Nine Low-Effort Ways to Better Your Health

These nine little- or no-effort habits create better health without added effort. Health is as much about "adding in" better options as it is "cutting out" the old habits that are no longer serving you. From upgrading your comfort foods and boxes, bagged and bottled snacks to gentle lifestyle shifts, these simple, small changes will add up to significant health improvements over time.

choose a better breakfast, cut out sugar, kick sugar, sugar free, no carbs, low carb, cinnamon sugar buns, better breakfast

Choose a Better Breakfast

Sugar buns, PopTarts, regular yogurt and instant oatmeal are low in nutrition and set you up for sugar cravings and energy roller coasters later in the day. Instead, choose a breakfast that fuels you with a blend of fiber, protein and fat. Try steel cut or old-fashioned oats, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, or Gluten-free Protein Pancakes for more nutrients for a longer-lasting energy!

Drink One Glass of Water for Every Coffee or Cocktail

Coffee and cocktails are dehydrating; to keep your skin, joints, and brain hydrated, drink one glass of water for every caffeinated bev (including soda), beer, wine or cocktail you enjoy! 

caffeinate, hydrate - drink a glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume
get the veggies and the french fries. eat the veggies first

Get a Side of Veggies and the Fries

Order a salad or steamed veggie as your side along with the fries. Yes, it may cost you a few dollars more, but your body and brain will thank you. Eat the veggies first, and in time, you'll find you're eating fewer fries and making better choices! 

Order your Sandwich as a Salad

Adding in veggies and a salad can be as easy as getting that BLT or Turkey & Swiss as a salad. Healthy choices can be chock full of flavor and enjoyment, too! Keep what you love, and make a few tweaks here and there, so you reap more benefits from what you're already doing. 

Turn your sandwich into a salad by skipping the bread
get protein at every meal, even an egg as a snack or lunch

Get Protein at Every Meal 

Protein keeps you full, gives your body a key component of building healthy cells and balances blood sugar. Steer clear of a meal entirely of carbs, like a peanut butter and jelly with a side of potato chips, and choose tuna or chicken salad, or keep the PBJ and choose sprouted grain bread over white and add in a hard-boiled egg as a side. 

Favor Healthy Fats 

As you know after reading about Keto, fats are key for longevity and feeling good today. Rather than looking towards fried foods for fats, stick with nuts and seeds, avocado, cage free eggs, clean (unprocessed) meats, and oils, such as sesame, olive, avocado, sunflower, and coconut! Experiment with cooking and concocting your own salad dressings, too! It's fast, fun, and gives your salad or sandwich a little extra love!

favor healthy fats over fried foods and experiment with nuts, seeds, oil, avocado and even fish oil to get a slew of health benefits
savor the moments, enjoy the water, dance in the rain

Savor the Moments 

How often we get lost in the news reel notifications on our phone or our social feeds and miss out on the moments with friends and family (or sleep!). Instead of a connected-device coma, try being present in the moment. Actively listen to those around you. Take in your surroundings, sights, smells, and sensations. Savor the experience, even those that are unpleasant or downright painful. There are meaningful moments among the mire, and the time you have today will flit and float by. By paying attention, you live life more fully.

Take Twenty

Practicing guitar, coloring, journaling, breathing, sipping tea, walking, doing yoga, meditating. Whatever makes your soul sing, take twenty minutes every day and do it! Studies have shown that "indulging" in a hobby or a quiet time activity we enjoy benefits your whole body, including your nervous system and brain. Taking time to feed your spirit is as critical to your well-being as eating well!

take time to do something you enjoy every day
hug a friend every day, even if that friend is furry.

Hug it Out!

Hugs, as well as snuggle time with furry friends, have been shown to lower stress levels, increase immunity, and boost happiness! Phone a friend and having a few moments of connection if you can't wrap your arms around the person. It's amazing how much of our optimal well-being extends beyond our plate! 

We love hearing from you on the simple changes you make in your diet and lifestyle that add up! Let us know your favorites of ours and share your own by leaving a comment below! 

