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Holistically Fed BLOG

This Week’s Workouts + Green Apple Protein Smoothie

I’m getting to write this week’s post as I’m sitting in the car currently driving to Austin, Texas where I’ll be dropping my husband off for a bachelor party and I then will continue on to go see family in Fredericksburg!

The drive is long, but it’s not too bad when this is my view the whole time..

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She is so excited to see her grandparents, great grandparents and aunt and uncle and show them how much she’s grown! In fact she’s so excited she crapped herself and almost ruined her cute outfit. Thank goodness for the white onsie underneath her little cardigan that we just took off and threw away. We’re all clean now and will try to contain the excitement the rest of the way.

So, I won’t be getting a workout in today since we are on the road pretty much all day, but here’s what I did the rest of the week.

Monday

I took the workout that was posted at our local Crossfit Paris Texas gym and changed it up just slightly so that I could do it at the high school track since it was so pretty outside that day.

Reps of 50-40-30-20-10 of air squats and sit-ups followed by a 400 meter run around the track after every round while pushing my girl in the stroller.

I didn’t time it but I think it took me around 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday

I did a short mile walk with Harper in a body carrier just to get outside and get some fresh air. I think it was a little too windy though because she has been a little congested ever since. I’m sorry girlfriend!! We will wait until it gets a little warmer to do that again.

Wednesday

Tabatas of the following exercises with a 2 minute rest between each round. (Tabatas: 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work followed by a 10 second rest. So each tabata is 4 minutes total. Your score for each tabata is the least amount of reps you ended up with in a single round at the end of the 8 rounds. For example if you started out with 15 squats and on the last round you only got 10, your score is 10. It’s a great workout to redo once a month or so to test your muscular endurance)

1. Air squats-my score was 16

2. Sit-ups-my score was 11

3. Push-ups-my score was 6 touching chest to the ground every time

4. Alternating rounds of strict pull-ups and hanging knee raises-my score was 2 strict pull-ups and 15 knee raises

*This is one of the quickest ways to get an awesome workout in. You can search Tabata music on youtube and find tons of great timers to use. To modify these you can always alternate between two exercises within the 8 rounds until you feel ready to do one movement for all 8 rounds or, to modify even more you could do four different exercises. Just try and pick exercises that will hit different muscle groups.

Thursday

I made this one up on the fly once I got Harper down for an afternoon nap and it kicked my butt.

Reps of 21-15-9 of sumo deadlift high pulls (I used a 55# kettlebell) and burpees followed by 100 double unders after each round.

*Do 21 of each then 100 du’s, 15 of each then 100 du’s etc..

I didn’t time myself on this one but it shouldn’t take you longer than 10-15 minutes..

I counted it a success that I didn’t pee myself during the double unders. I was told this would happen after I had kids..I don’t hope to join that club.

With all the sunny weather we’ve had it’s put me in the mood for smoothies again. Here is one I tried this week after one of my workouts I think you might like.

Green Apple Protein Smoothie, serves 2

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Hope you all have a great weekend!!

 

This Week’s Meals + FREE handout for Tips on Meal Prepping

Ok, Harper is napping so let’s see if I can get this blog done and let you guys know what I ate this week!!

By the way, last week I shared with you guys what I have been doing for workouts post partum plus a new recipe I tried. Go grab that here if you missed that.

I finally have a little more of a routine now 8 weeks into this whole mom thing to where I am back to getting some time to meal prep for the week. I’ve made Monday my grocery day and Tuesday is typically my meal prep day. This is one of the best things I started doing that helps Luke and I eat healthy throughout the week. If you don’t take time to meal prep it will be one of the biggest contributors to you making poor eating choices throughout the week, because if you haven’t noticed, eating healthy almost always involves cooking your food. If it’s not prepared ahead of time, or at least prepped half way to where it cuts your cooking time, then most likely you will find yourself starving and grabbing whatever is most convenient or snacking way more than necessary because you don’t have the patience to wait another 30 minutes to cook your food.

I started posting what we eat throughout the week awhile back but obviously life got crazy and I haven’t posted in awhile. You can go check out all my other weekly meals here.

Because I love you guys so much I’ve put together a handout that walks you through exactly what I do each week when I am planning our meals. Just click the link below and it’s yours free!

Tips on Meal Prepping

The only way I get any meal prepping done lately is with the baby carrier. I may get some done while she is napping, but usually she will wake up before I am finished so then she just gets to join me

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Is that not the cutest little bald head you ever did see? I promise she can breathe and isn’t smashed against my chest. She loves it in this thing and momma can get things done!

Alright, so what did we eat this week?

So like I said earlier, Monday’s are usually my grocery day so the beginning of the week starts out with leftovers usually or sometimes just eating out if we ran out of food.

