About Last Weekend…

If you are one of those people that can’t seem to lose the weight, that are super good and on point during the week but maybe let loose (a little or a lot) on the weekends – this one is for you. I wrote post a few weeks ago and never sent it because something else came up and I thought that the opportunity had passed. Then it occurred to me that, NO, it hasn’t passed. This situation keeps rearing it’s head in my direction in one form or another. Sometimes I am too focused on the trees and miss the forest. That’s a saying right?  So here you have it, my post from a few weeks ago.

 

Oh man, last weekend. For the second time since my baby was born, my husband and I made it out. I had friends in town and we were going to meet up for drinks and It. Was. Fun. It’s always so nice when you can catch right back up like no time has past. But as a new mom with a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night, I definitely over did it! And I had to work the next morning – how did I used to do this – ALL THE TIME?  The next night we had an impressively loud thunderstorm which woke our older son, oh maybe 8 times throughout the night.

There you have it, the perfect storm.

That weekend was Easter. A holiday full of all my triggers. My triggers being all the candy and pastries; pretty much all the sweets had be in my mouth. Without the sleep I needed to have the energy I needed; I grabbed at anything and everything. I had gorged myself on breakfast sausages and Kringle because I hadn’t planned an appropriate snack for myself between church and my in-laws. By Sunday afternoon I was a zombie. I counted the minutes ‘til I could just shut my eyes.

Mom-ing is hard.

I had a Doctor appointment the following day and I heard, “We are going to need your weight and blood pressure…” Ugh, I wasn’t expecting to get on the scale. There it was, all my mistakes from the weekend in a neat tidy number. Right then and there I had to decide. Beat myself up? Or accept what was (those dang Cadbury eggs were good) and move on.

I chose grace.

I knew once I got back on track it would all even itself out.

It’s so important to not just throw in the towel, shrug your shoulders, and say why bother. Because it does. Those couple pounds turn into something more and your self esteem becomes a little less.   It’s so fun to celebrate all the good things in life. Lately, it’s friends’ new homes, babies, birthdays, or good weather. When you stop and realize that weekends are approximately 8 out of 30 days in your month, or a whooping QUARTER of the month, you realize it adds up. That’s a lot of time to be willy nilly. Prepare yourself and be patient.

Here are some oldie but goodie tips:

  • Sleep – I have to be rested to make good life choices.IMG_9493
  • Get moving – once I get a good workout in I’m less tempted to stray course.
  • Add protein – helps with sugar cravings and keeps you fuller longer.
  • Plan ahead – I gorged myself on breakfast sausages and kringle between breakfast/church/ in-laws on Easter. I know myself and I know I need a substantial snack to make it through.
  • Put the scale away for a bit

You can think you want to be thinner or healthier or whatever your goal is, but it isn’t until you think about how you want to FEEL. I want to feel good the next day. I have things to do!

Little people I want to show the world too. Projects that need attention. My days of recovering on the couch don’t even appeal to me anymore.

So whether it’s Easter, or like this weekend with Cinco de Mayo, or The Kentucky Derby, let’s choose to make smarter decisions AND have fun. If you need help, let us know! We are all in this together.

Steeping in the weekend!

Tori

 

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healthy Fats, Fitness, and Freedom

In the upcoming months I’ll be featuring some widely different diet beliefs that are each successful in their own regards. As Health Coaches, we do not prescribe to one diet over  another; something I learned called bio-individuality. Megan and I DO emphasize eating REAL FOOD. No one way of eating works for everyone. Which is why I love reading about passionate and dedicated people who have bio-hacked their own bodies. Megan reminded us last week about what it means to ‘own’ your goals:

Enter Zach- he has done just that.

We met a few weeks into our freshman year At the University of MN- frat party nonetheless. Eleven years later I have stood up in his wedding and my husband and I are the godparents of his son. His wife, a dear friend, and I go all the way back to 6th grade. Zach has always been a well studied, articulate and passionate student of life – he is a pharmacist after all. When he is sparked by something, he goes all in.

The two of us have had many conversations about food over the years and, on our own paths, have found food to be a passion.  What makes him so interesting is that he has been where we all have been.
Here is Zach’s journey:

Five years ago I saw a picture of myself and thought, “Wow! I got fat!” My first child was 6 FullSizeRender(7)months old and I did NOT want to be a fat dad. Gaining weight was not my only issue; I also had neck pain, asthma, allergies, sleeping issues, and depression. At the time, I didn’t realize that what I was eating could be contributing to these problems.

My wife picked up a diet book (recommended by the Kardashians, of course). It was “The Body Reset Diet”. Fairly simple: eat 3 smoothies a day consisting of greek yogurt, fruit, and other variations. Then walk 10,000 steps per day. Easy enough. After my son went to sleep I walked every night listening to my favorite podcast, the Adam Carolla Show. Pretty soon I was walking 6-7 miles per day and really enjoying it. Then I thought, “why not run?” I used to run in high school. I even ran a marathon when I was 18 (although I hated it..so painful).

