In October, I completed a Whole30, a 30 day dietary reset where you don’t consume gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, or (eek!) added sugar of any kind.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-30,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E:Y

It was challenging. It kicked my butt. It was exactly what I needed after 8 months of trying to change some unhealthy postpartum eating habits. It showed me how amazing my body could feel again when given better fuel.

IMG_20171117_130949.jpg

I went into the 30 days with the sole goal of losing weight, but I came out of it with so much more. Whole30 calls these “Non Scale Victories.” Here were some of mine:

  • My knees had been hurting since Juniper was born. They don’t hurt anymore.
  • My hunger cues returned- I knew when I really wanted to eat vs when I was just bored.
  • My sugar cravings subsided by week 3 and disappeared by week 4.
  • I got thirsty more often and drank more water
  • I started wanting to exercise again by week 3. By week 4 I was working out 4 xs a week because my body craved it!
  • My self confidence sky rocketed. My anxieties went to the back burner and I felt like I could accomplish anything.
  • Oh yeah, and I could fit back into my pre-preggo jeans again for the first time. You know, the kind with a zipper and button instead of elastic.

Sounds a little too good to be true, right? It’s amazing how what we eat really affects so many different aspects of our lives besides just how we look. I like the whole30 because the people who created it understand that this kind of eating is not sustainable. That’s why they stress that it’s a reset, not a diet. It’s meant to show you how your body reacts to the most commonly problematic food groups.

For instance, my Whole30 showed me that gluten makes me bloated, and other grains like oats and corn chips make me feel sluggish. I’m fine with drinking alcohol in moderation without any considerable consequences, legumes and dairy work well with my body, and too much added sugar very quickly has me throwing all my health goals out the window.

Finding the right dietary balance so that I can feel good but also enjoy special foods will be a lifelong process. But every time we choose to eat consciously, it gets easier to find that balance. That’s why I’m doing another Whole30 starting January 1st. If you want to start 2018 with a dedication to self care, I encourage you to join me! I’m hosting a private, free Facebook group to share recipes, daily tips, answer questions, and give support. Comment below, email, or message me to be added to the group. It’s only 30 days…you can do it!

If you’d like to learn more about the whole30, they have a phenomenal website. I’ve also been inspired by founder Melissa Hartwig’s book “Food Freedom Forever.


I remember the day after giving birth, looking at my saggy, stretch mark riddled stomach in the bathroom mirror and knowing I’d never looked stronger or more beautiful. I made a promise to never speak ill about this powerhouse of a body again. It made a human being FROM SCRATCH!

7 months later, and that promise is wearing thin. This journey to lose the baby weight with as much grace and patience as I can muster has been…rocky. (more…)

Dear experienced mothers*,

Please stop telling me “It goes by so fast! Enjoy every moment.” You stop me in the supermarket, on my walking trail, at the Y, in parking lots, at family reunions, in my living room to tell me this. I know your intentions are good. I know the sight of a little baby and new mama brings a swirl of wonderful nostalgia back to you. But this small sentence is utterly meaningless and detrimental.

IMG_0445.JPG

(more…)

Dear Juniper,

It’s my first Mother’s Day today. You’re sleeping happily in the crook of my arm, with a full belly of milk. Little butterfly smiles keep creeping across your face as you sleep, and once in a while you startle and crane your neck up and purse your lips and raise your eyebrows like you’ve just seen something amazing. There are a million of these little moments I hope I’ll remember someday when it’s my 40th Mother’s Day.

(more…)

I’m writing this with my one week old daughter snug against my chest. It’s so hard to believe she is the one who was in me all those 9 months, and worked with me through birth. A couple disclaimers: 1) There is no “easy out” in labor- each woman’s path, whether it’s an epidural or c-section or an at home birth, has its own unique price to pay. There is no comparing two experiences, and I don’t think I had it harder than someone who chose or ended up with a different kind of birth. This was just the path that was right for me. I am humbled by the power of any woman who gives birth. We are fucking warriors. 2) I want to preserve these memories, so I left it uncensored. Some parts are a little gory. Here’s our story:

My contractions started at 8:30 PM on Valentine’s Day. I had had some practice contractions a couple days before on my due date, so I wasn’t sure if this was the real thing or just a warm up. We stayed up to see if they’d progress, and sure enough they started getting stronger. Around 11:30 PM my water broke! It broke in a big burst just like the movies. Trevor and I took a few moments of laughing and crying and kissing, knowing that our daughter would be born the next day or soon thereafter, then called our midwives to give them a heads up. Knowing we had a long path ahead of us, I sent Trevor to bed, made myself a cave-like fort in our upstairs bathroom, and hunkered down. I set a goal for myself to stay in there alone from midnight to 6 AM- partly so Trevor could get sleep and help me more later, and partly because I wanted time by myself to understand the contractions and get a feel for them. I dozed on and off between contractions when I could, finding that I was more comfortable when I stood up for them, leaning against the sink and swaying slightly. It was getting hard, but I was able to use imagery from rowing to get through them. As I’d feel each contraction start to build, I imagined I was at the starting line, at the top of my slide, oars in the water, gearing up for a Power 20.  It was hard, but still thrilling. I was timing my contractions and they were about 6-7 minutes apart. I made it to 6 AM, and was ready for backup.

 

I woke up Trevor and we headed downstairs together. One of our midwives called to check in and said she’d be over shortly. Trevor tried to get me to eat some breakfast, but I could just barely nibble on some muffin and almond butter. I had done a good job of staying hydrated through the night, but knew I was going into labor on zero sleep and zero food- not ideal! Our midwife stopped by to check in- then said she was going to leave us alone to snuggle and labor by ourselves until we wanted her and another midwife to come back. She said they would be there quickly whenever we wanted them, but we’d “know” when it was time to call. That scared me, because after 7 hours of labor at that point, I thought things were already pretty bad! I couldn’t imagine what was lying ahead. She left us, and I continued to labor in the living room, always standing for my contractions.

Trevor would help me through them when I wanted him to, with me standing and leaning into his shoulders, swaying slightly. Sometimes I didn’t want to be touched though, and he’d finish up some last minute household stuff and started setting up the birth tub. We put on some music, which helped more than I thought it would.  

Looking back, this was my “favorite” part of labor. The contractions were hard, but I still felt semi-in control. I was even singing to the music in between contractions. “Gold” by Matt Hartke and Maggie Peake stands out as my birth song. I remember singing it to Trevor, snuggling up close and smiling. I was so grateful he was my partner through this. Whenever he would kiss or nuzzle me, a contraction would come on fast and hard. The oxytocin produced between us helped my body progress faster- one of birth’s mysteries I’m still amazed by.

 

Around 9 or 10 am, I started “figuring out” labor…I called my midwife and said something like “So- I’ve been laboring in the most comfortable positions…but if I wanted this to go faster, should I go towards the positions that make the contractions a lot worse?” Yup. I started alternating between standing contractions, squats, and sitting wide-legged on my birth ball. I was determined to get this over with- at that point the novelty of labor had long worn off, the pain was real and intense, and I was ready to be done. I tried to relax into the contractions and really feel them so I’d progress faster. Each “good” contraction brought a gush of blood- my mucus plug coming out, along with the rest of my water breaking. I was laboring in total silence, still trying to remain in control. I scribbled in a journal, “I’ve figured out the puzzle of labor. I must go boldly into the RED.”

 

At 11 am, I begged Trevor to call the midwives to come. The contractions were awful. I couldn’t understand why my body wasn’t taking over more so my conscious self could slip away. I started getting shaky and feeling like I wanted to throw up, so I had some hope that I was in transition stage and birth would be imminent (ha!). Our midwife Robin came by noon, helped me work through contractions using sounds (thank god! why did I think I had to be quiet?!) and checked the baby’s heart rate about every 15-30 minutes. After about an hour of her being there, me begging her to “HELP ME!”, she checked my cervix for the first time. She was impressed and said I was 7 cm, doing amazing and progressing very fast for a first time mom. Trevor was thrilled- and I was devastated. I thought for sure I had to be all the way dilated by then. The pain was so intense, and I was getting really scared.

 

Our other midwife, Brenda, arrived shortly thereafter. They confirmed I was in transition phase. “Great!” I thought, “I’m headed into ‘Laborland’ and won’t have to be as present for the rest of this.” I’d read about Laborland- that place where time and space do not exist, where you’re floating in and out of contractions and letting your body take over. Well, “Laborland” never arrived or even existed for me- or perhaps I’d romanticized it. I was fully present through the entire birth, fully myself, fully aware of every ounce of pain. The birthing tub was set up by then, and I had been “saving it” for when I really needed help coping with the pain. This was it, so I got in. At first the warm water felt wonderful, relaxing, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I had my first contraction in the pool- it did nothing to stifle the pain. This is not what I had read! I needed some sort of relief, and I wasn’t going to get any. At that point I was begging my midwives to help me, shouting at Trevor not to touch me, or telling him to touch me in a VERY specific way and not to talk or breath or do anything except what I instructed him to do when a contraction would hit. (He took this like a champ.) I kept my breathing low and lips loose to try to get this over with.

 

Around 2 pm I started feeling “pushy”- shortly thereafter I went through my first contraction when an urge to push RIPPED through my body. Again, I felt deceived- I had heard so many birth stories where pushing came as a relief. It turned me into an animal instead. I made the most guttural noises and literally begged my body to stop. I remember one of the first pushes and the only sound I could make was a long, low “NOOOOooooooooo!” A few of these contractions later and they checked my cervix- I was stuck at 8 cm. The midwives told me I had to try to NOT push in order to help move the remainder of my cervix out of the way and make pushing “easier”. Some contractions I could do it, most though my body took over and pushed anyways. It was pure torture- looking back on that time in labor feels the most traumatic. My body felt like it was literally being ripped in pieces, I was fully conscious for it, and all anybody could do to help was say “Yes, it is hard AND you can do it.” I realized no one could do this work for me- it was mine alone.

