Category: Personal Experiences

Current December Obsessions

Current December Obsessions

A while back (more like 2015 lol – you’ll be able to tell based on the “fads”), I had a series of posts called “In With the New Obsessions, Out with the Old” …these “obsessions” ranged from health & fashion trends, to favorite products, wellness tips, travel destinations, etc. I decided to bring this series back because let’s be honest…my obsessions are constantly changing and with how quickly trends come and go, I like to share what I think is actually worth the hype and the investment. So, here’s what I have for you for December’s Obsessions! PS – none of the below is sponsored in any way. Any products mentioned are truly those I love and enjoy!

Book of choice: Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What you Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever by Kelly Leveque

  1. I’ve been following Kelly for quite some time now. From her Instagram, to podcast interviews, to MBG articles, and more! It wasn’t until my friend gifted me (thanks Jackie!!) her new book, that I REALLY started to get what all the hype was about Kelly. Her book essentially is the guide to FOOD FREEDOM and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all seeking? Regardless of whether you’ve had a bad relationship with food or not, I think we all tend to at some point or another, get caught up in a food obsession. It’s unfortunately a result of a restrictive diet culture that we grew up with (especially those who were born in the 80’s and 90’s).
  2. Luckily, REAL health (aka not those “diet frozen dinners” or “meal shakes”) is becoming trendy. I think that Kelly plays a big role in this. Her book is so incredibly informative. She empowers you with REAL science to back up the facts. I find it so helpful when I can understand what is going on in my body, to help me make smarter and healthier decisions. She runs through living a positive, stress free lifestyle while making healthy choices. She offers healthy recipes, talks about her Fab4 Smoothies, fitness, and so on.

Fab4 Lifestyle and FIBER

  1. Alright so if I’ve learned ANYTHING between Kelly Leveque’s “Fab4” lifestyle and Tanya’s F-Factor lifestyle…it’s basically the importance of incorporating FIBER into our diet at EVERY meal. Because FIBER is COOL and makes ya regular…ya feel me?!!??! (hahahaha) Unfortunately, because so much of our food has become processed, we’ve moved away from naturally fiber-rich foods. Fiber essentially helps things move through our body (aka bowel movements if I’m being FRANK lol), helps to detoxify toxins, helps to break down carbohydrates, and can even help prevent forms of cancer.
  2. The “Fab4” lifestyle is essentially eating the following at every meal: healthy FATS, FIBER rich foods, GREENS/VEGGIES, PROTEIN, plus any extra superfoods or adaptogens if you choose! If you have a little bit of both at every meal, you’ll naturally start to feel full & satiated longer, your hunger hormones will be turned off, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels low, and you’ll naturally find that you either maintain weight or shed those few extra pounds based on where you and your body feel best.
    1. Recommended sources of fiber:
    2. GG’s Scandanavian crackers – you’ve likely seen these posted on the Skinny Confidential or part of the F-Factor movement. They’re one of the HIGHEST forms of fiber rich grab-n-go snacks out there, that are super low in cals. Add them to lunch & breakfast to help fill you up!
    3. If you’re GF, Jillz Crackers and Mary’s Gone Crackers are also great options
    4. flax Seeds
    5. Chia Seeds
    6. Raspberries, Avocados, Brussel Sprouts, Legumes, Pomegranate, etc. are also high sources of fiber that are found in fruits and veggies.

Vital Proteins – i.e. Love their COLLAGEN products

  1. I know this isn’t exactly a “new” trend, but it’s a trend that has stuck and for good reason! There are so many amazing benefits to adding collagen into your diet:
    1. Muscle & joint recovery
    2. Stronger, more vibrant hair, skin, and nails
    3. Better nights sleep
    4. PLUS they now have a new matcha collagen!

Fawen Drinkable Soups

  1. So this is one product I’ve really been LOVING lately. Why? Well, I recently went to Whole Foods and was strolling through the pre-packaged soup section (because winter = endless nights of soup) and was honestly shocked to find that I could count on one hand the number of soups that were sugar free, preservative free, weird additive free, gum free, and so on. Even brands I thought to be “healthy” had added cane sugar or used vegetable oil in their soups.
  2. Fawen is honestly one of the only to-go soups I’ve found that use REAL ingredients like coconut oil, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan salt, season veggies, etc. to help flavor their soups. NO weird added anything! Oh and ps they taste great and can be enjoyed right from the container (though I love heating it up over the stovetop anyway)!

Cacao & REFINED SUGAR-FREE Vegan/Paleo Chocolate

  1. I tend to have a major sweet tooth after dinner and also tend to crave chocolate. This doesn’t need to be a “cheat” if you find the RIGHT chocolate out there. Cacao is a SUPERFOOD for a reason and should be enjoyed (right)! What are my favorite Brands?
    1. Hu Chocolate – especially their “dark salted chocolate”   (with ingredients like cacao, coconut oil, Himalayan salt, and coconut sugar to flavor). No cane sugar, dairy products, etc.!
    2. Eating Evolved – similar to Hu chocolate, they use coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut sugar to sweetend.
    3. Lastly, if those two products aren’t in budget, then no worries! Make your own chocolate bark easily using coconut oil, cacao, cinnamon, Himalayan salt, and coconut sugar/honey/or maple syrup following THIS recipe.

