Road Tested: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters (Part Two)

Disclaimer: I received a 16 pack of FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters 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!

Hey, you’re not seeing double! Like Mer said in her post about the yummy FBOMB Nut Butters, I had the pleasure of testing them too. Let me tell you, if you’re looking for something quick and tasty, you need to check this product out.

I’ve been back at work for just over a month now, so that means I’m just really tired and cranky. It also means I’m not really working out or running because of the aforementioned tired and cranky stuff. I got FMBOMB at a perfect time because I’m back to meal prepping and getting back on track with eating at designated times. Summer kind of leaves me to my own devices which is basically crunchy snacks, okay?

The FBOMB came in four flavors, all with the macadamia base. I’ll admit that the coconut one was definitely my favorite, but I adore most things coconut. At first I was trying them with simple things: on fruit and rice cakes. Eventually I branched out and tried a smoothie bowl like Mer, but I’m not big into blending my fruit so it turned out to be more like “FBOMB cereal”. It was still tasty, however. No complaints from me.

I love that this is perfect for on-the-go snacks. It doesn’t have to be a big production. My drive to and from school can sometimes be up to an hour long and a little FBOMB is a great way to keep me satisfied on the long ride. I also showed up to a few meetings at school with a little FBOMB because snacks are almost always needed when I have to sit, be good, and listen.

Lesson planning with a little Macadamia Pecan!

I’ve totally enjoyed grabbing one of this tasty things whenever I’m in need of a pick-me-up or just need a quick snack. No prep required! Like I said, if you’re into something tasty and quick, give FBOMB a try!

*If you’re interested in trying these out, use code BRP10 to save 10% off the 16-count FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack on their website.*

Road Tested: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters

Disclaimer: I received a 16 pack of FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters 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!

This summer has been filled with hiking, running, swimming, and more! Over the past month I’ve had the opportunity to try FBOMB and while I was already a nut butter fan, I can categorically say that these are the BOMB.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was a teenager. That comes with a slew of symptoms but a lot of it revolves around eating habits.

Without going into a ton of details on the hows and whys, my body is insulin resistant. I need to make good choices when it comes to fuel.

I try to be mindful with carbohydrates; protein and healthy fats help my body function better.

FBOMB’s motto is “Fat is Smart Fuel” and I’m all about it! With the 4 flavors of Chocolate Macadamia, Macadamia with Coconut, Macadamia with Sea Salt, and Macadamia Pecan with Sea Salt, there is something for everybody. And unsurprisingly, I love them ALL!

Whether it’s during hikes and runs or at home with prepared food, it’s portable and delicious. I love using FBOMB packets on my trail adventures and they’re the perfect amount to add to my smoothie bowls and snacks.

Get ready for a couple of tried and true recipes/ideas from yours truly!

FBOMB BANANA BOWL

  • FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter (I used Salted Chocolate)
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • granola
  • strawberry

Use a blender to blend the FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter with the bananas and Almond Milk. Top with granola and strawberry slices!

I have been paying ridiculous amounts for smoothie bowls but this is such much better for my wallet. (I just have to remember to freeze the bananas ahead of time.)

My darling friend, Sonya, visits each Monday for podcast recordings for our non-profit, The Bullock Garden Project. One of my favorite snacks is Apple Nachos. (Isn’t she a fantastic model?)

There’s not even a recipe for this because it’s THAT easy – just slice an apple, drizzle with FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter (we used the Sea Salt one) and sprinkle a little bit of granola on top. We snacked on these while podcast planning… and maybe definitely when we were recording too.

Something I especially love about FBOMB is the consistency is thin, which makes it easy to pour out of the package. I never feel like I’m missing any yummy goodness! FBOMB, I’m 100% a fan!

Ash also tried FBOMB during the BibRave campaign so be sure to look for her review coming next to Scoot a Doot!

*If you’re interested in trying these out, use code BRP10 to save 10% off the 16-count FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack on their website.*

You Can Help Save the Planet, Too – Baby Steps First

Anyone else feeling downright dismal about the state of our planet lately? Has anyone, like me, actually been thinking about it for quite a long time?

Well, fam, I’m here to tell you things aren’t looking great for good ol’ Planet Earth.

