Tuesday, February 28, 2017

4 Recipes on Repeat + Last Week’s Workouts

Good morning! Happy March 1st and National Nutrition Month! Speaking of which, please check out our first post over on the Designed to Fit Nutrition blog: Why You Need a Nutrition Coach!

Ok, so I’m totally one of those people who goes through phases with food. For instance, I’ll be super into hot sauce and put it on everything for two weeks straight. Then, I get bored with it and then I’m onto nutritional yeast or pizza seasoning or something. Right now (if you haven’t noticed), I’m really into buffalo sauce, and I just can’t get enough of it. It actually inspired this post because I’ve eaten the same lunch/dinner like 4 or 5 times in the past week or so. I just love it so much, so I wanted to share that recipe as well as some other recent favorites. And since I’m in the meal planning business and all, I also wanted to share my tips for quick prep, which makes healthy eating that much easier!

recipes on repeat

Buffalo Chicken + Ranch Bowl


  • 4 ounces ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 1.25 cup steamed broccoli (or Brussels sprouts or okra)
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen)
  • 2 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 1 tbsp Ranch dressing

Directions: Cook ground chicken and veggies and then combine with buffalo sauce. Drizzle Ranch on top.

Makes 1 serving

Macros: P 32 C 17 F 11

Prep tips: Cook ground chicken and veggies ahead of time and then just reheat in the microwave before mixing with buffalo sauce and Ranch. This recipe is also really tasty with blue cheese crumbles.

Overnight Carrot Cake Protein Oats

Prep tips: Make multiple batches at once and eat them throughout the week. I also like dividing the recipe in half for snack-size portions, which also make a tasty dessert, especially heated up with a scoop of yogurt on top! 🙂

PB + Banana Rice Cakes


Directions: Mash banana and combine with powdered peanut butter. Spread on top of rice cakes and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Makes 1 serving

Macros: P 13 C 48 F 2

Burrito Breakfast Bowl


  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup salsa of your choice
  • 2 tbsp guacamole

Directions: Cook cauliflower rice and combine with black beans and salsa. Top with eggs and guacamole.

Serves 1

Macros: P 20 C 24 F 15

Prep tips: Combine cauliflower rice, beans, and salsa ahead of time in a container with lid. (If using frozen cauliflower rice, just defrost in fridge overnight.) In the morning, heat in the microwave while scrambling the eggs in a pan on the stove top. Top cauliflower rice mixture with eggs and guacamole!

Last Week’s Workouts

Sunday: 60-minute walk at the park with my boys, including the furry, 4-legged one 

Monday: CrossFit at Salt Shack

Wearing: Brooks Running Freemont Tank – super lightweight and breathable = perfect for sweaty workouts!

5 Rounds

5 Strict Pull ups <– ended up using a #1 band halfway through

10 DB Snatches (50/35) alternate arms

15 Box Jumps (24/20)

Tuesday: Treadmill workout

Wearing: Brooks Running Ghost Crops + Glycerin 14 Running Shoes

▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 jump squats, 8 push-ups
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 skaters, 8 dumbbell flies
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 dumbbell split squats (right, left)
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 KB swings, 8 goblet squats
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 reverse KB lunges, 8 KB squat to side leg lift
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 KB split squats (right, left)
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 dumbbell snatches, 8 plank jacks
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 dumbbell curtsy squats, 8 dumbbell bent over rows
▪️Run 2 min
2 rounds: 8 dumbbell split squats (right, left)

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: CrossFit Open WOD 17.1

Saturday: Off

Question of the Day

What meal/snack has been on repeat for you lately?

The post 4 Recipes on Repeat + Last Week’s Workouts appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

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8 Primal Food Challenges You Can Take

inline_food_ChallengeHumans are competitive animals. We like a challenge because it compels us to rise to the occasion, prove ourselves, get better at something, or become a bigger version of ourselves. For people, challenges are like hormetic stressors—they often cause suffering and require hard, unpleasant work but provoke a beneficial response that makes us stronger than we were before the challenge.

How does that apply to the challenges I’ve laid out in today’s post, which are all about food, diets, and cooking? Each one unlocks a tangible benefit (eating more vegetables helps you obtain more nutrients, stopping the meal before you’re too full lowers energy intake), but there are also less obvious benefits to meeting a challenge.

Let’s get right to it:

Stop when you’re 80% full.

In Japan, they say “hara hachi bu,” which translates to “eat until 80% full.” It’s the inverse of Louis CK’s philosophy of “eat until you hate yourself.” Don’t eat food just because it’s on your plate. Don’t cram in every last morsel. Ask for a to-go box, bust out the tupperware containers, push the plate away.

If you can figure out how to make this a regular habit, you may find that adhering to a healthy eating plan even easier. One study found that habitual “80% fullers” tended to eat fewer grains and more servings of vegetables.

Eat 10 servings of vegetables each day for two weeks.

The number just keeps climbing. First it was “3 a day,” and that didn’t do much. Then it was “5 a day,” and the results disappointed. Now they’re saying that 10 servings of vegetables each day is where the magic really happens. Is it true?

There is a study just out showing that people who ate 10 servings or more of vegetables each day had lower risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and early mortality. There’s definitely some “healthy user bias” going on here, but I suspect at least a touch of causality too. Maybe more convincing is the recent study where giving healthy 18- to 25-year-olds extra servings of fruits and vegetables across a two-week period led to improved psychological well-being.

Cook a whole mammal.

You’ve cooked whole chickens. Maybe you’ve cooked a whole fish. (No? Go do that, too.) It’s time for the next step: cooking a whole mammal.

Get your hands on a small pig, lamb, goat, or, if you’re really adventurous, cow. I’ll even accept rabbit. Cook it whole. Roast it on a spit or a Patagonian cross over a wood fire. Cook it in the ground.

My only stipulation is that you keep it intact. Don’t dissemble the animal so it fits in your oven. That’s cheating.

Cooking an entire mammal marries two Primal inputs we no longer get enough of: the starting of and caring for a large fire over the course of five to six hours, and the transformation of large animal into food.

It’s an incredibly powerful experience.

Go vegan once a week.

What? Sisson, you’ve gone too far this time….

Hear me out. I’m not urging you to do this to save the world, cut down on emissions, save your life, save a cow’s life, strike fear into the CAFO industry, or anything particularly high-minded. I just think it’s an interesting thing to try. And for a great many of you, it will be an entirely new, entirely foreign. Pure novelty.

What would this even look like?

Well, grains and sugar and vegetable oils are still out. I foresee a lot of coconut, avocado, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. Add in your favorite veggies for taste. Maybe this is a good time to experiment with legumes. Well-prepared, creative vegan food can be among the best tasting—truly.

Go keto for two weeks.

Ketogenic dieting isn’t for everyone. It may not even be for the majority. But you won’t know unless you try. So ditch the sweet potatoes, the bowl of berries you enjoy after dinner, the white rice on cheat days, the honey in your coffee. It’s only two weeks. See how you feel. Hard-charging athletes have more leeway with the carb intake, as they’re burning through loads of glycogen and creating glycogen debt.

Coming off a Primal eating plan, you’re not starting from scratch. Your fat-burning machinery should be well-oiled and humming along, so full-blown ketosis won’t be a huge leap. Chances are, you’ll slip right in without missing a beat. 

Master five recipes.

Get really good at making five things. These would probably be my five. Yours will vary.

Roast chicken. A roast chicken with carrots, shallots, onions, and garlic cloves in the roasting pan? With gravy made from the drippings? Nothing better.

Steak. Learn how to sear a good steak.

A soup of some kind. The key to most great soups is a great broth, so you’d better learn to make that too.

A stew/pot roast/chili. Something meaty and fall-apart tender with rich flavors and hearty sauce/broth that you can slip veggies into without anyone caring.

Something “ethnic,” for lack of a better word. Check out the post I did a few months ago and master one of those if you’re coming up blank.

Keep random veggies around—bags of kale, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, beets—that you can quickly steam or sautĂ© alongside any of these dishes, and you’ve got yourself a solid dinner.

Eat a Big Ass Salad every day.

The Big Ass Salad is my nutritional anchor. It’s my insurance for the day. If I eat poorly for my other meals, I don’t feel too bad because I know I’ll be eating—or will have eaten—an enormous bowl of leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocado, meat, cheese, healthy dressing, and whatever else I want to include.

Get yourself a huge mixing bowl, either stainless or glass. Plan your BAS every week in advance. Have greens on hand (currently digging a blend of baby kale, spinach, and butter lettuce), plus chopped veggies, protein, seeds, nuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs, avocado, and dressing. Almost everything but the avocado can be prepared days in advance. The easier it is to build a salad, the more likely you are to eat one.

Ferment something.

Everyone talks about the importance of probiotics and fermented food, but few want to shell out $15 for a pint of kraut or pickles from the farmer’s market. It’s easy to make your own. Way easier than you think.

I recommend sauerkraut (basic recipe at the link). It’s easy to make, requires just two ingredients (cabbage and salt), and you can embellish it with all manner of extra ingredients. Try this mix: purple and green cabbage, diced garlic, sliced beets, shaved ginger, grated carrot, salt.

Kefir is another option, but you’ll need kefir grains to make your own. Craigslist is your friend. Pickles or kimchi work, too.

You now have your assignments. Choose at least one, but ideally several, and go try them. If it all works out, you’ll find yourself several months down the line with a slew of awesome new food habits.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Which food challenge are you going to take on? Others you’d offer up to the group?