So I downloaded the “Couch to 5k” app on my phone. It started slow; walk for 2 min, run for 30 seconds. “Are you sure this is 30 seconds? I think this thing is broken!” But I pushed through, improved bit by bit, and ran my first 5K in years! Then I ran a 10K, then a half marathon, and 3 marathons since then.

At this point I had lost about 40 pounds. And most people think that all that running will shed all your fat.  Well, not so. I still had a belly no matter how much I ran. I also came to realize through lab testing I was pre-diabetic. Most people who are pre-diabetic become diabetic eventually, and the health care system just considers this a truth. I started to run even more and suffered injuries with the worst being plantar fasciitis. I thought I was stuck.

Then early 2016 a guy named Vinnie came on the Adam Carolla Show podcast. He was a trainer except he said “exercise is a terrible way to lose weight”, “eat the skin on your chicken”, “cook your eggs in butter”, “grains and sugar are not needed for energy”.  This trainer completed a 508-mile bike race, so he caught my attention. I looked into what he said, read a lot of books on nutrition, and joined social media groups that discuss his way of eating. I actually read the real studies done on carbohydrates and fats.

Vinnie’s way of eating is NSNG (no sugar no grain) and I have followed it for over a year. I have gained energy, felt better, and eliminated the need for my asthma medication! I finally felt good about eating and opened my palate up to different foods. At first it may sound restricting, but really it’s liberating because my taste buds have changed and I appreciate more diverse foods.

As I continued to research and learn, I decided to eat ketogenic and have enjoyed that for the last 8 months. I usually consume <20g carbs per day. I also have gotten into weight lifting: squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. 3 days per week. I still run and bike, but not the crazy amount I used to. Also no injuries for the last 2 years.

I’m active in a couple Facebook groups that help motivate me: “Vinnie Tortorich’s No Sugar No Grains”, “The Ketogenic Athlete” and “Ketogains”. The last one has some hardcore weight lifters. Each group has a slightly different take but all are very low carb.

I’ll be racing my first triathlon in July and looking forward to being outdoors as much as possible with my kids.

 

What are your food beliefs

It’s somewhat complicated, but if I could boil it now to 3 words, it would be: EAT REAL FOOD. The outer edge of the supermarket is a good rule of thumb (although there are exceptions…dark chocolate, raw nuts). Processed food is typically stripped of fiber, nutrients and added with crappy vegetable oils. What is left is dense energy. Tasty for sure. Good for the human body, no.

Humans have walked the Earth for 2.5 million years and have evolved to eat whatever food was around. They hunted for protein sources and picked plants that were growing out of the ground. There were no Cheese-Its, donuts, Coca-Cola, fruit snacks, Cliff Bars, or lucky charms. It is no surprise that when we started to eat large amounts of processed food, disease rates skyrocketed.

As a pharmacist, I see this play out in real life. Diabetes (type II) and all its complications costs the health care system hundreds of billions of dollars per year. And it is completely preventable. These patients suffer with loss of vision, poor kidney function, nerve pain, heart disease, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. It is a painful march to an early death. It is a modern disease and it is due to “modern” food. Patients pick up their 15 pens of insulin and then 5 candy bars. It’s truly sad. As a pharmacist I have one message: “Don’t allow yourself to get type II diabetes”.

 

What is lighting you up at the moment?

If you do nothing else look up Dr. Robert Lustig on Youtube. He is a pediatric endocrinologist. He has the chops and ability to put all this in perspective.

“The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz is a great book about how we got into the low-fat diet “advice” rut

Gary Taubes has 3 books: “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, “Why we Get Fat”, and “The Case Against Sugar”. Takes some time, but are good reads.

Primal Endurance by Brad Kearns, Mark Sisson: talks about how to train in a “primal method” eating good food and valuing your health overall.

A couple good websites:

http://burnfatnotsugar.com/

https://www.dietdoctor.com/

Podcasts:

Fitness Confidential with Vinnie Tortorich

Primal Endurance Podcast

The Joe Rogan Experience has had some good health guests on

 

What is your morning routine?

I try to make sure I get 7-8 hours of good sleep. This seems to be very important for a lot of health markers. However, sometimes the only chance I have to exercise is at 5 am because of work or kids. So I wake up early 4:45 am(most days) and drink a cup of black coffee. I test my AM blood glucose. I lift weights 2-3 days per week otherwise I go for a run, or I bike to work and count that as my exercise. I like to eat a lot of protein 35-50 grams for breakfast. So 5 eggs with bone broth does the job usually. Sometimes bacon or sausage if the mood strikes.

