Category: Eat, Run, and Everything in Between Archive

Paleo & Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Loaf with Toasted Coconut

Paleo & Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Loaf with Toasted Coconut

Can you believe thanksgiving is ALREADY right around the corner?! I swear one week we were hitting low 70’s in October and the next thing I knew, I’m breaking out the parka jacket and cranking the heat in my car. Instead of complaining about the cold (which I’ve already done a fair share of LOL), I’m doing my best to embrace the “colder” days with open arms. How? BAKING. Now, if you know me, I’m not much of a baker. I hate following meausurements which typically gets me in trouble anytime I try to bake and “eyeball” how much flour or baking soda to add.

However, if you catch me in RARE form, I occasionally get the itch to bake, mostly because I’m craving something sweet, warm, and healthy to have on hand for dessert. Otherwise, I can promise you, I will not be baking just for FUN 🙂  In order to make baking more enjoyable for me, it’s super essential that I always have some staple baking ingredients on hand. Bobs Red Mill has ALWAYS been one of my go-to’s. Thanks to a recent delivery I got from them, I’m now ALL stocked up and ready to take the winter by storm (no pun intended)!

If you dread going outside in the dead of winter, I recommend having a few of the following staples on hand which you can always use interchangeably!

Flours/Powders all from Bob’s Red Mill:

Coconut flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour, ground flax meal, carob or cacao powder, shredded unsweetened coconut, gluten-free oats (blend in food processor to make oat flour)

Additional Baking Staples:

Refined sugar-free sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey, date nectar, coconut nectar, organic vanilla bean); Coconut oil; Baking Powder; Eggs; Cinnamon; Himalayan Salt; and Almond Butter, Apple Sauce, or Mashed Banana as a thickener

Now to this recipe that I think will please EVERYONE at your thanksgiving gathering!

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Dry Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Carob powder (or can substitute with cacao powder)
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill ground Flax Seed Meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Primal Palate Gingersnap seasoning

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter (Whole Foods no salt/sugar added)
  • 1/3 cup d’vash organics date nectar (honey or maple syrup work well too!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup organic apple sauce
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup mashed banana (~ 1 medium banana)
  • 1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen cherries and defrosted them in microwave / then drained extra liquid)

Additional/Optional Toppings:

  • Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (if you like the taste of toasted coconut, I totally recommend this!)
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  • Crushed Walnuts or Pecans

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Directions:

Set oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Coat a tin loaf pan with either coconut oil or parchment paper. (I used a 10 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ x 3″ metal loaf pan).

In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients will with a fork. Set this aside and grab a separate bowl to mix all of your wet ingredients (EXCEPT FOR THE CHERRIES) together. Blend very well. You can then combine your dry ingredients into your bowl of wet ingredients. Again, blend very well so that everything is evenly dispersed. Finally, fold the cherries (and optional chocolate chips or crushed nuts) into the batter. Mix well.

Pour batter evenly into loaf pan. Sprinkle with shredded coconut (and/or optional crushed nuts). Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes (or longer if necessary). Top should be a little hard when done and you should be able to stick a fork in the center without it coming back all gooey!

Let cool for 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!!

 

This post is not paid for by Bob’s Red Mill. I received free product and that is it. I simply just love their products and would use them in baking regardless!
My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

One topic I’ve been meaning to post about for a while has been my morning routine. I know this is something I’ve talked about it in the past, whether it be on the blog or on instagram, but I definitely want to reiterate WHY I cherish my morning routine as much as I do. Mornings for me are the most important part of my day. I find that starting my morning out on the most positive note possible truly sets the tone for how the rest of my day will look. My motivation, my productivity, my happiness, my dedication and so on, all depend on how the first hour or two of my day goes. This may not be true for everyone, but I’ve witnessed it first hand for myself.

 

A few things you want to AVOID in setting the tone for your perfect morning routine are…

 

1) Not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is SO important for me. I need at least 7 hours to be a functional human. I find that if I go one or two nights with a poor sleep, my lack of fitness motivation and self-control around food cravings are the first clear signs that I’ve been deprived of sleep. I instantly procrastinate my workout (which is clearly also a sign from my body telling me that sleep would be more beneficial than working out at the moment). I also find that I lose most of the self-control I have around shoving my face with highly sweet or salty foods. If that’s the case, I crave something sweet in the morning, which in turn spikes my blood sugar levels, which then leads me to crash before lunch-time, which then continues to put me in this spiral of craving sweet or super salty “junk” food for the rest of the day. THIS is why sleep is KEY. Sleep gives me you the energy to be the BEST version of yourself.

2) Starting the morning with negative thoughts.

I’ll be honest, waking up at 5:30am when it’s still pitch black out is not always fun, but waking up in the dark AND immediately having negative thoughts about the day is not going to make things any better. To be honest, what gets me out of bed in the morning is my delicious latte that I’ve been having on repeat. Especially on a chillier, fall or winter morning, waking up to warm, delicious (caffeinated) beverage can do just the trick! Give yourself something to be excited about when waking up! Shocker: for me it’s a yummy breakfast and morning beverage!

3) Rushing.

So long as you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep (ps this may mean you need to get into bed earlier! I usually turn off the lights around 9/9:15!), I’d recommend waking up early enough to allow yourself time and enjoy the moment. Again, rushed mornings, mean stressful mornings. And starting your day out stressed is certainly not going to help you take on the day. Is that netflix episode REALLY worth an extra hour of sleep?? (ps I definitely need to take my own advice on this one. Even if I’m still going to bed early, I know that watching TV before bed is a BIG no). Also, have you ever heard of the Circadian Rhythm?? It’s the 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings (i.e. HUMANS) that are affected by things like temperature, sunrise/sunset, etc.

So now for things you CAN incorporate into your morning routine to make it that much better…

 

*Also as a disclaimer, I’m certainly not saying you NEED to incorporate all of the below in your morning routine. That’s just not always realistic, even for those who do have plenty of time in the AM! My suggestion is to just try out a few different ones every now and then and eventually you may find 1 or 2 that stick.

 

1) Oil Pulling – LOVE this ayurvedic practice.

Just started it earlier this month and truly feel and see noticeable results. You want to do this FIRST thing in the morning (before even drinking most fluids). It’s suggested coconut oil is the best for this. Use about 1 TBSP and swish around for about 5-10 minutes (or more if you can!) This is a great practice to incorporate since you can easily multi-task, such as prepping your coffee or breakfast for the day!

2) Get yourself a good skincare (and oral) routine!

Super simple, but ditching the chemical/toxic skincare products can truly leave a long-lasting impact. Why? Because we should care JUST as much about the products we put ON our skin, as the products that we consume daily. Our skin absorbs whatever you’re applying on it and can be just as unhealthy, if not more so than eating something comparably toxic. Think about it…our skin is the LARGEST organ on our body. Treat it well and you will feel so much better! A few non-toxic skincare lines I’ve been loving recently include Cocokind Skincare and Frank & Whit. PS this also includes toothpaste! I recommend Toms or Dr. Bronners!

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3) Make yourself a delicious, warm morning beverage.

I love having a warm drink in the morning (usually something slightly caffeinated) that makes getting out of bed easier and a little more exciting, especially during the colder months! I usually choose to go with a latte & 2 espresso shots, bulletproof coffee, or a bulletproof matcha latte. Matcha or other various teas are awesome as well and a great option for those who have ditched coffee! Or if you’ve quit all caffeine – turmeric or superfood lattes and elixirs make for a great, yummy, and nourishing treat!

4) Gratitude Journaling.

This takes all of 3 minutes – I promise you and makes such an impact. Simply journal a few things a day you’re grateful for. Can be ANYTHING. Grateful for good health, grateful for your yoga practice, or even your new job! Next, write a few goals. I like to include very attainable and then DREAM goals. This is all about MANIFESTING and believing you have all the power to write your own destiny.

5) Practice 10 minutes of light yoga.

This is such a great way to get the spinal fluid moving with some nice, easy back bends and twists. Twists are great for detoxifying the body and help to loosen up the spine after sleeping horizontally all night. I also find it’s a great way to kickstart the metabolism and gain a little energy for the day.

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6) Eat a nourishing breakfast full of healthy fats, protein, leafy greens (if possible), fiber, and some hearty carbs!

7) Put on music that’s light and upbeat! I LOVE doing this in the morning. It totally helps to wake me up and puts me in a great mood!

Hopefully this has given you some new ideas to help take your morning routine from a 5 to a 10! It doesn’t have to be everything, just take baby steps to find what works best for YOU! Comment below and share what your morning routine looks like! I’d love to hear!

 

Baked Butternut Squash, Apple, & Date Skillet Oatmeal

Baked Butternut Squash, Apple, & Date Skillet Oatmeal

Happy November guys!!

November is one of my FAVORITE months for multiple reasons. First of all, early November in New England has got to be the prettiest for fall foliage. Secondly, it’s my birthday month (hehe). Lastly, it’s THANKSGIVING and who doesn’t love shoving your face until you quite literally, can’t fit anything else in your stomach? …EVEN if you TRIED. Yep, November is a pretty damn GREAT month to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a tasty, fall-inspired recipe just in time for the holidays?!

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Honestly, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog. I’m really excited about this one because butternut squash and dates are my absolute favorites. This recipe is REFINED-SUGAR free yet irresistibly and naturally so sweet! Your tastebuds will be dancing for joy after devouring this one. I promise! And if you’re thanksgiving dinners are anything like mine, this will be a nice, HEALTHY dessert amongst all the sugary pumpkin and pecan pies! Or if you have a sweet tooth like I do in the morning, this makes for a perfect breakfast snack when you’re on-the-go!

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I’m really excited about a new product that I included in this recipe. I’m constantly looking for healthier, low-glycemic, and refined sugar free sweeteners. I was introduced to D’Vash Organics,  a 100% organic, California-date nectar. It’s vegan, non-GMO, and believe it or not, has 25% less sugar than honey! Honey typically is about 16 grams of sugar per TBSP, while D’Vash is 12 grams of sugar per TBSP, making it a REALLY great low-glycemic alternative similar to maple syrup, coconut sugar, and honey. I also love the unique flavor it adds. I’ve always said dates are natures candy and this sweetener NAILED it.

Use code ‘EATRUN‘ for 20% off your D’Vash Organics orders!


