Archive for August 2015

Super Soul Sunday

Sunday is my day of rest and reflection. Everyone does this differently, but I specifically enjoy: reading my favorite authors, meditating with tea, attending church, and watching Super Soul Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. I have a notebook in which I collect my thoughts, aims, goals, life plans, dreams, visions, and inspirational quotes. I hope to share a piece of that with you every week, and I hope you also find time to quiet yourself and look inward during the week. It’s the only way you will truly figure rout your purpose and your plan. If you’re like me, it  morphs and develops every week!

Super Soul Sunday

Whole 30 Challenge Details

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Some of the Super Sisters Results with their professional programs!

Hi Friends, here are your Whole 30 Challenge Details! I’m so excited to be teaming up with Super Sisters Fitness to offer this Whole 30 challenge for you from September 10-October 10th, 2015. A lot of you know that I won their Bikini Bootcamp challenge this year and am a big advocate of their programs that dually coach members in nutrition and exercise regimes in a SUPER professional manner. These women have a very esteemed background in nutrition, sports & exercise science, and personal training; you can check out all their legit certifications at their web link.

You guys also know that I have struggled with my general health because of PCOS and IBD, which causes weight fluctuation, bloating, weakness, fatigue, anxiety, and food intolerance to name a few. There were times in my health journey when I felt hopeless and faced with insurmountable odds because of  my “genetics” or “body type.” When I joined with Super Sisters, I found a cohort of women that had similar (and different) experiences, but who all wanted to lift each other up and support one another on our physical health journeys. Enlisting in this program gave me a daily workout regime that becomes addicting within 2 weeks and can be done at home OR in a gym with little to no equipment. It also provided me with nutrition and meal prep guidance every week, and most importantly,  the micronutrients that my body was missing out on from years of eating poorly and dealing with other health issues. These micronutrients, provided through a daily shake, daily shot of juice, daily supplement, and weekly cleanse, made all the difference in my results. I went from A) exercising every day and eating 1-2 cheat meals per week and losing a pound a week  to B) Losing inches and pounds, refreshing my skin, flattening my belly, ending bloat, reducing PCOS symptoms, building lean muscle, and regaining energy I haven’t had since high school. My new philosophy is to work smart and hard and that’s what this system enables you to do. It is REALLY hard to go on this journey alone, and it can take so much time that we give up on results. Super Sisters is rewarding me for my hard work and giving my friends and readers a special price on their 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge until September 10th!

In addition, I have created a “Whole 30″ Topic heading to the right, which will include some of my personal favorite Whole 30/Whole Food/”Paleo” recipes, and daily motivations and tips for sticking with your journey. The 30 Day Clean Eating Guide Book contains all your Do’s and Don’t for food and even supplies you with a convenient shopping list and weekly meal prep. I’ve outlined some of this generally on my 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge post and I plan to get more into the Do’s and Don’ts in some future postings. If you’ve heard enough and are excited to feel better next Month then Enroll in our program here.

If you have questions please shoot me an email or comment below!

Bikini-Bootcamp-Part-2-Before-and-after-front--Elisabeth-L

My 30 Day Results

 

 

Video How To: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Thanks to my friend Martin for the fabulous video! I’m bringing these dates to my Essential Oils Class tonight in Chapel Hill! Check them out all crisped and cooked in my Dairy-Free Cauliflower Soup Post

A Guide to Ireland: The North

Finally, I can post my Northern Ireland Guide! Please see my other guides at A guide to Ireland: Dublin and A guide to Ireland: The Republic.

I lived in Dublin, which is in the Republic, where I attended grad school. But if we’re being honest….there’s something mystical and ethereal about the north that is different from the republic. Those 6 little counties seem sad in a way; industrialized and tied to the UK in a way maybe some regret. But it’s that juxtaposition of the grey industrial with the bright green mountains of Mourn or valleys of Derry that is so mind-blowing. Equally, it’s the connectedness you feel looking over at the Scottish Isles from Giant’s Causeway or reaching out toward the North from Dunluce Castle (the mythical dwelling of Princess Isolde). So many worlds are closing in on one another at this point, you feel like you could just reach out and touch them, or like maybe you could picture your Scottish ancestors, fleeing persecution and landing safely in Ireland for a reprieve before sailing to America. It’s just sort of crazy how untouched it all still seems. here is my Top Ten for your visit to Northern Ireland! It goes without saying, take the coastal road, all the way around and down!

