A Little Ranting And Some Roast Chicken

Sundays never seem to last long enough. Am I the only one who feels this way? There is just so much I want to get done on a Sunday but I want to do it all from my bed hahaha. This last week has been painful to say the least and I decided that no matter how much was on my plate, I will not leave my bed until noon at least. So here I am, watching Moonrise Kingdom and drinking coffee from bed. This is happiness right here.

My bed time last night was 7:30pm. I slept for a whole 12 hours and damnit I needed it!!!

Waking up refreshed

Waking up refreshed

Woke up this morning feeling refereshed and healthy again (thank goodness) after a week of feeling beaten and bruised.

Unfortunately, the stress of my big girl job got to me this month. I have been fighting off a cold, working my hiney off and burning the candle at both ends all month long. To top it off, my endo symptoms are back with a vengeance, this week particularly. They are so overwhelming it sucks the life out of me most days. I come home and my body feels so bruised and beaten and all I can do is climb in bed and hope I wake up better. On top of the exhaustion, earlier this week I started experiencing excruciating pain in my lower back and legs again. This is the first time since my surgery that they have gotten this bad. Most days this week I was able to make it until 3 or so without it interfering too much. But by 3 pm I am stretching every hour, popping ibuprofen and holding back tears. When you are trying to be productive, this sort of situation is nothing short of impossible. Normally I would go home early or take a sick day if necessary but that really wasn’t an option this week : ( Truthfully, the scariest part of my week was Thursday evening. After three hours of unbelievable pain, I headed to a dress fitting for a wedding I am in this fall. As I sat in the dressing room slipping on the gorgeous flowing dress, my entire right leg went numb. I lost complete feeling from my hip to my toes. All the while, my left leg remained in excruciating pain. I took a deep breath to hold back tears, unsure of how long it would last. I regained feeling after about 20 minutes, finished the dress fitting and went home to take a hot bath.

These are the moments I fear the most. There is so little that can be done when I am in them and even worse, there is nothing that can be done to prevent them. I refuse to let them interfere with my life but honestly, it was very scary. Does this mean its time for surgery again? Should I dish out the money for another docors visit? Or wait it out and see if the symtoms calm down next week? Ugh. So, needless to say, I am taking it easy today and giving my body anything it needs!

On the flip side, there are so many great things happening in my life right now that I can’t stay frustrated too long lol. I am only 5 days away from my first long vacation in 2 years!! YAY!!! I’m taking today to plan out my vacation/staycation to Portland. So very much needed. I will also be, as usual, meal planning today and decided it was absolutely necessary to FINALLY share my roast chicken recipe with the world.

Recipe for Perfectly Simple Roast Chicken

Time to cook this baby!

Time to cook this baby!

Ingredients:
1, 5 lb Whole Chicken (preferably organic, hormone free)
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Small Lemon
5 Sprigs Fresh Rosmary
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Pepper (I prefer to use Penzey’s ground pepper)
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Preheat oven to 400.
It cannot be overstated how unbelievably easy this recipe is. Don’t over complicate it! I swear, for me, it’s simple nature makes it taste that much better haha. First step after turning on the oven is to rinse off the chicken. Reach inside and make sure that any and all remnants inside the chicken are discarded. Wash out the inside as well as the outside until the water runs through the center cavity, clean. Pat chicken dry. Place the chicken in the roasting dish (I use my favorite casserole dish because its the perfect size and allows the juices to stay close to the chicken while it cooks)
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Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the top and bottom of the chicken then coat with olive oil. Rubbing the entire chicken down, make sure that all outer surface is equally coated with olive oil, salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the onion and lemon. Now that is the step that I have been messing up for the last two years. I have been chopping the onion and lemon and putting the chopped pieces and slices in the cavity. DO NOT CHOP ONION!!!! Cut the onion in half, remove the outer skin and stick the whole onion half in the chicken. Cut the lemon in half and stick the lemon halves in the  chicken as well. Once this is done, make sure chicken is properly positioned in the pan (see photo) and top with rosemary sprigs.
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Cook chicken for aprox 75-90 minutes depending on the size of the bird.
Basting is key!

Basting is key!

Make sure to baste every 20 minutes or so with the juices accumulated in the pan.
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And voila! You have a perfectly juicy roasted bird : ) Enjoy!

 

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Fighting for The Life I Wanted: My 10 Goals for 2014

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I hit a milestone Friday that cannot go unaddressed. So I am forgoing my meal prep Sunday post to brag about my accomplishment but more importantly about the goals I set for myself this year. This is my year!

