Tag: bbg

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!

Roasted Fall Veggie-Bowl w/ Pesto Tempeh Feauturing: OhSheGlows Green Goddess Dressing

Roasted Fall Veggie-Bowl w/ Pesto Tempeh Feauturing: OhSheGlows Green Goddess Dressing

Hi everyone! For today’s post, I thought it was only appropriate to share my tasty, veggie-filled, buddah-bowl inspired lunch from this week. I’m not one to brag about my lunches, because let’s be honest, they’re usually not THAT exciting. But this one HIT the spot and was actually a lunch I looked forward to chowing down on, even after eating it all 5 days (and that says something)! So if you’re looking for a meal prep option that you can prepare in under an hour and that will last you all week, you’ve found the right recipe! Plus it’s entirely vegan, loaded with yummy seasonal veggies and a whole lot of nutrients to keep you fueled each day!

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-7-08-40-am

See below for the ingredients you’ll need…

Ingredients for the bowl (yields enough servings for 5 days):
• 1 (small) sack of purple potatoes
• 2 sweet potatoes
• About a pound of Brussel sprouts
• 3 cloves of minced garlic
• 2 heads of kale (I bought curly kale & dinosaur kale)
• Coconut oil
• 2 TBSP of lemon juice
• ½ yellow onion
• 2 packages of Lightlife Tempeh
• Hope Hummus (Kale Pesto)

And for an absolute favorite recipe of mine from the the amazing Oh She Glows…(seriously check her site out for some delicious vegan recipes & inspiration)! Check out the ingredients needed and simple directions for the vegan green goddess dressing on her site: Oh She Glow’s Green Goddess Dressing . If you don’t have the ingredients to prep this dressing, a great & tasty alternative can be a lemon tahini dressing – another favorite of mine 🙂

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-7-08-57-am

For the bowl –

• Start by setting the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, dice the sweet potatoes & purple potatoes into bite size pieces. Cover a baking sheet lightly in coconut oil. Layer your potatoes evenly on the baking sheet. Add another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, a pinch of salt, black pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon. Using your hands, spread the oil & seasoning throughout the potatoes.

• Set aside and begin slicing your Brussel sprouts in half. Similar to the potatoes, you’ll want to get another baking sheet and layer it in coconut oil. Add your Brussel sprouts and layer another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, mixing in a pinch of salt, black pepper, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. Once those are lathered evenly throughout, place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, mixing them around every 5-10 minutes. I personally like mine charred and slightly burnt, so I tend to keep them in for 20 minutes (just make sure to keep an eye on them as they’ll cook fast in the high heat)!

• While the Brussel sprouts & potatoes are cooking, take out a large, stick-free, sauté pan, add your garlic and onion with about 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil. Let that cook on low heat for about 3 minutes. While that’s heating up, strip out the hard stem of each kale leaf. Chop them slightly smaller, so they’re easier to eat. Once the pan is warm, begin adding your kale in small increments. The kale will wilt quickly, but if you add it all in at once, you may have trouble cooking it & coating it evenly in the oil. Add your seasonings of choice – I chose to add a pinch of salt, black pepper, dried dill weed, and a small amount of cayenne. Add lemon juice slowly as you’re cooking the kale to help it wilt more quickly so that you can add the remainder of your kale. Once the majority of your kale is shrunk in size, you should only cook for a few extra minutes in order to retain most of the nutrients and avoid overcooking!

• Once your sautéed garlic kale is complete, put that to the side. Use that same pan, add ½ TBSP of coconut oil, add your chopped tempeh and sautee until it reaches a nice golden crisp on the edges. At that point, lower your heat, add about 2 TBSP of the pesto hummus and mix in well before setting aside.

• The last step is to prep your Oh She Glows Green Goddess dressing. Make your way to the following link: Oh She Glow’s Green Goddess Dressing.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-7-09-11-am

As mentioned, you should have enough prepped for 5 large bowls for the week. Heat up in a microwave-safe dish for about 2:30-3 minutes. Feel free to top your bowl with additional toppings such as my favorite – Biena Foods Crispy, lightly salted, crunch chickpeas! Or sprinkle your bowl with hemp seeds & some nutritional yeast – get creative and enjoy!

An Interview with my Fast Runner Friend – Jackie D!

