Resources for October Unprocessed

Whole Roasted ChickenAs I mentioned earlier this week, I’m taking the October Unprocessed challenge.  A whole month of eating whole foods and kicking the unprocessed foods to the curb.

The thought of that can be a little overwhelming at first, especially once we realize how much processed foods we currently are eating.  I’ve got resources, links, and guides to help us get through it!

Definitely make sure you go over to Eating Rules because Andrew has a ton of information to help with this challenge including a free PDF! The PDF goes over everything you would want to know including what to do about dining out.  This is helpful to me because Scott and I are going to be exploring Denver and I plan on dining well and eating at restaurants that do most of their dishes in-house (like handcut fries instead of frozen bagged fries.).  Thankfully it’s not hard to find great restaurants in Denver that fit my food philosophies.

For those of you that have families and are feeling like you can’t make this work when you have to feed kids, don’t fret, there’s resources for you too!

100 Days of Real Food has loads of information and resources for cutting out processed food and tips for feeding the kiddos.

Nom Nom Paleo has a lunchbox series that gives you tips, ideas, and recipes for sending your kids to school with a lunch full of real foods.  No snack cracker packs here! This isn’t just for kids though, you can definitely alter this for work lunches too.

Meal planning and prepping gets easier the more we are prepared and ready to tackle the week. Popular Paleo lists 9 things that she always has on hand and ready to go so that there’s no temptation to fall back to packaged snacks.

Good Food For Bad Cooks has a free downloadable weekly menu planner.  You can print this out and stick it right on the fridge so that you can stay on track for the week.  There’s also lots of other great guides and resources as well, so take a peek around the site.

None of these links are affiliates or anything like that.  These are resources that I use and that I feel can be helpful to all of us to make this month a success.

Starting next week, I’ll be posting our eats, how meal planning and prepping is going, and my thoughts about the process.

If there’s sites or sources that you find helpful, feel free to share!  Your comment might go into moderation but don’t worry, I’ll make sure it gets approved.

Here’s to a healthy month full of delicious foods!


30 Day Streak Wrapup And October Unprocessed Month

Scott and Andrea runningWe did it! We have made it through the 30 Day Streak Challenge!  How did everyone do?

Did I run or exercise everyday?  Short answer, no.   Longer answer, there were a few days where either the weather wasn’t cooperating or that I didn’t have the energy or time to head out.  I learned a lot during this streak though and realized a few things about myself.

For one, I am not a runner.  At least for this period in time running and I are breaking up.  But I did find an activity that I love and have put the passion I used to have for running into cycling.

I’m not ready to call myself a cyclist just yet but I hope to become one.  I have also realized that I’m ready to give the gym another chance. Before when I tried the gym, I didn’t go and got frustrated with it because it wasn’t running.  I still had it stuck in my head that I needed to run for exercise and to lose weight.

Very foolish thoughts.

Next week I’m going back to the gym to sign up and start taking classes.  Spinning, Body Pump, and yoga are the classes I’m going to start off with and we’ll see how it goes.

During this challenge I learned that one of my biggest obstacles was exercising on the weekend.  I struggled trying to figure out when to add it in and then ended up not doing it at all.  I made it more of a bigger deal than it should have been, which is something I tend to do.  This is not OK.

New goal is to workout at least one day during the weekend but also respecting my bodies signals.  If it’s telling me I need a rest then I’ll rest.

I am also committing to another challenge for the month of October!

Veggies noodles in a peanut sauce with curry shrimp

October Unprocessed run by Andrew over at Eating Rules.  This is the fifth year of this challenge and each year it grows bigger and bigger.  The idea is to cut out processed food from your diet and to start cooking more meals at home.  It sounds simple BUT we as a society eat a lot of processed foods and we don’t even realize it.

I cook a good bit already but I’m committed this month to cook even more at home.  Aiming to get us back on track and ready to tackle the winter holidays properly and in a healthy way.