Monday

Lunch: Apple Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad from Braum’s

I had a friend come over for lunch that day and I didn’t have enough food to make both of us something so she brought us over a salad. Obviously not the highest quality of food here, but ya know it’s actually a pretty decent salad if you are out and need something healthier and convenient. It’s not iceburge lettuce either it’s actually real green leaf lettuce so I think I actually got some good nutrients out of that.

Dinner: Leftover Paleo Spaghetti with a side salad

This is one of my go to recipes. So easy and makes for great leftovers! Our side salad was simple and consisted of spinach, chopped carrots and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Tuesday

Lunch: Leftover Paleo Spaghetti with a side salad

Dinner: Steak, Asaparagus and french fries from Chili’s

It was Luke’s birthday so we ordered chili’s to go and had a nice family night in without having to cook or clean any dishes! I don’t eat 100% clean all the time and I won’t ever lie to you all about that. I make it a point to keep clean healthy food in the house and eat at home a majority of the time and not stress about the rest. That’s just what works for us! Oh, and we watched the Batchelor. Don’t let him fool you and tell you he doesn’t love watching it was much as I do!!!

Wednesday

Lunch: Homemade Taco Soup made by Luke’s Aunt

Luke’s grandparents came in so we went out and ate at his aunt’s house for lunch that day. Not sure how she made it but it tasted good!

Dinner: Quinoa Fried Rice

This is an old recipe I found and is very filling! You really can make it however you like as far as what vegetables you add to it. I actually added in a pound of cooked ground venison for some extra protein this time.

Thursday

Lunch: Baked wild caught salmon over quinoa topped with pico de gallo, side of sauteed zucchini and squash in olive oil

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I baked enough salmon and cooked enough quinoa to last us a couple of lunches. To save time I also chopped all the zucchini/squash up ahead of time as well so I just had to throw it in the skillet when i was ready to eat and warm everything else back up. Easy and healthy!!

Dinner: Chicken Avocado Soup

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This was really good! It was not an original recipe but you can grab the recipe by clicking on the link attached above!

If you want the healthiest chicken around with the best balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids you need to check out Slanker’s Grass Fed Meats! If you’ve never ordered from them before, make sure and let them know that Erin Finch referred you if you are ordering by phone and you can get $5 off your first order! If you order online, I would greatly appreciate you ordering through my link below as I do get a small commission for referrals! I buy mostly beef from them because it is more affordable but they sell a wide variety of products if you haven’t checked them out before! I’ve been ordering meat from them for over a year now and love all their products. They deliver locally now too for a small fee which is super convenient.

Order Slanker’s Grass Fed Meat Here!!

Feel free to ask me about their products before you buy if you’re unsure because I’ve tried a lot of their products!

Okay so onto Friday’s meals..

Friday

Lunch: leftover salmon, quinoa and zucchini/squash

Dinner: leftover chicken avocado soup

I like to keep it simple. Leftovers is the way to go to limit time in the kitchen when you don’t have a lot of it!

Let me know if you try any of my recipes and like them!!

 

This Week’s Workouts + Favorite Recipe I Ate This Week

So I haven’t posted a blog in literally FOREVER! Life has been crazy…in case you didn’t know I am now a MOM!!!

I won’t be doing any work for awhile until I feel like I am ready. I really have no set time  frame for how long I want to take time off. The plan is to have no plan and just enjoy being a mom to Ms. Harper Anne Finch for awhile. It’s not very easy for me to not have a plan because I am naturally a planner at heart, but I think this is  exactly what I need in this season of life as I transition into motherhood.  I am so greatful that I even have the opportunity to choose to do this as I know not every mother gets this option.

So for now, my days are filled with lots of snuggles, diaper changes, laundry, feedings, more feedings, more diaper changes, the occassional cry fit, naps, etc.

The lack of good quality sleep I am getting is enough to make me go crazy some nights, but when I wake up and see this cute face how can I even be mad???

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Seroiusly!! I may be biased but she is SO cute i could die!! It’s a good thing babie’s are so dang adorable! They can drive you insane and then make you feel like you couldn’t love anything more all at the same time.

So in the transition of just being mom for awhile and deciding when I want to take on any work again, I have made it my goal to at least write one blog a week to stay in touch with you guys on what I am doing post partum to stay healthy and fit. I will be trying to do this every Friday, but as a mom I literally never know what my day will look like as much as I try and plan it.

Anyways, I thought I would start by sharing with you guys what my workouts have looked like post baby. Before I had Harper, I worked out at our local Crossfit gym 4-5 times a week which included lots of heavy lifting and more. Since I’ve had Harper, I decided to not go right back up to the gym because, knowing my competitive self, I would probably jump back into things too quickly and hurt myself, so I have decided to workout at home and make up my own workouts for awhile. Plus, I really never know when/if I’ll get to workout in a day anyways.. so it’s more convenient at the moment to do a quick workout wherever I can fit it in.

I took 3 weeks off from when I had Harper and did no working out at all. I think I maybe walked to the mailbox a couple of times just to get outside and actually got dressed and blow dried my hair for the day (that is seriously a workout right after you have had a baby). Other than that I was just in survival mode and trying to get as much rest and sleep as possible.

