10 Fitness things I could not live without.

I thank goodness that I was born in such an amazing time, with such insane technology, that I can exercise pretty comfortably without injury ::knock on wood::.  HRG blogged on this a few days ago, and I just had to follow suit!  So I present to you, 10 fitness things that I Could not Live Without. 

1.  My iPhone. 

I don’t always listen to music, but I think the combo of the safety factor, music, apps, at the occasional Netflix when I’m stuck on the treadmill in the winter is really nice.  During the infamous Greensboro Marathon of ’13, I was able to call Austin (sobbing, mind you) that I was really sick, and that my finish would be later than predicted.  I thank God for that and that I didn’t have to worry him for hours.

2.  My Garmin.

photo 1Now of course, as soon as I started writing about this, my Garmin started acting really strangely, and at one point I thought it had completely died, but I used it yesterday, and I think it’s going to be okay for the next little bit here.  It needs to be okay because we just bought a house and that means you have to be really really smart with money for a second while you pay for this little thing that crops up, and that little thing that crops up.

3.  Not technically a fitness thing, but pedicures.  So, over the past few months, I’ve definitely dialed back on the pedis for money’s sake, but I went on Monday night to get a mani/pedi, and I forgot how good they are for the feet, and for the soul/sole.  Seriously, I forget that between teaching a LOT of classes a week, and trying to stay up with my running, your feet can use the help of a professional.  And that’s just what I did, especially since we were going to be taking our engagement photos.  It was awesome.

4.  Hydration things.  More specifically, the hydration backpack.  Yes, it looks really silly, and it kinda smells now that it’s been through some times with me, but I would never ever have survived a single North Carolina summer without it.  It’s convenient, it has a LOT of hiding places, and it frees up your hands to do things OTHER THAN grasping a water bottle.

5.  Good running shoes.  Thank God for the opportunity and the education I’ve been given on running shoes, because I think a good pair of running shoes can mean the difference between loving to run, and hating it because everything hurts and feels terrible while you run.  No, running shoes will not inherently make running amazing, but it makes the ride a little more enjoyable.

foam rolling

6.  The foam roller.  I think that there are some folks who still don’t really know what this thing is.  It is the most incredible little piece of equipment.  It’s cheap, and the best thing to do for sore muscles, pressure points, knots, or anything that comes up when you’re really feeling horrid.  And if you’re training for anything right now, you know that will happen.

7.  The treadmill.  Okay, okay, okay, hear me out okay?  Most of us runners refer to the treadmill as the “dreadmill” because of how boring it can be.  But it can be really really useful, especially when it’s really really hot, and really really cold.  (Anyone flashing back to the Polar Vortex of early ’14?)  There would have been no way, a few of those days, that I could have gotten a run in, and I would have gone crazy.  Especially the day when poor Austie was stuck on the road for like 6 hours trying to get home during the snow.  I needed an outlet for sure.

8.  Compression gear.  <-In general.  Compression socks.  Compression tights.  Will save your LIFE.  I started sleeping in compression gear during my first marathon and it heals.  I swear, it heals.

9.  Nuun, and other forms of electrolyte replacement that have  been invented that don’t contain corn syrup and Red 40.  This stuff is great to replace some of the stuff you sweat out, but also kind of great in real life.  You drank too much?  Nuun.  You have the flu and you can’t really eat anything?  Nuun.  You want to spice your water up and make it a little tastier and interesting?  NUUUN.

10.  Rundies.  Runderwear.  Banish them pantylines and they’re wicking.  You don’t have to go commando in your tights any longer folks.  Rundies are the way to go.  They’re expensive – but SO worth it.  I actually have started wearing them with regular things because of the lack of pantylines that is involved with them.  What a wonderful, wonderful invention.

What’s on your fitness must-have list?

