Snaaaaaacks

Hey, I’m Ashley and I love food. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me in real life, follows me on any type of social media, or if you have read any of my other posts.

Crunchy things are my weakness. Ice cream is my soulmate. Pizza is my best friend.

You get the picture, right?

How did the internet get this footage of me?

It’s so easy to sit on the couch and grab a bag of chips or popcorn and just munch away, not worried about portion size or calories. I’m guilty of it, even as I’ve been trying to be on this “healthy lifestyle”. I can often be found sneaky chips and crackers and other delicious things late at night knowing the only person I’m actually hiding from is myself. It’s ridiculous!

Lately I’ve been trying SO HARD to do better with my eating habits. It’s definitely working, but not without a little change in my thinking. This definitely includes snacks.

Instead of grabbing chips or something salty, I’ve been binging on fruits and veggies. Of course, sometimes you need a little bit more to go with those fruits and veggies…because that stuff gets boring real fast.

I’m obsessed with this little cuties. The amount of them I eat might be embarrassing if they weren’t so delicious.

I’ve been toying around with Greek yogurt (yuck) and have found that it’s tolerable when I put a lot of different stuff in it. It might sound crazy, and you’re probably thinking why don’t I just eat stuff I like? Well, I’m trying very hard to stick to my plan, so that means I need to get creative.

These three things and a dash of cinnamon…

…make for a delicious fruit dip!

 

Greek yogurt is a great breakfast food time. Of course, I like to mix in bananas, cocoa powder, and sometimes even a little natural sweetener because it isn’t something I can eat by itself. For veggies, I use the yogurt and a packet of ranch season to make a super light dip. So many things to do with it!

You might be able to guess by now that I also love dips of all kinds. Hummus and carrot sticks, crackers, or cucumbers is always filling… BUT, WAIT.

Did y’all know that chocolate hummus is a thing? Because it is and it ain’t half bad.

Get on this.

These are just a few things that I’m obsessed with right now. Also: mushy bananas because those are the best.

And coffee.

Is coffee a snack?

Anyway, if you have any tips or delicious treats you love, let me know! I’m always on the lookout for new things!

Road Tested: Detach Coconut+ (with Tropical Smoothie recipe!)

Disclaimer: I received Detach Coconut+ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hydration has always been a tricky thing for me when it comes to workouts.

When I first began with longer workouts, I stuck with water. I was nervous to branch out and try something other than what I knew worked for me. However, as time evolves, I have as well. I began looking for drinks that would provide something more.

If you ask any of my close running friends, they’ll tell you that I’ve never been a fan of coconut water. However, Detach intrigued me because it’s not just coconut water but rather a coconut water base with naturally added lemon/lime and sea salt.

As soon as I tried it, I was immediately a fan! It’s a great way to fuel for a workout and get the right mix of hydration and energy. It was created because the company’s founders were looking for a way to stay hydrated, focused, and supported their training.

The company recommends that you drink one bottle before a workout and then one bottle during exercise. I’d planned to bring it to the gym with me but with my broken arm, my gym workouts have come to a halt for the past 3 weeks.

Thankfully, I was cleared by my doctor to continue running. I drank one bottle with a light breakfast a half an hour before my run and then set up on my treadmill with my Detach (and pjuractive 2skin Anti-Chafing gel, which I’ll be reviewing next week), watched the Bachelor and did a ladder workout. It was refreshing and worked great for the hour long run.

I also got creative with my Detach and made a tropical smoothie!

You want to know what’s in there, don’t you? It’s super simple and what’s more, it’s super delicious!

TROPICAL SMOOTHIE

1 cup of Detach Coconut+
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 small banana
1/2 cup of pineapple
1/2 cup of ice

Blend to combine and enjoy!

The combination of the Detach flavors with everything else made me feel like I was sitting on a beach in tropical weather rather than in 20 degree weather in New Jersey. So lovely!