Friday, 3/21,was officially my 90 day Tobacco Free mark! For those of you who have never met me, this is huge. I started smoking just before my 18th birthday nearly 9 years ago. Over the years I have tried to quite several times. Some times it was semi successful but it never lasted. I would cut out smoking on the weekdays, or just smoke 1 cig a day. But these patterns just lead back in to heavy smoking after a couple months. I can honestly say that over the last 8+ years I have smoked on average 1-2 packs a day. For the last year I did pretty well to not smoke too much. I would smoke 1 or 2 at night but mostly just a few/ a pack on the weekend. That was, until this last summer. Going into summer 2013 I was in good health and extremely active, burning the candle at both ends with my job and social calendar. The crazier my schedule got, the more I smoked until I was back to half a pack a day. When my boss left on maternity leave in October, all hell broke loose. By December, with a world of stomach problems, crazy anxiety and my unhealthy habits rearing their ugly heads I decided it was time once and for all to live the life I wanted. It was time to make some necessary sacrifices and put in the  time to live the life I deserved. I set goals for myself and made a list of the things I wanted to learn/accomplish in the hopes of being a happier version if myself.

1. Quit Smoking For Good! (I know now that I can never be that person who just has 1 cigarette. I told myself “this is it. Never again will you touch a cigarette”. What is the point of putting in the hardwork to reward yourself with one in a month? Your probably saying “Why was 90 days such an accomplishment?”. Before I found my current job, there were a lot of jobs I wanted to apply for but never did because they required a tobacco test be done. This meant you had to be 90 days tobacco free or they wouldn’t hire you. This thought was inconceivable to me. There was no way I was going ot make it that long. So I walked away from a couple of jobs that I really wanted because I didn’t believe I could do it. I don’t ever want smoking to stand in my way again.)

2. Learn To Say “No” Without Excuses. (Have you ever noticed how people have a tendancy to say “NO” and then list all of the reasons why they are too busy to help? Why, as a society, do we feel so defensive about saying no to something? Why do we expect a reason from someone when they say no to us? If someone tells you no, it means no! You don’t have the right to ask me why and I shouldn’t feel the need to tell you if I don’t want to.)

3. Stop Apologizing For The Life I Live. (It’s my life and I’m going to live it how I want so that I can be as happy as possible. If I wrong someone, I have no problem apologizing. But if you’re offended by my lifestyle, if you are offended that your needs are not my priority above my own, I will not apologize for that any more. This goes hand in hand with learning to say no)

4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (In the past, I have had a tendency to get defensive when I feel  someone does not respect my hardwork or effort. While I love my job, I often felt belittled by my co-workers. I felt that while my job was extremely important, they saw me as a 26 year old girl they could push around and walk all over. I took their childish response to emails and lack of concern about gravity of some of their situations as a personal attack. Why didn’t they respect me?!!! The truth is, not every one is going to respect you. There were battles worth fighting but most of them  were not worth it. A couple months ago I started telling myself “I don’t mind the little things” when I found myself getting upset by these behaviors and let me tell you, its sounds simple, but it really works. People say unkind words, they will tell you how you “should” live your life without you ever asking for their opinion. They will cut you down or belittle your words but that doesn’t mean to have to take theirs to heart. Its wasted energy. My mind has been so much clearer ever since I started saying those simple little words.

5. Learn To View Food As Fuel. (This is huge for me because I am truly an emotional eater. My body is not a trash can and I will not continue to treat it as such. I’m not on a diet, I’m not trying to loose weight. I’m trying to FINALLY treat my body like something I respect and cherish. Like something I want to keep strong)

6. Finish a P90X Program (This has been on my bucket list for years and after a little set back with my “runners knee” I am almost able to cross it off)

7. Run A Half Marathon (Scheduled for September)

8. Be Able to Do A Pushup Without Effort and Without Using Me Knees (This goal has been adjusted. Thanks to P90X I was able to check this one off in 30 days. I can now do several pushups on my feet without effort. My goal now is to do a pull up without kipping and 100 push-ups without stopping. Ultimately the point of this goal is to set goals that make me stronger and give me a sense of accomplishment)

9. Read 1 Book a Month (When I was a lit major I read multiple books a week but have struggled since graduation. Some days I feel like I have abandoned something that feeds more soul more than anything else. I want that back. I have a phenomenal book collection some of which I’ve never read. My goal is to check off at least 12 this year)

10. Learn How to Be Vulnerable (Anyone who has dated me knows this is going to be the most difficult of all of these goals for me this year. I am well guarded in a relationship, in my friendships and sometimes even with my family. But mostly in relationships. I have been  told I have intimacy issues and I know that it has cost me dearly in the past. This summer will mark 5 years of being single. I have dated in the past 5 years but have not been in a committed relationship since my Junior year of college. Writing this blog and starting my facebook page has helped me open up a little bit more and, while its been several years since I have been in a committed relationship, I hope that by the years end, the thought of being with someone is not the scariest feeling in the world. I truly think you have to know yourself  and love yourself before you can truly love someone else. I’m working on me for now.)