Today I am grateful for…  IMG_0473

I’m grateful for everything. Family, health, my job. I try not to feel entitled to anything. We are so fortunate to be able to just live and not worry about survival on a daily basis. Life is a gift and I am fully grateful for anything I can do with it.
Thank you so much Zach~

I’m not sure I could have said it better myself. Actually, I couldn’t. Am I the only one that stopped and reread that last part over?  I’m always inspired by people who use what they have and get it done.  If that means walking after the babies are asleep or waking up at 5 to get the start to your day the way you WANT. I can do that- and so can you.

Having a health coach isn’t about giving you all the answers or an exact meal plan. (Although we can help you with that.) It’s about the accountability. If that’s something you could use, let us know.

Steeping in what its like to eat 5 eggs in the morning,

Tori

Easter Eggs Au Naturale

Who doesn’t LOVE dying Easter eggs!?! Kid Tori loved looking each year at all the new, and seemingly improved, dying options. Sparkles? More the merrier! Swirls? You betcha! Neon? Heck ya! The older I got I would hunt for silk ties to wrap around them or drip melting crayons on them. Needless to say I got pretty competitive at our family Easter Egg Dying Competition. We haven’t had it in the last two years…I think they know who will win… Just saying. (Thank you Pintrest)

I don’t think that using whole foods to dye is going to blow anyone away but there is a very sweet simple aesthetic that I am vibing. And I actually made a smoothie with my left overs. Cant do that with the artificial colors from a box.

You can use what you have!

In my case I had frozen mixed berries for the purple. Turmeric for the golden yellow. And WOMP WOMP spinach did not work -for me- as a green. I have seen people have great results with beets, red onion peels, red cabbage… you get the idea!FullSizeRender(5)

I boiled about a cup of berries (spinach) and a heaping Tb of turmeric for 10 minutes then let simmer. After 20 minutes I drained the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and added a 1TB of vinegar. You can leave in for however long you want. 10 minutes to overnight- Its all good. OR boil the eggs and the food at the same time to save some dishes.

I wish I had a few more color options but let me tell you- The days of me running to the store for a few odds and ends are temporarily over. Toddler hood and errands- meh.

I hope this inspires you to give it a try! And if you do-tag us @steepedinwellness -we would love to see your creations.

FullSizeRender(6)

We stay inspired by what you are doing.

Steeping in Spring Color,

Tori

Massage Hair Don’t Care

I can’t very well start back to work (shameless self plug – I am also a Massage Therapist) and not shout from the rooftops the benefits of Massage for your body.  There is something about what I do that I just love. Of course it’s the fact that I can help people relax, with pain, and therapeutically, but it’s more than that; it’s helping them reconnect to themselvesThat’s one of the reasons I love getting on the table- it reminds me why I do what I do. I tell my clients there is no hiding on the table; whatever is going on comes to the surface. That could mean physically but also emotionally. “Stress and toxins build up and accumulate in the mind and body. By manually working with skin, Ayurveda claims you can help bring yourself back to the present moment and reduce excessive VATA energy, or an overabundance of the air element that can make you feel flighty, anxious, and undergrounded. In other words, the sense of touch can help settle your overactive, restless mind as it recharges and rejuvenates you.” – Kimberly Snyder

Over the last few weeks I have made a conscious effort to practice Abbyanga, an ancient form of self massage. Its great to get on the table, but that’s not always realistic. I meant to do it everyday…well, it didn’t quite work out that way. But, in all the crazy of life, I need a way to ground myself. Ayurveda believes in the connection of manually working the skin to the health of the muscles underneath AND the importance of  improving circulation and detoxification. Massage is a powerful tool for detoxing by stimulating the blood and lymph vessels.

The Lymph is an often forgotten about system that is devoted to healing and immunity.

Working with the circulatory system to keep blood and fluid levels balanced, it is able to flush toxins out. Fluid squeezed from the blood, interstitial fluid, or ‘lymph,’ transports waste to your lymph nodes through a series of vessels similar to veins. Then the fluid is filtered and eventually returned to the bloodstream. The Lymphatic system is self circulating, the heart does not pump it. Outside of gravity, muscle contraction, and movement, these other methods of manipulation help support it.

Even though I didn’t practice Abyyanga, Ayurvedic Self-Massage  everyday, I certainly did enjoy it and plan to make it more of a daily care ritual. It claims to help balance your entire mind-body, relieve fatigue, provide stamina, enhance sleep, promote a better complexion, increase longevity… you get the idea. While I can’t say that ALL that happened for me, I did get into it.

I felt luxurious.

