Monday, November 21, 2016

All I Want for Christmas: My Holiday Wish List

This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service. Thank you Lucky Brand for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Lucky Brand, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

With the holidays just around the corner, Mal and I have started to give each other (not so) subtle hints about what we want for Christmas this year. It’s not that we don’t know what to get one another. I mean, we’ve been together for 13 years now (and we’re celebrating this weekend!), but it definitely makes life a littler easier when you have something in mind for the other person. Plus, Mal is one of those guys who seems to have everything he needs or wants, so it’s sometimes difficult to come up with the perfect gift for him.

On the flip side, when shopping for me, Mal is really good at picking awesome gifts. So much, in fact, he’ll remember things that I’ve randomly (not purposely) mentioned in conversation months ago and then surprise me with them at the next holiday or celebration. It’s actually quite a skill. Half the time, I barely remember mentioning them!


Twinning! 🙂

Anyway, I recently partnered with Lucky Brand and wanted to share some of the items that I added to my Christmas wish list. I’m pretty sure Mal will read this blog post, so I’m making the holidays really easy for him. Haha!

Lucky Brand is typically know for denim (jeans, jackets, etc.), leather jackets, graphic tees, and plaid, so I had an idea what I might like from them. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have so much more to offer, including bags, shoes (so many adorable booties), sunglasses, jewelry, dresses, cocktail attire, and more. When I was window shopping online, I just kept thinking: I can’t believe this is Lucky Brand! That said, here’s a sampling of the items that I really love and what I ultimately selected.


Chevron Shine Sweater: I love this chevron sweater with metallic accents (it comes in black too) with a split hem and woven underlay. It’s super cute and 40% off right now!

Pieced Thermal: This thermal shirt with Henley detailing has a unique printed back. It’s an easy piece to wear with jeans, and it comes in black, red, and navy. It’s also 40% right now!

Emmie Flats: These flats come in seven different colors and patterns and feature vintage-inspire detailing. They look super comfortable and versatile. I definitely want a pair!

Sweater Mixed Wrap: This sweater wrap is perfect for lounging or dressing up with some style. I love the classic heathered pattern and cozy drape front. This sweater would be amazing for layering and, guys, it’s 40% off right now!

Spacedye Terry Wrap: Another cozy wrap! Clearly, I’m digging this style lately. This wrap features an asymmetrical front zip, pockets, and drawstring lapels. It also comes in red and it’s on sale. Yay!

Derby Leather Jacket: This leather jacket is at the top of my wish list! I could see it becoming a staple in my wardrobe. Love, love, love. And it’s 40% off right now… so tempting!

Speaking of wardrobe staples…

Lolita Skinny: I’m obsessed with these black skinny jeans (pictured below). They’re not too slim, but not too curvy either, so they’re just right for everyday and go with everything. Right now, Lucky Brand is having an online exclusive on jeans: Buy one, get one 50% off. Time to stock up!

Side Zip Pattern Sweater: My gosh, this sweater is my favorite. It’s made from a cotton/cashmere blend and features a mixed pattern, a curved hem, and side zippers. So cute, right? I’ve already worn it a bunch and see myself wearing it a ton more in the future!


Lucky Side Zip Sweater


Question of the Day

Your turn! What Lucky Brand item would you add to your holiday wish list this year?


from Carrots 'N' Cake

Dear Mark: New Primal Blueprint Edition Comments, and Is Healthy Living a Placebo?

Feature_320x240For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll first be addressing questions from the comment section of the new Primal Blueprint edition announcement, plus one from the placebo post.

The first question comes from barry and concerns the omission of raw food on the new PB food pyramid. Did I make a mistake by not including overt recommendations for eating raw veggies and meat? Are cooked foods responsible for our health problems? After that, I field a brief question about non-running alternatives for the MAF method. And finally, I explore whether healthy living is all just one big placebo.

