September Blog Break

I was inspired a couple of weeks ago by this idea from photographer Susannah Conway called The August Break and have been thinking about it ever since. The whole idea behind it is to share/take more photos and to be more present in your every day life. To take in your surroundings and appreciate the moments that really mean something to you- instead of just taking pictures to take pictures and sharing thoughts just to say something.

All too often I get caught up in taking pictures of stuff for the blog and over thinking what I’m doing for the sake of being able to write about it and share it here on Wicked Healthy Washingtonian. I love blogging, I really really do. When I go days without it, I feel weird and I miss it. But I also love living in the moment and not forcing things when I know I’m tired, overwhelmed, and in need of a break.

And being real with myself- I need a blogging break. Not a big one, but I need a change of pace for a little while that will bring less stress in my life. My month of September needs this break more than August did. The work madness of last week and all the being sick shenanigans only made it more evident that I had to do something.

Thus, tomorrow I’m enacting The September Break. This photo break is based off of Susannah’s idea and I even searched the web to see if there were September-ish photo blog things that I could apply to my own blog break. Basically, I stole a bunch of la-dee-dah words from various blogging challenges and 30-day photo things to create my own list of word themes to base picture posts off of.

September BreakI will post at least thirty photos in September and each photo (or mini set of photos) will correspond to the themes above. Sometimes I’ll say a little blurb, sometimes I’ll write something more substantial than that, and sometimes it will just be the photo(s). Sometimes I won’t post over the weekend and will give you the accompanying photos all in one post to catch up. Basically- there are no rules except for the fact that there will be thirty photos (well at least thirty photos- sometimes I’ll share more than one if I feel like it). Rules are fun when you get to control them.

You’ll still here from me frequently, but it will just be in a photo-centric way for the next month. It’s going to be a busy one for me full of trips to other cities, fitness adventures, and the transition from summer to fall. Promise to stick with me? You’ve all seen me change things up in the past year or so of my blogging so hopefully you’ll be a-ok with this change to fit my current needs and lifestyle.

It’s something I need to do to take off a little bit of the pressure I have sitting on my shoulders. It’s something I need to do to take a step back, breathe, and tap into my creativity.

Other bloggers- feel free to steal my idea and the pathetic graphic I made for it (in paint lolz no shame) above. I would love for you to join me if you feel so inclined!

They always say that pictures are worth a thousand words. I’ll do my best to capture the next thirty days of my life in wonderful photos.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Products on Products: VBlast and Juice

For the most part, my beverage of choice is water. Good old fashioned water. Inexpensive and good for you. But every once in a while I crave something a little more. Sometimes I want some flavor. But I also want whatever I’m drinking to be nutritionally beneficial. I have a lot of needs.

I’ve already told you all about my recent obsession with kombucha but for the past handful of weeks, I’ve been trying out another fun beverage.

It’s called VBlast and I was contacted by their social media coordinator (who also coincidentally works at my gym, holla!) to try out their stuff.

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You can read up on the drank yourself on their website {click here} but I want to tell you a little bit about it and why I was curious to give it a test run:

  • It has zero calories
  • It has zero sugar
  • It has zero caffeine
  • And it has zero carbs
  • Vitamins to replenish your body are stored in the cap of the beverage and are released when you screw the cap off (the process of dilution can reduce the potency of said vitamins which is why they are kept in concentrate form in the cap till your ready to drink your VBlast)
  • The water in the bottle is spring water

You basically start off with a bottle of spring water and then when you want to drink your VBlast, you open it up and the vitamins are released creating your very own bottle of vitamin water.

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So part of the reason why I wanted to try this drink is because I’m always looking for ways to make up for all the electrolytes and vitamins I sweat out on a regular basis. In the summer D.C. heat- water just doesn’t always cut it when you’re working out a lot and spending time outdoors on a regular basis. Normal sports drinks have WAY too much sugar in them and I’m just not a fan of coconut water (a good post-workout drink if you’re looking for one). It’s for all of these reasons (plus stomach issues of course) that I was turned onto kombucha. But I need even more variety. Plus- you really shouldn’t consume too much kombucha and I try and make that a once a week deal.

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My big ol’ box of VBlast arrived a few weeks ago and I am currently sipping on my last one as I type this post. Sad! Today’s flavor is the Tropical Punch variety. It contains their immunity formula of: vitamin c, elderberry extract, echinacea, and zinc gluconate. 

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I thought my favorite flavor would be the pomegranate blueberry, but I was surprised by how much more I enjoyed the tropical punch and dragon fruit flavors.