After posting a (surprisingly controversial) article on facebook last week… I figured there’s no time like the present to chat about all of the ways we can reduce our environmental impacts.

You can read the article here: How to Get Over Baby Fever by Remembering the Earth is Dying

The debate that it sparked was interesting – and educational.

from Sophia Bush’s Instagram last week – not sure who the original author was, but they were spot on.

It also got me thinking about the other ways in which I am currently, or can work towards, reducing my impact on the environment. I figured I’d share a few of them with blog readers, since many are inexpensive and easy to implement in your own lives.
Reusable Grocery Bags
This one is a no-brainer. In California, plastic bags cost extra. This is true in other places as well, but it’s the first time I’ve lived somewhere that does so. Plastic bags don’t break down and will live in landfills forever. They can also escape on the wind and cause potential harm to animals. Not to mention the fact that I’m sure they are a significant contributing factor to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We now have a decent collection of reusable bags and I even keep a couple in my car for unplanned errands. I’ve also just gotten really good at carrying everything. One of these days that plan will fail me though. Reusable bags to the rescue.
Reusable Produce Bags
In the same vein, I HATE those filmsy plastic produce bags you find in the grocery stores. Loathe entirely. These stupid bags rip and can’t even be reused around the house (which is like, the only thing plastic grocery bags have going for themselves). So I found some cotton mesh produce bags that can be washed and come in three different sizes. Now, I just toss them in with my reusable grocery bags, and make sure I bring them to the store or Farmer’s Market with me. No more plastic!
Beeswax Food Wraps
YOU GUYS. These are probably my most favorite purchase ever. Instead of using saran wrap or ziploc bags for food storage, these beeswax-coated wraps get the job done with NO issues and no waste. Beeswrap is washable and the wax warms at your touch, so it sticks to itself and seals! We use it for wrapping cheese, covering bowls, keeping bread from going stale… truly genius. And they smell really good too. I’m obsessed.
Bamboo Toothbrushes
Full disclosure, I haven’t bought these yet, but they are sitting in my Amazon cart as we speak. Traditional toothbrushes? More plastic that will live in a landfill forever. These bamboo options are a nice change. The handles are biodegradable and the bristles – while nylon – are recyclable. Just pull them out with pliers! I’m looking forward to being able to get rid of another sneaky plastic item in our home.
I’ve made a few other product changes around the house to move us toward safer and healthier options (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, make-up, etc.), but I want to give each product a few weeks of use to develop opinions. Generally, though, I’m of the belief that if it goes on or in my body, it doesn’t need to be full of ingredients that have significant adverse effects over time. Stay tuned for that update!
How are you working to reduce your environmental impact?

Bodies are Weird and Stress is Dumb

Okay. I’m just going to say it.

In the past four months, I’ve gained 10 pounds.

Those 10 pounds that I worked to lose a year ago.

I’ve gained 10 pounds and my body doesn’t feel like my own anymore.

Do I think that I am worth less as a human because my body has changed? No. Do I feel that others are better than me because their bodies look different? Not really. Am I frustrated that stress has taken over my life and my cortisol levels have spiked and inflammation is normal? Yes. Very much so.

My last post (like, two months ago?) touched a little bit on my headspace in our new home. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but honestly, not much has improved in that capacity. In fact, things got really seriously REAL before they started to slowly improve. I’m gonna vaguebook hard here, because most of the details aren’t truly mine to share, but the redacted version is that we’ve been on a rollercoaster and dealing with some things we totally weren’t expecting or prepared for. Things are getting better, but as with most things, it’s a slow process with slow progress.

Consequently, my routine has been anything but routine. My workout schedule has been all over the place and lower in intensity, I’ve been traveling, and my diet has been… meh. Not bad, but not consistent. The slow march up the scale has been frustrating, disheartening, and really demotivating.

I spent most of last year dialing in my nutrition and training and my body felt amazing. I felt fit and strong and confident – but mostly I felt comfortable in my own skin. Since the cascade of stress started, it’s felt like my body is foreign, which is super uncomfortable and unsettling. My fitness has suffered, my confidence is low, and it’s harder than ever to find motivation to fix any of these problems.

