Monday, November 9, 2015

I Am A Spartan

I am not an adventurous person. My idea of the perfect 4 hours is sitting somewhere warm with a book and something yummy to drink. I’m all about the sitting. The staying still. I want to just be. I’m sure that sounds like I’m lazy. I’m not. I’m just always moving and sometimes it gets exhausting. And I’m just not naturally that person who gets excited about doing more stuff that makes me tired. I say all of that to give you a good idea of my state of mind when we set off Friday evening to be a part of our first Spartan Beast…. actually our first race of any kind ever ever. I’m telling you I’ve never even run a 5K or one of those Color/Glow/Hot Chocolate runs. Typically the Spartan Beast is 13 miles long over various terrain and 30 plus obstacles. Not exactly coffee and the latest post apocalyptic fiction.

I signed our family up for this race four months ago….maybe more. It’s all a blur. But long enough ago that it didn’t scare me…then. A week before our race I started to think that maybe I needed to prepare. You know, like prepare by shopping for cute DriFit clothes and a cute running belt to carry all my stuff in while I run. So I start reading blogs about the race and they start like this…”so you’ve been training for the last 16 weeks for this Spartan Race and now you need to know what to take?” Uh what?!?! 16 weeks of training?!? Hmmmmm….not so much. I maybe get to do CrossFit 2 times a week if I don’t get caught in the office taking care of actual business or playing chauffer for my kids. But whatever, I’ve got a Reebok DriFit shirt that says Spartan on it! I’m ready…ish.

Let me quickly jump in here and talk about the cost of this race. We signed up early enough to get a discount. But after signing the kids up for their race and applying the insurance we paid over $300. Then due to my blogging research I had to buy the following: 
Moisture wicking leggings for both me and Levi (that’s right…Levi wore leggings. And they were sexy. I don’t know how but they were) 
DriFit top 
New sports bra (I had no justification for this purchase but I’m sure my boobs required new running gear too)
Running belt (I didn’t use this during the race because the cool kids laughed at me.) Gel pack…lots of them. 
Non cotton socks (we only needed 1 pair each but they were on sale so I went ahead and bought everything they had...I could always store the extra in my running belt if I got kinda wet...It's sweet to look back on how naive I was.) 
We had to get two of every flavor Energy jellybeans…Best purchase ever!!!! I popped one jellybean every mile and it saved my life and my sanity to have that one tiny luxury in the midst of my suffering. 
Air mattress. 
Hotel room because the race was in Glen Rose at 8am. 
The Fancy Expensive Level car wash plus an additional fee for all the mud because in order to park my pretty little shiny Lexus we had to go off-roading and park in a mud pit. 
Meals…not paleo at ALL. I had cheese dip people!!! 
At least $100 worth of cooler snacks and water that we weren’t allowed to take into the race grounds.
Double water bill because it took washing our clothes multiple times and I’m pretty sure our septic system light started blinking because of all the small rocks. Whoops!!! 

We waited too late before making our hotel reservations and everything was booked. EVERYTHING. The closest we could get to the race was an hour away. But our sweet friends and running partners graciously offered their extra room at the vintage (I’m being kind here) inn on the Granbury downtown square, The Nut House.

So picture this. Torrential rain. The night before Halloween. Somewhere close to 9pm Levi, the kids, my mom, and I all arrive at The Nut House. Downstairs looks like an old candy shop and we are greeted by a woman, who I am sure is a lovely person but for the sake of painting a picture you should know that both eyes pointed in different directions, there was more hair on her face then on the top of her head, lots of moles, a raspy, coarse voice and walked with a cane. Addie was not loving it. We went upstairs, checked out our room. It isn’t bad. The furniture is just all very antiquey, floors are creeky and there are a ton of old pictures of people who were obviously trying to kill the photographer with their death stare. The bathroom has an attic access that looks like it has been used recently by the amount of weird gray stuff hanging out of it. I MacGyvered a lock on the bathroom door using one of my precious rubber band hair ties and felt confident that when the serial killer came down out of the attic he would be trapped in the bathroom until we had time to escape.

After several conversations about how Addie should not be scared (even though ALL arrows pointed to get the heck out of there), Levi reluctantly gave up his spot in the bed and joined Jack on the air mattress leaving me to defend myself against the tiny blond ninja. Unfortunately I didn’t have to even build the wall of pillows because I woke halfway through the night so stinkin’ sick! I made my way over the creaky floor, unlocked the bathroom door ready to accept my fate should the serial killer be waiting. I then spent the next two and a half hours throwing my guts up and trying to get some rest on the bathroom floor despite the creepy attic access hovering over my little green head. I managed to make it back to bed, sleep for one more hour and then it was race time. So much for that carb load the night before.

As we were leaving, the dude on the early shift asked me if we had any “experiences” in our room. I stared at him thinking, “How did you know I was throwing up!?! Was that you in that attic?!?” But then he proceeds to tell me that the room we stayed in is well known for ghost experiences and most guests say that they felt a man get in bed with them in the middle of the night!!! So while I’m throwing up, my baby girl may have had a man ghost crawl into bed with her!?!?! Seriously no words!!! We grabbed our free taffy from the candy store and ran!

Well, actually we drove. And then we rolled slowly. The parking conditions at the race were AWFUL. JUST TERRIBLE. We were stuck in Spartan traffic for over two hours. I had to pee so badly my eyes were watering. Levi drank an entire bottle of coconut water just so he could have an empty bottle to pee in….twice! And I know that sounds disgusting but it was less disgusting than all the bare body parts we were seeing out of our car window as our fellow runners relieved themselves on the side of the road. One chick finally got out of the car and it broke the dam. People were appearing all around us, pulling down their moisture wicking leggings and just letting it go….let it go, let it go, I’m one with the wind and skyyyyyy!!! Oh lordy, I clearly need some adult time.

I was too dignified to potty in public and was so excited to finally see porta-potties. I have never used a porta-potty before but I was imagining it would be like an airplane bathroom. I was wrong. I was soooooo wrong. Porta-potties are the most disgusting, vile things ever ever ever! I can’t believe I ever thought that was preferential to baring it all in front of hundreds of strangers. I knew then that this race was going be tough. The people that run these races truly are beasts if they can stomach those putrid blue poo coffins.