I know my fellow BibRave Pros have also made smoothies, adding greens and other assorted goodies to Detach and I’ve heard only great things.

Overall, I highly recommend Detach if you’re looking to pump up your hydration and your activity level during your workouts.

Swing by and check out my fellow BRPs reviews:

Lindsey
Amy
Corey

 Want to connect with Detach?

No Sugar Challenge Giveaway Winners

Our No Sugar Challenge wrapped up on Monday and so many of you participated! To say thanks, we’re announcing the winners of the giveaway.

Congrats to Jessica J., Krystal L., and Amanda G.! They’ll each get a bottle and a box of Tea Sport Keep Fit Green Tea to help keep up the great habits.

Personally speaking, the Challenge was great! For twenty-one days, I didn’t eat any chocolate, candy, or baked goods. For me, this is a big deal. Even my husband was impressed. I only had one serious moment of temptation, which I overcame like a champ.

The first eight days I didn’t have any sugar at all, and it was trying to say the least. After that, I limited myself to having one teaspoon of sugar in one cup of tea a day. I did this so I could remain married and not be kicked out of my parents’ house because I was getting…testy. Overall, this is a decrease in sugar intake of about 90%. I call that success!

The hardest things for me was feeling constantly hungry the first few days and I got tired of only drinking water. Oddly, that wasn’t a problem during the water challenge. What  learned is that I can live without scones and chocolate it’s not as hard or terrible as I thought. I think this will be the start of a less-sugar lifestyle!

 

Did you participate in the Challenge? How did it go for you? Are you doing other things that serve your health this new year? 

No Sugar Challenge Moment of Triumph!

It’s the last few days of the No Sugar Challenge, and earlier this week, I overcame a MASSIVE craving for everyone’s favorite, cake! Here’s how I did it.

How are you doing with the Challenge? What have been your major obstacle or setbacks? How have YOU overcome the hard things? Let’s life each other up through these last few Challenge days and ROCK. IT OUT.

 

 

No Sugar Challenge Check-In

I can’t believe it’s day 11, basically the halfway point, of our 21 day no sugar challenge! Let’s check in.

The first week was…rough. My cravings for baked goods was strong and persistent, but somehow I managed to not cry. I don’t know how, but I did it!

I was also STARVING the first week. SO. HUNGRY. Out of hunger, I did break down on Monday and get a bacon cheeseburger because the idea of another salad in winter chilled me to the bone.

I’m still living at my parent’s, waiting for my house to be built (another *challenge* I frequently cry over), and I forgot to tell my mom that I’m doing the sugar challenge. She went grocery shopping, as she does, (wonderful soul), and brought home allllll my favorite things. Like Plain Goldfish (yes, I’m 6), and Nutella, and Ice cream. She also brought home salad and fruit and all kinds of things I can eat, so yay, I’m not starving!!

The best thing that I’ve noticed is that my taste buds are starting to reset. I ate some strawberries the other day and they really did taste like candy. I was great. And seeing, or in this case, experiencing, a noticeable difference like that was encouraging. Eating more fruit will help me get over my cravings, so that’s the plan for the rest of the challenge.

 

Up until Tuesday of this week if you had asked me how I was doing with the no sugar challenge, I would have answered with “Fine, dandy, couldn’t be better!”

And then, I fell hard on the ice (while being a responsible human and taking out the recycling).

We’re big fans of BibRave orange!

As such, my life has been a bit of a slip sliding disaster. On Tuesday night, after I got my cast, I demanded ice cream.
Yesterday I went back to smarter decisions and skipped the cookies that were offered to me. I’m an emotional eater and this has definitely put A BIG OL’ WRENCH in the works. I have more to say but as I am typing this one-handed, I’ll just stop here.

Oh sugar.