Of course ALL massage makes me feel pretty luxurious. But even I don’t get on the table as often I as would like (Heck, I can’t even enjoy a few extra minutes beyond a quick shower as often as I would like!). This way I feel I can get some of the benefits for the reasonable price of a bottle of oil. I used Aura Cacia’s oil – you can pick it up at Whole Foods or Outpost. If you are looking for something, a little extra something, you are can do for yourself that gives you a moment to just reconnect. This could be it. Please follow the link above for directions.

 

Steeping in grounding care,

Tori

*I never warmed my oil- ain’t nobody got time for that!

 

 

 

 

Food for Heart Health

Every year heart disease and stroke kill more than all forms of cancer COMBINED. Someone dies every 90 seconds. With these staggering statistics I am sure someone you know and love, or even yourself, has been affected by this. I couldn’t end out Heart Health Month with out talking about food for your heart! This topic is very near and dear to me so I had to stop and think, WHAT can I/we do?  For sure there are things we can’t control, but why not take control of the things we can? Food. Food we can control. What we put in our mouths, we control. Here are some things you should be putting in your mouth.

Healthiest Foods For Your Heart (I hope some of these sound familiar)

  • Fresh Fruit-for their fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Pomegranates prevent hardening of arteries, and may even help reverse plaque build up.
  • Beans/legumes- help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels
  • Fish- Omega-3s lower LDL levels, which helps prevent hardening of arteries.
  • Dark leafy greens- the more bitter, the better. Yes spinach, but also swiss chard, arugula, DANDELION, and mesclun help lower levels of a blood enzyme associated with heart disease.
  • Avocados-the potassium helps regulate heart rhythm and blood pressure
  • Whole Grains-for their fiber and B vitamins
  • Brazil Nuts- for the selenium; a deficiency is linked to heart attacks and destroys free radicals in the heart.
  • Wheat germ and Flax meal-boosts fiber, Vitamin E, and omega 3s essential fatty acids. Enhances effects of anti coagulants.
  • Garlic/Onion- especially red onions lower cholesterol. Cut and let stand for 10 minutes for optimal benefit.
  • Sea Vegetables- necessary minerals
  • Spices and Herbs-Fat is better digested with their antioxidants and phytochemicals. Cinnamon kinda tricks you into thinking it’s sweet without the sugar. Turmeric, the inflammation busting superstar. They can add tons of flavor to any dish!

Nutrients/Supplements to consider

  • Co enzyme Q10-increases oxygenation of heart and has been shown to prevent recurrences in individuals who have had a heart attack.
  • Vitamin C- extremely important as a regulator of high blood pressure
  • Red yeast rice-contains lovastatin which has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels (synthetic lovastatin is often prescribed for this purpose).
  • Vitamin B6 & B12 and Folic acid- needed to keep homocysteine levels in check.
  • Fresh VEGETABLE juices, watch your fresh fruit juice intake.

Eliminate

  • Sodium-all forms. Try to keep below 5 grams per day as a target.
  • read labels and remove products that have ‘soda’ ie: baking soda, diet soda
  • canned vegetables
  • commercially prepared foods
  • foods with preservatives
  • MSG
  • Saccharin (sweet n low)
  • SMOKING
  • Sugar/white flour-produce adverse reactions in all cells causing wide variations in blood sugar.

Considerations

  • If you take a blood thinner, limit Vitamin K- it has a tendency to  increase blood clotting. Foods that contain Vit K include alfalfa, dark green vegetables, cauliflower, and egg yolks. To enhance anticoagulants, eat more wheat germ, Vitamin E and sunflower seeds.
  • Keep your weight down. A low carb diet naturally results in a low glycemic load. Be sure to get most protein and fat from plant sources. High carb diets nearly double chances of heart disease.
  • Instill stress-management techniques. Check out my last post! Your heart is your emotional center. If you like a little woo-woo (I do!)  Place your hand on your heart and connect to your rhythm. Sit with it. Rub rosemary essential oil, mixed with a carrier oil, on your chest over your heart to increase circulation and reduce anxiety.

Depending on how fast you read, someone (maybe more) has died. Scary! Until it touches you personally, you can’t fully understand what a reality check it is. So much of it is preventable with the proper intentions. Talk to your Doctor. Talk to your loved one. Heck, have a nice long talk with yourself. Start thinking about food as a, ‘how can I benefit from you? What am I getting out of this?’ Makes it kinda fun. Hope you learned something, I sure did!

 

Steeping in Wellness,

Tori

 

 

 

Four Ways To Nourish Your Heart

Tori here! You may know I am also a Massage/Thai Therapist and continual learner of all things body/mind/spiritual. I thought I would bring forth some Heart centered ideas for your Valentines Day. Take it for what it is worth, I hope you enjoy a little something different.

How ever you feel about today, it’s a great reason to set aside some time and nourish YOU. The most common block of the heart chakra is absence of self-love. Through knowing one’s self we can honor the self that lives in another. So go turn on that diffuser, roll out that mat and settle in.

