Self-Care gone wrong?

What happens when our self-care days turn into anti-social anxiety-inducing days?

You know, that day you’ve been looking forward to all week where you’re going to do exactly what you want to do and nobody can stop you. You’re going to binge that new TV show! Sleep in! Not answer your phone! Wear the same outfit all day!

Self-care or “me time” is really popular right now. NPR recently did a segment about how millennials are obsessed with self-care routines concluding that their priorities to take time for themselves could mean that their emotional intelligence is greater than the generations that came before.

Now, I’m all for this whole “increased emotional intelligence” thing,  since I think millennials get a bad rep. After all, I am a millennial and I eat avocado toast, but I also practice self-care! I’m proud of this. Well, until it goes wrong.

My self-care day (or days) sometimes turn into a dark, sleepy and depressing day where I do not leave my apartment, stew in my anxieties about student loans, life and my career while cleaning aggressively and staring at my phone, computer and TV screen for much too long. But I do yoga, cook myself nourishing meals, journal and take a hot bath so that means I’m taking care of myself right?

Eh.

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Does anyone else experience this? Am I alone in struggling to find a healthy balance between being a hermit who takes care of themselves versus a well-adjusted and confident woman taking care of herself?

Sometimes I really feel like I need the day to do nothing. To zone out. To just be with myself because living in New York, working a service job and trying to start a Health Coaching practice is a lot and I want to escape from it all. It’s important that I recognize that I need that and I provide myself with the space to rejuvenate.

But how much time is too much time? Self-care days should be purposeful. Active, not passive. You should be driven to take care of yourself, it should be fun! You should not feel ambivalent about such an awesome thing. It’s about prioritizing time to nourish your mind, body and soul.

Nobody said it was easy!

There is a line that is easy to cross regarding active and inactive self-care days and the later is something I suggest trying to stay away from because, in my experience, that’s a formula for a self-care day gone wrong. Taking care of yourself is not easy and it takes a lot of thought and effort. But it’s worth it.

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You won’t know exactly what to do for yourself to help yourself when you first start practicing self-care but I promise that you’ll figure it out. We’re always going to be figuring it out because we are always changing. You’re not always going to need the mani/pedi as part of your routine, maybe you’ll need to start seeing a therapist as a new form of self-care, and so on and so forth…

If it’s hard, don’t give up. You’re not worthless and you deserve to be taken care of by someone who knows best and, believe it or not, that is YOU.

I hope that my honesty and transparency with my own struggles help a little bit. Because it IS possible to feel great, to take charge of your life, to get out of that toxic relationship, or whatever you’re going through. I’m not here to change lives, I’m here to provide honest perspective that I hope will help you. After all, we’re all human and what we can relate to in others often helps open the door to better relations within ourselves.

Try not to focus on changing yourself, instead explore what’s already within you… you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Happy exploring and be well!

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Throwback to taking a casual dip in the clearest jungle river in Thailand. Ah, if only all my self-care days could take place here…

Savory Grain-Free Waffles

Yea, you read that correctly. Savory grain free waffles. Three ingredients. Versatile. Delicious.

What?!

I am doing Whole30 for the month of June to help prepare my body for Marathon training which begins in July. The idea of Whole30 is similar to the elimination diet: to rid your body of the toxins that are causing inflammation and irritation. It’s essentially the Paleo diet. It’s not that much of a change for me besides the no grains and no alcohol thing. That will be the most difficult, for sure. But I enjoy a good challenge and figure, why not?! Plus, some good recipes will come out of it for you and for me. Worth it!

These waffles are the perfect answer to your delicious runny yolk brunch-dish cravings. I made the waffles and topped them with avocado mash and a runny egg. So, Avocado Waffles and Eggs. 🤤 Delicious. I cannot wait to make this dish over and over again. All you need is a food processor and a waffle maker to make the waffles and they’re that easy!

Enjoy. If you make the waffles #avocadowafflesneggs !

I want to see your creations!

Bon appétit!

Savory Grain-Free Waffles

Makes 2 1/2 large waffles

  • 1 medium potato, shredded or chopped
  • 1/4 onion, shredded or chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions: You can shred the potato and onion on a cheese grater, or if you have a food processor, chop them up and put all of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until it turns into a batter. Heat your waffle iron, load it up with the batter and cook!

Top with avocado mash and runny eggs or unsweetened yogurt and hot sauce, or spinach, tomatoes and eggs. It’s so versatile and so easy!

Pictured here is avocado mash, egg, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast.