Psychology Today explains the relationship between stress and weight gain pretty well, primarily discussing hormonal changes the body experiences when in a stressful situation:

When your brain detects the presence of a threat, it triggers the release of a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CRH, and cortisol. Your brain and body prepare to handle the threat by making you feel alert, ready for action and able to withstand an injury. In the short-term, adrenaline helps you feel less hungry as your blood flows away from the internal organs and to your large muscles to prepare for “fight or flight.” However, once the effects of adrenaline wear off, cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” hangs around and starts signaling the body to replenish your food supply. Fighting off wild animals, like our ancestors did, used up a lot of energy, so their bodies needed more stores of fat and glucose. Today’s human, who sits on the couch worrying about how to pay the bill or works long hours at the computer to make the deadline, does not work off much energy at all dealing with the stressor! Unfortunately, we are stuck with a neuroendocrine system that didn’t get the update, so your brain is still going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies anyway.

I’m not necessarily reaching for cookies all the time, but I do let the cortisol rule my rational instincts.

My relationship with my body is complicated (what woman’s isn’t?). Thankfully, my relationship with food is still okay. Even if I’m frustrated with my nutrition, I know that a big part of why my body doesn’t feel great is because I haven’t been consistent with the plan I was following for success. I don’t binge on junk food, but I do skip meals and traveling has definitely funked up my routine a whole lot. I just haven’t felt motivated enough to buckle down and plan for it appropriately. Apathy, man, it’s kind of a bitch.

When most of your energy and focus is spent on someone else, self-care is easy to talk about and hard to do. It’s complicated, too, because there’s an insane amount of latent guilt that goes along with it. I feel guilty about taking time and focus away from my partner when engage in anything related to self-care, and I know my partner feels guilty, too, as he doesn’t want to take me away from things that I love or want to do.

Guilt abounds – and while neither of us should be feeling it, it’s just one of those things for which we have to continue working on and giving each other (and ourselves) grace.

As my 30th birthday is right around the corner, and things on the homefront seem to be (finally) looking up, I’m ready to shake off this funk and get back to being myself. I’m sleeping better, I know what my nutrition should look like (balanced, not restrictive, fuel for my body and my fitness), and I have a gym community that I feel good about. No pity parties for me – I’m ready to address my stress in healthy ways and work on feeling comfortable in my body again.

My body is good and strong and capable. I am not my stress.

I. Am. Not. My. Stress.

Food for Fuel and Pleasure

Six months of nutrition coaching ended recently and what I learned was not what I expected at all. I thought sharing it would be a good thing to do because my experience goes a long way to show how every body is different. Although I didn’t get the end result I expected, it was worth all the effort and expense. Here are the big takeaways.

I learned what my body needs to feel satisfied, and it wasn’t what I expected.

I learned to substitute some of my favorite things for healthier versions. I grew to love sweet potato fries instead of french fries. And gluten free pumpkin spice scones are in constant rotation now. After months of not eating gluten or white sugar, my sweet cravings can be satisfied with good quality dark chocolate. Once my taste buds adjusted to a different palate, it was whole new world of taste. Berries never tasted so sweet! I learned to listen to what my body was telling me to eat, too. When I was feeling a little anemic, I’d crave foods high in iron. I learned to listen to what my body was telling me it needed.

I learned that because of how my body is, it’s kind of a choice between ideal blood sugar levels and feeling hungry all the time

This was the biggest surprise. The learning of this was not pleasant. There was one week that I did a very strict paleo diet and in that week I lost seven pounds (I’d already lost nine by that point) and I was hungry the entire week. Of course, my blood sugar numbers were perfect during that time. The desire to not be hangry is preferable to having excellent blood sugars. At least, if I want to remain married and have friends.

I learned how to achieve and happy medium between food for fuel and food for pleasure.

Most days are far from perfect. I’ve rolled back the program because I understand now that a strict paleo diet is not sustainable for me for the long-term. It was the process of food journaling really that helped me understand my cravings and where they come from. My nutritionist taught me some coping strategies which are incredibly helpful. Learning to reward myself with other things instead of food treats, things like self care time and pampering, taught me a much healthier way to deal with my emotional eating.

