My car is now a cafe

So busy. So so so busy. That is life nowadays. We rush from place to place and grab food wherever we can. I know now that nursing school for me, is in full swing, I spend so much time on campus and then rushing around trying to get errands done. This has lead to a resurgence in fast food in my world. I can tell you, that does not feel good. While I am on fire in my workouts, I can’t out excersize bad nutrition. Not to mention I can’t afford the hit to my wallet haha. So I came up with a solution. My car is now a cafe. Before you as no, I am not open to the public, and no, I have not lost my mind
I have designed an on the go healthy eating resivour that will travel with me. I gathered snacks, utensils, hand wipes, condiment packets, and even a mini cooler that keeps things cold for 24hrs. All of this in my car will ensure that when I am out and about I have no shortage of healthy options. I have heard of others keeping food with them on the go but until now, I didn’t have a clue what to put in it. I felt blocked. Thankfully I found some inspiration and now I will share a few ideas with you. I gathered up a fun mix of carbs, protein, and fat, to make my box a well rounded source of nutrition. Some of these items are not perfectly paleo but, I still feel they count as whole food.


Indivudually wrapped dill pickles (these take care of my potato chip cravings)

Single serve hummus packs

Single serving guacamole packs 

Mama chia squeeze packs

Grass fed jerky

Single servings of nuts 

Healthy kettle corn 

Individual nut butter packs

Single serving carrot packs

Salad mix in serving sized containers

Grapes

Oranges

Apples 

Grass fed/ raw cheese

Lunch meat 

Cooked bacon slices 

Paleo wraps

doTERRA slim and sassy gum/ capsules (crush cravings and boost metabolism

Condiment packages of mustard and mayo, hot sauce, and barbeque sauce

Apple slicer, mini cutting board, Knives, forks, hand wipes and a cooler that lasts 24hrs.


These are just some ideas and inspiration for you all to use. It us born out of my personal struggle to fuel my body and leave fast food out of everyday life. When I have this in my car now, I have my own personal cafe. I can grab a snack for class, take a moment to make a crazy good salad or wrap, or refuel after a hard workout. With a cooler on hand, the possibilities are endless I can pack a soup, steak bites or other leftovers from dinner for a completely prepped lunch with no hassle. All of this in my car, on the go. 
I hope you find this helpful! If you do something similar I would love to hear what you keep on hand. I also want to see pictures of your on the go car systems. Head over to instagram and post them, just make sure to tag me in them so I can see or use the hashtag #mycarisacafe 

-Ladybug 

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Metabolism

Six weeks in to 2017 and I am feeling great! I posted in January about my game plan to make this year, a year full of health. To read my thoughts on new years resolutions and see how I am approaching this year differently you can read here. Of course there have been struggles along the way and I wanted to share some thoughts with you before I get into today’s topic on metabolism.

I noticed a few weeks into my game plan that something was missing. I felt like I needed an extra something to boost my motivation. I looked around to those who I see as successful in their health pursuits and I noticed one thing. They had created a community around them. So, I began to brainstorm on how I could insert myself into a community or build one around me. I came up with two ideas.

First, I reached out and found an awesome personal accountability partner. We text every day and hold each other accountable when we fall. I love that I can reach out when I have a difficult day. I also love that when I start to get off track she is right there to be like “no”. I really recommend finding a partner in your health journey, if you have not found one already.

Second, I started attending the free group fitness classes my college offers. Yes, seriously they are free and I never took advantage of them before. Better late than never though! I love having these people around me. We recognize when someone is missing and we are so happy to see each other in class. This group is amazing and judgment free. I have been so blessed by this free resource. Now I don’t want to skip a workout because I love seeing their sweaty smiling faces haha!

Both of these things combined with my home workouts and eating plan, have helped me tremendously in 2017. I am seeing progress for the first time in over a year! Stay tuned for updates on my 2017 “game” 😉

Now, onto the metabolism! Contrary to our typical belief that metabolism is fat  burning, metabolism is a term that actually encompasses all of the chemical reactions that take place in our body. This of course includes fat burning but, I wanted to dig down to the base definition to demonstrate a point. Everything is connected. If you notice your “metabolism” slowing, you are actually seeing the result of a breakdown in your body’s basic chemical functions. This is a big deal. We need our bodies to thrive all the way down to a chemical layer. If one piece breaks down, we see the effects everywhere else. Because of this interconnected relationship, we need to approach the body as a whole. Metabolism has many different facets that need to be addressed. Here are a few ideas to help you nourish your body as well as boost your fat burning potential.

