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Testing The Waters

Pizza From Nick's

I have been following a pretty steady primal focused diet since February of this year.  I’m at a point now where my diet is pretty solid and my digestive tract is healed up and in a good place.  Because of this I’ve decided to test the waters and see how I do with adding small amounts of grains and wheat back into my diet.

I’m not a big bread or pasta eater.  I don’t get addicted to or crave carbs. I have always been this way, big plates of pasta are just not appealing to me because they always leave me feeling like crap.

I typically lean more towards a minimal wheat lifestyle just because that is what makes me feel top notch. However I would like to be able to enjoy some oatmeal or some bread on occasion.

Because I used to be able to handle these items without issue before, I feel like I can get back to that status.  Lately I’ve been eating small amounts of wheat and whole grains and making notes in my food journal of everything.

I don’t have digestion issues or suffer from stomach cramps when I eat wheat.  Instead I’ll become a little bloated and it will cause me to have insomnia.  Sometimes depending on how much I’ve had, I’ll have “wheat sweats” during the night.  Those are my symptoms.  Everyone handles food differently and intolerances can have multip symptoms. These are mine with wheat.

So far I’ve been able to handle whole grain bread without issue.  If it’s kept in small amounts it does not affect my sleep or cause me to have “wheat sweats”.  I did have some pizza recently and had the sweats but was able to sleep decently.

I consider this huge success and progress.  I would not be in this position if I didn’t take charge of my health and go down the primal road for several months.

My goal is to be able to enjoy a few slices of bread or some oatmeal on occasion without causing my body too much distress.  I think that I’m on the right track and making great strides.  If you follow me on Instagram you’ll start seeing more and more of these items pop up the more I experiment and keep tracking my eats in my food journal.

 

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Review: The Better Chip

The Better Chip

The folks at The Better Chip contacted me recently asking if I would sample and review their chips.  I love chips and tortillas but I’m picky about what I eat.  After learning more about their chips, I agreed and decided to give them a try.

I was sent some small sample bags of each flavor.

  • Spinach and Kale
  • Jalapeno
  • Beet
  • Corn
  • Chipotle

I admit that I was intrigued by this chips!  The concept is that the flavoring is in the chips.  There are real jalapenos and beets included in the mix to make the chip.  I liked this idea a lot because it provides different flavor profiles without the use of powders and additives.

The ingredient list is short and readable.  You can understand and pronounce each ingredient listed.  The chips boast the use of non-gmo products and they are certified gluten free.  This is good news if you’re looking to cut those items out of your diet.

These chips are hearty.  They aren’t your basic super thin, breaks when you scoop guacamole, tortilla chips.  They have some heft and bite to them.  They are great as stand alone chips or with dip.

I’ve tried them with salsa, guacamole, and hummus.  The beet flavor chips go great with hummus!

The jalapeno and chipotle chips were too spicy for me (I’m a wimp) but my husband loved them.  They had just enough heat for him to accentuate the salsa and guacamole.

The kale and spinach chips had great flavor and I ate those on their own.

Honestly these chips were great and I would not hesitate to buy some. Especially if I was hosting a party because they would provide a unique look along with flavor.  These chips would be good to take camping or for a picnic as well!  Or to take to a brewery for a snack, if you’re like us and bring food to breweries.

If you see them out, give them a shot.  You might find your new favorite tortilla chip!

 

Disclaimer: The Better Chip sent me these samples in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated further for this post.

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Keeping A Food Journal

Keeping A Food Journal

I currently keep a food journal and I have all my coaching clients keep food journals as well.  I don’t do this to track calories, macros, or food amounts as they are not things that I feel are important or necessary.

Food Journaling is to provide more of an insight in to what we eat, why we eat it, and how it makes us feel.  Along with logging how we slept and what our bathroom habits are like.  Yes I went there.  Yes I feel that is important because it can provide insight into how our bodies handle different food items.

Keeping a log of what we eat can help on so many levels but there are three that I feel stand out the most.

1. It Helps Us Stay On Track

Perhaps you’re just starting out on a new healthy lifestyle journey or maybe you have set a goal for yourself.  By keeping track of our daily eats and habits this can help us stay on track and reach our goals.  You will have a visual of how you did that day and how it made you feel.  It provides a way for us to stay focused and work towards our goals, whatever they may be.

2. It Helps Us Spot Intolerances

Because you now have a daily log of what you’re eating, you can flip through and see if you notice any patterns. Food intolerances are varied and not the same for everyone.  You might notice that every time you have cheese you break out on your chin.  Or you sleep poorly that night.  Or you get a headache later in the day.  Journaling is a way for us to physically see how food effects us which then allows us to create an action plan to address it (if we so choose).

3. It Helps Us Be More Mindful

Of our eating and our daily habits.  By journaling, we learn more about the way our bodies handle food and stress, as a result we tend to become more mindful of what we put into our bodies and how we choose to live our lives.  Life tends to become a little clear and more focused when we have dialed in our nutrition and can help reduce the stress in our lives.

I love keeping a food journal.  It’s a no judgement zone.  It’s not meant to make us feel guilty about what we eat or to put pressure on us to eat a certain way.  It’s a learning tool.  Journaling helps us work through any issues we might be facing and paints a clearer picture of the situation allowing us to create a plan to address it.

Have you ever thought about keeping a food journal?  Perhaps you should give it a try and see how it goes!  Just give yourself a goal of doing a food journal for 7 days.  That’s not too long and after 7 days you can see if you want to keep going with it.

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Life Currently

Salad with a mahi mahi burger and smoothieThe radio silence around here is because Scott and I are working hard on launching a beer related site along with getting a podcast up and running.  It pretty much has my whole attention at this point.  Summer is also jam packed with beer events that we have been covering and attending as well.  Our beer life is super busy at the moment.  Not that I’m complaining!  But life is a little hectic right now.

I have not been out for a run since I decided to take some time off from it.  The weather has been amazing lately and finally free of rain so I’m really bummed that I’m missing out on these glorious mornings.

I’m back to doing Max 30 when I don’t get sucked in to doing website stuff.  Sometimes it has been taking up my whole day and my workout slides.  I’m at a point where I need to take my own advice and start scheduling the workouts into my day like an appointment so I don’t miss out.

Eats have been going strong.  You can follow me on instagram to see the meals we have.  I am sticking to a mostly primal diet with the occasional gluten free bread.  I have also been experimenting with adding oats back into rotation to see how my body reacts.  So far the results are inconclusive at the moment.  I have had bites of a few gluteny things here and there.  One or two bites and I’m done.  Usually the item isn’t worth me dealing with bloat and insomnia to keep going.

I’m also starting to keep a food journal which is something I’ll be talking about fully in another post.  It’s something that I feel is crucial when starting a healthy lifestyle.  I have all my health coaching clients keep food journals as well.

This is life currently!  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon because I have lots to talk about plus several reviews to share as well.

Tell me what life is like on your end!

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Running Is On The Back Burner, Again

Fort Collins Trail

I haven’t said much about this because I was actually hoping it would just go away.  But it hasn’t and now it’s time to address the situation.

I have been having trouble with running and it’s an issue that has reared it’s ugly head again.  Back in 2011 I was having a problem with my right hip hurting after a run.  Not the joint, but a muscle or tendon or something.  I went to PT for it and everything.  They couldn’t pinpoint what the issue was, gave me a few exercises I could do and sent me on my way.  I eventually gave up running when we moved here because I was struggling with elevation not hip problems.

Fast forward to now, I’ve been running for a few months at this point and my hip is back to being a problem.  Not only my right hip but my left as well.  The right being the worst.  It doesn’t hurt during runs only after and it hurts a lot.

It hurts to walk and especially to go up stairs when I have to put a lot of weight on that side.  It even hurts to touch the area.  The pain will last for several days after a run.

I can’t even tell you how much this pisses me off because all I want to do is be a runner again.

Is it a shoe issue?  Is it because I’m running on trails with uneven footing?  I don’t know and I really don’t want to have to go to PT again because I didn’t think it helped the first time around.

Stretching and foam rolling are a part of my routine and it helps some but not completely.

For now, I think that I have to put running on the back burner.  Again.  And focus on some other exercises to help build up some strength in my legs and core.

At least this is what I’m hoping is going to help.  I’m going to focus on that for about a month and try running again to see how it goes.  Then keep the days that I run to a minimum while still focusing on strength and other cardio workouts.

That’s the plan anyway, fingers crossed it works!

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June Goals

Pineridge trail It’s a brand new month which means it’s time to revisit goals from last month and set some new goals for this month.

May goals, on paper, look pretty simple and straightforward; run more and add in strength training.

I failed at both of those but part of it wasn’t my fault.  I’m blaming mother nature for some!

May was a ridiculously wet month.  It was raining all the time which caused the trails to be flooded out which meant no running for me.

Could I have run around my neighborhood?  I suppose but trails are a little easier on the joints while cement makes my knees ache like crazy.  So unfortunately I didn’t get to run nearly as much as I would have liked and I didn’t get a chance to work up to more mileage.

I also didn’t do strength training nearly as much as I should have.  I did a few workouts here and there but nothing substantial.

For June I’m sticking with the previous goals.  The weather is starting to clear up and it isn’t as raining nearly as much and a lot of the trails are back to being open.

It’s also time to kick exercise back into high gear.  I’m at the halfway mark for my weight loss goals and I’m looking to be at my happy weight by this fall.  I won’t be able to do that if I don’t kick up my exercising just a big.

Two goals for this month are:

Run as much as I can and to focus more on strength training again.  I have a lot of professional goals as well (Scott and I are working on some fun stuff for Beer Fort Collins) but for lifestyle goals right now these are the main two.

How about you?  Do you have any exercise or healthy lifestyle goals you are trying to hit this month?

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Cherry Simple Syrup

Cherry Simple Syrup

My friend, Lori, over at Fake Food Free posted a picture on her instagram recently of bourbon and cherries.  I loved the idea so much that I started playing around with bourbon and cherries myself.

I had some cherries that were a little bruised and a little soft that needed used up.  I decided to try and make a simple syrup with them that can be used to flavor drinks.

The result is a glorious red colored simple syrup that can be used in everything from mixed drinks to flavoring seltzer water.

Andrea’s Cherry Simple Syrup

  • 1/2C Water
  • 1/2C Natural Cane Sugar (Can use palm sugar or honey here)
  • 1/2 pound Cherries, pits and stems removed

In a medium sized sauce pot add the sugar and water.  Over medium heat bring up to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved into the water.  Then add the cherries, simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat but leave pot on the burner.

Allow the mixture to cool for about 5-7 minutes.  Pour entire mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.

Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the syrup into a glass jar or bottle.

Shake before using.  Will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.  Makes 1 Cup of syrup.

I love the color of this syrup!  Feel free to switch up the fruits, you can do this with blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries as well!

We’ve been using this in mixed drinks with bourbon and also making some cherry lime margaritas.  It’s really easy to make and will be a hit in your household!

You can also keep it kid friendly by adding it to plain or lime seltzer for a little fun treat.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

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Almond Flour Tortillas

 

Almond Flour Tortillas

I have made some grain free tortillas before but due to the amount of coconut flour in them they lean more towards the sweeter side.  Making them perfect for sweet crepes or toasted up and used for ice cream sandwiches.

I wanted something a little more neutral in flavor to use for tacos and sandwich wraps so I fiddled around with my recipe and created a winner!

Andrea’s Almond Flour Tortillas

  • 1 1/2C Almond Flour
  • 1/2C Tapioca Flour
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Flour
  • 1 1/4C Water
  • 4 Eggs
  • Pinch of salt (sea salt or Himalayan preferred but not necessary)
  • Ghee or fat of choice for cooking

 

In a large mixing bowl, add in the flours and whisk together to remove any lumps and to fluff up the flours.  In a medium sized bowl add in the eggs, water, and salt, and whisk until the mixture is blended and frothy.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.  This will be a thin runny mixture, similiar to a crepe batter.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add in a very small amount of ghee and spread that around the skillet.

Use a 1/4C scoop for street taco size tortillas or a 1/3C scoop for wrap and enchilada size tortillas.

Pour batter into center of skillet and using a spatula spread the batter around making a very thin circle.  This takes time!

Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Remove from skillet and repeat process until you’ve used all the batter.

The amount of tortillas you get depends on the size you make.  For wrap size tortillas, this should make about 10.

Store in the refrigerator or you can also freeze them as well.  Gently reheat right before serving.

The are great for wraps and tacos.  Can also be toasted up to use as tostadas or quesadillas.  They have a neutral flavor but you can add some lime zest and lime juice if you want to make them more flavorful for tacos.

They do take some time to make so have patience because it’s worth all the effort!  You’ll have great tasting grain-free wraps with out fillers or junk.  I usually make a big batch at once and store them in the freezer.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

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Non-Food Related Weight Loss Goals and Rewards

Short purple hairRewards are a big part of the whole diet and weight loss cycle.  “If I do X then I can have Y.”  Which doesn’t seem that bad but a lot of people rely on food or drink as their rewards.  “If I workout all this week, I can have fries this weekend!”

I’m all about rewards but feel like we should start moving away from food/beverage rewards and start focusing more on non-edible rewards for our hard work.  Maybe a massage?  Or a new outfit or pair of shoes?

Setting rewards definitely helps keep us focused and to stay on track.  I don’t think it’s bad or counterintuitive to set rewards.  I do feel that we should make these rewards something that are also going to make us feel awesome and keep us on track with our goals.

I have set up several rewards for hitting my weight loss goals.  There was a time when I didn’t even think that I would make it to any of those rewards.  It seemed so far down the tunnel that I didn’t know if there was light at the end.

This month I have hit one of my goals and was able to reap the reward.  It was amazing!

I have always wanted purple streaks in my hair but never pulled the trigger and got it done.  Lots of reasons why but the most recent one (and most silly!) was because I thought that I was too chubby to pull it off.

Because of that reasoning, I made it one of my rewards.  Something to work towards because I really wanted that purple!

And I made it!  I’m down 25 pounds thanks to working out and eating well.  That was my goal, once I was down that amount, my reward was to go and get some purple in my hair.

BOOM!

Now I have awesome purple hair (it’s hard to capture in a picture but it’s rad, I promise) and I feel amazing thanks to all the hard work I’ve been putting in.

Do I have more goals?  You bet!  I have several for when I reach my happy weight and I can’t wait to get there because I will get to do all these awesome things.

So do you have a reward for hitting a weight loss or workout goal?  If not, set one today and keep a note of it somewhere so you have a visual of what you’re working towards.

 

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This Week In Pizza And Fitness

Grain Free pepperoni pizzaThe pizza this week was super simple, pepperoni and some pickled jalapeños on top!  The crust was the same base as last week.  I still don’t have any cassava flour so it was all almond flour and tapioca flour.

For some reason, yeast is not an easy thing to purchase here.  All the stores carry only the small little packets of yeast that are on the pricey side.  I recently ordered some Bob’s Red Mill yeast off of Amazon and I love it!  So far it’s been the best yeast that I’ve used and it comes in 8oz bags which is bigger than the jars of yeast that are available.  If you’re looking for yeast, check out Bob’s Red Mill (not an ad, I really like this yeast).

Scott and I have come to a conclusion about Pizza Thursdays though.  We’ve decided that we’d rather have pizza on occasion instead of having it each week.  For me personally, I have found that I really would rather have a big plate of protein and veggies over the pizza.  The pizza is delicious, don’t get me wrong!  But it’s not as satisfying as having veggies and fish, for example.

So pizza is only going to be on occasion and not a weekly thing.  I know, just as we were getting started again with Pizza Thursday, we’re nixing it.  It won’t be gone forever!

Fitness

Fitness has been going strong this week but running hasn’t been at the top.  We’ve been getting hammered with a ton of rain lately and getting out to run hasn’t happened all that much.  I know we need the rain but I have been bummed that running has been mostly sidelined.

Monday and Tuesday I did Max 30 workouts.

Wednesday was a day off.

Thursday, Run!!  There was a break in the rain in the morning so I was able to get out for a run.  It was glorious!

Friday, either another Max 30 workout or a 21 Day Fix workout.

I did get a chance to run last Sunday as well and that’s been all for this week.  It’s supposed to rain the rest of the weekend and possibly snow on Sunday.  Yikes!

How was your fitness this week?