where am I, and looking ahead.

Nearly two months of a blogging break. I had no idea that 1 week would turn into one month, which turned into two. But honestly, it was a much needed break. I have had a long few months since I last blogged, and I needed time to deal with my life, without constantly trying to share it on here.

What all has been going on? Well without getting into too much personal detail (this is available for the world wide web after all) a truly difficult breakup, the stress of finishing up my senior year, the process of making post-grad plans (hello, big decisions!), and the whirlwind weeks of crying, smiling, hugging, and reminiscing before I graduated from college this past Saturday.

I don’t know if you all can tell from that list but… I have been processing a lot. I am so thankful for family (my mom is my rock), friends (seriously, girl friends are the best) and all the others who have supported and loved me these past months. Most of all, I am so thankful to have my faith. This time has been so crucial for me, and without God to trust in, I honestly don’t know how I would have waded through all of this.

At the beginning of this past school year, I chose a word to focus on. My word was trust. As a type A, organizer, planner, and all around high stress person, trusting in the God’s plan and ways has always been a considerable challenge for me.

well that word has come into clear focus the past few months. my journey this year brought me to somewhere entirely different than my “plan” had me headed. If you had asked me 3, 2, or 1 month ago where I would be headed after graduation– you would have received a different answer every time. I’m sure you all know this, but I just need to say– it is incredibly difficult to keep steadfast trust in the Lord when it feels like His plan is changing every 5 days, or throwing you out into situations you have no idea what to do with.

but through all this tumult and change (and growth) that I have been experiencing, something really special has been happening in my life. God has been so present to me in my anxiety, my worries, my fearful moments wondering what the future holds. I have felt His tangible comfort in these moments, and I have felt Him walking with my through days.

this has all really helped me to start rethinking how I can trust in God as I move forward. yes, I will continue to trust that He has a truly amazing plan for me, and that someday I will understand it. But more importantly, I am truly trusting His presence and love in my life. God is here for me, and I am appreciating that in a way that I never have before. And if I have His love and comfort, what more do I need?

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if you’re still reading you might be wondering– so what does all of this mean health-wise, and for the future of the blog?

health wise I went through an iffy place for a while. the combination of stress and starting a new waitressing job I wasn’t working out very much and lost a good amount of weight (especially considering I wasn’t trying to lose any). But after a few weeks, I was able to get back to the basics– I packed my diet full of nutrient dense foods (avocado + ground beef? yes please) and starting lifting more weights again (cardio is just ew right now. no need to burn extra calories when you’re waitressing 30 hours a week).

For the blog– I am going to continue from here with posts on fitness, food, and maybe some more faith, seeing as that is such an essential part of my journey.  I feel like this blog is such a special opportunity, and if my faith/fitness/food story can help even one person, it’s worth sharing! I may even have a new site soon, to help me move to the next phase of my story, so keep your ears open. And of course, let me know if there is anything you’d life to hear more of on here!

If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around, I hope you’ll stay as I continue my journey!

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New Year’s Resolutions– a resolute resolution on resolutions.

    It’s 2015!

Happy New Year, friends!

Did you party the night away? Did you get that midnight kiss?

I spent my night more low key, working on some medical school applications while enjoying the classic Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Show. T. Swift, you did not disappoint.

So now, it’s January 1st. And I’m sure some/most/all of you have made lofty goals for the 365 days to come. It’s natural- new year, new start, right?

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Maybe not. What makes January 1st so special that you magically become able to both set and achieve all your year long goals? I’ll let you in on a little secret– nothing. So why don’t we take a step back, and not try to radically change every area of our lives in 1 day, okay?

The great thing about goals, is that they give us something to work towards, a purposeful direction to move our lives in. The bad thing about goals, is that we tend to make them all or nothing. And when we take a misstep, suddenly the goal is thrown out the window.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way this year! Are you ready to change? Great, we can make SMART goals to work in that direction. But the reality is, change doesn’t happen in a day, a week, or really even a month. If you are trying to change your diet, your body, your attitude, etc…. think about how long it took you to get to the place/state that you want to change. 1 year? 2 years? Your whole life? So, give yourself a break and stop expecting that you can change in a matter of weeks.

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^^we’ve all seen this right? it’s just flat out wrong. This study in the European Journal of Science found that it actually takes 66 days for a new behavior to form. Just let that sink in– more than two months. So don’t be too hard on yourself.^^

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So just quickly– what are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym that I actually learned in my Nutrition class this semester and I love the guidelines it lays out.

