A Fantastically Fresh + Fit Collab: 14 Day Real Food Reset

23 Apr

If you missed it on my Facebook page, I have some exciting news! My amazing friend Rachele at Fantastically Fresh & Fit and I have put together a seriously kick-ass 2 week health challenge that will have you glowing and feeling amazeballs just  in time for Memorial Day!

IMO, getting healthy is always a little more fun with some direction and a rad group of people to keep each other fired up. Of course, I would never put you on a diet, being that I’m not a doctor and don’t know your individual health goals – and really, do you think I’d actually ask you to give up wine? Um, no. So if you’re interested in learning more, here’s a little bit of information:

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Our goal of the14 day Real Food Reset Program is to educate and empower you to learn more about overall health and wellness. This program is open to anyone: Whether you are already a health nut, or even if you do not iceberg from arugula (bad health joke, sorry), you will find that this is an easy and manageable way to up your health game!

What the Real Food Reset isn’t: a diet, cleanse, or fast. There are no weigh-ins, blacklisted foods or points for pounds lost.  Quite a few of you have asked “Can I eat carbs?,” or “What about martinis?” You don’t have to give up anything: the goal is going to be to ADD healthy, nutrient dense food to your daily diet and develop healthy habits, while racking up the points for doing so!

What the Real Food Reset Is: Just a little fun, health competition among friend and friends-to-be right in time for you to kick off your summer.  In 14 days you will learn a lot about what real food is all about and how to fuel your body with the best nutrients and lifestyle factors possible. We’ll compete for points by adding foods from our Nutrient Superstar list into our meals, making slight modifications, and either adding or improving your fitness levels, getting some sleep, and staying hydrated, group participation and a few other fun things!

It’s $25 bucks to join, and for that you’ll receive:

  • Real Food Recipe Rolodex: easy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and desserts for you to mix and match during your challenge

  • Meal planning template

  • Grocery shopping guide

  • 20 minute workout ideas designed by your trainer, Rachele

  • List of Fit Nation’s nutrient dense foods

  • A score tracking sheet where you will log your daily points in health categories to compete to win some fun prizes.

  • Members-only community boards and forums + a private Facebook group to share pictures and progress

  • A daily emailed check in with video tips

  • Access to the members section of our website

  • TONS of support and encouragement, and prizes for the winners!

We’re going to kick this off on May 6th and it will last for two weeks, and I just know it’s going to be a blast! Who doesn’t love a little healthy competition? If you want to join us, visit here to sign up. You can also learn a little more on our website, here.

Would LOVE to see you there!!

XO

M

 

 

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LWN Spring Workout Playlist

21 Apr

Good morning my favorite peeps, happy Monday!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Easter (or just a wonderful Sunday, depending how you swing). Mine was lovely – I indulged in a a few of my favorite things, in no particular order: bubbly, cheese, olives, a little bit of a delish prosciutto and goat cheese strata (recipe compliments of my #1, Erin), but mostly filled up on a big ol’ protein waffle with blueberry compote, and some veggies / fruit. NBD.

Here’s a little peek at my Easter brunch…

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meat and cheese

buddha

asparagus

fruit - edit

muffins

Guess I was too busy with the English cheddar to get pics of the mains, but you get the idea.

Anyway, it was really beautiful outside in the afternoon and I was kind of dying for a long run on the beach. Since I needed badly to digest first, I put together a pretty happy lil’ playlist, which of course I’m going to share with you.  I’ll be posting more of these soon so feel free to follow me on Spotify!

 

My run was amazing and I made it home just in time to gaze at this stud of a sunset.  It just keeps getting better!

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Happy Monday, lovers!

XO
M

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Scale, We’re Over

18 Apr

A couple of months ago, I said goodbye to an old friend.  One I’d known for most of my life.

While I wouldn’t say the relationship was especially unhealthy, in hindsight I realize that I was probably putting too much stock in my the feedback I was getting, and maybe letting that feedback dictate the way I felt about myself a bit more frequently than I should have.

