Paleo Lemon Blueberry Loaf

I just love anything (and everything) with a tangy lemon flavor. Lemon squares, you’re SO GOOD…but you’re SO BAD! This guilt-free, grain-free paleo bread with lemon, blueberries, and very little sugar…now that’s a show stopper. This deliciousness can be made as a loaf or muffins, crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. Does it get any better?!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut flour (or healthy flour of choice)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 or 3 lemons (depending on how lemon-y you like)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside blueberries and lemons. Combine all other ingredients in food processor (I use a Vitamix.) Wash lemons and grate the zest of one lemon into mixture. Cut lemons in half, remove seeds, and squeeze juice into mixture. Continue to blend until batter is consistent and smooth. Add blueberries and stir by hand. Grease loaf or muffin pan with coconut oil and pour batter in, leaving about an inch on top for loaf to rise. (If you have leftover batter, it can be used for muffins or pancakes.) Bake for 35 minutes (25 for muffins!) and check with a fork to make sure it’s cooked through, if not, continue to bake another 8-10 minutes. Once top has started to brown, remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Refrigerate leftovers to keep fresh. Enjoy this sweet and sour snack!

One Healthy Breakdown: take that sugar-laden lemon bars!

*recipe inspired by Savory Lotus’ Blueberry Lemon Bread

Healthy (to die for) Shortbread

Oh, shortbread. It’s one of those things we don’t see/eat very often, but one bite of that buttery, crumbly goodness and it’s enough to throw all of those healthy habits right out of the window and dig in…hard. Just me?? Inspired by Bulletproof’s Shortbread bars (containing collagen, which is great for skin health, hormonal balance, bones and joints, and digestion) this simple, no-bake recipe is full of healthy goodness and tastes just as good as the real deal. Seriously!

Healthy Shortbread (raw & gluten-free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (I use Vital Proteins, but this is optional/tasteless)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • dash of sea salt
  • filtered water as needed
  • coconut oil or parchment paper to coat pan

Slightly melt coconut butter and regular butter until soft or liquid and throw all ingredients together into your food processor. Mix until consistent. You may have to stop to collect mixture a few times. After a minute or two, add water by the teaspoon until mixture starts to slightly stick together into a dough (you should not need much water.) Grease a square or rectangular pan or glass container with coconut oil or cover with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Once dough is mixed and consistent, pour into pan/container. With a spoon (or your fingers!) spread and compact dough until it evenly coats the bottom (thickness doesn’t matter.) Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours. Once solid, use sharp knife or metal spatula to cut into the shape of your choice, remove, and devour.

One Healthy Breakdown: do they call it shortbread because it doesn’t last long?? 😉

Paleo Strawberry Beet Bars

What looks like a brownie but has zero grains, dairy, chocolate, or added sugar? Another experiment gone right in the OHH kitchen, Paleo Strawberry Beet Bars, of course! These babies are chock-full of superfoods and taste, so much so that even the littlest critics will enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 cooked beets (I used 2 precooked Love Beets)
  • 2 tablespoons goji beries
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
  • 5 whole figs or dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
  • splash of almond milk (if necessary)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a brownie pan with coconut oil. Combine all ingredients in Vitamix or high-powered blender/food processor. Once mixture is blended, pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Test with a fork or knife to make sure bars are solid, they may need a little bit more time depending on your pan size. Let cool, cut into bars, and enjoy for breakfast, snack, post-workout fuel, or a healthy dessert all week long!

One Healthy Breakdown: these bars are paleo-rific!

Five Healthy Flour Alternatives

Most recipes we come across call for good old white flour, also known as all-purpose flour.  What’s so wrong with that? A lot. All-purpose white flour is basically just empty calories – short-term energy that makes our blood sugar spike without any nutritional value. Did you know that white flour is actually wheat stripped of the whole-grain elements, the bran and the germ, meaning that it lacks the fiber and nutrients. It is also commonly bleached white with chemicals.

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Whether you’re making cookies, muffins, pancakes, scones, or dessert, substituting white flour for one of the following healthier options will upgrade your recipe into a lighter, more nutritious, easier to digest option simply with this one easy switch.

