The Weekend Five: Movie Night Snacks That Won’t Throw Your Diet Off Track

Ever since I began my MBA program in May, schoolwork has consumed a lot of my free time on the weekends that I would normally spend with family or friends. As I start to develop more of a routine, I look for little ways to add balance to my life so that work and school aren’t my only focuses. From a beach day with one of my best friends to berry picking adventures in Ocoee, I still try to make time for myself to enjoy the world and everything it has to offer.

On the weekends when it’s harder to get out, there’s nothing better than a night in with the perfect movie, a warm blanket, and delicious snacks. Of course, when we think of movie-related snacks, we tend to think of super-buttery popcorn (admittedly a guilty pleasure of mine), giant soft drinks, and boxes of Junior Mints — all very high in calories and not particularly good for you. Luckily, I’ve mastered the art of selecting guilt-free movie night snacks that still pack a lot of flavor, and I’m excited to share those with you this week!

The Weekend Five: Movie Night Snacks That Won’t Throw Your Diet Off Track

Healthy Movie Night Snacks1. SkinnyPop Popcorn.
Anyone who has ever lived within a 5-mile radius of me knows how much I love popcorn. What I don’t love is seeing how much my skin breaks out and how bloated I feel after I eat it! SkinnyPop has been a deliciously satisfying alternative for me. Their popcorn is low in calories (just 39 calories per cup) and doesn’t have any of the hard-to-pronounce artificial ingredients that comprise so many of our grocery stores’ snack aisles. They offer several flavors (the white cheddar is another one of my favorites!), and they also sell individual 100-calorie packs if you want to have them pre-portioned for you. SkinnyPop was the perfect treat for last night’s viewing of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof!

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2. Bowl of fruit.
I love to wash a bowl of grapes for an easy, no-mess movie snack, but the world is your oyster. Slice up a banana and combine with strawberries and blueberries for another healthy choice, or raid your fridge to mix up a fun fruit salad. That way, you’re getting plenty of nutrients while still enjoying yourself, and even if you go a little overboard, you probably aren’t doing yourself a whole lot of damage.

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The Better Chip3. Vegetable chips.
I’m obsessed with The Better Chip‘s Spinach and Kale chips, which have very few ingredients and still fulfill any chip cravings you might have. They have a variety of flavors to choose from, or you can go ahead and make your own. Love sweet potatoes? Try the Minimalist Baker’s Sweet Potato Chip recipe for something healthy, delicious and homemade.

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4. Veggies and hummus.
I don’t know about you, but I love to dunk baby carrots and other raw veggies in hummus! Hummus is filling enough that you’re likely to stop yourself from going completely overboard, and although there is some debate on the health benefits of legumes (sorry, paleo friends!), there is no denying that they taste absolutely amazing. 🙂

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ApplePizza5. Apple pizzas.
Cut up some apple slices, lather with almond butter, and sprinkle on raisins, unsweetened shredded coconut, and cinnamon! I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but they also make for a delicious movie night snack. These are as much fun to make as they are to eat. They are filled with fiber and healthy fats, but will still satisfy your sweet tooth when you are looking for a healthy dessert.

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What are your favorite guilt-free movie night snacks? Share yours in the comments section below! 🙂

Reigniting The Spark: How To Get Your Health Goals Back On Track

Reigniting The Spark: How To Get Your Health Goals Back on TrackFor many of us, the beginning of a diet program can often feel like the beginning of a relationship. We’re excited to embark on something new, enthusiastic about the changes in our lives, and looking forward to the possibilities ahead. Of course, after that honeymoon period runs its course, sometimes it can be difficult to maintain that same level of enthusiasm toward the program, as we become complacent or begin to recognize the uncomfortable moments more often than we used to.

I began experimenting with a paleo lifestyle back in 2014 by completing my first Whole30, and since then, the program has played a significant role in my health and wellness. However, I sometimes struggle with motivation and consistency, and find my health journey to be a work in progress. The more that I talk to others in the Whole30 community, the more that I learn that a second, third, or fourth Whole30 can often be much harder than the first, because many of us do have difficulty staying on track even after we’ve experienced positive results.