 

MERIDIANS

Just like water in a river, meridians are where the Qi flows. They are not seen and are not physical structures, yet they are real and present in everybody. They flow lengthwise along your limbs, trunk, and head in channels that were mapped out ages ago. I’ll be giving you some points you will be able to work on yourself. Measurements are refered to as cun (pronounced tsoon). One cun is the width of your thumb. Measurements are proportional to each body. If you work on someone else refer to the size of their thumb. For these purposes I have not delved too deep. The 12 meridians/5 elements are such an overlapping deep subject.

The Heart and Pericardium are the two Yin Meridians of the Fire element; the Heart is the Cardinal fire and Pericardium is considered the Supplemental fire. The Heart Meridian is the commander of the entire Mind-Body, and is typically not worked directly with. We use the Pericardium Meridian to treat and benefit the Heart Meridian. The Pericardium is often referred to as the heart protector. The attributes of passion, expansion, and spreading warmth and light are more attributed to the Cardinal fire. Communication is more attributed to Supplemental Fire.

Think of the Pericardium meridian when you want to support:

  • Cardiac issues
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mental, emotional conditions

The pericardium is a yin meridian, so bring nourishment, quiet, and calm rather than motion and vigor when working with these points. You can gently press using a clockwise rotation, and hold pressure for 30-60 seconds.

Pericardium Points

  • P-6 Nei Guan “Inner Gate”

Use to calm spirit, open the chest, and soothe nausea. This point is the command center of the chest.

Location: 2 cun from the wrist crease toward the elbow on the center line. Try flexing the wrist to find the center tendon. The point is on the inside of the tendon.pc_meridian_6-9

  • P-7 Da Ling “Great Mound”

Use to nourish your heart and calm spirit

Location: center of wrist crease

  • P-8 Lao Gong “Palace of Toil”

Use to calm spirit. This is an important point for practitioners as a place of offering our Qi to another.

Location: make a gentle fist, where the middle finger contacts the palm.

 

4th -Heart- Chakragreen-chakra-300x300

Affirmations

  • I am worthy of love
  • I am loving to myself and others
  • I live in balance with others

Oils:

  • Cedarwood
  • Pine
  • Eucalyptus

 

Yoga Movement: Bow Pose

If you have a movement practice, try adding this pose in following these prompts http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/bow-pose/to help open up the heart. I had the pleasure of practicing with Biz of Sunflower Yoga Therapy.  She has a fabulous self indulgent chakra-based Meditation Yoga class that has been an amazing way for me to move my body post-baby and reconnect to myself.  We used the Avahana Mudra through out class, use it unnamedto cultivate heartfelt acceptance during your next meditation. Doing this simple gesture I found it helpful stay more present in the moment. Biz also had us repeat…

“Through heartfelt acceptance, I open to receive All of life As a learning and a blessing.”

 

Essential Oils to nourish yourself and relatioship

Cinnamon~Oil of Sexual Harmony

Supports reproductive system and helps heal sexual issues. Assists individuals in accepting their body and embracing their physical attractiveness. Dispels fear of rejection and nurtures healthy sexuality. Invites individuals to be honest and vulnerable, thereby allowing true intimacy to emerge. Increases blood flow and circulation.

Geranium~Oil of Love and Trust

Heals a broken heart. Softens Anger and assists in healing emotional wounds. Could be called the “the emotional healer.” Restores confidence in the innate goodness of others and in the world. (Um, Hello)

Peppermint~Oil of a Buoyant Heart

Brings joy to the heart and soul. Reminds us that life can be happy and there is nothing to fear.

Rose~Oil of Divine Love

Rose oil holds the highest frequency of any other oil. It is a powerful healer of the heart.

YlangYlang~Oil of the Inner Child

A powerful remedy for the heart. One of the most powerful essential oil aphrodisiacs. Encourages attraction and supports the circulatory system.

Calming Blend~Oil of Forgiveness

Brings a person more in touch with the qualities of love, openness, and receptivity. Helps heal emotional wounds in the heart so that love may flow more freely. Fosters tenderness and love in every relationship.  Ingredients include lavender, marjoram, roman chamomile, ylang ylang and others.

*Try diffusing or incorporating topically blended with a carrier oil for massage. Thank me later!

 

We, as a society, have connected heart and love to sweet flavors. Hello Valentines chocolate! Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends bitter flavors (kale, parsley, arugula…) to help cool the body and drain excess heat. If someone is suffering from heart disease, they may be better off eating something bitter. In two weeks I’ll expand on heart supporting nutrients/foods to end out Heart Health Month.

Share a sweet hug instead! When you hug someone you are physically connecting, heart to heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day our dear readers!

