FoodPhoto11

I’ve mentioned this before, but Instagram has quickly become my favorite form of social media. I share a lot of food photos on Instagram, and some of those photos include meat now and again. And, as you can probably guess, it means quite a few people have questions about if I’m still a vegetarian or not. The short answer? No.

It’s been quite a while since I talked specifically about my food choices, and truth be told I’ve been on a bit of a food journey over the past few months.

Over Christmas and the entire month of December I decided to give paleo-style eating a try. I heard great things about paleo from a number of people and wanted to see what all the hype was about. As you can imagine, it was a huge shift for me having been a vegetarian for the last 3 years. After about a month of eating paleo, I realized that it wasn’t an eating style that suited me at all. I loved the focus on whole foods, but I really missed my grains and their filling nature.

What really sent me fleeing from paleo was the fact that I actually gained weight during that month and I felt sluggish. I’m not saying this to bash paleo in any way, since I have had friends who love it and thrive eating that way, but for me and my body it wasn’t a good fit. This experiment further emphasized what I’ve always believed: A one-size-fits-all style of eating just doesn’t exist.

After my experiment with paleo I was at a loss as to what was next. Go back to vegetarian? Eat completely without rules and restrictions? While I don’t really like food labels, I did crave some type of structure in my diet so going without any guidelines seemed strange, too.

I decided to go back to eating vegetarian 85-90% of the time and allowing myself meat when my body craved it or it was the healthiest choice available. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in an airport or restaurant and been stuck eating a baked potato or something similar in the name of being a vegetarian when, in reality, getting a grilled chicken breast would have been the more nutritionally-sound choice. It didn’t make sense to me to make an inferior food choice in the name of following a set of self-imposed rules.

The past few months of eating with a more relaxed yet mindful approach have been wonderful! I don’t eat much meat during the week, but occasionally I’ll have a hamburger on the grill or a little shaved turkey with my lunch. As always, the meat is more of an afterthought and the veggies are front and center on the plate. It’s freeing to be able to make the choice to include meat now and again without having to eat it all the time. The more I play around with what I eat, I have realized that all-or-nothing rarely works.

How do you approach your eating style? I’m curious if others of you steer clear of hard and fast food rules, too?
Madison

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May Food and Fitness Goals
1. Drink at least 80 oz of water each day
Why didn’t anyone tell me how great drinking water makes you feel?! Actually, people did tell me that drinking water all day makes you feel much better than drinking coffee all day, but I never listened. I’m a convert for life. After my first two cups of coffee, I’ve been switching over to water for the remainder of the day.
2. Lose those last 3 pounds my body has been hanging on to recently.
Done! I’m back to wearing all my favorite items of clothing. It’s amazing how a few extra pounds can make such a difference. It’s not about being “skinny” but about feeling healthy and like my regular self.
3. Exercise 45 minutes 5x a week
I’m not sure if I hit this goal or not since I didn’t really track my exercise each day, but I think I was close. Joe and I have been playing a lot of tennis, which means we can be exercising for 1 1/2 hours on any given night. I think makes up for any of my shorter workouts. I’ve also been upping my running mileage and getting in more runs in the 3 1/2 to 4+ mile range. The plan is to find a half marathon to sign up for later this summer or fall. I’m really missing having something to train for and the feeling of going on a really long weekend run.
4. Make a vitamin and supplement plan and stick to it
For a number of reasons (too lengthy to go into with this post) I have had to re-vamp my vitamin and supplement routine. I bought one of those little plastic pill boxes to keep track of all my vitamins, yet another example of how I’m 80 years old at heart. I’m taking a daily vitamin D, a series of herbal supplements from my acupuncturist, Metanx, fish oil and a baby aspirin daily. I’m also looking to add a daily DHA supplement soon.
5. Log food and water intake in My Fitness Pal each day
I didn’t really succeed in this regard. After a few weeks I lost steam and got a little bored with logging all my food. Now that my body has settled back to my regular weight, I’m less interested in a daily calorie tally.
6. Participate in my friend Robin’s (free!) Pilates Summer Series
I had such a great time participating in the Pilates Summer Series! It’s amazing how doing just 5 to 10 minutes of toning Pilates each day can make a difference in your body. The videos are still online and will remain on Robin’s site, so head over there and browse. I’m planning on continuing to do the videos in the weeks and months to come!

