My very first giveaway + a phobic confession

procakes high protein pancakes

Do you want to know why I never have parties? I have a phobia about throwing a big fete, only to have no one show up. Perhaps that seems crazy to you, but it does happen, and being such a hyper sensitive person, it would totally crush me. So when I read Amanda’s story about her birthday, I totally felt for her.

Crazy as this may sound, I’ve held off on doing a giveaway on this blog for the very same reason. Here’s the truth – I’m terrified of working out a giveaway deal with a brand, only to have no one show up for the proverbial party. Ridic? Yes. But that’s me. Warts and all.

But here’s the thing. I’m actually doing a giveaway for my OWN product this time. Granted, the goodies also include stuff from my amazing food entrepreneur group, but all said and done, I don’t have to publicly fail to anyone with this particular giveaway.

It’s a good toe in the water, so to speak.

So here it goes!! Starting today and lasting all the way to friday, you can enter to win goodies from me and each of my amazing entrepreneur friends who are killing it in their own foodie niche.

Most of these foods are Fit Habit “approved” in the sense that they are natural, gluten free and no sugar added, but a couple are more “treat foods” that we all need sometimes.

So GO FOR IT!! Enter to win here and I hope you do win!!! Thanks SO much for showing up for me and entering my first (and hopefully not last) giveaway. I appreciate the support!!

Love you guys!
XO

Hack your sweet addiction: a healthy chocolate recipe

healthy chocolate, raw vegan, paleo, no sugar, sugar free, antioxidant While the Hubbie was traveling this week, I had the kitchen to myself to play, however I saw fit. I saw fit to make chocolate. I then saw fit to eat said chocolate for dinner, with wine. I love this recipe because it’s a guilt-free go-to alternative for your chocolate cravings. Hear me now – there is no health related benefit to giving up chocolate if you love it, because the really good stuff actually has a ton of beneficial qualities. I’m talking antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and most certainly anti-fat gain. This recipe will not let you down and it won’t steer you down a path of sugar madness. Keep it in the freezer and it will last for at least a few weeks. Just pop one out when you’re feeling a craving come on. Give the chocolate a little time to warm up to room temperature (or not) and enjoy.  It’s all upside. Ingredients

  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c raw cacao
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • xylitol, stevia or raw honey to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Put a pot on the stove 1/4 of the way filled with water. Put it on a low simmer. Find a metal or glass bowl to put over the pot, so that it acts like a double boiler. Or just use a double boiler if you have one (duh).
  2. Put coconut oil in the bowl and let it melt on the simmered heat from the water. Add the raw cacao and stir up all that chocolate goodness.
  3. Add sweetener to taste (little bits at a time, not all at once).
  4. Add coconut and salt to taste.
  5. Grease a pan. it can be a muffin tin, chocolate mold, whatever you like, just coat it well, then pour in the chocolate (or whatever is left from your taste-a-thon).
  6. Stick pan in the freezer for about 30 mins until chocolate firms up, then go to town.
  7. Send me loving notes of thanks.

Now go check out more healthy foodie inspiration over at Sprint to the Table and CandyFit!

Fit Foodie Review: Nikki’s Coconut Butter

A little disclosure upfront: My Fit Foodie Reviews are totally my own opinion – I’m not paid (although how cool would that be?).  I’m simply sharing awesome food that I come across in my experience as a foodie, a fit nerd and an entrepreneur. I hope you enjoy them!

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I bet you’ve heard about this stuff. Nikki’s Coconut Butter is quite the talk around the interwebs, especially in the healthy living blogger community. No shock there, this stuff is pure awesome sauce in a jar.

But if you’re new to Nikki’s, here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s made with simple ingredients
  • It’s naturally sweetened with dates and honey
  • It’s a healthy fat lovers dream come true
  • It’s made with organic coconut which has too many healthy benefits to mention in my little bullet point list

Now, in full disclosure, Nikki is a friend of mine, and we met because we’re both bringing healthy food products into the world, but that has no bearing on how much I adore her coconut butter.