Steeping in Wellness,

Tori

 

*Information was from these great reads:

Meridian Massage Opening Pathways to Vitality by Cindy Black

Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith

Emotions and Essential Oils by Enlightened Alternative Healing

HIGH VIBIN’ in MKE: Carrot Bomb

I started the High Vibin series as a way to crack open MKE and connect like minded people from my own little corner of the city. There is so much good going on. So many people steeping in their own wellness journeys that it keeps me inspired. My next guest has definitely done that.

I had no idea what my life was missing til I met Loulou of Carrot Bomb. My dad affectionately refers to her as my very own personal health chef. I couldn’t agree more! Sure I made my own broths-SHE TAKES IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL. Sure I can make my own healthy meals-but it’s really great to have a pro do it for you once in awhile. Her soups, flavor combos, and meals are no exaggeration heavenly. Even my picky toddler gobbles them up.  He calls her green tea with turmeric, ginger, and honey ‘yellow juice’ 🙂 Plus there is just so much damn good juju in it that you feel great eating it.

“Carrot Bomb is a full service catering company dedicated to local and organic, homemade and beautiful food! EVERYTHING is organic, grass fed, pastured and homemade by a professional, insured chef of over 20 years. We work with farms in our community to feed our community.”

It took no time for me to start looking forward to Mondays… the day she posts her lists of bone broths, soups, tea, juices, fermented sourdough, and fresh made meals ranging from vegan, GF, DF, and full on farm fresh meat. I relish in picking through what I want for the week. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I truly believe the broths have helped me in healing so quickly after the birth of my son three weeks ago.img_0944 Being a caterer she took the down time of the winter season and has flipped it. Now, in addition to her main gig, she is cooking for the community. And the people have spoken, she had over 200 orders last week! Talk about creating opportunity. Katie said, “OMG this food from Loulou is OUT OF THIS WORLD! I feel like I have so much energy thanks to the sipping broth at work today (no time to chew, you know all about that!) and two days in a row of kvass. Plus that iced tea is like a dream!

And she is just pretty darn cool. But I’ll let her speak for herself and you will see what I am talking about:

The Carrot Bomb Journey:

Carrot Bomb Catering is the result of years of traveling around the world learning traditional cooking, and wanting to share these recipes with my friends, family and community.

Working as a chef in Europe, I noticed that every town or city had their own gardens, community smoke house, farms, ferment specialists, fisherman and livestock.  From these pure ingredients came mouthwatering and beautiful plates.  I wanted so badly to emulate these dishes in the US, but found it hard to find the farmers that were constantly at my disposal overseas…. Then, due to popular demand, small, organic veggie farms and grass fed animal farms started popping up in my area, and after extensive research and hunting~ it was ON!

What are your food beliefs?

Nutrient dense, real, pure food is not made of (somewhat?) understandable ingredients~ they ARE the ingredients!  Carrot Bomb puts these real ingredients together to provide amazing, healthy food that is traceable, local, organic, yummy and beneficial.

Food can be the death of you~or make you energized and healthy.  We all have to eat, so let’s do it right!  First- stop being afraid of fat!  We need good fats, and they are delicious, so indulge~it DOES NOT make you fat.  This has been proven time and time again.  Then- lose the sugar. That’s what puts the pounimg_0909ds on, decreases energy and is more highly addictive (according to recent studies) than cocaine.  Crazy, right?  Everything you are buying off the shelves at your grocery store most likely contains processed sugar.  Salad dressings, pasta sauces, cereal, frozen dinners… They are ALL suspect.  When corporations and factories cook for you, they are thinking profits, not health.  People ask me all the time, “What is your favorite food/meal?”  My answer, every time, is “Anything a person makes me from scratch with love.” That’s the real deal.

Cooking for yourself or family after a long day of work can be daunting… That is why Carrot Bomb opened it’s doors on Tuesdays to offer made from scratch dinners, lunches, soups, bone broths and more for pick up.  Let us take a little work off of your table!  We also provide group cooking classes 🙂img_0940

What is lighting you up at the moment?

Inspiration comes in many forms.  Cooking for lots of musicians who travel through Milwaukee, I am always finding new music, which is always pumping while I cook. Milwaukee chefs are doing so many cool, local plates… Going out to eat at places like Goodkind, Morel, Wolf Peach and Amilinda keep me on my toes! Hopefully, my next big inspiration will come from some South American travels and eats 🙂

What does your morning routine look like?

I also find our morning routine helpful. After waking, beds are made and my son and I stretch.  Sounds so simple, but the message is~ we are putting away sleep and getting ready for our marathon!  Starting out excited and ready makes an incredible difference 🙂

Today I am grateful for…

We also just started “the grateful three”.  We each speak out loud three things we are appreciative of.  Today, my four year old son chose “no buggery nose, zombies and puzzles”. Mine was “Super comfy new bed, praying mantises, and I get to cook!”

