Fresh start

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

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

Healthy Halloween

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

scary!

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

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

Unreal: Candy Unjunked

unreal candy

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

Pros

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

Cons:

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

Justin’s

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

KIND bars

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

Pros:

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

Cons: 

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

Happy Halloween!

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

 

Snack Attack: “Bacon” Coconut Chips

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

trevor, bacon

“Bacon” Coconut Chips

(Recipe from Fettle Vegan)

ingredients

Ingredients:

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

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

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl.

chips mixed

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

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

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

trevor

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

Lift yourself

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

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

Good news: there’s an app for that.

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

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

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Easy peasy. Let’s give this a shot.

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

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

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

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

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Allergy Testing 101 (or, GIVE ME ALL THE CHEESE)

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

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

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

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

Easier said than done.Read More »