The post 8 Primal Food Challenges You Can Take appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Q&A with Blogger Laura Wright, Author of The First Mess

With more people choosing a healthy lifestyle — and caring about where their food comes from and how it makes them feel — home cooks are flocking to Saveur award-winning blogger Laura Wright of The First Mess for both accessible seasonal vegan recipes and her captivating storytelling.

Why start a food blog?
Laura Wright: I was honestly just bored when I started my blog. I had been working in restaurants for a while and was getting called off shifts at a not-so-busy spot. So my friend suggested I take all of these things I had learned about plant-based cooking and apply it to an online project.

How did you learn to cook plant-based foods?
LW: I attended a nutritional culinary program that had me learning meat, fish, dairy, egg and produce preparations. Just learning the basics of classic cookery helped me when I applied it to my plant-based preferences. For my internship portion of college, I went to a strictly vegan restaurant, which was interesting in a lot of ways, but quite educational. I also grew up with a mother who cooked from scratch pretty much every night, so watching and learning from her gave me a good start.

What impact did growing up on a farm have on your perspective of food, cooking and community?
LW: I wouldn’t call it a farm — more of a large-scale hobby garden. The constant presence of fresh, seasonal food on the part of my family definitely put me on the right path. I cook at home and plant my own vegetables in the summer because of my upbringing, which is a huge part of my life now. I don’t really waste food because I know what goes into its passage from seed to dinner. I have such a reverence for the superior flavor of good produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. They make cooking easy, nourishing and fun — and that’s the message I try to convey with my work.

Why cook by season when these days so much produce is available year-round?
LW: I do bring some imported produce into my kitchen during the deep winter. My diet is entirely plant-based and nearing the end of February, things like cabbage, potatoes, and other stored items start to get old. I get the greens, avocados and citrus from California like so many other people do around that time, and I feel fine about it. Once we get into proper spring though, and right up until early November, I try to cook as seasonally as I can because it just feels good. I think the body naturally craves what’s popping up out of the ground and off the branches as it all happens. The flavor is also hard to beat.

Why do you recommend plant-based meals every day over eating everything in moderation? 
LW: I don’t think I generally recommend one over the other, and I think you can eat plant-based with a sense of moderation at the same time, too. A plant-based lifestyle has helped me feel my best, my most energetic and I love the food that I make with it as a guide. I respect that every body is different, and everyone responds differently to certain foods. I’m not trying to get the whole world to go vegan, but if a family decides to forgo meat or cheese one night a week in favor of one of my recipes, that gets me excited.

How did your body feel differently when you first went vegan in college? Do you still feel the same health benefits are true? 
LW: I immediately felt like I had a surplus of energy. At that moment of life when I made the change, I was doing plant-based with lots of fresh vegetables, whole grains, pulses and nuts/seeds (I still eat that way). Nothing processed or pre-fab like tofu “chicken” nuggets or something. I was sleeping better and didn’t find myself hitting the afternoon slump as hard. And I do feel the same benefits now! I’ve had to change some things as I get a tiny bit older, but I feel like those core whole foods still give me the best energy.

Is vegan cooking easyand affordable enoughfor every day? 
LW: Yes and yes. If you learn a few basic preparation methods—like how to make a good salad dressing, a batch of brown rice or quinoa, a pot of beans, a good smoothie that you like, you’re already on your way to eating well with relative ease. I don’t think good food has to be complicated, but I also feel like anyone can learn to appreciate the transformation that cooking more often brings into your life. As long as you’re starting with whole foods, plant-based eating is quite affordable. You don’t need to stock your pantry with superfoods and fancy vegan versions of cheese, or anything like that. Whole grains, dried beans and nuts/seeds in bulk are accessible for a lot of people.

Why do you think there’s a perception that vegans don’t get enough protein? What are your favorite sources of protein?
LW: I don’t understand that perception! I guess it makes sense if you grew up with meat/eggs at the center of your plate. I eat a highly varied, whole food, plant-based diet, so I know that all the grains, pulses, vegetables, nuts, etc. will eventually add up to a complete protein that my body can use over the course of the day. I’ve never in my life felt deficient in protein and I work out regularly. My favorite sources of plant-based protein are quinoa, hemp seeds and chickpeas.

What three pieces of advice would you give a vegan beginner? 
LW: 1. Start small. Learn five core meal-appropriate recipes from front to back, and keep experimenting once you have those locked down.
2. Watch YouTube videos of professional plant-based cooks to get a better idea of what sensory cues you’re looking for with basic recipes.
3. Remember that it’s just food and even the most colossal failure is usually edible or easily repurposed.