Like any goodbye, it wasn’t easy at first, but I’ve grown more and more accustomed to the absence, and although I’ve had my ups and downs about it, I realize now that cutting ties was more liberating than I had ever expected it to be.

Goodbye, scale. It’s been real, but we’re over.

scale

Honestly, I can’t say saying peace out to my scale was some emotionally charged, grandiose parting of ways. In fact, a friend who was doing a company weight loss challenge asked to borrow it, so I lent it to her. Only, I had been thinking of getting rid of it for a while at that point, so after some final internal deliberation I decided to just let her keep the damn thing.

You see, I haven’t been obsessed with numbers on a scale for a long time. But I’m not going to lie – I used it from time to time keep myself in check. But during a particularly stressful time about a year ago, I lost 6 or 7 pounds as the result of not having an appetite. While I wasn’t loving the way it looked (a lot of what I lost was muscle), I found myself sort of pleased with the number that showed up when I weighed myself. That on it’s own already doesn’t make any kind of logical sense, but to add to that, it occurred to me that I went from weighing in every couple of weeks to every couple of days. While the odd pound or two didn’t ruin my day, it did occasionally affect my mood.

The other issue was “fat days” and “skinny days.”  While I’m the first to admit that in no way am I even close to “fat” (I’m just using the common term), I would be lying if I said I’m not like any other woman who has the occasional, PMS-y day where my jeans feel tight and make me grouchy, however, if I got on the scale and weighed less than I anticipated, I was instantly in a better mood. Conversely, there were an occasion or two where I caught sight of myself and was like “yeahhhhh girl,” but would weigh myself a day later, have put on a pound or two -probably water weight, honestly- but suddenly my reflection somehow looked different. And that is pretty messed up, if you really think about it.

Please don’t get me wrong – these instances were few and far between.  But the last time it happened, I realized that letting an arbitrary number dictate how I feel about myself was complete and total bullshit.

So for the record I’m extremely proud of my relationship with food. We are totally, totally cool. Like, it’s one of my largest sources of pride- I can eat a piece of pie and a burger if that’s really what I want and not give it a second thought. Considering that the first 20-something years of my life were spent with an insane preoccupation with dieting (resulting in a lifelong struggle with a yo-yo’ing weight), I find peace knowing that in no way does food dictate my life. I mean, I feel healthy.  So why the hell should I care what a scale says?

Every once in a while I get a little curious and wonder for a moment what I weigh, but my clothes fit the same and I feel good because I take pride in what goes in my body, so it only takes a second to remember that I’m better off without it . After all, beauty is not a number on a scale, and self worth should not come from pants size.

I’m actually a little surprised that I let a number have any impact on my mood, and even if those instances were infrequent, not having it at all has made them non-existent.  And that has been awesome.

The end.

 

XO

M

 

 

 

WTH of the Week: Diet Double Standards

15 Apr

wtf

The other night I was combing through recipes online, looking for the perfect Sunday dinner, when I stumbled across a recipe for Paleo Pad Thai. It sounded delicious – zucchini noodles instead of, well, whatever noodles are ordinarily used in Pad Thai, loads of veggies, blackened chicken. Healthy, nutritious, and lighter than ‘real” Pad Thai? Sunday dinner plans, check.

I kept reading the recipe and was getting pretty hungry when I stumbled across a sentence (well, the latter half of a sentence) that made me burst out laughing. In describing the meal, the author was explaining the reason for subbing zucchini noodles rather than using “real” noodles, in a way that I perceived to be completely serious, was described as a perfect way to eliminate “troublesome poison-grains.”

Troublesome poison-grains?  OMG.  So, I know that grain isn’t exactly the Homecoming Queen these days, but poison grain? It was so extreme that it made me giggle.

Jump to the next sentence, which then suggests using blackened chicken as opposed to baked or rotisserie, because the char of the chicken adds to the flavor of the meal. End giggling, enter irritation/eye roll/sighs.

$100 Lululemon gift card to the first person who can guess why this is so irritating to me (and the answer “because everything irritates you, Meg” is not the one I’m looking for, although you might be on to something).