Goals should be:

1. SPECIFIC. Simple and clear goals to define what you want. who/what/where/when/which/why

example: This month I will move more by doing 10 minutes of yoga every morning and going to the gym 3 times a week.

2. MEASURABLE. Goals should be measurable in a way that you can have tangible evidence you have accomplished this goal. Will you know when it is accomplished?

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3. ATTAINABLE. You can reach almost any goal, but it is also a matter of mindset. If you set a goal, you can find yourself beginning to change your life around that goal. You might think you don’t have time to go to the gym, or cook a healthy meal, but if you really make these goals a priority in your life, you will see ways to reach them that you had not previously considered.

4. REALISTIC. Are you willing and able to work toward this goal? Losing 50 pounds in a week is not a realistic goal, and when you set goals like this, you are setting yourself up for failure. Take time to consider what is realistic or not when you set your goals.

5. TIMELY. This kind of goes along with Attainable/Realistic– if your goal has no time frame, there is no sense of urgency, no reason to get yourself in motion. Set a realistic timeline, but something needs to be there to keep yourself motivated!

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I hope you guys enjoy and can set some SMART Goals this year!

check out Thinking Out Loud for more January 1st ramblings!

Happy New Year!

have your protein and eat it too!

A quick recap of yesterday’s eats for WIAW!

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^eggs, veggies, and coconut oil. the perfect trio.^

Lunch, (not pictured) was a salad topped with chicken, and salsa + chips.

A little bit later, I had a banana and some greek yogurt for some fuel before my workout.

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^Dinner: simple salad topped with grilled chicken. Pretty good for an on-campus dinner. Followed by a Kind bar.^

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 ^a snack to end the night off: chocolate chips & pistachios…don’t mind if I do.^

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Being a college student, trying to fit workouts, class, homework, work, and maybe…friends?! into a busy week is not an easy task. Sometimes I want nothing more than a quick, balanced meal/snack but what’s a girl to do? There are so many protein powders out there filled with harmful ingredients, low quality sources of protein, or added sugars.

I was fortunate enough to have Formulx reach out to me a few weeks ago, with the opportunity to try their Non-GMO, Grass-Fed Protein Powder. What…this is too good to be true! This powder is also gluten, soy, sugar, and artificial sweetener free.

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I was a little wary to try this protein powder. I’ve tried different powders in the past and have never found them to be too delicious. But this protein powder, was so scrumptious! Not the gross aftertaste of your usual protein powders, and on top of that it’s high quality ingredients.

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The lovely people at Formulx were nice enough to send my two sample of the chocolate and the vanilla protein powder. I enjoyed my first taste with a simply mix- actually suggested on the package- chocolate formulx + 8 0unces of almond milk. It was like the healthiest chocolate milk I’ve ever had. Creamy, chocolatey, and full of nutrients!

Another morning, I was running late, so I threw my coffee in with a pack of the chocolate protein powder, and it made the most delicious morning ‘shake’.

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I only have good things to say about Formulx! If you are looking for a protein powder that you can eat and feel good about it, you have to try this! Their vanilla flavor is amazing as well- in pancakes, breads, so many options!

You can check out this page for baking ideas!

I hope you’ll give it a try! 

Formulx provided the samples for me, but all opinions are my own.

Questions of the day:

Do you ever use protein powder?

What are you eating this week?

Favorites Lately.

The great things I am loving this week!

Long walks in the sunshine

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After finishing his DAT this past week, my boyfriend had a little more free time. We were able to go on 2 morning walks together, which was much more fun than taking my morning walks alone. The beautiful scenery doesn’t hurt.

Dinner parties

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Last week we had a little gathering of our random group who’s here for the summer. Veggies, olives, salsa, guacamole, salami, (gluten free) chocolate cake.. all the good stuff.

Good Health Natural Foods Avocado Oil Chips

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I picked these chips up at Whole Foods this past week, and they are so good. It’s so rare to find chips that aren’t fried in harmful seed oils. I am seriously in awe that I haven’t eaten them all yet. Find some here. You won’t regret it.

Plantain Chips

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These Trader Joe’s chips are so crispy and perfect with salsa or guacamole. I love making my own plantain chips, but for a quick snack, or a side these are easy & can be stored longer than my homemade ones.

Trail Mix..in bulk.

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Trail mix has always had a special place in my heart. Probably because I always went for the ones with m&ms and//or plenty of chocolate. Now, though I love simple, whole trail mixes without all the unnecessary sugar & weird ingredients.