Spotify Playlists

  1. Music is and has always been one constant form of pure HAPPINESS in my life. Justin and I love going to shows, festivals, or even just hanging at home and listening to music. It just puts you in the right place
  2. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with making playlists on spotfiy that are 100% ME and vary based on my mood. I have a playlist for everything – mornings, yoga flows, Friday nights, summer day vibes, and so on.
  3. So if you’re not following me, get on it AND if you haven’t gone into your own Spotify hole…do it! But beware, you may get sucked in for hours creating playlists!

Friend, Fitness, and Foodie Dates

  1. One thing I love about this Instagram/blogging community is that it has connected me with so many new people! And what better way to connect than over a fitness class, followed by a healthy treat?! I’ve talked about this before, but face-to-face interaction is SO valuable and GOOD for the soul. It’s easy to be comfortable in your own apartment and routine (trust me, I’m the last person to want to make plans during the week) BUT when I finally get my butt out the door and DO it, it feels SO good. I always leave those conversations on a high. It’s nice connecting, sharing similar struggles (and successes), chatting about health, wellness, friends, boys, music, ALL OF IT.

A fashion trend I can’t get over? JUMP SUITS.

  1. I’m sure this is one trend you’ve seen a lot lately, but hey, I don’t see myself getting over it any time soon. Jumpsuits transform perfectly from day to evening, summer to winter. They work all year round. They can be dressed up or dressed down. They’re comfy AF. A nice fitted one makes your booty look GREAT. I mean what more can I say?? Go get yourself one or two jumpsuits that you love and that can be versatile. It’s my idea of the new “little black dress” that everyone needs to have as a staple in their closet! Here’s one from Forever21 that I recently bought and LOVE.

Favorite Bar? This one hasn’t really changed and for good reason – RX BARS

  1. These bars still have got to be my favorite out there. High in protein (egg whites), healthy fats (nuts), naturally sweetened with dates, no weird added things at all.
  2. Though I don’t recommend eating one every day, I do find these are GREAT to have on hand if you need a “bridge snack” between lunch and dinner, or while traveling, on-the-go, etc.!
  3. My favorite flavors right now? Their seasonal Gingerbread flavor, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Maple Sea Salt, and Coconut Chocolate Chip!

Deepening your Yoga Practice

So I’m doing my BEST to MANIFEST a future yoga retreat because I see so much value in them. Though these can be costly, I think they’re 100% worth it! It’s the BEST kind of way to hit refresh, take a hot second from the craziness that is life, and connect with your mind, body, and SOUL. It doesn’t necessarily need to be some fancy retreat in Costa Rica. Even a one-day refresh can be just as valuable! Look around locally. I’m sure you can find at least one or two within driving distance!

This time last year, I also took the leap of faith and traveled to Mallorca for my 200hr yoga teacher training and FELL IN LOVE with everyone about it. So spirutually opening. Pushed me out of my comfort zone BIG TIME. Even if you have no intention on teaching, I recommend it to deepen your practice.

Lastly, I’m currently in my Corepower teacher sculpt training at this moment. I LOVE high-energy music and workouts, so this is the perfect way to blend my love for yoga with high-intensity fitness.

That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed. Oh and by the way, NONE of this is sponsored. Any products mentioned are truly those I love and enjoy!

How to Get Out of that Winter FUNK

How to Get Out of that Winter FUNK

Those of you who follow me on my Instagram page have likely heard me talk about being in a funk right now as a result of the colder days and darker nights here in good, ole Boston! I wrote a similar post last winter and have decided to bulk that one up with additional tips & tricks to getting out of the winter funk! So here’s what I’ve found…sometimes all you need is one WHOLE day to REBOOT and it can do wonders!

Actually take a FULL self-care day!

Unfortunately our culture has created a fast-pace, high-stressed environment, especially on the east coast. Though this mindset is great and all in theory, “work hard, play harder”…but do we ACTUALLY play? Ever feel like it’s a competition to see who has a busier week or who was more stressed or who stayed later at work? Why should this be praised? It’s just a recipe to fully BURN out in the future. Self-care and taking time to yourself is NOT selfish, it’s quite frankly NECESSARY for good, long-term healthy & longevity. Ignore what your peers think at work and DO YOU. At the end of the day, if you’re more rejuvenated and refreshed, you WILL put out better quality work, more efficiently and effectively than the co-worker sitting next to you.