Relief for Extreme Fatigue & Chronic Stress

woman with arms outstretched in front of ocean with waning sunset, feelings of freedom and relief

Extreme fatigue is no joke. In the simplest, crudest of terms, fatigue (or any dis-function) is caused by stress, and stress is stress. In other words, whether the stress is chemical, physical, or emotional, your body does not differentiate one type from the other. The stress response is triggered, and your physical health suffers. In this post, we’ll talk about the three main categories of stress and some health and lifestyle tips, tricks and techniques to combat stress – and the resulting fatigue – without turning to coffee to make it through your day!

Types of Stress Defined

Chemical stress includes exposure to toxins, whether that’s mold in the house, inhaling cleaning supplies, heavy metals in our water, or even consuming foods or drinks (or prescriptions) with chemicals that are disruptive.

Physical stress can include working longer hours than you can sustain over the long-haul without necessary breaks, spreading yourself too thinly, not getting enough rest or nutrition.

Emotional stress may be rooted in a dysfunctional work environment, toxic relationships or in a phase of reshaping your identity. It can also occur as a result of any uncertainty related to an important relationship or factor of your life (i.e. raising a teenager, diagnosis of a loved one, stress in a marriage, etc.).

It’s important to understand the ways stress can manifest in your life, so you can begin to identify them, then manage them accordingly to avoid long-term problems. Any combination of these stressors, particularly experienced over a long period of time, takes a BIG toll on your body.

Breaking the Cycle

The more tired you are, the lower the threshold you have for any stress. Your stores of mental, emotional and physical energy are depleted, and you cannot function. The less you can function optimally, the more stressed you’ll feel, which will further exhaust you, causing more stress. What a vicious cycle!

Here are a few tips that can help you manage extreme fatigue and chronic stress:
  1. BREATHE.
    Deep breathing is going to be your active stress management partner forevermore. It activates the relaxation nerve (vagus nerve) and gets the parasympathetic nervous system online, giving the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response one) a break.
    When you’re feeling stressed, or you feel your blood pressure rising or your chest tightening, breathe. Focus on the area that is tight or otherwise talking to you, and breathe into that area. Mentally picture your breath flowing into that area. If you can close your eyes, and do this for 1-2 minutes, you’ll feel the difference.  Do this for 10-20 minutes a day, and you may accidentally develop a meditation practice. 🙂
  2. Take inventory.
    What are your stressors? List them.
    What can you let go of or delegate? Which items or activities can you postpone, avoid or say no to?
    What can you reframe in your mind to give you peace? Is there a belief, attitude or assumption that crops up in the moments you feel most stressed that would be in your best interest to change?
    Be aware of the underlying causes and take steps to change them.
  3. Tend to your stressors.
    What jumps out at you from the list that you feel most compelled to address? Trust your judgment as a guide to what to let go of, what to say no to, etc.
  4. Consider a few lifestyle changes.
    • Clean up your eating and upgrade your diet of processed, non-whole foods (i.e. soda, “diet” versions of food, crackers, candy, etc.) for better choices. Focus your grocery buying on the areas of the grocery store that are along the wall, i.e. produce section, fresh meats/cheese (go as cage-free, free range and organic as you can afford), etc. Minimize the amount of boxed or bagged foods you buy, particularly if the shelf-life is longer than two months. By fueling your body with better nutrients, you will allay some of the stress that might be caused by what you ingest while also giving your body the building blocks it needs to better combat the stress in other areas.
    • Cut back on sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which are counterproductive to reducing stress and anxiety.
    • Swap traditional cleaning and gardening supplies for better, non-toxic alternatives. Breathing in the fumes, vapors and chemicals in traditional cleaning products can contribute to auto-immune and allergic responses and hormone disruption.
    • Cultivate healthier relationships with friends and family who leave you feeling better when your time together is done. Speak up about your needs and allow loved ones to help you, even if that means cutting you some slack when you turn down invitations.
    • Find social or community outlets that allow you to learn new skills, like meditation, yoga, knitting, etc.
    • Talk to your doctor about critical nutrients you may be missing, like omega-3’s, B12, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Iron levels, all of which, when too low, lead to fatigue and brain fog.
      • Take a good quality multi-vitamin as a start, along with probiotics, which improve gut health. Mental stability and immune strength start in the gut; take care of it, and it will take care of you!
      • Look into adaptogenic herbs that help support the adrenal glands, like ashwaganda, holy basil, and rhodiola.
    • SLEEP! Good gracious, you need sleep more than ever, and it’s ok to go to bed early, say no to happy hours and take a nap on the weekends! Listen to your body and balance the need for social and community support with your need for rest.