June Food and Fitness Goals
1. Try One New Fitness Class I’m an introvert at heart, although you probably wouldn’t guess so if you met me. Sometimes I shy away from trying new things, like a new fitness class at our gym. My goal is to mix things up by trying at least one new class this month.

2. Drink 80 oz Water Daily
Keeping this one on the list because it’s a new habit and I think I could use a daily reminder to keep it up.

3. Eat More Mindfully/Practice Intuitive Eating
Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in the routine of eating, rather than listening to what my body is saying. this month I want to focus on eating more intuitively and base my food choices and the timing of my meals around what my body is saying instead of based around what time it is or what I feel like I should eat.

4. Beat Joe in a Set of Tennis
Joe and I made a list of summer goals, and this topped my list. We’re pretty competitive in tennis and it’s one of the few sports we can play together where I hold my own. I’ve come very close to beating him already this spring/summer. Joe says I haven’t been “big enough to handle the moment!” Ha!

5. Get in 10,000 Steps Per Day
I recently got a FitBit Flex through work and have been having a fun time tracking my steps each day. I’m making a conscious effort to get in at least 10,000 steps each day. On the weekends it’s much easier than during the week, but I’m finding that most days I do get above the 10,000 step mark. It’s nice to have a tangible reminder to take the stairs and walk more throughout the day.

What are your food and fitness goals for the month?

Madison

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Now that summer is in full swing, I’m afraid that I’ve been getting a little behind on posting recaps from our happenings over the past couple weeks. We had been meaning to visit Joe’s brother, Jason, and his wife, Ali, for a while now, and I’m glad we took advantage of the extra day of vacation over Memorial Day weekend to spend with them in Kansas City. I don’t think we could have asked for a better start to the summer season!

Colalge1*Please note: My pregnant sister-in-law is not drinking those beers. Just carrying them to the table for the boys. ;)
Joe and Jason spent a lot of time golfing and going to golf shops, while Ali and I did a lot of shopping, browsing around for new cosmetics, getting pedicures, working out and eating really tasty food.

Before our trip I was a little nervous about seeing Jason and Ali for the first times since our miscarriage, but I prayed deeply leading up to our trip that our time together would be blessed and that our relationships, which have always been close, wouldn’t be impacted by the differences that life has put between us.

I’m thankful that our time together was so sweet and not in the least bit awkward or strained. Ali is one of the most gracious people I have ever met, and although it was strange to talk about the contrasts in our lives right now, it was really healing, too.

Collage3Where We Ate:
Cafe Gratitude
This place was the perfect spot for lunch! The menu was a dream, filled with vegan and vegetarian options, certainly a place that Ali and I appreciated a little more than would have been appreciated by Joe and Jason.

What We Did:
Boulevard Brewery Tour
We arrived at 10 am on Sunday to stand in line for tickets, which are free. We got into the first tour of the day at 10:45. The tour was really interesting, especially for someone like me who doesn’t know a whole lot about beer.

Where We Shopped
Lush Cosmetics
I can’t believe I had never been into a Lush store before! Where have I been? Ali and I had a great time trying out all their products and I came home with a few different face scrubs and sprays that I’ve really been enjoying. The “Let the Good Times Roll” face scrub/cleanser is my new favorite and smells like a dream.

Madison

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Last time we chatted about Stitch Fix, I was quite unhappy. I felt that my requests had been ignored and I wasn’t getting pieces that really matched my style. After expressing my frustration, the team at Stitch Fix e-mailed me to get specific feedback (in detail) about what I was looking for in my fix and what I was unhappy about. Their customer service was fantastic!

I explained that I was only looking for classic pieces and basics, that I wasn’t interested in much, if any color, and preferred interesting patterns to mix things up in place of color. Additionally, I mentioned that I was concerned more about quality than price and was willing to pay a little more for items I really loved and felt would stand the test of time rather than cheaper items.

This time around, I have to admit that I’m eating my words from last time. My fix was really great! And although I didn’t keep everything (which is good for my budget!) I did keep a few items that I can see myself wearing a lot this summer and fall. Let’s dive into my box, shall we?

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Item #1: Kut from the Kloth Sonja Straight Leg Jean ($78)
My stylist said that she included these jeans in my fix because they were more of a boyfriend fit and I had pinned lots of boyfriend jeans, which is true. It’s hard to find a pair of boyfriend jeans that are flattering but casual and not too distressed. These jeans totally met all my criteria for great boyfriend jeans. I do have a pair in my closet right now, but they have a more distressed look to them and are a little too casual for work. Verdict: Keep!

Item #2: Corinna Striped Heathered Dolman Top ($48)
I have a really hard time finding casual tops that I like to wear. Most of the cotton t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts I own I never really wear because they don’t seem flattering or cling in unfortunate ways. Consequently, I have a tough time knowing what to wear when we go to watch a football game with friends or have a barbecue in the backyard. This top isn’t exactly workwear, but I can see myself wearing it a lot in more casual settings. The material was thicker and had a bit of stretch to it, and it was cut in a way that was loose without being overly baggy. Verdict: Keep!

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Item #3: Carson Silk Front-Twist Sleeveless Blouse ($88)
This blouse was the most expensive item in my fix, and considering I got jeans in my fix, that’s saying something. I’m not usually someone who enjoys wearing sleeveless blouses, and it held true for this top as well. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but the way it bunched up in the front was kind of unfortunate and not all that flattering. I tried this top tucked into a skirt and really liked the way it looked, but ultimately I couldn’t justify spending that much on a top that was limited in the versatility. Verdict: Return!

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Item #4: Sally Stud-Detail Crossbody Purse ($48)
I should have specified that I didn’t want to get purses in my fixes, which I didn’t do. When purses and shoes are concerned, I prefer to buy high-quality items less frequently and since I’m pretty picky about accessories, I knew I wasn’t going to be a fan of the purse in my fix. There wasn’t anything horrible about it by any means, it just didn’t fit my style very well and wasn’t something I could see myself using much. Verdict: Return!

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Item #5: Eyelet and Embroidery Tank ($58)
This tank was really, really cute and at first glance I felt it was right-on in terms of style. The material was high-quality and there was really pretty details on the shoulders and edges of the tank, but the fit was quite horrible on me. It was very short on my long torso and it was very small on my broad shoulders. Verdict: Return!

If you’re keeping track, I kept two items and returned three. Overall, I was really pleased with my fix, enough to continue to get fixes on a regular basis. I’m a little worried that the quality may go down in future fixes when I haven’t reached out to Stitch Fix directly, but since I had such a great experience with my stylist this time around, I’m hoping to request her for future fixes since she seemed to get my style quite well.

If you’re interested in signing up for Stitch Fix, you can do so HERE.*

*Affiliate links used in this post. Opinions and review are my own.

10 Grain Banana Muffins (3) | Espresso and Cream

Yesterday afternoon Joe and I returned from Kansas City where we spent the weekend with Joe’s brother, Jason and his wife, Ali. Since it’s a seven hour car ride for us to get there, we don’t see them nearly as often as we would like, so it felt like a treat to have a long weekend to spend with them. The guys got to golf and go to the driving range while Ali and I ate at a great vegan/vegetarian restaurant and did a little shopping. And I finally got that start-of-summer pedicure I’ve been talking about for the last month.

Before we left on our little road trip, I made a bunch of healthy snacks for the car ride. It’s a habit I’ve gotten into in order to save money on the road and prevent myself from getting hangry while we are traveling. Trust me, snack are always a good idea. And it’s even better when those snacks are healthy.

10 Grain Banana Muffins (2) | Espresso and Cream

These muffins are much lower in sugar than a traditional muffin, and I could easily see them being served alongside soup or roasted veggies when spread with a little butter and sprinkle with salt. However, my preference for these muffins is to serve them with sweeter toppings, such as almond butter or a drizzle of honey. In addition to being packed with bananas, they’re also made with 10-grain hot cereal, rolled oats and almond milk. They would make a great breakfast or a snack in lunches throughout the week!

10 Grain Banana Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: 15
 
These 10-grain muffins are just slightly sweet and so good for you, too! I like to make a batch at the beginning of the week for snacks and quick breakfasts, especially slathered with peanut butter or almond butter for a boost of protein!
Ingredients
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil (I used canola but for a more savory flavor, you could use light olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups uncooked 10-grain hot cereal (I tested with Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 15 standard-sized muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, egg, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Stir in the 10 grain cereal, followed by the almond milk.
  4. In a second bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to 10 grain cereal mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon about ¼ to ⅓ cup batter into the 15 prepared muffin cups. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and just baked through in the center. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Serve with almond butter, peanut butter, butter or jam, if desired.

 

 

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