Let’s go:

I love your dieting aspects as well, although, I haven’t heard you or anyone else really address the benefits of eating raw. The only people I can find that address this is the WAPF. I eat raw animal products daily and I was surprised to see this hasn’t really been discussed much. Raw meat, raw eggs, raw dairy, raw plants, etc. it’s all good for you. Humans are the only animal that cooks their food yet we’re the sickest.

Thanks for the kind words, barry.

I’ve spoken glowingly of raw dairy. I’ve explained how the raw dairy proteins can boost immune function and increase glutathione synthesis.

I’m also supportive of raw egg yolks. Those fatty acids and cholesterol can be fragile, especially if they’re battery-raised, conventional eggs (pastured are more resistant to heat), and a good raw egg yolk is to be savored, in my opinion. I like them separated and dropped into smoothies, sauces, or blenders full of coffee, or consumed in the context of a sunnyside-up egg.

I eat a large bowl of mostly raw plants almost every day: my Big Ass Salad. While heartier greens like kale and chard are more digestible when cooked, I think there’s value in eating a mix of raw and cooked vegetables.

Raw meat can work, sure. Steak tartare, sashimi, poke, liver smoothies. Raw meat is quite digestible, but not uniquely so.

Humans are also the only animal to wield fire, wear clothing, participate in spiritual rituals, and—yes—cook. We are unique animals. And there’s considerable evidence that cooking increased the availability of calories, reduced the amount of labor and chewing required to obtain them, and triggered the brain growth spurt that enabled our ascension to the top of the food chain.

I’ve written about the potential dangers of the carcinogens and toxins that form during certain types of cooking. I’ve also discussed our likely adaptation to some amount of these toxins in our diet. There may even be hormetic benefits to occasionally consuming foods cooked at high heat.

I haven’t come across any quality evidence that cooked foods are major contributors to the degenerative diseases afflicting humans.

I just started looking into MAF, but I cannot run. I do a brisk walk on the treadmill. All the self testing seems to be aimed at runners. Not sure if I can accurately self test…

You can.

The MAF method works with anything. You can row, hike, bike, or swim. You can hop on the elliptical, the gazelle, the recumbent bike, or one of those weird vehicles that looks like an elliptical on wheels. Anything works. Just move.

If you can hit the numbers briskly walking, it will work.

Finally, from the placebo post:

So this primal lifestyle we’ve embraced … ?

HealthyHombre broaches an important question. Could “healthy Primal living” be one big placebo effect?

Maybe. Partially.

We know that the placebo effect worms its way into everything we do.

When people are told they’re drinking a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake that’s actually just 300 calories, their postprandial ghrelin—a hormone that increases hunger and generally drops after large calorie intakes—plummets. As if the shake was indulgent and high in calories…

When non-exercising housekeepers are split into two groups—one group told their daily duties are a great way to exercise, the other told nothing—the “exercising” group loses weight and improves their blood pressure despite no change in activity levels.

I think it’s a case of placebo + real effect. This way of eating, living, and training really does work. Clinical trials (placebo-controlled ones!), anecdotes, and common sense confirm it. Food has hundreds of physiological effects. Exercise stresses the body and provokes an adaptive response. Sunlight does produce vitamin D, spending time in nature does reduce stress and boost immune function. These are all real things happening.

But belief in what you’re eating and doing has to have benefits. If believing a sugar pill can improve your IBS works, believing your salad is good for you probably has helpful effects above and beyond what’s actually in the salad.

Living a healthy Primal lifestyle physically and embracing it psychologically might just offer the best of both worlds. In my experience, real emotional investment makes living against the grain easier anyway.

That’s it for today, folks.

I’d love to hear your thoughts down below. Take care!


The post Dear Mark: New Primal Blueprint Edition Comments, and Is Healthy Living a Placebo? appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

5 Ways to Navigate Food Allergies During the Holidays

Have you ever hosted a holiday feast and genuinely enjoyed the gathering as much as your guests did? It can be a reality — with a little help from your friends. During the holidays, many of the top food allergens — especially gluten, dairy, eggs and tree nuts — appear throughout the meal. This year, we’re turning the tables on guests and preparing them with these five easy tips to make this season’s holiday feast fun, and safe from allergies, for everyone.

1. Be prepared.
Avoid anxiety by giving the host a heads-up about any food allergies or intolerances the moment you receive the invitation. Ask if you can bring your favorite dish or dessert. It’s an opportunity to share not only the gift of food, but also your personal food memories and family traditions.

2. Be generous.
If you approach the gathering from a place of gratitude rather than just focusing on the food, your experience will shift. How often do you get the chance to be with those you love or meet charming new people? Think of everyone you get to spend time with, the laughter and the all-too-rare, real-life interactions. Invaluable.

3. Be open to new (yet safe) food experiences.
You can always find something to eat if you’re open to expanding your food horizons. First, talk with the host and look around the table to identify the food-allergy-friendly options, then make an effort to move beyond your comfort zone by trying a new dish or tasting a new ingredient.

4. Be full.
Besides hosting your own party, another way to take charge of your health and manage any food allergy is, of course, to eat before you go. You’ll be ready to enjoy the event without feeling stressed that (well-meaning) guests or hosts forgot to tell you the complete list of ingredients in each dish.

5. Be thankful.
Holiday entertaining can be a pressure-filled, three-ring circus, which is why if you’re the guest, it’s good to refocus your thinking. After all, you haven’t been frantically prepping the feast or setting up holiday decor for days. Instead, be grateful that you get to walk into a beautiful gathering of friends and family.

Silvana Nardone is the author of Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

To Grandmother’s House We Went


There’s nothing like a visit to grandmother’s house!!


Mazen and I went to Hillsborough for the weekend for a pre-Thanksgiving visit.


We arrived in time for dinner on Friday night. Dad and I shared two pumpkin beers, and we had cheese and crackers to start.


Mom made her famous BBQ chicken served with broccoli (for Mazen – it was the only thing he ate enthusiastically!), rice, and sautĂ©ed apples.


Comfort food from my childhood : )


For dessert we had a cookie cake with Gus the dog’s face on front for Mazen.


Mazen was up until 10:30 p.m. jumping on the bed with my sister’s giant stuffed animals!


On Saturday morning my mom surprised us with her famous cinnamon cake.


And later on, when we had eggs, toast, and raspberries with lots of coffee.


I went for a power walk downtown and back, and then my childhood BFF, Becca, came over with her three girls to play outside for a bit. Mazen called all three of the girls “Rebecca,” which made us all laugh.


For lunch we had sandwiches and chips


And Mazen had a great time playing with Grammie’s big road.


On Saturday afternoon we got dressed up and headed to my parent’s new house for cocktail hour.


They bought a new house (literally a brand new house) in their same neighborhood, and they are slowly moving over. While we are all sad to say goodbye to the historic house I grew up in, we are pumped for the swap to a new house without fewer drafts, fewer spiders, more bathrooms, and more heat!


We went to my favorite restaurant – The Saratoga Grill – for dinner.


Their scones are the best!


I always get the broiled seafood platter with salmon, scallops, stuffed shrimp, and a great side salad with strawberry dressing.


We shared this baklava cheesecake and a coconut cake for dessert!


Mom and Mazey went home for bedtime, and dad and I went to Mystery Brewing for a show by the Berlin Brothers. They were such great entertainers, and the music ranged from Dixieland to swing to Latin.


We were up early to head home at around 8:00 a.m. because I had a soccer game (the finals!) at noon. Sadly my team lost, but we lost 1:0 and gave it our all, so it was a great game to walk away from.

Hope you guys had a good weekend!

from Kath Eats Real Food

Clean Eating Twice Baked And Loaded Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Clean Eating Twice Baked And Loaded Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

I love a good casserole. Maybe it’s this time of year or maybe it’s the weather outside. But few things beat a good casserole from about October through March in these parts.

This dish is perfect… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry