drinks

GUEST POST: Sobering Moments of Commitment

 

Sobriety for any defined period of time was a foreign concept for me. I’m a single, thirty-something year old event coordinator living in the heart of Richmond City. Let’s be real. In addition to the fact that I was raised in a family of unabashed drinkers, part of my job is keeping a pulse on local talent and night life. In all fairness, slamming a few cocktails at the local hot spot while scouting the latest band could almost be considered “field research”. You know, par for the course. No really – I’m just that dedicated to my work.

When my friend, Peter, decided to hop on the wagon for 90 days, I was impressed. Impressed by his will power to resist a drink when offered, but also impressed with this idea of making a commitment to himself and seeing it through. When was the last time I fulfilled a commitment to myself? I make and keep promises to others all the time, but when did I last make a promise to myself and actually keep it? The truth is that I’m pretty bad at it. Monday’s declaration to eat healthy and work out for the week would usually end with Friday’s acknowledgement of two days at the gym while I patiently wait for the delivery guy to show up with my pie.

My neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia.

 

No alcohol. Maybe I could do this too. I considered my lifestyle. It wasn’t that I drank every night or that I felt like my drinking had become a problem, but alcohol was always an option. It didn’t always have to be a blurry night of shots and dancing. Disclaimer; those are always super fun. It could just be a glass of wine at dinner or an invitation to happy hour with a group of professionals. Why say no if you don’t have to, right? This wasn’t about depriving myself of something that I felt like I needed. It was about having a goal, defining a period of time, challenging myself and seeing it through. Three months seemed like a bit of a stretch though. (I’m a realist.) I settled on 30 days of no alcohol.

I’m not going to bore you with my own version of the blogs that we’ve all read before – “I stopped drinking alcohol and this is what happened”. Instead, I am just going to give it to you straight. After just two weeks, my skin was glowing, I was sleeping soundly through the night, I had tons of energy during the day, I was feeling svelte in my clothes and I was super focused.

I think the most difficult thing to convey is the comparison of one’s state of mind when alcohol is removed from the equation. I wasn’t an unhappy person before this experiment began, but boy was I feeling on top of the world these days! I always considered myself to be hyper aware of my surroundings, tapping into my natural intuition and easily navigating through intense social situations or conflicts at work. The sober me felt like a superhero! My senses were heightened, my instincts were sharper and finding resolution to conflicts was a walk in the park. Everything was so much clearer! Had I been living in a permanent fog before?

 

Perhaps the biggest take-away was realizing that the very “medicine” that I had used to cope with my anxiety was in fact causing my anxiety or at the very least, making it much worse. Years of suffering with waves of anxiety were often treated with alcohol. Feeling down? Have a drink. Stressed out with work? Have a drink. It’s no secret that this method only offers temporary relief and often makes the symptoms worse the following day. These feelings didn’t stop from surfacing completely, but committing to no alcohol forced me to actually process what was making me anxious and get over it, rather than drowning my feelings out with a swift tilt of a glass. I was resolving my own problems! Simply put, you don’t need alcohol to cope when there’s nothing with which to cope.

My notes from a transformation class I took earlier this year.

As the holidays approach, we are faced with over indulgence and temptation, only to be met with the idea of resolutions and the promise of a new year. We tell ourselves that we’re going to be different. That, this year we’re going to change. I’m going to work out every day. I’m going to eat salads for the next six months. I’m only going to drink on the weekends. These goals that we set for ourselves aren’t always in line with our lifestyles and are often laced with the unrealistic staples of perfection that would be difficult for anyone to attain. It lasts for a little while, but we give up pretty easily. Then, we so effortlessly slip back into the lifestyles that make us comfortable. We make excuses for ourselves so that we don’t have to be accountable. I don’t have time to go to the gym today. Only 20 minutes for lunch, so it will have to be the drive-thru. I was so stressed with work, happy hour turned into ‘last call’. We do this because we need to feel okay about letting ourselves down.

 

 

Fulfilling my 30 day commitment to not drink alcohol didn’t result in a major lifestyle change and it didn’t magically turn me into a demi-god, but it taught me some fundamental things that can translate to my day-to-day life. I can make a commitment to myself. I value myself enough to see it through. I’m worth it and I can be proud of my accomplishment. If we are culturally predisposed to a cycle of over indulgence and setting unrealistic goals that lead to lies to justify our failures – all just so that we can feel okay – I think it’s paramount to tell you that the benefits of fulfilling this small commitment to myself have made me feel so much better than just okay.

 

 

As we reflect on this year and enter into a new, let’s take a hard look at what we’re really committed to. Are we really committed to the betterment of ourselves? Or are we simply committed to being noncommittal? In this new year, let’s set realistic goals for ourselves. Let’s love ourselves enough to follow through. Let’s compare all of the major personal gains to the small sacrifice that we’ve made. Let’s challenge ourselves to be committed to commitment.

Jo-Elsa Jordan

 

Date Smoothie

Most everyone who reads my blog knows I drink a green smoothie every single morning. Aubrey and I share one and it’s just part of our morning routine. Lately I have been wanting to mix it up and I found the perfect solution in this Date Smoothie from Food52 and AGIRLANDAPIG.

Photo: JAMES RANSOM

 

Sidenote: Food52 is a beautiful, informative, inspiring website you definitely need to add into your rotation. You’re welcome.

I always have everything to make this smoothie and it’s obviously quick, DELICIOUS, and perfect for breakfast, the dreaded 3pm slump and even dessert!

All you need is your preferred non dairy milk, dates, a frozen banana, cinnamon and vanilla. Get the full recipe here.

As the crazy wonderful holiday season approaches, lighten up with this date smoothie in place of a meal or as a healthy snack.

xx.

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A Day in the Life of…

I was introduced to Mary through a mutual friend and it literally blows my mind how much she fits into one, single day. I can’t believe she found the time to write this piece for BEC but I sure am glad she did. She works hard, works out, STANDS at her desk, and is an inspirational clean eater! Enjoy a glimpse into the life of this busy Richmond corporate professional and fitness trainer.



On a typical weekday, I wake up around 6:30am to Pandora Radio (usually Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins, Ryan Adams, or Pete Yorn…something mellow). I boil water to make hot water with lemon and use the rest to fill three stainless steel water bottles for the day. I go back to my room, make my bed and read a scripture for the day from a bookmark I bought in a church bookstore years ago called 31 Days to Praise.

I shower, pack my gym clothes, and pack all my meals for the day (except dinner). I try to pick out recipes I want for the following week, then order groceries for pick up through Kroger Clicklist on Friday and Saturday. I pick up specialty items and refill 3 gallon bottles of reverse osmosis water weekly at Ellwood Thompsons. I have a shelf of cookbooks (my favorite chef is Katie Lee) and I’m also a Tone it Up Nutrition plan member and use a lot of their recipes. I cook one main dish per week and try to prep other things like overnight oats or muffins on the weekend. My freezer is full of frozen soup, veggies, bread, and fruit for smoothies.

I usually pick out a thought leader to listen to on YouTube while I’m getting ready. My favorites are: Chase Jarvis, Marie Forleo, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferris, or Tony Robbins. I’m a Tone it Up Girl, so I’ll also watch fitness videos on their new app or in the past any interviews they would post on YouTube. I follow the Jillian Michael’s podcast religiously and also listen to one book on Audible every month (typically a biography). Saturday mornings I like to listen to 70s and 80s playlists on Spotify before I leave to teach yoga at 10:30am.

I work 9-5 as an Administrative Assistant at SunTrust Mortgage for the Condo and Appraisal groups. I have a VARI Desk at work and an Eron Chair. I’m over sitting after about 20-30 minutes, so I stand for most of the day. During my break, I go into the wellness room and either work on my group exercise classes, do yoga, Pilates, or a HIIT workout, or lift weights. I have a Woss suspension trainer ($30 version of a TRX) that I keep with me at work along with a yoga mat, free weights, and a lacrosse ball to work out muscle tension. I try to move and stretch as much as I can at my desk while I’m standing. I also listen to a lot of Spotify while I’m working, looking for music for my classes.

Sometimes I’ll eat breakfast at home, but if I’m not hungry yet, I’ll bring it to work. My typical breakfast is overnight oats made with Tone IT Up protein, and fruit (berries or pomegranate). Lunch is often soup and salad. This week I cooked Alicia Silverstone’s sweet potato and lentil soup from her cookbook The Kind Diet. I’ve been into making salads with red and green leaf lettuces for months now. I buy 3-4 heads of lettuce per week and they stay fresh if wrapped in a few paper towels (the non-chlorine bleached ones). I pack olive oil with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and a separate slice of lemon to mix for dressing at lunch. With lunch this week I also had a few slices of Cabot cheddar cheese and some Ciabatta bread from Ellwood Thompson’s warmed up with Earth Balance.

I have a snack around 3pm. I’ve been eating an organic apple in the afternoon since I started shopping at health food stores back in college. Organic apples taste so good that it’s easy to eat one every day. The rest of my snack this week was PaleoKrunch Cinnamon granola (my favorite) and a few tablespoons of almond butter.

On Mondays after work I go to Advanced Wellness Center for a one hour personal training session with a strength and conditioning coach. My workouts include exercises like deadlifts and bench press with heavier weight and my trainer is teaching me some Olympic lifts. This habit makes me feel good about Mondays, challenges me and builds into my life. Tuesday through Thursdays I go straight from work to Crunch gym where I’ll fit in 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical trainer before teaching classes. I’ll have protein bar in between: usually Go Macro, Squared, Greens, or Tone it Up and some water. Tuesday nights I teach a 30 minute TRX, then a one hour Yoga Body Sculpt.