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I’ve pretty much been having one everyday since they got to my apartment and I have been loving them! I drink one usually in the afternoon after lunch time (as an afternoon pick-me-up) or after a workout alongside a meal. They’re a refreshing break from my usual water and they always make me feel more energized. They dry my throat out a little bit so I usually drink some water when I finish one, but I’ve been loving knowing that I’m giving my body more. They’re light, fresh, and good for you! I have similar feelings about VBlast as I do Kombucha, it tastes pretty good and it can only be helping me so why not?!

And I’m not going to lie… it’s fun twisting the cap and watching the vitamins get released. It makes me feel like a scientist for a brief moment. Watch as I release the vitamins in this bottle of pomegranate blueberry (alongside a bowl of defrosting blueberries).

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Now, you can order their products online buttttt I’m also giving away a case of VBlast to one lucky reader! All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to try VBlast! I’ll choose one lucky winner, notify the winner, and have the case sent to you right away so you can get drinking!

In addition to the VBlast, I’ve also been loving on fresh juices. My sister Jess got me a juicer for Christmas and I’m sad to admit that I haven’t used it yet. Juicers require so much produce and I just don’t have the money to buy enough to make my own juice reguarly. This is a bummer because I LOVE fresh juice. Luckily, there is a lot of it available here in DC so when I’m feeling a craving for some healthy, all natural, locally produced juice- I can hit up a variety of places. Gouter and Sweetgreen really kill it when it comes to healthy juices.

BUT there’s a new cold pressed juice on the scene and it’s coming out of South Block Cafe in Clarendon (Arlington, VA). I’ve heard great things about South Block Cafe in terms of their smoothies and food but have yet to try them out because of where they’re located. I’m a DC gal and Arlington requires too much effort for me to get to regularly. BUT when I was contacted by the owner of South Block to come try out their new line of juices- I knew I had to make the trek.

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My name is Allison and I will metro for juice.

So the bottled cold pressed juices are part of their South Block Raw line and they sound/look dee-licious! In addition to South Block’s regular website {found here}, they have a kickstarter page specifically for their new juices {found here}.

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In addition to the juice which came in that sweet cooler pictured, they also were kind enough to give me a new t-shirt to add to my rotation. I love it. And I couldn’t agree more.P1020610

I don’t know which one to try first! They all sound so good! How could they not be tasty… look at all the amazing things in those bottles!P1020611

They gave me four bottles of their juice to try out and they’re planning on developing and releasing new flavors soon. You can read about their hopes and dreams on their kickstarter page. They’re trying to raise money to expand into the DC area which would be WONDERFUL because then I’d actually be able to visit them on a regular basis! They’re a local company so they are asking for help in expanding their juice making facilities in order to keep up with demand.

I can’t thank South Block Cafe and their owner enough for letting me try out their juice. I’m more than happy to spread the word about what they’re trying to do.

Gotta love beverages that are good for you 🙂

{REMEMBER TO COMMENT IF YOU WANT TO WIN A CASE OF VBLAST!}

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo (and happy Labor Day weekend, everybody!)

Thursday Treasures

Guess who is back on track to feeling like her old self? THIS GUY. I’m almost afraid to type that out for fear of jinxing myself and waking up tomorrow feeling like crap… but I don’t care because I need to shout to the world that I don’t feel sick today. It’s been a full week of feeling miserable and today definitely marks the upswing. Not 100% but close. Getting there. I feel like I can get stuff done and be a real human so I’m a happy girl.

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A change in attitude and the positive vibes I’m feeling this afternoon make the perfect set up for a Thursday Treasures post. Yesterday I was thinking- oh shit, thursday treasures tomorrow are going to be rough- nothing is good in my life right now and it’s going to be a FORCE to write that post. maybe I just won’t do it. Well whaddya know. I’m feeling better and life has been treating me well today, thus seeing the bright side of things is a hell of a lot easier.

And with that, my Thursday Treasures:

1. Ben Rector’s album, The Walking in Between

In addition to a playlist consisting of Brave by Sara Bareilles and Roar by Katy Perry on repeat, this song If You Can Hear Me by Ben Rector has been killing it lately. Will gave me his whole album and it’s kind of been the perfect thing for me these days. Hopefully you’ll like it too. One of the lines in this song in particular really resonated with me:

Sometimes the devil sounds a lot like Jesus- telling me I’m not enough. I don’t believe it, but I can feel it.

2. Upcoming Cooking Plans

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I spent WAY too much money on groceries today. Whoops. I guess there are worse things in life, right? Right. Especially when all those groceries are going to produce the meals you see above. I also was running low on a lot of staples so I had to stock up (coconut oil + brown rice + oatmeal + various spices, etc.)