Alright, so that you see the importance of taking a self-care day…what does that look like? Well, it looks different for everyone! Here’s an inside peek into what my IDEAL self-care day may look like:

7AM – 12PM

  • Sleep in an extra hour.
  • Wake up and make a warm cup of ginger turmeric tea with lemon & fresh ginger. Helps for good digestion in the AM, balances acidity, anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Take my daily supplements (these tend to vary, but I ALWAYS have a probiotic pill, B12 (don’t eat meat & good source of energy), Vitamin D (especially needed in the winter), occasionally a digestive enzyme (if traveling)
  • Turn on my oil diffuser (currently using LAVENDAR oil) & salt lamp. Helps to calm the mood! Also, I wrote a post about tips for calming the mind here.
  • Put on a good, upbeat playlist. Especially into a few of my Spotify playlists right now:
  • Make either a MATCHA or Espresso-Based LATTE
    • Follow the above links for yummy matcha & latte recipes
  • Answer emails, Instagram Comments, DM’s, etc. (I find I’m the most productive in the morning, but since this is SELF-CARE day, limit use)
  • Do a quick 10 minute stretch/flow to wake up the body. Light incense or a sage stick to set the mood. Focus on spinal stretches like cat/cows and twists to loosen up the spine after lying in bed for 8 hours. Here’s a post I did a while back on simple yoga moves to help relieve stress and anxiety!
  • Meditate & write a few things down in your journal that you’re grateful for!
  • Make a healthy, FAB 4 style breakfast. Include fats, fiber, protein, veggies/green, and limit sugars (fruit) to ¼ cup!
  • Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll clean. I know this sounds like “work” BUT hear me out…if I’m in the mood (key word here), sometimes cleaning can be SO therapeutic AND can actually be a cause of feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed in your own place! Think about the saying… “a clear space is a clear mind”. PS – I find I’m especially motivated to clean right after coffee when I’m feeling fueled and energized.
  • In addition to cleaning…how about going through your closet (and anything else in your apt/house) and pulling out items that no longer have a purpose in your life? I always joke that I’m an aspiring minimalist. If you know me, you know I have a closet FULL of endless clothes & shoes. Yes, I admit I’m a bit obsessed with fashion, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get rid of old clothes (and items laying around that are just adding to a more cluttered space). Giving away clothes can be such a RELIEF sometimes and leave you feeling a bit lighter…almost like a weight was lifted off of you. So, though this doesn’t seem like the “cliché” self-care tip that one may hear…I promise you, it HELPED me and I’m almost certain it will help you!
  • Read a book, browse through one of my fave wellness-focused websites like Well & Good or Mind, Body, Green.
  • When fully digested, get a workout in that I LOVE. Don’t make this a punishment but rather make it something you look forward to and know that your body with thank you later! 
  • Start a bath and add Dr. Teals “recovery” bath salts (eucalyptus). While the bath is filling up, stretch & foam roll (so good for the muscles and cheaper option than going for a massage!) Before you hop into the bath, also option to Dry Brush (the skin is your BIGGEST organ and this helps to detoxify and remove dry skin, leaving you feeling more refreshed and energetic).
  • I’ll also put on a face mask of some sort, either a chlorophyll mask from CocoKind Skincare or a coffee exfoliating mask from Frank & Whit. Light a candle, grab a book, and relax for 15-20 minutes before showering off.

12PM – 4PM

  • Go for a walk & listen to an informative podcast before lunch. Some of my fave podcasts include:
    • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her
    • The Balanced Blonde
    • That’s so Maven
    • Rich Roll Podcast
    • Raw Talk with Sheena
    • Bulletproof Radio
    • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout
    • The Lively Show
    • That so Retrograde  
  • Make a delicious & filling Buddha bowl with all the best roasted veggies OR meet a friend of lunch at a healthy joint! We take face-to-face interaction for granted. It can be so refreshing to catch up with a friend, especially if it’s someone who has similar interests to you and can geek out over health & wellness! Whenever I meet a friend for coffee, lunch, or a workout, I always feel so happy after! Way more beneficial than just jumping on the phone!
  • If you have the time (and money) here are some other great options to add into your schedule:
    • Go to a float-tank and CHILL for 60 minutes. Check out my blog post here from my first experience!
    • Cryotherapy: great for muscle & joint recovery, collagen regrowth, naturally energy boost, inflammation, and better sleep.
    • Acupuncture
    • Body Work, Massage, Aromatherapy
    • Reiki or Kundalini yoga
    • Facial
    • Mani and/or pedi

4PM – Bedtime

  • Relax and and watch your favorite show! It’s OK to watch TV guys
  • Start meal prepping your favorite dish & maybe even whip up a healthy vegan dessert to indulge in after if you have the time! TIP: CACAO is a natural mood booster so I highly recommend any dessert to include cacao!
  • Light candles & enjoy your dinner!
  • End the night with a meditation. Pick up a book. Watch a movie or put on your favorite Netflix show.
  • End with a soothing cup of tea, put your legs up the wall for 10 minutes before you go to bed (great simple inversion that feels so good & is great to do at the end of the day after working out/walking/running etc. // helps to drain the lactic acid)
  • Get in bed early (before 10pm if you can!)