 

It worked though- soon after I begged to be checked again and I was fully dilated, ready for the last phase. They told me pushing should be easier now. It wasn’t. Each contraction was pure hell. My body was being tortured and I was sure there wasn’t anything that could be worth this. I told Trevor between contractions that we were adopting the rest of our family after this. He laughed- but I was completely serious then. I remember looking at my midwives and asking them “Women do this more than once? WHY?!!”

I took some contractions outside of the tub, standing and leaning into Trevor like I had at the beginning parts of my labor. As the contractions came to a close, my knees would buckle. The midwives had me reach inside and feel my baby’s head at one point, so I could “learn how to push” and bring her here faster. I was begging them to be done, asking how many more contractions were left. “Will she come with the next contraction?” I’d ask. “No, not yet- but she’s getting closer” they’d tell me.

Her head felt heavy and close, so I got back into the birth tub and onto my knees. I did a couple contractions like that, then felt something “pop” out. I thought it was the head- but it was only some membranes! I was dismayed but also determined. I continued pushing HARD.

 

Finally, finally, an enormous few pushes, an enormous gush and she slid out of me. They told me to reach down and bring my baby up- I did, sat back, and gaped at her! I couldn’t say or do anything but barely hold her and look back and forth between her and Trevor. She pinked up right away and starting wailing, “telling her birth story” as our midwives said. She was, and is, perfect- just under 8 lbs, beautiful, ours.

 

Besides a small tear and a couple stitches, I was completely healthy. Juniper was completely healthy. We had a successful, unmedicated home birth with a team we love. It went exactly as planned. And yet, it was NOTHING like I had planned. The concentrated, raw intensity of each contraction cracked me open from the inside out and rebirthed me as a mother. Time is already doing its healing- a day after labor, I viewed our story as a traumatic experience. Today, a week later, I am starting to see the beauty in the pain. I’m grateful for the changes it’s brought in me. I have no doubt that this was meant to be our path- and that I’m capable of so much more than I ever knew.

Happy 1 week, Junebug– you were so worth this.

There’s a lot not to like about Sunday nights. Lazy Sunday morning spent lingering over the breakfast table has disappeared. Spontaneous Sunday afternoon adventures have come and gone. And before you’ve gotten anything productive done, it’s 7 pm on a Sunday evening, and Monday morning feels way too close for comfort.

IMG_0882.JPG

There is one thing I like about Sunday evenings, though. There’s the feeling of a fresh start, the setting of good intentions, and a hushed hope that this week won’t kick your butt quite as much as last week did.

heart.jpg

I managed an hour in the kitchen tonight, prepping food for the week. This salad took 20 minutes to make, and although it’s not really the food I want to be eating (Smitten Kitchen’s cinnamon toast french toast stole my heart this weekend) I know this salad will help me feel healthy all week long. medley1.jpg

As I’ve learned before, change begets change. Something as small as a few cucumbers and radishes could propel you to get out for a run, do a few yoga stretches before bed, or ditch scanning your morning emails in bed for a few minutes of meditation instead.

IMG_0901.JPG

A book I’m reading, The Woman Code, describes this recipe as a “liver cleansing medley”, which sounds a lot more appealing than just “salad.” Author Alisa Vitta writes: “The liver is responsible for removing toxins from your body, and it does this by turning fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble ones so they can be excreted through your large intestine, kidneys, and skin.” If you have a hormonal imbalance, as many people do, your liver can’t operate optimally. Choosing certain foods, like lemon and cruciferous vegetables, give your liver a break. medley2.jpg

I hope you can find some time this Sunday evening to just sit quietly, and enjoy your last few hours of calm before Monday’s rush of deadlines and demands. If you have an extra 20 minutes on your hands, give this medley a try.

Liver Cleansing

Spring Mix Medley

From Alisa Vitti’s The Woman Code

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, chopped finely with mandolin
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Dress with apple cider vinegar and olive oil

Mix ingredients in a big jar and store in the fridge, store dressing separately. OR, store medley in individual containers with the dressing on the bottom (see pic above). Medley will last up to 1 week.

 

The plan started out so simple: find a patch of land. Build a small house. Live happily ever after.

01.jpg

In the past 8 months, we’ve put offers on 3 different houses throughout Maine. We’ve walked through at least 30 fixer uppers, researched small cabin plans, priced out yurts, and looked up tiny house codes. We finally “settled” on building…

Screen shot 2016-04-02 at 9.43.30 AM.png

…but it turns out, building a small house costs nearly as much as building a big house. Add on zoning code violations, a low house appraisal because your design is “abnormal”, and trying to get your house agent, loan agent, builder, and seller on the same page and you’ll find yourself where we are now: frustrated, exhausted, and flip flopping on every decision.

handstand.jpg

Last night we gave our 2 months notice to our landlord. I look ahead and see 4 different paths, waiting to be chosen: building our dream house with a big garden out in the country, buying a fixer upper within biking distance of Portland, living care free and renting, or frugally camping it out in a renovated bus. I’m afraid that whatever we choose, we’ll regret not taking the other paths.

walking property.JPG

Trevor tells me to be patient (always the lesson the universe will keep throwing at me until I learn to let go) and that we just need to wait it out until we understand our options better. He’s probably right- things that are meant to be shouldn’t be so hard. Whatever we end up choosing, we’ll find a way to make it wonderful. We always do.

10154219_10206383121836466_1960324640949174387_n.jpg

More soon.

 

soupTrevor’s been under the weather all weekend, so I made my go-to chicken soup. The ingredients are nothing out of the ordinary– just carrots, rice, potatoes, onions, celery, and a heaping pile of spinach thrown on in the bowl to wilt at the very end. But the broth is another story altogether. It’s sweet, tangy, and salty, rich with fat and brimming with magical nutrients. And the best part is, it’s made out of odds and ends I would have just thrown away up until a few months ago.

The best kitchen advice I read last year was to keep a gallon-size plastic bag in the freezer and take it out whenever you’re cooking. Toss in any scraps that you think might taste good in a soup. A few of my favorites are: chicken bones, herbs that are past their prime (rosemary, thyme, and parsley are fantastic), old cheese rinds, garlic nubs, onion skins (they give the soup a gorgeous nutty color), the ends of celery, and even old kale or spinach. Throw the bag in the freezer and don’t think twice about it. Once a month or so, empty the contents into a gigantic stock pot, fill it 3/4 of the way with water, add a hefty dose of salt and pepper, and let it simmer for 5 hours.

That’s it! It’s so easy, cheap, and infinitely better than anything you can purchase at the store. We recently went through a stock frenzy, buying some backs and necks of chicken at our local farm stand, and canned 10 quarts of liquid gold. It’s perfect for sipping when you’re sick or stirring into arborio rice for a quick risotto. We’ll be eating it all week as chicken soup.

Happy February! Stay warm & healthy.

 

This month, I went to see an acupuncturist for the first time. Needles in the face and everything! She’s one of my (badass) yoga teachers, and has a great discount for her students- so I gave it a whirl.

Kristen-1.jpg

Two sessions later and I’m totally hooked! Besides the immensely relaxing process that happens on the table (seriously, it’s even better than a message), I find I’m much more calm and centered for about four days after my appointment. I’m catastrophizing less, and am more in tune with my emotions. It’s been blissful.

IMG_0223.JPG

Plus, it’s just nice to talk with someone about my general wellbeing and stress management- we cover everything from my mood to my yoga practice to my work to my diet. Which led me to try The Whole 30 this month, per her recommendation.

groceries.jpg

Now, years of fad-diet fails taught me that diets don’t really work for me. I’m much better with an “everything in moderation” approach to food. But this diet is so similar to how Trevor and I eat already, we decided to try it out.

The Whole 30 guidelines can be found here– basically, no gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days. We are 14 days into it, and here’s what we like about it so far:

A big part of The Whole 30 is identifying and abolishing your cravings. For me it was sweets, for Trevor it’s been gluten. The first five days of this challenge were the hardest for me- 2:30 in the afternoon would hit and my sweet tooth would start going crazy! The second week in, I’m relishing the sweetness of whole fruits. Although I do miss my organic chocolate fix from time to time, I don’t feel controlled by it anymore.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.48.25 PM.png

In general, we’re both feeling much more clean and energetic. Here’s what we’re not so hot on:

It costs more, and we’re eating a LOT more meat. We’re spending an extra $50/week on meat and nuts in order to keep us full enough. We used to eat meat once or twice a week. Now we have meat at almost every meal. Also, it takes even more prep work than we usually do- but this week I think I got the swing of things and devoted a whole Sunday to prepping meals for the week.

We’ve still got another 2 weeks to go before we can start slowing re-introducing foods back into our diet. We’re thinking about keeping sugar and highly processed carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, out of our shopping cart for good. But we are looking forward to our old staples of rice, beans, select cheeses, and oats.

guac.jpg

If you’ve been meaning to clean up your diet but are looking for a little extra motivation, I’d highly recommend giving this program a try. It’s 100% free, there’s a wonderfully supportive online community (just search the hashtag #whole30), and it’s focused more on how to make your body feel GREAT, and less on losing weight.

Have you tried the Whole 30 before? What did you think?

