Welcoming November with Positivity + Cautious Optimism

November is here and I’m itching for some change.  Daylight savings ended this weekend and I wasted most of the extra hour thinking about time, and all of the things I daydream (usually when I’m fighting waking up in the morning) that I would do if I just had one extra hour to myself.  Usually those thoughts center around either getting up earlier to workout, or just sleeping later — something of a paradox really.

Even though the idea of actually gaining an hour has already burned off, I want to be more intentional about how I start my days off — not just through actual action, but also intention and approach.

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There’s something to choosing an intention for the day — a subtle focus and general goal for how to mentally approach the waking hours.  Life is way too fluid to be controlled, but there’s something pretty powerful about selecting the lens through which you view it and how it really does begin to shine through the other garbage that starts to pile on.  And maybe, just maybe, over time the garbage will decrease — either in reality, or perception.  At least that’s the goal.

One of the best parts of the day is when I get to check my personal email and the daily Truth Bomb’s from Danielle LaPorte — it’s such a guilty (or not so guilty, really) pleasure of mine….but I need to put the effort in to have my own.  My friends at Merch Colony are currently doing a daily gratitude challenge in preparation for Thanksgiving, so as I launch this new positive/daily intention, I’m going to err on the side of gratitude this month.  December can be focused on a little more positivity since I know I’ll need it once the temps dip below what is reasonable…in my opinion.

This morning, admittedly, I took about a 45 minute delay on being exceptionally positive as I got up to head to MADabolic Cville for the 6am class.  I’m not a super early person these days, so it’s always begrudgingly that I make the early morning classes.  The up-side is that once I’m in it, I love it.  After years of waking up way early for rowing I have a deep love/hate for pre-dawn movement, but my body is definitely conditioned to rise to the occasion, and by 7am I already feel accomplished, strong, and completely focused on the day ahead.

As I was making my (3rd) coffee of the morning (in the newly renovated kitchen that I will undoubtedly be sharing more about, and in, soon), I sunk deeper into an already positive mindset, with gratitude that I’m able to start of Monday so happily, so productively, and with such an amazing group of people.  Followed up by this view of the back yard and the water line of the Rivanna beyond the trees — and thus Monday began with gratitude and a warm mug of coffee in my hands.  Not too shabby.

fuel sweat grow: view from the kitchen window

On another positive note, I made my first full meal in the new kitchen this weekend, and it felt so great to have my favorite space back.

fuel sweat grow: fall squash and salad

fuel sweat grow: grilled pesto chicken

I’m really into late summer/fall style salads right now, and aside from the general add of some avocado, pesto chicken seemed like a solid path to cautiously embrace November.

So, I welcome you, November with positivity, a fully functioning kitchen, and the cautious optimism of someone with an extra hour to burn and anxious anticipation of the cold months I avoid all year.

Talking Leafy Greens on Earth Day

You didn’t see a ton of [green] salads from me through the winter (though there were several created), but now that spring is here I’m all up in the leafy greens.  In the warmer weather, having the lighter option for meals is so appealing, and still allows for great variations, all while still abiding by the protein, carb, fat rule for meal pairings.

Here are some of my favorite salads from the last few weeks:

salad
romaine, walnuts, apples, avocado, blueberries
fuel sweat grow: salad
add chicken for the protein
romaine, avocado, red peppers,
romaine, avocado, red + yellow peppers, carrots, steak. topped with sunflower seeds
chopped salad:
chopped salad: romaine, avocado, sugar snap peas, walnuts, tomato [flank steak on the side]

Before I get into the food prep portion of this post, I think it’s more important to say that these salads are all amazing and delicious in their own right.  As I posted the pictures I started to crave salad in a serious way, which serves me right for writing this while I’m hungry – and also really speaks to the power of these salad combos to create positive taste bud memory.  Truly anything can go into a salad if you balance it with the other ingredients so they compliment each other, and is a great option when you’ve got a ton of leftovers or random orphan ingredients around your kitchen and no real apparent ‘meal’ components.

The hardest part of  meals creation isn’t actually putting them together – that’s the fun part. The hardest part of staying on plan and eating healthy is being prepared for each meal before you’re hungry and ready to eat anything in front of you.  While I’ve talked a bunch about pre-chopping vegetables and grilling extra meat every time the grill is on, there is also a ton of opportunity and advantage to pre-planning, making and packing salads.

When I make salad for a meal I always over plan so that there are plenty of leftovers, but complimentary to my love for ball jar organization, I really love salad jars for quick and easy planning and packing.  Dressing & any wet or chopped items on the bottom, lettuce and dry greens on the top to protect them from getting soggy.

salad jar

(source)

So, in honor of earth day, have a salad.  Love the earth.  Love your body and eat the food that was grown for it.  It will thank you, more than you can imagine.