  1. Dunluce Castle, Portrush, County Antrim. It’s just poetic in its ruins. And since it’s falling into the sea, it won’t wait for you forever.
  2. Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim ( you can see the causeway for free if you buy a delicious Irish Coffee at the Hotel. It will be necessary. Trust me. It’s never warm in this spot.)
  3. The old Bushmills Distillery, Bushmills, County Antrim
  4. The Mountains of Mourne, County Down (The Mourne Wall, Hare’s Gap, any trail, insane views and sunsets here, Slieve Donard)
  5. Derry town , County Derry, Bishop’s Gate and only walled town in Ireland. Derry is geographically divided by a river and on the edge of the republic (Donegal). This town is fascinating, with it’s long history of upheaval and division between Northern Ireland Nationalists and the Republic supporters.
  6. Ulster Museum, Belfast has a fabulous mixture of modern exhibitions and historic permanent displays. They definitely have the advantage of the Brits as far as funding for fabulous museums goes
  7. Europa Hotel, Belfast. This is Europe’s most bombed hotel. Taken down by the IRA over 40 times, until the 1990’s– I think a more fitting title would be World’s most resilient hotel
  8. Belfast Murals are just so cool and gritty. Belfast’s graffiti is a piece of Ireland that you definitely have to experience. I know I harp on history and knowing where you’ve been, but…You’ve gotta know where you’re going too.
  9. Belfast City Hall, Where President Clinton helped facilitate peace agreements between the North and South in 1998.
  10. Beaghmore, County Tyrone, a complex of Bronze Age structures including stone circles and cairns.

Close contenders include: Titanic Museum. Belfast, Antrim Castle, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Devenish Island ( most extensive remains of an early Christian settlement in Ireland)

A guide to Ireland: The North

 

30 Day Clean Eating Challenge- Starts September 10th!

Maybe some of you have a nutrition cycle like me: You do really well all week long with few indulgences. You make your balanced lunches, and dream up nutritious dinners like zoodles with homemade pesto or buffalo chicken lettuce cups with homemade dressing. You eat vegetarian for most meals, vegan even, and lots of fish and lean protein to fill you up after workouts. THEN the weekend comes along… One indulgence becomes EVERY MEAL, drinking alcohol leaves you feeling too lazy for morning workouts, and everyone is eating out and using food to socialize, right?

Usually for me, Sunday ends in a necessary liquid fast after this type of weekend and I start my week off feeling less than great, and back on my clean eating train. That’s why I’m challenging myself to a 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge or WHOLE 30. This type of whole food cleanse is so good for your body (unlike the water-cayenne pepper-lemon juice kind) and is REALISTIC to maintain over a lifetime. I could honestly not imagine going back to sugar or wheat after my first 30 days without it and there is a distinct possibility that you could find a similar culprit for your headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, anxiety, and be free of it after October 10th. What a fabulous way to start out the Fall Season? With all your clothes too big and a new palate for healthy, seasonal food.

I only have success with this type of thing when I have accountability partners! That’s why I am participating in my 30 Day Whole food Challenge via my friends over at Supersisterfitness.com  The program includes meal plans, supplements, nutritious cleanse day drinks and a built-in support system, so that you really can’t fail. Comment below or Send me an email if you want details on how you can participate!