Staying Fit With a Full-Time Job (and a Baby)

This is a guest post, kind of stemming off of a post I wrote last week about making time to stay fit.  I was not comfortable speaking to staying fit while you’re a mom, because honestly, I’m not a mom, and I feel like I’m not necessarily in a position to judge.
Over the past year or so, Chelsie, a good friend, and an AMAZING bridesmaid, has made the transition from being a hard-working wife, to a hard-working wife and mommy, and she’s managed to, in my opinion, find herself in even better shape than she was prior to becoming a mommy, all the while baking, working full-time, and making sure that Evie gets fed too!
So from mommy to mommy, here some tips to staying fit with a job, husband, and baby!
If you know me in real life or if you follow me on Instagram (http://instagram.com/cchlykens) then you know that I bake often.  This fact frequently leads to the question, “But why aren’t you huge!?” When Cheri, who is basically a fitness goddess, asked me to share how I work full time and stay fit I was honored that she wanted my take on things.  I am in no way a professional when it comes to nutrition or fitness.  However, I do know what is working for me.  My daughter, Evie, is nearly 17 months old and I find myself in better physical shape than I have been in, in years.  That is not to say I left the hospital in non-maternity clothing.  I gained the recommended 35 pounds while I was pregnant and it took about 8 months to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I have since continued the journey with the only goal in mind being to be as healthy as I can for my daughter.  I think my methods break down into three categories that hopefully even persons who are not parents can take tips from.

1. Breastfeed

Ok, so this one sounds mom-specific, but hear me out.  We’ve all heard “breast is best” and there are endless studies that show breastfeeding is excellent for babies and their mothers (for more on that HERE http://thecultureofbreastfeeding.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/the-benefits-of-breastfeeding.png?w=640 ).  This, however, is not that post.  When you are pregnant you are supposed to eat 300 extra calories a day to provide your developing baby with enough nourishment. When you are nursing you are supposed to eat 500 extra calories a day. Breastfeeding burns 500 calories, y’all.  FIVE HUNDRED for snuggling with a cute squishy baby (or a cute wriggling toddler who may or may not be pulling your hair and presently has one foot on your throat, or still yet 500 calories for spending some QT with that pump you love, but hate).
toddler
So, you don’t have a baby? You’re just busy and you want to be healthier.  Still a very likely, very valid scenario.  My suggestion here is to take a cue from breastfeeding mothers and limit your alcohol and caffeine.  I love coffee, and in what sometimes seems like another life, I loved bourbon.  I will not begrudge you that morning cup of joe or occasional glass of wine (though I did give up alcohol and caffeine for my entire pregnancy… except for what caffeine is found in chocolate- I have my limits.), but it is something to think about when you are considering calories.  It is extremely easy to drink extra calories without even batting an eyelash and that goes for cocktails and coffee drinks alike.  The same goes for sodas, teas… you know what your vice is.
2. Eat Like A Toddler (or how you would want your toddler to eat in a perfect world)
EvieStrawberries
When introducing solids to Evie we chose to go with a modified version of baby led weaning, which basically means no baby cereal and no jarred foods or purees.  The short answer as to why we went that route is that the nutritional value in cereal is artificially added (it’s “fortified”) and I would rather she get nutrients from a rainbow of foods, not enhanced rice.  She eats what we eat, only in a more baby friendly version, which means our meals have to include things that are baby friendly.  We started her out on single ingredient foods that were naturally the right texture for somebody who only has gums to work with – think avocado, banana, steel cut oats.  As often as possible she ate (and still eats) fresh fruits and vegetables (strawberries created the crime scene above) with no added sugar and no added salt.  When I’m cooking dinner for a discerning toddler (now almost 17 months and quite the foodie)  I can’t throw her just any old junk in good conscience.  Having a child makes you a better person, and in the case of my husband and I, it has made us better eaters.  Before you put something in your mouth ask yourself if you would feed it to a toddler.  I’m not asking you to eat mush, but I think you get the point.  It takes a little planning – you have to buy whole foods if you want to eat whole foods- but it’s so incredibly worth it.  Instead of handing her a pop-tart, I can just as easily (with less than 15 minutes of prep on a prior evening) hand my daughter a hard boiled egg for breakfast.  Grab some fruit or half an avocado and you’re set in minutes!  If you’re just getting started with cooking, simple is best.  Less than 5 ingredients is perfect, raw is absolutely acceptable (carrot sticks as a side? Yes, please!), and seasonings are your friend. I’m pretty sure apples are the original convenience food.  We have excellent resources here in Nashville in our various farmers markets.  The main market is open 363 days a year and we have neighborhood markets nearly every single day in the summer that spring up all over town where we can buy locally grown produce as well as grass fed meats and dairy.  Look around a little, I’m sure these things are available in your area too (Tip: you can sometimes source local free range chicken eggs via Craigslist). Odds are good you’ll be able to support local agriculture and it’ll be easier on your wallet than a health food store.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am a baker.  Another one of my food related tricks is that I have kind of an unwritten rule where I make my own junk food. This allows me to eliminate preservatives for the most part and ingredients I can’t pronounce. The added bonus here is that because I went to the trouble to make it from scratch and use quality ingredients I tend to savor it as a treat a little more. I eat a piece (or two), and ultimately take the rest to work to share.
cake
The same goes for bread as it does for cake.  I make most of our sandwich bread. I don’t find myself chowing down on toast because while simple to make, bread takes time, and time is not something I have a lot of these days.
bread
Side note: My toddler loves curry.  Who would’ve thought?!
3. Rethink Your “Workout”
Just because you don’t have time to fight traffic on your way from the office to the gym, change clothes, kick your own booty in a high impact cardio class for an hour and a half, then swim some laps before heading home doesn’t mean you don’t have time to work out.  I can not block out hours at a time to workout inside or outside a gym.  The number of hours in a day do not exist and I do not have the childcare that this requires.  My husband and I have been on ONE real date since sweet Evie was born and sometimes I feel like I hardly have time to shower.  However, I do have time to take a brisk walk at lunch or after dinner.  I do have time to do 20 pushups or hold a plank until my eyeballs pop out while on the floor playing with Evie (babies think planking is HILARIOUS).  It’s an added bonus when she climbs on top of me to add an extra 27 pounds to my pelvic tilts (if you can’t tell, I’m all about rebuilding my core post-partum) and the same goes for squats.  She has a good time, we get to play, and mama gets in a little extra strength training.  Next time you’re catching up on your Twitter feed do some simple barre exercises (tendu, anyone?).  Netflix has eliminated the commercials for many of us, but if you’re watching regular tv, do something, ANYTHING during the commercial break.  5 minutes here, 10 minutes there adds up, and 5 minutes is better than no minutes.
It’s not perfect, and I don’t think I’ll be writing a best selling fitness book anytime soon, but I hope I’ve provided some insight into what works for me.
How do you stay fit with a full time job?
ChelsieEvie