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped butternut squash (I prefer to buy it already cut at Whole Foods to IMG_7732save me cooking time)
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Quick Oats (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 cups Cashew milk (I used the brand Pacific)
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP ghee (I prefer the madagascar vanilla bean ghee from fourth&heart)
  • 3 TBSP D’Vash Organic Date Nectar
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (just a few shakes)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup organic (no sugar added) apple sauce
  • Raw pecans

Directions:

First, you’ll want to pre-roast the butternut squash. Set your oven to 415 degrees. Coat the butternut squash in coconut oil, cinnamon, and a little bit of Himalayan salt. Place on a baking sheet (lightly coated in coconut oil as well) and bake for about 35 minutes or until squash is soft.

After you remove your squash from the oven, lower the heat down to 350 degrees. Mash 1 cup of the butternut squash together. In a cast iron or oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tbsp of ghee over the stove top on LOW heat. Once the ghee has melted, add in ALL ingredients including the butternut squash, the 2 cups each of oats and milk, cinnamon, date nectar, apple sauce, and egg.

Stir evenly with a whisk until it is all well blended. Feel free to add a few, light shakes of the Himalayan salt. After about 2-3 minutes, remove from heat. Option to sprinkle pecans on top. And then place in the oven and let cook for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown. Make sure to cut a small indent before removing from the oven to ensure it’s cooked fully through (shouldn’t be overly soft or mushy).

Once finished, remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Option to top with sautéed apples or blueberries, ice cream, yogurt, or even smothered in peanut butter or coconut butter!

Don’t forget to use code ‘EATRUN‘ for 20% off your D’Vash Organics orders!

XOXO,

CAL

 

Top 3 Products for When You’re on-the-go (+ Life Updates)!

Top 3 Products for When You’re on-the-go (+ Life Updates)!

Hi friends!

Hope your week is off to a great start! Before I dive into today’s blog post, I wanted to share a few life-updates with you! PS – I feel like I’m always sharing drastic updates LOL. It’s NEVER DULL around here. Soo a few things – I just wrapped up my first FULL farmers market season for BerryGood Bliss – I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. It’s been such a whirlwind and I’m SO pleased that people even LIKE my product! My goal this summer was to get my brand out there, test my products and see if people even enjoyed it (which luckily is a success!), make meaningful connections, and of course strategize next steps in the business plan to continue to grow BerryGood. As I’ve mentioned previously, starting a business like this adds up financially (BIG TIME). I’m so glad I took the time that I did to go all-in and build the brand. I know had I been working full-time during this period, I would have continued to put it off and not give it a 110%.

That being said, I’m being realistic in knowing that I can’t continue to support my current lifestyle (personal/housing, social, and business expenses) in the way that I am at the moment. Part of having a passion project like BerryGood is knowing that at times, you’ll need to HUSTLE big time and likely be working twice as hard to make ends meet. I’m fortunate enough to have found a part-time HR position (HR is the field I worked in prior to leaving my corporate job) that will allow me to work flexible hours (20-25 hrs a week) in order to balance both work and BerryGood. This new lifestyle will definitely be a challenge for me at first – learning how to find some kind of balance between work, my social life, my blog, fitness, and so on. However, I’m trying to look at this as an exciting time in my life and ready to take on new challenges with a SMILE. So that’s pretty much the BIGGEST change in my life right now. Oh and ps I’ve also decided to pursue my CorePower Sculpt teacher training (because I can just never be satisfied not having free time HAHA). But in all seriousness, this is something I’ve always wanted to do and timing worked out well on my end/the commitment for this training is very doable. So will keep you guys posted there!


Moving on to some of my favorite products that I always have on hand whether I’m traveling on vacation, going away for a quick weekend getaway, spending the night at my moms or dads house, or just out of the apartment for the day! I tend to have a “firey” metabolism and if I’m hungry, but without anything to hold me over, things can get ugly (aka HANGER strikes at its best and you can ask Justin, it’s certainly not a pretty sight). Lastly, none of the below is sponsored. This is simply all my own, un-biased opinion!

1) Protein Bar

As much as I love switching up my bars, I always seem to revert back to RxBar as my snack of choice. Why? Because their ingredients truly are no BS.

  • High in Protein
  • Vegetarian Friendly
  • No funky protein powder ingredients (aka casein + WPC, skim milk/milk powders, soy protein, vegetable oils, gluten, dextrin/glucose, soy protein, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
  • No added sugars
  • No Soy
  • No Gluten
  • TASTES DELISH!

The main ingredients in RxBars include: egg whites (high in protein, no cholesterol, & easily absorbed into the body) + dates (which help to bind & act as a natural sweetener) + nuts (for texture, healthy fats, & sustained energy).

PS – my favorite flavors include: Peanut Butter, Maple Sea Salt, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Mint-Chocolate.


2) Collagen Peptides

Collagen has been a STAPLE in my diet for almost the past year. I’ve truly noticed differences in my skin first and foremost, as well as my hair, nails, gut-health, better sleeps, joint/muscle recovery, and not to mention, it makes my lattes EXTRA frothy!

My go-to collagen is Vital Proteins and I LOVE that they sell individual serving sizes for when you’re on-the-go. These have been essential for traveling. I simply add it right into my warm coffee or tea and it dissolves instantly and is flavorless.

3) Elixirs

I never used to be a “beverage” person, but oddly enough, in the past year, I’ve been craving warm, nurturing beverages like golden milk (turmeric & black pepper + warm coconut milk), coffee & tea of course, and hot coco. I recently have fallen in love with the products from Four Sigmatic. Their goal is to “make drinking mushrooms and superfoods delicious and easy-to-do with their Mushroom Coffees, Mushroom Superfood Blends, and Mushroom Elixirs”.

Lately, I’ve been REALLY into their Mushroom Hot Cacao with Cordyceps. I’ll heat up either almond milk or coconut milk and then pour the contents in my mug, stir, and enjoy! It makes for the perfect night-capper, especially when I’m craving something warm & chocolatey. Plus the added benefits of the superfood mushroom AND the fact that it comes in an individually sealed bag for convenience makes these products that much better.


Look out for a similar blog post in the future! I certainly have a few more products I always rely on for when I’m on-the-go, but wanted to be mindful of this post getting too lengthy! 🙂

Ballin’ on a Budget: Tips for the Staples (Food, Fitness, & Style)

Ballin’ on a Budget: Tips for the Staples (Food, Fitness, & Style)

Happy Hump Day!

As you know, I’ve been on a MAJOR budget lately but the last thing I want, is that to stop me from living my life and doing things (or buying things) that make me happy and healthy! Being a small business owner, while working multiple part-time jobs, leaves little to no “extra” spending money. When it comes to spending money, there are a few things I’ll invest in. Food is absolutely number one. Food is medicine to me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had to pay for a pharmaceutical. Wholesome, healthy food has been my save and grace and for that reason, I’m ALWAYS willing to spend an extra dollar or two. As for fitness, that’s probably tied with food. Again, I feel my BEST when I get a good sweat in, surround myself with a positive fitness community, and treat my body well! Lastly, I threw style in here because that’s always been a fun passion of mine. I feel the clothes I wear are a representation of who I am. I consider myself a pretty creative individual and my clothes allow me to express my inner fashionista (lol, too far?)

Let’s start with FOOD. How to eat healthy on a small budget.

I’ll be honest, I don’t always follow my own advice. The convenience of having a Whole Foods within walking distance can be far too tempting most times.

  • A lot of “chain” grocery stores now carry your everyday healthy products at a much cheaper price. I’m a huge fan of shopping at Wegmans. Their organic produce selection is top-notch. They have great bulk food options (and prices). Trader Joes is another one that has really low prices for their produce and other products.


Thrive Market. This one I accidentally bought the membership a year ago, BUT I will say, it HAS been worth it. When you stock up and spend more than $49 on groceries, you get free shipping. Not to mention, they always are doing free product giveaways with your order. See this picture on the left, that rosewater came free! Last time, I got two cartons of Califia Farms products. They offer these deals while supplies last. PLUS almost all of their products are discounted (trust me, I’ve checked and compared!) I love using Thrive when I’m running low on all of the expensive oils, dry goods, nuts, superfoods, etc.
– Buy from the BULK FOOD SECTION! A huge part of our diet is nuts, grains, dried fruits, almond butter, and so on. The bulk food section at any store tends to always be cheaper than if you were to buy it pre-packaged.
– Get yourself a WholeFoods Whole Body Benefits Card at customer service. Gets you 20% off supplements!
– Always keep an eye out for Whole Foods sales. Trust me, a lot of my fave products like Health-Ade Kombucha, Simple Mills, Purely Elizabeth, Hilary’s Eat Well, etc. goes on sale!
– Scroll through your fave instagramers and you can ALWAYS find a discount code for some of your favorite products! PS – I’ve added in some of my discount codes at the bottom of this post!
– Speaking of Kombucha, did you know that anytime you buy a case (of anything) at Whole Foods, you get 10% off! Sometimes the cashiers don’t even realize this, so make sure you ask.

Now moving on to fitness…

If you know me, I’ve joked that I’m a serial fitness dater (not sure if that even makes sense…) But what I’m trying to get at is that I…

1) LOVE switching up my workouts (which is actually really good for your body) and…
2) I’m always on the hunt for “free trials”, “membership deal sign-ups”, “student discounts” (sry I know this is bad but I still use my student ID everywhere…it doesn’t have an expiration date!), 30 days for $30 unlimited, and so on. The deals go on. ESPECIALLY if you’re living in a college city. SO keep an eye out for those.
* For example, did you know you get a 1-week free trial with CorePower Yoga?
– Create your own work-out space at home! I did this for almost a year after I quit my “luxury” gym (spending far too much money on a monthly basis). I had a yoga mat, simple weights, and did a lot of HIIT. Kayla Itsines (like every other girl haha) was one of the programs I followed. Youtube and even the fitness instagram world can both be great resources.
– I also switched up my workouts with runs and yoga. I will admit, I recently found an AWESOME gym deal ($25 a month) and I felt now was a good time to jump on that since we’re entering into the brutal seasons of Boston (i.e. the dreaded Winter months). The snow and cold makes running outside not fun and certainly doesn’t help with any of my fitness motivation.
– ALWAYS search groupon or gilt city before paying for any studio. Guarantee there will be some deal out there.
– You can also join ClassPass and pay a CRAZY cheap price ($19 if you’re a new member) for your first month. I’ll be honest, I cancelled after 🙂 Though I love the idea of it…I couldn’t get myself to pay the regular monthly price after your trial ends.
– Search on your cities event page for free fitness classes!
– Go to community/donation-based yoga classes.