And yes, I always type out my menu for the week and hang it up in the kitchen for reference 1) because I’m a tool and 2) because it helps me keep my thoughts together and feel organized.

3. Figs

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I bought figs for the first time around this time last year (when they were in season!) and was eagerly anticipating their arrival in grocery stores this year. They have a relatively short season and an even shorter shelf life once you buy them SO I have a feeling this might be the only carton of figs I purchase this year AND I need to use em up quick! Click on my link found in the first sentence of this lil paragraph to see how I used them last year.

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Alongside lunch today, I mixed up a bowl of plain chobani, blueberries, and sliced figs. They’re just so pretty! I’m not like head over heals in love with their flavor but I figure hey- I should savor the seasonal produce while its around and cheap.

4. New Chobani Flavors

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While I really love buying plain chobani and spicing it up with my own fixings (fruit + nuts + nut butters + coconut + etc.), I have been DYING to try these new chobani flavors. I heard a rumor that they sold them at a grocery store further from my apartment than I normally would choose to go- but I sucked it up today and hiked over there solely for chobani. Dedication- it’s a serious thing.

I’m already thinking of the ways to conjure up some amazing things with these guys. Honey roasted figs and coconut cho, anyone? Sounds good to me!

5. Organization

I’m a neat freak. I love to clean and organize. As my regular readers know, I had off work today to compensate for all the extra working we’ve been doing lately. So yes, today has been grand. One of the things I enjoy doing in my off time is- cleaning and organizing. It’s invigorating for me and makes me feel more at ease in my apartment. Today I had the urge to move some things around in the kitchen and get rid of a bunch of clutter.

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6. Time Off

Speaking of having today off- I am so happy that I don’t have to return to the daily grind till Tuesday. Holy balls. I’m looking forward to this weekend more than you know. The weather forecast isn’t all that great but I don’t even care. Hello, rest, relaxation, and fun. I have every intent of crossing off as many summer bucket list items before September rolls around i.e. attend the last free Jazz in the Sculpture Garden downtown, drink a summer drink, consume gelatto, and eat as much summer food as possible.

7. Red Sox

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Tonight is the last game in their current series against the Orioles. They have been kicking butt against the Orioles and I absolutely love it. I have beef with Maryland- not a fan of the O’s and obviously you understand my deal with the Ravens (ugh)- so I love when the Red Sox come out on top. But I mean, that seems to be the story of the 2013 season sooo… 🙂

8. Sisters in High School

I don’t even have much to say on this one but um, my two youngest sisters are now officially high schoolers. Angie is in 10th grade. Rachel is in 9th grade. Allison is in freakout mode. When did they get so old? Shit- I’M OLD.

I hope you all have awesome Labor Day weekend plans- whether you’re traveling or staying home. Hopefully you are just planning on doing whatcha love and what makes you happy. Enjoy every ounce of summer that we have left! Autumn is my favorite season, but I’m all for embracing the current season until its gone. And kids, summer ain’t over yet (the heat and humidity in DC is a wonderful reminder of this).

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Words of Wisdom from my Planner

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I started my last day at work today before the long Labor Day weekend like I usually do. I checked my emails, listened to voice mail messages, and opened my planner to orient myself. I was sort of caught off guard by the fact that I could see September 1st in the upcoming days ahead. My planner lays out each week of the month with lots of space for what to do and when, but every time a new month rolls around, it provides you with the month overview. And I was faced with September.

On every month overview calendar page, there is a different quote:

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and yes, on the month overview pages I write in the red sox schedule. because yes, it plays a role in my decision making when I’m signing up for events and whatnot. when I check my schedule- it includes checking their schedule because it matters.

This is your world. Shape it… or someone else will.

-Gary Lew

Usually I just breeze by these because they tend to be cheesy and overly optimistic, but for some reason, this morning, this one resonated with me. I don’t know who this Gary Lew character is (Google failed me on this one) but his quote reminded me of a couple things:

  1. Yes. This is my world. My decisions are my own and how I choose to live is my own business. I can’t let things like food and exercise run my life. I know what’s best and right for me. I can’t let comparisons to others and fears hold me back and affect my decisions. My world and my life is my own. I need to make decisions for me and me only.
  2. Even though I’ve felt out of control from working a lot and being sick, I am in control and have been this whole time. No, I had no say in working a ton and being ill. But I did the responsible thing and took care of myself when I needed it. I made good decisions to help me get better and did my best.
  3. I’ve been whiny and pathetic lately. Rightfully so. But still. I forever need to be working on a having positive attitude and positive expectations. It’ll only make things better.
  4. As soon as I’m over being sick, it’s time to kick some ass. In the world of fitness, in my professional life, in my personal life, and in all other aspects that I can’t find the words to describe at the moment.