Since Andrew has been running this for a few years now he has loads of resources ready for you and any questions you might have.  Like The Kitchen Test to help you determine what is processed and what isn’t.  Along with a lot of guides to help out including a free PDF download.  Make sure to head over to his site clicking any of those previous links and you will find everything you need to know.

Yes cutting out crap means more time is going to be spent in the kitchen but is that a bad thing?  If everything is planned and there’s a prep day that means less time in the kitchen during the week and only one major cooking day.

We can do this!

I’ll have a post up later this week with some resources that will help keep us on track and tips so we can make this month a success!  Let’s do this!


Dropping The Runner Label

For a good chunk of my life I was a runner.  That’s how I classified myself and for a while, how others classified me.  I was a distance runner who ate half marathons for breakfast.  I lost weight and got back in shape by running.  There’s a lot of people that I met through running and they know me as a runner.  It was a huge part of my life for a long time.

Moving to Colorado has come with a lot of changes, all of them personal and all of them for the better.  I can see that now, hindsight and all of that. For a while though, I was a little lost.

Running has been a constant struggle since the move.  When we first arrived, I was coming off an injury and still had a solid foundation but no distance.  Elevation is not my friend when it comes to running.  Running became something I hated instead of loved.  I could never catch my breath, my legs constantly cramped up, and I could never get past a damn mile without wanting to crash on the ground.

As a “runner” and being used to distance like it was nothing, this was a confusing and frustrating time.

I’m a runner! I have to be able to run!  Everyone who knows me as a runner is expecting me to run.  

Those were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head constantly.  I would beat myself up over the fact that I wasn’t getting the hang of running here.  Everyone told me to just keep plugging away at it and eventually things would work out.

Except that is exactly what I was doing.  For two years.  It’s been two years and I still can’t run even a mile without a lot of issues.  This was stressing me out.  Naturally I gained weight which made things even more stressful.  I’m not “me”.  I don’t feel like me and I certainly don’t look like me.  Being in a new city, meeting new people all while not really feeling like me because I didn’t have running to turn to, yeah, I was completely lost.

Priscilla, my hybrid bike

Then a bike showed up in my life.  The town we live in is amazingly bike friendly.  It’s pretty easy to bike from one place to the next and ever since we moved here, Scott and I have been wanting to get bikes.

We finally made the plunge and our bikes arrived earlier this month. We each purchased hybrid bikes, nothing fancy, a pretty basic bike.  I hadn’t been on a bike since middle school so I was a little nervous at first.  Of course you never forget how to ride a bike but maneuvering one and managing turns and hills does take some practice!

I’ll be fully honest, the number one reason we bought bikes was to start biking to breweries and bars instead of driving.  Priorities and all. My thoughts on biking didn’t extend any further than that.

I never considered biking as serious exercise before. When I was running, I thought that was superior.  Oh sure, cyclists can go long distances but runners have to do it on their own, not with the help of a bike.  I know, I know, that’s ridiculously elitist sounding.

The first time we headed out on our bikes, we went to a brewery and then we biked around downtown for a bit.

That first bike ride kicked my ass and made me seriously rethink my stance on cycling as exercise.  That’s all it took for me to fall in love with biking.

It also made me realize that I don’t have to be a runner any more.  I don’t have to live by that label. As simple as that sounds, it was a hard realization for me to come to.

Biking has given me freedom and validation that I’ve been looking for for two years.  Freedom in breaking free from the runner label, validation in that, yes I actually can do serious cardio at elevation.  This is kind of a big deal and very much a WHOA moment for me.

So for now I’m ditching the runner label.  Maybe I’ll try running again at some point but currently my focus is on biking.  This is where life has taken me and I’m happy here.


PS: I’ll share more in another post about exactly why I love biking and why it fits my lifestyle right now.