As you can see, there’s nothing crazy here (and pretty much everything here is doable on a budget)! These are little things that make me happy and give me time to truly be present and appreciate these little self-care tips. Yours may look different than mine and that’s totally fine! At the end of the day…DO YOU. Like I said, sometimes all you need is just one day to get right back on track ☺ Hope this helps!

A Long-Winded Note on –  Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

A Long-Winded Note on – Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

I don’t know about you, but family holidays always seem to spark my anxiety around food, which if you think about it, this seems counterintuitive to the point of Thanksgiving in the first place.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when and where this anxiety around food during the holidays started, but if I had to guess, I’d say back in high school during my, where we were just beginning to be introduced to social media and the “diet culture”.  Leading up to and following the holidays, you’d see “shedding for the holidays”, or “stay skinny this thanksgiving”, or “how to shed 10 pounds before and after the holidays”. It’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid. It’s no wonder high-schoolers’ (and probably even middle schoolers’) get roped into this mindset so early. They’re still young, impressionable, and heavily influenced by social media. I’m sure I’m not alone here, regardless of whether you’ve had an on and off relationship with food. This frame of thinking is basically engraved into everyone at one point or another.

Each year, I make it an effort to enjoy the time with my family and be PRESENT rather than feeling overwhelmed by thoughts around food, working out, looking good in my holiday outfit, and so on. Some years are successful and some years I find myself still consumed by these thoughts. The difference between past years and now is that I’m in a much better place mentally. Being a food blogger, it’s easy to feel consumed by food all the time. Constantly thinking about your next meal whether it’s for lunch that day or what you’ll be eating for breakfast on the weekend. Finding that balance between feeling controlled by food vs. just cooking and photographing out of pure joy/passion can be difficult, but it IS possible. I think the biggest challenge for me was eating to feel satiated. As I’ve discussed in the past, I’ve tried so many different diet and health-food trends, hoping that one would be the right fit for me. Unfortunately, none of them left me feeling satisfied and only had me craving more since I wasn’t getting the RIGHT food and nourishment for what my body needed.

I’d try to mimic the pretty food I saw on Instagram, which sometimes meant giant smoothie bowls loaded with fruit, almond butter, and granola. Sure, this tasted REALLY good and it was super filling at the time (I still think it should be enjoyed every now and then, the difference being that I’m now AWARE of how these ingredients will affect my cravings. I can still make a smoothie bowl, but the ingredients I choose to use may be different than what I would throw in, in the past). But was it really giving me the proper nutrition that I needed? Even after starting my morning with giant smoothie bowls, I couldn’t stop eating at night. None of it made sense to me. It wasn’t until recently where I started to really think about each plate at every meal. Was I getting proper protein, healthy fats, veggies, superfoods, fiber, etc? How much FRUIT (and additional sugar) was I consuming throughout the day? Was I eating enough calories? Did I need to adjust based on my workouts?

What I found was that a) I was running A LOT. Being a runner my whole life, I was used to logging a lot of miles and I “used” to be able to eat a lot of food to replenish. However, just like anything else that you do day in and day out, it can get mundane and your body starts to adapt. And b) though I was running anywhere from 5-8 miles about 4-5 times a week, I wasn’t burning as many calories as I used to. Yet I came home STARVING all the time and would likely overeat because that’s what I thought my hunger signs were telling me.

Fast forward to January 2017, post 200hr yoga teacher training. After 17 intensive days of pure yoga and little to no running, my body changed, but in a good way. I hadn’t seen results like this in SO LONG. I LOVED yoga and sadly, running became something I started to resent because it usually meant me hammering miles (and breaking down my body) to make up for all of the food I would consume. It became a vicious cycle and this small realization opened up a new way of looking at fitness. At the end of the day, I think that running is still a great way of getting some cardio in, but I’m not as tied to it as I used to be. Honestly, I probably run 1x a week now, if that. I’ve finally found a workout routine that makes me feel amazing, challenges my body (and mind), and the best part, I actually LOOK FORWARD to it! I share this bit because I feel for me, my relationship to fitness and food go hand-in-hand. The second I started to embrace working out as something that made me feel good, instead of looking at it as a way to punish my body, more positive thoughts around food started to fall in place.

I started craving foods that would truly nourish my body. I started understanding the science behind food & fitness. I became interested in the research. I invested time into listening to podcasts and reading; anything from body positivity, to spirituality, to nutritionists that covered everything from paleo, to plant-based, to keto, to grain-free / gluten-free, and everything in between. I started looking at everything with an open mind, ditched the “food labels”, and began to understand how different lifestyles worked for different people. I found it significantly helpful to understand the science & research behind all of these “health trends” so that I could pull bits of each to find what works well for me. It’s funny too because I’ve always been into following different health trends out there, but what happened, was that I would get too consumed by that particular one and closed off to the idea that maybe that lifestyle wasn’t the best for ME, even though it appeared that so and so on Instagram seemed to be incredibly happy following that lifestyle. 