I think I’m somewhere along Meri’s line with this. I’ve been doing well, until I found the Christmas chocolate in the pantry yesterday and the PMS whispered in my ear “you NEED this.”
It was right. I needed it.
But, beyond the small snack of chocolate here and there, stepping back from the sweets has been pretty a-okay. I’m fortunate to eat pretty healthy most of the time anyways, and aside from the sneaky chocolate in the pantry, there isn’t any junk in our house to speak of. It’s pretty easy to avoid sugar when you don’t have any crap food around.
We’ll just keep chugging along… only a couple weeks to go!
It’s not to late to join our challenge and giveaway! Click here to enter.
How are you doing with the challenge? Only 10 days left, tell us all about your struggles and triumphs! 

21 Day No Sugar Challenge

Today, we’re kicking off our 21 No Sugar Challenge! I decided to do this for myself when I discovered my glucose levels were wonky after my annual routine blood work. Diabetes doesn’t run in my family, but my addiction to baked goods is likely to blame. I knew it was time to cut back on the processed sugar, and I knew the best way for me personally to do that was to go cold turkey. I’m not doing any sort of program, I’m just going to do my absolute best to cut sugar from my diet for the next 21 days.

Tears are being shed for all the future donuts I will not eat.

I know this is going to be super hard for me. But I also know this is crucial for my health. I’m 41, and it’s now or never to kick my sugar addiction.

Here’s my strategy:

  • Continue drinking more water to help flush my system (thanks, Hydration Challenge!)
  • Drink more hot herbal and green teas that don’t need sweetener
  • Chew sugar free gum when I get a craving
  • Eat more fruit
  • Cut white sugar and white flour food items

Here’s what I hope to gain by day 22:

  • A shift in my taste buds toward less sugar cravings
  • More stamina instead of the crash and burn from glucose energy
  • Overall feeling of increased health and wellness
  • A new perspective on diet
  • Lots of yummy new recipes!

This ain’t gonna be easy, folks. I expect there will be tears. Especially when my severe PMS cravings kick in. Some of the challenges I’m expecting are:

  • Not having my morning tea routine
  • Not eating chocolate in any form
  • Not having scones with my tea
  • Making sure I carefully read all labels

Speaking of Labels…

I know what I’m getting into, and I know my body. I quit smoking thirteen years ago, and to this day that was the hardest thing ever. After years of trying to quit with everything from medications, patches, and gum to sunflower seeds, toothpicks, and learning to knit, I learned that the only thing I really need is motivation and determination. I’ve never been so motivated to change my eating habits as I am now.

Are you motivated too? No matter what your fitness goal is for 2018, it can benefit from eating less sugar. I’d LOVE to have you join me on this journey. It’s free. I’m not selling anything, it’s all about accountability and commiseration. It’s going to be hard and challenging, but fun and oh so worth it. There will be a giveaway at the end, too, and we all love winning stuff! So come along with me on this sugarless trip, and tell me what you’re motivated to change in 2018. Together, we can do it!

To join the challenge, enter our giveaway by clicking the picture above or here and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I’m here to support you as you chase your goals, so TELL ME ALL ABOUT THEM. Let’s do this!

December Hydration Challenge Kick-Off

Today is day one of the 21 day hydration challenge, and we are all in on this one! I’m excited to commit to this goal and make it happen. I’m not the best at consistency or discipline so accountability is a good thing. I hope we can be that for you, too, if you join us for the challenge. It’s tough to stay healthy and fit as we struggle to meet commitments and are tempted by the rich foods and treats of the holidays, but this goal is maybe more easy to achieve for some of us (me) than sticking to a diet. In prep, I hopped on the internet and did a wee bit of research to find a few tips that might help us navigate this a bit more easily, and track how awesome we are as we slay this. I said SLAY.

Intake Tips

Measure Up! This one is a tad obvious, but make sure you’re using a bottle or jar with units of measure clearly marked on it somewhere, somehow. Most plastic bottles have this, but now is a good time to make sure yours haven’t worn off over time.