And I do feel a lot better today, by the way. Not 100%, but I don’t feel like death so that’s a start I suppose. But, not going to lie, I was expecting to feel healthy and all better today this time last week. I had full intent on going to a Goruck Bootcamp class later and tearing it up. Knowing that the goruck nasty challenge is twoish weeks away has been adding extra stress on my brain because I’ve been so inactive these past week and have missed a handful of practice bootcamps. Don’t even get me started on how lame I feel. BUT today, instead of beating myself up for something I can’t control, I know I need to cave to my body’s needs. Thus, another rest day is on tap for today.

I had a quick conversation with myself this morning that went a little something like this: hm, either work out tonight half-assedly because I’m still kind of sick and risk making myself sicker for the long weekend OR go home after work, suck it up and rest one more night and be able to have a happier, less stressful weekend that includes productive workouts that I enjoy. No brainer after that self pep talk.

I again point to Ron Swanson:

Give everything your all when you can. Don’t half-ass working out and resting. Whole-ass resting so that you can whole-ass working out. 100% effort is required in whatever it is you need to be doing.

And now that work madness is officially over (!!!) and we just have to get through this regular work day, I can give resting 110%. I’ll give resting all the love and attention I possibly can now without the worry of working. Thank God I have great coworkers who carried me through this weekend/week. I swear they’ll never know how much I appreciate them.

Me and Robert

my coworker Robert and I make up one dynamic duo. he was more of the dynamic one this weekend though and was a rock star.

I have never been happier in my life for a long long weekend and a new month to begin. I need a literal fresh start, fresh page in my planner, and renewed outlook on life. I’m looking forward to getting better, getting back in the game, cooking lots of fun things in my kitchen this weekend, crossing off some more summer bucket list items, and relaxing.

Being sick never ceases to remind me to rest when I need to and not push myself to the end of my limits all the time. I’m a human being, I need to be kind to myself, and I need to enjoy life. The trick is not mindlessly forgetting these things as soon as I recover fully.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Three Things

I’ve been missing in action. Mainly because we have a lot going on with work. In short, we’re reaching the end of a week/weekend long Masonic conference that requires an all hands on deck from dawn to dusk mentality.

Anddd I’m still sick. And by sick I don’t mean wah I don’t feel great. I mean, I have a fever and a sore throat and hardly any voice and I got sent home from work today because I was falling apart at the seams. I’m really good at faking it till I make it but there is a moment where you just can’t do it anymore and need to tap out. I guess that was today for me. So I’m blogging post- nap and lunch from my bed. And after I write this post- I’m going back to bed. It sounds great, right? Rest and relaxation? Wrong. I feel miserable. On top of not feeling good, I hate missing work on important days like this and feeling like I’m letting my team down. Not to mention- I just want to feel better! I’ve been sick since Thursday and I’m so over it. I want my regular, normal life back.

I probably would have recovered by now but from working all weekend, talking, hosting, entertaining, not sleeping well/enough, and running around- I haven’t gotten better. Tomorrow at 5pm is when everything with work ends. Then we’ll have Thursday off and then a much needed long Labor Day Weekend. I’m basically living for those five days off at the moment.

I wanted to stop by the world wide web today real quick while I had a second and share with you three things of importance. Two of which sort of summarize my life at the moment and the other is a part of a commitment I have to Blogging for Hope– the series of blog posts I’m doing to benefit the Taste of Hope event sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS). This week’s theme for Blogging for Hope is taco night… so get excited.

But before delving into Blogging for Hope shenanigans, let’s get to the other three things happening in my world:

1. Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 2013 Biennial Session

Every two years, the Supreme Council (or governing body for the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite Freemasonry) convenes to discuss significant issues, pass resolutions, and make changes to the organization. There are meetings held everyday for the men directly involved and a series of events surrounding said meetings that are meant to take care of, honor, and entertain the guests we have in DC. The events and meetings are held around the city at my work building, The House of the Temple, the hotel St. Regis, St. John’s Church, and the Washington Hilton.

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Anddd that’s been my life since people started coming into town on Wednesday.

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Despite being really sick, it’s been a real pleasure to get to meet so many nice people. I’ve never been complimented so much in my life! I constantly have people telling me how pretty I am and how I’m such a hard worker- I can’t complain too much. And because I work in development/fundraising, this weekend has really been about me meeting our donors face to face. I have gotten the opportunity to meet a lot of our major donors that up until this weekend, I had only corresponded with via email or phone. It is so cool to meet these inspiring and generous individuals in person and spend time with them.