Here are some rules to guide our 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge

  • NO Processed foods– meaning nothing pre-packaged or not REAL
  • NO SUGAR- this includes added sugar! (I’m looking at you, Greek Yogurt)
  • NO Alcohol (ok, one glass of red wine a week if you must)
  • NO refined carbohydrates (which should already be clear from #1) but I’ll say it again: don’t eat  white rice, corn, or wheat
  • DO YOUR BEST to eat organic, antibiotic- free meat. Local is best. Know that the animal that is feeding you had a normal animal life.
  • LIMIT Dairy. I do not have milk, cream, or any milk by-product because these foods are inflammatory for me. I DO have low-lactose cheeses, dark chocolate, and make my own yogurt. Find a balance and do what works for you!
  • NO Soda or beverages other than water. Only green tea or “bulletproof”  coffee…more on that later

If you follow the rules above, I KNOW you will be feeling better in 72 hours or less. Take your Summer challenge to the next level with this me this month and start Fall off on the right foot!
30 Day Clean Eating Challenge

It’s Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 ways

Normally I wouldn’t start on my soup craze until September, but I turned up with a bad cold this rainy Monday morning, and there’s nothin
g better. Luckily I tried out (and tweaked to perfection) this lovely Cauliflower Soup Recipe. I can’t wait to post a picture of what it looks like with It's Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 waysthe curry powder in it! Cauliflower is such a superstar in the kitchen– from bread to pizzas, to rice to mash, and soup too! Versatility is key for me. Check out the simple recipe below, adapted from Paleo Leap and look for my DIY video later this week for the incredible Bacon-Wrapped Dates in the corner of my Cauliflower Soup photo!

Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 Ways (8 servings, easily doubled)

1 head cauliflower
1 cup of light coconut milk ( I like the Trader Joe’s brand with no sugar or additives)
3 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegan soup, chicken has more flavor and homemade is always best)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tb thyme
cooking fat
GENEROUS salt and black pepper

*Garnish with crumbled bacon (pictured with cheddar cheese because I had bacon wrapped dates! yum!)

for 2nd way: add 2 Tb. Curry Powder, 2 Tb turmeric, and Cilantro garnish at the end! 

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees; Combine chopped onion, garlic, and cauliflower head onto a sheet pan and bake roast for 30 minutes
  2. Move your roasted mixture to a large pot and add chicken stock and herbs. Let this mixture come to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. After flavors are incorporated through simmer, turn heat off, remove bay leaf,  and use hand-held mixer/ emulsifier (or move to a blender/processor) to blend into a creamy consistency
  4. Once all your cauliflower is broken down, stir in your coconut milk, and then you can add spices (salt and pepper to taste).
    * if you choose to make it the 2nd way with curry powder and turmeric, your soup will be a bright golden color, garnish with cilantro.
  5. I like to serve in large bowls with crumbled bacon as a garnish. I’m not dairy-intolerant, I eat low lactose, so I also enjoy this soup with aged cheddar shredded on top, which has a very low lactose content.

This is also a great soup to enjoy with my grain-free bread

A Doula Testimonial

Check out A Doula testimonial below from Actress/model, Jaime King, whose new son is probably most famous for being Taylor Swift’s Godson. I honestly couldn’t have said better what Jaime articulated. I hope you catch my article TODAY on Mind Body Green–Why a Doula’s Worth the Money— and remember that my first 3 clients are free of charge.

A Doula Testimony

IMG_1391 A Doula Testimonial

 

Super Soul Sunday

Happy Super Soul Sunday!Super Soul Sunday

7 Signs that your Hormones aren’t Balanced

  1. Fatigue
    Constant bouts of being either wired or stressed is related to adrenal fatigue and spiking cortisol levels. I have felt the fatigue from imbalanced hormones and it’s intense–feels illness related, leaving you tired after a great night’s sleep
  2. Mood Swings and Irritability
    Comes from imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. Everyone’s going to be cranky sometimes! But if you rage with consistency, this may be why.
  3. Skin changes
    Especially cystic acne, which happens around the chin and on the forehead. Zits happen, but shouldn’t be happening much past puberty. If you can’t correlate it to a new skincare regime or food in your diet, then it could be hormonal
  4. Hot flashes/night sweats
    This is big time for me. I sleep on top of the covers and our AC bill is through the roof! This is from changing levels of progesterone.
  5. Changes in bowel regularity
    Your liver processes hormones and food toxins, so if it is overloaded or not functioning properly then you will also get bowel effects with hormone imbalance
  6. Low libido
    You can thank estrogen levels for this, (and decreasing testosterone). Some of these symptoms are also those of depression though, so best to get a hormonal blood test first to rule it out.
  7. Inability to lose weight
    The ultimate enemy of hormonal imbalance. Raised levels of estrogen and cortisol make losing weight harder than normal. You can persevere though!