The kids had their own 1 mile Spartan Race with obstacles and mud. Addie refused to run…which made perfect sense to me. I was really doubting my own sanity at this point. But Jack! Man that kid was amazing. He ran with his “best friend who is a girl” and her little brother. They worked as a team and finished the race together with huge grins across their faces. Hope ignited. Okay, I can do this. My kid just did this. Surely I can do the grown up version right? It was time. Mom took all four kids while Levi, our two darling friends and teammates, and myself made our way to the starting line. Oh, but wait, we had to actually go over an obstacle before we could even get to the finish line but it was this little four foot wall and I totally spider-manned that obstacle. FIST PUMP!

Three miles later I’m dying. I’m internally screaming to run. Crazy right? But there was so much mud that we never could pick up the pace and stretch our muscles. The mud would just suck our shoes off and if you weren’t careful you could sink down too far and twist your ankle. Our teammates were so patient with me and pretended like I wasn’t slowing them down. The obstacles continued to get harder and harder. It was this weird mix of wishing we could stop clomping through the mud only to have to climb a mountain holding a 5 gallon bucket filled with rocks and begging for the mud to suck me into the earth again. It was always different but always bad. Well, not always. There were some really awesome moments.

The landscape was beautiful and I had the wonderful fortune to chase after the cutest booty most of the race. Speaking of that cute booty, that sexy husband of mine was just absolutely incredible on the Spartan. It was like he was made for it. He would hurl me over the massive wall and then spring over like he had wings. Seriously those cartoon hearts were beaming out of my eyes every time Levi killed an obstacle. And oh how I loved running with my friend with all of her experienced advice. She was incredible to see just push through those obstacles. There were two obstacles where we had to climb mountains while carrying really heavy stuff. She just hoisted that load (which almost weighed as much as her) and plowed ahead. I had to take breaks...lots of breaks. She pushed on regardless of whether or not her arm fell off from the insane weight. She was amazing to witness. Such an inspiration.

As we neared the end with only 1.5 miles to go, we had to submerge our tired bodies into a freezing, brain-eating, amoeba infested, stagnant pond and swim to the other side. The swimming wasn’t really all that bad. I mean it sucked but it was once again just a different kind of suck. But the really bad part was the getting out. My muscles cramped up so much from that frigid water that I could barely extend my legs out. I pretty much shuffled for the next mile and a half. We tackled more obstacles and when I say tackled I mean Levi picked me up and carried me through a couple of them. I’m telling you, he was in his element.

But then I saw it…the pit of fire. I have never been so happy to have to leap over flames (not that I’ve ever had that opportunity before this) because that blessed finish line was right on the other side! I looked over to my left and saw our dirty little kids just cheering us on with all their might and somehow I managed to muster enough energy to leap over the flames feeling victorious and accomplished.

That feeling lasted all of two seconds. The moment I stopped moving I started to freeze from my wet clothing…moisture wicking my a$$. I didn’t even want to take pictures with our medals. I got my free beer but didn’t even drink it. All I wanted was warmth, food and sleep. We parted with our Spartan teammates and loaded our muddy, disgusting bodies into my dirty car and I plowed into a bag of salt and vinegar chips while Levi proved that my Lexus is indeed four-wheel drive.

I woke up the next morning unable to move without wincing in pain. I walked like a 130 year old with a stick up her butt all the way to the bathroom, started the tub, poured in a bucket of Epson salt and just kinda leaned over the side until my body plopped into the healing water. And wow! It was miraculous! I felt so much better after and that’s when the crazy set in. While that Epsom salt cured all that ailed us, Levi and I decided we are totally going for the Trifecta next year…Sprint, Super, and Beast! I really expected this to be more like giving birth. You know, you swear you are NEVER doing that again until several years later once the memory of the horrific pain dissipates. It was really just such a terrible and wonderful experience and I honestly am looking forward to accomplishing our next Trifecta goal.

Despite the fact that I am still suffering from the poison ivy I contracted while scooting my booty down the mountain I am so incredibly proud to be a Spartan. I really encourage you to take a leap and just sign up for something that scares you. Be smarter than me and actually train for it though. Trust me when I say that I never ever ever thought in a million years I would torture myself with an obstacle race for fun but there is something incredibly empowering about having the opportunity to test your determination, abilities, and willpower. Plus I now know I am going to totally rock the zombie apocalypse…and be the best dressed. I already have the moisture wicking outfit and matching running belt!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Excuses Excuses Excuses

I get to hear every single excuse when it comes to why a person or family isn’t eating healthy.  It is part of my job but I don’t even have to be wearing my Nutrition Nazi hat to get them.
  1. "I've had a really stressful week so I am ordering whatever I want and you can’t judge me!”
  2. "We’ve had back to back sports games/activities and the kids had to eat something so they could have some energy and Taco Bueno was the closest and quickest thing!”
  3. “I know there were better choices but I also could have made worse ones too.”
  4. “My kids just won’t eat that. I’ve tried…once.”
  5. “If I don’t let them eat chips, crackers, (fill in the blank), they just won’t eat at all!”

These are all really good excuses. I’ve used these excuses too.  But in the end, they boil down to lies we tell ourselves.  Let’s break these lies down.
  1. “You had a really stressful week so you think eating food that is actually going to possibly make you feel bad, tired, foggy headed, or give you a headache is the answer here? Stressful weeks don’t earn you the right to abuse yourself. Stress is hard on your body. Restore it with healing foods.”
  2. “So Taco Bueno was the only option huh??? Let’s be honest, you should have packed a small cooler the day before. Yes, it would have required you to stay up 30 minutes longer but you did that anyways watching your favorite TV show. But you didn’t pack that cooler…I get it, Scandal is really good. But there is a grocery store one block away from Taco Bueno. It has deli meat, baby carrots, apples, and snack pack sizes of Wholly Guacamole. That would fill your babies and yourself with great protein, carbs and healthy fats. And your kiddo won’t stink the car up on the way home with party burrito toots.“
  3.  “If there were better choices than the one you made and you knew there were better choices then why not just make the best choice? There are way too many opportunities when you do not have the best choice available. This is not your last meal ever. These choices you are making are for your health, your goals, the example you are setting for your family. Just because a food is on the menu doesn’t make it an option if your goals don’t allow for that food to enter your body.”
  4. “Kids are not the bosses. They are learning how to be grownups. It is our job to teach them how to care for their bodies. Taste buds change, they mature. It can take up to 20 times of trying a food before a child or even adult develops a taste for that food. I have seen this over and over again in my children. We have a rule that you must try one bite of everything on your plate. You don’t have to like it but you must try it. They think it is exciting when their taste buds have “grown up” and they like something new. A lot of time as parents we get stuck in a rut of cooking the same foods we know our family will eat. We don’t want dinnertime to be any more stressful than it already is so we stick to potatoes and green beans. Keep encouraging your kiddos and yourself to try new foods. A wider variety of foods allows for a wider variety of nutrients.
  5. Your kids won’t starve….to death. They may get hungry but that is okay because they will eat the food you give them at the next opportunity. Let’s not be unreasonable here though. Make sure you are offering a variety of options for them to eat. And explain to your kids why eating junk in place of eating real food is hurting their little bodies more than not eating at all. Kids are smart. They want the details. They want to understand and know everything we do. Give it to them straight.  “Because I said so” is rarely motivational.”