  • Coconut flour is made of the superfood coconut, making it gluten-free, paleo, high in fiber, protein, energy, and low in carbohydrates. It’s dense and yields great pancakes (like these Delightful Banana Pancakes) and baked goods.
  • Almond flour/almond meal is made of almonds, also gluten-free, paleo, high in protein, and healthy fats. The difference between the two is simply that almond meal includes the whole nut while almond flour is made from blanched (skinless) almonds, both packed in vitamins and minerals. Try these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins made with almond flour.
  • Quinoa flour is made of grinding the seed we all know and love, quinoa! You can buy quinoa flour or you can grind your own uncooked seeds. High in fiber and nutrients, this gluten-free flour is light, a bit nutty, and a complete protein, making the perfect post-workout treats.
  • Spelt flour is a species of wheat that is light, nutty, and high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It is one of the oldest crops in history and very versatile. Although spelt does contain gluten, it is known to have many health benefits, including numerous minerals necessary for bone health. You can read more about spelt flour here.
  • Oat flour is simply ground oats. You can purchase it at a health food store or just grind up your own raw oats in a blender or coffee grinder. Oats are super high in fiber and other vitamins and minerals, so you can’t go wrong with this healthy option. Just be sure to search for “gluten free” if you’re sensitive to gluten. (Oats don’t actually contain gluten; however, they can be processed in a plant with gluten.)

One Healthy Breakdown: get empowered with healthy flours!

April Whole 30

April is underway and I’m celebrating my one year month-iversary from Whole30 by…committing to a Whole30. After all, they say that the definition of insanity is repeating something expecting a different result right? Well, call me crazy because I’m committed. Join me?

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If you’re on board for, here are some incredibly helpful resources to make the next 30 days far less miserable…and even a little fun:

And follow on instagram:

  • @whole30​
  • @whole30recipes
  • @whole30approved
  • @teacheatrepeat
  • @b.b.wellness
  • @hamtponskiley
  • @melissa_hartwig

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One Healthy Breakdown: who’s with us?!

All About Meal Prep

Meal prep is a great way to set yourself up for success. With no time to make a healthy meal when we’re hungry, we’re likely to resort to processed food, take-out, fast food, mindless eating, and overeating. With a kitchen full of healthy snacks and balanced meals on hand, it’s a lot easier to eat healthier. With one simple change, healthy eating becomes a whole lot happier.

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  • Schedule one or two days a week to prep. While it doesn’t have to be the same day each week, plan to take some time to prepare some meals and snacks to last you throughout the week. Think about the times when you cave and come up with some good preventative strategies. For example, if you’re always starving mid-afternoon, pack an extra snack to tide you over until dinner. This will keep your energy, blood sugar, and mood in check and help you to slow down and enjoy dinner because you won’t be famished when you finally sit down. If you struggle with breakfast, prep something simple that will fuel your day, like yummy muffins, berry bars, a frittata, or healthy bread.
  • Have a plan, make a list, and stick to it. Whether you’re using a meal template (google what you’re looking for, like “family meal plan” or “paleo meal plan.”) or creating your own, be sure to map it out. You’re less likely to throw those impulse cookies in the cart when you shop with a clear grocery list. Start collecting recipes that you’d like to make; use Pinterest or collect magazine pages so that you remember them. Another fun tip is to use themes, like taco Tuesday or breakfast for dinner. Lastly, remember to check the weather because it often impacts our cravings (think soup on a chilly day and BBQ when it’s warm.)

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  • Get your nutrients. Be sure that your plan includes carbs, protein, and healthy fats. For example, your energizing carbs could be oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Protein may be a chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and/or tempeh. Maybe you make individual portions of trail mix and some guacamole for healthy fats. Cater to your personal preferences, but be sure to prep produce, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats in bulk.
  • Leftovers are your friend. There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ L/O. Leftovers come in super handy, so double your recipe or make a little extra knowing that you can have it the following day or freeze it for another time. You can even make leftovers ‘like new’ by adding them to a fresh bed of greens for a big salad or reinventing the meal.
  • Have fun. Prepping is not miserable! Turn on music, get your fam involved, and have fun!

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One Healthy Breakdown: if you care, P R E P A R E !