Do any of these 7 signs that your hormones aren’t balanced resonate with you? Last week, I wrote about my Pre-PCOS, and then realized that my tips would not be useful if someone did not know their hormones were out of whack. As a woman in your 20’s or 30’s, especially if you are thinking of conceiving, this is something to have checked via bloodwork. There are so many ways to attack hormone imbalance that I’ve discussed in other posts, including changing diet, increasing exercise, laying off the booze, acupuncture and herbal therapy, and essential oils!

One of the main reasons I diffuse essential oils is to remove the hormone interrupting free-radicals and environmental factors that effect my hormone balance like plastics, household cleaners, and make up products.

7 signs that your hormones aren't balanced

Balancing your Yin and Yang

Prior to my experience with acupuncture, I thought of yin and yang as complimentary opposites; like the white and black puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly to form a whole or the below Moon and Sun imagery, necessary to the others completion. Come to find out, it’s much more complicated than that, but balancing your Yin and Yang is what we’re all striving for in optimum health!Balancing your Yin and Yang

I saw an MD acupuncturist and Eastern Medicine Practitioner from China after my lower back sprain and immediately felt better. When we talked about my other concerns and quirks, she immediately pointed out that I have more yin than yang, and for the past week I’ve been thinking about what exactly that means for me. I’ve always loved the cold, so as soon as I grew up, struck out for cold and lovely rainy destinations: Boston and Dublin. There is something just so poetic and “at home” to me about gray skies and crisp weather. I love sad music too, and one of my favorite activities has always been listening to a bluesy chanteuse on my headphones while dodging rain-puddles after a solo outing to a bookstore, museum, or restaurant. This one was on repeat in 2011.

To become more yang: exercise; play competitive sports; wear bright colors; socialize; eat more cooked foods, root vegetables, grains, and fish; make to-do lists and structure the day.

To become less yin, reduce: consumption of ice cream, cold foods, raw fruit, and salads; regular use of alcohol; spending time sitting around; spending time watching television; spending time alone; exposure to a damp, cold climate; feeling powerless to change circumstances; blaming other people; waiting for someone else sort everything out.

So yes, I have more Yin than Yang, naturally. That’s easy to see. Thank you Chinese Medicine, but duh. So the question is, how to I strike a balance if I don’t want to? How do I add Yang and detract Yin when I hate hot sunny days, I’m exhausted by frequent human interaction, and…well, my alcohol consumption is definitely “regular” by definition? I think the answer is two-fold: 1) in my relationship with Matt, I think I have sought my Yang and been fulfilled. One of these days he is going to drag me to some tropical vacation and not short after, we will probably live out our days in a beach town. He forces me to “Yang” with people and at social outings more than I might otherwise, AND he makes me laugh a lot. 2) I just have to go back to my fierce WILL to get better and be as healthy as possible and that is all within me. I am the one who forces the 6 am workouts (and sometimes go for a 2nd at 6 pm) to build muscle and activate my Yang. I’m also the one making the conscious choice to save alcohol for weekends and celebrations….where it belongs. It’s not my life elixir or the buddy I need to hold my hand through bad weeknight TV choices.

How do you strike a balance between your Yin and Yang? Or if you are out of balance, and feeling the health side-effects like me, which way do you lean?

My Local Farmer’s Market: Transplanting Traditions

I am so incredibly proud to be a part of My local farmer’s market: Transplanting Traditions and the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. Sustainability and Food insecurity are two of the biggest issues in nutrition today. Triangle Land conservancy and Transplanting Traditions are doing an honorable job of addressing those problems, while also providing immigrants with delicious crops native to their homeland and introducing  happy patrons like me to different produce traditions 🙂 Enjoy this great video!