* Some ingredients we can’t live without:  Apple cider vinegar, pork belly, turmeric, green tea, bone broth, ginger, lemons, raw milk, honey, red beets, apples, fermented sourdough

Eat good~feel good~be good (our trinity)

So many good takeaways:

  • work with our farms in our community to feed our community
  • we all have to eat, might as well do it right!
  • food can be the death of you- or make you energized and healthy
  • don’t be afraid of fat! Sugar on the other hand… (my weakness)
  •  start a morning stretching routine with your little people- I love this idea

Follow Carrot Bomb on Facebook and Instagram– you won’t regret it.

Steeping in ‘eat good~feel good~be good,’

Tori

HIGH VIBIN’ with Tabetha Wolfe

Happy New Year! I honestly hope you are all feeling a sense of renewal no matter how you feel about ‘resolutions.’ Instead of making a list of inspirational ideas I thought I would get to the heart of it and showcase Tabetha. Whether or not you are looking to make health a bigger priority this year or not I think its amazing to see people, real people, DO it.

Tabetha has been on a transformational journey that has completely blown me away. I have known her for about 5 or 6 years, our husbands are friends/fraternity brothers. She is a full time working mom of two young ladies and very much involved, as is her husband Dean, in their lives. Amongst all that she truly dove into her own health and well being, prioritizing herself. She has embraced this to the point of now studying to become a Personal Trainer herself!

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Tell us about your journey to where you are today

My fitness and health journey began almost exactly 2 years ago. It started as a New Year’s resolution (just like everyone else), but this time was different. I found a place that made working out fun and I did a lot research on different types of diets. I decided I didn’t want to be on a “diet”; I needed a life style change that I could maintain and also involve my family. I started out with clean eating. This was pretty easy because we were kind of doing this already, but I started eliminating processed foods as much as I could. The biggest thing we started eliminating was wheat – so no pasta or breads. I was unsure of this, but we have been wheat-free for a year-and-a-half and it has helped me lose that extra belly fat.

In December 2015 I began searching for something more, something different. I am a very competitive person, so what else would someone want to do but compete in Obstacle Course Racing! So right after the new year I began training with my husband Dean and my brother Thaddeus. We trained 3 nights a week on top of what we were already doing daily. Our training sessions have become competitions in themselves. We are always pushing one another harder each and every time. This friendly competition makes our workout sessions fun and really fly by.

For our first OCR season we ran 3 Spartan Races (Sprint, Super, & Beast), Savage Race, Warrior Dash, Xteme Air 5K, and several 5K and 10K races. We have even got my daughters involved in running with us. I love being able to have them train with us and help them become faster and stronger.

I had been wanting to help people with their fitness and health goals, but was never sure where to start. I was given the opportunity to take over for the man who had been training us. As the saying goes, “if an opportunity comes knocking, open the door and take it”! So that is exactly what I did; I took over the classes and signed up for the personal training course. I was able to keep the clients that currently took the classes and even added a few. I love to show people new ways to train and how to make it fun. It has been such an inspiration to watch those I train push themselves at each and every class. At the end of each class we go to the pull up bar and either do pull ups or hang on the bar as long as they can. To me, this is a great way to gauge improvements in strength. Each and every person has shown improvement and push themselves each time to get that extra second or that extra half of a pull up. In the last year I have gone from being able ZERO pull ups to 13 pull ups. Practice makes perfect (or better)!

What is lighting you up at the moment? (books, music, podcasts, people, places, products…)

To help me with my journey and training others I ready lots of book and listen lots of podcasts. I have read all the wheat belly books, which are great because it gives you the science behind it. My fave podcast channels currently are TNT & Spartan Up! I received several books from Santa, now I just need to find time to read them! Right now I am just a sponge and enjoy reading and adding to my knowledge. Each and every person is different, and what works for me may not work for all my clients, so having that extra knowledge will only help.

How do you ‘Steep In Wellness’?

My goal for this year is to continue to inspire and help others reach their health and fitness goals. Helping people understand that it is not a diet, it is a life style change. Clean out the garbage in your house and only bring in healthy foods and snacks. Meal planning each week makes it easier to stay on track and help you to eat healthier.

At the beginning of December I proposed a challenge to my clients about participating in their first Spartan Race. Each everyone of them took that challenge and now for the next 6 months I will be preparing them for the Sprint at Lambeau Field. Everyone needs a reason to work hard and push themselves past their limits and this was the perfect opportunity for them to prove to themselves they can run an obstacle course race too. Seeing their commitment has given me that extra push I need to study hard and pass my test!

How do you nourish yourself/what do you do when you need a breakthrough?

We all have those days were we just don’t want to do anything, but I the last couple of years I have learned that you need those days. Take a day off to read a good book, hang out with your children, go to dinner with your hunny, whatever it is, take the time and enjoy it. Your body will thank you too. These days off allow you to recharge and remember why you train like you do.