*For more meal prep tips, check out the queen of food prep, theleangreenbean.com

Pumpkin Carrot Zucchini Bread

IMG_2724What is paleo, pumpkin-spicey, loaded with veggies, and tastes amazing? Pumpkin carrot zucchini bread, of course! So loaded with flavor that no one will know that it’s made of nothing but veggies, protein, and healthy carbs for energy…that can be our little secret. One loaf of this bread doubles as a kid-friendly breakfast and pre or post-workout fuel. All bases covered here.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of pumpkin (or sweet potato) puree (I use Farmer’s Market organic)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (or sub another healthy flour)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxmeal
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to top
  • optional: 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey for a sweeter treat

Preheat oven to 370. Grate the carrots and zucchini. If you have a Vitamix or high-powered food processor, feel free to use that instead (I did!) Add pumpkin, eggs, and flour and mix well. Add remaining ingredients (except pumpkin seeds) and blend until consistent. Pour batter into a greased (I used coconut oil spray) loaf pan, baking pan, or muffin pan. Top with pumpkin seeds. Bake at 370 for 45-50 minutes (for muffins, check after 30 minutes.) Ensure that bread is cooked through with a fork – bake for another 5-10 minutes if not. Remove and let cool before eating every last crumb. Feel free to also add nuts or chocolate chips for a sweet, crunchy treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: pumpkin spice and everything nice

30 Things I Learned on Whole30

I recently completed my first (and probably my last!) Whole30. 30 days of whole foods and not a speck of grains, dairy, soy, legumes, corn, baked goods, or added sugar of any kind. I know, I know, “what the heck did you eat?!” Lots and lots of plants, lean protein, nuts and seeds, that’s what! Oh, and not a drop of alcohol. Sounds fun, right?! If you’re wondering why I would do such a thing, (I don’t blame you!) The book It Starts With Food, by the founders of the Whole30 program, inspired me to dig deeper into my own diet and lifestyle, eliminating the foods/food groups above in order to re-evaluate how my body reacts to them after the 30 days. For more specifics about the Whole30 program, click here! unnamed(2)Although it was tough to adjust and even tougher to refrain from just one little teeny tiny drink, (hello, it is rosé season!) I learned a ton over the past 30 days. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly:

1. Sugar is errrrywhere and we’re all pretty seriously addicted to it. You’ve probably heard this in some capacity, but what does that mean?

2. Consuming sugar, artificial sweeteners, and natural alternatives like honey, maple syrup, and even stevia, on a regular basis not only “feed the sugar dragon,” but also throw off our taste buds, cravings, and ability to reach satiety normally.

3. Personally, I do not enjoy black coffee; however, I discovered over these thirty days that I do enjoy unsweetened coffee. Over the past ten years or so, I’ve transitioned from a serious overload of artificial sweetener to cutting back, replacing it with more natural stevia, cutting back on stevia, and now I finally was able to rid my coffee of any sweetener. Whole30 forced me to learn to enjoy my coffee simply with Homemade CocoNut Milk and this is definitely a habit I’m happy to keep. Now I truly savor my coffee, no longer crave it sweet, and rarely do I need a second cup. Remember that baby steps are the way to change a habit for the better. Try cutting the sweetener in your coffee in half to start, if you’re soda drinker, replace one soda a day with seltzer, or satisfy your sweet tooth by having a piece of fruit for dessert. It really does get easier and easier, trust me on this!

4. That’s not to say that occasionally indulging in sweets you truly love is not absolutely necessary to living a balanced life. My love affair with dark chocolate has rekindled and our flame is going strong…although I do not neeeeeeeed it daily like I used to!

5. While many people argue that they don’t have time to eat healthy, healthy meals made from real, whole foods can be very convenient. The Whole30 program made me simplify my meals, at first, simply because of less options to choose from, but now, out of habit. Going forward, I’ll continue with this practice as I’ve noticed that less-complicated meals are easier to digest.

6. I re-discovered some great staples I had been overlooking, like good old scrambled eggs. Nothing fancy necessary. Why? Because…

7. REAL FOOD TASTES GOOD! Seasoning your meals with herbs and spices, tasting the sweetness of a piece of fruit, and savoring the true flavors of food is what it’s all about. Again, baby steps. Your palette will adjust and your body will learn to not only like real foods, but crave them. Trust me, trust me, trust me.

8. Fat does not make you fat. How do I know? Well, I did not gain (or lose) any weight on Whole30, even though I was eating a lot more (healthy) fat on a daily basis – more nuts, oil, avocado, etc.