*Disclaimer, PLEASE DO NOT use just any essential oils internally. this is dangerous if you are just buying oils from your local health food store. I have carefully researched and found oils I trust 1000%. I am happy to share these oils with you. If you would like to know what oils I use and how to incorporate them into your health regimen, please contact me and I will do everything I can to help you safely enjoy the benefits of essential oils.*

 

  • For over all cellular health I recommend adding frankincense to your daily routine. Frankincense gets a lot of press in the essential oil world but, for a good reason. This oil packs a serious punch. From cellular health to skin health Frankincense is an amazing oil to have in your cabinet. To make sure it doesn’t just stay in your cabinet, here are a few ideas on how to use it on the daily

– Take 1 drop under your tongue in the morning and one in the evening.

– Add 2 drops to your favorite face wash or moisturizer.

-Take three drops in a gel cap in the morning.

-Massage 3 drops combined with carrier oil into your feet before bed at  night or upon rising in the morning

  • Life Long Vitality supplements from doTERRA. These supplements made a huge difference in my overall energy, mood and function. It nourishes your body from the inside out with essential oils, vitamins, minerals and more. If you had to choose one thing to boost your cellular metabolism, I recommend this as your first choice.
  • For fat burning, grapefruit is a must. Grapefruit is a wonderful citrus oil that has a bright invigorating scent. Not only will the aroma energize you, the oil when taken internally, will boost your metabolism. I personally take this oil internally in gel caps every morning.

– If you want a citrus flavored water, feel free to add 1-2 drops to your waterbottle in the morning.

-Take 2-3 drops in a gel cap with your breakfast.

  • Slim and Sassy metabolic blend. This blend is specifically aimed to boost your metabolism. This blend comes in capsules or as an oil AND AN ALL NEW SUGAR FREE GUM!!. It includes grapefruit, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and more. All of these wonderful oils combine to supercharge your metabolism and bust sugar cravings.

– Take one to three capsules in between meals to boost metabolism and help fight your mid day cravings.

– Add 1-2 drops of the essential oil to your drinking water and sip throughout the day.

– Pop in a piece of gum on the fly when cravings strike.

 

I hope these metabolism ideas help you as much as they have helped me. I love how I can use my essential oils to nourish my metabolism from every angle. I use frankincense and  lifelong vitality to enrich my cells, grapefruit to boost my morning, and slim and sassy to crush cravings all day long. If you want to know what oils I am using and how to get some samples of these amazing products, feel free to drop me a line. I love to hear from all of you, comment on this post and share your tips and tricks for metabolism.

-Lady Bug

The game plan for 2017

The new year starts tomorrow! Many of us take this time to reflect on the year we have had and what we want to change in the year to come. “Resolutions” are a big thing, but this year I am approaching them differently. I wanted to share my thoughts with you in hopes, that it may help you as well.

Ok, hands up if you have ever made a new years resolution. Hands up if you have perfectly kept that resolution all year long….. Not as many hands this time I am sure.

Do your resolutions often sound like this- lose 40lbs by february, eat only healthy food and workout every day.
The problem can be two things get in the way. 1) you let the scale define success. The scale can’t tell you if you passed on that tempting treat, meditated more instead of losing your cool, loved your family fiercely etc. The scale can’t show you the important things in life. So why let it define your success for the year?
2) you expect perfection and when you fail, its all over. No one is perfect. We will all fail this year. The problem with black and white resolutions is, once you fail it feels like your off track and will never be able to begin again.
This year instead of resolutions, I am doing what I loosely term as “game plans”. Before you ask, no, they are not the same thing. I do have goals, I would love to lose weight, I would love to be fit, I would love to save money and develop better eating habits. These are all what I would term a “score” in the game I am playing. As we discussed however, all of these have the pitfalls of failure built in.

So here is what I am doing, to get to each of these goals, there are pretty clear steps. I need to drink more water, remember to take my pills, workout, meal prep, relax more etc.

So instead of focusing on my goals, I am going to focus on my steps. Now like any good game, I have the plays I need to make in order to score a goal. But, how can I play a game, if I don’t have the equipment? That is where the final piece comes in. I don’t have the willpower to pull this off myself and frankly I don’t have the brainpower to remember it all. What I do have, is a day planner and a phone.
I downloaded an app that reminds me to drink water. I set alarms on my calendar for workouts, to take my pills AND DESIGNATED RELAXATION TIME. That is right I scheduled relaxation. Otherwise I know I would never do it. I turned my day planner into a food tracker, menu planner and shopping list. In short, I gave myself the tools/ equipment to play the game. By doing all of this and focusing on the game plan instead of the goals, I set myself up to play a good game. When you play a good game your are guaranteed to score at least once. If I score and hit a goal (say losing some weight) at least once this year, that is a win for me.
Today and this week when you reflect on your goals, I encourage you to approach yourself with love and compassion. Take the “win or lose” mindset out of your resolutions. Look at what you need to do to play the game, give yourself the tools to play the game and above all else give yourself love and grace.
Have a blessed 2017