Veganism is on the riseespecially among teens. Do you think social media has helped elevate its popularity? 
LW: Oh, for sure! The amount of YouTube and Instagram accounts dedicated to eating healthy and vegan (many of them started by young people) create an infectious energy. These accounts showcase such beautiful, colorful food. The positivity that beams off many of these pages is easy to catch. I also think a healthy lifestyle has become much cooler in the last 5 years or so. People care more about where their food comes from and how it makes them feel.

What are five must-have items every vegan starter pantry should have? How about every vegan dream pantry?

5 Must-Have Items Every Vegan Starter Pantry Should Have
1. Brown rice
2. Dry/canned beans
3. Tamari soy sauce
4. Canned tomatoes
5. Good olive oil

5 Must-Have Items Every Vegan Dream Pantry Should Have

1. Miso paste
2. Nutritional yeast
3. Spices
4. Maple syrup
5. Vinegars (balsamic, apple cider, sherry)
6. Roasted almond butter

Please share a favorite season recipe from your cookbook.
LW: Yes, I’d love to share my Gingered Brussels Sprout and Shiitake Pot Stickers. They look fussy to make with their folded tops, but they’re anything but. After I moisten the edge of the wonton wrapper, I quickly pinch and secure in any way I can to get the Brussels sprout and shiitake filling locked in. They wind up looking pretty in that “perfectly imperfect” way. If I’m serving these as a snack or an appetizer, I brown them ahead of time and just keep them warm on a low setting in the oven. The salty-sweet soy dip absolutely makes these!


Gingered Brussels Sprout and Shiitake Pot Stickers (pictured above at top right)

Makes: about 25 pot stickers


Dipping Sauce:

¼ cup (50 mL) gluten-free tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup

½-inch (1 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated with a Microplane grater

1 green onion, finely sliced

2 teaspoons (10 mL) sesame seeds


Pot Stickers:

1 tablespoon (15 mL) virgin olive oil, plus extra for cooking

1 medium shallot, fine dice (about ¼ cup/50 mL diced shallot)

1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms

2 cups (500 mL) sliced Brussels sprouts (about ½ pound/227 g)

1 clove garlic, minced

1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

salt and pepper, to taste

25 wonton wrappers


Make the dipping sauce: Whisk the tamari, maple syrup, ginger, green onion, and sesame seeds together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Make the pot stickers: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots. Stir and cook until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms. Stir and sauté the mushrooms until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and ginger, and stir. Season everything with salt and pepper. Keep stirring the filling until the Brussels sprouts are bright green and slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and allow the filling to cool slightly.

Set out a small bowl of water. To assemble the pot stickers, divide the vegetable filling among the wonton wrappers, placing about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. Take one filled wonton wrapper and dip your finger in the bowl of water. Moisten two sides of the wrapper, fold all sides together, and pinch along the edge to form a seal. Repeat with the remaining filled wrappers.

Wipe the sautĂ© pan and heat a thin slick of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the pot stickers in batches until they’re golden brown on all sides, about 1 full minute per side. Add more oil to the pan as needed to finish cooking all the pot stickers.

Serve the pot stickers hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

Per serving (1): Calories:43; Fat 1 g (Saturated Fat 0 g); Sodium 302 mg; Carbohydrate 8 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugar: 1 g; Protein 2 g

Recipe reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright

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

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KERF Through The Ages, or It’s Hip To Be Square

This post is sponsored by Squarespace

It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade. That’s 10 years of my life devoted to this space and sharing my life with you guys. So much has changed since my first few posts! I was one of the pioneer healthy living bloggers, and when I started blogging I had no idea what it would become. I’ve been wanting to write down a bit of my history, as so many of you are new and probably didn’t know Kath Eats when I had a blurry photo of raspberries as my header : )

(KERF Version 1.0)

I started my blog as a free site on Blogger, then moved to a free site at WordPress.com, and now I am self hosted on server #5 (I think?). KERF’s database is huge because in the early days I didn’t know how to resize my photos, so each move takes for.ev.er. I hope to never move again, but I am sure I will! Squarespace is now on my radar for possible moves in the future.

(KERF 2.0. – I guess I really liked close up photos of fruit in the early days!)

I’ve gone through four cameras (many more if you count all my cell phones throughout the years), and I am still tweaking my workflow to get from camera to internet. Originally, I didn’t edit my photos one bit, and then used Picasa, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and then Lightroom throughout the years. Each one has been better than the last! I used to spend hours trying to make a logo or icon in Photoshop, but these days sites like Picmonkey and Canva make basic graphic design so simple. Similarly, marketplaces like Etsy and Fiverr make getting a set of graphics, social media icons, or even a jingle for a podcast or video so much easier. If I could bottle all of the hours I’ve spent Googling things like “how to make a favicon” and fiddling with programs I didn’t fully understand, I would be rich with time. And I used to spend days troubleshooting Windows Live Writer….ack!