The Main Takeaway for Fatigue & Stress Relief

Life can be stressful, and those stresses can take many shapes. Your individual tolerance for stress is unique to you, as are the ways to find relief. Take what you can from this list, apply it and tweak it as you learn what works. You are the most qualified to assess what you need.

One last thought: Avoid comparing yourself to others to determine what is “normal” or what you “should” be able to handle. Listen to your body and your instincts when you’re hitting a threshold. Ask for help, and be kind to yourself in your thoughts and activities.

If you don’t feel right after cleaning up your diet and lifestyle after a few months, see your doctor and ask him/her to offer more than medications to help you navigate this phase of fatigue.  Reach out to a health coach, who can help you translate any diagnosis into tangible, actionable steps, so you are stepping into optimal well-being without a slew of Rx’s.

Know someone who could use some stress relief? Share this post with them! We love our community and the knowledge you share with us. If you have a favorite stress tip, drop it into a comment below.

Wishing you a life filled with greens and grace … and peace in your mind and body!

Additional Reading:

Surprising Lifestyle Tip for Anti-Aging

Iris Apfel by One Kings Lane

Photo Cred of the one and only Iris Apfel: One Kings Lane

Want to glide into – and through – your sunset years without the unpleasantries we all assume will come with the aging process? Don’t we all!

What if I told you that a secret to great health benefits not only today, but also down the road has nothing to do with what you eat? It’s true!

Living with a sense of purpose and bringing it into your daily routine results in successful aging!

Here’s the scoop: A research study published in the journal Development Psychology reveals that the benefits of living with a sense of purpose include reduced depression, improved overall mental state, and increases indicators of successful aging. (In this context, successful aging means you are physically healthy and functioning, you’ve got your wits about you (no mental deterioration) and can move around, and you build and maintain social relationships and activities)(Psychology Today).

In short, purposeful living contributes to health and well-being both now and when you’re 80.

I don’t know about you, but I would love to age gracefully and with ease! I’d love to look, act and feel as young as possible for as long as possible with minimal chemical or cosmetic treatments while also living in overall bliss for all of my days. Even better if I can get started now! Sign me up! Wouldn’t you agree?

So, how do we do it?

Defining Your Sense of Purpose

For our discussion, I’ve defined Sense of Purpose below after a Google search left me unsatisfied.

Sense of purpose: the reason for being; the pursuit or expression of which makes you come alive. Innate gifts that you alone can offer to the world, fueled with heartfelt passion.

Ask yourself, your family, your friends, “over my lifetime, when do I seem to be my best self? What am I doing at these times? What activities or pursuits ignites my inner joy and energy? What natural talents do I seem to have that I enjoy pursuing and practicing?”

Make a list. Take time to hone in on what your sense of purpose could look like.

Then what?

After you’ve gotten clear on your purpose, bring it into your life on a regular basis.

Look at your job responsibilities and duties or where you spend your time socially and in your “off” hours.

Where are there opportunities to infuse your purpose into the seemingly mundane?

For instance, if you are creative, look for ways to create presentations or other communications collateral. Layout or design tips add flair, which differentiate you and your company from competition in the marketplace.

Make the business case to your boss to get involved, or just start volunteering to help.

Can’t find the time during the workday to put your passion at play at the office? Have you tried delegating?

Check out this post for tips to create time and bandwidth. Make the business case for why your unique skills and strategy (aka, applying your sense of purpose) will benefit the team, Client or company. Cite increases to business efficiency, employee satisfaction, team moral or motivation, Client retention, etc. to help bolster your argument… 

… or just start doing it! Delegate where appropriate, and get involved.

Fortune favors the bold, and you have unique gifts and talents to bring to the world.

If you can’t get the buy-in at work, volunteer outside of work to put your passion to use for a non-profit, small business or community organization. You may even be able to get paid for it!  

In the words of Eminem, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance… This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

This one wild and precious life you lead is The Opportunity for you to express and pursue your sense of purpose!

The health benefits to your body + mind are compelling, and it is your responsibility to share your unique goodness with the world like no one else can!

Small or large, start infusing that sense of purpose into your life. There’s no better time than NOW.

 

If you have a friend who might be hiding her (or his!) unique brand of goodness, afraid or unsure to let it out, share this post with him or her.