Splenda and the Judgey Moms Committee

Okay, so yesterday, I’m not sure if you caught it, but a sort of funny study and the results were released.  And not funny, like HA HA, but funny like hm.  You get it.

image via wikipedia.org
image via wikipedia.org

Basically, the study was industry-funded.  Two groups of folks, all weighing on average over 200 pounds were divided, and folks who were permitted to drink diet sodas, on average, lost a little bit more weight than folks who were banned from drinking sodas all together.

If you are a complete idiot, you might read the study to say to “drink diet soda rather than water to lose weight,” however, if you are a reasonable human being who thinks critically, you might think just as I did.  The folks who went cold turkey off of soda had a bit of an easier time than folks who “stairstepped” their way off of drinking regular sodas.  Because for a lot of people, going cold turkey is really really challenging, and ends up screwing them in the end.  I am one of those people.

The rub was, the “judgey moms committee,” as I’ve dubbed them, got themselves all up in arms about the findings of the study yesterday.

The Judgey Moms Committee (JMC)

The Judgey Moms Committee is a committee of, well, judgey moms who like to get themselves all up in arms about many things, and then write really really angry Facebook posts about them, a lot of times, without reading into what it is, and getting the facts.

Topics that the JMC members get really upset about are not limited to:

  • Aspartame
  • Sugar
  • How to parent other people’s children
  • Judging other mothers negatively
  • The age at which it’s appropriate to stop breastfeeding, which is truthfully no one’s business
  • Gwenyth Paltrow (they usually either love her or hate her, there is no in-between)
  • Miley Cyrus

The JMC was out in full-force yesterday to speak out on this study.  So here’s what I say on the study, its findings, and diet soda as it pertains to health, wellness, and weight loss.