Set a timer It might help to set a timer to remind you to drink water. Especially at first until you establish a few days of consistency, and even more especially if you’re the type of person who keeps you moving all day. When time is flying by and you’re being pulled in every direction, it’s helpful to have a reminder to take a water break.

Form a Small Habit First Try drinking eight ounces before you eat meals or snacks. Or swap out one cup of coffee for hot water with lemon or green tea. Find an easy way to work hydrating into your schedule and life, one that you think you can stick with permanently.

Make Time for Bathroom Breaks Expect to spend more time in the restroom and that it might be annoying. I mean, what else can I say? Just remember that every time you’re in there, you’re getting rid of toxins. I plan on tapering my intake after 4 pm so I’m not up a lot in the night, and I plan to stock up on toilet paper. Good things to keep in mind!

Green Tea I’m addicted to Earl Grey tea like many people are addicted to coffee or soda. I’m still allowing myself to have it once a day, but when I can I’m going to swap it out for green teas and hot water with lemon. Green tea is a super food. If you find yourself needing a little flavor or variety, consider herbal and green teas. You won’t have to feel like you’ve cheated.

Alternate Beverages Alternating between water and your other drinks of choice is one way to up the hydration game. Try mixing it up by switching between water to whatever else you enjoy. If you’re me, that means one glass water, one glass chocolate milk, one glass water. If you find yourself struggling, this might be a good way to fight it.

Fruit and Veg Infused Water I’m excited to try this because fruit is one of my favorite things, and this should be a great way to add some flavor and variety. I like plain water just fine, but something tells me it will get old quickly. The great thing is that there are so many flavor combinations out there, Pinterest is full of recipes. I’m dying to try this Raspberry Rose Vanilla water!

Tracking Methods I plan to track my daily intake as well as how I’m feeling so I can get a better idea of my progress as time passes. For me, being able to see on paper how the challenge has changed my health will motivate me to continue good habits. While I plan on using my bullet journal, there are lots of ways you can track your water intake.

Fitbit or other device I have a Fitbit, but I’m guessing most fancy fitness trackers have some way to record your daily water intake. There are also a multitude of apps out there for this purpose. The Fitbit makes it easy to not only track, but set intake goals. I’ve used it in the past and liked it.

Journal If you have any kind of journal or paper planner, you can track your hydration there. If you’re into bullet journaling like me, make a graph layout and be sure to include your goal in your daily tracker, too. Set reminders and intentions for intake each morning, and ground yourself in your goal before you tackle your day.

Calendar This is probably the most simple way to record of your intake for each day. Whether electronic or paper, all that matters is that final daily total.

 

Finally, be sure to choose methods for intake and tracking that work for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you’ve tried this in the past and weren’t successful. It helps to be honest with yourself about your habits and personality, and reflect on what you need to succeed. We’re all here to support each other, and together, we can do it!

 

Next week, we’ll have giveaway news to share. Until then, remember these tips as you set out on your first weekend drinking crisp cool water and taking many trips to the bathroom. And please share your comments or struggles with us below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Recipe Box: Thai Red Curry

Shortly after our wedding, Clay and I decided that we wanted to change our diet. Again. Not entirely surprising, if you know us at all (I write about food a lot)… but this shift was definitely bigger than any we’d done before.

We’d been watching Food Inc., which we’d both previously seen, and it reignited our concerns about factory farms and agribuiness’ negative impact on the environment. Since ultimately we vote with our dollar, we decided to try being vegetarian – choosing not to buy meat, and really looking into where our food comes from.

This shift has been really eye opening all around. Since we also pay pretty close attention to our macronutrients to ensure that we are still getting the appropriate amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates, we’ve had to really consider carefully the types of vegetarian food we depend on. Turns out it isn’t as difficult as you might think to get plenty of protein with vegetarian food sources. We end up eating a lot of tempeh, tofu, and tofurky sausages to help us hit our numbers – and truth be told, everything is super versatile and very tasty.

We still try to eat pretty clean: no added sugars, lots of vegetables, very little processed food. While now we eat a lot more carbohydrates than previously, I’ve found – and I think Clay would say the same – that my body appreciates a more carb-heavy diet. I find myself with more energy, which is vital to fueling my workouts. I also find myself feeling lighter. Figuratively, if not literally. Being vegetarian has allowed me to eat much more intuitively, which has allowed me to feel significantly less stressed about food. I still track everything in My Fitness Pal and eat clean, but I also allow myself to enjoy cookies or Halo Top or pancakes. Consequently, my body feels good and so does my mind. This works for me – and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly fulfills my desire to have a positive impact on the planet as well as a healthy lifestyle.

Three cheers for finding peace with food.

One of our favorite go-to recipes while on this vegetarian venture has been Thai Red Curry from Cookie and Kate.

This recipe is super easy (we modify it a bit to cut out the sugar and the rice (sometimes we make it and sometimes we don’t). To make the prep easier, we’ll often split up the tasks: Clay will cut all the veggies beforehand so when it’s time to make dinner, all I have to do is assemble the pieces. We also add tofu to bump up the protein content, and it’s super delicious.

Give it a try!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ¼ cups brown jasmine rice or long-grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • Pinch of salt, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (about a 1-inch nub of ginger)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
  • 1 yellow, orange or green bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into ¼-inch thick rounds (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) regular coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups packed thinly sliced kale (tough ribs removed first), preferably the Tuscan/lacinato/dinosaur variety
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coconut sugar or turbinado (raw) sugar or brown sugar (we don’t do this)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce (we use coconut aminos)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • Garnishes/sides: handful of chopped fresh basil or cilantro, optional red pepper flakes, optional sriracha or chili garlic sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To cook the rice, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rinsed rice and continue boiling for 30 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to prevent overflow. Remove from heat, drain the rice and return the rice to pot. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes or longer, until you’re ready to serve. Just before serving, season the rice to taste with salt and fluff it with a fork.
  2. To make the curry, warm a large skillet with deep sides over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the oil. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, while stirring continuously.
  3. Add the bell peppers and carrots. Cook until the bell peppers are fork-tender, 3 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the curry paste and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk, water, kale and sugar, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the peppers, carrots and kale have softened to your liking, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and season with tamari and rice vinegar. Add salt (I added ¼ teaspoon for optimal flavor), to taste. If the curry needs a little more punch, add ½ teaspoon more tamari, or for more acidity, add ½ teaspoon more rice vinegar. Divide rice and curry into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, if you’d like. If you love spicy curries, serve with sriracha or chili garlic sauce on the side.

Luv for Luvo!

Disclaimer: I received Luvo meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own and no further compensation has been given.

The lazy days of summer haven’t exactly been lazy around these parts. I’m a stay at home mom and while I love having my kids home with me (mostly), means that I’m more “on call” than I am when they’re at school.

It means a lot of swimming, going to parks, visiting the aquarium and the zoo, and of course, the never-ending questions about food. “Can I have a snack?” “When’s lunch?” “What are we having for dinner?” These boys of mine like to eat. They expect to be fed three meals a day and multiple snacks thrown in for good measure!

There are days when we are all in agreement with what to eat, which is absolutely lovely. And then, there are (more often) days when I rattle off about three choices before resorting to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

It’s on those days, I’ve been treating myself to the Luvo meals that I’ve been able to try through BibRave!

Chicken in BBQ Sauce with white chicken, millet grits, and collard greens.

In the past, I’ve shied away from frozen meals because I’ve always found them to be… well, not very tasty. Before opting in for the Luvo meals, I perused the website and was pleasantly surprised.

While I am not vegan, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian, or dairy free, I do appreciate a company that caters to those who are. As for worrying about rather the meals would be tasty, it was a non-issue! The food was flavorful and the texture was how it should be (meaning that the veggies were crisp, the meat was tender, etc.)

Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (and a clementine, which I added)

My favorite of the bunch was the Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese bowl. It’s cauliflower with brown rice noodles and panko style topping in a creamy sauce. If you’re a label reader, like I am, check out the nutrition facts.

Another Luvo bowl offering is the Chicken Harissa & Chickpeas. I am picky on my spice level and even though it says “a little spice” this was a bit too much for me. Never fear though, my husband came to the rescue and finished the bowl (and liked it just fine, thank you very much).

Chicken Harissa & Chickpeas

Red Wine Braised Beef and Polenta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash & Cranberries – yummy!

I attempted to step out of my comfort zone and pick Luvo meals that I wouldn’t normally try, including the Kale Ricotta Ravioli Bowl. It was really good! I wanted to try the Planted Power Bowls too, but sadly neither of my local stores had them in stock.

I heard from other BibRavePros that they were able to track down breakfast meals, which I would have loved to try, but sadly it seems that Luvo is no longer making them.

Kale Ricotta Ravioli – you lost me at Kale but pulled me back in with the Ricotta and Ravioli

These meals are about making good and healthy choices, without sacrificing time with my kiddos. Their 3-2-None philosophy is one that I think we can all get on board with, not only as athletes, but as people looking for the best options for our bodies.

Do you have a favorite quick meal? What do you try to incorporate into your meals? 

Join the BibRave team for the Luvo Healthy Meals Twitter chat on July 18th, 9pm, hashtag #Bibchat! I’ll be there under @scootadoot. It’s always a lot of fun and there will be a couple of Luvo giveaways for a few lucky participants!

Fellow BibRavePros had the opportunity to try Luvo Meals too! Check out their thoughts!

Made (and Remembered) With Love

On Tuesday, I found out that a good friend of mine – someone I’d known since middle school, who I’d skiied with, gone to school with, laughed with, learned with – was killed by a predatory bear while doing field work in Alaska.

Every day, I open Facebook and another one of Erin’s many friends or family members has written something beautiful about her. They’ve shared happy memories, amazing pictures of her adventures… and it’s at once so sad and so comforting to know that she was so well-loved.

She brightened so many lives and it’s just effing awful that she’s gone because the world is missing out on the incredible person she was and had yet to become.

Erin was always cooler than all of us.

Tuesday evening, I needed to do something with my hands so I could think about something else for just a little while. Tuesdays in the summer are also traditionally pancake nights in our house, so I pulled out my sourdough starter and got to work.

This starter is special to me for a couple of reasons. One, it was a gift from my mom for my wedding. Two, it’s starter she made in Alaska and feels like home. I needed a little bit of home this week. 

Along with the starter, my mom gave me a few of her sourdough recipes: brownies (omg), biscuits (below), and pancakes. The biscuits might be my favorites, but they’re all delicious. 
The sourdough pancake recipe as become my go-to this summer, though. One batch makes a huge stack of the most delicious ‘cakes ever. Clay likes his with chocolate chips, I take mine plain, and lately, my mom has tried making them with slices of apple baked in. As is the case with most pancakes, the possibilities are nearly endless.

My mom’s pancake recipe is as follows, for anyone interested in trying for themselves. If you want to try your hand at making sourdough (if you don’t have some already), it’s actually pretty simple. King Arthur Flour has a great post about how to do it.

I usually add a little flour (around 1/4 cup, maybe less) to the batter, because I like my pancakes a little thicker, but the recipe as-written is generally perfect. Seriously. Look at these.

Mom’s pancakes this week became comfort food – and I’m okay with that. They reminded me of home and home is where I want to be right now, to be close to the community I grew up in, and to give hugs to those who need them.

Erin was a little spark of magic on earth.

This weekend, Clay and I are going to go climb some mountains I think – feels like an appropriate way to honor Erin and remember her adventurous spirit. <3