 

 

This weekend was a kaleidoscope of soft snow, roaring wood stoves, homemade food (cooked by someone else!), big hugs, sweaty mittens, unbeatable views, and the happiest of happy hours.

beer

It felt as if we had gone through the closet doors and found ourselves somewhere near the lamp post in the Narnian woods.

moosetracks

The joy of being outside, with people you love, in a place far less touched by the 21st century does something to you- no cell reception meant there was no thinking about responding to emails, checking Instagram, or texting back a friend. I was free, breathing in and out nothing but gratitude.

 

happy

12540925_10206255483005495_6969227074039248155_n.jpg

As two young twenty somethings (one still in grad school), we live on a tight budget, and often say no to expenses that fall outside of our needs. But trips like this are a need– a few times a year, we budget for experiences that break us out of our ruts and help us to look up, above the tree line. The views up here make me want to hold on to this perspective for dear life.

71815_4417998287598_1247604742_n.jpg

I hope wherever you are this winter, you have the chance to go somewhere that lets you slow down and reflect…preferably somewhere with a piping hot, enormous slice of homemade gingerbread.

cake

 

Over the past two years, I’ve gotten pretty good at learning what a healthy, balanced, delicious, and filling diet looks like for me. It’s got a hefty dose of roasted vegetables, green smoothies, seeds and nuts, rice and beans, a little bit of high quality meat and cheese, and of course- chocolate.

porkchops.jpg

There are times I scoop up more ice cream than I do flax seeds, but I know how to get myself back on track and feeling good again within a couple weeks.

sweets.jpg

With my passion for food, though,  I sometimes forget about allllll the other important aspects of a healthy life. As a result, stress has recently snuck up on me like a pup nosing her way up to the appetizer table. You never see it coming until half the good cheese is gone and you’re freaking out.

IMG_4326.JPG

 

Call it the holiday craze, call it too long of a commute, call it saying ‘yes’ to one too many commitments- there’s no one root cause of my stress. The real issue is that I gave it permission to make a home inside my head.

gingerbreadhouse.jpg

I’ve been gifted with a brain reboot over the past 2 days, though. Far away from my meticulously scheduled routine, in a land where the only rules are “No Whining” and take your turn at the dishes and give extra hugs and eat one more gingerbread cookie- please? Stress has become a foreign feeling.

gingerbread.jpg

I’m not 100% sure how I’ll bring this clarity back home with me in 2 more short days- but I do know that it’s as crucial (if not more so) to my health than chia seeds and hydration. I’ll keep fighting for that ever elusive balance that can be found somewhere between 10 hour work days and a hot mug of tea at night, in between hot yoga and brown butter cookies.

img_1577

Merry Christmas. No whining.

IMG_4296.JPG

We spent the long Memorial weekend shlepping boxes, arguing over who was doing more heavy lifting, and making roughly 1,128,202 hour and a half trips back and forth. As a result, last week was a hard one to get through– we were just drained, and trying to navigate our new temporary residence (hi Mom & Dad!).

We’ll be crashing here until we close on an old 1820s farm house in North Yarmouth, which should happen within the next month or so. In the meantime, here are some ways I’m going to set myself up for a better week ahead. I hope yours is stress-free, joyous, and that you have someone tell you they love you.

  1. Plan a few fun workouts. Write them down in a calendar or text yourself the days and times you’re committed to getting your heart rate up. Don’t write down anything you’re not excited to do. If you hate running, try yoga, rock climbing, biking, or just taking a walk. No matter what it is, make an appointment with yourself and don’t back out.
  2. Meal plan for the week! Sunday evening is a great night to do it- think about what you’ll need for lunches, healthy snacks, and dinners. Breakfasts should be fast, easy, and healthy (green smoothie, eggs + bacon, or avocado toast.)
  3. Plan for one activity that’s just for you. For me these days, it’s acupuncture. Trevor treated himself to a massage last week. Or, it could be as simple as heading to bed 30 minutes early to dive into a good book, or waking up 15 minutes early to try meditating. Do something that will help restore your energy.
  4. When you’re feeling stressed, take a few deep breaths and focus on 3 things you’re grateful for. I’m trying to work on complaining less right now, and I find that focusing on the things I love help recenter me during a crazy moment of my week.
  5. Find a mantra, and repeat it to yourself in the quiet moments of every day. It should be a positive and simple phrase.

11899983_3218802068917_391691149182667892_n

We’re about 3,500 feet up and my head is spinning. My heart is pounding everywhere except in my chest- in my ears, in my temples, in my feet, and OH MY GOD my quads are on FIRE. I’m out of breath, and hating myself for not being in better shape. For not being able to propel myself up this mountain as fast as the rest of the group. The self-doubt comes rushing in and I lean up against a tree, wheezing. And then, Trevor hands me an apple.

6a00d8349eed6669e20120a5ac31af970c

It was a magic apple. Bright red and small. Sugary but not too sweet, juicy and crunchy and purely satisfying. It lifted me out of my own head and put the pleasure back into hiking. The last 1,589 feet weren’t easy, but they were far from torturous. My thoughts changed from shit-talking my abilities to positive reinforcements of my own strength. We summated Mt. Lincoln, all 5,089 feet, in an hour and a half.

11887991_3218802588930_3643127569854377387_n

One of my very favorite parts about hiking, aside from the spectacular views and the sense of invincibility, is that food takes on a whole new meaning. Whether it’s a handful of trail mix or an apple on the way up, a hummus-cheese-and pickles sandwich at the top, or even downing the last drops of your water bottle, you can taste with every bite or swallow new strength coming into your body.  You can almost feel every glorious calorie finding its way to the parts of your body that need the most repair.

IMG_0795 (1)

It made me think about all the meals I have when my body isn’t being heavily strained. “Food as fuel”- the notion that we should eat solely to keep our strength up- has never been a motivating concept for me before. I believe food has purposes far greater than simply caloric intake. Food brings friends and family together, it can connect you with the seasons and to your community, it can bring back memories of wonderful times and people, or food can be just be simply fun.

10151356_10202195678632923_1883852708151320903_n

But there’s nothing like a long hike to help you take stock of how much food for fun vs. food for fuel you’ve been enjoying recently. Last weekend’s hike helped me to re-evaluate my diet. I noticed that my portions have been a little large lately, and that there really isn’t a need to snack between meals unless you have a workout you’re prepping for, or unless you’re really, really hungry.

IMG_0794

And if you are really, really hungry- eat an apple.

WEEKLY WRAPUP

My week started with watching my best friend get married and is ending with climbing an enormous mountain. Big things, people! Here’s what I’m thinking about in between all that:

  • I’m researching hangover foods for an upcoming recipe post (and past weekend real life experience).
  • Best mashup of the summer. Repeat repeat repeat.
  • I love my Vitamix- definitely going to try some of these recipes!
  • We have ZERO real problems– if you’re healthy, safe, and loved, be grateful.
  • Some weeks I’m just harder on myself than others. Here’s how to love yourself no matter what.
  • There is a very soft spot in my heart for figs.
  • Let’s up our breakfast game, shall we? Cereal is so 2014.
  • The world is exploding with zucchini this time of year. Can’t eat ’em fast enough? Freeze those suckers!
  • It’s creeping into the end of summer and I still haven’t gotten to a lot of these things.
  • If you can climb a mountain, you can do anything.

prep2

In our quest to eat healthy, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about which foods you should cut out. “I’m quitting sugar!”, “I’m going cold turkey on alcohol,” and “No more snacking for me” have all come out of my lips at one point in time. These blanket statements sound really appealing- but usually by lunchtime I find myself thigh-high in cookies or halfway through a bag of chips.

icecream 2 For many people (including yours truly), complete denial of our cravings usually leads to binging out on that very food a little later. I find I’m much more successful in losing weight when I approach it through moderation and finding healthy alternatives to my favorite unhealthy foods. Enter:

Healthy chips, 3 ways!

 Cheesy Carrot Bits, Spicy Zucchini Crisps, and Rosemary Garlic Potato Chips.

Let’s get to it.

Cheesy Carrot Bits:

  • 7 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inches
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt + Pepper

carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two baking pans with coconut oil, line with carrots and top with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of oven, use tongs to flip carrots. Bake another 10-30 minutes, until brown around the edges and crispy. Lay on cooling rack to cool, sprinkle with more nutritional yeast, and enjoy!

Spicy Zucchini Crisps

  • 2-3 TB flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • Salt+Pepper
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced 1/4 inches (slightly thicker than a quarter)
  • 1 TB coconut oil

zucchini

 

Mix together flour, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two baking pans with coconut oil. Dip your zucchini slices in the flour mixture, then lay on the baking sheets. Flip once so that both sides have a small coating of oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Take out of oven, use tongs to flip zucchini. Bake another 10-20 minutes, until just brown and a little crispy. Lay on cooling rack to cool.

Rosemary Garlic Potato Chips:

  • 3 medium sized potatoes or 6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin on a mandolin
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

Put potato slices in a bowl, cover with cold water, and refrigerate at least an hour (this helps the chips get extra crunchy.) Dry thoroughly with a towel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two baking pans with oil. Lay out potato slices on pan, flip once to coat both sides. Bake for 15 minutes, take out of oven and use tongs to flip. Bake another 20-30 minutes until brown and crispy. Put in a big bowl straight out of the oven and mix with rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Lay on cooling rack to cool.

Serve the chip (or chips) of your choice with lots of hummus and fresh veggies!