Sounds a little counter-intuitive, right? Luckily, I’ve dedicated the better part of 2016 thus far to really focusing on ways to re-motivate ourselves once the magic wears off. Read below for my tips on keeping up with your program and remaining empowered even after the honeymoon period is over! 🙂

Reigniting The Spark: How To Get Your Health Goals On Track

How To Get Your Health Goals Back On Track1. Dedicate time for meal prep.
Let’s face it — eating healthy can be time-consuming! You’re preparing most of your own meals from scratch, avoiding a lot of the quick but nutrient-deficient shortcuts a lot of us fall victim to. Because of this, it can be so easy to give up after a long day of work and other responsibilities, and order takeout instead. An easy way to save time and take out a lot of the guesswork is to create a meal plan ahead of time and do a lot of the prep work early. For me, Sundays are the perfect day to decide what I’m going to eat each day (and yes, I do incorporate my social outings into that plan), buy the appropriate foods at the grocery store, and begin prepping those foods.

So what does “meal prep” mean to me? Typically, I’ll put on some vintage Keeping Up With The Kardashians (or another show that entertains me but doesn’t require too much concentration), and set aside an hour or two to chop up veggies for dishes I’ll eat throughout the week, wash fruit for easy grab-and-go access, and hard-boil some eggs to have a convenient protein source available at any time. Your meal prep can be as elaborate as you choose — some like to prepare all of their meals to reheat, and that works too! For me, having my veggies pre-washed and pre-chopped makes it easy to just throw them on the stove or in the oven later in the week, and saves me a ton of time!

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2. Make things exciting in the kitchen.
Browse Pinterest for cool recipes you can try (check mine out here for inspiration!), or invest in a new kitchen gadget you look forward to using. Find ways to spice things up in the kitchen — literally! When I started to grow sick of scrambled eggs, I started adding cumin and turmeric for a bold new flavor profile. When I’ve enjoyed a new ethnic dish and wanted to make a healthier version of it at home, I’ve often searched “lightened up __” or “paleo ___” to expand my culinary horizons. Figure out those routine favorites that you can make quickly and regularly, but continue to branch out so that things don’t become too stale. Why not aim to try one new recipe each week?

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How To Get Your Health Goals Back On Track3. Incorporate positive mantras into your program.
I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember.  Since I was in middle school, I always associated health and weight loss goals as something negative, something to be ashamed of, instead of as a way to improve your overall well-being. A few months ago, I decided to flip the switch on that mindset by giving myself motivational notes to wake up to each morning. These quotes and messages give me a positive affirmation to focus on throughout the day, and remind me of how far I’ve come. The notes were so successful for me that they even went viral on the Whole30 Instagram page! 🙂 I try to create new words of encouragement for myself each and every month.

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4. Hide the scale.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve let that little number either make or break your whole day. One of the rules of the Whole30 program is to not weigh yourself for the entire 30 days, but over the years, this was the rule I always broke. I found that if I wasn’t losing weight fast enough, then even if I felt other positive changes from my diet (better skin, more energy, etc.), I often gave up halfway through the month. This January, I finally stowed the scale away in my guest room (out of sight, out of mind) and fully avoided it for the entire month. Taking a break from weighing myself multiple times per day was extremely helpful for me and showed me just how unhealthy my relationship with the scale truly was. If you consider yourself overly dependent on the scale, I challenge you to hide it for a month!

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5. Find accountability partners.
Use social media or find people in your real life with whom you can be accountable! I belong to a few private groups on Facebook, some dedicated to Whole30 and some more focused on clean eating as it differs by individual, and having a strong support system makes it that much easier to stay on track. Whether you join one of those private groups or simply find a gym buddy to keep you on your toes, find others who are just as health-focused and turn to each other!

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What are your tips for staying motivated? Share yours in the comments section below!