At the end of three weeks I finally had an itch to work out again. Since then I’ve made it my goal to fit in at least three interval/crossfit type at home workouts in a week and to walk as often as possible with my girl. The walking is a win win for me. For one, it is a guarantee that I can get Harper to sleep. She passes out the second I start strollng her, it is amazing, and I get some fresh air and peace and quite for however long I decide to walk. If it’s been a hard day/night I tend to walk longer so she will sleep longer and I get more peace and quite lol. If I’m lucky, she will keep sleeping when I stroll her inside and I like to fit in my workout right when I get home.

So here is what my workouts looked like this past week. Feel free to try these at home yourself and modify how you need to. Sorry.. I didn’t video or take pics of any of the movements so if you aren’t sure what something is I’m sure you tube or google can help you out.

Sunday

15 minute EMOM (Every minute on the minute)

  • Minute 1: 30 second handstand hold against the wall (you could do a plank to modify)
  • Minute 2: 10 single kettlebell push press with 55# kettle bell (you could do push-ups if you don’t have a kettle bell)
  • Minute 3: 3 strict pull-ups (do like 20 cobras or 10 dumbell rows if you don’t have something to do pull-ups on or can’t do them. It will work your back muscles which is the goal here)

I did 2 rounds of this and then Harper got super fussy and was crying so I decided to add in one extra round where I held her and did squats for a minute. It calmed her down and it kept her content right up until I would finish a round and I would have to pick her up again lol. So if you’re a mom, do what you got to do to get your workout in and keep baby happy at the same time!

After I finished the EMOM, I rested and put Harper down for a nap. I then did 150 squats for time. I did it in 3:58. Holy crap my legs were so sore the next 3 days.

Tuesday

45 minute walk with my girl..

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+ 15 minute AMRAP (As many reps as possible in 15 minutes)

  • 3 strict pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 lunges
  • 20 sit-ups

I did 6 rounds plus 3 more pull-ups

Thursday

10 minute AMRAP

  • Following a ladder of increasing reps of 3-6-9-12 as far as you can go in 10 minutes of kettlebell goblet squats, kettlebell deadlifts and burpees ( I used 55# kettle bell and got through the round of 15 + 8 more squats)

Friday

We will be going country dancing tonight for my husbands birthday!!! I’m  really excited and anxious at the same time. The first night I met Luke we went dancing, so it is one of our favorite things to do together, but it’s also the first time I’m leaving Harper with a baby sitter that is not family. If you want a great calf workout..go country dancing. Seriously.

Lots of you are always asking what protein do I recommend. Currently, I use Vital Proteins and love it. I usually just mix it with some almond milk after my workouts or for an afternoon snack. It has no flavor so you can mix it in anything really. You can go check out their website for more info on the quality/benefits of using their product. I highly recommend it though! I wrote a blog on why I love it so much in the past. You can go check that out here.

Anyways, if you do decide you want to order some I do earn a small affiliate commission from anyone who orders through my link here.

I don’t ever recommend anything that I don’t use myself or believe in, so I would greatly appreciate you ordering through my link in support of this blog!

Ok, so now onto my favorite new recipe I tried this week!

Butternut Squash Soup

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Doesn’t that just look cozy? I love making soups in the wintertime. They are a great make ahead meal that’s easy to re heat and eat on all week.

This is not an original recipe. You can get the recipe here. I used two granny smith apples instead of just 1.

Another one of my goals on top of blogging once a week is to try one new recipe a week. This helps keep things interesting and to not get bored of eating the same thing over and over. Eating healthy gets really boring if you eat the same thing all the time. Some people can do it, but I can’t. I have to change things up. This soup is great paired with a big salad, or a wrap (I love using Ezekiel brand sprouted grain wraps). This paired with a wrap has been my lunch all week. Yumm.

If little MIss Harper naps good next Friday giving me enough time to write another blog post, I’ll be posting again on what we ate for dinner all week!! Stay tuned..

Vital Proteins Tropical Mango Banana Smoothie

So awhile back , I went to PaleoFx in Austin, which is a HUGE conference that’s hosted every year that brings in leading nutritionists, authors, and educators to discuss the Paleo movement. Aside from all the awesome information that is shared at the conference, the best part about it is all the awesome vendors that are there!! Free samples galore and a chance to learn about a ton of awesome new products that are out there that I can share with you all!!

I think a lot of my readers might be interested in this one particular product I am about to share with you all. I get asked all the time..

“What kind of protein do you use or recommend?”

I am very particular about the brands of protein I recommend to people because frankly most of the stuff sold in stores is a bunch of garbage and not worth your money. I truly believe you should get most of your protein from whole foods like grass-fed meats and wild caught fish, but of course there are times when protein powders are just more convenient and sometimes necessary for those who train at higher levels and intensity. Another great example to use protein powders would be people who temporarily can’t chew lots of food due to surgery or other reasons. This is a great way to get protein in your diet that’s easy to swallow.