3chips

wrapup

Cheers, dude! You made it through the big week. Take it easy today and check out what’s been motivating me:

  • I struggle with yoga because I don’t have a “yoga body.” These photos encourage me to keep going anyways.
  • I fell in love with the food in Sri Lanka. I can’t wait to try to recreate some of these dishes in my kitchen!
  • Starting the land/house search is hard. Dreaming of this house keeps me going.
  • I’d like my entire freezer to be filled with these.
  • I’m totally taking this trailmix to Baxter over labor day weekend.
  • Take a risk- try some weird food this weekend.
  • And while you’re at it, make this cocktail.
  • 10 steps to improve your running form, ladies.
  • It’s the start of August and it’s too hot to cook. Tasting Table has you covered.
  • So blessed to hike this peak every summer. Katahdin, here we come!

mushroom harvestWe’re into August already, but this weekend was the first one that really felt like summer. Our good friends Jill and Joe came up for a visit, and reminded us of the pure joy that can only be found in a full day with absolutely nothing to do.

group
We took a long nature walk, talked about our dreams for the future, and ate really, really good food.
breakfast

During our walk in the woods, they showed us how to look for coral and oyster mushrooms. We harvested them and added them to our CSA chanterelles and black trumpets. We then paired them with our new favorite pasta recipe, good Pecorino Romano, fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil.

Pasta dinner

Oh, and big goblets of Wild Sumac Margaritas!

sumac margarita

This dinner was the perfect nod to summer’s bounty. I insist you find some good mushrooms, good friends, good tequila, and make this immediately before summer starts to disappear.

 

Foraged Summer Feast

(more…)

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 7.31.23 AM

It’s FRIDDAYYY! This is a new series I’m starting, inspired by this amazing blog. Take an extra long coffee break and get ready for a healthy, nourishing, relaxing, and adventurous weekend ahead.

  1. I can’t wait to make these this weekend.
  2. I’ve been binge-listening to all 3 of Gimlet Media’s podcasts. They make my runs (and commute) feel so much shorter.
  3. ZOODLES. Do it.
  4. A bunch of these hikes are on my list.
  5. Grab some paint and freshen up that room you’ve been wanting to repaint. Mega inspiration.
  6. I’m thinking of adding this to my morning breakfast routine.
  7. We’ve been eating more and more vegetarian these days. Up for the challenge?
  8. I first read this article on running over 7 years ago- I still think back to it every time I need motivation to lace up.
  9. Put the cone down- make one of these snacks instead.
  10. Sunday will be here before you know it- get your meals PREPPED so next week will be stress free.

dreamboard

Dreams get a bad rap, in every day life. We’re much more concerned with schedules, deadlines, and quantifiable results. Dreams are seen as whimsical realities, a dual world that only exists in the clouds.

IMG_0570 2

What are the dreams you’re too scared to voice, that lie somewhere in between consciousness, subconsciousness, and unconsciousness? What are the birthday-cake-candle wishes you whisper to yourself?

birthdaywish

I’m not saying schedules and accountability aren’t important, too- because they are. In order to make a dream a reality, you need to pair it with good old fashioned WORK. But- the core of a dream is a wild, fantastic, untamable place. And too often, we don’t explore that wilderness enough. 
540819_4326211392983_1417979926_n

We’re too scared of getting our hopes up, of picturing a future that couldn’t possibly exist. Dreams hold enormous power. When you start voicing your dreams and treating them as you would any other important project in your life, magic can happen.

10592718_10202845200750570_1341178604668794784_n

Trevor and I started a dream board two years ago in DC. Like many things I scoff at first and then come to love (epsom salt baths, kefir, leaving DC) it was all Trevor’s idea. We got a bulletin board and a bunch of pins, and put up the following dreams:

  • Get married
  • Buy used car
  • Graduate from Institute for Integrative Nutrition
  • Have babies
  • Pay off school bills
  • Build dream house

The dream board sat there for a while. I’d tuck it under the bed when guests came, embarrassed. Afraid I had to explain my dreams to someone who wouldn’t believe in them. But then, we started accomplishing a few of those dreams. We created a “success” column and started moving pins over. And it felt good.

10312595_10202302990995665_1570752185863084671_n

No, it felt amazing. It was empowering. It made me want to voice more dreams, and to be a little crazier with them. “Save 10k emergency fund,” “Get a health coach client,” “Write 100th blog post,” “Become yoga certified,” all went on the board. We’d come back to it every few months, bring a few goals over to the success column, write a few more. We added photos of dream houses, quotes about being brave and believing in ourselves.

2f5ed1add56a8420623ec7568c19fc6f

We became more specific with our goals. We talked (and blogged!) about them with other people. I didn’t hide the dream board under the bed when guests came over. People didn’t laugh- and I started to believe that these crazy dreams could really become something tangible. That we could live in that dual world, do good work that helps others, raise happy tiny humans in a house we build in a state we love.

Lincoln-Barbour-tinyhouse-101

These dreams still scare me- as big dreams should. Every time I start really doubting them though, I check out that success column on my board, and it gives me energy. I can’t wait to look back on it in 10, 20, 50 years and see everything that we’ve accomplished, and how our dreams have evolved.

So…what are YOUR dreams? And, if you’re not ready to voice them out loud (and some people say you shouldn’t at first!), start a dream board, and see where it leads you.

 

 

IMG_3347

We got back from our whirlwind adventure in Sri Lanka and Vietnam a little over a week ago. It was spectacular. We climbed 5th century AD kingdoms, saw ALL the buddhas (and brought one home!) and ate the most amazing, other-worldly good food.

And while some of the food we ate was fresh and green and full of nutrients…

IMG_3138

…many other things we ate were fried, or ice cream, or filled with additives (protip: NEVER eat the airplane food, especially the meat. Bring your own snacks.)

IMG_3218 (more…)

The Great Adventure we’ve been dreaming about for over a year is almost here. Itineraries have been organized, flights have been paid for, window seats chosen, and passports updated. In mere days Trevor and I are taking off with a few dear friends to Sri Lanka, then onwards to Vietnam!

blank-printable-world-map.png

For those of you out there who think there’s no way you could afford to travel, believe us: you can (and should) find a way. Here are our five best tips for planning (and paying for) an expensive trip:

1. Verbalize your dream. Tell your parents about it. Tell your friends about it. Tell your boss about it, well ahead of time. When we first started talking about this trip, we weren’t sure how we were going to be able to afford it…we just knew that we’d find a way. By talking to those closest to us about our plans, it gave us confidence and resolution to follow through.

2. Give yourself enough time to plan. We had over a year to think this trip through and start saving, and even that was cutting it close. Time is your best asset- even putting aside $50/month (cut out cable, 1 lunch out/week, or 1 dinner out/month) is enough to start. I’ll quote Liz Gilbert on this one: “People say they can’t afford to travel. But if you circle a date on your calendar and make that your single, greatest priority, I guarantee you that you can.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.14.40 PM

3. Pick up extra jobs. This was a tough one- Trevor is a full time grad student and TA, and I have a full time job in Portland. This year, both of us picked up small jobs on the side whenever we had the chance. It makes our weekends and evenings tighter and more hectic than we like sometimes, but we figured it out. You can too.

4. Cut your “fun” budget down. For us, eating out is our most expensive kryptonite. We weren’t able to remove this habit completely, but we were able to cut it in half. We now eat out once or twice a month, instead of a weekly date night out.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.15.45 PM

5. Remove the small expenses. $5 for a coffee here, or 671.54 rupees for an entire (and amazing) meal in Sri Lanka? We made our own coffees in to-go mugs, brown bagged it during the week, and stopped buying new clothes.

IMG_2347

At the end of 12 months of scrimping and saving, we have just enough (baring no emergencies abroad) to afford this trip entirely on our own. We were still able to enjoy a few luxuries throughout the year, too (we buy organic groceries, had a few wonderful dinners out, and get the good coffee beans).

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.07.21 PM

The point of this post is not to brag (while we consider ourselves incredibly rich in many areas of life, at the end of the day we’re still broke-ass 20-somethings living paycheck to paycheck.) The point of this post is to encourage and inspire you, fellow strapped travelers. If we can figure out a way to do this, so can you. And you should!

Traveling to places that freak you out a little- or a lot (we just found out about things called “land leeches” in Sri Lanka) make you grow. They expand how you perceive the word, challenge your beliefs, and burst the comfortable bubble in which you live your every day life. Traveling has made me a stronger, more creative, and more confident individual. Traveling with my partner has made us so much stronger as a team. There are endless reasons why we will always make travel a priority.

16660_4360820613797_393833174_n

What’s on your dream travel list? Let us know below in a comment. Include your address, and we’ll mail you a post card from Sri Lanka! I’ll leave you with a quote from the great Bac Jim: “Money is just a paper medium for enjoying life.”

Editors note: While we are proud to be able to afford this trip monetarily on our own, we certainly could not have taken this trip without help. We have our bosses to thank, who supported the time off we’re taking to travel. We have our friends and family to thank for the support they gave us, and for still loving us when we had to say “no” to weekends away or dinners out. Most of all, we have our great friends and mentors Bac Jim and Jenn to thank for organizing the entirety of the trip- from group flights to travel agents to hotels to historical sites and much, much more that we gratefully do not have to think about because they are handling it.

1381396_10201011290783967_1918484168_n

salad fixings

Start of Summer salad, recipe below.