(Old headers!)

Not only have the technology and tools for blogging changed so much, but the entire internet has changed. In 2007, Twitter was still a baby bird, Pinterest had yet to be imagined, and Facebook was still a place for college kids to post photos of parties. I taught myself how to do things step by step, from learning to use a DSLR (still working on that one!) to figuring out how to put social media icons on my sidebar using HTML code to asking friends to help me move from one host to another when my site had outgrown its servers.

Squarespace makes it easy for anyone to build a beautiful home online without touching a line of code. As an all-in-one platform, you can choose from any one of their 45+ fresh and modern design templates. Each template has elements like social media icons built in, so there’s no need to try to create your own. As the internet changes and new social platforms come out, Squarespace continuously updates its themes to reflect those changes for you. Even if you pay a team to design a template theme for you, it will eventually become out of date. Things like security patches need updating over time, so it’s smart to use either a theme that keeps up with these with updates (which you still need to figure out how to install on your own once a year or so…) or a site like Squarespace that does this behind the scenes for you.

Advertising has changed a lot too. When I first put ads on KERF (about six months after I began blogging) that was the only stream of income I had. For a long time, CPM rates were high and sidebar ads were king. During 2012, CPM rates began to drop as companies realized the creative potential that sponsored posts unlocked. These days advertising rates are back up (thank you AdThrive!) and sponsored posts are a great way for bloggers to create content and introduce interesting brands (like Squarespace! Ba-da-boom.) We’ve settled into the best of both worlds.

(Speaking of worlds…remember that time I was on the cover of Woman’s World – eekk!)

Those of you who start blogs and websites today are lucky. The tools available are lightyears better than they were when I started, and therefore you are able to hit the ground running. Take Squarespace, for example, which is this post’s sponsor. Squarespace is an all-in-one service for bloggers where you can build a beautiful blog or website without spending a fortune hiring a team to design the site for you. You can buy a domain, host your content, design your site, and create posts all in one spot. If I were starting a blog from scratch today, I would head straight to Squarespace.

Squarespace gave me access to the design tools behind the scenes, and the theme choices are beautiful. There are tons of options that you can tweak to your liking. Folks from artists to bloggers to entrepreneurs use the platform to share their stories.

You can learn all about blogging with Squarespace on their extensive tutorial page. I love how simple everything is. They took something as complicated as internet coding and made it as beautiful behind the curtain as it is out front.

Other perks of Squarespace include:

  • 24/7 customer care via email and chat (a huge plus!)
  • Domain purchasing in house (I have to maintain mine through a separate site, which is a pain)
  • The ability to create an online store (so key in today’s online marketplace!)
  • Clear and honest pricing
  • None of the headaches of installing software or applying security patches (this is where I get lost..)

If you’ve been wanting to start your own blog or online business, the first 50 readers who use offer code “KATHEATS” will receive 10% off their first website or domain purchase. Sign up here

(KERF x.0?)

But I am glad I started my blog exactly when I did, because I was in the right place at the right time. KERF is what it is today because so many of you followed along when blogs were just emerging as the next big thing. All the learning curves and frustrations along the way made me a more resilient person and a good problem solver. And it’s cool to have so many years of my life digitally archived, even if all the photos were tiny and blurry : )

As bloggers and blog readers, I’m curious to know your thoughts on how blogging has changed over the past 10 years. What do you love? What do you miss? What do you hope will last forever?

Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this post and teaching me that website design and creation doesn’t have to be stressful or DIY 🙂 

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Episode 357 – Dr. Bill Schindler – Food Foraging, and Evolution of The Human Diet

The Good Kitchen banner
Sleepcocktails_banner_728x90_LeftDr. Bill Schindler is an associate professor at the department of anthropology at Washington College, and is also the Co-star of the National Geographic show The Great Human Race. Listen in as we talk about foraging for food locally and in the wild, the evolution of the human diet, and much more!

Download Episode Here (MP3)

Guest: Dr. Bill Schindler

Eastern Shore Food Lab (work in progress)
Ancestral Insight





30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book


Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is available for pre-order now!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Macro-Balanced Monday In Meals

Good morning!

I mentioned yesterday that Mal and I decided to start a Designed to Fit meal plan together this week. We always a rough meal plan to follow every week, but not one custom to our macronutrient needs, so I’m excited to get back on track and have my hubby to help keep me motivated. (Below is a screenshot of Mal’s meal plan on his phone.)

And here’s my Monday In Meals!