I wonder if you read all of that and just thought, “Easy for you to say. You eat, sleep, and breathe health. I, on the other hand have to sell cars all day long or run from patient to patient or deal with teaching/disciplining bratty teenagers all day. I don’t live in a health bubble. My life is different from yours.”
And I get that. I really do. I feel that way about my pastors. I think it would be so easy to make time to read my Bible if that was my job. But in the end it doesn’t matter. I can drop that ball because it doesn’t come easy and it isn’t a requirement of my career. I can use all the excuses. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt me, my family, those I set an example for.  We must feed our bodies in the same way we must feed our spirit. There will always be excuses…  But excuses don’t change the outcome.

I really want to encourage you to sit down with your family and discuss your health goals. Being healthy may not sound exciting to your kids but explain to them that being healthy doesn’t just mean that they won’t be sick but that they will run faster, have bigger muscles, have smarter brains. Find a way to get them on board. And then say that for 30 days you are all going to drop the excuses and make health a priority. Set some rules such as:
  • No fast food.
  • Everyone must try everything on their plate.
  • No added sweeteners
  • Only water

And then set up some rewards.
  • Spend some time on Yelp and search out a cool restaurant with foods you have never tried. Go Greek or Indian or just something other than pizza and hamburgers. Mark your calendar and make an event out of this meal. Let the kids choose. Check out the menu beforehand and research what some of the foods are. Encourage your kids to not order off the kids menu and to try new things.
  • Instead of rewarding your kids with sweets, pick something fun for you to all do…go rock climbing, check out the Dallas Aquarium, the Heard Museum, In-door skydiving, take a painting class, or simply spend the day in PJs and playing video games and watching cartoons. Kids want time with their parents in the end. Give them that. 
  • Give your kids the opportunity to choose some of the menu for the week. Let them in on the decision-making. Give them some boundaries and some options. If they are big enough to get on the Internet have them search for some tasty recipes. Type “paleo dinner recipes” into your search engine and then let them scroll through the images and pick something that looks yummy to them.

Let’s be honest, I’m not perfect. You aren’t perfect. We are going to make poor choices every now and then. But instead of making excuses let’s just own it. And make a plan of how to do better next time.
  1. Next time instead of feeling like you deserve a cheat meal because of a stressful week, reward yourself with a mani/pedi, an hour or two with your favorite book and no distractions, or a bubble bath. Food is fuel, not a reward.
  2. If you didn’t pack that cooler for the game this time, block time on your schedule before next week’s game to pack a lunch and some snacks.
  3. When you succumb to choosing corn tortillas over just eating the fajita skillet remind yourself that you are worth the very small sacrifice of genetically modified high carb corn tortillas. Sometimes we mindlessly make poor choices. You must be aware of your food…not just the way it tastes but how it is affecting your body.
  4. When your kiddos refuse to eat the food in front of them bring them in on the planning of tomorrow’s meal. Take them to the produce department at the grocery store and let them pick a veggie that is new to them and then find a recipe for that vegetable.
  5. If you freak out and feel like your baby is starving to death supplement with some protein smoothies for snacks. Make sure it is clean and only whey protein. Add some spinach, frozen berries and coconut milk and you have all three macros!

We have a lot of life to fit into our busy schedule. Make that life feel good. Don’t waste it on junk and feeling gross. And teach your kids to do the same by showing them. You must be the one that leads the way. Change the cycle. Eat for life. And give up those excuses.

These Energy Bites will be a huge hit for yourself and your kids. 

2 cups GF Organic Oats
1 cup Almond Butter
1 cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, Toasted
1 cup Flaxseed Meal
2/3 cup Raw and Unfiltered Honey
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt

Mix all ingredients together. Better yet, get your kiddos little hands in there and let them go to town mixing and mashing. Refrigerate mixture until chilled. Wet hands and roll into small golfball sized balls and refrigerate on cookie sheet. Enjoy!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Me and Muscles

This is my last blog post about my five favorite supplements and to be honest I am so glad! I felt boxed into a subject every time I wanted to write. But this one is pretty awesome...I'm just saying.

I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about when I wrote this post about protein so I spent extra time this week reading lots of articles and studies and this may sound totally silly to you but I am just amazed by our Creator. He made us in the very coolest ways. Every time I have an opportunity to discover just how very intricately we are made I am in absolute awe! And even if you don't believe in a Creator I think that understanding how our bodies work will at least give you a new appreciation for the delicate balance of our health and how important it is to care for our one and only body...not just through therapeutic treatment but preventative holistic care.

I have made it fairly clear in the past that I am not your typical CrossFitter. I am not naturally athletic. I didn't play sports in school. My only source of exercise was running and I was even bad at that. I never had ANY desire to have muscles. I equated muscles to being masculine and I really love to embrace my very girliness. I am all about being delicate and feminine and I was afraid that being strong would detract from that.

Let's skip ahead, fast-forward to owning a CrossFit gym and just say I was wrong. Having muscles, even if it is my teeny baby muscles, make me healthy!

1. My posture is better. We all think about those bigger muscles such as glutes, biceps, traps, hammies. But weighted workouts strengthen those smaller muscles and connective tissues, too, which affect alignment and posture.

2. I will maintain muscle mass when  if I ever get old. Lets face it...I'm not getting any younger. 40 is looming...not really for me so much as for Levi (his birthday is this Wednesday...35...mid-thirties...40 is literally the next milestone.) The older we get the more difficult it is for us to maintain muscle mass and it will deteriorate due to cellular changes in the muscle. This is called sarcopenia. But starting now and keeping my muscles strong will give me an advantage when I am older. (As if I'm ever going to be old...ha!)

3. My bones are healthier and stronger. Weight bearing exercises strengthen our bones. This is great news for people like me who are tripping and stumbling over her own two feet all day long.