And finally…STYLE!

I will admit, I was a HUGE spender when it came to clothes. Especially when I had a pretty nice income. I never dropped money on super pricey designers but I definitely regularly shopped at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. Obviously times have changed and I can’t afford to do that anymore. LUCKILY, I have a lot of clothes in my closet that I no longer where and I’ve found a FAB way to cheat the system. Whenever I’m getting an itch to shop or update my fall wardrobe for example, I’ll search through my closet and drawers for pieces that are in season (this is key because most trendy thrift stores won’t accept out of season clothing). I’ll then search through any hats, shoes, jewelry, purses, jackets, etc. to see if there’s been anything I haven’t touched in the past year (or sometimes even 6 months if I’m feeling frisky).

Oversized jackets never go out of style in my book // found @ Buffalo Exchange
Loving these pieces from Buffalo Exchange. Pair a slingy dress w/ a sparkly see-through long sleeve (and pearls!) – Perfect for the Holidays!

I then march my giant bag of clothing to my FAVE thrift store, Buffalo Exchange , vintage and used clothing. (located in Allston on Harvard St. for my local friends). PS there are Buffulo Exchange stores all over the US. I found one in Queens, NY and spotted one while in Denver, CO. They are extremely picky with the clothes they accept, so make sure it’s in style, trendy, in pretty good condition, and hipster(y) is always a plus. Though it can be annoying as the seller when they send back nearly half of what you brought in, it’s also great because you know that you’re going to find the racks are all stocked with clothes, shoes, and accessories that are in style and SUPER cheap (I’m talking almost everything under $20)! They’ll offer you either a store credit or cash (though the cash ends up being like half of what you’d get with store credit), so I always keep the store credit! I then go shop, pick up a few staple fall items, and then end up having a $0 balance thanks to the clothes that I brought in and were accepted! Also, always check the quality of the clothing, if you find any small tears or stains, they’ll discount it even more, usually like 30-50% off.

Get yourself a pair of fun loafers for Fall // found brand new (Zara) @ Buffalo Exchange
…and a pair of funky wedges to go with pants & an oversized sweater // again found @ B.E.

This is my NUMBER 1 tip to always keeping fresh new items in your closet without spending a dime! Happy shopping ladies (and men)!!

So there ya have it friends, my personal tips to BALLLLLLIN’ on a budget 😉



Discount Codes:

Pearl Butter – (collagen/superfood boosting coconut butter) code ‘CALLI’ for 15% off your order.
Sips By – (customized monthly tea subscription box order) code ‘EATRUNTEA’ for 50% off your first order.
OMG Detox – (detox beauty blends) code ‘CALLI10’ for 10$ off.
Health Warrior – (superfood bars) code ‘eatrunandallinbetween30’ for 30% off your order.

3 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Pantry

3 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Pantry

Wow, can’t believe we’re already into October! I swear this summer flew by faster than most. Though it technically is the Fall, it still feels like Summer here in Boston…and I definitely don’t hate it! That being said, I can certainly feel my body craving the warmer, seasonal foods. It’s so important to listen to your body and give it what it needs with the change of season. Our bodies are smart and are VERY much aligned to nature and the universe. Sadly, that means I won’t be drinking my smoothies everyday (though I certainly will treat myself every now and then). Rather, I’ll be substituting it with warmer foods like oatmeal, warm chia pudding, eggs, toast, squashes, etc.! This philosophy comes from the Ayurveda practice which I’ve talked about in the past.

“Ayurvedic philosophy holds that eating warming foods in the fall and winter is vital in order to keep the body healthy and balanced. It suggests that the metabolism works harder to keep us warm in the winter, and therefore the “digestive fire” must be adequately fueled with heavier foods. Ayurveda says that cold, damp foods like salads and smoothies, which might seem delicious and perfect in the summertime, can sap the body of energy and even leave it vulnerable to illness during the fall and winter.”

This article shares with you some warm fall & winter foods to incorporate into your diet! Anyway, shifting gears slightly towards the topic of today’s blog post! This was actually inspired by my mom who has made some major shifts in her diet and adapting some of my health tips. This is not to say she was eating poorly by any means. She’s super lean, healthy, and eats a very balanced diet! However, she’s made simple swaps like using coconut oil to cook instead of olive oil because of it’s higher cook point. Below are some simple swaps you can make in your pantry and fridge. Though these swaps may seem minor, they go such a long way in your diet!


1.) Oil and Butter.

First, let’s talk about why VEGETABLE Oils are a big, fat NO…

This includes all processed oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and a few others out there. These oils “contain very large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess.” The way in which these oils are processed “involve pressing, heating, various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents.” This article from Healthline goes into even more depth on this topic.

So, what oils/butters SHOULD you cook with? See below:

  • Grass-fed Butter or Ghee (butter with all traces of dairy proteins and sugars cooked out)
  • Coconut Oil (virgin or expeller pressed)
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive oil (Extra virgin olive oil should stay unheated, but normal olive oil that isn’t extra virgin is a good cooking oil as long as you aren’t cooking at high heat. Extra virgin olive oil is still great for you; just add it after you plate your food.) – BulletProof Article (more details on smoke points and oils)

2.) Sweeteners.

Let’s chat about the difference between Refined Sugars and UnRefined Sugars. “Refined sugar is sugar that has gone through a refining process, or chemical process to remove the molasses that’s naturally found in it.” – Ambitious Kitchen

Here are some staples I always have on hand:

  • Dates
  • Organic Maple Syrup
  • Organic Honey
  • Organic Coconut Sugar
  • Organic Coconut Nectar
  • Organic Vanilla Bean

3.) White Flour.

Let’s start REAL basic here. Ditch anything with white flour. White flour has been stripped of literally all the important vitamins and nutrients (i.e. the parts of the wheat kernel that slow its digestion), making it extremely easy for the body to turn white flour into blood sugar.

So, that being said here are some of my favorite options I usually have on hand:

  • ANY lentil or bean based pasta. My favorites include Eat Banza Chickpea Pasta (literally can’t tasted a difference between this and the real thing). Tolerant Foods is another one of my favorites.
  • Lentils
  • Wheat Berries
  • Quinoa
  • Black Rice
  • Farro
  • Amaranth
  • Oats
  • Bulgur

Some of my favorite Flours Include:

  • almond flour
  • oat flower
  • cassava flour
  • coconut flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Rice Flour

One thing I will say is that I certainly treat myself to a really nice Italian meal every now and then where I can trust I’m getting REAL, HOMEMADE pasta, with no preservatives or chemicals. It’s about balance. Just when you’re at home and cooking, try to have the above alternatives on hand!

Start with those three tips above and keep an eye out NEXT week for 3 more healthy swaps! 🙂

A Foodie’s Guide to Denver, Colorado

A Foodie’s Guide to Denver, Colorado

Hi Friends!

Some of you may know I just recently traveled to Denver, Colorado. In preparation for the trip, I reached out and asked for an endless amount of recommendations and you guys did not disappoint (THANK YOU)!! I figured I’d summarize the list below, share with you some of our adventures, which lets be honest, mostly revolved around food and drink since Justin was on crutches the entire time!

Let’s start with my favorite…

EATTTTS:

Just BE Kitchen: LOVED this place so much, we came back for seconds. 100% PALEO friendly, CLEAN ingredients, EVERYTHING is Gluten, Grain-Free, and Refined-Sugar Free, FRIENDLY staff, CUTE sit-down atmosphere, AMAZING COFFEE.

The “Wonder” Bowl
Highlights: There are plenty of meat options for those who like their meat! That being said, vegetarians would do just fine here as well with plenty of veggie & egg options!

  • I however, went with the “Wonder” Seasonal Veggie Bowl (SEASONAL VEGGIE, ALMOND GREMOLATA, POACHED EGG). Extremely filling bowl (I had leftovers both days).
  • Justin got the “Fulfilled” Burrito on the first day and literally said it was the BEST burrito he’s ever had (which is saying something since he loves his Chipotle burrito’s). Ingredients include: SCRAMBLED EGGS, SAUSAGE,‘CHEDDAR WIZ’ (vegan cheese), PALEO TORTILLA, CRISPY SWEET POTATO HASH, PORK OR VEGGIE GREEN CHILI, CILANTRO, SCALLION, JALAPENO
  • Justin also tried the “Simplicity” Egg Sandwich (2 EGGS, CRISPY SWEET POTATO HASH, BACON OR SAUSAGE PATTY, TORTILLA OR GRIDDLED HOUSE BUN) Also LOVED this
  • “Lifted” Chia Seed Yogurt + their homemade grain-free granola & fresh blueberries – smaller portion, so Justin and I split it to balance out our savory dishes. Their granola is ON POINT.

COFFEE Highlights (yes, we tried 4 different flavors and yes, they were all amazing):

Lavender Honey Latte
  • Maple Cinnamon Butter Bullet-Proof Coffee (grass-fed butter, maple syrup, MCT oil, cinnamon): absolutely amazing. Literally tastes like a really “naughty” cinnamon bun yet all ingredients are 100% clean. HIGHLY Recommend.
  • Mocha Bullet-Proof Coffee (grass-fed butter, MCT oil, cocoa, coconut milk, honey): if you’re a chocolate lover, this one is for YOU. We both liked the maple cinnamon butter slightly more, but this still ranked an 8/10!
  • Vanilla Sea Salt Latte (coconut milk, vanilla, salt, 2 espresso shots): LOVED this one (so much, that I’ve been replicating it at home). Right up my alley. Simple, clean ingredients. So airy and light, plus the perfect balance of sweet & salty.
  • Lavender Clover Honey Latte (lavender, clover honey, almond milk, 2 espresso shots): Shocker…another WINNER. Again, no complaints here. Simply delish! Perfect amount of lavender (not overwhelming at all). So comforting on a chilly morning.

Address:
Located in LoHi
2364 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202
Open 7 days/week 7am-3pm // easy street parking (outskirts of city center)
Website
Instagram Handle


Vital Roots: great recommendation for healthy eats in the Denver area. We enjoyed their breakfast menu very much! Again, super friendly & helpful service, super clean menu options, cool atmosphere/decor inside, and great fast-casual healthy option! Menu items are “98% grain-free, 99% vegan, and 100% gluten-free”.