My point to all of this is that this whole “wellness” thing is a journey. It’s trial and error. It’s accepting that we’re ALL different and have different needs. It means being open minded and accepting that health trends come and go for a reason. At the end of the day, it always seems to come back to eating wholesome, unprocessed food and finding a healthy, balanced workout routine that makes you feel good from the inside, out. Though I’ve found a more “balanced” way of living, this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing all concepts of healthy eating out the door when it comes to the holidays. If I REALLY want that dessert full of butter, I’ll eat it. BUT, I know that after I go for that, my body feels like shit. And I truly hate feeling like SHIT. This is the same reason why I choose to rarely drink alcohol. It makes me feel awful and for me, it’s not worth getting drunk to feel like crap the entire next day. Personally, it comes down to this: do I REALLY want that dessert or is it knowing that I’m allowing myself the option to grab it, that makes me deny it all together?

Here’s the other thing. I feel JUST as satisfied making my own dessert that I know tastes just as good, if not better, and is full of real ingredients and no refined sugars. Sometimes I get asked the question, “do you REALLY think that healthy dessert of yours tastes just as good as this store-bought cheesecake?” and my answer is always yes. This type of question used to drive me crazy. Why can’t others just accept that I actually enjoy healthy food? At the end of the day, you’re not going to please everyone. You need to do what makes you feel good. I still have balance and a healthy relationship with food, even if I still choose to go for my healthier dessert option. The difference in all of this is where my head and mental state is at. I can honestly say I’m truly in a better place. Not every day is perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than where it used to be. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

I’m absolutely so grateful for all of you!

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!

 

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/

The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began & how I’VE evolved

The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began & how I’VE evolved

The Evolution of Eat, Run, and Everything in Between: Where it all began and how I’VE evolved.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. It’s definitely long overdue. However, I also knew that writing this post would be a big undertaking. Why? Because I started this blog almost 5 years ago, at the beginning of my senior year in college. To those who have been following my journey from the start (primarily college besties & fam) THANK YOU for continuously supporting me through all my crazy foodie ups & downs. To those who are newer to the community, thanks for joining along! This post is to highlight the ups, the downs, and of course, everything in between of my health journey. This is certainly a more personal post of mine & is something I really don’t talk about often, even though my whole journey has truly shaped me to become the person I am proud of today! One last thing – I know this is long, but just stick through it, I promise there’s a purpose for sharing ALL of my past.

Though I began my blog nearing the end of my college career, my journey with food & health truly began around my sophomore year of high school. I had just completed my sophomore field hockey season and was starting up indoor track & field. I originally signed up for track as a means to stay in shape for field hockey and improve my speed. However, little did I know, this would turn into more than just that, running became a HUGE part of my life, very quickly. By the end of my spring track season, my coach and I began to realize that I had some talent here. I wouldn’t compare myself to the crazy fast girls on my team that went on to run at various Ivy leagues and such, but there was definitely something there worth exploring through A LOT of hard work, grueling track workouts, and serious dedication. At the end of my sophomore year, I decided I was going to pursue running all three seasons and drop field hockey. This was an extremely hard decision for me because I REALLY loved field hockey & it brought me so much joy. However, I knew that if I didn’t commit to training all year round, I wouldn’t make any of the championship meets I had longed to race at and would not be training with the fastest runners on the team.

That summer I trained my ass off, past the point of being “healthy/okay”. I look back at it now and it’s crazy to think I put my body through all of that! I would wake up early in the morning and go for a 5-miler. I’d come home, change, bike a few miles to the yacht club and then teach sailing all morning, have about a 1-hour break for lunch, then I had sailing lessons for another few hours out in the hot sun. I’d bike home and top off my mileage for the day anywhere from 3-5 more miles. I’d repeat this everyday that entire summer. On top of the increased running & additional exercise, I definitely was not feeding my body adequately. The added pressure I put on myself led to this idea that I had to have minimal fat on my body. The smaller I was, the faster a runner I would be. Of course now I know this is not true, but at the time, I really believed it. Also, I meant to mention that while all of this was going on, my parents were also in the process of getting a divorce. I think that is why I used running & food as an outlet. It was really the only thing at that time I could control and excel at. I also didn’t process it at the time, but running was 100% a form of meditation for me whether I realized it or not. PS – that fall, I ended up getting injured (stress fracture in my shin) early on in the XC season that put me out of commission for the rest of XC and into my winter track season. This was living proof that I put my body through too much and it had enough. It literally broke down.

