....brunch perfection]
[grain free paleo pumpkin waffles, egg + asparagus fritata, bacon, coffee….brunch perfection]
Apple Picking at Carter Mountain Orchard with the MAD crew
Apple Picking at Carter Mountain Orchard with the MAD crew

I’ll have to circle back on the specifics of the day because there are many moments worth sharing, but the main focus was enjoying moments with friends; the beauty that we’re lucky to have in our backyards, and all of the subtle thrills of Charlottesville life.   I could write about this all day, and as much as I want to, I also want to keep to the point —  and that is that sometimes it’s important to just take a break for the people and things that are right in front of you — the ones that give content to your life, everyday.

fuel sweat grow: get excited

 

There’s so much to be so grateful for, and positively overwhelmed with, so take a time to make room and celebrate all of the little things that make up your big happy life.  They add up, and more importantly, so do the relationships, making the difference between simply having a life to having an amazing quality of life….and that deserves a little enthusiasm.

Scenery + Serenity: Coming and Going in my Everything Place

This is what it looks like to drive through Virginia.  The beauty of this state in and of itself is something to behold, but for me, in my life of constant transit, it’s so much more than that.

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville virginia

When I drive through Virginia, whether I’m en-route to Charlotte, or heading back into Charlottesville, there is a distinct serenity that I get from the scenery — and probably also the fact that it’s the only time I get completely to myself, without having to be in any particular place, or being chained to a computer.  With that being said, while I revel in the space and time to myself whether I’m coming or going, there is the distinct feeling of letting go of whatever might be weighing me down when I drive into the Charlottesville city limits.  This place is my everything place.

Last Friday as I drove in after spending the week in Charlotte there was more than just a sense of calm — there was an immense amount of anticipation since this weekend was packed full of goodness.  Just a few short hours after rolling into Cville, it was time for the Tom Tom Founders Fest (fall edition) Block Party at the McGuffy Art center; an event that we ( MADabolic Cville ) were sponsors for.  So, as you can imagine, the troops were out dressed in some MAD gear, chatting up friends and strangers, giving away our beer tickets liberally.  And it was awesome.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville at Tom Tom Founders Fest

From what I gather there were over 6,000 people there, which is a tremendous amount of people to have anywhere in Charlottesville at any given time (well anytime that isn’t Friday’s After 5).

Saturday kicked off with some of my favorite people at MADabolic Cville on what turned into one of the last lingering days of summer weather in the beginning of fall.  And let’s be honest – this was all made possible by the caffeine I imbibed first thing in the morning to start the engines.  I can’t tell you HOW much I miss my (house made) almond milk lattes from Milli Joe when I’m out of town.

fuel sweat grow: milli joe almond milk latte

After class while we were waiting on a call with our western business partners, Dar and I hit up Brazo’s Tacos pop-up shop that is running out of our building for 60 days in the Al Dente space from 7am – 2pm.  And let me tell you — it’s GOOD.   Great local ingredients, and a build your own basic template so you can eat as clean as you want (we went with eggs, bacon, avocado and eggs, steak, avocado, and they were killer).

fuel sweat grow: brazes pop up taco shop

There was just enough time post-lunch to get cleaned up and head over to Scott Stadium for a little UVa v. Kent State action….and a big fat W.

fuel sweat grow: Virginia Football ( UVA )

Post-game Saturday was mostly an exercise in unwinding and getting back on track with life.  Some strategic planning, but mostly couching and cooking good food, which is what has been missing from my life lately.

Sunday brought some more culinary goodness for breakfast (scrambled eggs with ZOODLES!) and a long walk downtown to shake out some of the soreness and overall tension that my body has been carrying.

fuel sweat grow: scrambled eggs and zoodles

Following some time up at MAD, some of our kickball crew hit up the UVa Baseball game v. Towson, to cap off a full weekend of Virginia Sports lovin’.

fuel sweat grow: virginia baseball

This week is a de-loading and re-loading week from end to end, from it being #MADcardioweek, all the way to my own sweat schedule that is touting more yoga/stretch than I’ve given to my body in a long time.  It’s also time for some major fall organization, and strategy implementation for ALL my jobs, setting a solid new schedule for some work/life balance.  Pretty exciting stuff if you’re a dork like me.

While I’m not getting the time and serenity of a several hour drive through the Virginia country side this week, I’m just happy to find some security and balance in the chaos of home.  There’s something to that, and I can’t imagine life any other way.

Between the Verses: July in a Lyrical Nutshell

July was a very long month; with work, travel, grand opening parties, and all things life, it required a conscious push to march hard toward each thing that was ‘next’ on the docket.  It was a definite challenge to constantly fire on all cylinders, but it was worth it, and thankfully interrupted by a handful of very memorable and unreasonably perfect summer nights.

While summer nights in Charlottesville all typically equate to the good life, there was one Saturday in particular that stood out from the rest.  It had been a pretty full day of MADness (see this post for a more macro level recap) and life-things, so by the time 5pm rolled around, I was ready for a low-key summer cville night and I knew exactly where I wanted to go: the Sarah Bareilles concert at the n’Telos Wireless Pavillion downtown.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles charlottesville

It might not necessarily sound like a relaxing night — going to a concert — but one of the most beautiful things about Charlottesville is just how accessible and intimate the entire downtown scene is, concert venues included.  You would think that being such a small town with smaller venues might not attract the same caliber of artists, but it’s just the opposite.  We are spoiled.