Here’s the thing. You know I love healthy fats. Sugars, (even the naturally occurring kind) I’m not a fan of if you’re trying to lose weight, so I wouldn’t call this a fat loss friendly product, but it’s also not a fat gain enabler, so it’s great in moderation.

Nikki’s Coconut butters come in a variety of flavors, but I’m partial to the macadamia nut butter flavor because coconuts and macadamia nuts are two powerhouse nutrients. Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and macadamias are unparalleled in their fatty acid profile (according to Mark’s Daily Apple). And if none of that makes sense, just know that they both contribute to reduced belly fat. Holla!

Here’s my super homemade vid talking about the merits of coconut oil in particular if you’re interested in seeing me without make up the nutrient benefits of this healthy fat.

BTW, it also makes a super fabulous icing for ProCakes cupcakes.

nikkis coconut butter

As far as I know, the best way to get this stuff is still on the internet, although I know they have store distribution on the east coast.

Have you heard of Nikki’s coconut butter? I first read about it on Carrots n Cakes and it just kept popping on different blogs until I finally had a chance to e-meet Nikki (who is a super awesome gal, btw).

Now go try some!

Behind the Scenes: A day in the life of a food entrepreneur

A Day In the Life

Hey guys, I thought it would be fun to share with you, a typical day in the life of a food entrepreneur. It’s not always glamorous (sometimes it’s a total pain in the ass, I’m the first to admit), but I have to say, I’m loving it.

Here it goes….

6:30am The dogs start to stir which mean everyone in the bed (yep, we sleep with these guys) is getting up. The hubs walks them, but I always take a few minutes to linger in bed, feel grateful that I don’t have to be somewhere at 8am and think about what I want to get done that day.

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7:30am We’re all up and I’m finishing up my first coffee and reading my email (shame). For a short while I would sit in the family room and read inspirational books and avoiding email until mid morning, but that didn’t last. It’s not like I’m getting super important/life altering information through my gmail account, but I can’t wait to read what’s in there nonetheless. Then I make breakfast (eggs + greens or ProCakes) and respond to emails.

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10:00am I’m upstairs in my office now. I’m creating blog posts, editing pictures, paying bills, fulfilling orders or talking to my copacker. The dogs are sprawled out in their bed beside me and one of them is always farting.

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11:00am I work out – yoga (in my bedroom via free youtube classes), weights in my office, or a spin in the man cave. If I run, it’s before breakfast and only when I’m feeling super ambitious.

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Noon – Dog park. Always. Then lunch. Sometimes.

1:00pm to 3:00pm is phone calls, more content creation and too much time wasted on twitter and Facebook. I have this little mastermind group with other early stage food entrepreneurs and we engage in conversation via our little private Facebook group all day. I can’t imagine life without them now.

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4:00pm I spent at least 30 minutes berating myself for not having anything clever to say on social media. This really kills me.

5:00pm take the dogs out for their third walk of the day. Are you starting to get a sense of who really runs my life yet?

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6:00pm I’m starting to get cabin fever in my little home office, so I pack up my laptop and other devices and head down to the kitchen/family room. I chat with hubbie, ask him what he wants for dinner then go ahead and make whatever I feel like making anyway.

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7:00pm We wine and dine.

8:00pm to 10:00pm is either spent watching Real Housewives of wherever or back on the computer to edit photos, write more blog post (as I’m doing right now) or chat and chill with hubbie.

10pm Bedtime. Always. I read, hubbie plays with dogs and gives them final walk and then they all crawl in for a good sleep before it start all over again the next day.

Sometimes things vary, like dinner with friends or date night, or maybe I spend an afternoon shooting pictures, but this is frighteningly accurate for my typical life.

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It’s a thrill a minute, right?

 I’d LOVE to know what you do in a day!! Care to share? How is my life different than yours?

Thanks to Healthy DivaRunning with Spoonsand Blonde Ambition for hosting a couple of awesome thursday link ups!