9. More fat is not better. Some is best.

10. Whole30 or not, portions size is crucial to healthy eating, even when eating all healthy foods.

11. Avocado has my <3 on a daily basis.

12. This may turn your world upside down: peanuts are not actually nuts. A peanut is a legume, like beans, which means that your body may react differently to peanuts or peanut butter than it does nuts and other nut butters. Just some food for thought. And, yes, I did cut out peanut butter for 30 days (if you know me at all, you know that peanut butter is my favorite food in the whole wide world.) Instead, I ate homemade almond and cashew butters as well as sunflower seed butter, that just may top peanut butter on my list of favorite foods. I’m happy to say that peanut butter does now make a regular appearance in my diet; however, it is not the only thing I think about morning, noon, and night, which is probably a good thing because there are other things in life, right?

13. Rules takes the guess work out. I’m not a big fan of long-term labels, strict diets, or restriction, but committing to a short-term plan can be motivating enough that there’s no need for willpower.

14. It’s really, REALLY scary what is in 95% of our “food” these days. For example, even something like store-bought “all natural” almond milk, which a lot of people think of as a healthy upgrade, has far more ingredients than just almonds. What the heck are locust bean gum or carrageenan and why are they in my almond milk?! I decided to break up with store-bought milk for the time being and stick to my new love, Homemade CocoNut Milk. Same with the aforementioned nut butters. Just make your own or buy the ones made with just nuts. There really is no need for ‘palm fruit oil’ in your jar of nut butter. Just like there’s no need for added sugar in your tomato sauce, soy isolate in your snacks, or high fructose corn syrup in…ANYTHING. That’s a no-no no matter what.

15. Which brings me to my next point that I just can’t say enough: READ YOUR LABELS.

16. And do what’s right for you. As I said…

17. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating only the latest superfoods or trying the latest diet trend. It means knowing what foods make you feel healthy and good.

18. If a food/food group makes you feel energized and healthy, you should probably eat it.

19. If a food/food group makes you feel crappy, tired, or sick, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

20. Whole foods are super versatile, see below:

IMG_085721. Another little fun fact I learned over the past 30 days is that any woman in her 20’s or 30’s that declares that she’s not drinking will, without a doubt, be labeled as pregnant, whether it’s by your waiter or your best friends.

22. Drinking seltzer water or kombucha out of a wine glass is not the same as drinking wine, but that’s alright.

23. Waking up on a Sunday morning without any hint of a hangover or headache is worth all of the above – sacrificing the wine and being labeled pregnant.

24. Smoothies are delicious and nutritious. Smoothies aren’t on Whole30 due to a lack of chewing, the act that kick-starts digestion and satiation. So, what’s a smoothie lover to do? Chew your smoothie! Seriously, do it. I missed my smoothies, green smoothies, and smoothie bowls and am happy to introduce them back into my routine, especially heading into the summer season!

25. It is possible to have too much meat, even lean, organic, grass-fed meat. I got sick of chicken after the first week on Whole30. Happy to say that I’ve since reintroduced tempeh and veggie burgers for some delicious meatless protein. Although I know that for me, everything in moderation works when it comes to protein, I totally respect the vegetarians, vegans, and paleos of the world too. Did I mention to do what’s right for you?! I think I did.

26. The benefit of minty fresh breath after a garlicky meal just may outweigh the drawbacks of chewing gum. Again, something I cut wayyyy back but am not willing to give up completely. Yet.

27. The dreams are real folks. The Whole30 book warns that people on Whole30 may experience weird dreams about eating off-plan foods (which means that you start over at day one.) I’m pretty sure that I had some sort of cheating-on-Whole30-food dream every single night for a month straight. Some worse than others: on the eve of day 30, I dreamed that I weighed myself and the scale read 498 pounds. Thankfully, I woke up.

28. There is something so refreshing about breaking up with the scale. You’re not allowed to weigh yourself during the Whole30 program at all. I’m not a big fan of weighing myself daily, or even weekly, because the number doesn’t often correspond with actual progress. “Non-scale victories” are often much better than a number – looser pants, higher energy, clearer skin, toned muscles, etc. Regarding the scale, if the number makes you feel stuck, negative, guilty, or ashamed, stop weighing yourself and rely on how you feel, inside and out, and how you fit into your clothes. If the scale makes you feel confident and accountable, go for it.

29. Being a proud member of the clean plate club is just plain overrated. Having a healthy diet means eating until your body is satisfied, whether it be fish and veggies or a rich, decadent brownie. It’s not about finishing every last bite, it’s about enjoying one bite at a time, regardless of what you’re eating, and putting the fork down when you’ve had enough (enough means you’re satiated, not loosening your belt in a food coma.) This is easier said than done, I know, so it’s worth the mental effort to work on improving this habit, one meal at a time.

