nutrition

Yummy and Healthy Christmas Treats

 

I LOVE this post from Tiff last year and think it is worth sharing again! Stay away from the processed junk and EAT REAL FOOD. I love you and want you to live forever! xoxo rd

Santa popsphoto credit: cleanandscentsible

Finally…..something so cute and fun without all the crappy added sugar! BOTH of these ideas are so on point I wish I thought of them myself! I am so tired of all the green and red iced cookies that are so overloaded with harmful food dye they actually stain your tongue, your lips, and sometimes even your teeth! OMG people. The banana Santa has only a touch of processed sugar from the 1/2 a marshmallow, a teeny tiny marshmallow,  and the ONE M&M. The Grape Santa hat has only ONE MINI marshmellowhealthy. And the best part—-they are easy and your kids can make them with you or even for you. And guys, not just for kids. You know I’m dying to chow down on one of these super festive treats. Thank you cleanandscentsible for these AMAZING ideas.

Santa Grinch

I’d give you the instructions but these are so easy and basic you don’t even need any. Have fun and enjoy DECEMBERRRRR! YAY.

tiffany signature

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.

rachel signature

 

Guest Post on KETO

I was turned on to the keto diet by a short fling, whom I noticed was having weight loss results. When I started noticing my own results, my interest was sustained long past the fling itself.

If you had told me that one day I would find an effective diet where pork rinds and heavy whipping cream were my BFFs, well, you know… I still have trouble believing it.

So, what exactly is the ketogenic diet?

Basically, it is a high fat (>100g per day), medium protein (about 60 to 75g per day), low carb diet (<15-20 g per day). Totally counterintuitive, right? (based on a 1500 calorie diet)

To get started, you deprive yourself of sugar, carbs, and starches.

All carbs, starches, and sugars are processed in your body as sugar. And our bodies are used to using sugar for fuel. When you deprive your body of sugar (and get past the carb withdrawals) your body is forced to convert to burning fat for energy. This is called being in ketosis. You can even buy strips to test your urine, that will tell you whether or not you’re in ketosis!

While your body is converting from burning sugar to burning fat, you will go through “carb withdrawals” or “keto flu,” which can be rather uncomfortable. But once you get through it the results are awesome.

There are definitely times in the journey where you will plateau. That is when it is helpful to try some intermittent fasting or reset your metabolism by briefly reintroducing carbs. Sometimes the scale lies and you only think you’ve plateaued. This is why it is helpful to measure yourself (arms, legs, waist, neck). Often the scale’s number doesn’t go down, but your measurements do! (I recommend buying myotape for measuring yourself)

It is also important to keep track of your “macros” while you are on keto. I recommend using MyFitnessPal to document what you’re eating, so you can make sure that you aren’t going over on your carbs. Remember, there are hidden carbs in a lot of food. Also, you want to watch your protein, because if you eat too much, your body will process it like sugar, which will then kick you out of ketosis.

Once I got in to ketosis I completely stopped craving sugar and carbs (which was the first time in my life I could say that), and I had tons of energy and an improvement in mood.

Not to mention it really simplified my life because I didn’t have to think too hard about what I was going to eat. I lost weight, and I physically felt better. I also started getting compliments on my complexion, people told me I was “glowing.”

Also, the more infatuated I become with this lifestyle, the more I am learning about the keto diet’s ability to prevent (or maybe even reverse) diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, and other chronic physical health conditions, especially in combination with intermittent fasting. If you’re interested in intermittent fasting, check out Dr. Jason Fung.

Even though it simplified my grocery shopping and meal choices, there are tons of fun and delicious keto recipes to try. My favorite is keto lasagna (made with zucchini instead of noodles) and low carb high fat pound cake (the sugar substitute I use is Pyure, which you can find at Walmart or Amazon. Whatever amount of sugar the recipe calls for, you just use half Pyure instead).

If you want a nice treat from Starbucks, order an iced Americano with heavy whipping cream and a couple pumps of sugar free vanilla!

I’m definitely not an expert, but I do think this diet is beneficial, especially for those who have a lot of weight to lose. It seems that what’s wrong with our health and our diets is all the sugar and carbs we are eating. It’ll be interesting to see, as more people exclude or minimize those aspects of their diet, if there will be an improvement in our general well-being. A lot of people are turning their lives around with keto, and there are plenty of keto forums on Facebook you can join and get constant support on this journey, as well as feel inspired daily by other people’s astounding results.

If you’re interested in giving keto a shot, in addition to joining Facebook forums, you can check out this keto start guide, which also includes tips on make it through the dreaded “keto flu”: https://www.tasteaholics.com/the-complete-keto-diet-guide-for-beginners/

Thanks for reading!

Melissa

Links:

Ketone Test Strips

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MCU8NJ6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

Myotape: https://www.amazon.com/Measure-Measuring-Myotape-Shipping-Worldwide/dp/B00FYTOFDA/ref=sr_1_8_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1507859536&sr=8-8&keywords=myotape

Keto Lasagna:

https://ketogasm.com/keto-lasagna-zucchini-recipe/

LCHF Pound Cake:
https://fittoservegroup.com/2014/08/01/low-carb-cream-cheese-pound-cake

 

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