Fit Foodie Review: Shredded Brussels Sprouts

shredded brussels sprouts

So I’ve got something new for the blog today! It might be a permanent thing, or it might be a series, or I may just get tired of it real fast and decide not to do it ever again (I can be fickle that way).

I’m starting a fit foodie product review series, both to keep you guys inspired with new real food product inspirations and also to keep myself on the ball of what’s new, noteworthy (and actually eatable) in the industry.

The parameters of my food reviews will always be:

  1. minimally processed ingredients
  2. no added refined sugar (because that sucks)
  3. minimal to no grains
  4. score high on my yummy detector

As a healthy food entrepreneur myself, I’m constantly coming across great healthy food products that appeal to women who are too busy for the “from scratch model”, but still want to eat healthy. So to that end, here’s my first review…

What: Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Where: Trader Joe’s (USA only – Sorry!)
How much: Less than $3 I think
When: Breakfast, lunch and dinner baby!

shredded brussel sprouts

I love these and I stock up with 3 or 4 bags a week. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s you can just make your own with a food processor and a bunch of fresh brussels sprouts, but this is soooo easy!

How to Use Them

I sauté them for breakfast in coconut oil, pop a fried egg on top and season with hot sauce. Let me tell you, this will keep you full for an eternity (or maybe just 5 hours if you tend to eat like a linebacker).

If I’m having them for lunch, they’re leftovers from dinner or breakfast. They hold their texture really well. And since brussels sprouts are like the hottest thing in restaurants now, you can find a number of inspired ways to sauté, roast or pan fry. I like them with onions, garlic and a little salt and pepper. No need to complicate this amazing go-to veggie that even a monkey could prepare, so I don’t want to hear any moans and groans that you have to turn the stove on. 

If you can make toast, you can pretty much master this veggie.

Here’s some super creative recipes to check out:

Have fun with this one!! they are amazing and so easy to make.

Week In Review: Confession time

kisses from the snickerbean

Confessions make us all a little more vulnerable and real. Perhaps we’re all a little tired of Facebook non-reality and Instagram filters. I long to see the imperfections in others, as it makes me feel better about my own. It’s not about making others feel less than, it’s about feeling more connected to who they really are in a #nofilter kinda way.

And so I confess…

Confession #1

This is week 3 of me feeling blah. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. I’m not sleeping well (and you know I love my sleep), I’m sad, and I don’t feel like doing anything or seeing people. I spoke earlier of my growing hermitosis (aka not wanting to leave the house), and it genuinely concerns me.  So I picked up this book. Truth is, I’m 44 years old, so the hormones are changing. Rapidly. I was struck by how much this author was able to describe how I feel, right down to the never wanting to leave the house and my chronic desire to wear yoga pants. Everywhere.

I’d like to say this book has given me the magic bullet of how to fix myself, but really all it’s givin me so far is a whole bunch of scientific stuff I don’t know what to do with. So plan B is an appointment with my Gyno since self-diagnosis was clearly an epic failure.

Confession #2

73% of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing with my business. I mean, sales are going great online. Amazon sales are particularly sweet, but I am terrified to approach retailers. This is all such new territory for me, that I’m petrified of looking amateurish, and I’m also a little concerned about growing too much too soon. I like that I’m so connected to my customers right now. I like that they can email me and I can send them thank you notes. I like control. But control stifles growth, so I need to figure out my comfort zone here. Entrepreneurship is such a lesson in self-knowledge. More than I bargained for really.

procakes protein pancakes

Confession #3

I started a podcast. I have one episode done and edited by my sound engineer and ready for uploading. I have no idea if it’s good and I’m terrified that I sound awful. I’m sure I don’t, but self-doubt is second nature to me. Today I’m going to record a few more and force myself to start publishing them and I give myself 100% freedom to suck.  Because rarely are we rockstars right out of the gate.