It’s not easy to find good quality proteins that taste good too, but at PaleoFx I stumbled upon this awesome product that does!!  The brand is called Vital Proteins and the specific product that I have tried and use is their Collagen Peptides.

 

They have many other fabulous products, but I have not personally tried them. This one I can say with confidence tastes great and has wonderful health benefits as well.

“Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is a key constituent of all connective tissues.” -Vital Proteins

Also taken from their website are some benefits and highlights of vital proteins collagen peptides:

Collagen Peptides Benefits:

  • Promotes youthful skin, healthier hair, and stronger nails
  • Helps keep bones healthy and strong
  • Supports joint health
  • Contributes to a balanced diet and helps maintain weight
  • Supports healthy inflammation response due to overexercise
  • Natural glycine improves sleep quality.

Collagen Peptides Highlights:

  • Pasture Raised
  • Kosher
  • Naturally Minimally Processed
  • No Additives or Preservatives
  • Cold Water Soluble
  • Great for mixing into a quick drink with juice, milk, or water
  • Easily mixed into foods such as oatmeal, pasta sauce, or smoothies
  • Light molecular weight is highly digestible

Collagen used to be a major part of traditional diets, however as modern processed foods have taken over the standard American diet, it has slowly been pushed off of many peoples plates.

There are natural ways to get collagen into your diet such as homemade bone broths made from the bones of healthy animals, but I have found that most people realistically will not take the time to make this on a regular basis. I have grown to love homemade bone broths, especially in the winter times when it is cold. It is delicious to sip on like a cup of coffee, but in the summer time I prefer to make a cold refreshing smoothie and add vital proteins collagen peptides to it!

Each serving of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides provides 18 grams of protein with all the essential amino acids that are identical to the proteins found in skin, nails, hair, bones, joints, and cartilage making this product great for preventing skin aging, supporting joint and bone health as well as a lean body and athletic performance.

For even more info on this product, go here –> Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides !

You can add Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to any smoothie you like, your coffee in the morning, hot tea and even add it to soups, sauces, and other recipes. My personal favorite way to use it is in a fruit smoothie. The smoothie below has been my go to this summer. Go try it!!

 Tropical Mango Banana Smoothie, with Vital Proteins

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Ingredients

Natural Post Workout Electrolyte Drink

It’s that time of year where when I work out I feel like I just jumped in a pool by the end of my workout. Heck, I can walk out of my house and not even workout and feel like that some days, leaving me wondering why I even bother to shower lol.

Because the Texas summer humidity and heat makes me sweat so much more I always make sure I am staying hydrated, even more so now that I am pregnant! I make sure to drink tons of water throughout the day, but after workouts I like to refuel with this awesome natural electrolyte drink via The Performance Paleo Cookbook. You lose a lot more than just water when you sweat. You lose important electrolytes like potassium and sodium that are needed for proper muscle and nerve function.

This recipe is so delicious and the perfect refreshing flavor during the summer! It kind of tastes like a Pina Colada! The coconut water used in this recipe is an excellent source of potassium, but is lacking in essential sodium to refuel the muscles. That’s why you will see sea salt as one of the ingredients listed below to make up for that. The pineapple juice adds in more than just delicious flavor. It provides a decent source of fruit-based glucose which is used to replace the glycogen you’ve used up from your muscles during exercise.

Ditch the Gatorade and other artificial sports drinks that are anything but natural this summer and opt for this natural electrolyte drink. I bet you might even like it better!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut water
  • 1 cup unsweetened organic pineapple juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt (the brand below holds more natural trace minerals than most sea salts in the store that typically undergo high heat processing that strips it of essential minerals)

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or so..

 

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Paleo Meals Across the Web

So I know you all love receiving new healthy recipe ideas so I thought I would put together a list of some of my top favorite paleo recipes that I have found via the internet and cook regularly in my home. Enjoy!

 

1. Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

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Buy wild caught salmon online here.

2. Crockpot Barbacoa Beef

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This is great served over Cilantro Cauliflower Rice and made into a burrito bowl with the toppings of your choice such as cilantro, chopped tomatoes, green onions, salsa, avocado etc..

I use grass-fed beef chuck roasts for this recipe and it is delicious!

 

3. Zucchini Lasagna

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If you tolerate some dairy well, this one is out of this world good! I’ve made it for family members who were skeptical of my healthy pasta alternative, but they all LOVED it! Some liked it even more than regular pasta lasagna. It would still be good without dairy if you absolutely cannot tolerate it well.

It’s worth buying grass-fed mozzarella cheese for this recipe for the extra omega 3’s it holds compared to conventional cheese, just like grass-fed meat!

4. Avocado Chicken Salad

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This is a great recipe to make a big batch of for lunches! I like to eat mine with a side of baby carrots and plantain chips.