I read about a program recently called “Give it 100“, where you promise to practice something every day for 100 days and see major results. I’ve seen varying degrees of this program throughout the years- 30 day detoxes, 16 days to awesome abs, 3 week sugar cleanses, etc. At least for me, these programs have never worked. Mostly because I cave after day 2. (more…)

I have a sweet tooth that once ate through a solid chocolate Easter bunny closer in size to a real bunny in less than 24 hours. I was told I ate so much chocolate it turned my eyes brown. But since becoming a health coach & learning more about the crazy, addictive, and harmful effects of sugar, I know it’s a vice I’ll always have to keep in check. But I’ll never completely try to banish it. Everything in moderation.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 6.54.52 PM

(more…)

This year, Trevor and I bit the bullet and bought a CSA membership.

fiddleheads

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Community members purchase a “share” of crops up front from a local farmer before the season begins. The farmer rewards CSA members with fresh, local, and delicious food every week. We purchased a “farm + forage” CSA, which means every week May-October we’ll get a box chock full of produce grown on the farm, as well as food foraged in the Maine wilderness, such as mushrooms, fiddle heads, blueberries, and spinach! (more…)

chickeninstaub2

I had hoped to open this post with photos of today’s Maple Sugar Sunday trip. I have very fond memories of this tradition. Parents take their kids to maple sugar farms and get tours of the sugar shack, visit with farm animals, and, most importantly, devour FREE maple sugar samples. Often over ice cream. Sometimes simply on fresh snow. (more…)

We smelled spring today.

ice

It doesn’t look like it from there, but close up, changes were happening. We could see the ice melting on top of waves, twisted like frozen paper cranes ready to take flight. We closed our eyes and felt warm air brush our cheeks. With each breath, we let out a little bit of our winter sadness and took in big gulps of anticipated joy. (more…)

I wanted to give you a recipe for eggplant chips today. I saw them in a magazine recently and was so excited to make them…but they fell way below expectations.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 8.47.12 PM(Or, maybe your expectations for eggplant chips were low already? Good call.)

(more…)

My years always end with a bang. December is a smorgasboard of  friends’ and relatives’ birthdays, holiday parties, Christmas, my birthday, New Years, and soft blankets of snow.

IMG_1102

It’s my very favorite month. There’s always something to be planned, something to be baked, something to be wrapped (and unwrapped, under twinkly lights), and something delicious to eat and drink. (more…)

FULL DISCLOSURE: These will not magically make chickpeas taste like salt and vinegar chips. Unfortunately, I went into this baking project assuming just that. They will, however, make chickpeas taste a lot better than just chickpeas. And they’re much healthier than chips. But they’re not for everyone.

almostready

As Trevor put it: “Make sure people know how weird these are. [5 minutes later] I can’t stop eating these. After the 12th one they get really good.” You’ve been warned. (more…)

Don’t get me wrong- I’m all about the classics. What would Thanksgiving be without the turkey (or tofurkey), the creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans with the crispy fried onions on top, and ALL the pie? (Answer: regular weeknight dinner.) But every year, it’s fun to bring one new dish to the table to see if it’s a hit.

sprouts3

This is Trevor and my first Thanksgiving as hosts. We’re cooking our very first turkey (thank you Uncle Sandy for the patient step-by-step brining instructions!), dealing with our first Thanksgiving time table (thank you Bon Appétit!) and cleaning the house like mad people. Our table is small with just one guest, but we’re still loading it up with tons of traditional fare plus this new favorite recipe. (more…)

I’ve been sick as a dog this past week!

IMG_0215

Not that dog- she’s pretty happy and healthy.

It’s November 10th and we’re in the thick of flu season. Coworkers are falling like flies around us- myself included.

river

Make sure you’ve got your best defenses up with these natural remedies:

Get your Z’s! 

You’ve heard it before- here’s why it’s important. When you sleep, your immune system lets out cytokines, or certain proteins. You need more cytokines when you’re sick to help fight infection, so you need to up your sleep. Even just a 20 minute nap during the day can give your body a protein boost.

IMG_0025

Amp up your veggie game

You’re looking to get vitamins A, C, and zinc into your diet. Reach for sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, citrus fruits, bell peppers, cauliflower, beans, chickpeas, kale, cashews, and almonds.

Fight stress

Stress can wreak havoc on our physical and mental wellness. Sleep loss, upset stomach, headaches, nausea, depression, muscle pains, and over/under eating can all be symptoms of stress. This is a great time of year to take up yoga or meditation, learn a breathing exercise, work on your fitness routine, or schedule more time to hang out with friends -even if they’re just the furry kind.

IMG_0201

Try not to fight stress with other crutches- alcohol, junk food, TV. These may provide temporary relief but only add to your stress in the long run.

Lay off the sugar

I know you don’t want to hear it- the holidays are just around the corner! Hot cocoa, candy canes, cakes, pie, truffles, COOKIES.

IMG_9638

I don’t want to hear it either. Anyone who knows me knows I have a pretty big sweet tooth. But sugar can cause serious wreckage to your immune system. Here’s why:

“Sugar has been shown to inhibit the immune system by preventing movement of white blood cells, your immune cells, to the area of infection. Sugar also prevents a particular type of white blood cell from eating up viruses and other bugs to manage infection.” -Today Integrative Health + Wellenss.

Limit your sweets- they should really be an occasional treat, not an every day guarantee. Keeping a food journal or using an app like Lift is a great way to keep tabs on your cravings. Many recipes can be modified to use half the sugar recommended and still be delicious, or you can try subbing in natural sweeteners like bananas, raw honey, or berries.

What are your go-to tricks for staying healthy during the colder months? Leave a comment below.

I have a client! (Insert stadium crowd cheers here.) I graduated from IIN in July, but I’ve been dragging my feet about finding health coach clients for a while. I wanted to have my website perfect, my coaching materials organized, more practice under my belt…I wanted to feel ready.

image (31)

An opportunity presented itself recently that I couldn’t pass up, so I took on my first client. It’s been a couple weeks so far, and here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Lose the script! You’re going to alienate your client if you work too much off your prepared agenda.
  • Listen more, talk less.
  • Start with goals for the client, but be flexible. If they want to take on more, go with that. If they need to slow down another week, that’s cool too.
  • You don’t have to take on a completely different persona when you run meetings or write your emails. They chose to work with you for a reason- don’t change your voice in order to prove you’re professional.
  • Check-ins between sessions are appreciated, even if it’s just a quick email or shared Pinterest board.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 10.34.09 PM

  • Test the homemade granola bars BEFORE you send them to a client. As delicious as toasted coconut peanut butter flax seed bars may sound…they’re really, really not.
  • Just because the client does most of the legwork doesn’t mean your work as a coach isn’t valuable. Having someone hold you responsible for your actions is a big part of the puzzle. And supplementing that with tips and recipes is just icing on the (carrot) cake.
  • You don’t have to use up the whole 50 minute session- if you can both cover the ground you need to in 30, go with that.
  • This kind of work lights me up from the inside out.

IMG_0112

Halloween is one week from today, folks! This weekend is the perfect time to find that last prop for your costume and stock up on your candy supply. While you’re out shopping, consider branching out and buying a more natural candy instead of resorting to the scary classics.

scary!

It’s a balancing point, I know- you don’t want to be the weird neighbor handing out the toothbrush or the apples… but maybe you’re taking a closer look at the label and thinking, “there’s a whole lot of stuff in here besides chocolate and peanut butter.”

Get rid of the guilt and support these three great brands:

Unreal: Candy Unjunked

unreal candy

I got excited seeing these at CVS last year- a sure sign that natural, less-processed food was becoming a real trend. Yes, it’s still sugar-laden candy, but it’s got a lot less hard-to-pronounce ingredients than a Snickers bar.

Pros

  • Non-GMO
  • Made in North America
  • 100% Gluten-free ingredients
  • Ethically sourced
  • No preservatives, no corn syrup

Cons:

  • Shelf life of 9 months
  • Manufactured in a plant with gluten and nuts, so may not be 100% safe for those with severe allergies
  • Only sold in the US

Justin’s

Justins PB cupsThe healthiest Reese’s substitute you can find out there (unless you make your own.) Their nut butter travel packs are great for handing out, too (think healthy nutella in a squeeze pouch.)

Pros:

  • Certified Fair-trade and organic
  • Donates to Conscious Alliance, a grass-roots organization that provides youth awareness programs on severe hunger issues
  • Gluten free
  • Non GMO
  • Sustainable packaging (more than other brands.)

Cons:

  • The PB cups often look cloudy and a bit discolored due to “cocoa bloom,” when the chocolate reach temps over 75 degrees (because it doesn’t contain preservatives, it’s effected more than other chocolates.) Still delicious though!
  • Only two products: PB cups and Nut Butters (but really, what else could you want?)

KIND bars

kind-bars

Looking to go the extra-hippy route? These bars will encourage healthy eating while still satisfying a mean sweet tooth.

Pros:

  • 100% whole ingredients
  • Protein boost (10 grams/bar)
  • Many flavors to choose from like Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
  • Great brand with a commitment to social entrepreneurship
  • Gluten Free

Cons: 

  • The kids will hate you and most likely just give the bars to their parents (who will *love* you!)

Happy Halloween!

Turkey head(My proudest Halloween costume! I clearly got plenty of candy this year.)

 

I’ve  been making this recipe for about 3 years now. It’s an easy snack I can throw in my lunch bag that cures my 3:00 craving for something sweet and salty. It tastes like candied bacon (but with more crunch), and it’s pretty healthy to boot! Let’s get to it.

trevor, bacon

“Bacon” Coconut Chips

(Recipe from Fettle Vegan)

ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (bigger chunks work best.)
  • 2 TB liquid smoke*
  • 1 TB Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 TB maple syrup
  • 1 TB water
  • Heavy dash of chili powder (optional- but packs a punch!)

*Liquid smoke may not be an ingredient you’ve used or even heard of before, but it’s 100% natural. It’s basically smoke passed through a tube from a chamber filled with chicory wood chips to a condenser. Baking meets science!