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with roasted sweet potatoes + iced coffee mixed with Dandy Blend, coconut creamer, and collagen
  • Snack: Apple chunks (nuked in microwave) with cinnamon
  • Post-workout: SFH protein shake
  • Lunch: Buffalo Chicken & Ranch Bowl (ground chicken breast mixed with broccoli, spinach, buffalo sauce, and ranch dressing) + a Beauty Burst (fruity collagen chew)
  • Snack: Half of a Chocolate Sea Salt RXBAR
  • Dinner: Easy Chicken Fajitas over cauliflower rice mixed with white rice
  • Dessert: Banana sautĂ©ed in coconut oil with chocolate chips + a mug of eggnog tea + a few bites of Coffee Toffee ice cream

Ok, so the Coffee Toffee ice cream wasn’t technically on my meal plan today, but I knew I wanted some after dinner, so I made a few adjustments to my day via MyFitnessPal. We actually provide our clients with their macronutrient goals (protein, carbs, fat), so they can track on their own when their meal plan ends or if they decide to go “off plan” at anytime. And, EXCITING NEWS, clients will be able to use their macronutrient numbers in tandem with our recipes and one-on-one coaching (aka on-going support and accountability) in our brand new Macros + Meals Plan, which will debut later this week. It’ll give clients even MORE flexibility with their meal plans, like if they want to eat Coffee Toffee ice cream at the end of the night. 🙂 This new meal plan was actually created from client feedback, so we know it’s going to be AWESOME! More details to come!

Question of the Day

Do you track macros/calories? What program/service/app do you use?

The post Macro-Balanced Monday In Meals appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

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Dear Mark: Fasting Followup

inline_Fasting_follow-upFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from the comment section of last week’s fasting post. You guys brought up some great points, and I’ll be addressing some of them. First up, do you need to follow a vegan diet to maintain the health benefits of long fasts? Second, I give a tip or two for appetite suppression during the fast. Then I discuss my definition of a long fast, the potential effect of fasting on gut bacteria (and whether we should consume prebiotics and probiotics while fasting), the reason why fasting makes some people have short fuses, and whether green tea k0mbucha breaks the fast.

Let’s go:

Mark–For the autoimmune case reports, you failed to mention that the patients preceded and followed the fast with a vegan diet, and that the authors conclude the paper by saying a vegan diet appears to be necessary to sustain the results.

Good catch, Margaret. I saw that, knew someone would mention it, and decided to address the inevitable query in a Dear Mark rather than drag it out in the middle of a post.

For one, these are case studies, and case studies notoriously lack the ability to imply causality or make conclusions. They are rigorously-recorded anecdotes containing a seed of a hypothesis for further, more serious study. So even though all the subjects followed a vegan diet, and the authors opine that such diets are necessary for long-term maintenance, we don’t have anything to compare it to. The same applies to the long fast, of course—the case studies can’t establish whether the fasts are actually responsible for the improvements.

Second, my guess is that they’re just assuming the validity of the conventional wisdom. “Of course, vegan diets are the healthiest, least inflammatory diet in the world, so let’s have these recovering fasters follow the healthiest diet in the world.” Is it really necessary?

Your “average” vegan gets more of certain nutrients than your average omnivore, particularly folate, magnesium, vitamins C and E, copper, and fiber. Your average omnivore gets more protein, vitamin D, vitamins B2 and B12, zinc, and iodine than everyone else. Fish eaters eat the most calcium and selenium.

Why not be all three?

There’s certainly strong evidence that healthy omnivorous diets aren’t any worse than plant-based ones for cancer risk, and sometimes they’re better.

Unless the contention is that the recommendations for adequate intake of vitamin D, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, protein, zinc, iodine, calcium, and selenium don’t apply to patients with autoimmune disease….

Lifelong vegetarianism has no effect on breast cancer risk, nor does it affect prostate, colorectal, or (again) breast cancer risk. If anything, “vegetarians” who eat fish have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than strict vegetarians.

For rheumatoid arthritis—the autoimmune disease featured most prominently among the case studies—removing gluten might be the crucial piece of these plant-based diets. A gluten-free vegetarian diet improved symptoms in RA patients, for example, and another gluten-free vegan diet reduced symptoms and improved biomarkers in RA patients. As immunoreactivity to dietary allergens reduced, so did RA symptoms.

Could you get the same results by keeping the gluten out and adding some wild caught salmon and pastured eggs to go with your “vegan” diet? I think so, and I hope we find out for sure some day.

I occasionally do a fast for 24 hours. For an appetite suppressant, I drink ginger tea made from boiling chopped ginger root. Do any of you have suggestions for other appetite suppressants?

Coffee is a good appetite suppressant. The literature is mixed, but caffeine seems to reduce food intake, probably due to increased lipolysis. With more body fat available for burning, you have less desire for food.

Staying active might be the best, though. Not active as in hiking the Appalachian trail or taking CrossFit classes. Active as in busy. Engaged. Walking, working, reading, creating, gardening. Keep mind and body busy, and your thoughts will be less likely to stray toward boredom-induced hunger.

What is considered a long fast. My usual is 36-45ish, that still be considered short?

In my book, a long fast lasts at least three days. But even two days is “long” for most people. Heck, skipping lunch is absolutely bonkers these days.

What’s the impact of extended fasting on gut flora (the microbiome)? Those lifeforms are obviously going to be stressed, perhaps to net benefit, but that would be conjecture.

And if there are hazards there, could they be mitigated by supplementing with probiotics and daily non-caloric prebiotic fiber to keep the critters happy?

Fasts can be good for us. Maybe a fast is good for those tiny guys living in your gut, too. They’ve co-evolved with humans, relying on us for food. We don’t always get food, so they must be adapted to occasional bouts of not getting any either. They may also be adapted to our current practice of perpetual snacking, given that bacterial generations can be as short as 20 minutes and evolution happens rapidly. (Although since bacterial generations can be as short as 15-20 minutes, perhaps they’ve adapted to the grazing.)

Also, many species of gut bacteria feed on mucin produced by the gut lining. This isn’t sustainable in perpetuity, as mucin maintains the integrity of the gut lining, but there’s no problem for a few days. They’re equipped for it. A 2015 study on “fasting”—mostly fasting with some low-calorie soups and juices—found big increases in mucin-degrading bacteria.

I’ve used a three days fast to clear up some pretty bad stomach issues. Whenever my dogs have diarrhea, I fast them for least a whole day and it always clears up. If “lack of diarrhea” indicates good gut health, I’d say fasting has a neutral or beneficial effect—at least if there’s an existing problem.

Hold off on the probiotics and prebiotics until you’re back. It probably wouldn’t hurt, but I’m interested in fasting the bugs, too.

One thing worth considering with longer fasts is the effect (or possible effect) on mood/personality… I saw Rachel Hunter (on her tv series Tour of Beauty) do a week or 2 fast and she admitted that she got very angry/aggressive/ easily annoyed etc… However she wasn’t primal/paleo to begin with so maybe someone who is already a fat-burning-beast wouldn’t have such side effects, and it was a “TV Series” so I’m not sure how much faith we can put in that, but she did seem genuinely irritable (maybe try meditation, yoga etc when doing longer faster for your family’s sake ?

That’s certainly possible, but I find—and the research backs this up—longer fasts imbue me with euphoria. It’s tough to get angry when the mundane suddenly seems profound. The most likely explanation is exactly your instinct: She wasn’t an effective fat burner. Fat-burners hit the ground running. They can tap into their fat stores and avoid the worst of it. Sugar-burners will go through major withdrawals and deal with a terrible case of low-carb flu.

My question is about the use of green tea Kombucha during an extended fast – would this be something you recommend as I have been using it for a while now and love it…?

Sure. As long as the kombucha culture has digested the majority of the sugar, and there’s not enough residual sugar to break your fast, it should be fine.

The green tea component of the kombucha could actually be really helpful. One study found that green tea protects against the fasting-induced damage to the intestinal lining during a 3-day fast. 

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care!


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What Goes Up Must Come Down

And I am down with the flu. Or something. I got a flu shot, but I guess it’s a strong one this year. I’ve heard that most of Cville is sick right now!

But before I was attacked by this virus, we had a great little weekend.

The power toast craving is strong these days!

We had wonderful 75 degree weather on Friday, and Mazen and I spent the whole afternoon outside. We played with our neighbors and went on scooter rides, drank smoothies, and jumped on the trampoline across the road.

Do you like Mazen’s new shirt?! It’s from Indy Rose Co owned by KERF reader Katy. If you don’t watch Game Of Thrones you might not get the joke, but wildlings are the free folk who live beyond the wall in the show. Kady sent Thomas and me grown-up versions and I’ll show you my shirt soon! Kady is also offering any of you 10% off anything in her store with the code KATHEATS10 : )

This is his best wildling face:

We teamed up with our neighbors for a cookout on Friday night. I made a big salad, and we grilled burgers and hot dogs and sweet potato fries.

Most days Mazen wakes me up by jumping on me in my bed. Often there are pillow forts involved. If he wakes up and I’m already dressed and downstairs, he gets really mad!

Sheet monster:

Saturday morning oatmeal! I made it with cottage cheese, granola and almond butter.

We went out to the country on Saturday to visit with Thomas’s family.

The boys had a great time romping around. (Mazen dressed himself – can you tell?!)

We had Caesar salad and pizza for lunch at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie! Soooo delicious.

And then that’s when this sickness hit me like a truck. I convinced Mazen to have a quiet time with a toy from my surprise closet so I was able to rest. Luckily Matt had plans to take Mazen out to dinner and spend the night, so he could stay away from my germs. I sure hope he doesn’t get it – eeeek. I had a fever of 100.7 that evening.

After taking some Advil, my appetite came back and I started feeling better. Thomas brought in curry for dinner. Green and panang – yum.

I was able to sleep in a bit and rest most of Sunday. I bought Moana for Mazen on the TV, and we had a good time watching that on the couch. I sure hope this goes away soon!

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How To Blanch Almonds

How To Blanch Almonds

What are blanched almonds?

Blanched almonds are almonds that have had a short cooking period in hot water which loosens their skins so the skins can be easily removed. Basically, they are just… Read more →

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

High Low High 18

Good morning and a very happy, happier, HAPPIEST Monday to you!

We had quite the awesome weekend over here. Mal was on school vacation last week, so we finished it off with a family fun Friday, which continued on right through the end of the weekend. It was truly a wonderful three days with my boys. I really didn’t want the fun to end! But, of course, life always has some ups and downs, so here’s a recap via High Low High where I share both the high and low points from the weekend.

HIGH: Completing Open WOD 17.1 under the time cap!


LOW: Barely surviving Open WOD 17.1. Oy. It was rough and definitely not my best performance. I hit the wall (hard) toward the end of the workout, and the set of 50 dumbbell snatches totally crushed me. At one point, I was doing sets of three. Ugh, I was donezo. I’m honestly happy that I finished under 20 minutes.

open wod 17.1

Related: I’m typically not one of those people who rolls around all dramatic after finishing a hard workout, but this workout was a doozy. As I rolled around in pain, I actually whined: “It hurts” to Mal, who was trying to congratulate me. Haha! Such a drama queen.

HIGH: Celebrating my finish with a Pecan Sticky Bun iced coffee! Will WOD for iced coffee!


HIGH: Visiting BillyBeez with Quinn for the first time and having SO MUCH FUN! Seriously, it was AWESOME!! There’s so much to see and do. We’ll definitely be back!


HIGH: After playing at Billy Beez for while, we all went out to lunch at Bar Rustic. What a great restaurant! We loved our experience (food, service, atmosphere), and Quinn found $20! 🙂 Well, technically, he pulled a napkin off the table next to ours and a HUGE wad of cash fell onto the floor. We gave it to our server, hoping that the person who lost it would be back and, sure enough, the man returned. He claimed his money and, as a thank you, he gave our server $20 to give to Qman. What a nice guy!

bar rustic lunch

HIGH: Getting our grocery shopping done early, and Mal starting a DTFN meal plan this week! I’m excited to have some extra healthy eating motivation! On the menu: Taco Salads, Chicken Fajitas (easiest recipe ever), Sweet Potato Quesadillas, Brussels Sprouts with bacon, and Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf (all recipes from Designed to Fit Nutrition).

LOW: Spending most of the day on Saturday catching up with work when it was absolutely beautiful outside.

HIGH: Sneaking in some time at the playground with my boys before the day ended!

HIGH: Family dinner at The Range!

LOW: Quinn getting hungry (and cranky) while waiting for our meals. We decided to break out the iPad to distract him, but, unfortunately, the internet at the restaurant didn’t work. Whomp whomp.

HIGH: Our waitress realized what was happening and offered to leave her cell phone with her hotspot on it, so Quinn could use the Internet. She explained that she had a 4-year old and totally understood. It was so incredibly sweet of her and, of course, we tipped her appropriately! Pay it forward! 🙂

HIGH: Qman actually EATING at a restaurant. I’d say 9 out 10 times that we go out for a meal, he doesn’t eat anything at all, except for some milk and maybe a few bites of fruit if we’re lucky, but he ate HALF of a bar pizza by himself!! Mal and I were totally impressed!

LOW: Waking up on Sunday morning to some serious post-17.1 DOMS. Holy low back and hamstrings!!

HIGH: My sister and her family coming over on Sunday afternoon for lunch. The kids played and we attempted to make BLT Sushi after seeing a delicious-looking video on Facebook.

LOW: Our BLT Sushi turning out just so-so. Ha! It was totally edible (and delicious… hello, bacon), but it didn’t really stay together.

HIGH: My sister leaving a huge bag of hand-me-downs for Quinn.

LOW: Discovering that “Matthew” (aka my sister) hid “Squid” inside the bag of hand-me-downs. Backstory on Squid: When we moved into our old house, we found this dog toy in our backyard. It was too big for Murphy (and his squishy pug face), so I gave it to my sister for her dog, Batman. Well, it turns out Squid is a super loud and annoying squeaky toy, so my sister always joked that Murphy “wanted” it back, and it’s been a running joke for years now. Well, she finally surprised me with Squid this afternoon… and it will, of course, make its way back to her house someday. Mwhaha!

HIGH: Taking a hot shower, getting into my pajamas, drinking eggnog tea, and eating coconut butter cups while catching up with The Bachelor.

The end.

Question of the Day

Your turn! Share a HIGH and LOW from your weekend! 

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