Moonstruation: Why we should be in tune with the earth’s cycles to benefit our own

Moonstruation: Why we should be in tune with the earth's cycles to benefit our own

Have you ever look up at the moon and felt connected to it? OR felt like it connected you with someone else or everyone else? Maybe there’s something to that feeling. A majority of menstruating women with regular cycles report menses during the NEW moon and ovulation during the FULL moon. Thus many women, like me, refer to the monthly cycle as a “moon cycle.” {there’s a nice new name for it if you were looking for one!}
Women were once all in tune with the moon this way. Archaeological and historical evidence shows us that before modern diets shifted to processed foods, and even before hormonal imbalances abounded because of toxins in our environment,  women all over the world actually cycled together. From this, we have the wonderful stories of the “Red Tent” and matriarchal lineage passed through the stories of mothers, sisters, and Doulas. As women, it is most natural for us to flow with the new moon so that we are most fertile during the full moon. This is the way of the earth’s fertility and how crops grow, and at one time we were in tune with it.

Some Reasons you might want to get in tune with your Moonstruation:

– You experience frequently missed or irregular periods
– You suffer with PCOS
– You are experiencing fertility issues
– Other hormonal problems

If you want to get back to your truest moon cycle, I recommend a whole foods diet, 8+ hours of sleep a night, and rising naturally with the sun in the morning. If you can’t quite manage that, make sure your workout routine (even if it’s just walking) gets you tired enough so that you fall asleep when your head hits the pillow. It’s extremely important to cut out artificial light from your bedroom and sleep cycle, including phones and televisions. They should not enter your bedroom. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, which is hard to process through your liver along with your hormones, and finally, most importantly, meditate once a day. Honestly, I’ve noticed that simply being more aware of the moon and its phases draws me closer to my essential moon goddessness. Get in touch with your inner femininity on the full and new moon by scheduling  some “me” time with the help of  this calendar!

 

Vegan Chocolate Truffles to Die for

These are just so freakin’ delicious and I’m excited to make them for my doTERRA + LulaRoe party in a couple weeks! This 100% cacao is amazingly rich and delicious, and the combination with the creamy fat of coconut milk and sweet richness of maple syrup is to die for. the recipe actually got a little famous on EatLiveLife.com, which is a fun recipe blog for other healthy foodies out there! I’m going to SPICE things up a little bit next time I make these by adding some fall spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, you can do anything you like; just sprinkle into your rolling powder mixture! Enjoy!

What you need:

  • A double boiler or glass bowl that fits over your boiling pot
  • Ghiradelli (or another excellent brand) 100% cocoa powder and bar
  • 1 cup of almond or coconut milk (I’ve used both)
  • 3 Tbs. Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup organic maple syrup
  • 2-3 pitted dates

Directions:

  1. Drop dates in 1 cup of boiling water and let simmer for 10 minutes until dates are expanded and loose. Blend dates in a food processor, blender, or hand mixer until they form a paste**
  2. Place double boiler (or glass bowl) on top of pot, bring water to a boil
  3. Melt together coconut oil, 8 oz. cocoa BAR, vegan milk, and maple syrup
  4. Continuously stir mixture so that it does not burn, add date paste. As soon as the truffle mixture is smooth, remove from heat
  5. Spread the truffle mixture onto a flat pan or cookie sheet. Very thin, but not transparent.
  6. Let cool in the fridge for 4 hours.
  7. Sprinkle 4 oz. 100% cocoa powder on a plate
  8. Remove from fridge and immediately begin to scrape chocolate into a standard sized spoon. When you have a good clump, roll it in your hand until it is a smooth ball and roll that ball in your cocoa powder.
  9. Repeat until you have used all your chocolate, hopefully a good amount of truffles to fill a plate! Refrigerate again before serving so they can firm up. The heat from your hand will make them a little melty