30. Healthy eating is not a mindless activity. It takes awareness, consciousness, presence, and purpose. Some examples include being mindful of how certain foods/food groups make your body feel, inquiring about food preparation when eating out, not digging into the bread basket or snacking simply because the food is right in front of you, and savoring occasional indulgences sans guilt.

So what’s the conclusion here? Honestly, I think that Whole30 has a TON of positive aspects (primarily eating whole foods) and a few negatives (too extreme, too much meat, and not enough smoothies.) Though I’m not the biggest proponent of this exact plan, I’m really happy that I experienced it because I did learn a lot and got rid of some poor habits. What made me stick with it after finding these faults? The sheer fact that I had made a commitment to myself.

Whole30 has lots of great aspects to it and I know that it has changed lots of lives for the better. If this seems like a plan that may be right for you, I encourage you to commit fully as well. Although 30 days may not be realistic, I would suggest an elimination diet for anyone looking to getting to know your body better, especially if you believe you may have an unidentified food sensitivity. Give your body a break from a certain food or food group for about two weeks and then reintroduce it to evaluate your body’s response. That way, as long as other food choices remain consistent, you should be able to tell 24-48 hours after consuming that food/food group if your body is sensitive to it. How will you know? You’ll know. Either it will make you feel fine, good, the same, or it will make you feel not so good in some way. As mentioned above, if it makes you feel yucky, try to cut it out of your diet as much as possible. Lastly, I repeat: read your labels and just eat real food!

IMG_0647One Healthy Breakdown: lessons learned, tools in toolkit, carry on.

One Healthy Mud Runner

Introducing Candace Couper, a childhood friend of mine through horseback riding. When Candace’s posts about paleo recipes and mud runs appeared on my Facebook feed, I couldn’t wait to hear more about her transformation. I could feel Candace’s inspirational energy through her words, enjoy!

10353566_10202324567615865_2086178525415640473_n1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did ‘life as you know it’ come to be? How did you get into your profession? How did you get into mud runs?

I’m Candace. I’m from Boston and I currently live in Denver, CO with my awesome dog, Bruin. I came out to Denver for undergrad then ended up staying for graduate school and have been unable to leave.

I grew up horseback riding and have always loved animals. I got into social work during a high school internship. I originally chose the internship because the woman I wanted to work with was a massage therapist (and that’s what I wanted to do at the time) who also worked full time as a behavior counselor at a middle school for high-risk youth. After accompanying her to the middle school daily, I became passionate about helping at-risk youth. I decided to get my masters degree in social work when I learned about University of Denver’s animal-assisted therapy program. I thought it would be a great opportunity to combine my love of animals with my passion for helping people (and it was!)

I got into mud runs in May of 2013. I had done a few fun runs and 5ks previously and decided – on a whim – to enter the Rugged Maniac. I thought it would be a fun way to keep myself motivated. I thought I was in pretty good shape as I was running quite a few miles several times a week and riding at the time. However, Rugged Maniac kicked my butt. I was so sore afterwards that I couldn’t move for a week and was covered in bruises. Then, I happened to see a deal at Fitness Together (a personal training studio) for introductory sessions and I decided to go for it. I haven’t looked back since! This was the start of a complete lifestyle change for me. I’ve learned so much about exercise, nutrition and all around being healthy. I’ve lost quite a bit (weight, body fat, bad habits, etc.) but have gained so much more (strength, empowerment, courage, self-confidence, and more!) I’ve since participated in eight fun/mud/obstacle runs including the Tough Mudder!

9201924_race_0.5178423625966894.display2. Is there any overlap in your profession and your values for health, wellness, and challenging yourself? Do you ever combine the two? In what ways?

Yes! I’m currently working for an after school program focused on movement, nutrition, and mindfulness, which overlap quite a bit with my own core values. Within the social work profession, I am personally very interested in alternative therapies. I’ve utilized equine-assisted therapy, community agriculture, and food justice work with at-risk youth. In the future, I hope to combine my passion for health with my profession by using fitness as a form of an alternative therapy. It’s one of the best methods out there!

