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.

Spreading Awesome w/ Paleo Parents, Athletic Stretch + Friendsgiving(s)

Last week I needed a little focus mantra to push through the week and I loved this perspective of Kid President.

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Sometimes the to-do lists, the perpetual over scheduling and the weight of the yet-to-be-done work can bring senses of monotony and burden, rather than opportunity.  That was the choice last week for me; get pulled down into depths of the trivial, or prioritize through both time and emotional investment the things that really matter.  I chose the latter — the relationships and opportunities for the future that can give even the most mundane hours purpose.

So, that’s what I did.  And by the end of the week, I was tee’d up to be even more excited for the things that were happening in MADville (a.k.a. MADabolic Cville).

Friday night brought the book signing, and talk, with Paleo Parents, Stacey and Matt.  We loved having them in to MAD to share their story with the Charlottesville community.

fuel sweat grow: Paleo Parents Real Life Paleo

What I loved about their story is that it was about health — real health for their kids and family as a whole.  Weight loss and fitness were something of a byproduct, but their motivation and benefits had to do with saving their lives, and their children’s lives, from obesity and all that it triggers.  They are real people, with real lives, and very real health motivations to clean up their food.

fuel sweat grow: Paleo Parents Beyond Bacon

Their first book, Eat Like a Dinosaur, was originally written to help bring some normalcy, and clarity, to their children’s eating, and all the kids that were on gluten-free, dairy-free, or some allergen-free diets — and it’s awesome.  Kid tested and MAD approved.

We were lucky to also have Kathy from Keswick Gourmet sampling out her amazing marinara sauce; no sugar, preservatives, or any sort of additives…just good homemade sauce, the way your grandma always made.

Fuel sweat grow: spaghetti squash marinara

So all and all, we had some good clean fun last Friday in MADville, and are even bigger fans of Paleo Parents now that we can put faces to the name, and connect their story to the root of their cooking.  It’s a lifestyle thing, and we can totally dig that.

Saturday brought our Athletic Stretch Class with Robin from tru PILATES, which was over-sold and awesome — and definitely the first of many for our community.

fuel sweat grow: athletic stretch class tru Pilates

Tacos and mind-mapping continued after stretch with Robin and her fiancé Ryan for what was my final breakfast at Brazos Tacos before they ended their 60 day term in our beloved IX building.  We’re so lucky to have such cool things happening around us in our space (studio IX coming soon just two doors down!), and the coolest people that take anchor in our lives.

Saturday evening brought ‘Friendsgiving’ with some of the best people I’ve ever known.  And, of course, because it was a Maliha Creations (hosted) event, it was a warm, embracing night of grateful hearts and beautiful souls.

fuel sweat grow: friendsgiving 2014

fuel sweat grow: friendsgiving dinner

Sunday brought a day of recovery that included, but was not limited to breakfast back at the scene of the previous night’s friendsgiving, and a bonus night of real life paleo eating (and of course Keswick Gourmet).  There are few things I love more than small Sunday night dinners with friends, accompanied by great food, wine, and conversation.

All in all it was a great wrap up to a crazy week, and was exactly what was needed to wined down, and back up, into a week of work and holiday travel.   Boring was totally out, and awesome is the new black.

Thirty Love.

There’s not a day that goes by when I’m not acutely aware of how amazing the people in my life are — and how amazing my life is for that matter.  In a cliche way I often want to say how ‘lucky’ I am, but it’s not about luck — its about these people who make my life full, rich, and never ever (ever) dull.  It’s about the honest and sustaining love and appreciation that is grows out of shared experience, maturity, and compassionate relating….oh, and a whole hell of a lot of fun.

fuel sweat grow: celebrating friend love and birthdays #23to30

I can’t begin to count the number of times (sometimes multiple times a day) I’m overwhelmed by all of the amazing souls in my life.  This weekend was a full one, and kicked off early on Friday night with a sweet gathering of friends in Charlottesville to help me celebrate thirty before I make my way down to Charlotte this week.

fuel sweat grow: 30th Birthday #23to30

Two weeks ago I posted about the amazing and inspiring Wonder Women that make up my tribe and have impacted my growth, and of course, two of them brought the theme to life.  Lisa, who made me an amazing (2nd) Wonder Woman crown, cuffs, and personalized stationary, and Anita (the WW behind Maliha Creations) who made this amazing cake, all clad with power and containing some of the best salted caramel filling (and THE best buttercream) that anyone has ever had.

fuel sweat grow: Maliha creations Wonder Woman Birthday cake

Unconditional love is something we all, hopefully, know when we are born.  It’s an expectation of family, good or bad, and something that we all strive to replicate when we cultivate our adult relationships.  It can be hit or miss –  I’ve learned this over time – but the evolution seems to be within ourselves, and as we grow that love in our relationship with ourselves, the external relationships seem to follow suit.   It took me until my late twenties to understand and more fully live this concept, and I’m declaring this the theme of my thirties;- universal, full, unconditional, and boundary-less love of myself and relationships of quality, not quantity.