Avocado Toast + Overnight Oatmeal
Highlights: We only ate here for breakfast, though the menu for lunch and dinner looks fab as well! Only complain would be that we wish the portion sizes were slightly bigger 🙂

  • “Everything Bagel” Avocado Toast (Sunflower Seed Bread, Crispy Chickpeas, Smoked Almonds & Date Molasses add Sunny Side Up Egg) // SO tasty and the flavor combos were on POINT. Your taste buds will dance for joy between all the unique flavors that explode in one bite.
  • The Overnight Oats (Coconut Almond Milk, Cashews, Vanilla, Maple, Five-Seed Mix & Fruit) // always a great go-to option and these oats certainly did not disappoint. SO creamy and the seed mix added the perfect sweet & salty crunch.
  • PLENTY of coffee options available, including BULLET-PROOF!

Address:
3915 TENNYSON ST. DENVER, CO 80212
OPEN TUES-THURS 10AM & FRI-SUN 9AM CLOSED MONDAY
Website
Instagram Handle


Happy Leaf Kombucha: another recommendation I received and am SO so happy we made it here at the very end of our trip! It is a little off the beaten path, but if you have a rental car, it is absolutely worth the drive. Such a unique experience going to (my VERY first) Kombucha TAP ROOM. This was a nice change of scenery after all of the breweries haha. Super spacious, open, airy tap room. Long wooden tables inside, large walls that open to the outdoor area which is perfect on a mild, fall day. Also includes outdoor grass area with lawn games. Lastly, I noticed a sign for yoga happy hour & kombucha. Would be cool to plan around this NEXT time!

Veggie “Sandwich” Over Greens + Orange Basil Kombucha
Now for the highlights:

  • KOMBUCHA was DELISH. I got the Orange Basil (really unique flavor, the fresh basil balanced out the citrus orange). Justin got the Cranberry Lavender (again, super delicious, a sweeter option (they do add cane sugar after the fermentation), the lavender is not overwhelming, perfect balance to the cran). Overall, the BOOCH was a 9/10. Highly recommend.
  • For food, I got the Veggie “Sandwich” (house made apple-carrot kraut, sunflower sprouts, kale pesto, dijonaise / NO bread, served on a bed of greens instead + side of sautéed greens w/ lemon & chili. This was the perfect salad to go along with the booch. And TBH, I REALLY needed a hearty, gut-friendly salad by the end of this trip. LOL.
  • Justin got the “Albondigas de Bison Torta” (mexican spiced local bison meatballs, fiery chili sauce, spicy pickled carrots, melted provolone, fresh cilantro) // he devoured this. AKA NO COMPLAINTS for him. PS it’s always a WIN in my book when I choose a healthy restaurant and he loves it. Anyone else struggle with convincing others to come try a new healthy restaurant with you?!

Address:
5700 W 25th Avenue, Edgewater, CO 80214
Monday–Friday • 11:30 am–8:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday • 11:30 am–8:00 pm
Website
Instagram Handle


True Food Kitchen: Ahhh another favorite of mine and so happy to have made it here in Denver before our flight took off on Sunday night. I first tried True Food while I was living in Palo Alto, CA. This place is the ULTIMATE healthy SIT-DOWN restaurant with a cozy, fresh atmosphere, open kitchen (love when restaurants do this = TRANSPARENCY), clean cocktails, and plenty of options for literally ANYONE.

Highlights: Justin and I split the apps and our dinners. LOVE doing this so that we can try more of the menu itemss!

  • Charred cauliflower (harissa tahini, medjool date, dill, mint, pistachio)
  • Kale Guacamole (pink grapefruit, cilantro, roasted poblano, sunflower seeds & pita chips) // both of which were AMAZING! We especially loved the flavors in the guac. I’d recommend splitting a few apps since the entrees aren’t overly filling.
  • Teriyaki Quinoa Bowl (broccoli, heirloom carrot, bok choy, mushroom, brown rice, avocado, toasted sesame) + Tofu // this was super yummy but wasn’t my favorite dish of the night. 7/10
  • Poke Bowl (wild caught albacore, avocado, quinoa rice, mushroom, snow pea, cucumber, cashew, turmeric ponzu) // we both LOVED this. Again, very light, cool, and refreshing.

Address:
2800 E. 2nd Ave, Suite 101, Denver, Colorado 80206
Mon – Fri: 11am – 10pm // Sat: 10am – 10pm // Sun: 10am – 9pm
Website
Instagram Handle

Lake between Idaho Springs + Breckenridge

Other EATS/Foodie Recommendations:

  • Amethyst Coffee // LOVED their matcha latte (homemade cashew milk). They also had turmeric lattes, seasonal lattes, chia pudding,
    etc. Decor inside was very chic. Plants, white, and crystals. // Address: 1111 Broadway #101, Denver, CO 80203
  • Stowaway Coffee & Kitchen // // REALLY cute spot, GREAT lattes (homemade cashew milk), friendly spot, menu looked DELISH though I didn’t eat there. // Address: 2528 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205
  • Olive & Finch
  • Linger
  • Beet Box Donuts (vegan baked goods)
  • Native Foods
  • Protein Bar
  • El Five // wasn’t able to get a reservation here, but looked cool! // mediterranean style tapas, 360 views of city, cool atmosphere
  • Element Kitchen & Cocktail // cool brunch spot to watch the football games on Sunday. Not a ton of vegetarian options but I was able to get a plate with eggs, sweet potato hash, gluten-free bread, and avocado. Also was able to watch the Patriots game 🙂
  • Hedge Row – menu looks AMAZING but you NEED to make a reservation. We weren’t able to get in.
  • Senor Bear // another one we weren’t able to get to, but again, menu looks dope. Modern Latin spin on food and drinks.
  • Denver Central Market // didn’t get to check out, but diverse group of vendors. Located in RiNo neighborhood.
  • South Pearl Street Farmers Market // located on s. pearl street on Sunday’s (starts at 9am). Healthy Breakfast Food truck highlights included Ba-NOM-a-NOM (soft-served banana “nice cream”), Prosper Oats (acai bowls, overnight oatmeal, coffee), and a number of other hand-crafted & speciality food vendors. Would def recommend stopping by!
  • American Cultures Kombucha TapRoom – BOOCH and Vegan Ice cream…what’s better?!
  • Tea Bar Denver – Kombucha, lots of Tea and Coffee Options
  • Beau Jos Pizza (located in Idaho Springs. Not many food options here and splurged a bit with Pizza) I got the gluten-free crust + sauce + veggies // very delish!

Breweries: (NOTE: we didn’t make it to all of these, not even half haha but I wanted to share since they were recommendations)

Ratio Beerworks (RiNo)
  • Ratio Beerworks: 2920 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (LOVED this spot. Cool outdoor patio w/ lawn games)
  • First Draft – right down the street from us, RiverNorth (recommended – cool brewery where you pour your own beer + really good food)
  • New Terrain Brewing Co. – 16401 Table Mountain Pkwy, Golden, CO 80403
  • Briar Common – 2298 N Clay St, Denver, CO 80211
  • New Image Brewing – 5622 Yukon St, Arvada, CO 80002
  • 10 Barrel Brewing Company – 2620 Walnut Street Denver, Colorado 80205, Denver, CO
  • Bierstadt Lagerhaus – 2875 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205
  • Bruz Beers – 1675 W 67th Ave #100, Denver, CO 80221
  • Larimer beer hall – 2012 larimer st Denver co 80205
  • Great divide brewery – 2201 arapahoe st Denver co 80205

OTHER Highlights:

Botanical Gardens

-Spent a lot of time in the RiNo area (cool, hipster(y) neighboorhood, ~ 15/20 min walk from Coors Field area). Lots of breweries and funky bars here.
– 16 Street Mall (lots of chain stores, but good people watching)
– Visit the Botanical Gardens. We got lucky with the weather as the sun was shining and the time of year was ideal for all of the plants. So Beautiful!!
– Check out the ORIGINAL CorePower Yoga on East 13th Ave. This was the perfect place to get a quick workout in while the boys continued to drink beers all day at the Beer Fest HAHA.
– Try and catch a show at Red Rocks. We saw Big Gigantic and it far exceeded my expectations. The HYPE at Red Rocks is 110% REAL. Hands down most amazing venue I’ve ever been to. PS we stayed at an airbnb in Littleton, CO (10 mins from the venue). Highly recommend so you don’t need to worry about driving home. Also, gives you the morning to explore.
– While in Littleton, CO, I got up early and went for a beautiful trail run at South Valley Park.
South Valley Park

Overall, the trip was A LOT of fun. The weather was perfect. Would have loved to explore more, but given the circumstances (i.e. torn ACL for Justin), we weren’t able to hike. Hopefully our next trip out there we can explore more of Colorado!

PS if you have any questions on airbnbs, car rentals, locations, food/drink spots, etc. — comment below or email me directly!

XO, Cal

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

Happy HUMP day y’all!

For this weeks post I wanted to share with you tips I’ve been using to help calm my ever-so-racing mind! Being an adult is hard AF. The number one thing that’s been giving me a bit of anxiety lately has been around finances. Who else can relate? It’s unfortunate that money tends to be the number one culprit behind anxiety and stress for the average person. As you all know, I left my steady paycheck to pursue starting my own business. Luckily, I have no family, kids, college tuition, etc. to pay for…but that doesn’t mean I’m not covering rent, internet, gas/electric, car insurance, car payments, groceries, boston city parking tickets and tow fees (LOL) and oh just trying to have a social life as a 25-year old living in a thriving city. Yep, costs certainly add up and unfortunately, they’ve been leaving me with quite a bit of stress these days. I know I’m not alone and knew I had to share with you my personal tips that help me to calm my crazy mind. I wish I could say these would help to solve all financial issues (haha wishful thinking) BUT they certainly help to get into a right headspace, to then be able to better tackle solving those financial burdens.

1) Take a walk and listen to your favorite podcast.

I know this sounds obvious, but I promise you it’s an INSTANT mood-booster and gets your mind off of things. Find a podcast (or two) that you’re super into and commit to listening to them on walks. My podcast list is growing which leaves me with more motivation to get out the door and kill a podcast or two each day. Plus, the added vitamin D is SO crucial and hello, walking = happy endorphins!

PS – here’s a quick list of some of my fave podcasts at the moment. They’re all available on itunes and are FREE!