Weekend Motivation

It’s the Weekend! I struggle to remember my health goals on weekends some times. It is our much needed time after a busy week to meet up with friends for drinks, rest from all my weekly cooking and recipe creation, and sleep in.  On Fridays I sometimes need some Weekend Motivation  This weekend motivation reminds me that it’s OK to relax and let loose and DO LESS, but that can still be done in a healthy way: a long yoga class on Sunday after I wake up late at 10 am (Free at Lululemon!), a long and beautiful hike with my love and my dogs to be in nature, opportunities to try out the new health food restaurants in my area or just go to my favorite: old, faithful Whole Foods Prepared Food Section! This Weekend I will be at the beach, so relaxation and long walks with the one I love should be easy! But I’m also giving my body a break from alcohol so that I can better heal in my back and stomach, and increase the zest in my daily workouts since I’ve been out two weeks with my back injury. Wish me luck! And I hope this Weekend Motivation Meets you where you need it!

Weekend Motivation

Primal Food and Spirits, Durham: Gluten Free restaurant review by a Local Foodie

Primal Food and Spirits, Durham: Gluten Free restaurant review by a Local Foodie.

Primal Food and Spirits, Durham this weekend!

Primal Food and Spirits, Durham is a fabulous addition to our local dinner repertoire! Primal opened last summer around the corner from us, and I’ve enjoyed their brunch and dinner with friends and family in all seasons. Primal is a must-visit for anyone with Celiacs or Gluten Intolerance and really anyone on a primal, whole food, locally, sustainably sourced regime. Even their bar is void of glutenous beers and liquors! You’ve got to try this place if you are in the triangle. HOWEVER, I have some qualms. First, I’d like to see more grain-free flours used, like coconut flour or arrowroot powder. They currently use a lot of rice flour and tapioca starch in their baked goods. Of course, there are a lot of true paleo options, which is necessary with a name like “Primal.” On that note, I also really believe that a name like “Primal” is attracting a certain customer, and often that customer is concerned about fats and oils used in cooking preparation and sugar content as well, so it would be nice to see some transparency with that. Portion sizes here are NORMAL, which is refreshing. I can actually eat everything on my plate most of the time, which never happens, SO if you have a big appetite, you may opt for an appetizer. My final gripe is about the price for portion. We have this issue when we go to Mateo Tapas downtown as well. Matt has to shell out some serious $$$ to be satiated and that can be tough on a budget. Guess what guys? If you are drinking and/or exercising regularly and you don’t eat grains esp. wheat, then you need some substance! I recommend going to Primal Food and Spirits for Brunch, like we did this weekend! The portions are perfect for early in the day, and the lack of heaviness from wheat  leaves you feeling light, but satisfied.

If you are just gluten free, I recommend the Stuffed French Toast (sweet) or Arepas (savory)
If you are paleo or totally grain free, I recommend the Mushroom & Kale Omelet or the Spicy Beef Lettuce Cups

Bon Appetit!

Super Soul Sunday!

Sundays are dichotomous for me. Both my favorite and least favorite day. So much to reflect on and relax about and be joyful about, on one hand. And not the other hand, it means another Monday-Friday at work. I love this quote because it reminds me of all the ways that I am making EVERY DAY SUNDAY for myself and my family in the future. Thanks for reading! Happy Sunday! EyesOffAngelou

All Natural Protein Bar:Rise & Health Warrior

Natural Protein Bar Review: Rise Protein & Health Warrior Chia ProteinI’ve been so excited to receive these natural protein bars to do this natural protein bar review.One of my prizes for winning the Super Sister’s Bootcamp challenge was a sampler of some delicious and nutritious Natural Protein Bars. I was so excited to see them arrive in the mail, and I even got a sweet note of congratulations from Sarah at Health Warrior! After I cleaned up my diet and moved to all natural ingredients and whole foods, Protein bars flew out the window with a lot of the other packaged foods I used buy. Just look at the back of some of these wrappers! The dreaded”natural flavors” (not natural), xanthem gum, soluble corn fiber, coloring, and palm oil which is NOT sustainably sourced. We just can’t put this stuff in our bodies, especially if we are driven by health concerns to exercise daily and require extra protein from bars! Rise Protein Bar offers “the shortest ingredient list you will ever see” There are 5 ingredients and these bars are INCREDIBLE. They pack 20 grams of protein and sort of melt in your mouth like caramel. They are sweetened with honey, cinnamon, and natural vanilla (or dates) and are just sweet enough, especially for someone like me who hates the saccharin sweetness of white sugar. At 300 calories, this is a great breakfast post workout that I can’t recommend enough! I know that sounds like more calories than your typical bar, but the sugars and sodium are literally fractions of the other bars because this is REAL FOOD! There is an incredible lack of natural protein bars out there, and these hit the mark!

