Happy Valentine's Day!
Not a bad start to the week, in my opinion! I believe that it's a day for all to celebrate, whether you're coupled up or single. It's a day that celebrates love: with a partner, with friends, with family, and most importantly with yourself. While I love spending Valentine's Day with my boyfriend (this will be our second one together!), it's also a gentle (or I guess, rather blatant) reminder to love myself as much as I love the people around me.
So what does self-love look like? Well, it varies from person to person, depending on what you like and don't like, but a few things are constants. Self-love demonstrates acceptance, respect, and care of one's body, mind, and soul.
For me, this means feeding my body with nourishing, good food and not restricting or calorie counting. It also means pushing my body when I feel the energy and acknowledging when I need to slow down. It means practicing yoga (and I mean a dedicated practice! Not every now and then!), taking time to paint, and running outside. It means hanging out with friends, family, and the boyf, but also cherishing my time alone with myself. It means putting my opinion of who I am above everyone else's and not bashing myself with negative self-talk. It means being happy in the body I was given and with the person that I am.
Here are some things that I like to do for self-love. The list could go on, believe me, but I thought I'd give you a few ideas to kickstart your path to wellness:
Which brings me to my next topic...Chocolate Avocado Mousse! Because what's Valentine's Day without some Chocolate? ;)
This mousse is the bomb. It's loaded with healthy fats that keep your brain going and your bones strong thanks to the yummy avocado! (Side note: I have a deep love for avocado. If we're being honest, I a whole avocado almost every day. No shame!). Thanks to the cacao powder, it's also filled with vital antioxidants that are good for your heart and mind! But the most important part is that every bite is smooth, velvety, creamy, sweet, and chocolatey. Now we're talking.
Did I mention this is also a sugar-free recipe? Yep. No sugar. Zero. None. Nil. Pretty sweet, huh? I used stevia powder to sweeten the mousse, but not the white stevia you find at grocery stores! It's a green powder, the actual stevia leaf crushed up (Psst! Stevia should be green in the first place!). You can buy some here!
And now for the recipe :)
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!! :)
Well, hello there, loves!
How has everyone been? For me, it's been a busy few months! Lots of work, lots of family, lots of writing (not for the blog, unfortunately), but I'm back once again! The holidays were great- it was a nice pause from the hectic NYC living. You don't realize that you're going going going all the time until you stop, and that's just what happened. It was good to recharge and refocus for the New Year, and I'm happy to be back!
To start off the New Year, my boyfriend and I took a trip to Montreal, Canada! It was absolutely incredible. If you want to go to Europe, but can only go away for the weekend, this is the place to be. I felt like I was walking around an old French town with cobble stone streets and colorful floral window boxes that popped against grey stone. We explored the art museums and Old Montreal, as well as Miles End (think New York's Brooklyn!). The part I loved most (aside from the Fine Arts Museum) was the eating! This city was filled with amazing restaurants that were local, fresh, and many times gluten-free! A full review of our time attempting to be esteemed restaurant critics to come ;)
Now for the most recent news! So for the past two weeks (yesterday was the official two-week marker!), I have been diligently following Dr. Kelly Brogan's 30-Day Mind Body Reset. As you probably already know, I have struggled with OCD, depression, and an eating disorder in the past. Lately, though, my depression and OCD symptoms have been creeping back in. After years of therapy and medications, I wanted to look at the problem in a new light and solve it for good this time. That's when I discovered Dr. Brogan.
What Dr. Brogan's plan calls for is complete elimination of dairy, caffeine, gluten (including all grains, but gluten-free grains are allowed after the 30 days!), soy, sugar (except fruit!), and alcohol. It's basically the Whole30 diet, and then some (which sounds super scary, but really isn't! I promise!). What you're probably thinking is, "Well, what can I eat?" and the answer is A LOT! All of the most beautiful organic fruits and veggies you can think of, healthy fats (LOAD UP!) like avocado and coconut oil, grass-fed meats (yes, read meat), and sustainable fish. You'd be surprised at how creative I can get with this array of ingredients.
Cutting out the gluten wasn't an issue, since I'm already gluten-free, and though I love my nightly Halo top ice cream cap, I'm surprisingly not missing it as much as I thought I would. Giving up my five cups of black coffee and the occasional glass (or two) of red wine was the hard part. The headaches that ensued from not having my caffeine fix were dreadful, but after a few days, I felt like my energy levels shot up! Once I have fully completed the 30 days, I'll be back with a more detailed update on how I did. For now, I just want to share with you this amazing "oatmeal" recipe I found on Bravo for Paleo.
Like the title suggests, it's an oatless banana oatmeal!! Made with an extra ripe banana and an organic, free-range egg, this yummy bowl is super filling, satisfyingly sweet, and satiating for hours. To be honest, it tastes like banana bread fresh out of the oven! I like to top mine with frozen organic berries, nut butter, sprouted nuts, and coconut butter :)
This oatmeal is also completely paleo-friendly, Whole30-friendly, gluten-free, processed sugar-free, and all natural. Plus, it only takes 10 minutes! Check it out, and let me know what you like to top yours with!