By 5:15 I had convinced Elly and Dar to come with me; at 5:30 I had all of our tickets in hand.  By 6pm I had picked them up in the party bus (enjoy the slightly exaggerated mental image) and we were en-route to Bella’s for a little pre-show wine and dinner. It was the perfect prelude to a ladies night out, and I didn’t think it could get much better – but it did.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles charlottesville

The weather was perfect.  No humidity, low heat, rain AND insect free; a seemingly impossible combination.  Add on a box seat upgrade from MAD auto girl herself, Jamie Schwartz, and you’ve got the best of everything right there.  Also, she played this song, which might have completed my life.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles cville

Fast forward two and a half weeks; skipping over week 1 of work back in Charlotte, all of the adventures in Charleston for the Grand Opening party, CLT work week 2, and say hello to this past Monday which brought the 2nd Installment of Sarah Bareilles into my summer, this time with 3rd row seats at the Uptown Amphitheater at the Music Factory.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles

Sometimes you just need it; lyrical connection, live music, an escape from the day to day, and a night out with friends.  The Charlotte show brought another night of seemingly impossible summer weather: no humidity, low 80’s, and just a general calm in the air that lends itself directly to a state of relaxed euphoria.  Tack on 5 people I love, and you’re really gaining momentum.

fuel sweat grow: sarah Bareilles

I’m not sure what it is about this particular artist; if it’s the nostalgic connection some of her songs have to my happiest and most painful memories, or if just the perfect storm of conditions and known songs was enough to peel back every layer of stress and concern that have formed around me, but I seriously considered quitting my life to follow this tour and see if I can find all the answers somewhere between the verses.

Since I had this same feeling at the Delta Rae show in Charlotte just a couple of months back (good thing it was their last tour date), I’m going to chock it up to being a love and connection for music – live music specifically – and am committing to doing a better job of making time for these blissful life escapes.  We all need a break from time to time; a recharge, and reconnection, to reflect and process the chaos that came before and will undoubtedly come after.

So, that being said….who’s got any good suggestions for must-see shows?

 

Wednesday, Thursday, FRIDAY….plus a little weekend

This week was more than a little crazy, but despite the long work days and project balancing, I was in Charlottesville and that in and of itself is something to be celebrated.  And it was, because Friday’s After Five is back for the season and we all finally have a renewed sense of motivation and drive to push through the rest of the week.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Friday's After Five 2014

Based on sales there were an estimated 20K people in attendance on Friday, only slightly down from last year – which I’d imagine was a result of the 50 degree chill, but still no place in the world I’d rather be.

Earlier in the day I actually took a little lunch break adventure as a part of our #MADloveCville campaign around town, and grabbed some sweet Cadbury Egg FILLED cupcakes from SweetHaus and dropped the off with a note and free class for a little ‘Free Sweet, Free Sweat’ action.

First Stop: the NEW Sass Factory Salon on Main Street (next to Bella’s).  These ladies are awesome, and despite being MAD in their own right, they’re some of our favorite clients to have in class so it made perfect sense to drop in.

fuel sweat grow: Sass Factory Salon #MADloveCville

Stop #2 happened at lululemon Charlottesville (showroom now located next to Shenanigans in the Main St. Annex) where Coach Kiks watched over the sweet little bundle and made sure it went to a good home.

Fuel Sweat Grow: lululemon #MADloveCville

I had two more cupcakes to give out, but was tight on time, so I saved them for the evening and left one with the awesome police at the information booth on the way in to Fridays to give out with their best discretion, and soldiered on into the MADness that was Fridays to give out the remaining treat, along with about 50 free class passes.  The beauty of Charlottesville is the community, the events that bring us together.  It’s rare to be able to go out every Friday night and know where all your friends are, and that there’s a single place to bring everyone together without having to juggle scheduling and multiple obligations.  For the constantly over-scheduled and under-available of us, it is the best way to streamline friends and friday plans into a pretty concise and guaranteed package.

By 8pm it was time for some food, and wine apparently, and Orzo was an easy choice after last week’s great dinner.  My parents were in town checking out houses, again, so it was a great meal to add to their slow tour d’Charlottesville.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Orzo kitchen

While it was pretty substantial that my parents were looking to retire in my favorite town in the world, the most substantial thing was the unlikely reality of the place they finally found.  My parents have a thing for water and land, which made some of their initial choices a little ‘interesting,’ but they eventually found ‘the one,’ that just so happens to be a house that I’ve observed from afar more times than I can count.

It’s not central in town, or on the typical beaten path that everyone would know, but if you were a rower at Virginia, it was on your daily path…on the water.

fuel sweat grow: Rivanna House

The edge of their property lines up with the final 250 meter marker on the rivanna 2k course, on the water UVa rows on.  It’s beautiful, it’s sentimental, and it’s the last little puzzle piece tying so much of my college experience together.  Even though they aren’t planning to move for a couple of years, I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be sooner rather than later.  And the best part?  There’s a pool that will be ready by closing in a month, and you better believe I’ll be ready too.

All in all the weekend was a pretty great start to ‘summer,’ and the rest of what’s to come.