Sautéed Green Beans & Diced Tomatoes

In many circles, I am known as a picky eater. This is sort of a silly thing to be known for, and I hate when family members bring it up, but since childhood, allergies and food sensitivities have made me hesitant to try new foods. (I’m also half convinced that I am a super taster!) However, several rounds of Whole30 have opened me up to a lot of new foods, especially vegetables, that I never really bothered to eat in the past. Green beans are a veggie that – when prepared the right way – I have grown to love!

Sautéed Green Beans with Diced Tomatoes

For those of you who still are skeptics when it comes to green beans, test out this recipe as soon as you can! Green beans are a great source of nutrition that can take on a variety of flavors, and this recipe is a great way to incorporate a few different veggies into your diet. I love sneaking extra vegetables into my side dishes! This dish serves one — adjust your quantities accordingly!

Sautéed Green Beans with Diced Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green beans, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp petite diced tomatoes (for convenience, I used the canned kind)
  • 1 tbsp diced water chestnuts
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • Salt and garlic to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add in your green beans. Cook on medium for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and strain. Pat green beans to dry.
  3. Over medium low heat, melt ghee on a skillet.
  4. Add green beans, tomatoes, water chestnuts, garlic and salt.
  5. Cook on medium low for 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  6. Remove from heat and serve!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Please share and subscribe to my blog for more recipes, Whole30 resources and other goodies!

Link Love Wednesday: Falling in Love in a Gum Commercial

extracommercialHappy Hump Day, readers! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week and gearing up for an even better weekend. 🙂 This week, I kicked off a new 28-day workout program with an awesome accountability group, moved up to #1 in my Fantasy Football league, and presented as a guest speaker for a student organization at my alma mater. What have you been up to?

Enjoy this week’s batch of Link Love, and share your own favorites in the comments section below!

Things I’m Loving Lately

  • Jane The Virgin is now back on The CW… and I still have a huge crush on Rafael Solano.
  • This cover of Hall & Oates’ Maneater performed by Grace Mitchell.
  • Receiving a Snapchat from the handsome Don Benjamin.
  • Brainstorming with my mom and sister for my exciting new Twitter project!

What links are you loving this week?

The Weekend Five: Small Health Changes You Can Make Today

5 Small Health Changes You Can Make Today

It’s Sunday, which is the perfect day to reevaluate our health goals and come up with a game plan for the upcoming week. After a much-needed afternoon workout and some food prep to get me through a busy work week, I’m excited to amp up my health and fitness and continue to make positive changes!

I’ve written extensively about my experiences with the Whole30, a 30-day elimination program with similar guidelines to the paleo diet, and while I totally recommend the program for anyone looking to make a change, I understand that it can be a huge transition for many people. Although I personally needed a huge change when it came to my health, I know that a lot of people benefit more from making smaller changes over time.

This week, I’d like to share five of my tips for improving your health, one small step at a time. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Small Health Changes You Can Make Today

1. Drink water.
Stay away from soda, booze, juices and high-calorie/high-sugar drinks! It’s important to get enough water in your system each day — and what better way to do that than by replacing your other drinks with water? You’ll save money in restaurants, hydrate your skin, and consume fewer calories from beverages alone (just to name a few benefits). You’ll also be able to skip some of the mindless eating that so many of us fall victim to, because you won’t as easily mistake your thirst for hunger. Carry a reusable bottle with you every day to ensure you’re getting all the water you need!

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5 Small Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Health2. Purge the junk food from the pantry.
Out of sight, out of mind! If certain snacks are problem foods for you, keep them out of the house. Fill your pantry and refrigerator with nutritious foods. Having fruits and vegetables easily accessible at home makes it a lot easier to make a healthy choice, especially if eating junk food requires you to get in the car and go to the store.

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3. Add in a few minutes of light exercise every day.
Even if you don’t cut down on calories or junk food, moving around and burning calories will still be a positive improvement. As studies now deem sitting as the new smoking, counter that by working out to some capacity every day. Instead of going out to eat, see if your friends want to go for a walk in a new part of town. Go bowling or mini-golfing. Do something more active than sitting and staring at the TV, and make your social activities more active as well.