  1. Diet soda is not good for you.  Duh, but I really needed to put that out there.  I am not saying that it’s good for you, so be smart.
  2. Many, many studies are industry-funded.  So yes, the findings of this study should make you raise an eyebrow, however, the findings of a lot of studies should make you do that.  Do your own research, and figure out what may be best for you and your family.  Do the benefits of whatever this is outweigh this risks?  That is for you to determine.
  3. For the soda-drinkers out there….what kind of quitter are you?  Are you a cold turkey kinda gal/guy?  Or do you did a little bit of something else to motivate you through that?
  4. Though diet soda, and the things that it’s sweetened with are not at ALL the best thing for you, I strongly believe that diet sodas and artificial sweeteners can be a valuable tool to ease someone that’s not living the healthiest lifestyle, into a healthier phase of life.  I know, I know.  Insert your horrified gasps here.  But I believe it to be true.  Cold turkey is really hard and unsustainable for a lot of folks.  So maybe someone like me, who guzzled Coke like it was going out of style can benefit from Diet Coke instead.  After I graduated, and began teaching a ton of classes, I stepped it to club soda, water, and water infusions.  The same went for my addiction to sugar and sweets.  I started by cutting down the sugar I was eating and drinking, and moving to something like Splenda or Truvia.  When I was good and ready, I stepped it down, and now, though I admit I still enjoy my sweets, I don’t feel the compulsion to shove them into my face like I did before.  So while I’m not suggesting you go on a strict diet of Coke Zero and cheesecakes fashioned with Splenda, I think a little bit, especially in a time of transition, can really help you go a long way.
photo (1)
On the right is Coke-guzzling, non-working out Cher, from about 5 years ago. I actually got a little bigger after this. On the left is much-healthier, much better-feeling Cher, eating mostly clean with the occasional treat snuck in. I was busting out of the dress, which didn’t fit at one point, and now, it totally doesn’t fit. Shame though, that dress was cute!

Tell me what you think about all of this buzz?! Who else loves club soda the way I do?

Wedding Wednesday: the weight issue.

Don’t know if you know, but there was a big wedding this past  weekend…

image via E!
image via E!

I texted one of my bridesmaids and asked her if it made me a huge sap that I thought the two of these guys looked legitimately happy…seriously, they seem super pumped, whereas if you remember the special when she married the Hump, things were not as rosy.  (Seriously, do you guys remember the fact that the two didn’t talk in the days leading up to their rehearsal dinner?  Oy.

Okay, so I’ve been working on a few things on my end, this being one of those things.

IMG_3848I’ve got a million more jars, and a million more coming, so I’m happy, but also staring to get a little anxious and starting to doubt my ability to get all of this finished.  I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of wrapping my brain around that.

But today, I want to turn my our attention to something else that I’m struggling with a little bit.

The weight before the wedding thing.

So I’ve seen this hashtag a few times over the past few months.

#sweatingforthewedding

And though I don’t have a weight problem, and I work out extremely regularly, there is this gnawing at the back of my mind, and I honestly think it’s a little bit of pressure from other brides.  And the nagging, needling question is, should I be worried about my weight?  Should I be pushing myself to lose 5 pounds to ensure that I look impossibly thin in my photos?  

And I know the answer to that question – I’m healthy.  I’m at a great weight.  I take care of myself.  And I still treat myself.  But occasionally, those thoughts try and creep in.

Any other brides feel this way? 

The definitive list of the 5 best foods ever.

First and foremost, you guys are amazing.  The responses I got on yesterday’s post were nothing short of amazing, and you guys let me know what the hell foods would ruin your entire day.  I have to say, the top food had to be mayonnaise, which ruled supreme as the creamy white food that you guys absolutely love love love to vomit to.  I swear, you guys had me absolutely cracking up.

After this post from the other night, I can’t have you guys thinking that I’m just this negative Nancy who won’t eat anything, so I bring to you, the definitive list of the best foods ever.
800px-MashedPotatoes

5.  Grape leaves. 

800px-Dolma
image via wikipedia.org

I appreciate a lot about Mediterranean culture.  But one of those things that I appreciate more than anything else, is stuffed grape leaves.  These delicious little green cylinders are, in my humble American experience, typically stuffed with a rice creation, and so refreshing.  So usually, if I’m at the mall, and I can’t find anything vegetarian to eat, I will find  a Greek Fiesta and order a side of these to tide me over until I figure something out.