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl.

chips mixed

Transfer to baking sheets (try not to overcrowd them.) Pop ’em in the oven and give them a stir every 5 minutes or so.

KEY NOTE: do not leave the kitchen during this process! You will forget about them and they will burn. Be patient- these chips are worth it. 

Once they’re golden brown and crispy, take them out and let cool 5-10 minutes. Store in a ziplock or air-tight container, and get snacking!

trevor

Yes I’m still snacking, and no, you can’t have any. 

Welcome to Monday morning. If yours was anything like mine, you spent it cursing the alarm, stumbling downstairs to start the coffee, back upstairs to throw on workout clothes before you’re awake enough to talk yourself out of it, picking out an outfit for work in the dark, and frantically packing a lunch. Oh, and mad dash back to grab the coffee you forgot on the table.

coffee

Do yourself a favor: make it 1 step easier for yourself. Make a grab and go breakfast that’s healthy, will keep you full ’til lunch, and is commuter friendly.

I whipped up a batch of these yesterday afternoon, and think you should too next time you have a free 30 minutes. They’re guaranteed to make your mornings 99% easier (you still have to go to work- that’s the last 1% I can’t fix for you.)

Grab & Go egg wraps

Makes 6 wraps

Note: I made these with ingredients I currently had in my fridge. If you keep the base of eggs the same, you can swap in any variety of fillings. Spinach, sun dried tomato and feta is in my future.

ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 pack tortillas of choice (size matters! Small enough to be travel sized, large enough to hold in the good stuff.)
  • 2 cups greens of choice (we used kale)
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 8 or so mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of choice (mozzarella)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sriracha or hot sauce (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and a little water or milk (this helps them get fluffy.) Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and sauté greens for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and continue stirring for another minute. Add pepper and any other vegetables until tender.

kale

Add in egg mixture and cheese, scramble until eggs are cooked, about 3 minutes. Take off heat.

Assemble your wraps! I found it easiest to place plastic wrap underneath each tortilla, fill the tortilla with a healthy dose of egg mixture, and, if you like things spicy, a couple shakes of sriracha. Then roll it up with the plastic wrap. Tuck the ends extra good.

assembly

Voila! Store in fridge if you’ll eat it within the next day or two, the freezer if longer. When your busy morning comes around, take off plastic wrap and heat in microwave for 30 seconds if in fridge, 60 seconds if from freezer. Tuck the tortilla in a tupperware or re-wrap it in tin foil for an easy commuter breakfast!

tortillas

Happy Monday- we can do this.

When’s the last time you took a look at the back of your shampoo bottle?

shampoo

What IS this stuff? Methylchloroisothiazolinone, seriously? (Google tells me this ingredient is also used to make glue, paint, and fuel.)

I’ve been fed up with shampoo for a while, but haven’t been ready to jump into the no-poo movement either. I found an easy all-natural shampoo recipe on one of my favorite blogs. It lathers, which was important to me, and left my hair thick and shiny.

hair

(sans blow drying)

Plus, it’s only 3 ingredients! It’s my new go-to, budget-friendly, guilt-free suds of choice. I highly recommend you shake up a batch pronto.

Shampoo without the Bull

(Recipe from Wellness Mama)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (I’ll be posting a recipe for what to do with the rest of the can soon!)
  • 1/3 cup Liquid Castille Soap (like Dr. Bronners)
  • 1/2 of a teaspoon Vitamin E oil, optional (though I think this is what helps with the shine)

ingredients

Mix ingredients together in a jar, clean bottle, or foam dispenser.

jar

I used peppermint-scented Dr. Bronner’s, but if you use an unscented soap you can add up to 20 drops of essential oil like lavender or rose.

Shake it up!

jar2

Store in your shower for up to 1 month, shake well before each use and use about 1 tsp per use, 2-3 times/week. Oh, and because this shampoo isn’t laden with harmful chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils, there’s no reason to use conditioner.

It’s easy to forget that what you put on the outside of your body affects you just as much as the foods you consume. If you’re interested in learning more about natural body/beauty products, unsullied is a gorgeous, well-written and well-researched blog you should definitely check out. (It’s written by a former coworker of mine who taught me everything I know about social media.)

Happy suds-ing!

Real talk: we’re broke.

broke

It’s cool though- we’re broke by choice. Yes, seriously. Hear me out:

We haven’t been feeling in control of our money lately. We get paid, it gets spent. We think we’re doing fine, so we splurge on dinners out or trips. We cover the bills, but barely. At the end of the month we’re left feeling confused or guilty. “But where did it all go?!”

Yes, we’re in our mid twenties and don’t make a lot, but compared to the rest of the world, we are incredibly well off. (Did you know Vietnam’s annual income is about 2k/person?)

Vietnamwomen

There’s no excuse for not knowing where our money goes, and no reason we can’t feel financially in control.

This week Trevor and I finally had a budget meeting. We went over our credit card statements from the past few statements to see where our largest areas of spending resided (rent, gas, groceries) and updated our spreadsheet of income vs. expenses, which includes short and long term saving goals. Together, we made a conscious choice to be broke in order to work towards those goals.

broke3

It’s a tight budget, and it’s going to be tough, but we’re feeling pretty darn good about it.

Here’s what being broke means for us:

  • We’re saying no to 100% organic local groceries for a while, and just focusing on the dirty dozen
  • We’re starting an emergency fund- it’s a small start, but it’s a start
  • We’re taking a break from eating out- no restaurants, no coffees on the go, no afternoon bakery snack attacks
  • We’re adding 10 minutes to our commute to avoid tolls
  • We’re ditching fancy recipes and learning how to get creative in the kitchen using fewer ingredients (and freezing extra portions to use throughout the week- thanks for the tip sis!)
  • We’re saying no to new travel commitments – as much as we want visit all our friends and family, we just can’t afford it right now. (But our home is always open to visitors.)
  • We’re being responsible for our debts- we have two car loans and we’re committed to meeting every payment on time
  • We’re giving homemade Christmas gifts this year (sorry family- we’ll make ‘em pretty though.)
  • We’re ditching all commercial shopping – we’ve got plenty of warm clothes and way more “stuff” than we know what to do with. We don’t need anything else.
  • The Big One: we’re saving up for a 3-week vacation to Sri Lanka and Vietnam next June. This is an incredibly important trip for us- we’re going with Bác Jim and Jenn, our mentors who first took us to Vietnam back in 2010 and married us at our wedding. And it’s our last trip before we start thinking about some super adult decisions.

vietnam

Have you had to buckle down on your budget? What were the things you chose to live without? Was it worth it?

clouds

This weekend, Trevor and I celebrated our first anniversary. Thanks to the generosity of a wonderful friend, we stayed in a log cabin on Lake Millinocket, just a short canoe paddle away from breathtaking views of Mt. Katahdin.

Katahdin

I’ve been visiting this northern Maine mountain every summer for as long as I can remember. It’s my spiritual touchpoint- a place that clarifies what’s worth pursuing, and what I should stop worrying about.

Trevor hiked Katahdin a number of times as a boy scout growing up, which somehow makes it an even more hauntingly beautiful place. A mountain we were both climbing long before we knew the other existed, or would come to be the one.

IMG_9728

This weekend we let ourselves dream without reservations. About getting Rosewood on its feet, about Sri Lanka next summer, about tiny houses, about the many touchstones and anniversaries we’ll celebrate down the road. In between dreams, we made pasta from scratch…

pasta

…and drank endless mugs of cocoa, and read an entire book…

cocoa

almanac

…and played cards on springy sunlit moss…

trevorcards

tesscards…and went on many wonderfully lazy canoe trips, searching for moose who didn’t want to be found.

canoeHere’s to many more anniversaries, and to remembering the lessons of Katahdin: chase what matters, let go of the rest.

beer

This week was a lunar eclipse- I think it was called a blood moon? I don’t really follow astrology, but sometimes I can’t help buying into it just a little. There were warnings that this week might be more chaotic and confusing as a result. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that, but if your week did feel a little of whack (like ours did), chalk it up to mars being in retrograde and make a list of everything that was good, big or small.

Trevor:

  • I’m so grateful that four years ago today I asked Tess to be my girlfriend. It was the capitol of Vietnam’s millennial anniversary. There were millions of people in the streets outside our dorm, fireworks going off all around us. I knew it was the start of something special.

vietnam

  • We’re spending our wedding anniversary weekend up near Mt. Katahdin- I’m so grateful for our buddy Paul’s generosity in letting us stay at his family’s cabin.
  • FALL BREAK. I’m 100% grateful for a long weekend and a break from grading papers and studying.

trevor

Tess:

  • Despite the crazy price (our jaws are still on the floor) I’m extremely grateful to have our Subaru fixed up and safe again. I don’t have to worry about it breaking down on Trevor anymore.
  • I’m really grateful for my team at work- these two guys are extremely supportive, creative, and help me get through the tough stuff.

work

  • I’m grateful to be back at the gym- it’s starting to get really dark when I get home, so the gym will start being my primary workout space again. As much as I’ll miss the outdoors, there’s something about the gym that makes me want to work a little harder. The quote on the wall says “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

gym(I promise not to start taking gym selfies on a regular basis)

What were you grateful for this week?

Last week felt like a hard week. It was the kind of week where your car breaks down and the price to fix it is almost as much as the price of a new used car. It was the kind of week where you set out with a strict budget and then promptly go out to breakfast. And lunch. And…dinner too.

tess

It was a week with a lot of driving and realizing we’re spending a bajillion dollars on gas every month and there’s nothing we can do about it. And that it really might be time to re-think the whole “no internet” thing. And that we miss our friends, and our family, even though we’re only a couple hours north. Last week just felt too hard.