That summer going into my junior year of high-school and prepping myself for cross-country was also the point in my life where my relationship with food changed. Before that point, I never thought to much on what I was putting into my body. There was no stress or anxiety that used to come around eating. Since then, I’ve had so many up’s and down’s with food – what’s healthy and what’s not? What’s the right diet and what’s not? The list goes on. Anyway, fast forward to the summer before entering my freshman year of college. I came into college pretty fit after following the XC training guide all summer. However, within just a few months, the “freshman 15” caught on for sure. I think I had this idea that because I ran everyday, I could also eat whatever I wanted to. I wasn’t used to this much freedom around food (and booze). On top of the weight gain, I also was not running fast. My body was changing, (as most most women do when hitting puberty – I was just a late bloomer!)and I wasn’t fueling myself with proper food to adapt to those changes.

Shifting to the summer going into my sophomore year of college, I decided running was the problem and quit XC. At the time, I do think this was the right decision for me. I joined the club field hockey team and still ran everyday. As a matter of fact, my running was improving and I was beginning to eat the RIGHT foods and not 3 servings of cheese pizza every night. Taking the pressure of competing on a college DI team out of the picture had a really positive affect on me. The only thing that I struggled with was that all of my best friends were still on the team. I missed them. Just as they were closing out their XC season, I reached out to the new track coach & before I knew it, I had rejoined the team and was prepared to compete that indoor track season. I’m so glad I took the time I needed to myself to realize that I really did miss my friends, the team atmosphere, and of course, competing. This had become a HUGE part of my life and would shape my college career.

That sophomore year, going into junior year I began to focus on my weight again and watch what food I was putting into my body. As you can probably tell, I become extremely passionate and determined when I put my mind to something. This tends to be why I hit a lot of extreme “highs” and “lows”. This type of mentality continued throughout the rest of my college years. I went abroad to Spain my junior year and definitely over-indulged. I would run long, grueling miles throughout my time there to try my best to keep some of the weight off. I came back that summer and once again, whipped myself into shape and watched what I was eating. This brings me to the beginning of my senior year of college where I wrote my first blog post.

This in itself was scary and definitely out of my comfort zone. I still remember the day I shared my first blog post on facebook. I was scared to see what people would think or say about me. At that time, blogging (especially on food, health, and wellness) was still fairly new. I wish I could have told the old me WHO CARES WHAT PEOPLE THINK??? But, hey, you live and ya learn! It literally makes me cringe looking at the photography of my food pictures now haha! I also remember when I received my first free product from a well-known brand. I had written an article about chobani and they sent me a huge box of free yogurts. I was seriously HEAD OVER HEELS excited about this. I think I was only at 400 followers at the time, but I didn’t care. I finally felt like I had a purpose. Food blogging was unique to me and it was something I became extremely passionate about.

Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned a few times here, this passion can turn into an obsession for me, which it did. Looking back at some of the food I made in college now, I can’t even imagine how those portion sizes filled me?! Blogging in college had its benefits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think many college kids can say they got creative in the kitchen. I never realized how much I enjoyed cooking in the kitchen until I started experimenting with my meals out of my college dorm room. Somehow, it’s been 4+ years since I started this blog and here I am, still going strong. I may not have a lot of followers, but it really never was about growing quickly for me. This was and has always been a passion of mine. Sometimes blogging had its negative impacts on me. There was always (and still is) the comparison trap. “So and so is eating that and running those times, so I should do the same” or “that girl is super small so I should copy her meals”, etc. etc. However, there’s also the positive side that came out of blogging. This movement is certainly more recent, but I’m so glad that people are being more vulnerable and putting emphasis on doing what’s RIGHT and HEALTHY for your body. Realizing that I can eat REAL food and fuel my body, while eating a higher caloric intake. Realizing that healthy FATS are good. Realizing that I didn’t need to eat a 100% vegan diet to be “healthy”. Realizing that EVERYONE’S body is different and what one person needs to feel healthy, isn’t necessarily what I need to eat and do to feel healthy. And lastly, being HEALTHY doesn’t mean I need to strive for a certain weight or “look” a certain way.

So with that, this blog post has now gotten to be a short novel and therefore, I’m thinking I’ll need to write a part II very soon. I hope this helps give you an idea about the person behind EATRUNANDALLINBETWEEN. I’m human too. I’ve had my struggles and have learned my lessons. We all have and it’s OK. All of this has shaped me to be the person I am today. I’m really happy with where I am and my relationship with food and fitness. I don’t run crazy miles everyday anymore. I’ve found happiness and simplicity in yoga and wholesome foods. I try my best to indulge every now and then, while maintaining a balanced diet and not letting it get the best of me. Everyday is still a work in progress, but I truly believe I’m in a better place now, more than ever.

15 tips that have helped me: GET OUT OF A RUT

15 tips that have helped me: GET OUT OF A RUT

Hi all!