Ok fine, I’ll just tell you. First: the reference (although unintentionally funny) to “poison grain.”   I understand that every couple of years a new diet comes along that spreads a movement of “don’t eat this food group because new studies and even these old studies show it’s really terrible for you” and then some food group gets shut out. I get it, I don’t like it at all but fine. However– such dramatic language (eg, “poison grain”)  from anyone other than a team of scientists really gets under my skin.

But the part that really annoys me? Arbitrary “health” rules and double standards. Like, that gets wayyy under my skin. For instance, when the author of a recipe posted in a highly visible place decides to pick and choose what will and won’t kill you. Like what I’m saying is, maybe don’t call grains “poison” and then suggest adding a food that the National Cancer Institute, Cancer.org, and the American Cancer society recommend avoiding because of  studies potentially linking charred food to an increased cancer risk. Or call for a processed-soy (<- which is highly controversial in the food world) based sauce.

‘Cause you’re probably going to have some people scratching their heads.

I am totally not criticizing this author singularly (and seriously, my partially-poisonous dinner was absolutely delicious) –  it’s just an isolated example of a broader problem that I find deeply frustrating.  I’m also definitely not saying anyone who follows a particular diet or lifestyle is wrong or misguided. What I am saying is that we can get into some real trouble when we start making extreme claims to validate our dietary choices, even though the science behind nutrition is constantly evolving.  As an image and partially health-obsessed society who is always searching for an answer, we tend to buy into the latest “research” to the point where everything else is wrong, leading to extreme point of views, misinformation, and ultimately confusion.

And before you know it, we’re all terrified of food in general, thinking grains are poison and meat causes heart disease but soy will give me breast cancer so WTF do I eat?

We’ve replaced eating in moderation with a half dozen “lifestyles” that are all the only right way to eat, yet all contradict each other in terms of research.  To this I say, moderation, people. Neither a donut here or a burrito there is going to make you fat if you’re truly eating moderately, and it’s certainly not going to kill you. Unless you choke on it.  I’m 100% for good health, but I’m 110% not for scare tactics or extremes. There are enough things  to be afraid of and food, at least in my humble opinion, should not be one of them.

XO

M

Meet my Frenemy, Salt.

14 Apr

Oh, salt.

Such mixed feelings I have about thee. Just last night I sprinkled the lightest dusting of you ever upon my roasted veggies and this morning I’ve got sausage fingers. I’m not sure I like you much.

Doesn’t help your cause that I grew up believing you were health enemy #1 (well, maybe not #1 but you were up there). I mean, yeah it was the 80’s and everyone was saying that too much of you would definitely lead to to high blood pressure and an untimely death from cardiovascular disease, and I don’t like the way you make my mouth taste so we’ve never really been besties.

But I’m starting to have second thoughts about wanting to keep my distance all the time.

WTF would change my mind after all these years?  Because recently, a suppressed memory from high school Chemistry popped into my head in the middle of a rant about how salt makes my eyes hurt.  I actually remembered that salt isn’t an enemy.  It’s more like, a frenemy. Really great, until it’s not. A high salt intake isn’t good for the ol’ ticker and salt gets a terrible rep but did you know the human body actually needs a pinch or two of salt to function properly? So don’t be a hater.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that healthy adults consume 1500 mg of sodium (3.8 grams of salt), to replace the amount lost daily on average through sweat and urination. The minimum physiological requirement of sodium simply to sustain life has been estimated to be 500 mg of sodium per day.

Believe it or not, sodium is a vital nutrient. I won’t go all Bill Nye on you, but our bodies rely on electrolytes, including salt, to carry impulses that control many crucial bodily functions.  It’ss especially important to the nervous, digestive, and muscular systems.  It stimulates the adrenal glands, protects us from sunstroke and heat related problems, and helps the kidneys and stomach absorb nutrients.  Without salt, blood pressure can fall too low, and it’s very important to consume enough from outside sources in order to meet the minimum requirement.

