Hello, friends!! Welcome to another round of “Motivation Monday.” In the future, I want to dedicate posts to certain topics and dive really deep into areas like clean beauty products, toxins in the home, how I meal prep or my workout routine. But since this is our second week, I thought I would answer some questions from last week!
Q. What are your go-to “healthy meals” when eating out?
Good question! Even though I prefer to make meals at home, it’s still fun to go out to eat every once in a while. If I’m near the coast, I will usually order their fresh catch of the day and aim for smaller fish like salmon because it has less mercury content. At the beach this past week, I ordered a spinach salad with grilled mahi mahi on top and it was the best meal I had all week. I also enjoy plain spinach salads – my favorite toppings include cucumbers, strawberries, red onions, and walnuts or almonds – and I’ll usually ask if they can add either hummus or quinoa for a protein source (I usually omit cheese and croutons!). At Mexican restaurants, I usually order veggie fajitas and pile on the vegetables and avocado. Chris and I both love sushi but I mainly stick to either veggie rolls or avocado rolls made with brown rice (if you haven’t tried avocado rolls yet, they are DELISH!).
We have a few amazing restaurants in Winston Salem (where I live) that have pretty creative vegetarian/vegan menus and serve meat as well, so my husband and I usually go to those so that we’re both happy! One of my favorite restaurants here serves a vegan burrito bowl with cauliflower rice, spinach, mushrooms, beans, pico de gallo, scallions and an AMAZING sour cream made completely from cashews. It’s one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life – and it’s completely guilt-free!
Q. I drink a lot of soda, and I’m not a healthy eater at all. I am a teacher that gets sick all the time. I’ve been convincing myself to eat better however idk the first place to begin. How did you start off?
The best way to start off is with one small goal at a time! My journey didn’t happen overnight – it happened one decision and one day at a time. Maybe you can start with a goal of cutting out soda. The first step would be finding some alternatives to drink that are healthier but don’t taste like plain water (if you think plain water is boring!) – maybe some flavored sparkling water, or you can add in cucumbers and lemon slices to filtered water in a water bottle to bring with you. Making yourself a hot tea in the afternoons feels like a treat, especially if you add in some organic honey! Set yourself up for success by getting rid of all of the soda in your house and always have an alternative drink by your side so you aren’t tempted to get a soda while you’re at work. Once you nail that small goal, you can move on to your eating habits. Don’t try to do everything at once, because it will seem too overwhelming! I’ve found that when it comes to eating healthier, removing the temptation is key – when I first made the transition over from processed foods to real, whole foods, I had to go through our pantry and refrigerator and throw out ALL the sugary, chemical-filled junk food. That way I wasn’t tempted to snack on junk food in a moment of weakness, and if I was hungry, I was forced to eat some fresh fruit or bake a sweet potato.
Q. Healthy snack ideas?
My snacks are a little boring, haha. I really like snacking on raw, unsalted nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts (nuts are very nutrient-dense so just a handful goes a long way!). In the summer I LOVE snacking on fresh fruit – really anything that’s in season, although my favorites are peaches (with cinnamon on top) or a bowl of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. If I want something a little more substantial, I’ll toast a piece of Ezekiel bread and mash up some avocado on top, or I’ll bake a sweet potato in the oven and then mash the contents in a bowl with some organic cinnamon. I also keep one of these Superfood Larabars in my purse as all times for emergencies – these bars only contain six ingredients (all organic), no preservatives and they taste amazing – kind of like a chocolate bar!
Q. What do you drink in your coffee?
When I make coffee at home, I like using oat milk – it tastes JUST like regular milk and froths up really nicely! We have a Breville Oracle Touch that I use to make lattes. I’ll usually do one pump of organic vanilla syrup, a shot of espresso and a cup of frothed oat milk for the perfect latte. If I’m making a regular coffee using the Keurig, I’ll add in a splash of cold oat milk. I usually save Starbucks coffees for a treat and try not to have them too often!