Review: The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz

We love tacos in this house.  On the whole we probably eat tacos at least once a week.  It’s easy to quickly cook up some ground meat, season, and serve in a shell or wrap.  Putting a pork shoulder in the slow cooker and we’ve got pulled pork tacos for days.  Plus you get to load up your taco anyway you please with a variety of condiments.

Tacos fall into the crowd pleaser category, almost everyone loves taco night!

Sometimes we can fall into a rut with tacos, having the same style frequently.  I was happy to accept The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz for review.  This cookbook is jam packed with some pretty creative taco ideas like the Zuccini Pesto Taco and the Korean Taco, just to name a couple.

Along with recipes this taco cookbook also offers up a list of what kitchen items you’ll need in order to prepare all of these recipes, spice mix recipes, and how to make your own taco shells and tortillas.  Plus a section devoted to making sauces and salsas at home.

It’s pretty much an all-in-one book full of taco inspiration!

Barbecue Pork Taco

I went with the Barbecue Pork Taco because I had some pork already out that needed to be used and some barbecue sauce ready to go.

Barbecue Pork Taco

© Brandon Schultz, reprinted with persmission from Skyhorse Publishing

Makes 6-8 tacos

  • 1TBSP Butter
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 2 pounds pork, cut into 7 or 8 large chunks
  • 2 cans vegetable broth (14.5oz each)
  • 1 1/2 C barbecue sauce
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 2C lettuce, torn into large pieces
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1TBSP sour cream per taco
  • Tortillas
  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 1 hour.

  2. Shred pork into large pieces using two forks to pull meat apart.  Cover and cook 10 more minutes.  Pull meat apart into smaller shreds, cover, and cook 10 more minutes.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix pork, barbecue sauce, and pepper.

  4. Loosely cover a tortilla with torn lettuce.  Top with pork, tomato, and sour cream.

I used hard taco shells instead of soft and the tacos turned out great. I used a homemade sauce but you can use your favorite barbecue sauce.

This cookbook is full of creative recipes for tacos and I bet you would find inspiration on how to repurpose weeknight leftovers into tacos.

Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing for sending this book my way!

Disclaimer: I was sent this cookbook for review.  I was not compensated for this post and my statements are my own.


Beer, Pizza, and Choices

Avery Barrel Aged Beers

Sunday was a funday for Scott and I, we took a day trip down to Boulder for some beer and food.  Having a dog with severe separation anxiety means that we don’t get to travel or do a whole lot.  Our compromise in this situation is to have someone come and sit with the dogs for the day while we get a blissful few hours to ourselves.

Yes, we have to get a sitter for our dogs.

When we do get to go out, we make the most of it.  One of our favorite breweries was having a bottle release that day so we decided to make a day of it in Boulder.

We arrived at Avery early and I was sipping on some barrel aged Czar before noon.  I have no problem with this situation.

After Avery we visited another brewery and then it was off to find some dinner.

Backcountry Pizza

We aren’t that fond of the pizza options in Fort Collins so we decided to get some good pizza while in Boulder.  Backcountry pizza offers up tasty budget friendly pies along with a pretty great taplist.

I nommed on some supreme pizza and sipped on a Wooky Jack.

And yes this is still a blog all about eating well and living well.

But it’s also a blog about embracing life and not being a afraid to live it.

Do I feel like I (GASP!), indulged?  No.  I’m not a big fan of using words that implies someone should feel guilty or regret their eating choices.  I hate that as a society we have to label food choices as something “clean” or something “indulgent”.

I’m not having any of that nonsense.  Just eat the damn food.

Eating shouldn’t be difficult or a challenge. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think mindfully about what we choose to eat.

My philosophy is eat whatever you want, just make it the best that you can get.  Meaning, if you want a burger spend that money on a nice grassfed burger instead of something that comes out of a drive-thru window.

It’s always all about choices and our goal should be to make the best choice that we can make and not whether we feel like being “good” or “indulging”.

Sunday was like my perfect day, great beer and good cheesy pizza. Amen.