Slanker’s is the only company that sells omega 3 rich chicken around!! Their chicken has a much more balanced 2:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. Most chickens you buy at the grocery store have a ratio closer to 20:1. That is inflammation waiting to happen in your body, especially if you eat it all the time!

5. Smoky Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

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I make these all the time without the bacon too. It’s the homemade spice blend that makes these so delicious!!

Slanker’s also sells omega 3 rich bacon now too, but they go out fast!!

6. Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

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This is more of an appetizer but still worth being on this post. Pair it with a nice juicy grass-fed steak and you’d have the perfect meal!

Buy high quality grass-fed steaks online here.

7. Lettuce Taco Wraps

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This is such an easy meal that is sure to please the whole family! This recipe calls for ground turkey. I prefer to use grass-fed ground beef. You really can use whatever ground meat you like but just know that the ground turkey you would buy at the grocery store is going to have a much higher omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio due to its diet high in grains. Diets high in omega 6 are ultimately what lead to inflammation and all chronic disease in your body. If you tolerate dairy well, go for cheese from grass-fed cows.

8. Pumpkin Pancakes

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Because sometimes you crave breakfast for dinner! This is typically our Saturday morning treat at our house, but as a special treat you could make it for dinner too, why not?! You have to top them with sauteed bananas and pure maple syrup or it will not be as good. These are by far the best paleo pancakes I have ever made! This is a special treat meal not an everyday meal.

9. Crockpot Paleo Chili

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Best Chili Ever. Go make it now!!

10. Zucchini Noodles with Basil Almond Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

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Make this delicious summer pasta salad a meal by topping it with any protein of your choice. Grilled shrimp would be good, wild caught tuna (this is the tuna that I buy) or baked chicken.

Hope you were able to grab a few new recipes from here to add to your collection! Let me know which ones you liked best!

 

**Please know that some of the links are affiliate links which means that if you choose to buy something through those links, I will receive a small commission for the sale which helps support the work of this blog! I never advertise for anything that I do not personally believe in or purchase myself. Thank you!!**

 

Epic Bar Review

I got to meet the owners and founders of Epic Bar at PaleoFx this past month in Austin as well as sample many of their bars. The quality of their bar in my personal opinion, equally matched their high quality of customer service. They were all so friendly and seemed to really have a passion for what they do!

**So what’s my take on the actual bars?**

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I love these bars for a couple of different reasons…

1. The Beef and Bison Bars are made with 100% Grass-fed meat. All other bars are made with meat from animals that are raised as naturally as possible.

If you’ve been following me for awhile now, you know that I believe 100% grass-fed meats  are so much better for your overall health. The main reason being is that they contain up to 5X more omega 3 fatty acids than grain fed meats. More importantly, they have a perfect balance of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. This matters more than the total amount of omega 3 fatty acids. For example, you might have thought walnuts were a good source of omega 3. Well, they are, but the amount of omega 6 in walnuts gives walnuts a ratio of 4:1, making walnuts a not so heart healthy food after all. When the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 exceeds 4:1 in our body, chronic disease and body failures begin. Grain fed meats on average have a ratio of  20:1 up to 25:1. It’s awful! And that’s just our meat! The ratio in grains, poor quality oils, and all the other junk we eat is even worse. And we wonder why so many people are sick, overweight and have a host of inflammatory conditions going on in their bodies.

“For athletes, our grass-fed meat is particularly favorable in that it holds up to 3x the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which promotes the development of lean muscle tissue and lowers the risk for a myriad of other health problems.” –Epic Bar

I buy all my grass-fed meat here for my main meals, but if you’re looking for a quick, convenient and “travels-easy” type bar to have on hand for times of emergency, Epic Bars are an excellent option! They would also make for a great post-workout bar.

2.Very low sugar content compared to other natural food based bars

The grass-fed meat is the base of each protein bar, making them different from all other protein or energy bars sold in stores today. Very little dried fruit is added to any of these bars. The rest of the ingredients include natural seasonings like sea salt, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano etc. You can find a list of all their ingredients for each bar here. Because the base is the grass-fed meat and not dried fruit, the sugar content is much lower than most other natural nut/fruit based bars. The highest sugar content on all their bars is 9g, but some bars have much lower sugar content. The 100% Beef apple, uncured bacon bar only has 2 g. and the Chicken Sriracha has 0g!

The meat protein base also makes these bars not as sweet as other bars such as the Larabar or RxBar. They have  more of a savory taste which makes them less likely to feed any underlying sugar addiction you might have.  Expect more of a jerky type taste when you bite into these bars with a much softer and chewier texture.

3. The company is not only concerned with our health and the animals health but our lands health as well

By buying and using 100% grass-fed meats and other animals that are raised as natural as possible in all their products, they are supporting sustainability.