Being sick throughout all this would have been impossible if not for the sweet people I work to serve and the amazing people I work with who have been so understanding and helpful.

2. Running Around in Circles

While physically I have been running around crazy, I have also been mentally running myself into the ground. Right before getting sick, I was in a horrible state of mind. I had been so stressed about life, I had been worrying about food/exercise a lot, and I was stuck in a very negative place. It’s probably part of the reason I got sick. I wasn’t sleeping- I was stressin’ and worryin’ and not taking care of myself mentally.

Being sick has only made things worse. I haven’t been able to workout since last Wednesday and in the moments when I’m not working, I’ve needed to be sitting down. This cold/virus/monster has totally kicked me in the ass. I haven’t felt like myself and I’ve felt completely and totally out of whack. I love taking good care of myself and I feel like I’m failing my body big time right now. It’s frustrating not having the time to take a step back and take care of my needs.

It’s also frustrating not to be able to give my job 110% the one weekend where it matters most. I don’t feel like I’m carrying my load of the responsibility this weekend but there’s nothing I can really do about it. It sucks. It makes me feel bad about myself.

On top of that- throughout this whole work conference, we’ve been treated to GREAT meals. And dessert. At least once a day, I’m eating some fancy dish accompanied by dessert. Which normally- I’d be totally on board with- I love food. But when I’m not working out and living the normal, active lifestyle I usually am, it’s stressful for me. It’s REALLY stressful for me. Like I said, I haven’t worked out since Wednesday, but I’ve been eating like a queen. In between these really decadent meals, I’ve been eating my own, home cooked and prepared meals (I am proud of myself for at least doing that), but it doesn’t erase the guilt I feel for all of the indulgences.

I use working out as a crutch to make me feel less stressed about food and I’m not afraid to admit that. It’s something I’m still working on. It’s not always this crutch, but it definitely plays a role in my mental state and issues with food. This past weekend has been a crucial reminder that I don’t workout to eat, I eat so that I can feel healthy, strong, and able to workout. Working out isn’t the be all end all. Working out isn’t everything. Working out doesn’t define me. I’m not losing fitness points because I’ve needed to take time off from it. I know deep down that once I feel better and my schedule is normal again, I’ll be right back in the trenches doing what I love. But right now- I can’t be. It’s challenging mentally and aggravating and so stressful, but if I want to get better and survive all this work stuff- I have to keep resting and not pushing myself like I tend to do.

Even though I can type all that out- it’s one of those easier said than done sort of things. Trust me, I’m really stressed about my weight/food/calories/fitness. All I can do is do my best to ignore the scary voices, continue to eat and not restrict, and try to actually enjoy all the amazing food that I’m getting for free.

My brain has been running around in vicious circles non-stop with messages of self-loathing and criticism. And that’s just the uphill battle I face everyday as someone recovering from disordered eating issues that latched on to me when I lost the weight I did.

What is comes down to is- I’ve lost a lot of control with my physical health and ability to workout. I’ve also lost a lot of control over what and when I’m eating. I’ve lost control of a regular schedule and haven’t felt like myself. All of this loss of control is leading me to feel COMPLETELY out of control and crazy.

Again, at least I have the good people that I work with and for to distract me from myself.

3. Blogging for Hope: Taco Night

So as all of my followers by now know, posts regarding Blogging for Hope are about sharing food ideas that are helpful in cancer prevention and for those undergoing cancer treatment. And it’s suggested with the ACS nutritional guidelines in mind (click here to view those guidelines. You will see a Blogging for Hope post from me every Tuesday till the event on September 24th.

Here are the past blog posts from this series:

Like I said earlier, this week’s theme is TACO NIGHT. I’ve been really excited about this one because taco nights used to be one of my favorite dinner nights growing up at home. My Mom would always cut up and prepare lots of different taco ingredients- lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, grilled chicken, ground beef, avocado, cheese, and salsa- and then let us build our own tacos or burritos. She’d lay out all the fillers on the counter and have us go through them like an assembly line. Our family was never really the hard shell taco types, so she would always buy soft tortilla wraps.

Taco nights are so easy for families especially because they don’t require too much thought or prep work. And when you go the “build-your-own” route, everyone is happy because they can customize their food.

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You’re in control of the ingredients you put out to choose from- so why not choose healthy ones that are delicious and good for you?