My yoga classes are a combination of Pilates, vinyasa yoga and fitness, with 10 minutes of relaxation at the end for rest, additional stretching, or a seated meditation. Wednesday nights I teach Barre Boot camp (a pairing of barre exercises and traditional free weight exercises) then Iron Mat (mat Pilates and Pilates free weight exercises). Thursday nights I teach another Yoga Body Sculpt class. I get home around 9pm which is kind of late for dinner, so I’ll make a smoothie during the week. This week’s was avocado, frozen banana, organic mixed power greens, Tone it Up vanilla protein powder and almond milk. Last week’s was: frozen cauliflower, frozen banana, almond butter, vanilla protein powder and almond milk.

I have a major sweet tooth, so I’ll usually pack some dark chocolate, crystallized ginger or a section of a Lenny and Larry’s protein cookie with my meals during the day. If I don’t, I’ll usually have something like that after dinner with some Synergy kombucha tea. My two addictions are Lenny and Larry’s chocolate protein cookies and Synergy Kombuchas.

My current focus is completing a BASI Pilates Comprehensive Teacher Training Course. I’ve travelled up to Balanced Bodies, a studio in Herdon, VA for 3 out of the 4 weekends, then will complete 500 hours (divided between observation, practice teaching, and self-practice) through an apprenticeship this Spring. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for over 10 years, and a key to directing my life and career. I’ll take the teaching evaluation and practical exam next July in Chicago.






Don’t you love peeking into someone else’s day, habits, and goals? I DO! Mary, thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Good luck with your Pilates Training course! And if you live in the Richmond area go take a class with her; your body will hate/thank/love you!

xRachel

My Morning Routine

Stop! Warning! This is not very glamorous.

But, as you know, I love reading about your day, your schedule, your routine, your ritual, your whatever.  I find it fascinating. Mine not so fascinating; but I am really liking my mornings now that I have a great rhythm with my ONE YEAR OLD. If you don’t care, keep on scrolling but if you’re like me and enjoy a peek into the start of someone else’s day read on.

My morning routine often starts the night before. I pull out my three tea bags and place them in a mug near my Keurig. I take a (clean, empty) baby food jar and dump about two tablespoons of cold pressed coconut water and a tablespoon of Spirulina or Chlorella powder, give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge. These couple of steps maybe save me two minutes in the morning but to me, every second counts.

Also, I don’t set an alarm, I have a baby who lets me know when it’s time to wake up.

He. Is. An. Awesome. Sleeper.

So, every morning starts the same around 7:00 when I hear Aubrey starting to coo and talk from his room across the hall. Thankfully I have always been a pop out of bed, non snooze button user so I do just that. I get right up and hit the bathroom to chug 8 oz of water and then spend about two minutes dry brushing my body. IT IS THE BEST. You can read my post on it here and a great goop article here.

Amazon

 

I then take a quick shower and get dressed. Aubrey is still chatting away playing in his crib with his lovies, happy as a clam.

My three dogs and I head downstairs, they go outside, I flip on the news, and I am off to the kitchen.

I get the hot water flowing into my mug with the tea bags I laid out the night before. Green Detox, Dandelion Root, and Skin Tea are my current favorites. I also love Big T NYC tea but if I need to grab something quick I like the Yogi brand I can buy at my local market.

 

After adding 16 oz of water to my large mug I throw in two scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Powder. I then set it aside to cool, dissolve, and steep.

I drink a warm lemon water to chase my made-the-night-before green algae drink from the baby food jar. Guys, it isn’t tasty, it isn’t pretty, but it’s doable and it is super good for you.  I take it like a shot and drink a bit more of my lemon water.

I fix a big glass of ice water and take five pills: ashwagandha, DIM, turmeric, biotin, and a Klaire Labs probiotic.

I then whip up Aubrey’s milk, let the dogs in and feed them, and then FINALLY go get my baby (literally my favorite part of the day) around 7:30.

After getting him changed we head downstairs where he has his milk and I make him a scrambled egg, a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread raisin toast and cut up fruit (a lot of strawberries, blueberries, and mango this summer). While he eats, I drink my tea and make my game changer green smoothie with SO MANY GREENS and throw in add ons like camu camu which is super high in Vitamin C.

I share my smoothie with Aubrey and he absolutely loves it!

By this time, his sitter is arriving and I am heading to Iron & Grace for a killer workout and then off to start my day.

I am usually so full from my breakfast routine that I don’t need anything further until 1:00 when Aubrey and I have lunch together.

It probably seems like a lot but this routine really flows well for us! Now, I would love to know how you spend your time each morning!

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