What is your morning routine?

What is a normal morning…not sure what normal is, but the first thing I do when I wake up is drink a tall class of water and take a steamy shower. After that, normal does not happen with teenage girls. I will usually sit down with my oldest and eat breakfast and drink a cup of black coffee.

Today I am grateful for…

With the new year upon us I most grateful for my husband and brother. Without these two guys, I am not sure I would be on this health and fitness journey. My brother inspires me each and every day. He has been drug and alcohol free for 2 years now, and shows no signs of relapse. Even after being diagnosed with narcolepsy 6 months ago. Most people would let the disease control them but he has chosen to immerse himself in Taekwondo and OCR. He battles each and every day, but chooses to keep training and pushing himself. My husband has always been my biggest advocate. He helps me study, train, and even attends my bootcamp classes. He never questioned my decisions and has supported them and made changes himself. Having your husband as a training partner makes staying on-track easier and a lot more fun. To spend time alone and talk, we started taking runs together. Not your normal date, but it works for us.20160210_212132

Just check out Tabetha’s Instagram picture and you go ahead and #goals! WOW. But even more impressive is the example she is setting for her girls. I sooooo love that. I only hope to be as driven and dedicated with my own.

Thank you Tabetha! Im going to go see how long I can at least hang from the bar…

Steeping in my New Year’s intentions,

Tori

 

 

15 Minutes

As we all are currently experiencing, this time of year can be stressful. With a to-do list longer than Santa’s naughty list, taking time out for yourself can sound overwhelming and probably completely out of the question. I totally get it, I’m there too but hear me out. I recently attended an essential oil class on gratitude. Taking time out for yourself to regroup, recenter and refocus on why you are making these extra efforts is truly important – “True giving has to include receiving or will result in burnout”. If the doing, receiving, and giving is one sided, life isn’t balanced and something will give way – potentially your health, relationships, or even your sanity. It probably seems overwhelming to think about adding one more to-do on your list but to give a little perspective, 15 minutes to dedicate solely to yourself on a daily basis could potentially solve all the world’s problems. Or, maybe just give you tcolin-treehe balance you that may be craving at the moment.

OK, so you’re going to commit, now what? What to do? Read a book, take a walk, sip some tea, page through a magazine, take a nap, zone out on Pinterest, research some new recipes, call a friend, journal, breathe. Don’t those all sound so relaxing – just reading through the list has helped calm me down.

Give yourself permission to make time for yourself this season. Comment below & share your ideas on how you will spend your 15 minutes a day!

Steeping in the Moments,

Megan

Cookie Exchange? Try my Dark Chocolate Anti-oxidant Bark

‘Tis the season of cookies and parties, and boy do I love cookies and parties! I am sharing with you something that you can feel better about.  Its an easy crowd pleaser. Especially if you share what is so good about it!

Tori’s Dark Chocolate Anti-oxidant Bark

Sizes and amounts depends on how much you are making. Which dark chocolate you get depends on how much you like the person/people you are sharing with 😉

  • Dark Chocolate bar(s) – make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa  for optimal benefits
  • Anti-oxidant mix (bulk bins, sometimes called Heart Health Mix); usually contains dried cranberries, pepitas, raw almonds, raw cashews, walnuts…
  • Gogi berries
  • Candied Ginger (optional)
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Prepare your pan with wax paper. I sort out the nuts from the mix and give them a quick chop. Melt your chocolate; I use the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, then stir (be careful not to over do it).  Spread chocolate on the wax paper and sprinkle anti-oxidant generously! Less generously sprinkle with the salt; just a little adds a nice touch.  Chill in fridge or garage (it’s cold outside!). Once set, go ahead and break it up and keep in air tight container until ready to share.

Dark Chocolate *moderation is still key*

  • Magnesium-helps fight stress, fatigue, and depression.
  • Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, among others. Flavanol, an anti-oxidant, helps lower cholesterol and improve blood flow to the heart and brain.
  • Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.
  • Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage. (https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/)

Pepitas

  • One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.
  • Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral. Some say that when you are craving chocolate, its your body craving magnesium.
  • Zinc is important to your body in many ways including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
  • Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s ( DR. MERCOLA)

 

Gogi Berries

  • Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit.
  • They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber.
  • Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.
  • This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system. It’s no wonder that in traditional Chinese medicine they are renowned for increasing strength and longevity. (http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/the-health-benefits-of-goji-berries/)

Ginger

  • Long known for its support of the digestive system. Ginger contains chemicals that may reduce nausea and inflammation. Researchers believe the chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the brain and nervous system to control nausea.(http://www.webmd.com)

I’m going to go have a piece now! I hope you try it and enjoy sharing them.

Steeping in the Holidays,

Tori