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.

photo (8)
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?

photo (13)

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.

IMG_9071

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.

The true cost of not eating breakfast (hint: it’s totally fine)

It's okay not to eat breakfast. Intermitted Fasting
There’s been a rumor out there for a long time about breakfast that I”d like to dispel. The truth is, it’s not as important as you think and no, you’re not hurting yourself if you don’t eat it.

First off, let’s be clear that breakfast is defined as the first meal of the day: “break” “fast”. It’s not confined to a certain window of time in the morning, so if you don’t eat when you wake up, you’re actually not missing breakfast, you’re simply suspending it to a later time.

In fact, there is some inherent benefit to skipping breakfast if you’re not hungry in the morning as your body can burn fat more efficiently if you fast for 16 hours or more. That said, there is zero benefit to starving yourself if you are hungry. There’s actually adverse effect if you do.

So if you are genuinely not hungry when you wake up in the morning, this is a feeling you should honor. If your body doesn’t need food in the morning, listen to it. Go about your AM routine, but be sure to respond to your hunger when it comes up. If that’s at 10am during a meeting, make sure you have a couple of hardboiled eggs on hand so that you don’t reach the point of being famished, but it’s a-okay to let yourself get a little hungry.

Very often, as our bodies become more fat-adapted and less reliant on a constant prop up of glucose (carbs and sugar), we can go much longer periods without food. The technical term for this is intermittent fasting, and it’s a powerful way to lose excess body fat, but all you need to know is that if you’re not hungry, it’s okay not to eat. This is contrary to the way we were raised (to sit at the table until we finished everything on our plates) but what our parents didn’t realize was that they were setting us up with a poor relationship to food and hunger by forcing us to consume more than we really needed or wanted in the moment.

In fact many pediatricians recommend not forcing kids to finish their portions because that antiquated theory of eating what you’ve been served has clearly had deleterious effects on our waistlines as adults.

So I’ve thrown a few new terms at you that you may not recognize. If you’re not yet familiar with, fat adaption, I recommend heading here to learn more. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out what Mark’s Daily Apple has to say, but overall I”d say that learning the science behind it is less important then just listening to your body’s natural hunger feelings.

Waiting until you’re hungry to eat is a pretty novel concept when we consider the natural behaviors of our cultural approach to mealtime, but it’s something to consider in terms of what makes sense for your body vs what your schedule dictates.

Food for thought.

This article also appeared on Jill Conyer’s website.

How to be happy.

HOW TO BE HAPPY

I read this NYTimes article today about happiness and materialism and it put a few things in perspective for me. The article suggests that the more we clamor for fame and fortune, the unhappier we are, whereas the more we set our goals around relationships, the happier we are.

The moral – love people and use things, not the reverse.

This theory isn’t rocket science, but don’t we need that constant reminder? It makes me think of a friend who has faced professional challenges in the last year, but as a result, has received so much support from friends and family that they’ve been humbled to the point of tears (several times). It’s such a beautiful thing to see.

It’s so easy to get distracted and dragged down with the ups and downs of money and career, but the real wake up call typically happens when it starts to impact our health and we become truly aware of our own mortality. It’s in these moment that we’re going to think about the love in our lives and not sit back and think about all the amazing toys we have or have not accumulated.

IMG_4126

I’m not suggesting money is bad – quite the opposite as it certainly makes life easier, but for all it’s benefits it can also be isolating. The more you have, the more you stand to lose. The more you have, the more people expect of you – the list goes on.

As I get older and experience more in life, the more I value love, relationships and consistent sense of wellness. Sure, having money supports all those things and a cute pair of shoes can go a long way to brightening this girl’s day, but more so I’m finding little experiences bring me even more joy, like…

  • a longer than 2 minute hug from my husband
  • quick coffee dates with a dear friend
  • snuggles with my dogs
  • 10 minutes of non-woo-meditation
  • hot showers
  • long walks on a trail by my house (amazingly, this makes me giddy)
  • Real Housewives of anywhere
  • a clean house
  • a sweet ProCakes product review from a blogger (they are all so freakin awesome)
  • eating dinner alfresco
  • summer weather (and living a mile from the beach.… even tho I rarely go)
  • Going to work in my pajamas
  • The love and support of all my amazing friends

These are the little things in life that truly make me happy. And as I write them out, I feel like the richest girl in the world.

Happy Friday and have an awesome weekend!!

xo

Chasing a Dream.

Hey Guys,

I wrote this article for Lori Harder’s Daily Inspirational Newsletter, but I thought I’d share it here too, as it really speaks to the inner courage and belief in myself that I needed to muster to get where I am now (which is still no where near where I plan to be).  