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4. Cut out one thing at a time.
If the thought of an elimination diet like the Whole30 overwhelms you, take it one ingredient at a time. Start by cutting out refined sugars for a week. The next week, add to that by cutting out the creamers in your coffee (or something else that isn’t particularly healthy). Work on each habit individually instead of tackling them all at once if you find this method to be more manageable for you!

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5. Limit the number of meals out each week.
Restaurant meals are packed with salt, calories and more hidden ingredients than you’ll know what to do with! By cooking at home, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. You can still enjoy yourself and indulge from time to time, but by preparing more of your own meals, you can get a better nutritional bang for your buck, cut back on calories and save some money!

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What are some easy health changes you suggest?

Recipe Roundup: 50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

50 Delicious Whole30 RecipesI learned an important lesson last year: In order to look and feel great, you have to fuel your body with nutrient-dense real foods. It sounds like such a no-brainer, but since my early teens, I stubbornly tried to fight this notion with the hope that I could lose weight by eating limitless pasta, 100-calorie snack packs and my favorite junk foods “in moderation.” And while technically these principles sometimes led to weight loss (depending on how much I was actually eating and whether or not I was exercising regularly), I was still left hungry and in a bad mood, with low energy, headaches and eczema for days.

In February 2014, I embarked on my first Whole30, eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes and processed foods from my diet for 30 days. This was a challenge for me – not only because I love bread and pasta (and there is some variant of sugar in everything!), but also because I’m a picky eater and I had never really cooked before. Suddenly, I had switched to a heavily plant-based diet, which required me to experiment in the kitchen and try a lot of new things. To this day, I’m still figuring out how to balance Whole30 living with the occasional unhealthy craving, but through several rounds of the program, I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve greatly improved my cooking skills!

When people hear about the Whole30, one of the first questions they ask is What can you eat? The answer: A lot! Before Whole30, I never ate zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, or cabbage. I had no idea how to prepare sweet potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers, or any protein other than eggs. I had never heard of a spiralizer, and thought that “poaching chicken” literally meant that I had to hunt and kill my own poultry. Therefore, if could complete 30 days of this program, anyone can do it!

Today, I’m going to share 50 of the recipes I enjoyed on the Whole30. (That’s right – 50 recipes!) Some of these will require slight variations in order to remain compliant, so I’ll make note of those as they pop up. As a rule of thumb, replace soy sauce with coconut aminos, don’t use the optional sweeteners or cheese if you’re sticking to the Whole30, and be mindful of what cooking fats you use. I’ll also share which of these recipes are regular favorites of mine. : )

Enjoy the recipe roundup and be sure to share with friends!

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Soups

1. Watermelon Gazpacho (Our Savory Life)

2. Chilled Cantaloupe Soup (AllRecipes.com)

3. Creamy Dairy-Free Tomato Basil Soup (Paleo Comfort Foods) 

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Salads

4. Moroccan Carrot Salad (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @bloemingfabulous) – **FAVORITE** 

5. Cucumber “Pasta” Salad (Holistically Engineered)

6. Pineapple Cabbage Slaw (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @whatjennyeats)

7. Red Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Raisins (Clean and Delicious)

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Sides

8. Lemon and Thyme Potato Wedges (Olive Tree Kitchen)

9. Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Meyer Lemon Relish (Brooklyn Supper)

10. Sweet Potato Gnocchi (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)– Tastes awesome with ghee!

11. Roasted Cauliflower Poppers (Whole Lifestyle Nutrition)– Replace butter with ghee. – **FAVORITE**

12. Shoestring Sweet Potatoes (Fit Foodie Finds)

13. Garlic Cabbage Steaks (Rockin Mom’s Kitchen)– **FAVORITE**

14. Butternut Squash Risotto (Paleo Grubs)

15. Moroccan Cauliflower Couscous (Unbageled)

16. Roasted Herby Spiralized Vegetables (Fit Foodie Finds) – **FAVORITE**

17. Creamy Dreamy Vegan Potato Salad (Max Pankow Fitness)

18. Cumin-Roasted Broccoli Spears (Daily Bites Blog)

19. Cauliflower Roasted in Dijon & Lemon Butter Sauce (Divalicious Recipes) – Replace butter with ghee. – **FAVORITE**

20. Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple (Consider The Leaf Turned)

