Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eating Out on The Whole 30 (Guest Post)

Kelli has some awesome tips for eating out while completing the Whole 30 challenge! You can check out her blog here and read about her Whole 30 story here! Now for her great tips...

________________

First things first, congrats on starting this awesome journey for your health!  You will not regret it!  The Whole 30 program opened my eyes to addictions I had with food, helped me experiment with new flavors and foods, and set me on the right path for the future.  But, the struggle is real!  You have to think about every meal and whether you'll be at home, out or away for the weekend.  It's so hard to stick with it away from home, but it is possible!  Here's a few tips for eating out while on The Whole 30!
1.  Choose the restaurant - if you have the choice, you can look over their menu and decide what you can request to be "Whole 30" friendly 
2. Plan your meal choice beforehand - go for lean meats (without the bun) and raw or steamed veggies without butter or cheese!
3.  Tell your friends - If people think you're just ordering like a snob, you'll probably get "that look" and then feel weird the whole meal.  Tell them before you order that you're on an awesome health program and don't want to waiver.  
4.  Stay the course - just because your spouse orders a bacon cheeseburger and you can smell the french fries and oh, they smell so good, remember how success feels.  And you won't miss it...as much ;)
5.  Have fun - Don't forget that this program is changing your life, so make accommodations with the food that you can and enjoy the company you have!  Life is too short!
A few words on eating out where you can prepare the meal:

Let's say you are going to a birthday party or the zoo and you have the opportunity to pack your Whole 30 lunch.  Here are my top 5 go-to tips:
1.  Again, tell your family/friends - We had a birthday party to attend while on the Whole 30 where the food was pizza and ice cream.  I called and explained what we were doing so as not to offend the hosts and they were totally cool with it.
2.Prepare and package - salads and chicken breasts with raw veggies packs well in a cooler.
3. Don't forget a snack - if you're gone more than just 1 meal, pack a container of almond butter and some apples for a quick boost
4.  Make the most of it - let's say you hadn't planned on being out during a meal but you're out and you're starving.  Pick someplace you know you can get something small and healthy to tide you over before returning home.  Maybe some raw almonds at a gas station?
5.  Be prepared - don't let #4 happen!  The Whole 30 is all about preparing and setting yourself up for success.  Have the almonds in your car during the month....ALWAYS.  No exceptions.  If you fail to plan, then you can plan to fail.

Good luck and go get it.  You are changing your life, one meal at a time!




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Inspiration for a Successful Whole 30! (Guest Post)

I'm going to let Lauren do the talking today! She had amazing results with her Whole 30 Challenge and is here to offer some inspiration for all of you! Check out her before and after photos - AMAZING! Great job, Lauren!

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Hi everyone!

This is Lauren from Lauren Lives Healthy, where I write about healthy living in the Bay Area. I’m a triathlete, half marathoner, and a total foodie.


Last year, I got wind of the whole30 program and just knew I had to try it. I jumped on it the moment I read about the program and spent that first day doing research on the whole30 website, pinning recipes and grocery shopping.  I finished the program nearly the whole way through, making only a few adjustments and ending the night before, and saw great results – I lost 8 lbs and 17 inches!


I wanted to do it to show people I could do a challenge. What I realize now, though, is that I should have been doing it for me. I got caught up in the whole fa├žade and forgot exactly why I was doing it – to make me feel better.

For months, I had been feeling sluggish and tired and thought that adjusting my diet could help. I followed the whole30 best I could, but realized that I couldn’t go without snacks, so I added them back in – just a piece of fruit or some nuts; nothing too crazy! On a strict diet like whole30, you definitely have to listen to your body and remember why you started.

Another thing I learned is that you have to have support from those around you. It’s not easy to eat this strict when you have bread, pasta, cookies, dessert & other goodies lying around the house. Let your roommates/boyfriend/family know what your goals are and ask for support. Even if you have your own shelf in the pantry or refrigerator, that’s enough to get you going.

And oh my goodness – PLEASE head over to Pinterest and find some new recipes before you start. I got caught in a rut, eating the same meals over and over again because I didn’t know what was approved or not. There are actually a lot of recipes available! Follow my whole30 Pinterest board for inspiration and #whole30 on Instagram for recipe ideas.