health and wellness podcast

My week

  • I worked 473 hours on ProCakes, but didn’t feel like much was accomplished.
  • I wrote a crap ton of blog posts this week. At least my creativity feels like it’s coming back, if nothing else.
  • I made Chocolate Almond Biscotti for my ProCakes blog. It’s not published yet, but I’ll let you know when it is.
  • I had a double date last night with some dear friends and my hubbie. The restaurant was totally subpar, but we did spot Jonah Hill there.
  • Workouts included one full body weight lifting session (which hurt for days), 2 yoga classes and 1 spin and 3 x 3 mile walks. I’ve been craving mellow activity lately, and I’m all good with fewer ball-busting sweats.
  • I ate way too many carbs for me. On wednesday we went for date night at this new place on the beach near our house. Just for kicks I ordered zucchini fries. My stomach paid me back in cramps. Thanks for that.
  • I found a pair of boyfriend jeans I like and they’re cheap! I’m off to purchase said jeans today and then hit the beach for a long stroll with a bff I haven’t seen enough of lately.

How was your week?

This post is also available over at Healthy Diva Eats and Run to the Finish.

The things I’ve let slide. Embracing the chaos and letting go of perfection.

letting things slide, being a perfectionistQuestion for you type A’s out there…. In the pursuit of your goals, what are you willing to let slide in order to focus on what you need to get done?

I was listening to a productivity guru the other day, and he mentioned that one of the reasons we fail to accomplish what we set out to do is that we’re not laser focused on our priorities. Add to that the fact that I’m totally ADD and that’s a recipe for goal achieving epic failure.

I have to admit, I’m a perfectionist. So when my house is a mess, when I haven’t showered by 6pm or I haven’t left my house in 3 days, I start to feel really bad about my life. Even though, I’m working my ass off, I berate myself for not being more social or up on current events.

But what this guy said helped me put things in perspective. Sure, my life isn’t perfect (far from it), but I’ve been super focused on learning big stuff like how to grow my baby company and how to get things done in the food industry that still seems to be a really archaic and backward.

I’m also trying to fill my brain with the latest and greatest studies in health and fitness so I’m not telling you outdated info here (like eat less and move more). It’s a bit like drinking water from a fire house and I have to admit…. things have started to slide in other areas of my life.

  • I don’t see or talk to my friends enough
  • I’m not actively making time for new friendships enough
  • I’ve been slacking off on my workouts too much
  • My car looks like a homeless person has been living in it
  • I’ve been getting lazy with laundry (see white/now pink shorts)
  • I’ve been postponing my annual check up (like for about 11 months now)
  • I have dead, neglected plants all. over. my. house. It’s like a botanical massacre around here and I’d be mortified if someone saw the the state of my office as it currently is.

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I’ve let these things go and I know I shouldn’t, but I have to draw a line somewhere. I’m pretty much okay with most of this as I can avoid having visitors in my home or car, but my time with friends is so important to me and I know that has to change.

Suffice to say, life is never perfect and when you’re pursuing big shit, it not uncommon that other things fall to the wayside. I guess the real job is to be aware of what you’re willing to let go of (a clean house) and what’s a non-negotiable (working out and spending time with friends).

On the upside, my lack of time has also forced me to look at the things I used to let suck up my free time and I’ve let go of them as well.

  • I never go to big box stores anymore. I buy clothes, household items and consumables online. I think Amazon will make me a hermit for sure.
  • I only grocery shop once a week and only at one store (I used to be all over the place with food shopping).
  • I rarely accept coffee meetings anymore. I tend to schedule calls instead and set a defined timeline and agenda.
  • I workout at home and skip the gym commute and parking fiasco.

The important thing is that I’m still happy with my life, I’m still doing the things I want to do (like connecting with you) and aside from more workout and friend time, I wouldn’t change a thing.

My new mantra: embrace the chaos.

Please tell me I’m not alone in my constant life disarray. Are you with me on the messy house? The hermit tendencies?

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This post is also available over at Running with Spoons and Jill Conyer’s Blog should you choose to follow me over there!

Kale Pad Thai

Kale pad thai, raw vegan, paleo, no sugar

The folks over at Melissa’s were kind enough to send over an organic veggie box for me to try out. Thanks Melissa’s! I was blown away by all the fresh organic produce I received and immediately thought it would make a great raw, vegan pad thai. I’ve had that idea rolling around in my brain since I saw this picture on Erin Weatherbie’s Instagram. Given how hot it’s been here lately, I’ve been on the salad train pretty much daily and this was a little something different, but just as light and yummy.

First off, about the box!

MELISSA'S PRODUCE BOX

I got a mix of fruit and veggies. It was a ‘family sized” which is way too big for me and my hubbie, but produce never goes to waste in this house. The box retails for $40 which is a great price considering I tend to drop 3 times as much $$ for half the amount of produce at my local farmer’s market (what’s up with that??)

I was also pretty stoked NOT to see any okra in my box, which is the very reason I canceled my last veggie delivery box. Okra and I are not friends.

So I immediately went to town making what I thought would be a good alternative for a noodle based dish. I could have spiraled zucchini, but let’s face it, I”m lazy and that takes work.

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This on the other hand, was super easy.

Ingredients:

Salad base (in place of noodles)

  • kale, washed and chopped as finely as you like
  • carrots – grated
  • peanuts

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl toss together kale, carrots and peanuts. Combine wet ingredients in a food processor and then pour over kale mixture and mix well.
Garnish with more peanuts or cilantro if you have handy.

Enjoy!

This post will also be making the rounds this week at Miz Helens, Candy Fit & Sprint to the table.

Week in Review – A Girl’s Weekend in Napa

vineyard, wine, girls weekend, funI used to post my week in review all the time, but stopped once I realized every week pretty much sounded the same – workout, work, food prep, real housewives.

Okay, it’s still really not that different, but I was inspired by this girl to review my week, mostly because it included a girls trip to Napa which is always a good time.

I have to admit last week was more about the Real Housewives than it was about working out, food prep or work. Actually I never food prep anymore and my workouts have been pretty mild lately. It’s hot here in LA, even on the westside where things pretty much stay around 70 degrees even in the winter. It’s been hovering in the mid 80’s which makes running or lifting weights in my home office/gym pretty sucky. Mostly I’ve been doing yoga and taking long walks as my body has been craving more restorative movement, so I’m going with it. I’ll get back to more energetic workouts in a few weeks when it cools down.

Work has also taken a bit of a back seat. Everyone and their grandmother seems to take August vacations in the food business which makes me think – fuck it, I should too. The kicker here is that I’m still very much pregnant with my business so without me, it can’t survive. I’ve also got a new product I’m working on and a website redesign coming up in the near future so I’m a little behind the eight ball to get stuff done, even though I”d much rather hang by the pool.

In more exciting news, I just got back from an amazing weekend in Napa/Sonoma with 6 of my friends from the Bay Area. The weekend was a perfect mix of eating, drinking, laughing at silly shit and more drinking. We rented a huge villa in the middle of a vineyard so we were surrounded by grapes and subsequently, empty wine bottles (whoops).

Friday was mostly just a wine-soaked catch up once everyone arrived. On saturday afternoon we went wine tasting at Jacuzzi (yes, this is the actual family that invented the Jacuzzi and now they are in the wine biz. Talk about picking fun businesses to run!). And then we headed into town to hit the Envolve tasting room for a red wine and chocolate pairing which was amazeballs.

Unfortunately we had to cut our tasting tour short as we had to get back to the villa as our personal chef was arriving to start preparing our 4 course dinner (#firstworldproblem) so we headed home, but not without a boatload of prosecco, dessert wine and a couple of funky olive oils and a fig infused balsamic vinaigrette.

personal chef,  napa, girls weekend Dinner was…..To. Die. For.