21. Broccoli Fritters (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @happywifestyle)

22. Easy & Healthy Fried Plantains (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen) 

23. Sweet Potato Tater Tots (Paleo Grubs)

24. Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” (Nom Nom Paleo) – Replace butter with ghee.

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Vegetarian Main Dishes

25. Low-Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice (Amuse Your Bouche) – Replace soy sauce with coconut aminos. – **FAVORITE**

26. Zoodles and Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (J is For Judy)

27. Indian Pineapple Cauliflower Rice (Stupid Easy Paleo)

28. Spaghetti Squash Breakfast (Whole Fork)

29. Crispy Cauliflower Carrot Fritters with Smoky Garlic Aioli (Oh My Veggies)– Replace flour with almond flour and skip the Parmesan.

30. Breakfast Bowl (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @inexactscience)

31. Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes (Hello Fresh) – Skip the peas. – **FAVORITE**

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Meaty Main Dishes

32. Coconut Lime Chicken Bites (Daily Bites Blog) – **FAVORITE**

33. Sweet and Sour Chicken (Paleo Leap)– Skip the “optional” honey.

34. Zesty Chicken Bites (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)– **FAVORITE**

35. Whole30 Approved Burrito Bowl (Katrina Runs)

36. Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs (Closet Cooking)

37. Lemon and Cilantro Calamari with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Meatified)

38. Chicken Piccata (Elana’s Pantry)– **FAVORITE**

39. Paleo Chicken “Alfredo” Pasta (Just Jessie B)

40. Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers (Holistically Engineered)– **FAVORITE**

41. Stovetop Pulled Tandoori Chicken (The Big Man’s World)

42. Baked Pesto Chicken Skewers (Fit Foodie Finds)

43. Tuesday Night Chicken (Popular Paleo)

44. Paleo Curry Lime Chicken (Plaid and Paleo)

45. Paleo Sesame Chicken (Consider The Leaf Turned)

46. Garlic Butter Chicken (Life Made Full) – **FAVORITE**

47. Coconut Crusted Mini-Schnitzel (1000 Lovely Things)

48. Paleo Italian Chicken Fingers (Tastes of Lizzy T’s)

49. Almond Crusted Chicken With Strawberry Balsamic Sauce (Cooking Classy) – Skip the bread crumbs and replace canola oil with extra light olive oil. I used almond flour.

50. Green Fajita Chicken (Meatified)

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Share your favorite Whole30 recipe links in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Disney Princes and Venus Retrograde

Well hello there, Prince Charming…

Happy August, readers! I graduated from college two years ago, but I still get that same lump in my throat when August rolls around… It’s almost back-to-school time! Thankfully, I won’t be juggling work and classes this time around (although next August may be another story!), but this time of the year is still a hectic one for me. I’m happy to have a few more slightly relaxing weeks before things get crazy here!

How are you spending your last few weeks of summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! In the meantime, check out the latest batch of Link Love, and feel free to share your own favorites. 🙂

What are your favorite links from the last week? Share yours in the comments section below!

Get Skinny Quick: A Summary of Every Diet That Has Ever Existed

cathy-image1Over the last year, I’ve opened up about my health and weight loss efforts through this blog and through social media in the hopes that I can help others in their journey to better health and overall wellness. I began my first Whole30 in February 2014, but over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of programs and even a few fad diets, so I’m familiar with what else is out there.

Longtime readers will know that I love to make fun of everything in today’s culture, but what many of you may not know is that I also love to make fun of the multi-billion dollar diet industry as well. We are overwhelmed with options for how we can lose weight and achieve our health goals, often to the point that we don’t know where to get started. Diet and exercise begin to sound too simplified; we need something with more rules, more structure. So much structure we can barely breathe.