In the end, I felt a lot slimmer and less bloated than I had before. I won’t be doing a full whole30 again because I love my protein powder and Greek yogurt too much, but I’ll definitely do a whole5 again (whole30 lifestyle for only 5 days). It’s a great way to get on track when you’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Read my full story here and here.

Good luck on your whole30! If you have any questions about my personal whole30 experience, feel free to shoot me an email at lauren@laurenliveshealthy.com.

XO Lauren

Follow me on Instagram or Pinterest for healthy recipes!


Monday, January 26, 2015

RxBar Review & Giveaway

I have a hard time finding the paleo-friendly snacks, bars, and treats that my fellow blogger friends are always talking about. Living in a small college town, I don't think paleo snacks are something that are high in demand. While I know that I am able to buy these products online with a click of a button, I can never bring myself to do it. I just don't like the idea of spending money on a food product when I may end up hating it. Then what am I supposed to do with a huge box of bars that I don't like? Throw them away? I'd rather not have to do that so I'm always happy anytime I can find something in stores.





Unfortunately, RxBar was one of those companies that I have heard several good things about but was never able to get my hands on any of their products so I reached out to RxBar and asked if they would be willing to send me a few samples to try and all I can say is...

Wow. 

Just wow.

These are the most amazing paleo protein bars that I have ever tried. Actually, these are the most amazing bars I have ever had. Period. The Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon bars are my favorite.


From their website:

"Made with minimal ingredients, RxBars are prescribed by nature to give you the proper balance of high quality egg white protein, a healthy supply of fats, carbohydrates that are high in fiber, and natural sugars from real fruit.

RxBars will NEVER contain: Dairy, soy, gluten, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, whey, artificial ingredients, sugar alcohols, GMOs, or preservatives.

We set out to create a protein bar we felt good about eating and that made us feel great after we ate it. And we think we've done a pretty good job."

RxBar, I think you have done a pretty good job as well! 

I love how few ingredients are in each bar and how every ingredient is clean, simple, and healthy. If you are completing the Whole 30, follow a paleo lifestyle, or don't want to fill your diet with added sugar and artificial ingredients, these bars are for you. These protein bars are made with egg whites and each bar has 12 grams of protein, all equally delicious. 


Another thing I love about these bars (there's so much to love!) is how big they are. Most protein or meal bars are usually pretty small and gone in two bites but these were a decent size. 


RxBars are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts, road trip snacks, and for getting a boost of protein after a workout. I am heading to Florida for vacation in a few weeks and I am going to make sure that I am stocked up on these bars before my trip! I'm so glad that I have found a delicious and healthy protein bar that I truly like. 

Giveaway


Now for the fun part... RxBar has offered all of my readers a chance to win a variety pack of bars to try out for their self! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter and a winner will be selected at random on February 2nd!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


P.S. Whole 30 and RxBar have teamed up and are offering a special discount Whole 30 discount code that expires never! Use the code "whole30" for 10% off any purchase of $20 or more.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge and am not being compensated for this review. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Three Hundred Workout

I missed the morning workout today because I slept in late so I created this heart-pumpin-body-burnin' workout for myself to do at home. 

This workout can be done pretty much anywhere. As long as you have enough room to do your jumping lunges, you're set. My apartment is tiny so when I say you can do a workout in the smallest space, it's true! 

The workout consists of 3 different exercises and you complete 10 reps of each, 10 times for a total of 300 reps. Fun stuff! You can even add in some other exercises or change up the numbers if you want to mix things up!





Monday, January 19, 2015

Headband Problems Solved (Giveaway)

Today was a long day and I've decided to unwind tonight by experimenting in the kitchen with a few new truffle recipes. Since I'm doing the Whole 30 I've been researching paleo recipes and so far they all look pretty good. I will be sure to share with you all the delicious concoction I come up with!

I also thought I would start off the week with a fun little giveaway from my Etsy shop! I may be a little biased but these headbands are fantastic and I want you all to have the chance to try one for yourself.

Whether you are a triathlete, yogi, runner, or CrossFitter, these headbands are for you. They are all lined with a special ribbon that won't slip on even the sweatiest or finest hair! There are also so many colors and patterns to choose from, you are sure to find something you will love!