“Pasture grazing requires significantly less fossil fuel than a feedlot diet consisting of corn, soy, antibiotics, and hormones. Pastured animals fertilize the land they graze on, which eliminates the fossil fuels required by conventional fertilizing practices. Lastly, grass-filled fields not only hold on to topsoil and moisture but also more effectively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any other use of land!” –Epic Bar

So are there any cons??

The only one I could come up with is they are a little high in price, but you get what you pay for here.

Overall Epic bars are a win in my book!

You can buy/order some through amazon here

OR

Visit their website here.

 

 

Rx Bars Review

“Rx Bars. Pure and Simple. No BS.”

This is Rx Bars catchy slogan and their words definitely match up with the delicious healthy real food product they have created.

I have been meaning to try these for awhile now and I finally got my hands on them the other day, and boy did they not disappoint!!

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Each of their bars is made with only 8 ingredients or less, all of which you can pronounce, recognize and find in nature. That is the best part to me and something I always encourage everyone to look for when buying any food product. There are so many protein bars/shakes sold these days that are marketed with health phrases like “only “x” amount of carbs”, “10 g Fiber!” “0 g. sugar” etc..” to make you believe they are good for you when in reality they are filled with preservatives , artificial ingredients, and poor quality highly processed protein powders that you are just wasting your money on. Don’t fall for that. Read the ingredients, not the label on the front, and buy products that are simple, real foods that you don’t even have to question, like Rx Bars.

Each bar contains 12 g. of protein derived from pure egg whites and almonds. The base of each bar is made up of figs and dates to give it it’s sweet flavor and chewy texture. The rest of the natural ingredients added to each individual bar make up their 5 delicious flavors: coconut cacao, coffee cacao, blueberry, apple cinnamon and peanut butter. All bars are free of gluten, dairy, soy, and GMO’s. My personal favorite was the coffee cacao! If you are a coffee lover you will love this one! I personally don’t even drink coffee and I loved this flavor.

If you are familiar with the whole30 program you will be happy to know that 4 out of their 5 flavors are whole30 approved excluding the peanut butter bar! If you are joining me in my upcoming Nutrition Challenge, these would be a great option for you to have on hand, plus you might be getting some in your goodie bag at the end of your challenge from me!!

Larabars are another great example of a whole foods bar, but I personally like Rx bars better because of the added protein from pure egg whites. Larabars are still a great option, but because they are naturally higher in sugar (natural sugars from dried fruit) without very much protein, they can cause your blood sugar levels to swing much like a candy bar still. Sugar is still sugar even when it’s from natural sources. People who already struggle with blood sugar issues really need to be careful eating these types of foods especially if it’s not paired with a balanced meal or a good source of protein and fat.

Rx Bars have a better balanced ratio of sugars to protein with the added protein from egg whites as well as less sugar overall in each bar that will prevent such a quick sugar rush followed by a crash and will also keep you feeling fuller longer. The ratio of sugar to protein in most Larabars is on average 4:1 vs. Rx Bars average of 2:1 varying just slightly in each bar.

Now before you go out and buy a ton of these, because trust me you will want to..don’t hear me saying that these are a food you can/should eat all the time even though it is a healthy whole foods choice. Rx Bars, just like Larabars or Epic Bars or any other whole foods bar that I recommend should not ever replace well balanced healthy meals. These should be treated as emergency foods for times you are out, busy, hungry and have no healthy options around you. These bars also would serve great as pre or post workout fuel or an afternoon snack.

My only concern with bars like these is for the people who are trying to adopt a whole foods lifestyle yet still struggle with sugar addiction, which is a majority of people. I have seen these bars simply replace sweets and are often eaten to satisfy that sweet tooth everyday, sometimes two times a day or more. Yes this is a healthy whole foods option as a snack or sweet treat every now and then, but if you find that you are eating these bars to satisfy your sweet tooth regularly, or find yourself craving them regularly, you might need to lay off these for awhile. Yes there is such thing as too much of a good thing, RxBars being one of them. Overall though these bars are a great option to have on hand and I highly recommend them!

If you would like to purchase these you can order them through their website here. I also have a link to their products through my shopping guide page as well.

I hope this was helpful and gave you a new idea for a quick easy snack/emergency food!

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by RxBar but I did receive a free sample of their bars to review on my blog. All the statements above are my own, unbiased opinion.

How to Make Homemade Almond Milk

Almond milk is a great delicious alternative to dairy milk. The proteins found in dairy are often very hard for many people to digest, casein in particular, and can cause digestive issues which can lead to many other health problems in the body as well.

Dairy is one of those foods that can be either healthy or harmful to your body and depends largely on the individual and also the quality of dairy in which you are consuming because not all dairy is created equal. Pasteurized dairy (all dairy that is sold in stores) is not the same as raw dairy and that’s where most people get confused.

I don’t have time to go into detail about all the reasons why dairy may or may not be a healthy food for you to consume, but thankfully Chris Kresser has wrote a great article that might answer some of your questions here.