I’ll start by saying that I love instagram HOWEVER it definitely paints a “perfect” picture when in some cases, that’s not always accurate. The reason why I bring this up is because like most people, us “health and wellness” bloggers get caught up in a rut from time to time as well. No one is perfect. Recently, a few weeks ago, I was feeling stuck in a rut – lazy, a bit unmotivated, tired, lacking my usual “bubbliness” and of course on top of that, feelings of personal doubt and helplessness began to takeover my mind. I personally believe I do suffer from seasonal depression and when you’re stuck inside for a few days straight due to the harsh winds, snow, and below freezing temps, it can certainly take a tole on your emotions, some people (like myself) may be even more affected by this. When these types of emotions begin to pile one on top of another, I fall into a somewhat unhealthy behavior. These emotions in turn trigger my stress and anxiety therefore even worsening my sleep deprivation. I will be the first to tell you that the second I can feel my body lacking the sleep and rest it needs, it automatically goes into a fight or flight mode which leads to stress and emotional eating.

Though my usual go-to, stress eating meal sounds “healthy” in some regards (it’s certainly not a sleeve of oreos or a pint of ice cream), it’s still a form of over-eating for me as it’s not typically part of my “normal” intuitive routine. This meal may (and usually does) resemble something along the lines of a huge bowl of coconut yogurt, piled high with granola, almond butter, a crumbled up macrobar, and allllll the other goods. By the time I’ve finished this “parfait” (if you could even call it that…) I’m stuffed beyond the point of getting off the couch and I just feel my anxiety levels increase even more even though this was my form of so called, “curing that stress”. So, this unfortunately becomes a somewhat ebb and flow cycle depending on how long I’m stuck in this rut.

However, luckily, if I can find the motivation and determination within myself (which I usually do after a few days of this) I am able to slowly get out of this slump. Not going to lie, it takes a LOT of self-motivation and will-power, but MAN does it feel good when you finally wake up that morning knowing it’s going to be a GOOD day. Below are some quick tips, take it or leave it!

1.) Get Journaling!

I think I’ve listened to enough of Katie Dalebout’s podcasts to see the benefits behind jotting a few things down! I’ve taken some of her tips and now wake up every morning and ensure the FIRST thing I do within that hour of waking up is writing down THREE things that I’m grateful for. It’s seriously THAT easy. Takes less than 1 minute and overtime, you truly do feel the positive benefits of sharing your gratification.

2.) Meditating

I’d by lying if I told you I was consistent with meditating everyday. Trust me, it’s been a struggle for me. I’ve downloaded and tried a number of apps, but some mornings I just wake up with too many thoughts and can’t even bare the thought of sitting still for 10 minutes. HOWEVER, I can totally tell the difference between my days where I start with meditation verses those where I miss it completely. A good 10-minute guided meditation is a really nice way to check in with yourself and start getting out of that slump.

3.) Play Music

I’m absolutely a LOVER of music. Music is good for the mood, the soul, the bod – literally everything and can instantly bring your mood from 0 – 10 just like that. Since mornings are where you really need to take control of your day and start it on the right note, I find a few different styles help to get me back on track.

4.) Inversions, Yoga, or Just a good Sweat Sesh

Being upside down circulates the blood flow, helps to relieve anxiety, stress, etc. Or partake in some backbends and hip-openers to release those tied up emotions.

5.) As soon as the suns out, force yourself to walk for an hour & listen to a positive podcast.

Unfortunately living in Boston has it’s downfalls in the winter. There may be 5 days straight where its cold and cloudy. But, the second that sun peeps out, I force myself to get out, walk, and tune into a good podcast. Here are some of my fave ones:

6.) Feed your body with ALL the good mood superfoods.

Maca powder, raw organic Cacao Powder, coconut, spirulina, goji berries, hemp seeds, etc.

7.) Self-Care

Give yourself a face mask, treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi.

8.) Plan a trip or event to look forward to.

We just booked a trip to Colorado in the fall and I CAN NOT WAIT. Nature, Red Rocks Amphitheater, GOOD FOOD, quality time with the boyfraaan.

9.) Organize and Clean.

A lot of times when I’m in a funk, I blast music and get into a crazy cleaning mode. I can’t tell you how many times Justin has come home and I have a bag full of random things in the apartment that I’m either throwing away or donating. Sometimes purging items can be so beneficial to your own health. Plus a clean, organized space definitely plays a part in an organized life.

10.) Get rid of old clothes you don’t wear.

^ same concept as above.

11.) Help out a local charity.

Nothing helps more than giving back. It’s so fulfilling to help others out and you’d be surprised what karma you get in return.

12.) Cuddle with dogs (or bae).

I mean, does this even need an explanation?

13.) Get rid of the food (for now) that is your go-to when you’re stress/emotional eating.

Putting the emphasis on “for now” because I don’t believe these should be cut out indefinitely. I just sometimes need a week or 2 without them to set myself back to normality.

14.) GET SLEEP!!!!

I can’t stress this enough. Sleep deprivation is always the main culprit for putting me into these “ruts” in the first place. So even if this means staying in all weekend and rescheduling plans with friends – do it. You need that time to unwind and reset.

15.) Make to-do lists and get yourself back in a routine.

Hopefully a few (or all) of these tips can help you out if you’re ever feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. PS – you’re not alone. So many of us fall into this, so don’t beat yourself up over it. That will only make things worst (trust me, I’ve been there, done that)!

** LAST last bit of advice – FIND SOMETHING THAT INSPIRES YOU **

Smoothie Time with Organic Living Superfoods

Smoothie Time with Organic Living Superfoods

Hey guys!

Let’s talk all things smoothies, superfoods, and …supporting your local food friends in today’s blog post! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that this word “superfood” can be a bit overwhelming. It seems as though each month brings a new superfood that is hyped up around it’s unique nutrients and benefits. With all of these new superfoods being introduced to the wellness community, how do we decide where to spend our money and understand what OUR bodies need? Let’s be honest, these superfoods aren’t exactly “cheap”. They are after all, a SUPER food for good reason! They’re usually rare to find, extremely labor intensive, and often come from indigenous locations – therefor driving up the cost for high quality products. With that, how can we make a wallet-conscious decision on which superfoods to invest in?

Honestly, I didn’t really have the answer to this until I was introduced to Organic Living Superfoods. Before I tried their product, I would usually dabble in 1-2 superfoods, depending on what items were on sale at the time. However, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear from Organic Living Superfoods, a company local to the Boston area and super passionate about providing high quality, 100% organic superfood powders to the community. I’m all about supporting local companies that are authentic and transparent in their process of sourcing real ingredients and OLS definitely sets the bar high here!

Not only are they transparent in sourcing the best of the best ingredients, but I’m quite honestly OBSESSED with their customized superfoods blend. This solves so many of my dilemmas around which superfoods to buy and invest in. Through their website, you have the opportunity to choose 10 of the 28 different superfoods they have to offer. Not only are their options endless, but they provide thorough descriptions on where it comes from, the insane amount of nutrients it obtains, what the well-known benefits are, and so forth. I found this part to be so helpful in choosing which superfoods I felt were right for me. PS – don’t be concerned with mixing different flavors – honestly, when it’s all blended together and then mixed into a smoothie for example, you would never be able to detect a funky taste! Once you’ve decided on your superfood smoothie blend of choice, it’s then packaged in a 10oz bag and sent your way!

Here’s what I ended up going with for my superfoods of choice (PS – these benefits were taken directly from the OLS site):
A S H W A G A N D A: you be familiar with this one from my latest blog post on my superfood coffee. As a reminder, Ashwaganda can aid in lowering stress & anxiety levels, improving sex drive, mood, menopausal support, fertility, and memory support.
B A O B A B: has been known to increase energy and stamina, improve sexual function in men and women (often called “herbal viagra”), reduce hormonal dysfunction during menopause, regulate hormonal imbalance, and enhance mental ability.
B E E P O L L E N: Bee pollen contains 96 known nutrients, and they’re all highly bioavailable. Bee Pollen contains 40% high quality protein, it’s packed with live enzymes, and is the highest dietary source of rutin, which helps controls blood pressure and increase the strength and integrity of cell walls and the heart. It’s also a natural antibiotic, it increases energy levels and endurance, and is an excellent free radical scavenger.
M A T C H A: known for having preventative cancer, anti-aging, and heart disease properties, as well as being a helpful weight loss aid, detoxifier, mind enhancer, and energy booster.
S P I R U L I N A: is high in chlorophyll, plant blood which has magnesium as its central atom and gives plants their dark green color. Human blood has iron as its central atom, which aside from that, they have basically the same chemistry and can readily repair tissues, strengthen immunity, boost energy, support cellular health, cardiovascular health and eye function.
M O R I N G A: contains powerful antioxidants and inflammatory compounds. It is also a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Moringa helps with balancing cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels (hence it protects against diabetes), boosting immunity, stimulating metabolism, aiding in digestion, promoting a feeling of well-being, and assisting in weight loss. It’s also a great energy booster, anti-bacterial, it protects the liver and kidneys, provides fast recovery after grueling workouts, and it can be used as a water purifier and due to its amino acid content.
L U C U M A: It’s been a symbol of fertility for millennia. It also helps to curb cravings and appetite. Lucuma is high antioxidants, fiber and B-vitamins like beta-carotene and niacin (B3).
G I N G E R: used as a digestive aid, helps to promote healthy sweating, a form of detoxification which is often helpful during colds and flus. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds — these substances have been shown to provide relief for those suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis – as they can help reduce pain levels and improve mobility.

…One more thing – did I mention that you can use my discount code at check out – CALLILOVESOLS for 20% off ANY of their products!

Now that you have a pretty solid idea of why superfoods can be such a great addition to your daily diet, here are some ideas for how to incorporate these friendly ingredients in day-to-day meals! Simply click on the photo and follow the link to the instagram pic for details on ingredients. I’m happy to go into detail on measurements in a later blog post if folks are interested! Unfortunately, I have a tendency to just estimate!

Green Superfood Smoothie
Warm Coconut Superfood Chia Bowl
Green Superfood Smoothie BOWL
Green Superfood Smoothie II

Enjoy!!


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