  • The Chasing Joy Podcast (positivity, wellness, self-love)
  • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast (wellness, blogging/business tips, marketing your brand)
  • Actually Adultish (wellness, “adult” things for people in their 20’s and 30’s)
  • Rich Roll Podcast (wellness, entrepreneurship, spirituality, veganism, endurance training)
  • BulletProof Radio (wellness topics)
  • The Lively Show (high vibe living, law of attraction)
  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (wellness, positivity, self-love, entrepreneurship)
  • The Balanced Blonde: Soul on Fire (Spirituality, health & wellness)

2) Essential Oils, Diffusers, Candles, and Incense

This has been a big part of my practice lately, whether during yoga, meditation, or just hanging out at night before bed. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the back of your neck, your third eye, on the inside of your wrists, or pillow before going to sleep. The aroma of the “lavender helps to remove nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while increasing mental activity.” I love adding it to my diffuser before going to bed.

I’m also obsessed with lighting candles and incense. Incense are so cheap to purchase, you can buy various scents (including lavender if you wanted to keep up with that calming trend), they smell amazing, and instantly have a calming effect on me. I think personally, incense remind me of a yoga studio, which tends to be a calm, peaceful place that I can mindfully take myself to in the comfort of my own home.

3) Get upside down AND practice light, restorative yoga.

When in doubt, I always get upside down! Whether it’s headstand, forearmstand, handstand or just a simple, legs up the wall, inversions have been proven to have a calming effect on the mind and get the blood circulating which is KEY. If you can’t do a headstand, DON’T YOU WORRY! It’s just as effective to put your legs up the wall! Find any way to get your legs comfortably vertical. Also, peep my blog post on simple yoga moves to help relive stress and anxiety!

4) Whip up a calming beverage before bed or in the morning. It also never hurts to have a side of Cacao Vegan Chocolate 😉

There are a number of go-to concoctions I’ll whip up if I’m feeling super stressed or anxious. Most importantly, you certainly want to AVOID caffeine if you’re already feeling very uneasy. My go-to beverages include:

  • a calming tea: chamomile tea, peppermint tea, lemon balm tea, passion flower tea, rose tea
  • OR you can boil warm water, add fresh squeezed lemon, fresh ginger, and a drizzle of honey
  • CALM VITALITY – all natural anxiety relief powder that you add to warm water. Promotes healthy magnesium levels and calcium intake. You can learn more about the product here.
  • Make a healing “golden milk”. Golden milk is a medicinal drink that has been used for years in eastern medicine. Simply add 1 tsp of turmeric, a splash of cinnamon, ginger (optional), cardamon (optional), a pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp coconut butter (optional) a sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, or organic vanilla extract) with 1 cup of warm coconut milk and mix well. Occasionally I’ll throw it in my nutribullet, but if I’m lazy, I just use a mini whisk! I love having this before bed. It makes me feel SO good and you get so many anti-inflammatory benefits!

And for my favorite go-to vegan chocolates?

5) MEDITATE.

I know, I know you probably hear this ALL the TIME. But, I promise you, it does help and can instantly put you in euphoria. I had been playing around with different methods of meditation, which I’ve shared below.

  • Guided meditation. There are SO many free ones on youtube. Just search “5 or 10 minute guided meditation” and find one you like.
  • Candle light mediation. Best done in the dark (Either early morning or at night). Sit upright on the floor. Stair into the candle without trying to blink as much as possible. After 5 minutes or so, close your eyes and focus internally on your third eye. You should see a colorful image of the flame still burning. Use that as your focus point. If you lose it, you can open your eyes again and refocus on the flame for another minute or so before shutting the eyes again.
  • Silent, seated meditation. This has been working the best for me lately, however, I advise you play around with timing of the day. I used to try and practice in the morning but found this just did not suit me well. I started mediating between the hours of 4-6pm which seem to work MUCH better for me. Usually at this time of day, my to-do list is out of my head and I’m actually read to just sit and be mindful. I’ll usually set my timer for 10 minutes, while sitting up right on the floor with a block under my butt (helps with comfort).

Though these work well for me, everyone is different! Play around and see what works for you. Also, if you have any ideas/or tips that aren’t posted about, please comment and share below! I love hearing what everyone else does to relieve stress and anxiety.

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Happy Friday Friends!

For this weeks blog post, I wanted to talk about positivity and manifesting your own storyline. I’ll be completely straightforward with you – I’m not always the most happy, positive person, though I tend to put on a facade. And sometimes, especially over these past 2 weeks, I have a tendency to drive myself into a damaging FUNK. If you follow along with me on my instagram, you may have noticed me talk about this series of bad luck that seemed to have just hit me one after another. I cried, a lot. I felt sorry for myself. I became a victim of my own sorrows. I vented to my fiance, my friends, and my family. What did I do to deserve this? Though I was given advice and comfort from those who I emptied my feelings on, none of that seemed to make a difference for me. I had made the internal decision and suddenly believed that I was doomed for bad luck. I was the one who started reading into things and created this ridiculous connection between a series of events that honestly, were my own wrongdoing. At the end of the day, the series of bad luck that came storming at me over the past 2 weeks, could have happened to anyone. I chose to believe that it was ME and that the universe was against me. But in reality, it almost seemed easier to play the victim card and accept things as they were. I personally think I used these “events” to cover up the fact that sometimes life isn’t always easy and you have to make hard decisions that may affect your career, your routine, your habits, your personal life and so on.

So why am I bringing all of this up now? Well, I conveniently started Gabby Bernstein’s book, “The Universe has Your Back” in the midst of all of this “chaos” I was facing. How cliche am I grabbing a self-help book at a time in need? I completely understand now how SILLY my “troubles” are in comparison to the REAL struggles that most of the world is facing. I’m very well aware that I fall into the 1% of the world and I’m oh so grateful for what I have every second of the day. It’s okay to have bad days and feel sorry for yourself, but getting out of that is key. Being able to clear your head, take a step back, BREATHE, and just remember how much you have to be grateful for can go a long way. That was the first step I needed to take to pull me out of this funk. Not going to lie, I’m really bad at finishing books. I’m easily distracted by instagram and ridiculous reality tv shows like real housewives. It’s crazy to me that those take priority over a book that can become an extremely powerful tool in changing your life for the better. So, here I am, making a commitment to all of you, that I will read at least chapter a night. Luckily for me, Gabby caught my attention instantly by sharing a glimpse of her own spiritual journey right off the bat.

The first chapter resonated with me BIG time and was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Joy is our birthright. What blocks our joy is our separation from love. The way back to love begins with understanding how we disconnected in the first place…we separate from the love of the Universe by giving purpose to pain and thinking power comes from outside sources. We deny the power of love, and we save our faith for fear. We forget love altogether.”

“Our projection is our perception. You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image-maker.”

– Gabby Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back

Ah-ha. This all made sense. The second you start connecting a negative connotation with yourself or something in your life, the second that becomes your reality. If you truly believe you’re destined for sadness, there’s a really good chance you’ll likely find more reasons to be sad in your life. You’ll unknowingly put yourself in negative situations. However, YOU and only you, have the ability to shift this perception. You can’t just say you’re going to be happy or that you’ll become successful, you have to truly believe it. And sometimes, that can take time. The second you’re able to get a taste of what it feels like to truly believe, is the important shift that you’ve been waiting for. It comes back to the classic law of attraction. Positive people will attract positive things and vice versa. I’ve experienced this feeling on and off. I’m the type of person that has really HIGH highs and sometimes, LOW lows. I can see it first hand when I’m ultra positive and optimistic. It’s like everything seems to work in my favor. BUT the second I face one speed bump, it’s like a downward spiral. So, my focus now is trying to take EVERY negative situation and find a positive in it. I’m going to accept that I’M the only who has control over a negative situation and at the end of the day, I’M the only one who change that perception.

Saying no to the “wedding diet”

Saying no to the “wedding diet”

I’ll be honest with you, one of the first thoughts I had after booking our wedding venue for NEXT year was “alright, so I have more than a year to kick my butt into gear for the wedding day”. Was this REALLY one of the first things that came to my mind after booking the venue? Am I wrong for thinking this? Or is this a result of diet culture and the wedding industry? Sadly, I feel it’s a mix of all of the above. It’s no surprise that I’ve battled body insecurities, as most women do growing up in their teens, early 20’s…and let’s be honest, is there any age were women feel 100% beautiful? Sadly…I’m not sure?? As I’ve blogged about in the past, my own insecurities have developed over the years, beginning in high school where I was heavily influenced by social media, TV, magazines, and more, running competitively in cross-country and track & field, and of course, the continuous diet culture that we can never seem to get away from. So of course, it’s only natural that when we as woman finally have a wedding date set, it’s an immediate reaction that we must now start the countdown to getting that perfect wedding “bod”.

Ironically, I was in the middle of writing this blog post right before heading to my engagement photo session yesterday and of course, I couldn’t escape those negative thoughts developing in my head. The ones that tell you you’re not ready for a photo shoot. Your skin looks like shit. Your hair looks dry. You feel bloated in the face and belly. You don’t have the right outfit. You can’t afford to get your nails or hair done. Oh the list just goes on! Like, Calli, do you think this is a progress photo or something? Am I expecting to drop weight between todays engagement photo and my day-of wedding photos?? Personally, I think the most difficult thing for me is falling in that comparison trap. Being a blogger, I see fitness photos posted ALL the time as I scroll through instagram. On top of that, I’m now constantly scrolling through pinterest looking at wedding dresses and of course, every woman looks nearly perfect in the wedding dress.

I don’t believe this wedding diet mindset is coming from a negative place at all. I think it’s entirely innocent and we shouldn’t be ashamed in ourselves for thinking like this. Unfortunately, it’s become a somewhat major part of the wedding and fitness industry. Both industries obviously financially benefit from this, so it’s no surprise that they’re taking advantage of marketing and advertisements targeting women looking to lose weight for the big day. Again, not trying to point fingers, we’re all guilty of playing a part and creating this wedding/diet culture. For example, just look at how many articles are shared on Knot.com regarding wedding diet tips, meal plans, celebrity workouts, etc. How many fitness studios around you offer wedding packages? How about the fact that when you go to your first fitting, it’s almost 100% likely you’ll request to schedule several more in hopes of being a smaller size? How about the thousands of posts you’ll find on pinterest about wedding diet and workouts? It’s even become normalized and totally OK in conversation between friends and family. If you look around, it’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid? Even those who likely never struggled with weight or body issues before, are now feeling pressured to get into wedding shape.