-Lady Bug

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

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MMMmmm bacon. Few foods inspire as much love or as much hate as bacon. I personally feel like, bacon that has been sourced from a local farmer or other trusted source, is an ok option. Let my bacon lovers rejoice! One of my other flavor loves, is ranch. If you need a dairy free option, you can check out my recipe here. So lets get down to the goods. Chicken bacon ranch salad. This salad is a full meal, with the addition of potatoes ensuring even the heartiest eaters will be contented. I have written this recipe in a one person serving. If you plan to prepare this for a family, remember to multiply the ingredients.

Serves 1

Cook time: 40 min 

What you will need:

1/3 pound of  chicken

1 large red potato

2 cups of mixed lettuce

1/4 cup mixed chopped veggies of choice

2 slices of bacon

1/4 cup of dressing (see here)

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 Tsp chives

 

Directions:

Cut the potato into 6 chunks. Season with garlic powder and chives. Steam until tender. (If you want an extra health punch, steam in bone broth instead of water.)

While the potato bites are steaming, fry the slices of bacon until crispy.

Add your chicken to a pot of boiling water and allow to boil until the chicken is done. (Usually it will be white all the way through.) Remove from water, pat dry and slice into bite sized chunks. Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic powder to taste.

When the potato is done you are ready to assemble your salad. Toss potatoes, chicken, salad and chopped veggies all together. Crumble the bacon on top, drizzle with ranch dressing and serve!
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This recipe blew my family away. The hearty flavors mixed with the light crunch of lettuce, combine to create a full course meal in just one plate. I hope you and your family find room for this meal in your upcoming cooking explorations. 

 

Dairy Free Ranch Dressing

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When I go without dairy I find eating salad much more daunting. I love ranch so much. I put it on everything. Popcorn, pizza, veggies, crackers, chips, need I go on? Ranch without dairy however…let’s just say it lacks pizzazz aaaaand pretty much any sort of goodness. Dairy free ranch = evil. So after trying bottle after bottle of nasty dairy free ranch, I started making my own. After tweaking the recipe and trying out different versions, I finally have one I think you will all love. This recipe also has a secret. Probiotics. Yes you read that right this recipe is made using kombucha, a probiotic rich fermented beverage that has a tangy kick. 

Ranch Dressing

1 cup sunflower oil based mayo

1 squeeze of lemon juice

1/4 cup plain kombucha (enough to give the dressing your desired consistency)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp sage

2 tsp dill

1/4 tsp chives

1/4 tsp parsley

 

Add the mayo, lemon and kombucha all together and taste. You should get a slight mayo taste with a bit of a tang from the lemon and kombucha. Check to make sure the consistency is right for you. If you need to add more kombucha do it a splash at a time.

Mix in all the spices and herbs. If you desire a bit more flavor feel free to add more of each spice until you get a dressing that matches your level of flavoring.

That is it! Super simple. No more tasteless bottles of store bought dairy free ranch for you! This dressing should be stored in the fridge and will keep for up to a week. I usually find it is gone loooong before that though 😉

Mm mm Bone Broth

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Bone broth is magical. Remember when you were sick and Grandma would always give you chicken soup? That is because “back in the day” chicken soup was made with bone broth as its base. Who knew?!
Bone broth is derived from you guessed it, bones. Specifically bones simmered low and slow for a many hours. This allows the bones to semi break down and release all that stored up collagen, gelatin, amino acid and vitamins/ minerals into a broth for our consumption.

Some of the reported health benefits are
-younger looking skin
-repair of leaky gut
-quicker recovery from ingesting gluten  -stronger bones
-better joint health and a whole lot more.
I am a huge believer in bone broth for digestive health. Collagen is vital in healing inflammation and repairing leaky gut.

Are you ready to cook your own yet? Overall this dish is incredibly simple. All you need is veggies, water, bones seasoning and a little time. 

Here is my base recipe
*1.5 lbs of beef marrow bone
*1.5 lbs of oxtail (ask the person at the butcher counter)
4 carrots
1/2 an onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (important to facilitate the breakdown of the bones)

*I use beef most often but you can also swap in bones from 1-2 whole chickens or a few turkey necks, lamb bones or pork. It all depends on what kind of broth you want.
I always recommend using bones from grass fed animals but, some broth is better than no broth so go with what you can afford.