The ACS dietary guidelines emphasize plant based food sources and tacos are a fun way to get lots of veggies into your meal. And nowadays they make whole grain tortillas so you can feel good about what you’re wrapping your veggies in! Besides swapping regular tortillas for whole grain ones, here are some other swaps you can make in your Mexican inspired meal creations:

  • Instead of steak or regular ground beef choose a lean source of protein like chicken, fish, ground turkey, or lean ground beef
  • You could even go meatless all together and have pinto or black beans be the star of your taco night!
  • Instead of sour cream- choose a dollup of greek yogurt
  • Instead of grabbing a store blend of fajita or mexican spices (which tend to pack a high sodium punch and contain sugar and a bunch of other unhealthy additives) choose to cook any meat or veggies in a homemade blend of oregano, cumin, paprika, garlic, and cayenne. You don’t have to avoid salt all together, but add it to taste and take back the control of just how much is going into your food.
  • Instead of a full fat cheese, choose a lighter option

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Here are some of my favorite taco ingredients that can make any taco night awesome:

  • Tomatoes- I am a tomato freak! Not only do I love the taste but its great knowing that they’re one of the best foods for you. Packed with antioxidants and good for a healthy heart!
  • Olives- A recent love in my life, olives, like tomatoes, support a healthy heart. They’ve been said to have healing compounds and cancer fighting properties too.
  • Avocado or Guacamole- I can’t have a taco night these days without the presence of avocado. Whether sliced up on its own or mashed into guacamole, avocado is an amazing food. It’s a source of healthy fats which support brain health and it’s straight up delicious.
  • Sliced Bell Peppers- These guys help me fulfill my daily quest to “eat a rainbow” while also providing me with lots of vitamin A, C, B6, and E. They’re good for your immune system and for fighting inflammation.
  • Refried Beans- These get a bad reputation for being unhealthy (probably because the word “fried” is in the title). BUT refried beans contain all of the same healthy nutrients that the pinto beans they are made from contain. Yes, they are made with some type of bacon fat or lard- but you can look for low-fat varieties that choose a health-ier fat to cook the beans in and you can opt for a low sodium option. You could even make your own by sauteeing some pinto beans in a heart healthy fat like olive oil alongside some garlic and chopped onion. When the beans are warm, mash them all up and serve!
  • Romaine- I’m usually a spinach girl through and through, but for me, romaine is the only way to go when it comes to taco night! It’s crispy, crunchy, and full of vitamin C and fiber to keep you full.

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I can’t stress enough ho simple it is to make taco nights all about the veggies. It can be easy to get carried away with the cheese, the tortillas, and meat, but if you have a wide variety of delicious vegetable options, they can quickly become the focus of your meal.

Besides the ones I listed above, other great ingredients to choose from include: red onions, green onions, mushrooms, jalapenos, and corn.

Use your imagination! Pick your favorite veggies and play! It’ll make taco night that much more fun.

More Information about Taste of Hope
(which Blogging for Hope is in conjunction with)

Taste of Hope is the American Cancer Society’s signature culinary, wine and spirits event featuring more than 50 of Washington DC’s most popular chefs, restaurants and beverage vendors. Guests enjoy a walk around tasting format where they can sample signature dishes, premier wines and spirits and inventive cocktails. Hosted by the American Cancer Society and Chef Honoree Mike Isabella, all proceeds from Taste of Hope go toward our goal of eliminating cancer as a major health problem. This year the American Cancer Society celebrates their 100th birthday!  Together, we save lives and create a world with more birthdays by helping you stay well, helping you get well, finding cures and fighting back.

Taste of Hope will be held on September 24, 2013 at the Carnegie Library.

  • Tickets can be purchased here.
  • Donations to can be made here.

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Disclaimer: Blogging for Hope is a group of DC area bloggers promoting Taste of Hope through healthy recipes. I am not a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist.  I am not a trained health care provider.  I do not claim that my food will cure any cause, condition, or disease.  Consult your primary physician or oncologist before starting any new diet.

I am in direct ability and use of conversation under following articles.

  • (9) A person who does not hold himself out to be a dietitian or nutritionist when that person furnishes nutrition information on food, food materials, or dietary supplements. This Article does not prohibit that person from making explanations to customers about foods or food products in connection with the marketing and distribution of these products.
  • (10) An herbalist or other person who does not hold himself out to be a dietitian or nutritionist when the person furnishes nonfraudulent specific nutritional information and counseling about the reported or historical use of herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, sugars, enzymes, food concentrates, or other foods. (1991, c. 668, s. 1; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.2(s).)