4.  Wine

Red_Wine_Glass

Red wine is a food group, right?  You are mean and rude if you say it is not.  Please leave. (Just kidding!) (Kinda!)

3.  Donuts. 

Donuts

I maybe eat a donut once every 3-4 months. But when I do, it’s really amazing. And I’m not ashamed.  Had one (two) on Sunday, and I promise you, I felt the earth move.

2.  Mashed potatoes.

800px-MashedPotatoes
image via wikipedia.org

Yassss honey! Unfortunately, because I don’t have a potato masher, I only eat mashed potatoes like twice a year – once at Thanksgiving, and once again at Christmas. I also ate them two years ago when I got my wisdom teeth out from K&W cafeteria, cafe to the stars.  My favorite way to eat them is to mix my corn into them and crunch my way through them.  Thank you God, for this perfect, perfect human interpretation of potato.

1.  Mac & Cheese.

image via wikipedia.org
image via wikipedia.org

Not the boxed kind either.  The black kind, that you bake and there’s cheese going everywhere, the kind that makes you do a dance while you eat it, that’s what’s the best to eat. Thank you Lord, once again, for this amazing invention.

Honorable mentions go to….

>>Chicken friend tofu.  Since I don’t eat chicken, this is about the only friend protein I can do.  And it’s awesome.

>>A cold salad with balsamic vinaigrette on it.   Backflips.

>>Biscuits.  One of the things the south has gotten correctly.

>>Nachos.  No explanation required.

>>Green beans.  I can eat these any way you fix em.  Except with bacon on them.

So let’s hear it!  What are you favorite foods!?

The definitive list of the 5 worst foods ever.

So, in addition to having a horribly irritable stomach, which I’ve shared with you time and again, some may say that I’m a picky eater.

I don’t consider myself a picky eater, especially since I eat a wide variety of weirdly healthy things, but since I was a kid, there are some foods I find absolutely reprehensible, and today, I share these foods with you.

800px-Broccoli_and_cross_section_edit

5.  Cauliflower.

Cauliflower
image via wikipedia.org

There is literally NOTHING that I find okay with cauliflower.  For one, it is a strange color, and for another thing, it looks exactly like the wart on the back of my hand after the dermatologist tried to burn it off.  Why would I want to eat that?  Fun fact:  the only thing fun about cauliflower is nothing.

4.   Broccoli.

800px-Broccoli_and_cross_section_edit
image via wikipedia.org

The green, less-disgusting (but still disgusting) cousin to cauliflower, I hate this more than you could ever know.  The absolute worst way that it’s cooked, is when you’re at a cafeteria-type place, and they cook it by simply boiling it until it’s so floppy that you can’y even get it to stand up straight on your fork.  ADDITIONALLY, when you eat it, it completely tears your stomach into 16 pieces. No thanks.  The only way broccoli is delicious?  No way.

3.  Mealy tomatoes.

800px-Bright_red_tomato_and_cross_section02
image via wikipedia.org

The only time I ever feel like no one cares about me is when I’m eating a salad, there’re tomatoes on it, and the tomatoes are mealy.  It sorta tastes like someone sat on the tomato and then left it out for a day or so before chopping it up and putting in on your salad.

2. The gourds.

image via wikipedia.org
image via wikipedia.org

Now I don’t mind any of the gourds in a bread.  And pumpkin, zucchini, or squash do just fine when you just throw them in a crockpot, and by the time all is said and done everything in there is the same texture.  But when the gourds are only slightly sauteed, and their mushy gushy seeds kind of just hang off of your fork?  Consider my entire meal ruined.

1. Mushrooms.

image via wikipedia.org
image via wikipedia.org

I cannot stress to you enough how badly my life is ruined once a mushroom is introduced into the mix of anything I’m eating.  You know what mushrooms taste like?  Exactly what they look like.  Which is a grey blob from deep in the pits of hell.  The worst part is, that since I’m a vegetarian, everyone assumes I must love mushrooms, and they punish me by offering me a giant mushroom on a hamburger bun. Literally that portabello mushroom sandwich you just offered me?  Just cost you our friendship.