 

Going on this six month journey was an invaluable thing for me to learn more about my blood sugar levels.The interacction between food and all other aspects of our lives is incredible. I feel more armed than ever to make the best food choices for me!

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year! Are you tired of people saying that yet? I didn’t leave the house yesterday, so I only said it through various text messages. I’m going to be annoying right now, though. I’m going to talk about goals for 2019. Which is now, by the way.

I started 2018 getting ready to start training for the Chicago Marathon, something you all know about, obviously. I also started with a wellness program because I wasn’t happy with my body and how it looked. Marathon training and WW made me feel so much better about myself, let me tell ya.

Now? Ugh. I’ve hardly done anything physical since Chicago (okay, I’ve done three races, but they’ve been little ones) and with the holidays here, my healthy eating has gone out the window.

I know it’s typical to start the new year with health and fitness goals and a lot of people don’t stick to them. This is really about trying to make a lifestyle change to make myself feel better. I have purely selfish motives here! Here are some things I want to do:

Love running. When I first started running almost six years ago I loved it. It was something that helped me get rid of stress, it was fun to see what I could do, and I never worried about my pace or anything. This year running felt like a chore. I say chore and not job, because I love my job. Those 4AM wake up calls for training runs were the worst. I started to dread it. I started to dislike having to run with Girls on the Run. Running just wasn’t fun anymore. I want to love running again. I want to sign up for silly races that don’t mean anything or just get out there and go when I come home from work on on a weekend.

Less comparing. For me to love running again I need to stop comparing myself to others. It’s the same, I feel, about my teaching career. I just have to do what’s best for me. Stop comparing times, body types, how often someone runs. This is going to be a tough one for me.

Eat. Obviously this one. What I mean is: eat well. Eat the expensive groceries we buy every week. Try new recipes and keep leftovers. Meal plan. Don’t eat out, don’t waste money. Eat the good stuff. (But maybe sometimes order pizza.)

Be active. As much as I love to sit around and read, I also really love the outdoors. Florida has so many parks and nature preserves that I’ve yet to explore. I want to take the time to do this in 2019, kind of like Jenn’s Hike Challenge.

Grow spiritually. My faith has been a huge part of my life for the past fifteen years. One thing I want to focus on this year is doing more devotional and journal time. My mind is always going a mile a minute, so sometimes when I sit down to read or think I’m thinking about a hundred different things. The new year feels like the right time for some spiritual growth.

Rest. I thought I was pretty good at getting enough sleep since I usually have an early bedtime when school’s in session. Wow, was I wrong. I was texting a friend yesterday after I woke up from nine hours of interrupted sleep. (And I didn’t even drink on NYE!) and she commented how we teachers just kind of bank our sleep deficits. I am loving this extra rest time during winter break, but I need to figure out how to do it when I get back to real life.

Okay. That feels like enough goals for right now. I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee yet because I’ve been working on that rest thing. I’m looking forward to getting started with all of these other things, too! If anyone is looking for an accountability partner, hit me up!

What are some of your goals for the new year?

 

Recipe Box – Thanksgiving Bone Broth

Did you save the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving promising yourself you’d be all Food Network-y and do something with it? Maybe you thought you’d make stock, or even try jumping on the bone broth bandwagon if you haven’t already. Guess what?! ME TOO!  But why bone broth, specifically? Bone broth is special because the process of making it extracts the collagen in the carcass and collagen helps to heal all kinds of your parts. Parts like your intestines and joints, and it makes a great, easy breakfast, especially on cold winter mornings.

I’ve been on this wagon for a few months and I’ve gotten a bit bored with my standard recipe. I was super excited to have a turkey carcass to use and to mix it up with some fresh herbs. The carcass was so big (we had a 17.75 pound bird) that it made two batches of bone broth. Don’t forget the apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is the magic ingredient that pulls all the good stuff from the bones.

Reuse glass bottles for the perfect fast breakfast or recovery drink. Reheat for 2 minutes and BOOM!

I do use a six quart Instant Pot when I make bone broth because the stove top or Crock Pot method takes twelve hours for poultry based bone broth. The long cooking time is needed to extract all the collagen, and having a gas stove burner on for twelve hours makes me nervous. Instant Pot to the rescue! This method only takes two hours.  If you’re using the stove top or a Crock Pot, follow all assembly instructions and cook for twelve hours minimum.