It has really been in the last 5 years that I’ve learned how to really build my tribe; I’ve learned what I’m looking for (and conversely, what I’m not looking for) in the people and environments I surround myself with.  It has been a process, but I’ve learned (and still am learning) to be unapologetically true to myself and what I want to achieve, living by no one else’s timeline or values.  Thanks to my people, I finally feel the solid ground underneath me that helps to give me the confidence and stability to openly enter this next decade.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend so special to me — there’s definitely more to come on the details (read: incriminating ridiculous photos) clearly defining why it was so awesome.  I’ve got 4.5 days left of 29, and you better believe I’m going to squeeze out every last drop — but just for the sake of finishing it out strong.  I’m ready for you thirties, I think I might already be in love with you.

Salads, Sweats + A Little Too Much Celebration

Welcome to the end of the busiest week ever.  Well, not ever, and probably not even close when compared to how this upcoming week is looking like it’s going to roll out.  Regardless, here are some of the amazing highlights of what went down.

I made this salad. (You’re captivated already, I know.) In the spirit of my summer berry salad obsession, and because I had all the ingredients left over, this salad had romaine, spinach, avocado, cucumber, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.

fuel sweat grow: berry avocado salad

Roasted more cauliflower paired with grilled flank steak.

fuel sweat grow: roasted cauliflower

I’ve been making this a lot the past few months and started to feel a little bored with it, but have found that changing up the seasonings, adding it to the salad, and even adding it to scrambled eggs (with my usual zucchini and some sort of meat) is amazing.  I definitely recommend it for a little crunchy add on.

On the sweat side of things I actually took two days off to let my body recoup, but in between did the bootcamp workouts that Dar coached on monday/wednesday/friday.   Here’s one of my favorite workouts from the week (and a sweet pic of my new kicks) in Dar’s garage gym.

fuel sweat grow: interval workout

It has been awesome to to the bootcamp workouts (I usually do the 6am), but I have been craving a run here and there lately.  With all the rain happening this week it was tough to time an outdoor run, and during the one single hour I had on friday to get a run in, I found myself at UHall, the old (pretty empty) basketball arena at UVa.

When I was rowing at Virginia we worked out in this building through most of the winter, and would frequently run the stadium.  I don’t remember ever being excited about stadiums then, but somehow, on Friday, it was exactly what I needed.

fuel sweat grow: UHall stadiums

There were a few facilities guys playing some pick up basketball on the court, but for the most part it was a complete escape from everything else going on in my world — the perfect setting for running stairs.

fuel sweat grow: UVa UHall

In other news, social events have been a little too easy to come by this week with a summer kick off neighborhood party on Sunday complete with grilling, pot luck, and a moon bounce.

Thursday was the 4th grade graduation at the elementary school next to our development, so we went to support one of our favorite 4th grader, Asha (Uday + Anita’s oldest daughter) as she said goodbye to elementary school.

fuel sweat grow: asha graduation

Her mom (the amazing Anita behind Maliha Creations) put together this unreal dessert table for the grads and their guests.  I’m not sure what we had for my 4th grade graduation, but I assure you, the dessert table didn’t look like this.

fuel sweat grow: Johnson elementary 4th grad graduation

Now skip ahead to Friday night, and we’re faced with another amazing creation, a la Anita, for Asha’s 10th birthday party which completely upstaged any party I’ve ever had.

fuel sweat grow: Asha's birthday

It was a spa party complete with pedicures, make your own bath bombs, and scented oils.

fuel sweat grow: spa party

Dar chaperoned.  Kind of.

fuel sweat grow: dar mask

Uday got to work grilling steak, chicken, and tofu kabobs on the grill, and they were all amazing.

fuel sweat grow: kabobs

Seriously, they were so good that they made today’s Whole Foods shopping list.  Uday’s were actually had made, but today I was feeling a little too overwhelmed to even toy with that idea.

Once the pedicures and gift opening wrapped up (or unwrapped I guess?), the kids were contained in the living room, fully equipped with sleeping bags and 10-year old chatter, and one-by-one the bootcampers started to stroll in from varies places around town.  That being said, I’ll leave you with this inspiring series of pictures.

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I made the pilgrimage down to Charlotte today and have lots of fun updates for the rest of the week, including but not limited to the borderline obsessive meal construction that happened before I left so that week 1 of craziness transitioned a little easier with full fuel and clean eats.

A Weekend of Workouts, Yoga, Friends + Yum

Last week was exciting, overwhelming, and completely packed.  Thanks to the rain that had been pouring down for days, we had to split up the bootcamp groups to bring them inside which meant early mornings every day.  When the sun finally came out on Friday morning, it was almost euphoric, and a definite prelude to a classically beautiful Charlottesville weekend.
morning bootcamp

The Friday bootcamp workout took us right up to the hour marker with a solid warmup and stretch followed by a chipper-style partner workout that took all the groups between 22-30 minutes.

The rules of the WOD were that both partners had to carry the med ball at some point during the run, and only one person’s work counted at any given time, so the resting partner was either at rest, or holding a plank, while the other was working.  The workout was:

  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)
  • 100 Box Jumps (resting partner held a plank)
  • 150 Kettlebell swings
  • 100 Push-ups
  • 150 Air squats (resting partner held a plank)
  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)

I worked out with the 7am group which was an awesome way to kick off the day.  I love getting a solid workout in early so I can either take the rest of the day easy, or take an afternoon run or walk when it’s nice out.  Dar actually offered an optional Saturday bootcamp to anyone that could make it, and found herself with a full house on Saturday morning for a killer Barbell Complex that I’m going to try out tomorrow morning.

The rest of Friday flew by with meetings and to-do lists in anticipation of a pretty awesome weekend.  As I shared a few weeks ago, two of my favorite people – Katie and Adam – were coming up from Charlotte to teach an inversion workshop at Opal Yoga here in Cville.  Neither of them had ever been to Charlottesville before, so it was game on to try and show them the most abridged version of everything that makes Charlottesville unbelievable.

We strolled the downtown mall, hit up the middle of Friday’s after five, and then made our way over to The Local for a long (and overdue) dinner.

The Local

The weather got a bit wonky as our drinks came out, so our awesome waitress let us move into the private wine room that was empty after a reservation cancellation.

the local wine room

I’m not sure if it could have gotten much better than that; great friends, amazing food, and the ability to hear each other and have very in-depth conversations – all surrounded by walls chock full of wine.  In the words of our friend Brandon: #notbadifyoulikeperfect.

And that wasn’t even all.  When we got home we had the most amazing treat, literally: cupcakes from one of our favorite friends, Anita, who is the sweet-genius behind Maliha Creations, and happens to also be our neighbor.  We had received (hand delivered by her three adorable children) lavender cupcakes with vanilla + lemon icing on Thursday night, only to be surprised with a second box of carrot cake cupcakes with caramel drizzle on Friday afternoon.

maliha creations - cupcakes

They were amazing.  Seriously amazing.  I love carrot cake, and these were especially good, but there was something so different and appealing about the combination of the lavender and lemon that I couldn’t get enough of.

lavender/lemon cupcake

They were the perfect way to end the night.

Saturday was a crazy morning that included, but was not limited to, 90 minutes of walking for me, getting locked out of the house with all of the keys and dogs inside (thanks Kristin for saving our lives with the million keys at the bottom of your bag), and the Charlottesville City Market.  With all of the bustling around town we got home with just enough time to make a quick salad before the yoga workshop.

grilled chicken salad

Pretty simple no-drama salad here: romaine, cucumber, avocado, grilled chicken, tomato.

The workshop was awesome, and we had a great group of well-intentioned, fun, and engaged yogi’s at Opal, which made it even more amazing.  Here are a few pics that Katie took to capture the event.

Opal workshop w/ Adam + Katie

Opal Workshop with Adam + Katie

Opal workshop with Adam + Katie

Even Dar got into it, and was able to knock ‘crow’ off of her to-do list in her first-ever attempt which is both impressive and really annoying to anyone who has ever struggled. But hey, coordination is coordination I suppose, and you know how she likes those functional movements.

After the workshop we took up four tables at Moto Pho Co AND One Meatball Place and played musical chairs (meals) for a while, getting to know each other a little better, inducting Katie and Adam into our culture (it wasn’t difficult) and enjoying the beautiful day that it turned out to be.

Since Adam also teaches music he and Katie had to head back to Charlotte last night so we capped off their visit with a necessary trip to Paradox Pastry, and then a tour of our top-secret, never been revealed location for the new Fight Gone MAD: Cville.  I think it’s safe to say you can expect to see them here again, hopefully sooner rather than later, and most definitely for some events around the grand opening of Fight Gone MAD, and anything else we can think of to bring them back.  If you have ideas of your own, inbox me, I’m taking all suggestions.

They gave me this awesome spice kit from Savory Spice Shop in Charlotte as a Thank you for having them, and I could not be more pumped to use them in some meals very soon.  Thank you guys!

spice kit

We already miss having them here, but I can’t exactly put into words how devastated Tank and Bug were that they left.  Tank took to Adam more (and faster) than he has ever taken to another human in his life, and bug was sure that she was going to get to live with Katie (and Mitch, wedgie, ralph + weaz).  They even practiced their own versions of sun salutations on the deck for an hour before giving up and settling into the couch. IMG_3454

What they don’t know is that we’re all heading to Charlotte tomorrow so they’ll get to see them again soon.  Until then, I’m going to take a few minutes to unwind before another crazy week begins.   Happy Mother’s day to all you moms out there!