Just some food for thought 

xo

photo (2)

Four months ago I took one of the the biggest leaps I’ve ever taken. I launched my own company. After years in the corporate world, a brief stint back to school for a master’s degree and many many tearful sunday nights, knowing I needed to find work I loved, I launched ProCakes – a high protein pancake mix, specifically designed for the healthy minded.

My business idea didn’t come to me right away. It took years of soul searching, a trip to an ashram in India and many more life experiences that ultimately led me to the stage to compete in Mis Bikini Universe, to discover the idea that I wanted to share with the world. In retrospect, none of this would have happened without belief in myself, a willingness to fail and a strong desire to change.

I think that deep need to make a change is almost universal. It may not be about starting a business, but it’s that sort of “big hairy goal” that changes everything and makes the possibilities of life so exciting. Very often we disregard our day dreams about what we might do “if”, because we don’t think we could ever achieve that goal, or there’s just no way it could happen for us. But that’s not true.

I honestly believe that anything is possible, be it a change in career, health or financial situation if you’re willing to take a humble approach to being a beginner, finding mentors to guide you and putting your true heart and effort into the process. I would never have thought I could start a company, much less compete in a physique competition were it not for the blind faith I had in myself, and the support of the people around me (paid coaches and trusted friends), that got me where I wanted to go.

Looking back, my life has a pattern of making big changes, from going to university as a “mature student” to tossing all my belonging in a car and driving across country at the age of 20, to quitting my corporate job and heading to India for a yoga teacher training. Some of those adventures I’d do again in a heart beat and some I wouldn’t dream of repeating, but I would never change a second of it as each risk has brought so much reward, whether in the moment, or somehow down the line. I wouldn’t be who I am today, running my own business that infuses my two biggest passions (healthy food + fitness) and getting to call my own shots if I didn’t take risks and embrace some failures. The process hasn’t been easy, but it has definitely been worth it, and still feel like I’m just getting started.

I hope this story inspires you to reconsider those dreams you’ve pushed aside because you thought they were too hard or would take too long. Time passes anyway, so you might as well be using it to your advantage and engage it in the direction of your dreams.

Is there something you’re putting off?  Do you have a dream you think you can’t achieve?  Have you tried?

A workout for the uber busy (and a video tour of my home gym)

20 MINUTE WORKOUT, QUICK WORKOUT, HOME GYM

I must say, I’ve spent a long time on my soap box talking about how important it is to put yourself first and keep your fitness habits a top priority in order to live a healthy life. And although it was well meaning (and I still stand behind my message), after launching my business 4 months ago, I can completely relate with those of you who tell me you just don’t have time.

Now I get it!!

But guess what! You don’t need much time to stay fit. Even if you can only muster 15 or 20 minutes a day, you can do SOMETHING to move your body in a positive way. And why is this important?

Because….

  • 
It will reduce your risk of chronic disease
  • It will increase serotonin – the happiness hormone
  • It will increase brain power
  • It will keep your fitness habit consistent
  • It will make you feel productive
  • It will keep you focused on what’s important (hint: your health)
  • It will keep you looking hot!

Reason enough?

Then let’s consider what’s reasonable to do if you’re too busy to workout. Obviously, convenience and accessibility are key, so here’s a few ideas from my own fitness regime. I’m a big fan of weight bearing exercise (at least 2 to 3 times per week) as it maintains strong bones and lean muscle mass which is so important, especially for women.

Here’s a quick tour of my “home gym” and a sample workout that I will often do. It truly is a busy girl’s solution for fitting in a little fitness in an overstuffed day.  Down below is my favorite 20 minute home gym workout and a list of where to find the equipment.

Workout

I do this circuit in full, going directly from one exercise to the next and take a minute break before starting it again. Generally I do it about 5 times and it takes no more than 25 minutes total.

Warm up

Repeat 2 times:

  • 25 fast squats
  • 25 reverse lunges

Circuit

  1. 20 weighted squats (hold dumbbells at shoulders)
  2. 20 weighted reverse lunges
  3. 10 wide grip pull ups (I put a foot on a chair for support)
  4. 20 push ups (I’m on my knees for half of it)
  5. 12 overhead presses
  6. 15 jump squats
  7. 10 ab rolls or a 2 minute plank hold (if you don’t have a roller)

Rest and repeat 3 to 5 times.

TIP: If I feel like really getting my heart pumping, I’ll race up and down the stairs once or twice in between sets (and I have 4 flights of stairs in my house!!)

Want to make your own gym?  Sweet!  Here’s a list of my equipment:

So if you’re a busy gal like me, give this a try and let me know what you think.  A home gym is a cheap investment that pays huge dividends and you don’t have to deal with sweaty strangers at the gym :)  If this is too much for you, try going through it once or twice or just start by heading out for a 30 minute walk.  Fitness is all about consistency and sustainability so do what you can, when you can.

Have fun with it!

Caren