1317519207815_5947909Of course, we all know that losing weight usually comes down to one thing: burning more calories than we are taking in. However, we tend to disagree on where those calories should come from, whether or not we should count them, and how much we should really focus on them in the first place.

Today’s post summarizes and pokes fun at the many weight loss options we have, according to the media and the diet industry. Which one do you subscribe to? 🙂

  • Women’s Magazine Diet: As its name suggests, this type of eating plan has been popularized by women’s magazines and lifestyle websites everywhere. In order to lose weight, your diet should solely consist of Greek yogurt (topped with honey and granola), fish, quinoa, hummus, a single piece of dark chocolate every night, and enough kale to make your head spin. Also, you should have a glass of red wine every night because of the antioxidant properties. (Never mind the fact that the health benefits of red wine mainly come from the skin of red grapes, and therefore you’d be better off eating red grapes!)
  • Diet-JokeTiny Meals Diet: Eat twelve 100-calorie meals per day, because everyone knows your metabolism speeds up when you’re scrambling in the kitchen to come up with twelve tiny meals.
  • Complicate Your Life Diet: You must eat four meals per day at 300 calories each. The first meal must consist solely of simple carbs. The second meal must consist solely of protein. The third meal must consist solely of vegetables. For the fourth meal, you must incorporate all food groups, arrange your plate by color and perform the dance of the seven veils before eating. If it sounds simple enough, then you’re doing it wrong.
  • Celebrity Diet: Every female celebrity with a toned bod is asked to share her secrets for obtaining a trim waist. She will suggest the following: Eat everything you want “in moderation.” Don’t think about dieting. Eat dark chocolate every day. Be confident. Have a lot of sex (even though your current weight makes you feel less likely to find a romantic partner). Laugh a lot. Hug your children. Forget the fact that these celebrities have trainers, personal chefs and strict diet regimens. Just follow these rules and you might lose weight, or you might just fill up on dark chocolate.
  • 4580d82a39cb4994dad989276ebecf51If It Fits Your Macros Diet: Eat pizza and donuts all day in accordance with how much you exercise. If your macros don’t add up by the end of the day, grab a spoonful of peanut butter.
  • Clean Eating Lite Diet: Eat lots of vegetables, but only when prepared with parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs. (Thanks, Pinterest!)
  • Paleo Lite Diet: Say you’re paleo, but really just eat lots of bacon and almond flour pancakes.
  • Obscure Ingredient Diet: Does the recipe call for salt? Use Himalayan sea salt instead. Why drink water when you can drink Moon Juice? Buy only organic foods, even if they don’t exist in an organic variety. You’ll be sure to lose weight, because you’ll give up on finding these ingredients in your neighborhood grocery store and wind up not eating anything.
  • tumblr_m7tvb3sIkF1qzplvlo1_1280Link-Bait Diet: This diet pulls you in with a catchy headline or video that you can relate to. “DO YOU TRY EVERY DIET OUT THERE AND STILL STRUGGLE TO LOSE WEIGHT?” they ask. Why yes, you think to yourself, that’s totally me. You click the link and get sucked into an hour-long video that promises to give you five weight-loss tools that will help you obtain the body of your dreams. But first – the narrator says, “You’re probably wondering why I’m qualified to talk about this.” No I’m not. “Well, I used to be just like you… [cue sob story about the narrator’s weight problems and how depressed he/she was].” I don’t care, just tell me the five tools! “Before I tell you the five tools, let me tell you a little more about how insecure you must be feeling.” An hour later, you have learned nothing about how to lose weight, but you have been offered a special discount if you act now and purchase these diet pills.
  • Pre-Packaged Merchandise Diet: Don’t even bother with fruits, vegetables or your own home-cooking. Instead, buy diet drinks and frozen meals that will allow you to quantify exactly how many calories or points you have accrued. These drinks and frozen meals can only be purchased if they are sold by the company whose diet you’re on.
  • Juice Cleanse Diet: Drink your calories for the next 3 days to 1 week. This will cause you to be really moody. Say snarky things to everyone around you and lose all of your friends. When the cleanse is over, no one will invite you out anymore, especially not for food-related outings. The weight will really start to come off quickly!