A rising tide lifts all ships, and we love to hear how you bring this conversation to life! Let us know how you’re bringing your sense of purpose to your day-to-day or how you’ve been inspired by someone you know who does it well by leaving a comment below.

As always, wishing you a life of greens and grace, my friends!

 

The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose through Self-Awareness

A paved path lies ahead through trees

If your work life has lost its luster, know that you are not alone, my friend.

Regrouping when something isn’t working is part of the evolution of You, and more so than ever, we are awakening to the call to do something that matters to us. In the professional arena, specifically, more and more individuals are daring to change jobs or career paths when it just doesn’t “do it” for them anymore. Did you know that people hold between ten and fifteen jobs during their career with many holding four jobs before turning 32? (Read more here and here.)

Whether a long-time coming or an abrupt moment of clarity, there’s no better time than now to get going!

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will navigate important questions and thinking patterns to set the course for a satisfying career path.

We’ll discuss some of the expected questions you’re asking yourself through unexpected lenses, we’ll build your brand, and explore your values, motivations and goals to give form to your future. Sound good? Let’s get going!

First step, know thyself.

You need to get clear on who you are and what you want because it’s a heckuva lot easier to get where you want to go when you know what it looks like.

We’re going to get the ideas flowing through a creative exercise, and it is one of my favorites! I get out the sharpies and a thick piece of paper and just go nuts on whatever I’m wanting to work through, define, describe, create, solve… you get the picture.
For best results, put your computer away for the first part. A connection between mind, heart and body is activated with the activity of writing, and as you’ll see, that’s key!

Be as pragmatic or as emotionally-focused as you’d like. (Mine usually have been a blend of both… along with some whimsical doodles 🙂 )
Important: include any factors that fuel your inspiration or activates your intrinsic desire to push on (i.e. motivation).

After you get it all down, you’ll post it somewhere in your home where you’ll see it.

Here are a few thought-starters to get you going:

    1. The values that are important to you
      These could be values you want embodied by an organization, infused in your work or empowered by your paycheck, i.e. because of your paycheck, you’re able to donate more money to an organization you like, or have opportunities to speak to large groups about a cause that’s important to you, or pay for your yoga certification. Money isn’t dirty, and it’s ok to want it!
      Financial stability gives us options, and options give us freedom. When we use money strategically and in alignment with our values, we can affect great change in our lives and our community.

    2. What you want to be doing at a high-level and day-to-day

    3. The level of impact you want to have in your organization, your community, even on any direct reports
      Consider how you want to feel, how you want them to feel as a result of working with you, how it might look, etc.
    4. How you want to feel in the office and with the people who work there
      Words like “collaborative and supportive”, “autonomous and independent contribution” or “fast-paced” vs. “traditional” are descriptors to consider as you get clear the look and feel of it

Once you’re satisfied that you’ve captured it on the page, post it in your home in a location where you’ll see it regularly. Prime real estate? The front of the fridge!

Remember that, even after you’re done, you may get inklings of other words or phrases you want to include. If so, add them in! It will evolve as you do!

What’s next?

In our next segment, we’ll craft the strategy that will take you from your current role to that Ideal Job. We’ll build on the intrinsic motivations and must-have’s you’ve already named with deeper insights and an actionable plan.

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little direction, share this post. We’re stronger together.

 

Part One: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions and *Be Successful*! | Getting Clear on Your Resolution

Lighthouse with beacon of light shining across the sea
photo cred: dailyalts.com

New Year, New You! It’s that time again; a new year, a new beginning. A time of looking back and looking ahead. A time when we take stock of who we are today and what we hope to achieve, who we want to become in the coming year, then we set our resolutions to pave our way.

The process is energizing and motivating, full of promise, and opportunity! We have a clean slate! We feel inspired and activated and are confident we can achieve our goals! We can be this newer, better version of our already wonderful self! We can achieve these goals! …and then February or March hits, annnd we forget about that “old” Resolution because we’ve slipped into old, familiar patterns or found other outlets for our time and energy that seem a higher priority in that immediate moment. Before we know it, we have fallen off-track and vow to try again next year.

However… What if we don’t have to follow this pattern in 2017? What if we can be more successful? I believe we can.

In this two-part post, we’ll start with reframing how we set our Resolutions and then get into the How-To’s to stick with them for lasting results.