Method #1- The pressure cooker.

I use the Instant pot to make mine. Precious bone broth in a little over 2 hours? Yes please!

Place all ingredients in the instant pot and pour water until it reaches the max fill line.

Select manual time of 120min at high pressure.

When the instant pot has finished and decompressed, strain out the solids and. Let cool.

Once cooled scrap off the top layer of hard white fat. Store the rest in the fridge.

Method #2 – Slow cooker

Add the bones and cover with water until the pot is about 3/4 full.

Add the apple cider vinegar.

Simmer on low/medium for 46 hours

After 46 hours add the veggies and let it go for another 2-3 hours. (Until the veggies are completely soft.)

Strain and store.

Method #3- Stove top

Get a big stockpot and place the bones and apple cider vinegar in it.

Add enough water to fill the pot and cover with a lid.

Simmer on low for 46 hours

After 46 hours add the veggies in and simmer uncovered for 3 hours. Make sure you keep it on low and that your broth doesn’t evaporate off. If your water level goes down more than 1inch, cover your pot again.

After 3 hours strain the solids and let cool.

Scrape the fat off and store.

Bone broth can be stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

So, there you have it. Three ways to cook up liquid gold. You can now use it with almost anything. You can use it as a bases for soups.
Swap it out for water when your cooking rice, pasta, veggies etc.
Of course you could always drink it straight. What are some ways you use bone broth? Share some ideas in the comments below!

Tips to make healthy eating easier

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Wow. It has been a long time since my last post! Time really flies when you get busy. Michael and I got the chance to enjoy our church’s global gathering this year for the first time! We had such a wonderful time. Upon our return we have had several family members become ill (including me) AND I started college( I think I am losing my mind, who has time for all this?)! I will be taking online classes this semester and a hands on CNA course all for the goal of becoming a nurse. I am very excited to start down this path and can’t wait to be a nurse. As you can imagine though, this will keep life busy though in the meantime. Speaking of busy….. (do you like my Segway?😆) Between work schedules, school activities and church functions; taking time to cook healthy food can be almost impossible. The other night I walked in the door after working a double shift to find my crockpot had failed to cook dinner…… Meltdown city. Haha. I thought since kids are back in school and we are all running like crazy this would be a good time share a few tips on how to make this healthy lifestyle thing easier. The key is really planning and prep. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Cook double batches
One of the easiest things you can do is to make double of whatever you are cooking. If you are making a soup that feeds four, double the recipe and set half aside. Now you have two dinners with almost no extra prep time. Freeze the one portion and use it in the future or just seal it in the fridge and use it for a lunch through the week. 

Organize your fridge

If at any given time you can look in the fridge and see exactly what ingredients, snacks and prepped food you have on hand, life functions so much better. Next time it’s 4:45 and the family wants dinner at 5 you can see exactly what you are working with. This also makes shopping much easier as you won’t be buying ingredients that you already had buried in the depths of the fridge. How much arugula do you really need?


Keep a few staples prepped on hand

I like to make a few things up and eat on them through the the week. I keep a big salad on hand for an easy side to dinner or lunch. Having one on hand means I only need one more side and I don’t have to cut lettuce and veggies every time I want a salad. I also keep cooked chicken breast on hand for easy wraps, salad topping or a no fuss lunch. You can look at the staples you use every week and decide what works best for you. 

Prep your veggies once a week

Fruit is usually the first thing to be eaten. Why? Because it’s out on the counter and prepped. Nothing is more frustrating than buying fresh veggies only to have them rot because no one eats them. Humans have a natural tendency to eat whatever is in front of them. When you get home from grocery shopping cut up and portion out your veggies. If you open your fridge and have a portion sized Baggie ready to go, you are more likely to grab that instead of the chips in the cupboard. If portion sized baggies seem like too much work, then just cut up your veggies and leave them in one big container. 

Use your crockpot

This might seem like a no brainer, but I know plenty of people that have never used that crockpot they got as a gift some 10 years back. This little baby has saved my bacon more than once. Nothing is better then arriving home to find dinner has already been cooked. I made  2 ingredient brisket last night with the help of my crockpot. It tasted amazing and took me 3min of prep. Just make sure you plug it in…..yes I have forgotten to plug it in before. 



I hope these tips work for you like they do for me. Things don’t always work out like we want (these last few weeks for example😝) but, having meals on hand or stuff to throw in the crockpot can really make a huge difference.

-Lady Bug