So. We made crème brûlée, and drank champaign with friends.

creme

Meet Blair and Ian, our amazing buddies from Cape.

friends

They came up for an overnight visit. We had a blast catching up, playing drunk bananagrams, fishing…

fishing

…and, most importantly, cooking. These two don’t mess around in the kitchen. (Make sure to check out Sea Salt and Chambray, Blair and her sister Hayley’s stunning blog.)

If you’re having a tough week, I highly recommend taking a whack at this crème brûlée recipe. It’ll make you feel super accomplished when it all comes together. There’s nothing more satisfying than when you crack that perfectly crystalized top.

Easy Crème Brûlée

(from Williams Sonoma)

  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2 cups heavy cream or whole milk (we used raw whole milk from a local organic store.)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 3-4 Tbs sugar

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready. Line a baking panwith a small kitchen towel (this is to prevent slippage…trust me on this one…not a step to skip!)Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the cream, stir to mix and set the pan over medium-low heat. Warm the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface (5-7 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to steep, about 15 mins.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt and the 1/4 cup sugar until smooth and blended, 5 minutes. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking until blended. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve (we used cheese cloth) set over a bowl. Divide the custard among four 5- or 6-oz. ramekins and place the ramekins in the baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custard is just set around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. (Make sure they’re not too “jiggly”- ours didn’t quite set long enough.)

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the sugar evenly over each custard.

sugar
Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar. (If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can get a similar effect by broiling these under your stove. The torch makes you feel like a kitchen wizard though!)
torched

Bon appétit!

ridge

This weekend, Trevor and I were fortunate enough to attend Maine Huts and Trails’ second annual Harvest at the Huts: a five course, sustainable, local meal served at Stratton Brook Hut. It’s a three mile hike up a hill with stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bigelow Mountain range.

trailhead

We were utterly blown away.

menu

The guest chef, Jordan Rolleston, outdid himself. Every ingredient was brought up to the hut from a local Maine farm. No course was quite what we expected- the oysters were paired with a blueberry vinegar, the “salad” was made from pickled apples and squash, the rabbit dish was served with pine nut breadcrumbs.

Each course was paired with an exceptional wine. The 30 or so other guests there were warm and rugged (our two favorite qualities.) It was a weekend to remember, and repeat.

menu2

veggies

Our favorite course was the lobster veloute- a rich and creamy soup studded with big chunks of Maine lobster and dotted with chive cream.

soup

Though the rabbit pappardelle and the honey cake dessert were close runners up.

honeycake

Our sommelier was knowledgable, attentive, and friendly. He’d come around with every course and tell us small info-bites about each wine and why it was chosen:  “It’s got a fresh ripe overtone with an undertone of butter,” “The perfect example of what a Sauvignon Blanc should be,” “It has a velvety smooth taste which pairs well with the velvety smooth rabbit.”

Our favorite description was, “If I had to characterize a Syrah, it would be a cowboy wearing a tuxedo!”

wineguy

We paired up with another newly wed couple, Ben and Petra, and deemed ourselves the kids table.

cheers

We slept in bunks that night, waking several times to marvel at the stars. Trevor pointed out the Andromeda galaxy- a cluster of bright infinity.

The next morning we woke to coffee and blueberry pancakes with local syrup- and somehow managed to keep eating. We enjoyed a slow and easy hike back to our cars, stopping at every viewpoint we could find.

mountainboy mountaingirl

Since we were right next to Sugarloaf, and becuase it was the Great Maine Outdoors weekend, we decided to indulge in a lift ride up Sugarloaf mountain on our way home to take in the views one more time.

On our way down the mountain, our lift guide told us, “You guys are lucky- you just caught peak this weekend.”

fire

We are indeed exceptionally lucky. My advice to all Mainers? Take some time this week and go someplace quiet where you can completely revel in this color explosion. There’s something about the energy in the woods this time of year that lets you be your best self- surrounded by nature, free from worry, and filled to the brim with gratitude and love.

It’s too easy to get sucked up into the culture of “not enough.” It seems like we walk around with a perpetual wishlist in our heads of everything we want that will  finally make us happy. That new sweater, just perfect for Fall. The latest iPhone. A faster car. A bigger house. A better life.

sweater weather

These wishlists can consume us if we’re not careful. Ultimately, they’re just temporary distractions from a larger place of unrest within us. By focusing on what we’re grateful for instead, our wishlists diminish, and we’re able to focus on a more pure source of joy.

Here’s what we’re grateful for this week:

Trevor:

  • I’m grateful for my body this week- it’s strong enough to carry me through whatever crazy workout I put it through, which is mostly yoga these days. I’m working on regaining the flexibility I lost hauling sails and not stretching all summer.

IMG_7303

  • My mind- I’m at grad school at UMaine for Mathematics, and I’m so grateful I have the ability to keep up (mostly) with these complex classes.

crazy math

  • My heart- it lets me love Tess so much!

Tess:

  • I’m grateful for this amazing dinner Trevor cooked (on a night I couldn’t feel LESS like cooking.) 

dinner

  • My wonderful band and my friends and family who came out to support me last night- we rocked a full house on an early Thursday evening!

20140802_200427

  • Not having wifi- it’s encouraging me to read more, cook more, talk more, and build a slow yet growing resentment towards a certain someone who refuses to stop winning at Rummy 500.

trevor

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.40.34 AM

What are you grateful for this week?

It takes 3 weeks to break (or make) a habit- this is something I learned during my rowing days.

row

3 weeks of devoted practice before it becomes routine- before it becomes just a little bit easier (even if it’s still kind of hard.)

Good news: there’s an app for that.

lift-app-640x256

Our good friends Jill and Joe turned us onto Lift, a free app that prompts you to “succeed at everything.” No pressure.

The premise, though, is simple: Lift utilizes coaching, community, and data to help you reach your goals. You set goals, find a community of peers working towards the same goal, sign up for push notifications reminding you of your goal, and regularly check in to tell the app whether or not you completed it.

IMG_9107

 

Easy peasy. Let’s give this a shot.

I’ve decided to start with three goals that have been on my mind for a while now- but I’ve been lacking motivation to get myself into gear. Here they are:

IMG_9164

  1. We’re trying to tame our sugar cravings. My goal is to limit myself to 1 “treat”/day. I’m defining a treat as 1 serving of something that with extra sugar or alcohol in it. Common examples: A cookie, a bite-size peppermint patty (there are about a million still lurking in my freezer), a glass of wine, a gin and tonic, a mug of hot cocoa, a handful of chocolate chips. Just one for the day.
  2. We’re tackling running. This goal has already been put into place, but I’ve been slowly (emphasis on S L O W) ramping up my routine. These next 3 weeks, my goal is 4 runs/week, working up to a place where a 6 mile run feels do-able again.
  3. Last of all-this one’s the toughie. This one scares me way more than it should. It should be really easy. It should be already happening in my head every day, but it’s not. Say “I love you” in front of a mirror, every day. Extra points if you say it mid-change, without the tummy sucked in, in a confident voice that you really believe. The end goal? I’d like to be this kid.

I’ll check back in with you in 3 weeks and  let you know the results. If you’ve got goals you’re looking to kick-start, let’s connect on Lift! They can be as big or as little as you want- popular ones are “tell my wife I love her every day” or “write down three things I’m grateful for” or “floss more.”

IMG_9099

Let’s succeed at everything! (Or, maybe just in loving ourselves a little better. That feels like an important one.)

adeb38243f03aa7c5603c99cb6e65103

blueberries

This weekend was a lovely muddle of happiness. It was a weekend of brisk, crisp Fall air that sent us searching for our scarves. It was a weekend of thousands of crunchy, headdress-wearing, pie-cone eating, very happy Mainers. It was a weekend of wonderful, wonderful friends.  These friends actually visited us in Fairfield, (read: middle of nowhere) Maine and talked with us late into the night (read: past 9 pm) about our collective dreams.

chips

The photos speak for themselves. Until next year, Common Ground!

cider

Piping hot and sour-sweet apple cider. The perfect way to sweep us into Fall. 

sheep

Sheep-dog herding demo. They’re AMAZING!

sheep2

The happiest of sheep. 

pigpile

A real-life pig pile!

flowers12]IMG_9042

tinyhouse

Tiny house inspiration…

hammer

Trevor wows the crowd with a 15 foot hammer hit!

clams

Deep-fried clam bellies…a New England tradition.

market

My happy place.

eggs

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), I learned that a lot of body pain is linked to food allergies. The most common allergies are to gluten, dairy, citrus, and/or soy. One of our lecturers recommended testing yourself or your clients for these allergies by eliminating them from your diet altogether for a week, and slowly adding them in one at a time to see if you notice any changes.

Trevor has always known he is slightly allergic to dairy, and has some reactions to gluten- not enough to cause him issues if eaten in moderation, but bad enough that we found it best to share a kiddie ice cream cone this summer, lest he demolish one on his own and feel its wrath.

10433945_10202629278832657_4594114856409764443_n(OK- this was also because we decided to eat about a million ice cream cones this summer. Sharing cut our guilt in half.)

This week, I decided to allergy test us- we’d go for a week without the four dangerous elements of gluten, dairy, soy, and citrus. We’re also eating a LOT less meat recently, so we decided to try going vegetarian while we were at it- you know, just for kicks.

Easier said than done. (more…)

2014-fair-web-banner

I have been looking forward to returning to the Common Ground fair for exactly 7 years now. That’s how long it’s been. (Thanks, Facebook.)