So, let’s get going!

First off, a new way of reframing resolutions.

Resolutions, first and foremost, are goals. Usually lofty goals that we set for ourselves in a variety of areas of our lives. Health, fitness, finance, family, career, spirituality. We sense a gap between who we are and who we want to be, that bourgeoning better version waiting to emerge, and we devise goals to help us bridge the gap.

Simply put, we:

  1. Feel like there’s something more (or something different) that we could be doing with our time, energy, skills and talents
  2. Believe the end result will be rewarding in some way (usually, at its core, we believe it will bring an emotional reward, a way to feel better)
  3. Set intentions to bring this end result to pass

While all of these are well and good to informing personal transformation and growth, a key step we often miss is a hearty and true understanding of why we want to pursue these goals (step 2). We must be deeply truthful with ourselves about our motivations. For instance, losing weight because your wife or doctor wants you to – as important as those factors are – won’t cut it when you bump up against years or decades of long-held habits and beliefs. Action and success are a result of desires and motivations that reside deep within you.

Naming these motivating factors is so important to personal growth and to sticking to your Resolution throughout the year and beyond to achieve lasting change. Naming these factors gives them meaning and signals to your brain and your being to align your choices and actions in an intentional way and to be purposeful with your time, energy, money, words, behaviors.

To honor your Resolution, your intention, for the next year – and beyond! – you must be intentional, and to do so, the motivation behind that intention has to be strong enough to catapult you through and beyond any challenge that might stand in your way, which is why the motivation has to come from deep within you.

This step of naming is the most important of all the How To’s, so take a pause and spend a moment with yourself to get clear on why you’re setting this Resolution for yourself. Write down your Resolution and the Why’s behind it. Studies show that simply writing down your goal gives you a 42% better chance of achieving them! If you take away nothing else from this post, just write down your goal! You don’t have to share it with anyone or post it online; it is for you. Simply write it down for yourself.

As you’ll see in Part Two, writing down your goal will play into other Tips and Tricks for staying on the wagon.

For now, take a pause on New Year’s Eve and write yourself a note. Include your Resolution and why it is important to you to stay on track and be successful. Why does it matter to you?

In Part Two, the six How To’s of sticking to your Resolution are laid out. Once you’re clear on your intention, the supporting structure of these six steps will keep you on track throughout 2017 and beyond!

As always, we love your feedback and thoughts, so leave us a comment below!

May 2017 be your best, brightest, healthiest, and most successful year yet!

Five Healthy Holiday Tips

Collage of table scapes for Chinese New Year Feast, Hanukkah Feast, Christmas Feast and Kwanzaa Feast

 

We are officially in the swing of the Holiday Season!! This magical time of year brings so many opportunities for us to reconnect with ourselves, our friends, our families, and our traditions. (All of which are rich with complexity and emotion…and usually also desserts 🙂 )

Here are a few tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but also thrive during this time of year, so you can both take care of yourself and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of the season.

Stick to the Basics.
Throughout the Holidays, these year-round basics will be your best allies:

  • Pack in the greens and unprocessed, whole foods as much as you can, for instance:
    • When you’re invited to a party, bring a veggie (or even raw veggies with dip) as your dish to pass to ensure that you’ll have healthy options at your finger tips
    • Plan ahead and stock up on healthy snacks at home, so you’re not reliant on cookies and leftover pie for snacks when you get hungry
    • Fun fact: the best way to guarantee you’ll crave something tomorrow is by eating it today; if you eat less sugar and more veggies today, you’ll work with your natural wiring to prevent off-the-rails sugar cravings the next day and the next…
  • Drink plenty of water, i.e. one glass every hour if not more; when attending a party, alternate a glass of water with every sugary or alcoholic beverage, which will give you the added benefit of something to occupy your hands while also preventing a hangover
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes each day; even a 15 minute walk a few times throughout the day makes a difference for your mental and physical well-being
  • Get enough rest; when we’re rested, our willpower, patience and energy levels are significantly higher, which means better decisions and more equilibrium and energy to navigate the jam-packed social calendar!
  • Meditate or practice positive visualizations and/or affirmations five minutes a day

Be Mindful.
Very important is to be aware of what you’re eating, how full you are and why you’re reaching for seconds. Often times, we choose to feed our feelings instead of to satisfy our physical hunger. Being mindful of our choices and the reasons behind them will help us outsmart the autopilot eating that is easy to slip into when we’re having fun (or not) and surrounded by food and friends!
Quick tip: If you find yourself on emotional overload, try 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Do this about five times whenever you feel the stress or anxiety (or any emotional trigger) overwhelming you.