Here’s another great article on why pasteurized dairy might not be as good for you as you thought.

I personally have found that I don’t do very well on dairy products, pasteurized that is. I have not ventured out to try raw dairy products yet. If I consume pasteurized dairy, I have noticed I will break out on my face and I will get really bloated, so I’ve chosen to eliminate it from my diet.

Almond milk has become one of my favorite dairy alternatives that I like to use as the base of my smoothies. You can buy almond milk at almost any supermarket or grocery store now, but they almost always have preservatives and other fillers. If you make it yourself you can guarantee that no ingredients that you don’t recognize have been added.

It’s actually way easier than you would think and tastes so much fresher! When I made this the first time, my husband was begging me to make another batch. He loves to use it as a healthy coffee creamer alternative especially when I sweeten it with maple syrup. It definitely doesn’t last long after I make it, that’s for sure.

 

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**Makes approximately 6-8 cups**

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds, soaked in water at least 4-6 hours
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • Nut milk bag
    or cheese cloth for straining
  • Optional Add-In to make it sweet: 2 T. coconut oil, 2 T. vanilla, 4 T. pure maple syrup

Directions: 

  1. Soak your nuts in a warm bowl for 4-6 hours or overnight.  Doing this beforehand releases enzyme inhibitors that are naturally found on the outside of the nut and can potentially cause digestive distress. This step isn’t necessarily specific to just this recipe, but is a good practice to start doing for all your nuts that you consume even as a snack. It also will increase the nuts vitamin and mineral content as it releases other anti-nutrients that block absorption and digestion of certain vitamins and minerals.
  2. Drain the water that your nuts were soaking in and discard. You won’t want to use this water because it will have all the toxins that have been released from the nuts in it.
  3. Place your soaked almonds and fresh filtered water in a large blender and blend until the consistency is creamy and smooth
  4. Add in your optional ingredients if you are making it sweeter and blend well
  5. Place a large bowl underneath your nut bag or cheesecloth. Slowly pour your almond milk into your nut bag or through your cheesecloth and let the liquids fall into the bowl underneath.
  6. Once you have poured all the almond milk out, make sure to really squeeze the bag to get every last bit of liquid out as you can
  7. Pour the almond milk into glass mason jars and store in your fridge for up to 1 week

 

 

Trip to Costa Rica

In my last post, I shared that I would be going to Costa Rica for an entire week for FREE with my husband and some of our friends.  We got back last weekend and man do I miss being in sunshine. Since I’ve been back it has been cold and rainy almost every single day. It is a little depressing..

I forgot how happy being in the sun makes me, and how much I like being tan. It was such an awesome trip. We are both so greatful for the experience.

Long story short, my husband knows a guy on young life staff in the Dallas area who knows a guy that works for the company Common Wealth.  This company plans annual incentive trips for its employees as a large thank you to all the hard work they do over the course of the year. They are allowed to bring their family along with them including kids. Common Wealth for the last couple of years has been asking a few couples on Young Life Staff to come be a part of their trip to help watch the kids while the adults have their business meetings/socials. My husband’s friend on staff in the Dallas area has been going on these trips with them the last couple of years and was in charge of finding another couple to come with them this trip because they needed more helpers because there were more kids this year. We, so fortunately, happened to be the couple that he called and asked. Seriously, such a blessing that him and his wife even thought of us.

So, when we got the call, we said, um let us think about it, uhhhh YESS!! How do you say no to an opportunity like that?

We were in charge of watching these sweet little kiddos below for about 4-5 hours each morning and a couple hours some nights and the rest of the time we were free to do whatever we wanted.

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In this picture we just got done with a fun scavenger hunt that we led the kids on that involved finding as many monkeys/creatures we could find and taking pictures of them for points. We saw about 6 monkeys just chillin in the trees around the resort. It was so cool. The way you won was to find the large inflatable monkey that’s in the picture above. They loved it! Best babysitting job ever. I mean, look at the scenery behind us? I’d babysit these kids any day to be back there!

During our free time we did a whole of of chilin’ on the beach just laying out. We also got to go kayaking one day and boogie boarding another day. The wind there was crazy strong and created some awesome waves that made for extreme boogie boarding. I felt like a little kid again, it was so much fun.  I’m surprised I walked away with both of my bathings suite pieces. I’m pretty sure I flashed/blinded everyone with my white skin every time I caught a wave.  I’ve never seen waves that big on the shore.

On top of lots of fun play time we of course got some great workouts in during the week also!

As many of you know, my husband and I enjoy doing Crossfit together at home and the Crossfit Open is currently going on right now. If you don’t know what that is, well, it’s kind of hard to explain. Basically it’s a worldwide competition among all Crossfitters that qualifies the elite athletes in your region to go to Regionals if they place in the top. If you do well at Regionals, you then advance to the Crossfit Games. Even if you know you won’t make it to Regionals it’s fun to push yourself and compare yourself to 1,000’s of other athletes across the world.