Purely Elizabeth Granola

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This granola was on sale at Whole Foods this weekend. And it just happened to be the same day I was testing “non-gluten grains” for my Whole30 reintroduction. How could I resist? This granola is gluten-free, vegan and has no refined sugar. You seriously need to try it ASAP!

Nikki’s Coconut Butter

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If you couldn’t tell just from looking, every flavor of Nikki’s Coconut Butter is simply amazing. This one, however, has a special place in my heart. I mean.. dark chocolate fudge without a bunch of low quality processed ingredients. Need I say more?

Theo Chocolate

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Theo chocolate. It’s organic//fair-trade//non-GMO and also happen to taste ridiculously good. This salted almond is my first bar of Theo’s but I know I will be back for more. My favorite part is that Theo chocolate doesn’t have any soy lecithin. This is an ’emulsifier’ put in chocolate bars to keep the cocoa and cocoa butter together. It contains herbicides, pesticides, GMOs, and phytoestrogens from the soy. I say..if they don’t have to be in there, I’ll take my chocolate without please & thanks. 

Question of the day:

What are some of your favorites lately?

WIAW Whole30: Weekend Style (day 13).

For my WIAW today, I am skipping ahead to my Whole30 eats this Saturday. My days have been pretty similar lately, and this one is a little more fun! This past weekend one of my friends came into town to attend a wedding. On Saturday morning, we decided to go to the Farmer’s Market together.

I was up early so I went for an hour walk, and then threw together this breakfast plate. 

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Cauliflower rice, and 2 eggs. Simple. I only ate about half of it before we headed out

At the Farmer’s Market we explored the different booths. I’m a regular attendee of the market, but my friends had only been once or twice before. I’m always shocked when people tell me that. Such an amazing source of fresh produce and meats right downtown, why wouldn’t you go? But then I remember that for most college students the proximity + price >> value//health//supporting local farmers. (even though produce here is usually cheaper than in-season produce at the grocery store!)

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Left: smoothies//Right:Pasta

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Plant shopping! 

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I will definitely be back to test this cute hole-in-the-wall store out.

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More plants. I almost caved, but not this time.

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Obligatory stop in Antrhopologie. I mean, when there’s a 15% off sale..you just have to. I bought an Angel Food Cake candle that I have been lusting after for over a year now.

After walking around all morning and taking our sweet time in Anthropologie, everyone was ready for a meal. We hopped over to Tupelo Honey Cafe and enjoyed some brunch fare.

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Omelet and potatoes for me. White potatoes: now Whole30 approved 🙂

After we returned from downtown, I spent the afternoon studying, packing up my apartment, and a quick break for painting my nails. I threw a workout somewhere in there, the perfect break from being stuck in my apartment all day.

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I love summer colors- blue is the best.

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For dinner, the boys and I stopped by Whole Foods to grab our favorite dinner before doing the weekly grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. I scored some blackened cod right as they were putting it out. So delicious!

Later that night, after packing up my apartment for a few hours, my friends Mary, Bevin, and I headed down to Sip to check it out. Mary met us there after attending a friend’s wedding, so we got the dish, and enjoyed chatting together. I didn’t have anything there (driver + Whole30) but it was overall just a fun place to hang out. There were little couches and tables, as well as some standing tables, and a giant picnic style table in the middle for a more social seating. We hung out on our own little couch for a couple of hours, before calling it a night!

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See- you can still have fun on the Whole30!

Whole30: Day 11

Whole 30 Day 11! I can’t believe how far I am along.

Breakfast

Cauliflower rice, peppers + onions, and a few eggs. I cooked the cauliflower rice in ghee and it was on point, as usual. For the eggs, I heated the veggies in a pan first, then cooked the eggs over them.

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Lunch

Prosciutto, avocado, peppers, and spaghetti squash. A delicious protein + veggie packed meal.

 

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Snack

Berries + pistachios. This combo of sweet fruit and salty nuts is SO good.

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Dinner

Another fantastic meal, cooked with the boy. Spaghetti squash (pasta for him), chicken, sauce, and amazing, amazing asparagus. This meal was so filling (that spaghetti squash has volume).

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Questions of the day:

Have you tried spaghetti squash? It’s ah-mazing!

Whole 30 Day 10

My Whole30 is rolling right along! Let’s check out Day 10 eats.

Breakfast

Frozen veggies are a life safer. They cook so quickly, and I always have a few bags around for when my fresh veggies run out and//or I don’t want to prep anything.