Make time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the Holiday – the planning, the parties, the presents – and the allure of saying yes to it all! Families, friends, work, and school activities are abundant, and whether out of obligation or delight, we will say yes… and yes, and yes.  In doing so, we get thrown out of whack and worn out. Make sure you keep your overall well-being in mind as you schedule your fun and festivities.

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your equilibrium:

  • Schedule your workouts on your calendar, so you can blow off steam and get those natural endorphins to keep you energized
  • Say no to social engagements if it’s too much (or simply leave early, so you can get enough rest)
  • Schedule time with friends who lift you up and nourish your soul (you know the ones)
  • Put quiet time on the calendar, such as reserving a few nights for doing absolutely nothing
  • Take a nap on a Saturday afternoon
  • Have a “wrapping party” to allow you and friends to catch up as you wrap gifts or a cookie swap where the cookies baked can be given as goodies for co-workers or teachers (time with friends AND gifts for folks on your list sounds like a win-win!)
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help and/or delegate; for instance, if you’re having a party, prioritize your to-do list and enlist family to help or hire someone to help clean before or after, ask friends to bring a dish to share or help clean-up afterwards, etc.

Whatever helps you maintain your sense of self and balance this time of year is a MUST.
Spoiler alert: it may vary day-to-day, and it may not look the same as what your friend, sister, mom or significant other needs, and that’s OK. Taking the time to make time for yourself and your mental, emotional and spiritual health this time of year will reap enormous benefits!

Eat the pie. Then let it go.
It’s OK to indulge, especially if you’re keeping the other 80% of your food and drinks on the lighter side. One powerful trick to minimizing the impact on your overall health (and waistline) is letting go of any guilt your carry for indulging in a slice of pie (or two), and then resetting to “normal” eating habits. Remember that there are hidden calories and sugar in holiday libations and dishes. Swap in water or herbal tea where possible, and if you do indulge at that office party, overindex on clean eating for your other meals that day and a few days after.

Enjoy!
Most important of all… Enjoy the moments, the meals, the memories of this Season! Savor each bite and every experience because this year’s Holiday season is different than all those that have come before and all those to come. Soak it in. Even if you eat too much, have an emotional breakdown, or don’t get it all done before your family or guests show up, it’s OK. It truly is OK. Breathe. Speak kindly to yourself, and give yourself grace. ‘Tis the season after all. Take advantage of the joy and generosity of this time of year. Live in the moment. Say yes when you feel it, and say no when you feel called to. Take care of yourself and those you love and enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Happy Holidays!

 

Out & About @ Bistro on Main in Highlands, NC

Fried green tomatoes, crab cakes

File_002I have been traveling a bit more lately, particularly taking road trips, and what I have come to love about North Carolina in these recent travels are the many healthy options available in seemingly small towns that offer both experience delicious cuisine and gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free options.

The most recent of these road trips took me to Highlands, NC, an absolutely darling town amidst waterfalls and gorgeous mountain views, and, as it turns out, the location of a quaint bistro tucked inside a local historic boutique inn, The Inn on Main Street.

After walking through the charming streets (and one of us checked Yelp), we landed on Bistro on Main (which had great Yelp ratings, in case you were wondering 🙂 ). The patio offered a wonderful view of a sunset to complement the yummy noms we enjoyed al fresco.

Something unique about Bistro on Main is that it has quite the array of appetizers, salads and entrees that would appeal to almost anyone, regardless of dietary style or preference, which is quite impressive considering the menu is simply one page!

Every item that we ordered, from the craft cocktails to the fare itself, we raved about. If you’re in Franklin, Cashiers or even in Atlanta, just looking for a fun day trip, definitely make the trip to Highlands!