**Honorable mention**

>>I wanna give a shoutout to yellow mustard and to effing pickles even when you didn’t want pickles or mustard on your sandwich for ruining every sandwich the two come in contact with.

>>Another extra special shoutout goes to fruit in my chococlate, without which none of this would have been possible.

>>And finally, I want to thank citrus flavored desserts for making dessert taste like the 409 that you’d use to clean your stove. Sick me out.

Come on, let’s hear ’em!  Comment with the list of foods you hate. 🙂 

My version of clean eating and how it worked for me.

Last weekend, I ate like an animal.

I listed some of the things I ate here, but in case you forgot, they were not limited to:

>>Cheesecake flavored frozen yogurt

>>A plate full of 2 different types of mac + cheese

>>An incredible cheesecake made by a supervisor of mine.  It was one of those dense, heavy numbers that made you feel like you might have a heart attack, but it was really delicious at the same time.

>>Baked beans, the really sweet kind.

>>Deviled eggs (god bless those, how are they so good?)

>>10,000+ pounds of chips + guacamole.

So needless to say, by the time Monday rolled around, the clean eating idea that I’d been bouncing around in my head was really starting to sound like a good idea, and I just went for my version of clean eating.

My version of clean eating goes a little something like this…

>>No booze

>>No coffee

>>Nothing that comes prepackaged.  For me, that means a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t be eating anyways, like my oatmeal bars that are packed with sugar, or my Fiber 1 bars that are the same, had to go.

>>Focus on things that come from the ground, not from a can or something.

So my meals looked a lot like this…

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And this to combat my diet soda bubbly cravings….

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And this to make sure I didn’t grab a frozen burrito or a Fiber 1 bar on my way out the door on the way to work.

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Now listen, I didn’t get overly creative with my meals, but you really can get insane with this stuff.  There are Pinterest universe’s dedicated to the art of clean eating.

My verdict?

Well first, let me disclaim this by telling you that I’m not your doctor, so don’t go doing anything stupid to your diet just because I said so.  Do what WORKS for you, okay?

>>It’s a little time consuming because it involves a decent amount of prep and planning.  But your food should be time consuming.  Your meals should not be as easy as tearing open a package or flipping the top to a can.  So yes, it’s time-consuming, but in the best possible way!

>>Though it’s time consuming say, the night before, your meals can be pretty grab-n-go the following morning.  Once I did things like prep my fulls day’s worth of meals before, like oats and salads, they were really fast to grab the next morning, and usually only required a little bit of heating.

>>Even though I’m usually good about my water intake, it definitely increased since I wasn’t doing coffee or drinks with a lot of artificial crap in them!  I had a lot of fun with it, and infused water with fruits, and took mason jars full of water with me to work that I could sip on.  I also sipped on Kombucha and club soda whenever I got a hankering for something bubbly.

>>When I got the urge to eat something sweet, I reached for fruit, and it seemed to do the trick.

>>Toward the end of last week, my stomach was really very upset because of the sheer volume of fiber that I was unknowingly consuming.  That was one of the bigger downsides – my body wasn’t really down with absorbing those levels of fiber, so I was very uncomfortable toward the end of the week.  I should have laid off of the leafy greens for a day or two between big salads!

Overall, I loved it, and even though I said I was only gonna do it for like a week, I’m interested to see if I can try for another week!

What sort of eating plan do you try to follow?  

Clean eating + the weekend.

The weekend was full of a lot of joy.

And a lot of food that was just horrible for me.

Saturday afternoon, after I taught a killer Zumba class, I attended the graduation party of a friend, where there were some amazing sides (life of a vegetarian), and what I ate was not limited to:

  • Two types of macaroni and cheese.
  • Potato salad
  • Guacamole + Chips
  • Pasta salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Baked beans
  • Diet Sierra Mist

Followed by…

  • A lovely thick slice of cheesecake made by my boss’s boss.

I ate disgustingly – and I kind of want to try something to kind of get rid of the nasty I ingested this weekend.