 

 

A Savory Green Smoothie a day…

I don’t know if it is post-vacation blues, but lately I’ve been feeling more tired and low-energy than usual. I’m sure it is a combination of working more, running more (pre-marathon training has begun), the temperature change and potentially recovering from e coli, or whatever weird virus I contracted in Morocco. I have been extremely mindful of what I am fueling my body and nothing is more frustrating than knowing that everything I have consumed should do nothing but give me adequate energy. But alas, here we are. When your body is craving rest, listen to it, don’t push it. I have a very difficult time with this, especially when I can’t find as much time as I’d like to rest, but you have to make an effort in whatever way you can which is why I prioritize fueling my body with quality, whole foods.

Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born! I really wanted a kick of energy and electrolytes but did not want anything sweet. Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born!This smoothie could be turned into a chilled soup with some added thickness for those hot summer months. It’s so delicious. I drank it in probably 60 seconds. Try this first thing in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me up. You won’t regret it!

Savory Green, Energizing Smoothie 

Servings: 1

Ingredients:img_9611

  • 1 cup coconut water-natural electrolytes
  • 1/2 frozen avocado – stabilizes blood sugar, healthy fats for sustained energy
  • Handful of arugula- helps alkalizes the body
  • Small handful of frozen pineapple – anti-inflammatory and natural electrolytes
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Greens powder – contains all daily vegetable servings plus vitamins, minerals and probiotics
  • 4 basil leaves – anti-inflammatory
  • 1 knob ginger- anti-inflammatory, aids digestion

You may need to add a little more coconut or regular water for optimal blending. Blend and enjoy!

Cheers, friends!

Why you Should Incorporate Salmon into your Diet. PLUS: Pan-Seared Ginger Salmon Recipe.

I am obsessed with salmon recently and I came up with this recipe to satisfy my cravings one night and am super proud of how it turned out.  I hope that if any of you readers try to make it, that you enjoy it as much as I did because it was delicious. I think I could eat it everyday. I concocted this recipe while I was riding the train home from work a little earlier than usual (8:30pm) and was salivating at the thought of pan-seared salmon over sweet potatoes.

I’m such a dork, I know. 

Let’s talk about Salmon, shall we? Why is it so good for you? It’s almost always deemed the most “diet-friendly” item on any menu ever. Salmon is a major staple for many well-known diets such as The Hormone Diet, The South Beach Diet, Low-Protein Diet, The Omega Diet, The Candida Diet, The Metabolic Typing Diet, The Paleo Diet and so on and so forth…

I bet you didn’t know that some of those diets existed! As you know I do not advocate for any specific diet; I believe in experimenting and finding what works best for you. 

So, maybe salmon isn’t really your thing. Or maybe you’re sort of indifferent about salmon. I’m not being paid by the salmon fishermen and sellers to tell you any of this, but I believe that the more you know, the better.

  • Omega-3’s : Omega-3’s are a chain of fatty acids that are considered essential to consume since your body cannot produce them.
  • High-Quality Protein: A serving of salmon is a source of high-quality essential protein.
  • Good source of B vitamins and Potassium: These help the body fight of numerous diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.
  • Helps reduce Inflammation: because of it’s high quality vitamins and omega 3’s, it is said to help lower inflammation in the body, which can cause autoimmune diseases/disorders, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension.

Try incorporating this protein-dense fish into your diet at least one to two times a week. It provides numerous health benefits plus it’s delicious and easy to make, so why not try?!

Pan Seared Ginger Salmon over Stewed Za’tar Vegetables and Whipped Truffle Sweet Potatoes. 

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2, 6-8oz salmon filets
  • Ground Ginger, Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil

For the Vegetables:

  • Avocado Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Za’tar seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 pepper, diced
  • 1 cup spinach, chard or kale
  • Black Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drizzled on top.

For the Whipped Sweet Potato:

  • 1 sweet potato, boiled until soft
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Fourth and Heart White Truffle Salt Ghee

Salmon directions: Season the salmon generously with salt, pepper and ground ginger on both sides. Let sit for at least 15-20 minutes in fridge before cooking. To pan sear : heat avocado oil in a deep skillet then reduce heat to medium-low to cook the filets. Press the filets firmly into the oil and cook for 5 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other.

Veggie directions: Heat pan with avocado or coconut oil, add garlic cloves, tomatoes, pepper and za’tar seasonings and cover and cook for 5-8 minutes on medium-low. Add in 1 cup of spinach and cover and cook for another 10 minutes. The tomatoes should become very soft and stewed (juice-y and flavorful essentially making their own sauce)

Sweet Potato directions: Boil 1 large sweet potato until tender. Drain except for the last inch of hot water in the pan and add sweet potato and water to a blender or food processor. Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, ghee and a drizzle of black truffle olive oil. Blend on high until it is completely pureed, taste and season to your liking.

To plate: Sweet Potatoes first, stewed veggies and Salmon filet. Add the juice from the stewed veggies on top of the plate plus maybe a little extra ghee or truffle olive oil.

Enjoy!

Travel Tales of Gluten and Maybe E Coli.