But after all the crostinis, the spring pea salad, halibut steaks in a sunchoke dressing and this crazy chocolate carmel tarte that should have been illegal, we were all pretty much done. By 10pm I was in my jammies, water in hand watching a documentary about Alcatraz, shortly followed by bedtime.

It was pretty much the perfect weekend.

Back home by late afternoon yesterday, I had the good sense to take myself for a long walk to work off some of the debauchery and then early to bed after watching Real Housewives of New Jersey (of course). Does anyone else feel back for the Gudices? I do…..I feel for their kids.

So that was my week. Not much accomplished other than great memories with good friends and consuming enough food to feed a small nation. Time well spent in my view.

Today, back to work, back to eating healthfully and back to the life I love.

How was your weekend?

This article also appeared over at The Healthy Diva.

Eating to satiety

BE LESS HUNGRY, BE FULLER LONGER, CONTROL APPETITE

My last post talked about eating when you’re hungry rather than eating to a schedule and letting your body dictate your meals rather than when you just think you should eat. The premise of this idea is based in mindfulness – a practice of actually being aware of how your body is feeling from one minute to the next, rather than responding to arbitrary environmental cues like dinner time.

Now, before I go on, I get that there is a value to eating on a schedule. It’s not always convenient to be popping hard boiled eggs during sales meetings or eating your dinner during your kid’s soccer practice, but I do think there’s some value to checking in with yourself at meal times and seeing how hungry you really are. If you’re not really hungry, but you know you won’t have a chance to eat again for a few hours, try your best to eat a smaller amount and save some for later.

The practice of mindful eating centers around satiety – eating to the point of satisfaction and just enough that you are able to sustain that feeling until your next meal. There’s an art to finding out where that sweet-spot is for you, and only you can know (which is why I think ridged meal plans are a dangerous waste of time). This is one of the reasons I created ProCakes. I found that the macro balance of proteins, fats and just a little carbs, worked beautifully to keep me satiated until my next meal. It suspended my hunger (and no, this is not a crazy diet/weight loss claim). I use this example because the same result can be achieved with any healthy meal, as long as the right balance of proteins, fats and carbs are achieved. As a guiding principe, most people do well with more fats and proteins in their diet and lots of non-starchy veggies while staying away from traditionally starchy foods like breads, pasta etc.

Listening to your body to truly understand how hungry you are, and how much food you need until your next meal is the art satisfaction mastery. It’s not based on volume of food (ie, how much of anything I need to eat to stay full), but rather understanding what foods keep you fuller and more satisfied longer than others. As I mentioned, fats and proteins are typically more satisfying than grains or sugar-based foods. I will say, if you can master this process for yourself, you’re giving yourself the knowledge and power to get and stay effortlessly lean for life (baring any hormonal issues of course).

So here’s what to do:

At each meal, take a moment to get real conscious with what’s happening. take a close look at how much food is on your plate and really consider the energy content and quality of the food. Is it highly processed? Is it made up of mostly fats, carbs or protein? Do you think it will keep you full till your next meal time in 4 or 5 hours?

Now eat your food. Enjoy it. Go slowly. Chew. Not in a crazy slow motion way, but stay aware of your eating (it’s easier to do when you’re not around others). Here’s the key – the minute you feel like you’re not hungry anymore (this is different than feeling full), stop eating. Ignore the impulse to clear your plate and just stop eating. Pack up the rest of your meal and put it in the fridge immediately. Don’t let it linger in front of you.

This may seem like a really unnatural habit, and a behavior that’s not conducive to dining out with friends, but it’s not something you have to do every time you eat. The key is to build a practice of being aware of the moment you’re satisfied to the point where no further food is needed, which is a barometer we rarely pay attention to. If you’re dining out, ask the waiter for a to-go container and pack the rest of your food the minute you feel satiety hit.

Remember – the only way to do this successfully is to eat slowly and mindfully, so start there and stay aware.

I’d love to know how this works for you! Keep me posted if you give it a try!

This post also appeared on Jill Conyer’s website.