216524_1006257116201_9877_n

It’s the kind of fair where, upon entering, I let out a huge sigh of relief and say, “My people.” It’s the kind of fair you find the most delectable, delicious food that’s also local, organic, and (mostly) healthy. It’s the kind of fair where the parade is a compost parade. It’s a sustainable, organic, earth-loving, people-loving, information-laden, carve-your-own-wooden-spoons free for all, and Trevor and I could not be more excited (or prepared.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 9.00.07 AM

(more…)

Fall in Maine is rife with change. It’s all around us, everywhere you turn. It’s whispering to me through the trees on my afternoon runs- I can feel the leaves crunching, changing yellow orange red with every stride.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.30.31 AM

It nips at the river during our morning breakfast ritual. It sweeps great heaps of mist off the surface, sending us shivers and the ducks southbound.

ducks

Again- change begets change. We feel it stir something deep in us, too. We’re hunkering down and thinking through future plans, instead of going out and exploring. We’re heading to bed earlier and getting up later. We’re reaching for sweet potatoes and rutabagas instead of fresh summer greens.

rutabegas (more…)

bitesize1

What if I told you I had the recipe to your new favorite dessert- would you promise me you’d go make it? Organic, only six ingredients, bite-sized, salty AND sweet, and -if you’re feeling super guilty- you could totally pretend it’s a breath mint. You can make a ton of these in under an hour, store them in your freezer, and they pass as a crowd-pleaser at a dinner party if you need a last-minute dessert (oh, and they’re toddler approved too!)

tjandcleo

Go make these. You won’t regret it. (more…)

 

7 tree farm

As you may remember, Trevor had an epic tomato harvest this year. He’s already dreaming of ways to double his harvest next year- so seed saving is on his mind. He followed his grandfather’s instructions (scoop out tomato seeds, let dry on a paper towel, mark with pen) but was interested in learning how other farms saved their seeds- especially when the quantities were much bigger. MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) offers FREE farm training project workshops throughout Maine, and we were lucky enough to join their seed saving workshop last night.

look (more…)

IMG_8633This summer was CHOCK FULL. Full of baking and barking and beach days, full of hikes and hammocks and beer and board games and beautiful dinners spent with family. Full of half-moving, and then FULL MOVING. Full of wedding prep and then my sister’s big day was here! It was wonderful and magical and crazy fast and I wouldn’t change a thing. IMG_8054
dinnerExcept… somewhere in all the full-ness, my running got short-changed. I went from a consistent 4-5 days/week runner to maybe a 1 day/week runner.

Sometimes there was good reason- camping trip! Hiking!

10486545_10102408297903500_2000072017278105100_oBut there were not-so good excuses too… I’m going to get into yoga! But not the break-a-sweat, work really hard kind of yoga Trevor does. I’m just going to chill out in child’s pose for 20 minutes and call it good. 75d43b5c573580cda048a9c980b92c2f

I (usually) run because I come to love it. The first couple weeks getting back into it is awful and I curse the pavement with every stride- but after that hurdle, I love it. I love the alone time I get to think through a problem or just zone out to music. I love getting to know my neighborhood better through movement.

woodsI love the endorphins, and I love how better attuned my body feels after working out. One of my favorite sayings is, “Change begets change.” Healthy habits in one area of your life creates healthy change in others. I’ve been working on cleaning up my eating, and it’s prompted a desire to move my body again.

So last night, I ran. It was a humble run. It was a “where is my sports bra again?” and “how stupid do I look swinging my arms like this?” kind of run. It was a “I’m just gonna take a little break after a mile and a quarter” kind of run.

mile markerbench

But I stumbled through 3 miles, and I was really grateful after I finished.

I was grateful I started again. I was grateful I was able to explore the gorgeous woods behind my house and see things from a different perspective. I was grateful my body was able to run at all. It is humbling to start over- especially if it is your 100th “starting over” point. But it is always worth it.Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.28.34 AM

 

4746653392_cd0676b04a_b

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word “medicine?”

Maybe you get a vision of a back-of-CVS-store pharmacy doling out pills, or maybe you think about the bottles of aspirin and Ibuprofen stocked up in your medicine cabinet, or maybe you think about hospitals.

Or maybe (hopefully) you think about food.

IMG_8306

(more…)

10419004_10202918958274462_7145498025869011672_n

Primary foods. What are they? The food you eat first in the day? Nope. They’re not really foods at all, but they fuel you just as much as “real” food does.

Here’s the definition of primary foods from IIN:

Food is more than what you find on your plate.  Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.

Secondary foods are what you’re used to eating- chicken, veggies, rice, chips, pizza fruit, dairy, chocolate, tea, etc. They provide us with the nutritional value that allows us to run, jump, play, work, and get about our days. But primary foods are what really help you live the life of your dreams.

IMG_8055

Often times, we reach for secondary foods- usually unhealthy choices like a big bowl of cheesy pasta or chips, a candy bar, ice cream, a Slurpee- to help us cope with a lack of primary foods in our lives. If one of your primary food needs is not being met, you’ll likely seek something else to try to balance your body, and alleviate the stress/pain/anxiety/boredom/etc. that you’re feeling. For example, if your relationship with your partner is on the rocks, you might look to alcohol to cope. Or maybe you feel stuck in a career rut, and find yourself driving into the fast food lane after work almost subconsciously.

2288943301_358fa97876_b (1)

Life today is fast paced and really hectic, and our inner voice often gets drowned out by all the noise. But ignoring your primary food needs almost always results in an unhealthy habit in another area of your life, and prevents you from becoming your most authentic, energized, and happy self.

10524724_10202918918753474_6887293876411511219_n

Print out the Circle of Life chart at home to see where any imbalances may be hiding in your life. Simply put a dot in each primary food triangle depending on how balanced you feel in that part of your life. A dot near the outer ring (closer to the red ring) means you feel 100% satisfied with that part of your life. A dot near the point of the triangle/center of the circle means you feel very unsatisfied with that part of your life. Put a dot where it feels true for you.circle-of-life

Once you have put 12 dots on the circle, connect them to see the shape of your primary foods, and notice where there are dips. Those are the areas you want to devote more time to. Right now, I am trying to focus on more physical activity, education, and career.

Interested in learning more? Visit IIN’s page on primary foods, and reach out to me for a 100% free (seriously) health history. I can help you examine your Circle of Life, identify the imbalances, and help create an action plan for us to bring both your primary and secondary foods into balance. When your circle is whole, you’re able to be your best self.

 

IMG_8463

Trevor and I have been seriously rethinking our protein-game recently. It started with a road trip- as most of our life-changing decisions seem to be made these days. We challenged each other to go without pork or beef for one year.

For the most part, we eat a fairly veggie-centric diet and usually incorporate meat into it 1-2 times/week. Somewhere over the summer though, we seemed to slip. This challenge was our way to bring back the veggies and try to think more consciously about the animal meat we do reach for when our body craves it. We try to ask ourselves questions like: where does it come from? Is it a local source? Were the animals raised humanely? What were they fed? How were they killed? Is this a fair price to be paying for the farmer? Is it truly worth it for us to get this life-source from them, or could we have gotten the same energy elsewhere? Tough questions, but important ones.

This is one of our absolute favorite veggie meals to make- it’s hands down the best burger we’ve ever had, and we truly never miss the meat! If you have an extra hour on your hands, we highly recommend you try this recipe. It’s a great weekend project too, as they freeze well and can be thawed and thrown on the grill or pan-fried within minutes on a busy weeknight.  (more…)

tomatoes2

Last weekend my sister Amelia got married (!!!) on Peaks Island in Maine. It was a dream of a wedding, with just a little bit of rain at the end of the night thrown in for good luck.

photo 2

Wedding cairn sculpture by Uncle Sandy, Tracy, and Cleo- our favorite flower girl of all time. 

10351823_10204694885318108_6441761341175300379_n

With family inevitably comes food. Lots and lots of food. Clam chowder, lobster bisque, citrus glazed salmon, prime rib, butternut squash ravioli, blueberry pancakes, lobster rolls, too much cheese, quiches, and, of course, wedding cake. Also: all the booze. Oof.

Trevor and I arrived home Monday evening feeling stuffed, but also sort of hungry. With zero energy to cook, we chowed down on his summer harvest: tomatoes. It was the perfect cleansing meal to reset for the week.

tomatoes1

Trevor’s summer tomato harvest that he grew himself in our backyard! 

This meal only really works with fresh, organic, garden-ripe tomatoes. It was a great reminder for us that A) we should be eating seasonally as much as possible, and B) Americans (on average) eat about twice as much food as they really need to. Ouch. Let’s put a spin on that one- scaling back on consumption means half the cooking time. This recipe is a breeze and comes together in under 5 minutes. We’ll be enjoying it for as long as our tomatoes last. (more…)

In IIN, I learned to treat your kitchen as a sanctuary. Cooking is a form of alchemy- you literally transform food into bloodstream. Each thread of hair, cell, or fingernail was created by food!

It may seem obvious, but it’s something we often forget. Foods also have their own energy which constitutes your energy. Ever eat a steak and feel rearin’ to go? Or enjoyed some grilled organic vegetables and feel very grounded? The same is true for the energy you bring into the kitchen- your mood while cooking will influence the energy of your food.

By calming your presence before entering the kitchen and setting the stage (with a candle, saying a prayer, or a glass of wine) you’re better able to produce a more nutritious, enjoyable meal. As this was a very special meal, I had two glasses of wine to prepare!

wine cheers
(more…)