4. Muscles prevent diabetes. Crazy right!?!? More lean muscle mass means less adipose tissue (fat). Fat increases our insulin resistance which leads to diabetes. But when you replace that fat with muscle, glucose utilization in increased!!!

5. Weight training increases vascular health in a different way than cardio exercise does. Resistance training leads to a longer lasting decrease in blood pressure and increases blood flow to your limbs. I'm not looking to have a roadmap of veins running down my arms but vascular health is always a good thing!!!

6. Muscles increase energy! There are lots of reasons for this but the main thing to note is that muscles replace fat tissue therefore increasing metabolism, improving sleep, and even the body's ability to handle stress.

7. Muscles are confidence boosters. I don't look like a man. I still am feminine. I still am soft and delicate. But I am also strong. I can do stuff with my family like rock climbing and Spartan races because I have muscles. I can open my own jars!!!! I am not skinny. I am fit. I have muscles and I am grateful for the way they improve my health and my life.

So you want muscle, too, huh?? All that sounded pretty spectacular, right? Well it is important to understand how muscles work and what we can do to make them stronger. Don't go to sleep on me yet...this is about to get cool.

When you workout...particularly during weight training, your muscles are becoming injured or damaged. And what happens when there is injury in your body??? Inflammation!!!! (That super healing power that sometimes goes cray cray.) This releases cytokines and other white blood cells that come and work with satellite cells that have just been chillin' on your skeletal muscles this whole time and they begin to heal and attach themselves to one another and to the muscle fibers. This increases the size of the muscles also known as hypertrophy! I'm sure there is some kind of life lesson in all of that about having to breakdown to build up but I'm going to leave that one to someone else to use as an analogy...Steve, Jim, Adam??? Any takers??

Your body is going to do this breakdown and repair process without you doing anything other than picking up heavy stuff and putting it down. But there are some ways to give this process a little boost. All the dudes just got interested. Let's face it, you girls did too! I get it! Muscles are awesome.

1. Increase testosterone levels. GASP!!!!! Don't freak out on me yet. Most of you know that I am the last person that will tell you to start messing with your hormone levels. I am all about healthy hormones! I think this area gets abused a lot! Dude wants bigger muscles. Dude goes to shady doc who gives him an Rx for legal testosterone and viola! Dude has bigger muscles, along with some additional rage and a black eye because he was too handsy with his date.

But this isn't the scenario I am talking about. Due to the Standard American Diet (SAD) we (by 'we', I mean our society...not me...I don't eat that filth...unless I'm PMSing or going to be PMSing or was PMSing.) Where was I??? Anyways the SAD diet has lots of soy hiding in it. Start looking. You'll see it. Soy attaches to our estrogen receptors and makes our bodies think we have more estrogen than it actually does. This decreases our testosterone levels and we don't want that! We need that hormone for fat metabolism, sex drive, and muscle hypertrophy by optimizing satellite cell proliferation and differentiation (cell maturing.)

Here's my suggestion: Stop eating crap with soy. Keep your body lean. Train hard and increase the intensity level as your technique improves. These things will naturally increase your testosterone levels without a cream, pellet, or shot. If you are still concerned about your T levels then go see an endocrinologist and have some tests run. Any time you are treating hormones with therapy you should do it under the advisement of a medical professional.

2. Increase your IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor). IGF-1 stimulates your satellites cell's ability to replicate which leads to bigger and stronger muscles. Increasing IGF-1 is really easy...

EAT PROTEIN. Shocker! Protein is especially effective at increasing IGF-1 in the first 45 minutes after resistance training. Along with eating meat and eggs, whey protein is also a great option. Whey is easily digested and quickly has those amino acids (the building blocks of protein) stimulating protein synthesis...muscle building.

Taking amino acids in supplement form is also something to consider. L-Arginine increases testosterone and growth hormones. L-Lysine is also great for immune building and boosting those growth hormones as well. My favorite is L-Glutamine because it not only elevates growth hormone levels but also aids in muscle recovery. I'm all about the recovery! I hate being sore...even if it is a good kind of sore.

There you have it! My last supplement suggestion is protein/amino acids. You can take BCAAs which are three particular essential amino acids (essential means that your body doesn't make them), valine, leucine and isoleucine. These all work for muscle repair and recovery. Simply increasing protein increases all of your amino acids. 

I personally drink whey protein powder mixed in my coconut water after my workout once a day. My favorite is Whey to Go by Solgar. This is my favorite not because it taste like dessert like a lot of protein powders do but because it is the absolute cleanest protein I have found that doesn't require me to sell my kidney to afford it. It has less than 1 gram of sugar, 20 grams of protein per serving and when mixed with coconut water doesn't taste bad at all. 

Whether you want to back squat 400 pounds, have healthy bones, more energy, less fat, or just open the jar of olives for your martini, we all need muscles. Start some resistance training in a gym where you can get proper coaching on technique and form, eat right, sleep well, and eat your protein!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Finding my balance

Every year Levi and I come up with a theme or idea or goal for the next 365 days. My favorite year we themed "Keep It Simple." That year we didn't go crazy on the birthday parties, make any large purchases, take expensive vacations, and we didn't make any upgrades to our home. It was just the best year! We found joy in small things when we didn't have big events, vacations, purchases, or projects to look forward to.

This year is pretty much the opposite of that year. 2015's theme has been "Work Hard. Play Hard." And we have. We have fulfilled this theme with a vengeance that has left us feeling like preschoolers clinging to their blankie never wanting to leave the warmth and safety of our home.

Our typical work week is most definitely more than 40 hours, easily more than 60, which is to be expected when you have two business and a demanding full time job working for someone else (creating the robots that will one day take over our world...get ready...just saying.) We have ignored our home for the last year as we have poured ourselves into this new venture of owning a CrossFit box and have rarely spent much time there except to sleep. We were spending most of our dinners at The Core because it was easier to keep working and lets face it, Jim's cooking is phenomenal and much better than mine. But getting up at 3:30am and crashing at the end of the day close to midnight was starting to take a toll.

But we justified all of our overworking by taking a gazillion vacations! Somehow in my head I always thought that each vacation was going to provide enough rest and relaxation to make up for all of the exhaustion I was causing myself throughout the work week. It took 8 months and 9 vacations for me to realize that this is just plain dumb. If you have ever gone on vacation you know that you don't get to just do your job as normal, tidy your desk before you go and never think about work again until you get back. No way. You spend the entire week before you leave trying to not only get caught up but get ahead. Then all vacation long you reply to emails, phone calls and texts regarding unforeseen issues and responsibilities.