This was eggs, frozen peppers + onions, and some cauliflower rice cooked in ghee. Cauliflower rice + ghee is my favorite. It has so much flavor!

Breakfast also included banana, almond butter, coconut milk, and cinnamon. Pretty much the usual lately.
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Lunch

For lunch, I grabbed a salad at Upcountry Provisions. I had avocado, peppers, cucumbers, and some fried thing on top. I didn’t realize it came with a ‘topper’ so I just did my best to eat around them. Sometimes a good talk with a friend is just more important.

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Snack

That salad left me pretty hungry, so a little later I followed it up with an apple and some delicious pistachios.

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Dinner

While we were preparing dinner, I finished the second half of a Kombucha I had laying around. It was the perfect appetizer to our brinner.

Brinner was amazing, as always: eggs, potatoes, spinach, and onions.

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Questions of the day:

Brinner: yay or nay?

Whole 30 Day 9

Breakfast

Eggs, salsa, peppers, avocado. Simple but delicious breakfast.

 

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Lunch

Lunch was random and eaten on the go. After eaten a bunch of pistachios in my car, I had 2 pieces of prosciutto and a peach. Simple and delicious.

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Dinner

This was a delicious meal! Shredded chicken, roasted veggies, and cauliflower rice. Simple healthy ‘comfort’ food.

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Another delicious day on my Whole30!

Whole 30: Day 8

Whole 30 Day 8… wow the time is flying. Today is actually Day 12 for me, but I’m a few days behind on the food updates. It is going really well though. There are foods that I crave sometimes but I the food I am eating is always delicious. Literally sometimes I’m like wait… is this really Whole30? It tastes too good to be true…

Breakfast

Another breakfast on the go. Eggs, veggies and guac//banana, coconut milk, cinnamon and almond butter. So good.

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Lunch

Lunch was a simple mic. Canned wild salmon, guacamole (mashed together) topped with bell pepper. Follower by apple + almond butter. Easy on the go nutrition.

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Workout

I was feeling good and did a mix of bodyweight and machine exercises to kill my legs!

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Dinner

For dinner, the boy and I threw together a delicious mix. Burgers, greens, and sweet potato fries.

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Snack

A little later that night I was still hungry so I threw together a favorite bowl lately. Berries, coconut milk, coconut butter, and some roasted almonds.

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All in all a pretty delicious day!

WIAW & Whole30 Day 7- Cauliflower Rice?

Happy WIAW!! Today I have my eats from Whole30 Day 7 and my first attempt at cauliflower rice!

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A morning walk with some friendly lake animals. Baby ducks are too cute.

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The walk ended with a side of rain. But I was already out, so I just went with it.

Breakfast

Eggs, salsa, spinach, and avocado. This is a dreamy combination.

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Lunch

I had a snack-y lunch because it was hot and I wasn’t really in the mood for anything more exciting than that. And that’s ok.

Fish, followed by  berries with pistachios and coconut butter.

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Then I attempted my big adventure of the day: making cauliflower rice.

I’ve been interested in cauliflower rice for a while, but it always seemed so intimidating. I mean..how does it even work? Do I have to hand grate this stuff? Shred it with my hands? I am not domestic enough for this…

But it turns out that making cauliflower rice was incredibly easy, and I didn’t have to get any more domestic to make it work!

How to Make Cauliflower Rice

Step 1:

Cut your cauliflower up into small pieces, and remove the stalk/stem. I cut mine up into about the size pieces I would normally eat, maybe a little smaller. This is not an exact science, so don’t over think it.

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Step 2:

Blend it up! Food processors are generally recommended for this, but I don’t have one, so I changed it up. Vitamix to the rescue, again. I just made sure to do the cauliflower in smallish batches so it wouldn’t overwhelm the 2 blades of the blender.

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Step 3:

You did it!! To cook this you can either toast it in the oven, or cook it in a pan.

I’ve been cooking mine up with some ghee and it is delicious. The ‘rice’ doesn’t really have any flavor, so your options are endless! Stir fry, mexican rice, breakfast rice, anything you can dream up!

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Workout

I stopped by the gym in the afternoon and did a HIIT workout. Quick & dirty, it’s the way to go!

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Typical Furman. Looking so beautiful.

Dinner

I threw together a quick dinner of fish, spaghetti squash and guacamole. It was a random combination, but still scrumptious. I love having prepped veggies around, it makes busy weekdays much easier.

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Questions of the day:

What do you prep to make your week easier?

Have you tried cauliflower rice or any other ‘alternative’ versions of typical foods?