Well since the open is going on, my husband really wanted to do one of the open workouts one more time to try and get a better score so at the beginning of the week, we looked up a Crossfit gym in Costa Rica and found one! We were so pumped. The owner told us we were more than welcome to come do a workout at his gym, so we did. One of our friends on the trip came with us because he also is signed up for the Crossfit Open.

This is the workout we did:

In 9 minutes, do as many rounds as possible of the following:

15 toes to bar

10 deadlifts (75# for girls, 95# guys)

5 snatches (75# girls, 95# girls)

*I got through 5 rounds and 3 reps (153 reps total)

Right when the nine minutes is up, you had 6 minutes to find your 1 rep max of a clean and jerk

*I was able to get 155#. That is way harder than you think when you are exhausted. I was pretty proud of myself for that!

Before we went to the gym, our friend looked up the owner of the Crossfit gym on Instagram and saw that he posted a picture of himself doing a muscle up in the middle of the Cost Rican rain forest. Uhh..jealous. That is seriously cool.

Another day we decided to switch it up and make use of what the resort had for us to do a different workout. We spotted some stairs early in the day and said, that would be cool to run up.

So, we made up this workout:

Run to the top of the stairs

*I don’t think any of us realized how long those stairs were. It took us 9 minutes to run to the top of those dang things. They just kept going and going and going..My legs have never burned so bad. Plus it was like 90 degrees outside.

When we got to the top, there was a covered pavilion. We ran with our jump ropes so we did the following under the pavilion right when we got to the top:

100 double unders

50 air squats

25 burpees

Then we ran back down.

Best.Workout.Ever.So.Stinkin.Hard!! I never thought air squats could feel so hard. My legs were shaking every single rep after running what felt like 1 million steps.

That was the last scheduled workout we did. Boogie boarding was definitely a workout also!

One of my favorite things about our trip besides just being in Costa Rica, and for FREE and with great friends, was the FOOOD!!!! OH MY GOSH. It was all so good. I was in heaven.

Here are a couple of my favorite meals that I had:

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Breakfast pretty much every morning: Omelette with all the veggies (spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions) and some sausage. Side of roasted potatoes, pico de gallo and fresh pressed green juice. They had fresh pressed juice available every single morning. It was amazing! I always got a green base with a mix of a variety of other fresh island fruits and veggies like guava, carrots and beets.

**Not pictured, but most mornings I also got plantains that had been fried in pure cane sugar maple syrup. Plantains are very popular in Costa Rica. This is one of my new favorite foods at home also. It’s an excellent nutrient dense carbohydrate source. I was so happy to get to enjoy them where they are picked locally every single day. No I don’t fry mine in cane sugar maple syrup at home, usually just coconut oil, but man were they good. Tasted like a doughnut**

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Lunch one day: Fresh Catch of the day (Mahi-Mahi) with grilled onion kabobs, topped with fresh pineapple mango salsa with a side of Yucca Sticks (aka. Cassava sticks).

**At home I have been trying to up my husband and I’s starchy carb intake to help fuel our workouts better and Yucca is another excellent nutrient dense source of carbohydrates, however I cannot find them sold at home! I have been wanting to make these for awhile and they were delicious! They seasoned them with garlic and cilantro. Wow. They were on point! I think this was my favorite meal of the whole trip. **

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Appetizer to many of our lunches, because, sushi is amazing, and if you don’t like it you’re crazy: I don’t even remember what was in this. All I remember is, it was perfection. I could eat sushi every day.

**Wait, you eat white rice, but you say you eat paleo?? I can see how that would be confusing. First of all I am not a strict Paleo person. I use it as a general guideline to how I eat 80% of the time because this is what I’ve discovered works best for my body. And second of all, white rice is actually a very safe starch to consume if you are wanting/needing more starches in your diet. It does not contain any anti-nutrients that prevent certain vitamins and minerals from being absorbed because the fiber has been removed (that’s where the anti-nutrients are in certain plants/grains) and has no harmful proteins that are hard to digest.  Is it the most nutrient dense choice of food? No, but as far as it being harmful or disruptive to your digestive system, it’s a generally safe choice.

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Favorite Beverage: Fresh coconut water straight out of the coconut!

**I love coconut water and highly recommend it to people at home as a great source of natural electrolytes. It is super high in potassium and would make for a great post-workout beverage. Of course I can’t ever just drink it straight out of the coconut at home nor do I have someone who will cut it open with a large machete for me either. That would be pretty sweet if I did. I think I’d drink it a lot more than I do currently. These are all our awesome friends that went on the trip with us too!

I ate tons of other delicious food while on the trip, but I think I’d bore you if I shared all of my meals. So those were the highlights.

What a fun trip it was. I wish I could go back! It is a trip that we will forever remember.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I think it’s more rain for us here in Paris, Texas..I guess I’ll just dream of the sun in Costa Rica until it decides to come back out here!

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