Again, you are not on the website of a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian. If you wish to do so please contact a board certified professional in your state.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Full of Sunshine

There should basically be a GIANT question mark at the end of that blog title. Because today- I am the opposite of full of sunshine. I’m definitely still sick (wah, my throat hurts) and I’m not happy about it. I hate being sick. It makes me feel gross, miserable, lazy, and all around awful. I’m not a good patient either (just as Will). I’m a whiner when I don’t feel good. pity party pity party pity party. 

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this is me today. gorgeous, no?

Not helping the situation- I actually have to work a lot this weekend for a big event that we have going on. But luckily today is sort of the calm before the storm of work shenanigans so I have the day to relax and try to get better. I’m trying to convince myself to stay sedentary and just get better. Lord knows I don’t want to feel any more sick than this especially when I’m working. And tomorrow, shit is going to get real.

The weather here in DC is definitely helping me in my quest to just take it easy and relax. It’s gray and rainy. The couch is a lot easier to cuddle up on when the weather is on the same page as my mental and physical state. And a solid lineup of tv watching including What Not to Wear, The Chew, and Sex and the City also helps.

I don’t really feel like blogging about anything too real today, but I’m also kind of bored already and need something to do… so that’s how this post is coming to fruition.

My friend Barbara who authors the blog Food is Fuel, nominated me for a Sunshine Award the other day which honors those bloggers who brighten your day. I was flattered by her nomination and hope she knows that her blog brightens my day just as much as mine brightens hers!

I figured today would be a good day to return the favor and play along with the “rules” for getting a sunshine award. They’re simple and easy enough! Anddd I need something a little different/quirky to focus on at the moment.

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Plus- you’ll get to learn more about me. And who doesn’t want to do that 😉 Even more fun, I’ll hopefully get to learn more about the bloggers that I’m nominating for the Sunshine Award if they answer the questions I put out there for them! Everyone I nominated for the award is a food or fitness blogger of some sort. Their blogs give me much needed inspiration and ideas and motivation. I love em’ to death.

Rules:

  1. Include award logo in a post or on your blog [see above]
  2. Link to the person who nominated you [see to the left]
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself [see below]
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award [see below]. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated

Barbara’s Questions:

  1. What is your biggest accomplishment? Losing 70ish pounds in the year 2012! After being overweight my whole life, I would have never imagined that I would have done something like this.
  2. What is somewhere you want to visit and why? I want to go to England quite badly! I’m a huge anglophile (all over the royal family and any/all things British), love British history (specifically the Middle Ages), and am so intrigued by their culture so it would be amazing to have the chance to experience everything there.
  3. What is the best meal you have ever eaten? This is an impossible question. I’ve eaten too much good food to even remember. BUT the best meal I’ve eaten as of late was this one I made called date night chicken + roasted brussels + roasted sweet potato wedges. It. Was. Awesome.
  4. How do you motivate yourself on those days when you don’t feel like working out? I try and remind myself of how I’ll feel afterwards and that it’s only like an hour of my life. Yeah maybe I don’t want to go- but I’ll be glad I went and feel better about life afterwards. Do I really want to feel the guilt of not working out when I had the time and was fully capable to do so? Nope. I certainly do not.
  5. What is your favorite dessert? My favorite all time dessert is one that my grandmother (who passed away when I was a sophomore in high school) used to make for me. It was a simple homemade, vanilla/pound bundt cake served with her homemade whipped cream and sliced/sweetened strawberries. She always made it because she knew I loved it. It was always my birthday cake. And she made it frequently in the summertime. I have the fondest memories of swimming in the pool at her house with my big ol’ family on summer days and enjoying an awesome cookout. And that fabulous cake was always involved. I don’t think anything could ever top it.
  6. How many siblings do you have? Simple answer I usually give: three sisters. BUT technically speaking, I have one biological sister, two half sisters (who I’ve lived with my whole life and for all intensive purposes are my full sisters), one half brother, one stepbrother, and one stepsister (my second and older stepsister passed away).
  7. What is your favorite thing to do for fun? Cooking! I love cooking so much! Yeah I know I’m lame. But watching baseball is a close second for sure!
  8. What is your biggest fitness goal? Well currently it is to complete the Goruck Nasty challenge I’m doing next month- but big picture- pull ups. I’d love to be able to do them.
  9. What is your favorite way to relax? Either just watching tv with friends/my boyfriend Will OR chilling outside on a beautiful day. Taking a long walk is always a winning idea as well.
  10. What is the last book you read? Francona: The Red Sox Years [by Terry Francona + Dan Shaughnessy] Go Sox, baby.