Hope you have a great start to the week!
Today I have to tell you about Chalk Point Kitchen because:
1) It's all organic
2) They use only sustainable, local fare
3) They cater to the Glutenoids, like myself
4) Every dish is absolutely mouthwatering
Need more convincing? Okay, so here's the lowdown:
To celebrate my boyfriend's birthday, he picked CPK as our dinner spot last Thursday. Located in the heart of Soho, it's an easy 5-minute walk from either the C train or the 1 train. It's also right next to tons of really cute shops. Shopping trip and great noms? Win win. Not only do they serve dinner, but they also serve BRUNCH (which is fantastic, by the way, but we'll focus on dinner today because we still have four days till the weekend haha!).
After we were seated, we were promptly served homemade pickle spears in lieu of a bread basket. They already won my heart at that point! To start, we both ordered the Vegan Autumn Wedge for ourselves (because it's way too good to share).
For our mains, I ordered the Roasted Spinelli Squash, he had the Grass-fed Cast Iron Ribeye, and we split a side of roasted Brussels sprouts. Oh my gosh, was it all amazing.
Everything was just right; not too salty, not too seasoned, and not too done. We literally cleaned our plates, and why not? It's food you that you don't have to worry about being laden with chemicals and additives. Just good-for-you food that tastes good too! Plus, it's fun to not have to cook or worry for once; I get into ruts of measuring, so when it's out of my hands, I really try not to worry about it. Focus on the meal in front of you, and stop thinking about the future.
And at CPK, I really can just relax. It feels good not to worry, and we definitely plan on going back soon! Adding this to our top favorite restaurants :)
Guys, I know it's been a while.
Three weeks and two days to be exact.
Where have I been?! Well, the day after my last post, I started a new job! And it's one that I really enjoy :) That being said, it has also taken up a lot of my time. The adjustment period has been real. With early mornings and late nights, I'm still trying to work out a schedule that gives me time to run, write blog posts, test recipes, do well at my job, and most importantly: enjoy life.
I know that it can be done. I know that many have full-time jobs while balancing blogging, the commitments that come with it, and family/friends/social life/insert life goal here. But I'm new to this, and so I need a little time to adjust. Right now, things feel a little out of whack; I'm loving my job and I'm still running (but still take that required rest day), but I so desperately miss painting (which I got to do a little this past weekend!) and writing. So I took a few steps forward in some respects, and fell off the wagon in others. That's okay though! It's a give-and-take process that requires a little canoodling to hit the sweet spot. I want to keep writing, painting, running, pursuing my career, and enjoying actually living, and so I will (RE: Gratefulness).
Speaking of being thankful, how was everyone's Thanksgiving? For me, it was a milestone in many ways. Not only was I able to celebrate with my immediate family (Mama, Dad, lil' sis, and lil' bro), but I was also able to celebrate with my family friends and my boyfriend's family. That's a lot of love in one holiday- but I'm not complaining ;)
On the real Turkey Day, my family, my boyfriend, and I went to my family friend's house for dinner, and then the day after, my boyfriend's family had another Thanksgiving dinner. TWO big dinners. TWO nights of drinking (wine, but still, I get groggy from alcohol easily). TWO nights of big desserts (which really isn't any different than my normal routine, but when it follows several glasses of vino rosso and pounds of turkey, it definitely feels bigger than normal haha!). TWO nights of laughter, relaxation, and gratefulness. I wouldn't have it any other way.
This was also the first time in years that I did not count calories. Not one single calorie, gram of fat, mg of sodium, nada. I ate till I was comfortable, and if I wanted seconds (you better believe I grabbed two slices of the pumpkin pie you're about to make), I got seconds because I deserved it. I didn't deserve it because I worked out like a maniac hours before and I didn't deserve it because I restricted all day. I deserved it because I deserve freedom from the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that thwarted me from eating and enjoying meals before. Why not enjoy another helping of beautiful roasted acorn squash drizzled in coconut oil and pomegranate seeds? Why not pour myself a second glass of wine because I'm finally enjoying myself and living outside of my head?
So needless to say, I had a great Thanksgiving that extended over two days, and I wasn't upset about it in the slightest. But now that I've talked enough about this pumpkin pie I made (I know you've been drooling over the pictures...I see you over there!), I want to share the recipe with you so that you can make it for the rest of the holiday season!
This pumpkin pie was a huge hit! Made with a pumpkin seed crust, it's entirely gluten and sugar free! And if you're vegan, you could easily make this without eggs (see substitutions below). This pumpkin pie is:
Hey there and welcome! I'm a 20-something-year-old running, painting, and eating my way through NYC. Hope to see you along the way!