Kitchen gadget I’m loving
This week I’m loving our spiralizer! We use this gadget to make zucchini noodles (also known as “zoodles”) in our house. You can pick almost any pasta dish that you love and replace the regular noodles with zoodles – an instant way to remove simple carbs and add some veggies into your life! We used to have a big clunky spiralizer machine but we have actually found that this handheld spiralizer works 1,000 times better and is easier to clean (the machine had a million parts and you had to basically take it all apart to clean it). You can also use the spiralizer on different vegetables (not just zucchini), including cucumbers, sweet potatoes, carrots and squash. We really love zoodles with any tomato-based sauce or pesto sauce – we have also made an “avocado alfredo” sauce that’s really delicious with zoodles (it’s from a cookbook, but I found the recipe online here).
Book of the Week
This is a follow-up from last week’s post where I recommended the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger, MD. Dr. Greger also has a cookbook to accompany his main book – called the How Not to Die Cookbook. We own the cookbook and have made several meals from it – I keep the book in my kitchen at all times, right next to my Vitamix! If you’ve read How Not to Die already, then you’re probably familiar with Dr. Greger’s “Daily Dozen” – the twelve foods he recommends eating daily. Following the recipes in his cookbook is an easy way to get in all of the daily dozen foods – in fact, every SINGLE ingredient used in this book is a “green light” food, meaning no oil or animal products or sweeteners beyond date sugar (which is just dried, ground dates with their fiber in tact), which means I can feel confident I’m making something 100% healthy when I cook from this book. I will warn you, at first glance a few of these recipes might seem difficult to make, but hang in there! Everything we’ve made has been easier than expected, and delicious to boot.
This week, eat more…
Bee products! I have been super interested in learning all about bees lately after listening to this podcast with Carly Stein, the founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals. In the podcast, Carly explains how all of the products that bees make are not only extreme superfoods, but also have healing properties. For example, there’s propolis, an antioxidant-rich substance made from plant and tree resins and functions as the “immune system” of the hive. Propolis contains over 300 beneficial compounds to help reduce inflammation and support immune function (in humans and bees alike). It’s particularly beneficial if you have a sore throat and can even help with toncilitis! Then there’s royal jelly, the exclusive food of the queen bee. Royal jelly is extremely nutrient dense and loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties – it can even help to nourish the brain, support memory, and improve focus. And lastly, bee pollen is the bees’ main source of protein and has been said to help with fertility!
Bees are such magical creatures, and I have a new appreciation for them and everything they do for our planet after listening to the podcast. I even bought a huge jar of B-Powered Superfood Honey, a superfood blend of raw honey, propolis, royal jelly and bee pollen, that I’ve been incorporating into my daily routine. You only need a teaspoon every day to get the benefits – I like making a big mug of lavender chamomile tea at night and adding in a spoonful of the superfood honey (I’ve been drinking this at night to relax instead of a glass of wine LOL!). The honey dissolves quickly and tastes SOOOO good! It has a mild, sweet flavor and it’s also good just straight out of the jar. 🙂
One more note about bee products – when buying bee products, you have to be really careful because there are no national standards for organic honey – so even if it says organic on the label, that doesn’t exactly mean it’s organic. Even if the land the bees are on is certified organic, the surrounding land may not be. Since you can’t keep bees on a leash, they could fly over into land next door and bring back pesticides into the hive. I buy my honey and bee products from Beekeepers Naturals because they keep their bees on land in Canada that is surrounded by wildlife (no crops or pesticides in sight), and all of their products are sustainably produced with the bees’ health in mind!
Clean Beauty Product I’m Loving
I’ve blogged about this before (so sorry if you’ve already heard this), but this body wash is my go-to! It smells really good and does a great job cleaning my skin, and is also plant-derived, non-toxic and is NEVER tested on animals. I also love this body wash for what it doesn’t contain. It doesn’t have any harsh chemicals (no cocomidopropyl betaine, sulfates (SLS, SLES, SCS), formaldehyde, salicylates, parabens, phosphates, MEA, DEA, TEA, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, perfumes, dyes or caustics). I also love this brand because once you order your first bottle, you can order a large refill bag so that you can keep filling up the same bottle – and reduce plastic use!
Let me know what you’d like to see next week on here – I’m either thinking a whole post on how I meal prep for the week or a “What I Eat in a Day” post with some recipe ideas! xoxo