Have I missed any important diets? Sound off in the comments section below! 🙂

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be EatingFlip through any health magazine in your neighborhood supermarket, and you’ll quickly find an article about the next greatest superfood. In the past few years, every time I’ve searched for clean and healthy recipes, I’ve been immediately inundated with quinoa and kale dishes to the point of nausea. Does anyone else feel the same?

Throughout my Whole30 journey, I have tried to incorporate a lot of nutrient-dense foods into my diet, and am amazed at how much better I feel. Over time, I have not only discovered just how delicious they can be, but how many health benefits these foods have. They may not be as glam as the quinoa-kale salads that have exploded all over my home page on Pinterest, but they can still be prepared in fun and flavorful ways and deserve a little love.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a medical professional. I am not a licensed dietician — I just happen to play one on TV.

Without further adieu…

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating1. Sweet Potato
Forget the marshmallow-filled sweet potato casseroles you grew up eating. Sweet potatoes on their own are an excellent source of Vitamin A (377% of your daily Vitamin A needs in just one cup), which is important for good vision and healthy skin, among other things. Sweet potatoes also have nearly as much potassium as bananas, but only 1/3 of the amount of sugar. Paleo foodies are already aware of the many awesome ways to prepare your sweet potatoes, but for those who need a little inspiration, check out my Pinterest page for recipes. Pop over to Lexi’s Clean Kitchen for my favorite sweet potato gnocchi recipe!

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2. Cabbage
Cabbage gets a bad rap, thanks to this scene from Austin Powers (you’re welcome), but aside from its reputation as a food for circus folks, this vegetable is actually packed with tons of health benefits. Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Cabbage also has cancer-fighting properties and is good for your immune system, heart health and more. Not sure how to incorporate it into your diet? Try these garlicky cabbage “steaks” from Rockin Mom’s Kitchen and you won’t regret it!

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating3. Eggs
No, they will not give you heart disease. Eggs actually have the potential to improve your HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) and are a complete source of protein. They are pretty much perfect! I hard-boil several eggs early in the week as a grab-and-go healthy snack, but they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Dani Spies from Clean and Delicious has a great 101 video about how to buy, store and cook eggs. Vegetarians, this is a great protein option for you!

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4. Blueberries
As a child, I always heard that if it could stain your clothes, it was probably pretty healthy. Of course, you could easily stain your clothes with food dyes and plenty of not-so-healthy snack foods, but the rule more or less applies for fruits and veggies. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and a relatively low glycemic fruit, which means they won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Eat them raw or bake them into something – the world is your oyster.

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating5. Pineapple
Not only do pineapples make excellent homes for hyperactive sea creatures (here’s looking at you, Spongebob), but they also taste awesome and have a lot of important nutrients. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which reduces swelling, bruising and inflammation. One cup of pineapple contains more than 100% of your recommended daily Vitamin C, which is vital for the immune system. Try cooking up some pineapple chunks in coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweet but still healthy treat. If nothing else, it will make your kitchen smell fantastic!

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What are some superfoods you enjoy? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Dark Lord Funk

maxresdefaultHi everyone! As always,  I hope you are having a wonderful week. 🙂 Unfortunately for me, since last week’s Link Love, I have been a little under the weather with pharyngitis and laryngitis. When I do talk, I sound like a 13-year-old boy whose voice is finally starting to change! Thankfully, between cups of tea and bowls of hot soup, I have been relatively productive, going through some spring cleaning, publishing a few guest articles, and (of course) collecting our latest batch of Link Love. The Internet sure is a wonderful place to go when you’re not feeling well enough to do much else!

What are some of your favorite links and articles from the week? Bloggers, did you post anything you’re particularly proud of this week Share in the comments section below! 🙂