Thanksgiving Bone Broth

  • Turkey carcass, cut into pieces so it will fit in your pot
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
  • Sage, Fresh
  • Thyme, Fresh
  • 1/2 Onion including skin
  • 3 Large Carrots cut to fit in pot
  • 2 Stalks of Celery cut to fit in pot
  • Mushrooms, handful
  • 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water

Add carcass to pot first, then add all other ingredients, adding the apple cider vinegar last. If using an Instant Pot, fill it with water to the max fill line. Lock the lid in place, select “Pressure Cook” and , and set the timer for 2 hours.

If using a pot or Crock Pot, leave two inches of water below top of pot and watch pot throughout cooking, you may need to add water as it evaporates. Cook for twelve hours minimum.

After your broth is done, you’ll need to strain it. All you want is the liquid. Once my Instant Pot is cool enough to handle, I nest a colander in a metal mixing bowl, and use a slotted spatula to remove the large bits of bones, veg, and meat from the pot. Once I’ve gotten most of that removed, I nest a fine sieve inside another large bowl, then pour the broth through the sieve to strain the broth of smaller bits. The next step is to pour the strained broth into a fat separator. If you don’t have one of those, you can spoon off the fat sitting on top of the broth once it separates. With my separator, I can pour off the fat.  I toss the bones and veg in the trash and add whatever is at the bottom of that bowl to the strained broth. Then, I pour my broth into 12 oz mason jars. (There is a lot of pouring going on).

This turkey version is tasty, and I’ll be sure to put the carcasses from my husband’s meat smoking experiments into future recipes. Bone broth has become a routine part of my mornings. I appreciate its unassuming gentleness and subtle healing properties.

On Wednesdays We Do Wellness

Every Wednesday, I tag up with my nutritionist, Dr. Kyle. I’m at the midway point in her six-month wellness program and now is a great time to check in and share what’s working, and what’s been challenging.

The hardest thing so far is a lack of variety in my diet. I’ve always been on the picky side of eating, and veggies were not my favorite things. That’s all still true. If I eat hummus and carrots again for lunch I. Will. Scream. The solution here is to experiment more with new recipes. I admit I’m not a great cook so this one scares me a bit, but onward I must go.

Cutting out sweets has also been hard, but has gotten easier over time. Instead of craving the triple chocolate layer cake, I’m going for pumpkin spice scones. I’ve swapped out ice cream for vanilla honey Greek yogurt. Things like cheesecake and Starbucks drinks are WAY too sweet and I can’t eat them anymore. Sadly, my sweet tooth is still not satisfied and temptation is hard to fight. My solution here is to try my hand at paleo baking and treat-making. Wish me luck!

Part of the Wellness journey with Dr. Kyle is to learn how to do self-care right. Making time for myself has become a priority instead of a luxury. When I make time for self-care, I find I don’t need or crave the bad foods, like baked goods and candy, as much. I’m being fulfilled in other ways, whether that’s reading a book for fun, painting my nails, or taking a bubble bath, my soul is getting time to rejuvenate as opposed to my seeking refuge in sweets only to still feel depleted of energy. I’m loving this new perspective.

This might be my favorite place in my new house.

The best thing by far about this whole journey is the fact that I’ve lost 7 pounds. Once I cut refined sugar and gluten almost completely from my diet, the pounds fell away. My clothes are fitting better, and I’m able to squeeze into pants I wasn’t able to before. It feels great!

The goal with starting this journey was to learn how to eat properly to avoid diabetes. My blood sugar levels were high and I really don’t want diabetes. Since I’ve changed my diet, my sugars have dropped from consistently between 130 – 150 to 95 – 115. While I’m not at my target of 60-90, I’m getting closer and that is a huge win.

I’ve learned tht it’s not an all or ohiotng game, either. I’m shooitng for 80/20 where 20% of my calorie intake a week is sugar and complex carbs. While it seems like a big number on the healthy side, I’m learning it’s totally doable!

What’s your favorite self-care activity? DO you have any paleo recipes for me? Extra credit if they are Instant Pot friendly!