An Interview with my Fast Runner Friend – Jackie D!

Hi all!

For this specific post, I decided to switch it up a bit! I’m sure you’re probably sick of hearing about me, so I thought it’d be interesting to start a series where I interview friends who in some way, are just as connected to health & fitness as I am. Some of you likely know that I ran competitively in college and through that, I had the pleasure of meeting some pretty amazing people and not to mention, a few of my best friends to this date! I’ve learned so much from them and I’d say they play a HUGE role in keeping me motivated whether it’s wellness related or just personally.

img_9319

So with that…I introduce to you my very first interview with my teammate from college and one of my best friends, Jackie D’Antonio! Since I know Jackie won’t toot her own horn, I’ll do it for her 😉 Jackie still holds the Loyola University Maryland records for the following:

-Women’s Indoor Track 800m with a 2:13:92
-Women’s Indoor Track 1,000m with a 2:52:17
-Women’s Indoor Track 4x800m Relay (Team Time of 9:35.33)
-Women’s Outdoor Track 800m with a 2:14:90
-Women’s Outdoor Track Distance Medley Relay (Team Time of 12:18.36)
-Women’s Outdoor Track 4x800m Relay (Team Time of 9:23.74)
-Women’s Top 10 XC 5K with a 18.05.90
-Women’s Top 10 XC 6K with a 21:34.00

Let’s now fast forward 3 years later, post-college and see what she’s up to these days! Hope you all enjoy and feel free to leave any comments or feedback!

img_9320

1. What are you currently training for?

Rochester half-marathon on September 18.

2. What does your average week of training look like?

I typically run 3 times a week (2 workouts, 1 long run) and strength/cross train the other days. I (try to) reserve Sundays for yoga.

3. What is your goal time?

Under 1:30 for the half

4. What advice would you give to someone looking to get into running?

Be patient and be persistent. It takes at least 2 weeks to get in shape so don’t expect to end the first week running a 5k at 7 minute pace. It can be real tough at first, but stick with it–it DOES get easier.

​5. Favorite workout routine at the moment?

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts are always my go-to; they’re quick and dirty. I find a lot of good strength ones on www.bodybuilding.com

6. Favorite grocery store?

What a silly question. Wegmans, duh.

7. Who is your role model?

My momma.

8. Why is that ^ person your role model?

She’s been running since middle school and has yet to stop. And she’s just overall the best human being I’ve ever encountered.

9. ​​​​​​Name your favorite dessert – doesn’t have to be healthy 🙂

I’m a sucker for a good eclair. Strawberry shortcake is also one of my absolute faves. OR warm apple pie and ice cream. I’ll pretty much eat anything you put in front of me.

​10. What does your morning routine look like?​

I usually wake up between 5:30-6:00, depending on if I am running or going to the gym that day. Do my workout, shower, make a smoothie for breakfast, and am out the door for work by 8:15.

11. Favorite drink of choice to enjoy with your lunch?

Seltzer. Also super into the Kevita Probiotic and Bai drinks. I love bubbles.

12. What do you hope to accomplish in one year?

Fitness-wise, I want to build myself a booty. Life-wise, figure out my next (literal) move in life; I wanna explore a new city, I just need to figure out which one!

13. What about 5 years?

To have run the Boston Marathon.

14. If you were stranded on a remote island, name 3 things you would bring.

My brother Joey (good for strength and brains), phone with a portable charger to call for help, and a water filter. Really thought logically about that one.

15. What new food did you recently try and LOVE?

Hapi brand Wasabi peas are bomb.

16. Favorite motivational quote?

“Remind yourself daily that someone is happier with less than what you possess.”

17. How do you recover after a hard workout?

Treat mahself to a yummy meal like my mom’s famous homemade pizzas!

18. What is your favorite strength routine in the gym?

I like picking about 8 exercises and doing a circuit of 1-minute on/45seconds off of various strength workouts. Some exercises I like to do are pull-ups, box jump burpees, renegade push-ups, deadlift to squat press, wallstand push-ups, weighted running arms, etc.

19. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Greece.

20. Last question, ​what keeps you motivated?​

Truthfully, food. Knowing that if I workout hard, I can (hopefully) continue eating whatever the heck I want.


%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this: