Grains and Gains

cheese danish from farmer's market

Recently I talked about how I was going to start adding in some whole grains back into my diet to see how I handle them.  I’ve been focusing on old fashioned oatmeal and whole grain breads.  So far things have been going well with that.  Those grains aren’t causing me any sleep or digestive issues.  This means I can get back to eating oatmeal (I do love it!) and having a sandwich on occasion.

I pressed my luck and splurged a bit.  I got a cheese danish from the farmer’s market last week and had that for breakfast with coffee.  It was delicious and decadent.  And it caused me a lot of problems.  Booo

It left me feeling bloated and crappy.  Plus I couldn’t sleep that night.  The bloaty feeling stuck around for two days after eating that danish.  Bleck!  So while delicious, I know that those are the types of things I need to stay away from.  I can have a few bites if I really want it but otherwise, white flour based treats are out.  Which is fine because I typically don’t gravitate towards that stuff anyway.

My gains are with running and this makes my heart sing!  I took some time off running since it was starting to bother my hip.  Instead I started focusing more on HIIT workouts (Insanity Max 30) and weight workouts with 21 Day Fix Extreme (21FX). Both of these have helped me get back on track and being able to start running again.

Max 30 helped me keep my endurance and cardio levels up.  21DFX helped me strengthen my core and work on my leg strength.  That program has a lot of one legged exercises (think one legged squats) that helped me with balance and to make my legs and hips stronger.

I started running again last week and it went well.  My hips were only a little sore after the run but the soreness didn’t last. It did not linger through the next day and I could walk up stairs without limping.

Score!  This is amazing!  Running is so much my jam and we have so many amazing places to run here.  I love getting up early in the mornings and knocking out a run.  Nothing makes me feel as amazing as a run does.  It always puts me in a good mood and starts the day off on the right foot.  I love it.  I can’t go run every day but right now I’ll take something over nothing.

Where do I go from here?  Still going to focus on eating whole grains on occasion and keeping that in check.  Along with adding running back in a few days a week.  I’m also getting ready to start a new workout routine called CIZE.  I have a challenge group that starts next Monday and it’s not too late to join in.  CIZE is a hip-hop dance focused workout routine.  No burpees and no weights.  Just shakin’ the booty and getting exercise at the same time.  There’s still time to join the challenge group if you want in.  Give me a shout and I’ll send you all the details!

How are your workouts going lately?




Review: Block Island Organics Sunscreen

Block Island SunscreenSun protection is a big issue here in the mountains and needs to be taken seriously.  The sun is hot and intense.  You can burn a lot more quickly here than at sea level.  Most people doing outside activities actively wear sunscreen along with big hats to help keep their face and head covered.

However most sunscreens are filled with a lot of nasty chemicals.  Yeah they are keeping you from getting sunburnt but at what cost?  What exactly are we putting on to our skin to keep it “safe”?

When I was contacted by Block Island Organics to test out their all natural sunscreen I immediately jumped at the chance. Block Island focuses on bringing natural skin care products to consumers.  I was told that all of their products are free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, dyes and artificial fragrances.  No animal testing and all products have a vegan base formula.

I was all in!  Since I’ve been doing more hiking this year, outside yard work, and running, I needed a quality sunscreen.  I like that this sunscreen was made from all natural zinc and didn’t have any junk added to it.

The Pros:

  • There’s no fake smell or fragrance with this sunscreen.  You won’t smell like a beach or attract bugs.
  • It’s not overly greasy or heavy.
  • All natural, made with only zinc.
  • Doesn’t sweat off.
  • Safe to use on face.

The Cons:

  • A little goes a long way, so start off with a small amount.
  • If you use too much, you’re skin will be white or streaked white which can last for a while.

Using this product does have a bit of a learning curve to it because you do need to start off with a small amount and make sure that is fully rubbed in before doing more.  If too much is used, I’ve found that it can streak and not really absorb into the skin as it should.  Leaving your skin pasty white looking or with random white streaks.

That can be quickly dealt with though.  Other than that, I had no problems with this sunscreen. I used it during several different activities and I was pleased that it didn’t come off with sweat or leave me feeling greasy. Plus there’s no fragrance so you aren’t left smelling like a pina colada.

If you’re looking for a high quality sunscreen that isn’t going to break the bank or leave you feeling all goopey, give Block Island a shot.  You won’t be disappointed!

Block Island also offers other products such as moisturizers and cleansers. If you’re looking for all natural products, check out their site.

Bonus for Food Embrace readers! There’s a discount for purchases through the Block Island Organics site!  You’ll get 15% off your purchase valid only from July 30th – Aug 5th.  Enter code “andrea” at checkout.


Disclaimer: I was sent this product in exchange for a review post. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.


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.



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.


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.