Salt intake is a bit of a balancing act. I feel it’s definitely safe to say that as a society we consume way too much, but a deficiency can lead to nasty conditions like dehydration (counter-intuitive, right?), low blood pressure, and shock. Worst case scenario? Brain swelling, coma, and congestive heart failure. Sweet.

So, go ahead and use a little of that yummy crunchy sea salt here and there (especially that trendy pink kind you slice off a rock, it’s pretty), just don’t go balls out. A little does a body good.

salt

 

Mango Ceviche Tacos

11 Apr

I know I promised some fitness (etc) posts ASAP, but after some solid TV watching followed by an inspired dinner tonight I just couldn’t resist.

I’d apologize but I know that after you try this, you’ll forgive me!

This all stems from a slightly unhealthy obsession with Anthony Bourdain and all three of his TV shows. Say what you will (sorry if I sound defensive here, but my friends take great pleasure in harassing me about this), but anyone who gets to travel the world and eat the best of each country while doing so is my hero, and will consequently win over roughly 95% of allotted television viewing hours.

Anyway, I was laying on the couch watching No Reservations in Panama, and Tony was yammering away about some pineapple ceviche with sea salt and hot sauce…cue grumbling stomach. As soon as the show concluded I marched my ass into the kitchen and started tearing into the refrigerator. It must have been my lucky day because inside were enough relevant ingredients to throw together a ceviche that Mr Bourdain himself would have been impressed with.

Yeah, so this ceviche is sorta perfection. The mango is the key here: it elevates your regular ol’ ceviche to a crave-worth combo of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy (<- that’s like, a lot going on, in a good way. Holla!). You can use it as a status-quo dip for chips, but I think its best side is brought out wrapped in a corn tortilla. Like, as in a taco.

It’s enough to impress a boy (hi =tacos, boys love tacos) but will still meet the strict standards of your healthiest girlfriends.

Here are your ingreds:

  • 2 cups of cooked shrimp, tails removed and cut into pieces
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • juice of 1 lime and 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Hot sauce to taste

Mix it all up in a big bowl, cover it, put it in the fridge and let the flavors marinate for a couple of hours.  Spoon into corn tortillas and serve with your favorite Mexican sides.

And a couple big skinny margaritas. Obvi.

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5.5

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AB&J Muffins

9 Apr

So I’ve been on a little bit of a food post kick lately. I really began this blog with the intentions to talk health, wellness, and fitness, but I keep seeming to get distracted with food. I mean, fitness is my passion, but lately cooking has become my therapy. And um, well I really like to eat.

I think most people come home after a long day and either play with their kids or plop down on the couch. Lately, I’ve been going straight to my kitchen and work on cooking up something new for dinner (please keep in mind I eat breakfast for dinner 50% of the time, hence the abundance of breakfast recipes). Makes me feel like some sort of hungry mad scientist…well, a mad scientist who ruins a lot of experiments. Oopsie.

But when I make something that exceeds my expectations or is popular with my friends or husband, I do a little victory dance in my apron.

Sorry for the visual.

I promise to post more about health & fitness soon, but in the meantime, I have something I want to share with you: almond butter & jam muffins.

Nut butter and jam in muffin form?  No complaints here, at least not from me!  It also just so happens that these can be easily modified to be vegan and/or gluten-free. They also happen to be flourless, extremely low in sugar (1/4 c maple syrup across 12 muffins = negligible amount per muffin) and also happen to be made from whole foods.

Oh. And they’re kinda amazing if I don’t say so myself: a victory dance was indeed performed after Danny finished his and promptly went in for a second.

 

OM4

Omuffin2

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups rolled oats (use gluten free if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 egg or 1 flax egg (for vegan)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup dried fruit or nuts (optional)
  • mashed berries or strawberry chia seed jam, to taste (I used about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter or nut butter of choice.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2  bowls: in the first, combine oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and jam. In a the other,  whisk together the coconut oil, almond milk, syrup/honey, and egg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  3. Distribute the batter into 2 lined muffin tins (batter will be pretty wet, btw). Bakes for 25-35 minutes or until  just golden brown. Bake time can vary depending on size of muffin tins, so just keep an eye on them.

 

 

 

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