Natural Protein Bar Review: Rise Protein & Health Warrior Chia Protein

See! Real food!

Health Warrior sent me two types of natural protein bar: the 100 calorie CHIA Snack Bar in  several flavors, and the Health Warrior Chia Protein Bar (with plant protein) in a few flavors, including my favorite, dark chocolate sea salt.
What I love about this natural protein bar:
It uses plant protein, which is MUCH less caloric and much easier to digest (200 calories for large protein bar)! Kudos to this company for helping to popularize a more plant-based diet among athletes and active consumers. AND I love all the super foods they are exploiting! Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet! They were prized by the Mayans for their ability to provide sustainable strength. This is a really fun way to incorporate them into your diet. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Bars!
What I don’t love about this bar: They are absolutely delicious, but the ingredient list is a lot longer than the Rise Bars. Ingredients like rice flour, brown rice syrup, natural flavors, and gum arabic make me think twice about repurchasing. I mean, are those ingredients really necessary? I am going to recommend their 100 calorie CHIA snack bars, with a purer ingredient list, as a perfect mid-day pick me up for sustainable energy!

Even if you are doing the right work out routine, your nutrition can defeat all your efforts in the gym. Please remember to eat real food for optimum health and swap out your chemical bar for an all natural protein bar.

 

Weekend Motivation!

So normally I wake up on the weekends, excited to get in a long, great work out and go on a long hike with my dogs before settling into the kitchen to test some recipes. This weekend, I’m nursing my sprained lower back and missing my friend Theresa’s Wedding Reception 🙁 I really needed this weekend motivation today. Comment below if you have experienced the same route to success!

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Combating PCOS Naturally: healthier body, balanced hormones

PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) effects roughly 22% of the population, and is a growing epidemic. Hormone imbalance, processed foods, and stress are products of our modern world that contribute to the increased number of women battling PCOS. Combating PCOS naturally is the safest and most effective path to a healthier body and hormonal balance. I was diagnosed with pre-PCOS this year, at 29. This is after 3 years of eating no gluten, and 2 years of no sugar, wheat, or  lactose with limited processed foods. I absolutely think my lifestyle has kept the intensity of my personal experience with PCOS to a minimum, but there is still an uphill battle to be won and it is about more than just diet!

PCOS causes hormonal imbalances that can lead to acne, weight gain & trouble losing weight, hair loss,  fertility problems, insulin resistance, and depression. So Yeah, all that SUCKS! However, MANY studies have been published showing the effectiveness of exercise in combating PCOS. In fact,  this study shows that it is EVEN more important than diet. Further, lifting weights specifically helps women with PCOS because insulin resistance is addressed through BODY COMPOSITION (think more muscle than fat) and not by mere weight loss (whoops to the previous 28 years of my life). If you have PCOS or suspect you might, start by exercising 30-60 minutes every day. According to latest studies, if you have PCOS and as a result of years of insulin resistance, need to lose weight in order to feel healthy, then you should exercise 90 minutes a day. Go on a 40 minute walk with your dog or your best friend! Do a 25 minute yoga stretch on You Tube, lift light weights and stretch in front of your favorite nightly TV programs, or go to a local swim or aerobics class. The bottom line is that you MUST prioritize physical activity when it comes to PCOS. Lift! Lift! LIFT! But before you do, Stretch, Stretch, Stretch! Haha. You will not get bulky if you lift 3 days a week, I promise.