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Hello there, it’s me, Anne. It’s been a while. I’ve been off traveling around the world, working a lot and potentially having, and recovering from, e coli. Fun!

In all honesty I do want to share these amazing Moroccan-Spiced Turkey Burgers with you all because they’re simple and delicious… but I also have so, so many thoughts on my travels. I couldn’t decide whether to break this up into two posts or not, plus I have been procrastinating a lot this week/only yesterday did I start to feel like my normal self. IE: regular-ish bowel movements and having my appetite back.

TMI? Then I would stop reading now. Although this post won’t only consist of tales of my bowel movements, but that topic is far from being dismissed.

First of all, I consumed a lot of gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol and loved every second of it. It is vacation after all.  To be honest, before I got sick (thankfully only the last two days of the trip) gluten and dairy were not bothering me like they normally do. I knew to expect this because of my travels to Asia last year when I discovered that I could have many, many baguettes and Bahn-Mi’s and my tummy was totally fine. So, you better believe the first thing I did when we landed in Paris was order Petit Dejuner Francais a.k.a. GLUTEN.  Just like in Vietnam, my stomach digested that gluten and continued on with it’s bad self.

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Mmm all the gluten.

The implications of this, while exciting to indulge while traveling, is very disturbing. What do we do to our wheat here in the USA that makes us sick? I have theories and so do many scientists. But this is not a scientific blog and I am not going to go in depth, but what I will say is that we clearly modify our wheat and we utilize GLUTEN in our wheat products more than Europeans/Africans/Asians/seemingly everyone except America. This is coming from someone who experiences first hand the stark difference in the way her body digests wheat and gluten outside of North America and if you have issues here, I bet that you would experience the same moment of joy while traveling abroad that you too, can enjoy a baguette without negative repercussions for the first time in a very long time.

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The Seine

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Inside Notre Dame

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I just had to include more pictures of Paris. We were only there for 6 hours but it’s Paris, so…

Moving on.

Barcelona. The land of Tapas aka grazing all day long. I LOVED this. It’s a much more relaxed way of going through your day, plus I never truly felt too “full”. I felt like I ate just the right amount because we were eating small meals pretty much all day long. Again, lots of gluten (tomato bread!), meats and cheeses were consumed. The cheese didn’t bother me because none of it is processed or “fake” it’s all very real, aged and delicious.

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The only thing I missed was breakfast, they don’t really do breakfast like we do here because they eat more later in the day. That’s all well and good, I just don’t have much interest in eating a croissant or baguette with espresso for breakfast. Bring on the protein! We did as the Catalonians do on a couple of mornings, but we were able to find some amazing healthy breakfast/brunch spots on the other days. Another thing: nothing really opens until 9 or 10am so there’s no point in waking up super early besides getting a morning workout in. I really enjoyed sleeping in and taking our time in the morning and want to implement that mentality in my day-to-day routine. Wake up, leisurely drink my coffee, read the news, and then have breakfast a couple hours later. I really enjoyed that.

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This place was super popular and for good reason: this brunch was unreal! 

One of my favorite things we did was run to Park Guell one morning, a gorgeous park in Barcelona. We were staying about a mile and a half to two miles away from the park that has some of Gaudi’s (famous Modernist architect with a very distinct style) most famous  architectural structures sitting above the city. While, completely uphill, we were able to see more of the Gracia neighborhood on our way to the park, and quickly. I want to try to run more when I travel because it was a really fun way to explore the city and see the sights.

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Park Guell

Major takeaways from Barcelona: take your time, take a nap in the middle of the day, savor every flavor, graze all day and buy your alcohol for home consumption before 11pm.

More pictures of food, mountains we climbed, the Mediterranean and the beauty of Barcelona:

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I guess I should move on to the showstopper: Fez, Morocco. Morocco stole the show with it’s rich and plentiful history, flavorful and healthy cuisine, bountiful and breathtaking topography, intricate and colorful decor, relaxed and generous culture, ancient and grandiose architecture and the most sincere and giving people that I had the pleasure of meeting.

It is difficult to explain Fez (or Fes, I don’t actually know the correct spelling maybe it is different in different languages) to someone who has never been there, which is pretty much everyone I know except for a few people I work with. It truly feels like you’re going back thousands of years in time in the Medina or the old city. No cars are allowed, donkeys, mules, and foot are the only forms of transport allowed within the city walls, and yes, there is a wall around the Medina. We walked around for a full day and I felt like we walked so far, but I don’t think we even hit two miles. There aren’t streets, per say, just lots of alleyways that twist and turn that eventually bring you to mosques, mausoleum, shops, the market, museums, and the oldest university and library in the world, Al Qarawiyyin, that was opened by a woman in 859 B.C.

This design is all over the medina.

Fez, from the rooftops. 

The tanneries, where they still use ancient methods to dye leather.

The Tanneries: aka leather making/dying. They still use ancient techniques and use all natural dyes like turmeric, indigo and pigeon poop! 


Sound like a mythical place? Yea, I thought so too when I was researching it before our travels. What is amazing to me is that after all of these years it is essentially the same as it was in 859. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, plus there have been lots of foreign investments to keep the city preserved and intact so we saw a lot of preservation and restoration work going on while we were there.

I wish we could’ve had more time here as it was so different and incredible. Did I mention the beautiful Riad’s we stayed in? A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with rooms around the perimeter with a courtyard or garden situated in the middle. The first Riad we stayed in used to be a palace, art museum, home and now it is a hotel.

Looking from above

Our second Riad, from the rooftop. 


Honestly, just staying in such a gorgeous place for so cheap would’ve been worth the trip alone. Luckily, for us we experienced even more.

One of my colleagues at work has family in Fez so we met them and they showed us around on our last day and were so incredibly kind, fun and generous. They bought us souvenirs to take home with us and invited us over for some homemade Moroccan couscous. I only wish I could’ve communicated with them better, I really should brush up on my French…


Where did the sickness come in? I’m not entirely sure. I honestly thought it was just food poisoning from some undercooked chicken we grilled on a picnic in the Atlas Mountains.

Oh, I didn’t mention that did I? Yea, that was beautiful.

Ancient Jewish Berber city where there is no running water and those doors lead to house caves.

Fossils in the Atlas Mountains


It was a relatively relaxing day exploring the Arabic and Jewish Berber towns and cities outside of Fez and at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. My favorite part of the day was when our guide took us to a market where we picked up all the ingredients for our lunch. There were absolutely no tourists besides us and I felt like we got a taste of what a day in the life is like. Everything is a farmer’s market there. I know there are grocery stores but from my understanding most people choose to go to the outdoor markets because everything is fresher and cheaper.


WHY CAN’T IT BE LIKE THIS IN AMERICA? Is all I kept thinking…

Anyway, I thought I got food poisoning from some undercooked chicken that I had a iffy feeling about so I fed most of it to the most adorable puppy in the entire world, Doggie Baba.

</3 Miss him. And to be clear, he was a stray. 


However, most of my symptoms lasted for a full eight days. Hm, not normal for food poisoning. Also not normal? Giving it to your boyfriend. Happy Birthday, Mike!

Oops.

The internet says probably e coli. I experienced all of the symptoms with the worst of it being within the first 48 hours. We’re talking everything coming out both directions and retching so badly that I pulled a muscle in my calf.

At the hotel, the home of our new friends, the airport, in our other hotel… 

… and vomiting… 


Not only did I not keep anything down for over three days but my right calf would send shooting pains up my leg while I was walking up and down stairs. Fun! And now Mike has it… not quite as bad as me, but basically the same… yesterday was the first day I felt like myself and my bowel movements didn’t make me want to scream/faint/curl up in a ball. Please wish Mike a speedy recovery from the exotic virus he contracted without stepping outside of New York City.

Oops…

Despite probably getting e coli in Morocco, I cannot wait to go back. I want to explore more in Fez. I want to go to the Sahara. I want to visit Marrakesh. I want to visit our friends. I want to eat more of that amazing fresh cuisine that may or may not have gotten me ill! It was a magical place that I certainly will never forget because I WILL be back.


I think I’ll write a second part to this post, but for now I will leave you with tales of gluten and e coli.

And a recipe!

Moroccan Spiced Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:img_9412

  • 1 lb ground organic turkey
  • 2 carrots finely chopped/shredded
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped/shredded
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons Moroccan 5 spice blend*
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

*I bought this in Morocco so I don’t know if you can find a blend here in the states but this is what it consists of:
equal parts ginger & coriander (let’s say 1
teaspoon fullsizeoutput_2a03each), white pepper, cayenne and cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon each), allspice and turmeric (1/4 teaspoon each) .

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the onion and carrots in a food processor until fairly small and mix in with ground  turkey in a big bowl. Add in scallions, spice blend, salt and pepper and mix together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Make small patties and set aside.

fullsizeoutput_2a21Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet or large frying pan and place patties once pan is heated. Do not flatten the patties so they maintain their juiciness. Cook for 3 minutes on each side then place on cookie sheet at bake for 5 minutes to ensure the patties are cooked all the way through while maintaining their crispiness and juiciness.

Add to salads, sandwiches, quinoa, rice or enjoy as a snack!

 

 

 

The Challenge with Wellness and Balance

I am a newly certified Holistic Health Coach and the program I attended, Institute for Integrative Nutrition (if you’re interested in hearing more about the school please reach out!) , was completely transforming. Are all of my problems suddenly fixed? No, not even close. However, I do have a health and wellness toolbox that I am confident in and know that I can fall back on, and that is truly my main goal as a Health Coach, is to share what I know with others and help them develop their health and wellness toolbox too! Everyone’s will look different and will change and evolve as their life changes and evolves….

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I find myself saying these things and I wonder: “Does anybody get what I mean? Does it all sound like a bunch of crap?”. Sometimes I think to myself, I am a hypocrite, I talk about all of this stuff but then I go and drink a bottle of wine and eat cheesy potatoes and then feel like shit in the morning and hate myself. Seriously. It happens. I sincerely believe in living a life that brings you joy and if sharing a bottle of wine with your friend brings you joy, do it. Some say live a lifestyle that’s 80% healthy and 20% indulgent. But what is healthy anyway? Is it this achievement you reach when you say “no” to everything bad for you and isolate yourself because you’re on a “diet”? No, I don’t think so. I’m also bad at math, so trying to figure out what actions I take 80% of the time vs. 20% of the time hurts my brain. I think “healthy” is subjective, like art. Which is probably why I am so passionate about it.

Healthy looks different on everyone.

So how do you find that balance? I think we’ll all be on our own journeys with this for our entire lives. To me, balance means that you make choices that you know will make you feel good. You have french fries but you also have a salad. You drink a bottle of win but then you wake up and drink your lemon water and green smoothie. You look to add veggies whenever and wherever you can. You choose to nourish your body, instead of punish it by over-eating or under-eating. You enjoy your life. You say yes to things you want and say no to things you don’t. It sounds simple, but I know it is not.

Despite knowing all of this, I find myself comparing myself to other health and wellness professionals and bloggers in the online world. Everyone seems so perfect, and like they all have an infinite about of money to spend on all of these fancy products. Yes, I understand that a lot of companies endorse them and they are sent free products to try and share, but still! How can you afford $50 for a supplement powder and have umpteen million different kinds to choose from?!

You don’t have to buy these supplements in order to be healthy, you just don’t. 

Everything that you see on blogs, Instagram and Facebook are all the best portions of someone’s day, you don’t see the bad and ugly. I get it, it makes sense, and I find that I post “best of” content a lot. It’s natural, I think. You want to present your best self and if you were always your best self that would be an accurate representation of you, but nobody is perfect.

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Drinking cocktails on the roof of the Met with my favorite strong, fierce woman. (My Mom)

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Drinking adult bevs with another one of my favorite people, Krissy. 

Here’s what I don’t post on my blog and Instagram:

I work at a restaurant waiting tables in order to make easy, quick money that has flexible hours and allows me to do what I want to do, whenever I want to do it. If I want to take off and travel for one month, I go for it. I have nobody to really answer to. That’s a plus. A downside is that the hours are late and because of that I often skip meals and/or eat food that is not compliant with my diet and lifestyle. So, yea, this means eating leftover food from a party at 1AM while folding napkins. Hm, not exactly what I’d recommend, ever. But sometimes, I’m starving and it’s what is available to me.

I am in a lot of student loan debt. A lot. I wish I could go back to my 18-year old self and teach her a thing or two about federal vs. private loans and interest rates. But alas, here I am. It’s all done with and there’s nothing I can do about it now except to pay what I owe… for what seems like the rest of my life. I am not a victim by any means and I do not regret my education. Most of my closest friends are friends from college or friends of friends from college, including my incredible boyfriend. If I didn’t go to Nazareth College, who knows if I would’ve met Mike. I can’t put a price tag on that, so I don’t. Does it sting a little bit that I pay more than my rent in student loans? You betcha. Sometimes things are really tight financially. But I am grateful that I can pay them while living in NYC, following my dreams, traveling and knowing that one day they will be gone.

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This guy right here 🙂 

So if you find yourself struggling to find balance in any area of your life; diet, work/social, relationships, money, etc. You’re not alone. I want you to know that I am on this journey just like everybody else. I am not somehow above you just because I am educated and trained in health, nutrition and wellness. If IIN taught me anything it is that living a balanced, healthy life is a lifelong journey that’s not as complicated as it may seem.

 

Now go be well and love your life!

What I Learned When I Ran my First Marathon

This January I ran the Disney Marathon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida with an injured hip adductor. I hadn’t run more than four miles in the month leading up to the race when I toed the start line. I cried before, during and after this marathon. After all, it was my first! But it was more than my first marathon, it was overcoming obstacles of doubt, fear and loss of control and how I persevered and conquered.

I felt unprepared, nervous and scared. What was going to happen? Would I finish? Would the hip pain become unbearable leading to a DNF (did not finish)? I still wasn’t sure I would be able to start four days before the race. I worried myself to sickness and tears before I realized that I couldn’t change the condition I was in, that I wasn’t going to run a sub 4:30 marathon (my goal at the time) and that it might be more painful than I originally planned. It was on that Wednesday, four days before the marathon,  that I went out on a four mile run to assess my pain. I told myself to run at a pace that caused no pain and if that meant running over two minutes per mile slower than I was used to, so be it. My new goal was to do the damn thing. So I ran four miles without any pain for the first time in a month and I knew; I was going to be a marathoner. In just four days, I knew that I would do whatever I had to do to cross that finish line.

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I know it sounds kind of crazy. It is. But you know what’s also crazy? Running a marathon! Less than one half of one percent of people on this planet are marathoners and there’s a reason for it! It’s not easy, especially as a normal person just trying to accomplish a goal while they’re still trying to keep up with the rest of their life. And that’s what makes it so special. Against all odds; injuries, family, jobs, social engagements, school, you get the mileage done and you do it.

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This face pretty much sums up how I felt getting up at 2AM to run 26.2 Miles in 30 degree weather.

Come race day, it doesn’t matter how fast you are or how many marathons you’ve run. You’re standing shoulder to shoulder with individuals who are determined to fight with their minds, bodies and souls for twenty six point two miles, for two and a half to six hours straight. I mean, who does that?! Marathoners. You look at them and share a nervous smile: “Are we really going to do this right now?” as you’re slowly stripping the trash bag off your body that you begged your resort to give you so you could use it to stay warm before the start, since it just happens to be below forty degrees in Florida.

You’re surrounded by a bunch of strangers that all have a very unique relationship with themselves and their bodies. Nobody knows what brought you to this moment of fear and excitement, but you certainly have an understanding of each runner’s long, painful, joyful and exciting journey. The air is thick with energy and excitement, not many words are said, maybe a few giggles or quips here and there, but it’s mainly silent, the potential just waiting for us all on the other side of that line.

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We had to distract ourselves from being so, so cold so we stood in line for a half hour to get a picture with Chip & Dale, like you do.

My journey to the other side of the line was filled with a lot of pain, but the joy outweighed the pain. The fireworks for each corral’s start were beautiful and inspiring but also strange because I was watching this epic Disney firework show at 5:30AM after being awake for four hours. Nevertheless, it was exciting, despite the early hour and the freezing temperatures. Running through Magic Kingdom was an absolute childhood dream come true. Everything was still lit up for Christmas, so it was extra festive. Running through Cinderella’s castle was beyond cool; I’m pretty sure I cried the entire time. The rest of the race is a blur of smiling, high-five’s and a desperate urge to finish. Nothing was going to stop me. My mental game was on point though I definitely experienced the anger and aggression they talk about around mile 19/20. I truly hated everything and everyone and wondered why the hell Disney had allowed these miles, the hardest miles, to be the worst?! It was all their fault. By the time I got to my friends and family at mile 24.8 I was desperate for their support and encouragement because at that point I had almost fallen down a little hill, the entire bottom half of my body was sore and stiff, I felt like I had a huge  boil-like blister on the bottom of my foot and that I would never be able to stop running, ever. Which is why I started crying like a baby, of course. Naturally they had signs and were chanting my name and I was just so touched that they all were there to support my friend and I’s crazy dream. I was so happy. But I also wanted to die.

Running a marathon is a very emotional and confusing experience.

Then, the finish line was in sight. I couldn’t believe it. It took my breath away. I was giggling and crying and in complete shock. It was like I wasn’t conscious for the previous five hours and suddenly woke up and realized, “Oh, yea. You did this thing, Anne. You just ran 26.2 miles. Look at you,  you actually freaking did it!” Minnie and Mickey were waving and dancing and I couldn’t believe they were there too! I was beside myself. I high five-d Minnie and crossed the line.

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Crossing the finish line was such a huge feeling that I will never forget. I felt so proud of myself and so FULL. I was filled with pride. I felt like every person that I loved was there with me in that moment, even though nobody I know actually saw me finish. All of that love and pride that I felt, was for me, from me. Never, ever, in my life had I felt so proud. It was better than any applause or standing ovation I received when I was performing onstage. I felt that same sensation of boundless energy, love and pride that you get from an audience but all of that energy, love, and pride came from me… I didn’t even know that was possible coming from just me. I thought I needed the reassurance and acceptance of others to make me feel like I was talented, valuable, hard-working and successful. But now I know that is completely false. I have every reason to be proud of myself for so many things, not just running a marathon and it’s truly transformed the relationship I have with my body, mind and soul.

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This was taken at the Med tent. Apparently when you cry crossing the finish line they send you here.  I was also convinced I had a boil on my foot. Took of my shoe, all was fine. Okay, body.

It may be cliche, but running and training for a marathon changed my life. I learned to value my instincts and intuition and trust myself and my body. You know what, I love my body and I know that am incredibly strong. I also have the strangest mind that wanders to the strangest places.

It would’ve been easier to give up, to feel defeated, to buy into the fear of not being able to do something according to plan, the loss of control. I almost said screw it, I’ll try again next year. But I didn’t. And now I’m a marathoner. I don’t regret anything. However, I know that there is a lot I did wrong and a lot I did right during training and the race. But what I did wrong I’ve learned from and will take all of that and improve and make changes. Because, yes, I am running another marathon (surprise). On October 22, I will be running the streets of Washington D.C. in the Marine Corps marathon. Who knows what I’ll learn this time?

Let’s find out…

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Spring-y Seared Salmon

I got my first sunburn of the season today… I should have worn sunscreen but I was so excited to be enjoying the rays that I forgot! Even though I wasn’t enjoying the beautiful weather in the exact way I would’ve liked ( I was working ) it was so, so great to get that raw vitamin D.

I love eating in season as much as possible. I find that I feel more connected to my environment when I eat what the earth is providing me. I understand that it’s not easy, and if I’m being honest, eating strictly local would mean no avocados or bananas for this New Yorker, and I don’t know if I could do that. What I can do is try to nourish my body with as many fruits and vegetables that are in season as best I can, because that’s all we can do; our best.

I highly recommend supporting your local farmer’s market/farmers as much as possible. Not only will you be eating what is available to you in your area, you’ll most likely meet some of the people that harvested your food. The energetics of food that is grown and harvested with love and care taste far superior, in my opinion. It’s like homemade vs. store bought. Nothing quite beats homemade.

I was inspired by the gorgeous Spring weather to concoct a light, spring-y dish for dinner. This salmon dish was just that. It was filling and FULL of so many good things: good fats, omega-3’s, protein, immune boosters, mood boosters and MORE.

Enjoy with a glass of Sancere, Pilsner or good ‘ol water. If you can enjoy outside on a patio or deck, even better!

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Spring-y Seared Salmon

Ingredients:

  • Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, filet
  • Arugula (or any green you like. I used Arugula because it’s in season!)
  • 1/2 dry Quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • Asparagus, grilled
  • Avocado Oil
  • Salt, Pepper and Oregano

Cook the quinoa first. I don’t have a grill so I used a grill pan to grill the asparagus. While they were cooking, I sprinkeld the pan with a bit avocado oil, salt and pepper for added flavor.

 

For the Salmon: Dry with a paper towel by patting down firmly on the filets. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano and let sit in the fridge for 10-15 so the salmon absorbs the seasoning. Add avocado oil to a skillet, enough to cover the surface area, and heat on high. When the oil is heated, lower the temperature to med-low and add the salmon filets and press down with a spatula for 10 seconds. This will help the salmon to crisp on the outside and cook evenly throughout. Cook for about 6 minutes and flip over to the other side to lightly sear for 1 minute. This will make a Medium Rare/Medium crispy, flavorful salmon filet.

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dash of Ginger
  • Sprinkle of Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Mix ingredients together and whisk!

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Assemble the arugula and quinoa, drizzle with dressing, top with the Salmon and Asparagus, add a little more dressing, yum!

 

Why Spring is my Time for Resolutions.

It’s FINALLY starting to feel like Spring!

I don’t know about you, but Spring is when I truly feel like my year is beginning. Maybe that’s because my birthday is seven days after Spring starts and I literally become one year older when Spring comes around… but that’s beside the point. Spring is the time for resolutions!

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Me, on my Birthday, enjoying Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan. 

For me, Winter is a perfect time to catch up on sleep, relax, spend time with family, cook rich, comforting foods and practice self-care. It doesn’t feel right to start off a new year with loads of resolutions in the bleak mid-winter. Most everyone, especially those who live in temperate climates, experience a lack of motivation during the Winter. We’re kind of programmed to do so. We’ve evolved (humans) but we don’t forget where we came from! And where we came from, we had to  hibernate and bulk up during the winter to SURVIVE, so, let’s be easy on ourselves when the new year comes around, shall we? Is it just me? I get that it’s a new “calendar year” or whatever, but geez, can we all just accept that it’ll be freezing cold for the next couple of months and that it’s totally acceptable to want to hibernate?

Anyway, Spring:

Spring is a time for hope and renewal. Flowers and leaves bloom, the grass gets greener and birds chirp. There’s a distinctly crisp smell in the air that’s filled with infinite possibility. Cultures and religions across the globe celebrate Spring with Easter, Equinox, Passover, Holi (the Festival of Colors) and May Day, just to name a few. What they all have in common is the cleansing of the past for hopeful, new beginnings.

To promote renewal in your diet, add cleansing and alkaline greens such as dandelion greens, arugula, asparagus, fennel, watercress and artichokes. Increase your raw or lightly cooked food consumption, juices, smoothies and be mindful about chewing your food throughly for complete digestion and assimilation. All of these small dietary changes can help your body shed any extra winter weight and restore your energy.

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Spring is the perfect time to focus on renewal, detoxification and refocusing your purpose. The mind and body are incredibly influential on the another, so what will affect one, will affect the other. So when you’re looking to make new resolutions, think about not only your diet, but your life, your choices, your relationships, your spirituality, your soul. Breathe fresh air and rediscover your love for your life and for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to do it all, one change, no matter how small, is better than no change at all.

What am I focusing on? Eating seasonal, cleansing greens and herbs such as fennel, asparagus, peas, arugula and watercress. I’m increasing my juice and smoothie intake because my body is craving a cooler, hydrating and energizing form of nutrients. I’m running, and taking leisurely walks, outside. I’m refocusing my business plan and what I truly want to accomplish in the next year. I’m rediscovering my spirituality and working on my relationship with myself and some trust issues and mental road blocks.

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to figure out what you want reborn and revitalized within yourself this Spring.

There’s never a more perfect time to bloom than during the Spring.

Take care and be well!

I leave you with a spring-y, cleansing and detoxifying Green Juice to give a try!

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Detoxifying Springtime Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple
  • 5 Celery Stalks
  • 1 large Cucumber, or 3-4 small Persian Cucumbers
  • 3 Fennel Stalks
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Knob of Ginger
  • 2 Handfuls of Kale

Juice it up in a juicer, baby!

 

 

I’m Obsessed with Turmeric, and You Should Be Too.

Turmeric is everywhere lately and rightfully so; it’s freakin’ delicious and magical. Prior to this past year or so, it’s been that weird ingredient that you need at the grocery store because you want to try this new Indian or Asian recipe. That’s how I knew of it. I started to become obsessed with making curries and Thai noodle dishes before, and after, my Southeast Asia trip and turmeric was a common ingredient. I didn’t know too much about it other than it’s vibrant yellow color and it’s ability to stain my white dishes if not washed right away. (Lesson learned)

When I began my studies at IIN, turmeric came up in multiple different lectures ranging from Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, Food Energetics, Inflammation, Religious and Cleansing lectures. My interest was peaked and I found myself looking up more recipes and holistic remedies to use this incredible root.

Turmeric is a root, looks similar to ginger, and is native to the Southeast Asia region. For centuries it has been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. It is said that turmeric aids indigestion, boots immune system helping fight the common cold, an anti depressant, anti inflammatory, assists liver function and may even help treat cancer and prevent heart disease. It’s used in savory and sweet Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Moroccan dishes.

Magical, right?

I’ve even used it mixed with coconut oil as a holistic method to whiten my teeth.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, small dash of turmeric.

It’s a little messy, and you’ll ruin a toothbrush, but you see results right away.

Same thing with your face: add coconut oil, turmeric, mix and apply to your face as a mask for 10-15 minutes. The moisturizing properties of the coconut oil, plus the multitude of antioxidants and antibacterial properties in turmeric help treat acne, remove scars and brighten your skin giving it a glow.

Today I needed a little afternoon pick-me-up. I really wanted some coffee or another matcha but decided to switch it up and make an Iced Turmeric Latte. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? RIGHT! So easy, so pretty, so yummy.

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I thought it was fitting to take a picture of my gorgeous Southeast Asian inspired drink in front of pictures from my trip to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. 

 

Iced Turmeric Latte or CappuccinoIMG_8219

Good for an afternoon pick-me-up or a caffeine/coffee substitute in the morning. 

Makes: One 8oz Latte or Cappuccino

Benefits: Cleansing, Anti-Inflammatory, Immune Boosting, Mood Boosting, eases Indigestion and aids Digestion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Date Sugar (substitute Maple Syrup or Honey)
  • Unsweetened Dairy-Free Milk (I used Almond)
  • Ice Cubes

Directions:

Mix ground turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, sweetener and dairy-free milk and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to steep. Strain the contents through a mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a new 8oz glass, add ice cubes and enjoy!

If making a cappuccino: add all ingredients into a blender to get a frothy foam or use a froth stick to create the same effect.

This may have a bit of spice. If this bothers you, add more sweetener, cinnamon or non-dairy milk. I kind of like the combination of sweet, yet slightly spicy, so it tastes just fine to me.

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What’s date sugar? And why? Ever since I did the elimination diet, I’ve been very wary of sugar. I’ve been trying to consume it little, to not at all. I found a great substitute that is completely sugar free: Date Sugar! I bought mine on Amazon. I cannot recommend this brand enough. It is literally ground up dates until it has a sugar-like consistency. I’ve been adding it to my matcha, coffee and oatmeal and have loved it. It’s easier to mix into drinks and bake with, which is why I got it. It adds just enough sweetness and remains sugar-free, obviously. Check it out!

Have you ever cooked with Turmeric? What do you think? If you try this recipe let me know what you think!

Be Well!

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