My Questions:

  1. Who is your favorite superhero?
  2. If you could only choose one- which one would you pick: guac, salsa, or queso?
  3. What is your proudest fitness moment?
  4. What is your current jam or song obsession?
  5. What is your favorite and most important grocery staple?
  6. What is your favorite thing about where you’re from?
  7. What is the best thing you’ve ever cooked?
  8. How do you eat an oreo cookie?
  9. What is your favorite smell?
  10. What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My Nominees:

  1. Molly at Heart, Sole & Cereal
  2. The lovely couple at Hungry and Fit
  3. Ashley at Coffee Cake and Cardio
  4. This mighty fine lady at Trex to Tigress
  5. Zoe at Svelt Sveti’s Kitchen
  6. Haley at Running Feet, Wandering Mind
  7. Kerry at The Adventures of Z & K
  8. Sarah at Strong-Fit-Beautiful
  9. Ellen at District Sweats
  10. This chickie at I’d Rather Be Eating

Happy weekend, everyone! Hopefully you’ll be out doing fun things and not stuck working like me. Do something foodie or fitness related in my honor and cross your fingers that I’ll make a speedy recovery from whatever is plaguing my immune system.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Food Instead of Thought

Was anyone else awake last night at 2am? Oh just me? I felt a cold coming on as I tried to go to sleep last night and it kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. Perfect timing seeing as I have to work all weekend for a big conference we’re having. Dear life, I’m not amused, love me. I’m hoping to scoot out of work a little early and rest/sleep for the afternoon/evening. I think what I need the most is just some quality zzzs and time away from the computer.

Because I’m overtired and feeling under the weather- I’ve decided to forgo my usual Thursday Treasures post and just share a handful of quick pictures of my favorite thing: food. Because when words fail you- food is there to save the day [spoken like a true emotional eater].

When I was bored yesterday, I stumbled upon this old post on the blog Kath Eats Real Food and knew I needed to make my own version of her simple PB&J French Toast

Especially because Will brought me home a jar of blueberry spread from his vacation in Michigan and I’ve been looking for ways to eat it. Besides out of the jar with a spoon. Can I also just say how much I LOVE when I find fruit spreads that have no sugar added? Because I love that this jar is just filled with mashed blueberries. Will knows what I like.

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The idea of french toast always seems like it would take a ton of time. It doesn’t. It takes the same amount of time as making a bowl of oatmeal takes. I just whisked 1 egg + cinnamon + 2 tbl. almond milk and then dunked two pieces of cinnamon raisin ezekiel bread into the mixture.

P1020558Then I pan seared the bread in some coconut oil along with a half a banana.

P1020560And then topped the finished product with almond butter + blueberry spread + coconut + chia seeds. Voila, AB&J french toast. Comforting and soul soothing.

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Ron Swanson is probably angry that I’m drinking tea out of his mug and not whiskey. He’s also silently judging my sweet breakfast and its lack of eggs/bacon. Leave me alone, Ron. This breakfast was delicious.

Also delicious? Restaurant Week adventures at Agora and Lincoln.

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My lunch at Agora started with a sampler of htipiti (the one in the middle- and the best one in my opinion- roasted red peppers + feta + thyme + olive oil), cacik, and hummus. Served with nom-a-licious pita bread. The next round of food included a baby eggplant stuffed with onions, tomatoes, pine nuts and garlic (unpictured but tasty!).

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Then there was the swordfish kebab (swoon). It was served with grilled peppers and a grapefruit relish.

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And Agora ended with this guy- kadayif. It looks like a bird’s nest, no? It was shredded phyllo dough layered with milk pudding and topped with orange blossom honey & pistachios. The milk pudding was so good.

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The ambiance and feel of Lincoln was wicked cool. But it was a little on the dark side and I was wrapped up in conversation with my friend Nick so not a lot of pictures were taken.

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Any place that serves beverages in mason jars is cool in my book. I know mason jars have become over popularized as of late- but I still dig em.

I tried the farm peaches and grilled brie (finger licking good), the roasted maryland eggplant with plum honey glaze and goat cheese (eh, kind of bland), and the molasses grilled hanger steak + summer bean hash + green onion salad + chimichurri sauce (a little too sweet for my liking but still delicious!).

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Dessert was this masterpiece. You ready for this? It was hazelnut pound cake served with citrus caramel, plums, a little bit of chocolate, and creme brulee ice cream. And you see that glass sugar like creation in there? That guy was not only sweet, but coated and made with bacon. How is THAT for a dessert?

Good eats indeed.

And before I go and try to be productive before tapping out for the day, I should probably share this buzzfeed article that my friend Sara sent over to me:

23 Reasons Trader Joes Is The Best Grocery Store That Ever Was.

I’ve never read more true words in my lifetime.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo