Tuesday, July 31, 2018

EveryWell Versus LEAP Food Sensitivity Tests

You guys know that I’m on a quest to learn as much as I can about my body, and I have no shame in admitting that I’ve become huge health nerd! As someone living with Ulcerative Colitis, learning about my gut and digestive health is super important to me, and a big part of it is how what I eat impacts me overall. I’m all about experimenting and trying new things when it comes to wellness. I think it’s one of the best ways to learn about what works and what doesn’t work for our bodies – how do we know unless we try? That’s why when the opportunity popped up to try some food sensitivity tests, I jumped at it!

So far, I’ve tried both the EveryWell Food Sensitivities Test as well as the LEAP Diet Protocol – and I’ve received a TON of questions from you guys about the pros and cons of each. While I can’t say I’ve declared a true winner, there are things that I loved and didn’t love about each one, which I’ve detailed below (you can also check out my thoughts on Instagram Live). If you’re on the fence about which test you should take, I hope this helps!

EverlyWell Food Sensitivities Test

EveryWell is super affordable at $199 a pop (you can save 10% with this link), and convenient because you can do everything from the comfort of your own home. All you really need are a few finger pricks and you get the results back FAST. The downside, however, is that you’re on your own as far as starting or following an elimination diet once you receive the results. For those of us who are just getting into a healthy lifestyle and need some guidance, this can be a con. The good news is that the EveryWell site does have some helpful information and customer support was great too. I would say that if you’re self-sufficient and already in a place where you are in tune with your body, the EveryWell Food Sensitivities Test is a great way to go!

LEAP Diet Protocol

The LEAP Diet Protocol is expensive, bottom line. It’s also less convenient because you can’t do it at home – you have to get your blood drawn by a health professional, like at a Quest Diagnostics lab or an Urgent Care. While this isn’t super difficult, it does add an extra step. In addition, it takes about 2-3 weeks to receive results. Once you’ve received them, you’re encouraged to work with your health professional on LEAP’s elimination and reintroduction protocol. Again, not the most convenient – but it absolutely doesn’t hurt to have the guidance of a health professional, especially if all this is new to you and you need a helping hand.

Both tests do have a few things in common – they have the same amount of high, medium, and low reactivity foods, and they are both mostly accurate (there can be false positives, FYI).

No matter what, they are both excellent starting points for figuring out what your food sensitivities are and what foods you need to limit or avoid to help you feel your best. As for which one to choose, that really comes down to personal preferences and priorities – are you looking for something you can do at home that gives you baseline, and you are confident enough to take it from there? Then EveryWell might be the best option! Or, are you looking to follow a specific protocol and work with a health professional for support? Then LEAP might be the one for you! Overall, I’m super happy that I gave both a shot, and I’ve learned so much from the results!

Happy testing!

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What Are Exogenous Ketones and Who Should Take Them?

Stylin’ With Abercrombie Kids

This post is sponsored by Abercrombie Kids

Summer is coming to a close, which means back-to-school clothes shopping and JEANS! My little guy is growing so fast, and I swear he has turned into a little teenager this year (complete with attitude and charming looks : ) ) Does he look kindergarten ready to you?!

When I was growing up Abercrombie & Fitch was THE place to shop, and I see that some things never change. They are still making great denim and stylin’ tops for kids of all ages starting at 3/4 and going up to 15/16. Mazen wears a solid 5/6. Their jeans and tops fit him perfectly. The Everybody Collection is cool too because all of the clothes are gender neutral. If you have a boy and girl then you can get twice the wear out of these.

We had so much fun doing this photoshoot together.

I’d say “Mazen, strike a cool boy pose!” and never knew what would come next.

I showcased his outfits while he was doing things we love to do together and I also loved when I was growing up:

Where’s Waldo? wearing the Boys Classic Button Up and Straight Jeans.

Brain Quest wearing the Classic Button Up in Black Check Ombre (I am obsessed with this shirt!!) and Straight Jeans.

A round of soccer and some tree climbing wearing the Embroidered Logo Tee and Taper Jeans.

Ice cream cones were the best way to end our fashion show, naturally.

And a little silliness: “Look at my long hair!” I used to do that too :mrgreen:

In honor of back-to-school, most of the Abercrombie Kids line is 40% off from August 1 through 15 – jeans, tees, sweatshirts, and basics.

Thanks to Abercrombie Kids for dressing Mazen in style and sponsoring this post! 

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Not Like Riding a Bike

Hi, guys!

We were up and at ’em on Monday morning. I woke up at 4:45 to bang out some work before the boys woke up, butttttt… Quinn woke up a short while later, so I didn’t get all that much accomplished. Whomp whomp. He was exhausted, but didn’t want to stay in bed any longer, so I let him wake up with a show while I answered a few more emails. We made it work! 🙂

A little while later, we were both hungry for breakfast, so I made him a smoothie while I nuked some cauliflower gnocchi in the microwave and added sautéed spinach and a wedge of Laughing Cow Swiss to it. Mmm! I also added some collagen to my (second) iced coffee of the day.

The morning started to get away from us a little bit, and I really wanted to run before it got too hot and humid outside, so I woke up Mal and then headed out for 5.5 miles.

I was proud of myself for running 5.5 miles without stopping to walk, but, man, it felt terrible. Blah. Getting back into running is NOT just like riding a bike. It does not come back easily – and you know what they say: If you don’t use it, you lose it! But, on a positive note, running that far was definitely progress for me.

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Prior to yesterday, I was only running 2.5 – 4 miles at a time, so 5.5 was a big success. It actually made me excited to increase my distance even more in the coming weeks. I’m running the Falmouth Road Race next month, which is 7 miles, and I’d like to run a fall 10K, so I want to keep at it and get faster at this distance. Progress everyday, right?

After my run, I refueled with two rice cakes with cashew butter and banana slices (and more iced coffee with vanilla Ripple and collagen). There’s only one rice cake pictured because it was SO GOOD, I just had to go back for another one!

The rest of the afternoon involved lunch, work, and nap time for Quinn. When he woke up, we took Murphy for a ride in the car to the park. HE WAS PUMPED!!

I grabbed a Spindrift for the road – still loving this seltzer!

We brought Quinn’s scooter and his stroller because he wanted Murphy to ride in it. Haha!

This dog is ridiculous. For the record, he did not ride in the stroller and happily walked all 1.5 miles with us! 🙂

Cheese!!!

Question of the Day

Besides running, what other things are not just like riding a bike? 

I also came up with math – like long division and fractions. It would definitely take me a little white (and maybe some Googling) to remember how to do them. Ha!



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Clean Eating Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

This delicious, clean eating garlic lemon vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for those evenings when you end up having salad because it’s just too hot.

The California heat is really beating down on us hard at the moment. We keep teetering into triple digits and then back out again. With my one little air conditioner and a few fans, the house is generally warm this time of year, so cooking is not always an option. But that doesn’t mean we don’t eat well.

Clean Eating Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

WHY MAKE THIS VINAIGRETTE?

  • It’s fast.
  • It’s easy.
  • You can’t beat the flavor.
  • It can be made in about 2 minutes, to order.
  • It can double as a delicious chicken marinade.
  • You don’t have to turn on the stove or oven or any other appliance that creates heat.

Blend up a fresh batch whenever needed. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks and can be poured over pasta salad, used as marinade or as a simple salad dressing. Give it a try!

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY THESE CLEAN EATING RECIPES:

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CLEAN EATING GARLIC LEMON VINAIGRETTE RECIPE:

Clean Eating Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

This refreshing, summery dressing is perfect for those hot days when you have salad for dinner because it’s too hot to cook. This also makes a delicious marinade for chicken!

  • 3/4 cup oil ((extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed work well))
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder ((use 2 tsp. if you like a strong garlic flavor))
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and well combined.

  2. Serve over your favorite salad!

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Dear Mark: Following the Money, HIIT Workouts, HIIT and ACL Recovery, Spinach, Collagen Timing

How I Tracked My Macros on Saturday

Hi, guys!

I’m a little behind on “live” blogging, but I wanted to share this post since I get questions ALL the time about how I count macros on the weekends. And, truthfully, I typically take breaks from tracking on Fridays and Saturdays (sometimes Sundays too), but I still “game plan” my food choices – just so I don’t go totally off the rails. Not that there’s anything wrong with letting loose every once in awhile – I just don’t make it part of my regular weekends. 🙂 With that, here how I tracked my macros on Saturday with some life adventures mixed in!

I started Saturday morning with a piece of gluten-free toast with sunflower butter spread on top. I wasn’t super hungry when I woke up, but I planned to go to CrossFit later that morning, so I knew I needed something in my stomach. I also drank some iced coffee with vanilla-flavored Ripple mixed in.

I partnered with Mal on this running workout (below) and nearly died. Obviously, I can’t keep up with him because he’s a speed demon, but I was strugglinggggg. We finished just under 40 minutes with both of us running the 800s at the same time and then splitting the reps 50/50. FYI: I’m still LOVING the Brooks Hyperion for running workouts!

After CrossFit, we swung by Rosa Farms for some smoothies.

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Then, it was off to Target and Trader Joe’s for some errands. Quinn’s brand new beach shovel was handy at the grocery store! 😉

On the menu for dinner this week:

Back at home, we ate lunch together on the back deck as a family. Mal and I had grilled steak salads with avocado and carrot spirals. I added honey mustard to my salad. Mmm!

After lunch, Quinn took a nap while Mal and I went HAM on cleaning the house and purging so much stuff from our lives. I hate that feeling of CLUTTER. It felt so nice to throw away and donate lots of “good junk” (as my mom would always say)!

Mid-afternoon, I snacked on half an Atlas Bar and then left the rest of my day, macro-wise, open for date night with Mal. I rarely ever track macros when it comes to dining out and other social events. I *might* guesstimate, but, even then, I just prefer to enjoy the moment and not get wrapped up in the numbers. Even still, I’m all about moderation and having some sort of boundaries because I love food and honestly can’t say no sometimes. Macros just keep me honest! 😉

Anyway, here’s how I tracked the first part of my day… breakfast (toast with sunflower butter), iced coffee with Ripple, and a Justin’s mini white chocolate peanut butter cup – they go so well with iced coffee! 🙂

I ended up putting my post-workout smoothie with lunch as well as the half Atlas Bar. I just estimated the smoothie calories/macros based on its size, ingredients, and what I could find in MFP – close enough! 🙂

Then, I knew I was planning to have a couple of glasses of wine during dinner, so I added those calories (as carbs) to MFP. You can add alcohol as fat grams too, but I had quite a few carbs and not as much fat remaining in my day. Plus, when you dine out, food is typically prepared with a good amount of fat, so I figured I’d hit my fat goal for the day, no problem. (If you’re curious to learn more about tracking alcohol macros, check out this post and free guide.) I also over-estimated a bit on the wine portion since restaurants tend to serve more than the standard 5-ounce pour.

After eating normally during the day + two glasses of wine, I had more than 600 calories and a good balance of macros for dinner at Bia Bistro. Our foodie friends recommended this restaurant and, my gosh, it was awesome. Mal and I loved everything about it – the food, service, atmosphere. We’ll definitely visit again!

We started with oysters and wine to share.

I ordered the Pan Roasted Salmon, which was served with chive whipped potato and lemon caper beurre blanc. It was seriously fabulous – the flavors were incredible together. I ate about half and took the rest home for lunch the next day.

And, of course, no date night is complete without dessert. Mal and I “shared” the Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Gelato. I probably ate 2/3 while he ate a 1/3. I can’t say no to dessert – and this one was out of this world. It was basically like an under-cooked brownie and so gooey and rich inside. Holy yum!

I didn’t track or think about macros during date night because YOLO, and I had already game planned for the day, so I could just enjoy myself. I’m pretty sure I went over my macro goals for the day, but not every day is going to be perfect, and it doesn’t need to be for macros to work. For me, it’s all about living a happy, healthy life, and I know when I’m making the best (aka balanced) food choices for myself, I feel really great – both mentally and physically.

I hope you found this post interesting and helpful with regard to macro tracking and living a balanced (and delicious!) life. If you’re interested in working together, please check out my macro plan options here!



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Come Rain, Come Shine

With Mazen settled in California, Thomas and I debated and debated if we should do a weekend trip. We didn’t want to do anything far away since we’re heading to San Diego in two weeks, so we researched 1,000 options within 4 hours of driving from Cville: the Chesapeake, OBX, Virginia Beach, mountain cabins, B&Bs, Washington, DC, staycations near Cville. I am always drawn to the ocean, yet the weather for the coast was not looking good. There was a 60%+ chance of storms the whole time. But I knew a year from now – when we (hopefully) have a little baby – we would regret not taking advantage of a wide-open weekend to get away. We waited until Thursday to make the call and ultimately it came down to this: I would rather read a book during a beach thunderstorm than read a book at home. So we took a risk and headed to the Sanderling Resort, where we got engaged a little over a year ago!

Flashback to our engagement night! Duck faces are totally cool in Duck, NC.

We arrived Friday afternoon to clear skies and sunshine. So far, so good! We were able to check into our room early, and had a glorious few hours on the beach. The ocean was actually freezing, so I could barely stick my feet in all weekend, but that was fine with me because I was happy to read and breathe in the salt air.

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I read the book Leaving Green Island, which was good and cheap on Kindle. It flashed back and forth between high school girls’ summers on Green Island, Michigan and present time when the main characters were in their mid-20s. I liked the overall plot!

I had an awesome virgin margarita for mocktail hour on the beach. It was mostly fresh lime juice, a splash of pineapple, and salt. Simple but totally satisfying! I like my mocktails tart.

We stayed on the beach until after 6 not knowing what the weather would bring the next day, and then after showers headed to the Lifesaving Station restaurant on the property for dinner.

We shared a strawberry, goat cheese, candied pecan, and sorbet salad.

Mussels

And a yummy entree with shrimp, scallops, and mashed potatoes.

We were much too full for dessert, but we enjoyed listening to music on the Sanderling porch, watching the moon rise, and sipping some hot tea to end the evening.

The next morning we were braced for rain all day and the radar seemed to agree. There was green and red all around, yet the skies stayed dry. We had coffee on the balcony and breakfast from the stash we brought and kept in our mini fridge.

In-room dining : )

The rain never came though, so we set out for the beach. We went on a long walk to the spot were Thomas proposed a year ago <3 Baby B came along this time!

The skies looked ominous at times, but we were lucky that not a single drop of rain ever fell! We spent the whole day on the beach.

It was actually nice that it wasn’t too hot all day, and the temperature was actually perfect for reading, walking, and relaxing. Can you spot the crazy who got in the frigid water for a nice refreshing dip?!

We took a break and had lunch at the Sandbar, sharing a caesar salad and caprese panini.

Around 5:00 we left the beach, so glad we decided to come and the weather had turned out so nice.

We visited the dock where we took post-engagement photos last year before our dinner reservations at Kimballs.

28 weeks today!

We settled into a nice table with a sunset view at Kimball’s Kitchen.

Our dinner was fabulous, down to the butter, pink salt, and olive oil trio that came with the bread!

We started with a stone fruit carpaccio, which featured thinly sliced peach, whipped brie, bacon, blackberries and balsamic. Yum!!

I LOVED our second course, which was scallop and pork belly over spiced sweet potatoes and a bourbon sorghum butter.

We shared the grouper entree next, with grilled artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. Very delicious.

And finally a chocolate turtle tart.

On Sunday, after yogurts and fruit for breakfast, we squeezed in a final short beach visit before the clouds eventually opened up and the rain began – which was our cue to head back to Cville!

I am so glad that we decided to go. *Insert all the Moana songs here* to how I feel about the ocean! And of course The Sanderling will always be a special spot for us.

The end.



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