But the worst is when you get back from vacation! You expect to return to a tidy desk and a tidy home but now your desk is piled high with mountains of paperwork and your suitcase has exploded with a week's worth of laundry all over your house. So now you once again have to twice as much work just to catch back up. Its dumb!!! And I'm even dumber because it took me 8 stinking months to realize this!!!

Not only did I exhaust myself in the midst of all of my so-called fun and relaxation but I also asked someone else who is just as busy as me to cover some of my responsibilities while I was gone. Now that really great team we have is also exhausted and needs a vacation. It's just a terrible cycle.

I think 2016's theme is going to be "Balance". "Work Hard Play Hard" seemed like a yin and yang kinda situation but it wasn't. There was no balance. It was fun until it wasn't. I'm happy to be still for a little bit. I want to enjoy my home again. I am ready to find relaxation through cuddling with my kiddos and watching cartoons or taking a walk with my husband in our own neighborhood. I want to put in a good day's work that I can be proud of but not to the point of exhaustion. I plan to play more often instead of so hard. I'm looking forward to those small joys again.

I'm not going to wait until 2016 for this change. I'm doing it now. I crave this balance. I desire stillness and simplicity. Sure, I'm not going to post as many annoying although adorable vacation videos on Facebook but let's be honest, they were getting old. I'm going to use my time wisely and keep my schedule more aligned with my goals. I know I'm going to have some days where I work longer hours than other days. I may actually go through another season or two in the future where we are once again working ourselves to the bone for the sake of a new business or project. That's a part of life. I think that is a part of the balance. When I do go through those seasons again I will make sure I am on top of my health the whole way through by taking the supplements I've already discussed in previous posts along with my trusty TURMERIC.

My little lifestyle of "work hard play hard" and then workout in the gym in between has led to quite a bit of inflammation in my body. Inflammation is a good thing at times. It is actually really cool because it is our super power to heal...kinda like Wolverine. But chronic inflammation is bad and leads to pain and disease. Turmeric is a yellowish-orangey, stinky spice that works as a natural anti-inflammatory that keeps our bodies' inflammatory response in check. It is kinda like taking a Tylenol without damaging your liver and kidneys. It keeps our joints from feeling creaky or painful, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, decreases risk of diabetes and cancer, and protects the brain against neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke or Alzheimer's disease. Kinda cool if you plan to live awhile and want it to be an awesome life.

I heard someone say not too long ago that the pendulum has to swing to the extreme on each side before it can come to rest in the middle. I'm grateful my pendulum is slowing down and for amazing God created spices, such as Turmeric, that will help keep me healthy when it starts swinging again.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fishy kisses

I think this is probably my last back-to-school post. And, really, it isn't because the newness is wearing off but because I'm about to turn into that mom that is running to the QT (which is a gas station by the way) on the way to school and buying a combination of jerky, fruit and bottled water and sticking it in the kid's lunch boxes as if that was the plan all along. The crazy thing is my kids would LOVE that!! They think they are so neglected because I don't send them with Lunchables to school every day. As if somehow I'm punishing them with the delicious lunches I slave over every Sunday. (Let's face it, it has been one Sunday but there are just sooooo many more Sunday's in my future!!!!)

And let me tell you, I am battling with whether or not to keep this masochistic form of slavery up. Last Sunday I spent the majority of my day after church cooking in my kitchen, which, by the way, I actually love to do and enjoy. But it kinda felt like I missed out on my rest day, you know? And honestly I could have used the the rest. Back to school is exhausting!

It was a lot of work. It took planning, budgeting, shopping, scheduling, and then 4 hours of work all to make five days of lunches and breakfasts and two dinners. 

My menu was
Dinner 1: zucchini noodles and meatballs
Dinner 2: pulled pork tacos with coleslaw
Lunches for Monday and Wednesday: meatball, raw zucchini and marinara, spinach leaves, and blueberries. 
Lunches for Tuesday and Friday: pulled pork tacos, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, sweet potato chips. 
Breakfast 1: Breakfast sausage balls
Breakfast 2: Bacon 
Breakfast 3: Quinoa oatmeal

So, is it worth it? Yes. It actually was. It was so nice to just pull out the next day's lunch containers and stick them in lunch boxes ready to go. I wasn't coming home from work exhausted and opening my fridge hoping to magically come up with a healthy and tasty lunch every evening. It made the mornings so peaceful because the kiddos knew their breakfast options and all Levi or I had to do was pop them in the microwave to heat up. And because we get home so late from the gym I really, really appreciated that dinner just needed to be reheated and we would still have plenty of time to sit down as a family for dinner. 

I also didn't waste any food. Which is a huge plus. I tripled my batch of meatballs and froze the leftovers so now I can use them in a few weeks and won't have to spend that time putting them together next time. I was also able to freeze leftover pulled pork and will have enough for another dinner and lunches. 

But more than the time and money value, it was worth it because it gave Jack and Addie's little bodies and brains the nutrition they need to learn, focus and have energy for school. It is my job as their mommy to give them every opportunity possible to be their best. How unfair would it be if I fed them sugar and then sent them off to school, expecting them to obey, concentrate and then have energy at the end of the day after the sugar crash? 

I'll admit that I have been guilty of this in the past and I will be guilty of it in the future. There will be days when my juggling balls come crashing down and I resort to feeding my babies donuts on the way to school. I'm okay with that. I know it will happen eventually so I just make sure that when I can keep all those balls in the air I'm going to make every effort to do it well so that Jack and Addie are not fighting their little bodies own chemical reactions to the wrong kinds of foods often. 

I have big hopes and dreams for those two. Addie says she is going to be a fashion designer/artist and Jack plans on becoming a scientist and marrying a doctor and I want them to accomplish every single goal they set for themselves.   Therefore I will continue to do the best I can to continue on with my Sunday lunch prep extravaganza. 

I don't just stop with food. My mommy job is never over. I also give my little darlings special supplements that fill in the gaps. One of those is Omega-3 fish oil. 

I cannot tell you enough how important this fishy oil is! And not just for your kiddos but for you, too!!!! Check out the nifty bullet point list I made you of all the wonderfulness of fish oil!!

1.) DHA (an essential fatty acid found in fish oil) helps with focus and concentration. It is often found to be deficient in children with ADD and ADHD. 

2.) Omega-3 reduces chronic inflammation which is pretty much the cause of most disease. So if you start this now and avoid fast moving vehicles you might live forever!!!

3.) The additional oil to your diet helps you poo! Poo is important. It isn't a lovely topic but if you want health there must be poo...regularly. Like every day. At least. 

4.) It makes your heart healthy. And last time I checked that organ was pretty stinkin' important. 

5.) The Essential Fatty Acids in fish oil increase insulin sensitivity which aids in fat loss. YAY! That reason right there is enough, right?

6.) Omega-3 increases protein synthesis which means it helps you build muscle. Now don't get all worried that you are going to turn into The Hulk by taking fish oil. We are talking about fish oil here, not steroids or testosterone. 

If you don't eat a lot of omega-3 packed foods (such as salmon) during the week then fish oil is definitely something you want to include in your daily routine. It has too many benefits to pass up!! Give it to your kiddos, too!! Those fishy kisses will make it totally worth the effort. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Living the dream

My babies are back in school and I'm trying to dive into work so that I don't cry. I've decided I might be a crazy person and need something a little stronger than my rhodiola because I just stinkin' miss the snot out of them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the time I have to sit in peace without being asked for a snack or an electronic device password every 5 minutes but, oh, how I miss Addie crawling in my lap for just a quick cuddle or Jack running to me so excited about the latest Marvel superhero he earned. I don't know how I got so incredibly lucky to have two kids who are just the coolest people in the world. I just love who they are. Right now in my head there is a music montage playing with adorable rosy faced pictures of my little angels flashing into my memory... You know... The ones I post on FB that look perfect and make it seem like my kids always get along and our house is always clean. Ahhhh Facebook world: Where stupid, illogical, picket fence fairy tale, happily ever after, American dreams really do come true. No wonder we all live there. 

 I actually really love Facebook. It is just such a great way for me to advertise my two businesses. I'm not just talking about my Sunshine Shoppe and Core pages. I'm talking about my personal Jessica Pope page, the one with Levi and I doing handstands on the beach as my profile picture because let's be honest, two people in bathing suits on the beach doing handstands looks healthy, energetic, fun, full of life and that is the very thing I make a living off of. I am my own walking billboard and that my friends (or random blog readers) is quite the burden. 

I have nearly killed myself trying to appear to the whole world (that was a little bit of an exaggeration) that I am Super Healthy Girl who grows her own herbs outside of her health food store and has raised children that love kale and spinach. I'm not saying those things aren't true but I think it is important for everyone, including myself, to know and realize that I eat crap, too, sometimes. I enjoy letting my kids eat cake at birthday parties. Heck, I enjoy eating cake at birthday parties...and weddings (wedding cake is my fav!!). I will occasionally order an iced coffee with half-n-half and sweetened with classic syrup. I rarely buy organic. There are two boxes of cereal in my fridge right now. We took the kids to Mellow Mushroom on our last summer weekend because they have gluten-free crust and then we just ordered the regular crust. I forget to take my supplements at least 3 days a week. I really struggle with self-control...if the unhealthy food is in front of me I will eat it until it is all gone. Sometime my kids come home with their lunch boxes completely full and starving because they didn't like any of the food I packed them. 

My point is this: There has to be balance. There has to be grace. I do not expect anyone to decide to live a healthier lifestyle and just never think about pizza again. I don't expect that of myself and I live in a health bubble! I wonder sometimes if people look at the life I present to the public and think that I am extreme. That I focus too much on health and it would be too hard for you to do that too. That is not what I want. I want health to be real. I want you to know that you can make an unhealthy choice from time to time and still be a healthy person. This is not an all or nothing situation but I think so many think that you either have to go super paleo and hunt down rabbits in your backyard and eat wild onions or you just give up and enjoy all that processed food has to offer. 

Sometimes one step at a time is the way to go. If cold turkey super health perfection hasn't worked for you in the past then it probably won't in the future. So start small. And be forgiving of yourself. For those of you who aren't ready for a Whole 30 type elimination diet (and just reducing your sweet tea intake may cause you a panic attack) I suggest adding some digestive enzymes into your diet. I really think everyone can benefit from these enzymes but especially if you are keeping some of the more difficult to digest foods in your diet such as grain, dairy and legumes. 

Digestive enzymes help break down the food that we eat for proper absorption. There are primarily four that you will find: 
Amylase - breaks down carbs and starches 
Cellulase - breaks down sugars 
Protease - breaks down proteins 
Lipase - breaks down fats 

Check out why adding digestive enzymes into your diet is a good idea:

 1. Without enzymes chemical reactions cannot take place in our bodies. We must have them for vitamins, minerals and hormones to work. 

 2. Cooked food lacks enzymes and some enzyme inhibiting foods such as nuts, seeds, egg whites, beans, potatoes and peanuts deplete and neutralize enzymes in the body making it difficult to absorb the nutrients needed. 

 3. Super hot Texas summers or very cold, somewhere else winters, intense exercise, or illness can all make our bodies use up our enzymes faster therefore decreasing digestion of foods. 

 4. The older we get the less enzymes we have available. (Ahhhh....Jim, it is sooooo hard to resist the old jokes.) And last time I checked we aren't getting any younger. In fact, the copious amounts of glitter I have begun to grow from my head is proof of that! 

 I carry digestive enzymes in my purse wherever I go just in case I act human in public and eat something sinful. I also make it a habit to take them regularly because I just feel better. My tummy feels flatter and I don't feel so full after eating. I have chewable enzymes that Addie takes any time her little tummy feels yucky and they help settle her nausea because she is very sensitive to foods. 

These little pills are simple solutions to getting and feeling healthier even if you aren't ready to clean out the fridge and pantry or become a caveman. Every small step is a step in the right direction. I will still be posting uber healthy pics of paleo packed lunches and me flexing my little CrossFit muscles but just know that health looks different on everyone and you have no one to answer to but yourself. Show yourself some grace, accept that you are going to eat some ice cream every now and then and take your digestive enzymes.

Here is a healthy small step...Quinoa 'Oatmeal.' Quinoa is a great source of protein and naturally gluten-free. We have recently incorporated this ancient grain back into our diet and are loving it!!! (More on the changes and additions we've made to our diets coming soon!!!!)

Quinoa, cooked according to package directions
Grass-fed butter
Raw honey
Coconut milk
Fruit of choice

I don't have measurements...just put it all in a bowl (easy on the honey) and enjoy. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tough Cookie

For the last month I have been laser focused on healing my body. I haven't necessarily been ill or terribly injured. I had just been feeling...not awesome. Not being awesome had me a bit concerned...because clearly it should just come naturally so obviously something was off.

My workouts were BAD. Really really. Not only did my body hurt abnormally during and after a workout but I hurt ALL DAY LONG...and all night long for that matter. I just kept thinking, "Why am I working out when all it does is make me not feel good all day and keeps me from sleeping at night? That can't be healthy." And it wasn't.

I had started squeezing in fitness just to get it in and get it done in hopes that it would help with my stress levels. I was running to pound out stress without focusing on my body positioning and quickly developed terrible shin splints that I refused to allow to heal because I craved the stress relief from the run and would ignore the pain until I was limping down Stonewall Street. In the midst of constantly ignoring my shin pain I managed to strain my IT band because I run like a little wonky duck. I ignored this pain too. DUMB.

I was also looking forward to my evening glass of wine too much. My relaxing glass of wine would easily turn into two or sometimes three. And if I wasn't enjoying a glass of wine I was drinking coffee. I would drink coffee from the moment I woke up until my workout, drink one bottle of water, and then pour my first glass of wine while I started on dinner. I don't know how I didn't die from dehydration!!!

Even though I was eating all the right foods I was NOT dealing with stress well. It is not okay to push my body to injury to beat away the stress or to drown my exhaustion in alcohol and caffeine. Something had to change. I needed to heal. So I took a step back and stopped working out all together. I stopped the wine. I eliminated the coffee...haha! Just kidding!!! I limited the coffee. I started looking for healthier stress relieving options which included more sleep (go figure), less juggling, and some really amazing adrenal healing supplements. I have a feeling I'm not the only one that hasn't dealt with stress in a healthy way so I want to share my discovery of RHODIOLA.

This plant, Rhodiola rosea is a tough cookie...well obviously it isn't a cookie, it's a plant but wouldn't that be cool if it was a cookie, a healthy cookie? Mmmmmm...cooooookies.... ANYWAYS... It grows in a really harsh environment and because of that environment it has compounds considered adaptogens that create resistance against outside stressors. Supplementing with rhodiola makes us tough (and healthy) cookies too and here's how:

1. Rhodiola protects our bodies in times of like all of the time. When our body is under stress our adrenal glands secrete hormones such as the belly fat storing cortisol. Rhodiola regulates serotonion, norepinephrine, and feel-good opioids and therefore decreases the release of cortisol and restores balance between your body's pull between the fight or flight response and the parasympathetic cool down response. WE WANT BALANCE. This results in a calming effect.

2. Rhodiola increases our bodies ability to carry oxygen in our red blood cells which therefore increases our energy. This is especially helpful during times of stress or intense workout when we do not take in full breaths.

3. Our exercise endurance levels are increased when taking rhodiola by stimulating our bodies' ability for energy recovery through ATP (adenosine triphophate). In two separate studies with rats (I know, they are gross but for some reason scientist love them), they had the rodents perform a swim test which is both mentally and physically draining. The rodents that had recieved rhodiola were able to swim 25% longer before becoming exhausted.

4. Rhodiola can improve sleep, boost your mood and relieve anxiety. This results in more happiness for you and everyone around you. Colors will be brighter, food will taste better, birds will be singing, woodland creatures will help you get dressed in the mornings and taxes will cease to exist. maybe not, but it does increase the sensitivity of neurons to dopamine and serotonin which will have you feeling all kinds of loveliness.

5. This is the one you've been waiting for....Rhodiola burns belly fat. Yep, it's the magic pill you've been looking for your whole life. It works by turning on an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase which allows your body to access and use the fat stored around your midsection. So yeah...I'll make sure we have plenty in stock at the Sunshine Shoppe.

I see I've gotten your attention. This is definitely one herb worth checking into. I think we could all use a little help in the stress department and rhodiola is a much better option rather than tearing up your body or drinking your carbs.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Trading my Nanos for wedges

We are just two weeks shy of our one year anniversary of opening The Core and I cannot express how different life feels today compared to this time last year. Last year I was this little ball of nervous, exhausted stress.

We were spending 23 hours a day trying to finish out the home we now call The Core. We seriously would work until 4 in the morning, pass out on yoga mats for a couple of hours and get up and get ready to do it all over again. I was reading back through my prayer journals from last year and I had told God the day before we opened, "I don't think I love The Core anymore. I'm just too tired." (I was slightly emotional.)

The exhaustion didn't stop after opening day. It only got worse, honestly. Who knew running a gym could be so much work?? But in this last year we have learned so much. Just Levi, Jim and I figuring out how to work and make decisions together was difficult. (Let's face it...I usually won but sometimes it required pulling out all the stops and that was exhausting too!) We spent our days coaching classes and our evenings and often nights working on marketing, book-keeping, journal reviewing, replying to emails and messages, event planning, and constant studying.

But 130 plus members and almost 365 days later I can say that it has all been totally worth it and I think we've definitely found our groove. I've been able to step away from most of the coaching/business aspects of The Core and really focus on my main passion of health and nutrition. I've traded my Lulus and Nanos for dresses and wedges and you can find me more often in the Sunshine Shoppe than the gym.

Before The Core I was a very strong believer that everything could be fixed with the right kinds of food. I've watched my athletes change so incredibly much this past year simply by changing their diets and prioritizing their fitness. But now that their bodies are healthy and fueled properly I see that there are still areas that can be improved.

I would go as far as to say that I've been against using supplements. I practically outlawed preworkouts (I'm still not a fan) and protein mixes in the gym. I understand that sounds pretty stupid considering I own a health food store where half of it is covered in bottles of vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. But over time I have come to the realization that we need more than just food. The more I talk to my customers and my Core members about their lives, their struggles, their health issues, I see that we all just have insane lives. We live under constant stress, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Yes, proper nutrition through food is the right place to start and there is no quick fix, no cure-all, but I think it is time to recognize that if we want more for and out of our bodies we have to add some supplements into our daily routine.

My next few posts are going to be covering some of the supplements I think are so super important to not just our physical health but also our mental and emotional health as well. I don't know about you but I don't want to just survive my crazy life. I want to jump right into the craziness and have fun and find joy in it. I want my energy levels to stay going strong, I want my moods to stay balanced (and so do my kids and husband). I want my body to utilize the healthy foods I feed it in the most efficient and effective way possible. I want my memory, focus, and overall cognitive function to go to the next level so that maybe I can understand my kids' MindCraft game. I want my muscles to recover quicker so that I'm not crying every time I sit down to potty. I want all the work I do in the gym to lead to a stronger body aaaaaaaaand I want a sixpack...just thought I'd throw that in there just in case blog wishes really do come true.

I really believe that if I was to do this past year all over again the only thing I would change would be that I would add rhodiola, turmeric, amino acids, digestive enzymes, and fish oil into my diet. I think my body would have handled the insanity of building and moving a business much better. Maybe there would have been less tears, coffee, and stress shopping. Stay tuned to find out why I think these 5 are so special!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Here Comes the Crazy Circus

Holy moly school starts next week!!!! Well it does for those of us at Greenville Christian. But the rest of you are just around the corner too!!!

This summer wasn't long enough. I am not ready to be away from my babies 7 hours a day again!!! But more importantly, I am not ready to pick my crazy circus juggling act back up. Our summer allows for lazy mornings that consist of cartoons, coffee and working on my laptop. There are no arguments in the morning when getting everyone ready to walk out the door. I don't care that Jack's hair is going a million directions or that Addie is wearing a dress tucked inside a different, non-matching skirt with two different types of socks inside her wedges. I get to work while listening to them giggle about their disgusting jokes about toots and take breaks to build Lego houses for the kid's much wished for baby Marmoset (not gonna happen.) Our afternoons consist of CrossFit classes for me while the kids play with their friends and then a stress-free late dinner because bedtimes are pushed off to squeeze every ounce out of our summer day.

But all of that loveliness is about to change. Next week will require alarm clocks, fixed hair, matching outfits, driving from one after-school activity (with all the proper shoes and gear included) to the next, homework, rushed dinners, showers (because I won't be able to count pool time as bath time anymore), and the much dreaded packing of lunches!!!!!! 

Did you just shiver? I did. It wasn't the fall was fear! Like the kind that makes you wake up in the middle of the night from a dream where you still need one more math class to truly graduate....and you're naked...without a calculator.

I have a plan this year though. I am going to be prepared...well at least for a little bit. I'm not going to lie, I am so good at the beginning of school. I lay the kids clothes out for the next day. I leave love notes in their lunch boxes. I have homemade snacks waiting for them when they come home from school. I seriously am super mom for the first three days of school...and then it gets old. Suddenly I'm digging through dirty clothes hampers to try to find PE clothes the morning of, telling the kids that we don't have time for them to brush their teeth...just rub some toothpaste on your tongue, and packing a mixture of whatever food has survived the week (we are talking a lunch of pickles, ketchup packets, jerky, and dried bananas.) and just praying my kids can convince one of their friends to trade the ketchup packet for something worth eating.

But this year is going to be different! Well...I really really want it to be different! And by golly I'm gonna do my darndest to make it happen...until I get tired or crazy.

I've created a menu that is varied enough that my kiddos won't get too bored with it too quickly and is a healthy mix of protein, carbs and fats. I've come up with 10 meal combinations that will give me 5 week's worth of lunches. As regularly as I ate ramen noodles and PB&J sandwiches for my own school lunches I really think this will be enough variety for the entire year. By already knowing what is planned I don't have to drain any extra energy by trying to be creative. Plus I can make large batches of things such as meatballs and pull out individual servings as needed.

Each week I will choose two meals. So for instance the first full week of school I will make meals 1 and 2.
Monday: Meal 1
Tuesday: Meal 2
Wednesday: Meal 1
Thursday: Hot lunch at school (Chick-fil-A)
Friday: Meal 2

Sunday evening I plan to pack all 4 lunches at once. This way I have all of my ingredients out at once and I don't have to pack lunches again for 7 days!!!!

All beef or bison hotdog
Steve's Paleo Ketchup (I store these in plastic jello shot cups and they freeze well.)
Bubbies Bread and Butter Pickle slices
Sweet Potato Chips (My new favorite brand is Jackson's is made with coconut oil!!)
Sliced Pears (tossed with lemon juice to keep crisp)
1 TBSP Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips

BLTT Rollups (Bacon, lettuce, tomato rolled up in a slice of deli turkey)
1/3 cup roasted chickpeas (I store leftovers in the freezer)
Celery slices
Sliced strawberries and cream (take a can of refrigerated coconut milk, scoop out the solid cream and mix with a little bit of honey)

Meatballs (I have lots in the freezer so I will just pull from there)
Marinara (Divide into Jell-O shot containers and freeze remainder)
Sliced raw zucchini
Coconut flakes

Ham cookies (I get thick sliced ham from the deli and cut with cookie cutter shapes)
Raw spinach leaves
Cherry tomatoes
Mandarin oranges in juice

Grilled chicken (Buy chicken on sale and grill all of it, cut into bite sizes and then freeze)
Black olives
Cucumber slices
Red bell pepper slices
Hummus (freeze any extra for the next time)
Lara bar

Lettuce fajita wraps
Beanito chips
Guacamole (I love the 100 calorie Wholly Guacamole packs)

Chicken salad (I will use the breast from 2 rotisserie chickens and save the legs for meal 8)
Boiled egg (Boil a dozen eggs at once and store in the carton to grab on your way out the door for a quick breakfast.)

Raw carrots
Trail mix (dried fruit, raw nuts, coconut flakes) (Make a huge batch and store in freezer)

Rotisserie chicken leg
Raw brocoli
Blanched asparagus
Steve's Paleo Maple Mustard dressing

Cold or hot Zucchini Soup (It is always good to have soup in the freezer.)
Egg muffin (I make tons of these at once and freeze...are you seeing a theme???)
Apple slices
Almond butter

MEAL 10:
Shredded chicken burrito (use this recipe for the wrap)
Coleslaw tossed with Steve's Paleo Ginger Cilantro Lime Dressing

Let me just say that I am not a food prepping fan. It has just never worked for me. I don't have an entire day to cook...nor do I want to!!!!!!! So the foods such as meatballs, chicken burrito, soup, etc., I will be sure to make for dinner the week before and I will double or triple the recipes so that I have plenty in stock in my freezers.

Between creating our lunch menu, school supply shopping (which resulted in hours of Addie deciding on the what folder had the best puppy to kitten ratio) and my favorite fall Bath & Body Works candle coming back out I think we are ready to go back to school. I hope you all enjoy the last days of your lackadaisical bliss!!!