Bistro_on_Main_Header
A Quick Snippet of the Menus @ Bistro on Main.
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Ginger Lemon Drop Martini with a slice of candied ginger! Very delicious, a little sweet. The bartender kindly made the next round specially for me with more spice, less sweet. 
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Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer (NOT gluten-free) and the Lemon Basil Crab Cakes, which were simply DI-VINE! 
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Lightly blackened North Carolina Mountain Trout with spicy green tomato-cilantro salsa, rice and broccoli. So, so good! 
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A wonderful, wondrous view of the sunset as we wrapped up our celebration dinner in Highlands. Simply spectacular. 

Out and About: True Food Kitchen, Atlanta, GA

True Food Kitchen Buckhead, anti-inflammatory dish, spaghetti squash, Buckhead restaurant, vegan restaurant Atlanta, Vegetarian Restaurant Atlanta, gluten free restaurant atlanta
TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
A new addition to the Buckhead scene!

Weeknight Girls Nights are always a blast, but they’re even better when they take you to a new restaurant! A last-minute change in plan brought us a new epicurean adventure: True Food Kitchen.

Many restaurants connect food with bringing people together, soothing our souls through comfort foods, or providing the backdrop for celebrations, but very few eateries put two and two together when it comes to serving foods that also empower our bodies to be strong and healthy, which is exactly True Food Kitchen’s value proposition to its patrons. All dishes are intended to support a healthy body and soul with combinations of anti-inflammatory ingredients “that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.” (In truth, I am not 100% on board with dairy being included on a menu with this rationale since dairy can cause inflammatory responses, but it’s a slight digression that doesn’t detract from True Food’s unique offerings.)

In fact, True Food Kitchen identifies so deeply with healthy, balanced living that its staff is comprised solely of active lifestyle enthusiasts. It’s a job requirement! How cool is that? And being an enthusiast myself, it was encouraging to see that the restaurant’s values resonate so strongly with us Atlantans, indicated by a full patio and bar area. Whether for young couples, retirees, rowdy gals after work, happy hour partakers, or post-workout diners, the casual allure and affordable, guilt-free fare had a wide-appeal.

Overall, the ambiance, wait staff and cuisine were delightful, and we will certainly be returning to try more of these dishes, cocktails and natural refreshers! If you’re looking for fun, laid-back dining  for your next night out, definitely give True Food a try!

Inside 1
The interior dining area is reminiscent of a European bistro with its minimalist, laid-back decor, but with a warm wooden floor, ceiling and other furnishings that add warmth and coziness for a welcoming ambiance. There are also live plants that are interspersed throughout, which add an air of freshness inside and on the patio.
Inside 2
The inside bar had a local feel with a hint of French bistro despite being part of a restaurant group with locations across the country. The blackboards with chalk designs that lined the far wall were a lovely touch to reinforce the feel of a homegrown experience.
photo 2
Although True Food does offer cocktails, the Natural Refreshments are just as popular. You have to love a restaurant with coconut water as a hangover cure on the menu!
photo 4
We had to give a few of those Natural Refreshers a try. And, of course, H2O always playing a lead role in the hydration situation. 🙂
photo 2
Pomegranate Limeade
The most interesting & talked-about Refresher was the Pomegranate Limeade of lime juice, evaporated cane, pom juice & chia seed. This mocktail is one of the most popular (as seen by multiple tables sprinkled with them!), but texture of the chia seeds certainly took the girls a little getting used to. Needless to say, they are now chia seed converts.
photo 3
AUTUMN INGREDIENT SALAD
The Autumn Ingredient salad, made of Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Squash, Mulberry, White Bean, Pomegranate with a Horseradish Vinaigrette, was delish. The vinaigrette was kicky and very clean tasting with a hint of apple cider vinegar. The pom seeds added a great texture and a nutty sweetness to the winter veggie salad we enjoyed as our first course.
Chicken, tandoori, lentils, mint, almond, roasted chicken
ROASTED CHICKEN TANDOORI
Beluga Lentil, Greek Yogurt, Sprouted Almond, Date, Mint, Turmeric & Lemon
The chicken was delicious, very flavorful and refreshing. To see lentils so closely resembling beluga caviar was new to us, and I know I certainly found them to be kind of whimsical! The dish was a table-pleaser, and the portion large enough for each of the girls to try without putting too much of a dent in Shauna’s dinner.
photo 4
SPAGHETTI SQUASH CASSEROLE
(Sans) Fresh Mozzarella, Organic Tomato & Zucchini
Although this dish does come with Mozzerella, yours truly requested no Mozz, but nothing was lacking. The dish really didn’t need it. I loved the addition of the zucchini to the spaghetti squash, which added a welcomed al dente texture to the softer texture of the squash. The sauce was basil-icious with just enough garlic to be noticed, but not too much as to overwhelm the overall flavor of the dish. (Some Italian dishes can be too garlicky, particularly lighter fare, so as to compensate for other paltry flavors. Not so with this one!)
photo 5
WILD MUSHROOM PIZZA
Roasted Garlic & Taleggio (gluten free crust available!)
According to the girls, this pizza was to-die-for, and from where I was sitting, it is no surprise! It smelled and looked absolutely divine. It had just the right amount of mushrooms to be earthy, but not too shroomy. The taleggio cheese and garlic complemented the shrooms for a rich flavor, and the crust was crisp, but still chewy. I think this dish was the fave!
The Ladies
GIRLS NIGHT OUT
All of us showing off our premier memberships in the Clean Plate Club at True Food Kitchen! 🙂

 

 

Dancing Downward Doggy Style

I’ve recently realized a very unfortunate habit of mine: I think inside the box.

<GASP>

As a girl who has considered herself fairly creative and zany throughout my life, I was a little flabbergasted when I identified certain areas of my life where the thinking is very rigid, which brings me to today’s post: How to reframe how we think about certain things to better serve us. Case in point for me: Yoga.

I love yoga. I’ve considered becoming a yoga instructor. I go through bouts of practicing twice a day.

But then, well, then I just up and stop. I quit cold turkey because here’s the thing, after awhile, I begin feeling constrained by the class schedules of the various studios I visit or feel like the yogaglo.com offerings just aren’t quite doing it for me… Or… quite frankly, I just find something else I’d like to be doing. (We can always rationalize or excuse ourselves out of things we’re not really motivated to do, can’t we?)

So, how could I reframe how I think about yoga, leverage what I already do, relax into the time I can devote to practicing and just go with it?

In essence, what motivates me? Always a Big Question to ask ourselves on the road towards any goal or dream we wish for ourselves, isn’t it?

For some, it could be paying yourself every time you commit (and execute) on a step towards your goal, then using the money you’ve saved to splurge on yourself once you’ve hit a certain milestone. A woman I know goes for the legendary cheese dip at a local taco stand for every five pounds she loses. It’s enough to keep her going without feeling deprived, which would sabotage her new lifestyle changes (and honestly it doesn’t detour her weight loss progress).

Whatever it takes, identify what activates your sticktoitiveness and then DO IT. Treat yourself for doing something good for your body or your career or your community – whatever it may be!

For me, I found that the motivation to get on the mat is… music.

As a veteran dancer (ballet, hip hop and tap, not pole – just to be clear. No judgment, though, gals!), I LOVE to move fluidly to music that inspires me. I literally can’t sit still.

<Cue my AHA moment!>

I really do not have to be at the mercy of a studio’s schedule or online videos after all, do I?! With the right playlist, I can “choreograph” my own asanas. I can dance my way through Downward Dog and keep coming back for more. At the core, the important thing is that I show up, and the right tunes get me movin’ and groovin’!  (If you’d like to check out my playlist, check out the end of this post.)

So, Here’s The Main Take Away:
If you’re wishy washy about any goal that you feel in your bones is right for you, but you just can’t find the chutzpah, think through a few incentives that worked for you as a kid, or in college, or just what makes you feel good today, and DO IT!  Do it for yourself because you absolutely deserve it!

I’d love to hear what motivates you, so leave a comment below!

Happy Dancing, Twinkle Toes!

MY PLAYLIST FOR MOVIN’ & GROOVIN’
Hold My Heart, by Sara Bareilles
Ice Cream, by Sarah McLachlan
Low Road, by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Angel From Montgomery, by Susan Tedeschi
Heavy Love, by Serena Ryder
One And Only, by Adele
Maybe, by Ingrid Michaelson
Pioneer, by The Band Perry
Jetplane, by Nicki Bluhm
Cowboy Take Me Away, by Dixie Chicks
Sunshine, by Court Yard Hounds
Lie to Me, by Sara Bareilles
Sweet Forgiveness, by Susan Tedeschi
[You Make Me Feel Like] A Natural Woman, by Aretha Franklin
Heavenly Day, by Patty Griffin