Now let me tell you a fun story! I started going to acupuncture after a bout with Vertigo last year. It was my first experience in which modern medicine was baffled by my symptoms, and I turned to some great resources provided by my Internal Care doctors at UNC. In Acupuncture and Yoga, and many other Eastern doctrines, we learn about our Qi (chee), the life-force that flows through our bodies. My Acupuncturist, Andrew, told me that my Qi was in stasis, thus my lymph was in stasis (dizzy vertigo) and  my blood was also in stasis (irregular periods). So it’s the dead of winter, and Andrew tells me to exercise as much as possible, lifting weights daily in order to feel better and combat stasis. Oh and he says to never EVER touch wheat again (Ok, I get it!). 2 months later, I was diagnosed with pre-PCOS via blood work for my thyroid by my beloved Western Doctor, Louise, and told me to be conscious of this developing and the possibility of developing symptoms. BUT Andrew already knew that was coming, you see? Through my energy and Qi, he knew my blood was in stasis, and he knew my body wanted to be stronger, not just leaner, in order to function properly. Eastern and Western Medicine are such beautiful compliments to each other in this way. I also REALLY recommend acupuncture for everyone out there trying to get a handle on their health. I have some great resources for anyone in the triangle area. Today,  I’m actually going to a “real” doctor at UNC Healthcare who practices acupuncture as a supplement to her primary care services 🙂

As you guys know, I’m still on that journey and some days it is really tough. I pulled my lower back working out with weights last week and now I’ve been set back for my strength and flexibility yoga goals for this month. And then there’s the body stuff. I don’t get to eat the things other people get to eat. I don’t get to indulge or skip daily workouts…and all that hard work may never really show to other people because I’m fighting against insulin resistance and abdominal bloat. I will probably never be a size 2, but there is a a greater reward at the end of the road! And trust me, the feeling of improving your health through natural means and using drugs only when necessary is an empowering feeling. I can’t wait for my next 21st day blood tests this fall! My cycle is back in sync with the new/full moons, which is a sign of fertility and I’m increasing my muscle to fat body composition ration every day. Little by little. Step by step.

Also read this great PCOS resource at my favorite blog, MIND BODY GREEN

Combating PCOS Naturally

 

The Perfect Grain-free Sandwich Bread!

perfect grain-free sandwich bread

See, no sticking with parchment paper! Pulls right up!

Trust me, you need this in your life right now. The smell is wafting up from the kitchen, and it is AMAZING. If you are doing the gluten free/wheat free thing, please! please! please! don’t buy store-made Gluten Free Flours. The Xanthum Gum and Tapioca Starch and Rice Flour junk they put in them is just as bad for your inflammation as gluten or wheat, I promise!

This bread is so easy to make! It takes less than 10 minutes to throw everything together and 40 minutes to bake. I use it for sandwiches (below) or individual pizza slices–Anchovies anyone? I would compare the consistency to that of a pita pocket. Ok, go officially be a badass bread maker, just grab the following ingredients: 3 cups of Almond flour, 3 eggs,  1/4 cup butter, 1 cup DCCC (Farmer’s Cheese) or greek yogurt, 1 tsp. baking soda,  1 tsp. salt + rosemary to taste.

1. Preheat Oven to 375
2. Combine all ingredients except rosemary in your food processor or blender and blend.
3. Add as much water as you need to make the consistency into a sticky dough.
4. Poor the dough into a parchment paper-lined  8×10 baking pan and press it down to  about 1/4 inch think, evenly spread across the pan & Sprinkle Rosemary over top!
5. IMPORTANT STEP: Cut the raw dough as you see I’ve done. Once down the middle and two X’s on each half. This will make your bread easy to get out in a serving size and it won’t crumble when you cut it!

The perfect grain-free sandwich bread is pretty beautiful itself in the pan, but check out this sandwich I made using it, with basil, tomato and cheese!Picture perfect grain-free sandiwch bread with tomato, basil, mayo, and cheese!