3. What is your favorite workout? Favorite weekend activity?

I go back and forth; I was doing a ton of HIIT, (high intensity interval training) which is great for cardio and strength in one and utilizes very little equipment. While HIIT is a very effective workout, I recently switched back to strength/weight training. My original goal when I first joined the gym, and committed to changing my lifestyle, was to get stronger, which is one of the many benefits of weight training. My favorite weight training exercises are squats and deadlifts. I love the feeling I get after a hard weight training session – I feel accomplished, strong and confident.

My favorite weekend activities are hiking and walking my dog. There are so many great hiking areas close to Denver. This past summer, I spent most of my weekends training and doing Mud Runs, including the Manitou Incline and hiking my first 14er (we actually did two/three in one day!).

4. As a young woman, hard worker, and athlete, how do you maintain balance in your life?

Balance has been one of the hardest aspects for me, especially while I was still in school. However, I’m a firm believer that if something matters to you, then you can make some time for it…even if it means going to the gym at 6am on a Saturday. Combining multiple aspects of my life is another great way I’ve found balance. For example, when my family came out for my graduation, I convinced some of my family members to do a mud run with me which was super fun!

5. Any great healthy/balance tips for other young woman?

Keep it interesting and find what you like! This applies to everything – fitness, nutrition, work, and your personal life. If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing or if you’re bored, you’ll become miserable and less likely to stick with it. Figure out what works for you, (I like working out with a trainer and prefer to work out by myself. Some people work better when they have the support of a buddy or group classes) do it for yourself no one else, keep healthy snacks on hand, (I keep a bag of washed baby carrots in the door of my fridge so even if I’m mindlessly snacking, I am more likely to grab something healthy.) and be patient – with the process and with yourself.

6. What food items do you always keep in your house?

There are so many food items I always have in my apartment – being prepared makes cooking and eating healthy meals so much easier. I always have a wide variety of fresh and frozen produce (frozen is great for emergencies and frozen fruit is one of my favorite desserts.) I always have some sort of precooked protein on hand for nights when I don’t feel like cooking or I’m short on time. Other things I always have are eggs, chicken, nuts, and homemade snacks.

10629590_10202906037232242_5330012433469019646_n7. What is your favorite indulgence?

I’m a huge chocolate hoarder, especially when it comes to dark chocolate.

8. How do you make health a priority in your life?

Being healthy is somewhat of a new priority for me. At first, it was really difficult to stick with it, but I’ve discovered that being healthy really is a lifestyle. Meal prepping has been a huge help when it comes to eating healthy. In terms of fitness, thankfully, I live in a great place that emphasizes living an active lifestyle and a lot of my friends enjoy being active as well. That makes it easier and more enjoyable to make health my priority.

9. What is your FAVORITE thing about mud runs?

There are so many things about mud runs that I love. I love the physical and mental challenge. One of my favorite aspects, though, has to be the camaraderie. Every mud run I’ve done has focused on helping out fellow participants; there is always someone to lend a hand if you need it whether it be a fellow participant or a volunteer. Participants at mud runs tend to be so supportive and encouraging of one another, which lends to an amazing environment.

10. One Healthy Breakdown: Candace is one tough mudder we can all learn from! Whatever we’re working through in our lives, put health and yourself first!

Labels Shmabels

I often get asked what I eat. “What are you? Vegan? Vegetarian? Paleo?” Nope. Nope. Nope. I guess I’d say I’m just a “happy, healthy eater.”

1620486_482742691837906_61031964_n*this may or not be me, happily eating

Yup, I love food, talking about food, learning about food, cooking food, and, most of all, eating food. We’re constantly learning about how food affects us – it’s an exciting time for the science of nutrition. Food is everywhere and keeping up with food trends is a full time job.

Pick up any food-related magazine or book or browse the internet for 5 minutes and you’ll get 17 different dietary suggestions…all negating each other. Gluten free or dairy free? Juice or smoothie? High carb or low carb? Plant-based or protein-packed? Paleo’s in, vegan’s out. Or is it the other way around? How do we know what rules to stick to and what rules to rule out?!

What if there were no rules? No labels? If there are no rules, there’s no restriction. There’s no bad vs. good or one size fits all…because there isn’t.  There’s only food and how it makes us feel. Every single one of us is SO DIFFERENT that there are no generalizations when it comes to food. Genetically, we are different. We live different lifestyles and have different goals, cravings, needs, bodies, and beliefs about food. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa and foods that make me feel good may make you feel not so good and vice versa.

One Healthy Breakdown: Do eat what’s right for you; what makes you feel healthy and happy.