But, for what? To look a certain way on just one day? I’ll be honest, I was totally deep in the wedding diet mindset (and still am struggling with it) until recently when I listened to an older podcast on the Healthy Maven (episode #22 with Robyn Nohling (the Real Life RD)) where they discuss this topic. It was such an “aw-ha” moment for me because I didn’t even realize I was THAT girl obsessing over how I would look on my wedding day. The sad part is, most times, we’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re doing it so we can look good in front of the 250 attendees at the wedding. Yep, you heard that right. Potentially expecting 250 people at the wedding next year. Talk about added pressure, right? Honestly, I wish I could say that my motivation behind looking good for the big day was for me. But the truth is, I want to look good for all of the 250 people attending. I’m typically not that type of person at all, but for some reason, on this particular day, I’m already concerned with what people will say about my appearance. Again, I realize this is all crazy delusional, but this is how my mind works and I’m sure I’m not alone here. We shouldn’t be concerned about looking good. We SHOULD care about FEELING good. The other point that I found really interesting that was made on this podcast, is do you really want to look back at pictures and say “wow, I wish I could get back to my wedding body some day”? Like, do I really want to kill myself all to look good on ONE day?? Is that really how I want to remember my wedding? Do I want to spend my life trying to get back to that point of likely eating minimal calories and obsessively working out? Absolutely not. I don’t think anyone wants that. I want to look back at the moment and know that it was the happiest moment of my life!

Realizing all of this was half the battle. The most challenging part is doing my best to just observe and ignore those negative thoughts that creep in. Being able to admit and just be aware that these thoughts are REAL will make being able to push them aside that much easier. Though I don’t have any major, life-changing tips here, it certainly helped listening to that podcast and reading this blog from Robyn Nohling (aka the Real Life RD). Definitely worth a read! At the end of the day, Robyn said it best, “thinness does not equal beauty. Marriage is not about the wedding. And a wedding is not about the size of your body.”

XOXO,
Cal

Lessons Learned: From the Desk to the Farmers Market

Lessons Learned: From the Desk to the Farmers Market

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking out my last blog post “My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business” before diving into this one! The last one is truly my full story on why I left my job, how I got to launching BerryGood Bliss, and some of the challenges, fears, and successes I faced in that process. I really want to focus this blog post on the present, where I am now, and lessons learned.

The reality of starting your own business is that unless you get things handed to you on a golden platter, you truly need to start from the bottom and work your way up. It takes a hell of a lot of determination and believing in yourself and your company. I’ll be honest, going from working in a corporate setting to selling my products at local farmers markets is quite humbling. I no longer can wear nail polish on my fingernails because of working in the kitchen each and every day, to getting my hands and nails dirty while setting up and taking down my farmers market stand. I wear dirty converses, jean shorts, and a t-shirt every day. My hair is usually tied up in a messy bun. I usually smell by the end of the day (LOL). I’m running off of endless coffee, yet avoiding water since I don’t have time to run and pee during the market (also LOL). I can’t ever drive anyone in my car since it’s quite literally packed to the brim with a portable freezer, a 10×10 tent, a yeti cooler, tables, supplies, and so on. My beach weekends are now devoted to 5:30AM wakeup calls to work Saturday and Sunday markets. But guess what, I’ve never felt more fulfilled then I do now.

I’m not sharing the above to ask for sympathy or a pitty card, I simply just wanted to share the reality of the situation! This new lifestyle of mine certainly isn’t for everyone and that’s totally fine! It’s definitely not a glamorous job. It takes a lot more manual labor than you think. And honestly, had you told me this 3 years ago that future Calli would be selling popsicles at a farmers market I’d laugh in your face.

What keeps me motivated? Interacting with the customers. Learning about the people who are consuming my goods. What do they like? What don’t they like? Are they newly vegan? Have they faced health issues? Do they have a gluten allergy? Are they struggling to find healthy food that also tastes good? THIS is what keeps me motivated. Knowing that I’m positively impacting someones day, even if it’s through a simple, healthy popsicle! I LOVE that I’m able to touch every step of the process. From prep in the kitchen to selling directly to the customer. When you’re finally able to see your work appreciated by the consumers of your products, it feels as though I finally have a meaningful purpose, even if it’s through bringing simple pleasure to someones tastebuds!

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work these farmers markets for so many reasons. The biggest and most meaningful has been the new friends I’ve met along the way. Through all the bad s*** going on in the world right now, I still see so much hope and potential in our little community here in Boston. I’ve met the kindest, sweetest, most personable, and supportive people. Sure, I’ve gotten a few negative comments here and there, but that comes with the reality of putting yourself out there. The positive people far make up for those few negative ones here and there. It’s amazing to see how supportive people are. They truly want to see you succeed and grow. Whether it’s women supporting women, young entrepreneurs, kind elders, or super ambitious college students who are just into healthy eating – you can tell they’re sincere in their support and interactions. I love getting caught up in conversations with folks who come by my tent. THIS is what I look forward to when attending the markets. I’ve had the opportunity to share my knowledge with folks and also have received a wealth of knowledge from those who have stopped by and started up a conversation.

I’ve always been taught that networking is KEY if you want to succeed. However, it’s important to be SINCERE in your networking verse being fake and trying to hard. There’s a fine balance between give & take. If you’re networking to quickly climb to the top, but never giving back what you get, karma can and will bite you in the bum! That being said, there’s 100% a right way to network. Let’s be honest, networking is part of human nature. It’s also a win-win for the BOTH of you if you connect and have things to share/offer to one another, while still establishing a meaningful relationship. That’s truly the power of building connections. It feels good to help someone out and most likely, there’s a future point in your life where that person will have the ability to then help you out in ways that you least expect. It’s especially important while building a brand and your own business to make these connections, show sincere interest, maintain relationships, learn & grown from one another, and ensure you’re portraying a positive reputation.

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

My overall goal from attending these markets this summer was to establish myself as a legitimate company in the Boston area, build my brand, meet and connect with a diverse group of people, and hopefully establish relationships with other small store/market owners. I’d love to be able to continue doing a few small winter markets to maintain the connection with the community, work with various companies and fitness studios to host events, while also stocking my pops & energy superfood balls in local speciality stores. Although these goals may seem ambitious to some, I just continue to believe in myself and what I’m representing. Sure, plenty moments of doubt seep in nearly everyday, but I do my best to ignore them and focus on the future.

So in summary, here are a few lessons learned from this summer so far in launching my business:

1. Be Open Minded & remain humble.
2. You need to start from the bottom & work the grind.
3. Assess EVERY opportunity. Don’t shut anything down right away.
4. Don’t beat yourself up if someone gives you negative feedback. See how you can use that feedback to only improve.
5. Reach out! Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
6. BELIEVE in what you’re doing. If you are truly passionate about your product/company, people will instantly be drawn in. Positivity is contagious.
7. You need to be put in money, to make money.
8. CONNECT. NETWORK. BE KIND. PERSONABLE. This will go a long way.
9. Social Media is your friend (and also FREE marketing).
10. Interact directly with your consumer. Learn from them and adjust accordingly.

XO,
Cal

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

Hi there!

First off, I want to apologize for my summer hiatus from writing. Though I have not been active on the blog, I’ve been keeping up with my instagram daily as it’s all I’ve had the capacity for! To be honest, my creative juices have been exhausted through instagram posts and cooking, yoga, and…well, my new business I started back in May. Yep, you heard it here first! I’m finally ready to share my latest endeavors, from leaving my job back in November, to starting my own food business. It’s been quite an interesting journey and until now, I haven’t felt ready to share it with you all. If I’m being completely honest, I kept a lot of what I was doing on the down-low, even to close friends and family. Why? Mostly out of the fear of failure.

Failure is a scary thing. Especially when you spontaneously take the leap of faith and leave your stable income and structured 8-5 desk job. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something. But it’s even scarier to actually take action on that and make an idea come to life. Myself and those close to me had doubts, and for good reason! I was about to enter into a world of the unknown. Who am I to declare myself an entrepreneur in the food business? I’ve had 0 experience with any of the above. So, what was the biggest motivating factor knowing that so much could go wrong with this dream? Living with Regret. The fear of living my entire life in regret vs. the fear of losing 1-2 years of my young 20’s as a Sr. HR Generalist greatly outweighed the latter. So here’s my story on the WHY, the HOW, and WHERE I am now in the midst of this crazy new chapter of my life…

The WHY.

To keep this story from becoming a short novel, I’ll try and break things down as easily as possible. I was working as an Human Resources Business Partner at one of the largest information technology companies. I started as an intern there, quickly fell in love with the company, the people, and my opportunity to grow and progress as an individual. My transformation from an intern to where I was just just 10 months ago never seizes to surprise me. I worked with fearless and empowering females, who quickly became role models and mentors in my life. This company shaped me and equipped me with the interpersonal tools, business mindset, and confidence I now have today. Like most companies in the technology industry these days, we were bought out by yet another large tech company. It was at this point when my role changed and I had to take a step back to assess my future with this company. The same excitement I used to have waking up in the morning and coming into work was lost. I began to evaluate my current situation. Was having a stable desk job and salary worth my happiness? It sounds like an easy answer, but there’s more to it. There’s risk. There’s doubt. There’s fear of walking away from something that became “comfortable” to me. Where was I going to go next? What would I do? Will I be happy in yet another desk job?

It seemed as though all of this came at a right time in my life. I like to look at situations like this as a sign from the universe (as hippy-dippy as this may sound, I firmly believe it). Our company being bought out was truly the extra push I needed as part of this self-realization I was experiencing. It all seemed to come at the right time. I began to turn what was initially an extremely negative situation into something that could open up so many new possibilities for me. I thought to myself, this is the perfect time in my life to truly follow my passions, which have always been in the health and wellness world. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what I would do next. Obviously there were some important questions I had to address, the biggest being can I financially support going off and starting my own business? After some serious conversations, a lot of break-downs and crying on the phone to my mom, dad, and fiancé about how un-happy I was, and a little bit of soul searching, I had a plan (well, to some my plan was just a vision, but to me, it made sense, in it’s weird, fractured way).

The HOW.

My “plan” certainly didn’t make sense to some, but to me, it all seemed to fit together like a puzzle. My last day at my company was on November 30th, 2016. On that same day, I took off on my travels to Mallorca, Spain for my 17-day intensive 200HR yoga teacher training. Before you ask, yes, this was ALL part of the plan. Yoga teacher training somehow all aligned with where I wanted to go next. I knew I wanted to do something for MYSELF, mostly to clear my head, detach from reality for a bit, and like most who set off on this journey, I had hopes that in the midst of this training, I would realize what I was meant to do. Though I didn’t come out of the training with a clear vision on where the next 10 years would bring me (wishful thinking LOL), I did come out of this with a greater sense of self-realization, which ultimately, is what yoga is about. Union, bliss, oneness. You can read more about my yoga teacher training journey on my post, here. Before I move on, one thing that surprised me most was that on the first day of our arrival, as we went around a circle and introduced ourselves, I was extremely relieved (and pleasantly surprised) to hear that a number of us had literally just left our jobs. I thought to myself, GREAT! I’m not the only crazy one here! Not that I needed any kind of confirmation…but this certainly helped to ease my mind. We were all here for a purpose.

Okay so here’s the quick & dirty on how a few emotional phone calls with friends and family turned from an idea to a reality. You may remember a few years ago, I was temporarily living in California for work. It was there where I fell in LOVE with acai bowls. Now keep in mind, a few years ago, acai bowls were not a “thing” here in Boston. The only time prior to my experience there of indulging in an acai bowl was on a family vaca in Hawaii (go figure)! I was even more surprised by how popular acai bowls were, when I eventually made my way to San Diego. You’d get lucky finding a cafe on every corner! It was HEAVEN there. Why did I fall in love with these deliciously hearty bowls? They brought me BLISS.

I finished feeling so happy, energetic, satisfied, and full of life. You can bet I had acai bowls up until my last few days in CA. It was a sad day when I moved back to the outskirts of Boston and the only “smoothie” options were Smoothie King or Jamba Juice (no offense to either, but not exactly my idea of a nutritious smoothie). So, from that point, I started making my own acai bowls. I got my fiancé, Justin hooked. I got friends and family members hooked. Slowly but surely, I noticed health food cafes in Boston pop up and begin to serve acai bowls. However, the one thing I struggled most with at these places, was that they were loading them with unneccesary sugars. From the generic sugary granola, to already sweetened acai, to heaping spoonfuls of skippys peanut butter. This wasn’t what acai bowls were, nor were these the bowls that gave me oh so much life back in California.

I went back and forth with wanting to open my own cafe, but was then lured back into the idea of beginning with a food product first. Through a lot of brainstorming with friends and family, the acai pop came to life! This popsicle had the potential to solve a few of the problems I noticed with the food industry. For one, I wanted to created a pop that wasn’t loaded with sugar. A lot of the frozen treats you see at the stores, even Whole Foods for example, are packed with refined sugars and other unknown ingredients. I also struggle with pops that read “90 calories” on the front, yet there’s nothing nutritiously satisfying in the ingredients. In addition to the nutrition factor, I also wanted to put an alternative breakfast, snack, or dessert option out there for those who are on-the-go. These days, we are all moving so quickly, with little to no time to sit and eat proper meals. Now, I don’t think this is IDEAL, but it is reality. My goal was to put something out there that could be eaten conveniently and also satisfy your hunger through hearty, REAL, CLEAN, ingredients.

WHERE I AM NOW

Fast forward to January, 2017, BerryGood Bliss LLC became official. I had taken the first step needed to creating my own company. I wish I could say starting your own company is as easy as that first step, but I’d be lying! There is so much more to it than I even realized. Of course, I reached out to a ton of different friends, family members, and mentors to get advice from those who had maybe done something similar or who had knowledge in this area. This was absolutely a critical step for me. For anyone considering starting their own business, it’s so important to leverage your connections and reach out. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’s so worth it, and for the most part, the people you contact, usually really want to help you and see you succeed. During those winter months, I gathered research, recipe tested, got my logo, found a commercial kitchen, applied for food permits from the city, applied to farmers markets, got my servsafe certificate, designed my tent layout and purchased necessary equipment, built out my website and other social media sources, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things! At the end of the day, I had to accept that things weren’t going to be perfect right off the bat and I really just had to jump into things and improve as I go.

I will say none of the above came easy. I faced a lot of obstacles, the biggest being finding a commercial kitchen in Boston and then acquiring the necessary permits. This process at times drove me absolutely crazy, heightened my anxiety and certainly led me to have a number of breakdowns. But, through some miracle, it all worked out. Through all of these challenges, I did my best to continue manifesting my own outcome through positive thinking, determination, and trying to balance out the high’s and low’s as the came. I had my very first farmers market in June and have been selling my goods locally throughout the summer at various farmers markets.

Since this has turned out to be quite lengthy (I had a feeling this would happen), I will end here and then pick up where I left off sometime in the next week or two to share how things have been going this summer, challenges faced, successes, and next steps/my plan for the fall when things come to an end with the summer markets.

I’m so excited to have finally shared this with all of you! My true hope is that you read this and leave inspired. Perhaps there’s a passion of yours that you’ve always wanted to pursue but have been afraid to take that next step. I can ABSOLUTELY relate to that and would love to be able to connect and chat further if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s so important to support and help one another out. Feel free to email me at calli@berrygoodbliss.com or send me a DM on instagram!

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Simple Self-Care Routines to Incorporate into your Day

Simple Self-Care Routines to Incorporate into your Day

Hi there friends!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on what it means to focus on “self-care”. Self-care seems to be the hot topic of 2017, but what exactly does self-care look like? Personally, self-care to me, is doing things that make ME smile. What sets your soul on fire? What gives you LIFE? What gets you out of bed in the morning? It can be as simple as finding bliss in just a few short minutes or it can be a more drastic, long-term change. At the end of the day, there’s a REASON why self-care has been a trending topic lately. We’ve realized that for too long, we’ve been putting ourselves (mind, body, and soul) last and sadly, it’s had repercussions. Though we may in theory be eating “well” and working out “regularly”. Those two make up just a portion of our overall well-being. If you’re constantly stressed out at work or your stuck in a downward-spiraling relationship or if you haven’t forgiven something from the past – these things have a tendency to weigh you down and unfortunately, all of the healthy food & workouts in the world won’t be able to mask these obstacles.

This is where self-care comes in. This is one of those occurrences in life where you CAN be selfish (although I hate using that word in this context). The point is, you’re allowed to do things for yourself and you absolutely should not be judged for it. Honestly, at the end of the day, you’re probably the one being the harshest critic on yourself. Unfortunately our society has created an extremely judgmental environment.

To go slightly off topic, in yoga, we learn about the 8 Limbs – 2 of which include yama (the restraints or ethical practices) and niyama (the observances or daily practices). Svadhyaya (self-study or non-judgement) falls under the niyama’s or becomes part of our “daily practice”. “The first tenant of yoga is to do no harm. Passing judgment is harmful because that energy of criticism lives in you. It affects you. When you judge someone it defines you not the other person” – Healthy Yoga Life. It’s human nature to judge when we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin. So at the end of the day, you need to ignore what society is telling you to do and rather listen to your OWN body. Do what makes you the HAPPIEST and LIVELIEST individual you can be!

Here are some of the simple self-care tips I do incorporate as much as possible:

My Morning Routine: Wake up no later than 7am. *Attempt to meditate for at least 5 minutes (I’m not going to sit here & tell you I do this everyday, but I really am trying to make an effort too). Write three things I’m grateful for every morning in my journal. Start with 2 mason jar size cups of warm water w/ lemon in the morning to help alkalize the body, stimulate the digestive system, and HYDRATE. Then turn on some morning music (whatever I’m in the mood for). Sometimes I’m feeling light jazz, sometimes I’m feeling indie coffee shop music, and sometimes I’m feeling those upbeat summer vibes. Light a candle or incense. Do some very quick and light stretching for 5 minutes (a few downward dogs, forward folds, and shoulder openers). Throw together my favorite matcha latte recipe! — I totally notice a difference on days when I start with this routine vs. those where I skip over it.

Going to a yoga class. This is a treat for me since most times, I practice yoga at home (mostly out of convenience, but also because I’ve grown to really enjoy free-flowing, playing my own music, practicing inversions, and wearing whatever the heck I want!) However, it’s really nice to go to a class every now & then to let go and for once, not be in control. Going to a yoga class is nice because you’re there to be guided on a journey. There’s no over-thinking involved. You just flow & go inside your own body.

Vacations. These are SO important to me. THIS is what gives me life. Makes me smile. Traveling. Seeing the world. Learning about other cultures. Stepping outside of my little bubble. When I think about my most vivid or memorable moments, they’re most often, 8/10 remembered on vacations or trips. I met my boyfriend abroad in Spain. I’ve witnessed the most amazing sunrises and sunsets over the water. I grew up traveling with my family & exploring places that were so exotic to me at the time. These are all of the memories I look back on my life. I always say that if I’m going to spend my money on anything it’s food and traveling. I could care less about buying a huge house or a nice car. As long as I can continue traveling for the rest of my life, I will be the happiest!

Skin Care Routine. For a while now, I’ve preached consuming real, wholesome foods that are good for your body. At the end of the day, your body runs off of energy. Like a car, you can choose to feed it with the highest quality or the lower alternative. If you had the choice, wouldn’t you want the premium energy for your body?? However, lately I’ve realized it’s not only important to watch what goes in your body, but also what goes ON your body. Up until recently, I was using lotions & face washes full of toxins. I’ve now noticed such a difference in my skin using all natural skin care options. It’s glowing, it’s fuller, it’s no longer acne-prone, and so forth. I consider my skin care routine SELF-CARE as well, so see below for a few things that keep my skin HAPPY and glowing!

Honoring my body. I know this is a very vague tip, but at the end of the day, listening to your body is the biggest form of self-care. This is something I’m still working on everyday. For years, I pushed my body through so much – working out for hours, running two-a-days all summer long, not properly fueling it with enough nutrient-filled food, or doing the opposite and over-indulging on fatty, sugary food all day to subside the negative emotions I may have been feeling. At the end of the day, what I realized was that none of the above was helping in any way. My body is a temple. I need to honor it and nourish it, not beat it up and destroy it. If that means taking days off to let it heal, than I NEED to do that. If it means practicing more yoga than running, that I NEED to listen to my body.

Music. I slightly touched on this above under my morning routine, but I never realized how important music was to me until recently. Going to festivals & shows, dancing with no care or judgment in the world. Flowing on my yoga mat to my own playlists that help to create an experience. Blasting classic rock as I’m driving down the highway with my windows down on a warm summer day. Playing upbeat music by the beach as I soak up the sun. Running to music that gives me drive and determination. So much of my day revolves around music. I recently read a quote relating music to yoga, which I feel is fitting…

“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.” – BKS Iyengar

Anyway, as I mentioned above, self-care comes down to doing things that make you happy. So what makes me happy, might not necessarily do the same for you. The above is just to give you an idea on what my self-care routine looks like as of lately! If anything, I hope that it’s inspired you to go off and find things that make you smile. Remember, it’s MORE than OK to put yourself first.

14-Day GUT Challenge via WildBrine Probiotic Kimchi Live Shots

14-Day GUT Challenge via WildBrine Probiotic Kimchi Live Shots

For today’s post I want to chat about GUT health. If you know me, you know I LOVE my fermented foods – whether it’s kombucha or sauerkraut – you can 100% bet I’m including these items daily into my routine. So you can probably guess how ecstatic I was when Wildbrine (my favorite sauerkraut brand) reached out to send me their new kimchi live shots. Any chance I get to try out new gut-friendly items gets me excited. Anyone else? Or am I the only nerd that’s into this?! Side note: if you’re not into fermented foods just yet, you MUST watch the netflix series ‘COOKED’ – there’s a whole episode (episode #4, titled “earth”) dedicated to fermentation – prepare to get REAL geeky. Anyway, back to the live shots. Wildbrine presented a 14-day challenge to take on their shots daily and take note on how things felt in my body – whether I experienced any changes or noticed anything drastically different.

Before I go into the 14-day challenge and how I felt at the end, let me share a few quick tidbits on health benefits of incorporating fermented foods into your diet and why these are so essential to good gut-health. To start, let’s answer the question of what fermented foods are.

“Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form. This, along with the bevy of probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.”

You learn a lot about how fermentation has been used for years in that Cooked series. Fermenting vegetables and other foods were how people used to survive over the cold winter months. Though in theory, the food is technically rotting, nutrients and taste change and improve. Unfortunately, these days food is so overly processed that we lost site of the benefits of fermentation, which is an older technique. The BIGGEST reason to consume fermented foods is where the probiotics come in. Bringing beneficial bacteria into your body & digestive system helps to improve regularity and digestion. Also, the balance of healthy gut bacteria and digestive enzymes help to absorb the foods nutrients better. Lastly, the fermentation process also creates B12’s and healthy acids which can support liver detoxification.

How did I feel after the gut shots?

Honestly, I didn’t notice a HUGE difference drinking the live shots vs. a few swigs of Kombucha for example. I would take one shot in the morning alongside a warm glass of lemon water. I definitely felt happy & healthy starting each morning with this routine. Perhaps it could be a mental thing, because I tend to feel a bit bubbly after a few swigs of kombucha as well. Or perhaps digesting the probiotics first thing in the morning had a more positive affect on me than drinking it in the afternoon. I do like the fact that I’m drinking REAL food that is equivalent to taking a supplement. I much prefer to eat or drink these health supplements vs. taking a pill. Not to mention, I really enjoyed the tastes of the Kimchi live shots – they were zesty, tangy, a bit savory, and surprisingly really tasty! They didn’t have any weird after taste. I could even see myself using these in salad dressings, etc. Lastly, my digestive system continuously felt strong and no uncomfortable bloating or pain.

All in all, I would definitely purchase these live shots going forward. Speaking of! Here’s a link to a downloadable $1 off coupon! They make for a great alternative to drinking Kombucha (which believe it or not, my body doesn’t always crave kombucha every day). It’s nice to have a few alternative fermented foods I can trust and go to when I’m in need of some super gut-health!

Source:

Spring Cleaning 101: Detoxifying the Mind, Body, and Soul

Spring Cleaning 101: Detoxifying the Mind, Body, and Soul

We all feel it. Spring is finally here. You can smell it in the air. You can see it in the small tulips beginning to bloom. You can hear it as the birds chirp away in the early morning. Lastly, your mind, body, and soul can sense it more than anything. Our bodies are incredibly smart and they can sense when there is a change in season. This is why it’s so important to align with mother nature and not resist it. Ever wonder why you’re craving warm soups or hearty desserts in the winter? Or why you may crave juicy, citrus fruits like oranges in the spring and summer? Though it may seem too obvious, this has to do with how our bodies adapt to the changes in temperature and seasons. In order to successfully keep our bodies running at 100%, they need the proper fuel. Our digestive system is especially impacted by these changes. If we feed our bodies the wrong type of fuel when it needs soup, not ice cream for example, it initiates a more challenging process in breaking down and digesting the food. I’ll share with you throughout the blog post how you can successfully detox your way into Spring through all aspects – fuel for the body, exercise, self-care, mental stability, etc.

Before I go into detail on tips to help detox your way into Spring, I want to briefly introduce a quick background on Ayurveda and what it is/how it works. At a high level, the “traditional science of Ayurvedic medicine is designed to bring the body back into balance so it can heal itself” naturally. Like Chinese medicine, this holistic approach has been practiced for at least 5,000 years. A “holistic” approach means discovering the root cause of what may be causing stomach or digestive issues for you as an example & looking at the whole person, not just a specific organ or system involved. This essentially ties back with why our mind, bodies, and souls are SO connected.

One more interesting thing to note is that if you understand your own body type (or “dosha” as it’s used in the traditional form) you can better adjust appropriately. This is important because as you know, everyone’s body is different. What my body may need, could very well be completely opposite from what your body needs. This Ayurvedic Spring approach is a general guidance, however, if you’d like to learn more about your own body type, take this quiz and then feel free to read more on that specific body type via this link. There are complete lists of foods and drinks to eat, as well as appropriate exercise, etc. to help balance out your specific dosha (i.e. body type). If you’re interested in learning more on Ayurveda and how you can implement parts of it to help bring your body back into balance, I’ve added a few source links at the bottom of the blog.

Alright, now back to spring cleaning! In Ayurveda, Spring is a crucial part of the season routine since in the winter, our digestive system is high and people tend to eat more sweet & heavy food. Interestingly enough, our digestive systems are quite adept at adapting to these hard-to-digest foods, so “ama (the sticky, toxic product of incomplete digestion) starts accumulating.” As Spring rolls in, “the ama melts and the volume of ama becomes so great that the shrotas, the microcirculatory channels of the body, become clogged.”

Below are some tips on how to detox & cleanse your way into Spring:

1) Avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods. A general tip is to just eat WHAT IS IN SEASON! As long as you’re shopping at your local farmer’s market, you should avoid any “hard-to-digest” foods. Ex. Root vegetables (potatoes, squash, taro root, zucchini) as these are no longer in season. It also helps to steam any vegetables prior to digesting. Carrots, broccoli, and kale are all great options.

2) Eat bitter foods such as, endives, radicchio, bitter melon, daikon radish, and dandelion greens.

3) Avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes — your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated ama. Use pink salt to season your food for it’s high mineral content.

4) Sweet, juicy fruits can help detox your body (ex. Papaya, pineapple, watermelon) – just try to eat these earlier in the day or before sunset.

5) Adding high anti-inflammatory spices & other beneficial herbs to your food or tea such as – coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, mint and fennel — to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin.

6) Begin your morning with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or lime. This will cleanse your digestive tract and initiate your metabolism first thing in the morning. You can also add fresh ginger juice as well (this is a great anti-inflammatory). Honey is another option to add in if you’d like. Also, drinking a few sips of Kombucha (fermented tea) first thing in the morning, can also help to balance out your PH. *Lastly, drinking room-temperature water throughout the day is much easier on your digestive system than ice cold water!

7) Dry brushing your skin. This should be done close to first thing in the morning, right before you shower. You should brush in an upwards motion. “Dry skin brushing helps keep the pores clear and the skin active to assist the body in this cleansing process. It also helps to increase blood circulation. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin’s outer layer and stimulates the sweat and oil glands, providing more moisture for the skin.” You can find dry brushes in the health section of Whole Foods.

8) Keep to a consistent routine – simply try to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the moon. Also try and keep a regular routine with when you eat your meals.

9) Spring cleaning is also a great time to start fresh & give things like meditation a try. Meditation can be so valuable, even if you can only find 5 minutes in your day. A great guided meditation app to help people that are new to meditating is called: Headspace.

10) If you’re a seasoned yogi or completely new to yoga, it’s beneficial to incorporate plenty of twisting poses throughout your practice or to kick-start your morning. Twists are really great for detoxing the body & creating space in the abdominal region. Here are a few simple poses to follow.

11) Get outside and walk throughout the day as much as possible. The endorphins from walking outside & exercising will be at an all-time high.

12) Try incorporating mood-enhancing and stress & anxiety reducing superfoods like Maca Powder, Cacao Powder, and Ashwagandha powder to your coffee, lattes, or smoothies.

13) Literally spring clean – a clean, organized home creates a clear mine. Get rid of and donate the winter clothes you didn’t touch all year. Clear out your pantry. If you work at home or in an office, try and keep that space clear but also add a few personal touches that will help keep you creative and inspired.

14) Amplify your space with fresh plants and flowers. I tend to be drawn towards plenty of succulents since they need little attention, but they look pretty! 🙂

15) Lastly, don’t forget how important SELF-CARE is. Everyone needs to look out for themselves. So among trying to incorporate some things from above, go get a massage or a facial, take a bath, read a book, take a “day-cation”, DIY your own face mask, etc.

I hope you found this information useful! Please note, the purpose of this is to simply share what I’ve learned about the tradition of Ayurveda. I’m no expert or professional in this field, I’m simply just interested in learning and expanding my knowledge. Take it or leave it! These are some things I’ve found useful in the past and am exploring with this season. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.

Happy spring cleaning!

Sources:

http://lifespa.com/about-lifespa/ayurveda/what-is-ayurveda/#
http://www.ayurveda-holistic-medicine.com/
http://www.ayurveda-holistic-medicine.com/ayurveda-body-types.html
http://www.fusionaryformulas.com/learn-live-according-dosha/
http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/assessment/Dosha?gclid=CI7am4OvnNMCFdWIswodK_UN4A
http://www.chopra.com/articles/garshana-detoxify-at-home-with-ayurvedic-skin-brushing#sm.0000m771scytberbu271tfp7oa8gf
http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/types/twists/


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