Before that!

Let’s review my weekend!

photo 1-1

Because I am so beautiful and gorgeous, I did another photoshoot for Headbands of Hope.  Okay, I kid, I kid, but I did another, and don’t worry, I will share those photos with you as soon as they are edited and ready to go!  But I did get this sweet buff that made me feel like a fun hippie all weekend.  I think I’m gonna buy a ton of these, because these are randomly really absorbent too!

photo 2

WARK!

photo 3

I ran home to my parents’ in Charlotte, and got to see my newly-engaged younger sister.  Everyone thinks that I’m younger because I’m only 5’8″ and she’s like 5’10-5′-11″.  I look SO short compared to her!

I photo 4

My brother kind of impressed me with his burrito making/folding skills and he made one for a ton of folks.  I told him he needs to open something up and that he could give Moe’s a run for their money.  He’s showing promise in the cooking arena.  Between him, my dad, me, and my sister Kimmy (who cooks like a pro), we could have an excellent little family restaurant situation.

photo 5And my mom is liable to murder me, but there she is, feeling much much better.  Not sure if you remember, but my mom suffered a stroke last year, and this time last year, she was not smiling.  Good to see it this year 🙂 🙂

Onto the gross stuff that I ate this weekend and what I’m going to do about it.  

I’ve been reading this week about clean eating, and to be 100%, I feel like I’m kind of fumbling around blindly with the idea.

I don’t believe in fads, and I don’t believe in cleanses, but I totally believe it eating good stuff, and prepackaged foods like my yogurt and my Fiber 1 bars are making me feel like crap.  For a week, I’m prepping my foods, avoiding alcohol and coffee, and staying away from anything that comes in a wrapper.

My only hope is to alleviate some tummy troubles, and to get rid of this gross stuff that I spent this weekend eating and drinking.

Now….with all of that….what did you do this weekend?  

 

Zevia Zero Calorie Soda Review + Reader Giveaway!

Yep, that’s right, I said giveaway! Holla!

So in light of the awful fate that befell me yesterday, where I had a terrible reaction to some scallops I was excited to cook, I was shuffling around the apartment like a zombie – I looked and smelled terrible, and I felt like I’d spent the entire night partying.  I was digging around in the fridge making my lunch when I spotted the 6-pack that Zevia had sent me a few days ago.  I fumbled around for the ginger-ale flavor, and slammed it before my stomach had any time to go back on the promise that it would never to do me what it had done the night before.

zeviaSo Zevia, which I first spotted at Whole Foods a while back, is a zero-calorie soda, sweetened with stevia, an artificial sweetener that my father (a type-1 diabetic) seems to enjoy more so than the other sweeteners out there, because it doesn’t leave that really weird taste in your mouth that diet sodas can tend to leave.

Zevia was kind enough to send me my very own variety pack of the stuff as a way to try a good bit of the flavors, and I was pleasantly surprised!  There are a couple of things to remember when you’re drinking your Zevia, which comes in 12-oz. cans, very much the same way that a can of any old soda might come in.

  1. Drink it cold . Zevia suggests this and reminds you that cold is not cold enough!
  2. Drink it out of the can.  Zevia tends to get warm and flat in a cup and that’s sorta gross for any soda.

So as I sampled Zevia, I was really pleasantly surprised with the ginger-ale, which is probably my favorite flavor, and the cream soda, which tastes like the cream soda that my mother used to give us from Haiti, minus the really weird dye, calories, and sugar.  My least favorite would probably have to be the cherry cola flavor, but generally this flavor kinda creeps me out in real life, so that makes sense.  Generally, the sense that I get with these is that they’re more water, less sugar, and lacking in the weird aftertaste department that I get with a Diet Coke.  This morning, I actually gave my beloved caffeinated Diet Dr. Pepper away because the thought of the aftertaste was making me more nauseated than I felt like I needed to be at that point.

Onto the giveaway!  

I’m giving 5 readers a 6-pack of Zevia!  Enter below, and I will announce winners on or around 3/20/14!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more info on Zevia, visit their website

Or their Facebook

Or their Twitter

Or on IG 

🙂 Enjoy!