Check out these links below to read the reviews by other fitness bloggers:

Review by Dulce Vie

Review by Healthy in Detroit

Review by The Running Besties

Now that you've read what others are saying, it's your chance to test them for yourself! I am going to pick two different winners who will each be able to pick out their own headband from the shop! All you have to do is complete the rafflecopter below to enter! A winner will be announced on Monday 1/26! (Don't forget that you can tweet EVERY day and earn more chances to win! Just come back to this post to do so!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

What the Whole 30 Challenge is Teaching Me

I feel like during the Whole 30 each blog post begins with "I can't believe I'm already on day ___!" But it's true, I can't believe it! Doing this challenge makes me realize a few different things.

First, how quickly time actually flies by. Jon left for Florida 12 days ago and it seems like it will be forever until I get to go visit him but in reality I will be down there in less than 30 days. As I am sitting here writing this, 30 days seems like a long time but when the day actually comes it will have all gone by so fast. It makes me want to sit back and enjoy each and every day a little bit more.

Second, this challenge has made me become more in tune with my body and what it is saying. My stomach is growling because I'm hungry and that's my body's way of telling me that it needs fuel. Before this challenge I ate because I was supposed to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I even threw in a few snacks here and there and of course, dessert! Not because I was hungry though. I did it because that's what we think we are supposed to do. Eat three, four, even five times a day.


Another thing that I have noticed these past two weeks is how much better I sleep. I used to wake up a few times during the night and now I sleep like a baby. I also wake up with so much energy that I'm not sure how it lasts all day long.

Lastly, I have learned that you don't need to be a millionaire to complete this challenge successfully and you really don't need a lot of time. Being a college student, I eat on a college student's budget but that doesn't mean I have to eat Ramen noodles and cereal every day (I'm working on a post about this). So many people think that they can't eat healthy because it costs so much. Which it's true that it does cost more but if you're smart about it and want to do it, you can. And time, which I don't have a lot of, shouldn't make or break your challenge. If you have an hour on the weekend to prep a few staples and wake up an extra 10 minutes earlier during the week to throw something in the crockpot you will be prepared and can knock this challenge out of the park! For example, the photo above is from the dinner I had one night earlier this week. The day before I put three chicken breasts in the crockpot and dumped a bunch of hot sauce over them. The next night, I had a complete meal ready for me in under 3 minutes. All I had to do was heat up the chicken and grab some food out of the fridge and I was set.

Now I want to know what the Whole 30 challenge has done for you and your body! Comment below and let me know so we can chat.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

During the Whole 30 I am always trying to think of easy and delicious sides for meals. While I find it rather easy thinking of the main course, sometimes I am stuck in a rut when it comes to what to eat with it. 

For example, today for lunch I knew that I was going to eat the last of the Crockpot Salsa Chicken I made last week but had no idea what to pair it with. The avocados that I have aren't ripe enough yet (most depressing thing ever!) and I wasn't really feeling raw veggies so I relied on my go-to side... sweet potato fries! They're super healthy, delicious, and easy to make! 

You can also change up the seasonings and make them sweet rather than spicy or just add plain ol' sea salt to them! The possibilities are endless.


Ingredients:
1 sweet potato 
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries Seasoning (about half)
Olive Oil

* This recipe makes 1-2 servings, depending on the size of the sweet potato

Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 400'
2. Cut up 1 large sweet potato into wedge-like fries and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Drizzle olive oil on the fries so they are coated on all sides.
4. Add your seasonings and make sure fries are well coated (Spicy Seasoning recipe is below)
5. Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy!

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries Seasoning
1. Mix the following seasonings into a small bowl and store in an airtight container.
1 tsp of each:
salt
pepper
garlic powder
paprika
chili powder
crushed red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper


Enjoy!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole 30 Week 1 Round Up

The first week of the Whole 30 Challenge always goes by fast but it is hands down the worst week.

I didn't cheat at all but boy did I want to! I had so many cravings and thought about all the food I couldn't eat nonstop. I'm pretty sure this is normal but it was literally the only thing on my mind.


I can't remember exactly what I ate each day but here are some of the meals I ate this week:

Breakfast:
Hard boiled eggs
Fruit
Maple Bacon Sausage Patties
Almond Milk Banana Smoothies

Lunch/Dinner
Mason Jar Salads
Pork Chops
Bacon & Brussel Sprout Salad
Salsa Chicken Tacos (I used Stupid Easy Paleo's tortilla recipe)
Kale Soup
Sweet Potato Pasta with Salsa Chicken
Salsa Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry (Sweet Potato Pasta instead of noodles)
Spicy Chicken Legs

With lunch and dinner I often had extra veggies, olives, avocado, or fruit on the side!

Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry 

Chicken Tacos

Now for a few tips to help you get a head start throughout the week:

Tips:
1. Mason Jar Salads: Make a few of these on Sunday so you have something to grab for lunch or dinner during the week when you are in a hurry. These are super easy to make and Lexi's Clean Kitchen has some delicious recipe ideas if you want to spice them up a bit! Just be sure to leave out the cheese if you are doing the Whole30.

2. Hard Boiled Eggs: These are always a good thing to have on hand. I often make a dozen of them each week and peel them ahead of time. I can then easily grab them for breakfast, add them to a salad, or eat them after a workout.

3. Meal Plan: Meal planning is essential during the Whole 30 and will set you up for success. Even though my schedule is always changing, I like to have a list of meals that I know I have all the ingredients for. There are a ton of meal planning templates available online but I always just write down what ingredients I have on hand and then go through cookbooks, choose recipes, and then make a grocery list.

4. Make Extra: If you cook meal by meal, you will be spending a lot of time at the stove and a lot less time with family and friends. If you cook meals in double or triple batches, you can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day or change up the recipe so it's something new. For example, I made a huge batch of Salsa Chicken and used it for chicken tacos, put it on top of sweet potato pasta, and ate it by itself.

I hope that these meal ideas and tips help you during your Whole 30 challenge or inspire you to start! Eating and following a lifestyle that is sugar, fat, and processed-free really can be delicious!


Question of the Day

What Whole 30 tips do you have?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Turkey & Kale Soup

It's day 2 of the Whole 30 Challenge!

I woke up this morning with a headache and figured it was because my body is going through withdrawals from the sugar and high processed foods it's used to. Other than that I felt completely fine and did not have any major cravings for anything.

This evening I attended a Pilates class for the very first time. It was a nice change but was definitely at a much slower pace than the high intensity workouts I'm used to. While most people are making New Years resolutions to join gyms at the start of the New Year, I actually quit mine. I did it for personal and financial reasons but I am excited to get back into working out more on my own and creating my own workouts!





Tonight for dinner I curled up with my favorite book to read during the Whole 30 Challenge and a bowl of turkey & kale soup. It was absolutely delicious! I adapted the recipe from a soup my friend made before and used the ingredients I had on hand. I didn't measure the ingredients but here's what I did...

(Note: feel free to add more or less of any ingredient listed below! I need to remake this and measure and once I do, the recipe will be updated!)

Turkey & Kale Soup


Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of carrots, chopped
chicken broth
1-2 cups of almond milk
3-4 big handfuls of kale
salt & pepper to taste
crushed red pepper (optional)

Recipe:
1. Place the turkey in a large pot over medium-high heat with the garlic and onion. Cook until browned.
2. Add the carrots, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. The crushed red pepper gives it a spicy kick so add as much or little as you like.
3. Add the almond milk and enough chicken broth until it covers everything
4. Add the kale and stir in until it starts to wilt.
5. Let the soup simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Sorry for the rough and all over the place recipe! Just trust me, this soup is delicious and so good for you!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Whole30, Round 2!

Tomorrow's the day that I begin my second Whole30 Challenge!




If you are new to Whole30 or have no idea what it is, I highly suggest you check out their website or read the book It Starts With Food. Both places are excellent sources and you will learn a lot of wonderful information.

I have successfully completed the challenge once before with no slip-ups or cheats and kept telling myself I would do it again but never could. I'm not sure why I could never get back into the groove of following a Paleo lifestyle but I'm hoping with it being the New Year that I will be able to complete it again. The first time I did the challenge I had amazing results and felt better than ever.




This time around, I am very excited to record my progress, meals, and recipes here on the blog! I have been busy prepping food for this week and plan to go grocery shopping tomorrow. I also made the most delicious Maple Bacon & Pineapple Meatballs so be on the lookout for the recipe soon!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram so you can see all of my meals!

Question of the Day


Have you ever completed the Whole30 Challenge? 
What are your favorite Paleo recipes?
Do you have any tips, success stories, or other information regarding the Whole30 program?





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