Paleo Shepard’s Pie

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Top of the morning and happy Saint Patty’s day to everyone!! Seeing as I hold some Irish blood in my veins (yes I’m aggressive and enjoy whiskey more than the average person) I thought it only fitting to do an Irish themed Paleo post.

I know that most people see Shepard’s Pie as an English food but did you know it’s Irish. The English version is called Cottage Pie. This soul warming staple originated in the late 17th century when potatoes became universally accepted in Irish culture. Previous to this time, potatoes were a “New World” food. Both Irish and English cultures did not care to eat or grow it for hundreds of years after America’s colonization. Such a funny thing to think about isn’t it? Potatoes not existing in England and Ireland? Hmm. If only they knew that such a delicious dish could still be made without potatoes.

I must say, I am a little worried my great grandmother would roll over in her grave if she knew I was replacing the potatoes in my shepard’s pie with cauliflower. Eeeek. But I can’t imagine not eating one of my favorite dishes this lovely holiday and unfortunately potatoes just aren’t on my list of foods any more. I hope you can forgive me great grandma!

Ingredients:

1 Large Onion
2 Carrots peeled and chopped
3 Cloves garlic
4 Strips Bacon
1 lb Ground Beef (grass fed, organic)
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
8oz Organic Chicken Broth
1 Cup Corn
1 Large Head Cauliflower (stems removed, chopped and steamed until soft)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Fresh Nutmeg
1 TBSP butter (melted)

Steps:
1.Chop onions, garlic, bacon and carrots (keep separate)
2.Heat olive oil in large frying pan
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3.Sauté onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft
4.While onion is cooking, steam cauliflower

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5.Add bacon pieces to frying pan and sauté until cooked, another 10 minutes
6.Add carrots to pan and continue cooking for another 5 minutes
7.Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown
8.Add seasoning (Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Chili Powder) and continue cooking for 1 minute
9.Add chicken broth and cook down broth until nearly half is left (10 minutes)

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10.Once it has been reduced, add corn to pan, cook for 2 minutes then pour mixture into casserole dish (or 9×13 in pan)
11.Place cauliflower in food processor or strong blender with olive oil and melted butter
12.Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture
13.Bake at 350° for 35minutes

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Happy Saint Patty’s Day Folks! Hope you have a great one and drink a Guinness for me : )

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Meal Prep: Spicy Chili

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This is hands down one of my favorite meal prep items because it makes soooooo much food and tastes amazing! Chili is just one of those things that I could eat every day and never tire of. Im sure someone will disagree with me but I feel its one of the few foods that fits all seasons. In a not so distant past, I loved to add sour cream and cheese to my chili but obviously that’s not an option anymore. So these days I add a dollop of full fat coconut milk to make the chili creamy! It works like a charm : )

As far as the meal prep portion of the recipe goes, I like to freeze the chili in 8oz jars. This makes lunch planning throughout the week so much easier. It yields 15/20, 8oz portions!!! Once the chili is done cooking I let it sit for about a half hour to cool slightly. I then divide chili into individual containters and wait to cover until they are cooled. Do not freeze hot jars. Because of this I always suggest making the Chili in the afternoon. The first time I made this I made it at 7 and ended up staying up WAAAYY too late waiting for them too cool.

This is only half of the final batch

This is only half of the final batch

Warning: This recipe is not paleo! While I eat paleo for the most part, I still struggle to cut out beans from my diet. I understand the reasoning behind not including legumes in the paleo diet but I still struggle with it. Some day I learn how to cut them out, but for now I’m going to eat my damn chili and I’m gunna like it : )

Ingredients You’ll Need:

3 Tbs Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic1 Yellow Onion Chopped
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Turmeric
32 oz of Tomato Puree
1 Jalapeño Roasted ( I put mine in the oven straight on the rack until it starts to shrivel, usually about 15 mins @ 350)
4 Cups Organic Vegetable Broth
3 Bell Peppers, chopped finely ( I prefer Red and Green but you can use whatever kind you prefer)
1&1/2 lbs Organic Ground Beef Cooked & Drained ( you can also use ground turkey here too)
2 Cups Organic Black Beans
2 Cups Organic Red Beans
2 Cups Organic Kidney Beans
2 Cups Organic Frozen/ Fresh Corn
2 Medium Zucchini

Step 1: Brown Beef in Medium Pan, drain and set aside.

Step 2: Chop onion, garlic and peppers (keep separate)

Step 3: Heat up large pot on medium high heat. Once heated add olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic
5-6 minutes

Step 4: Add salt and continue to cook until caramelized

Step 5: Add all the dry spices and sauté another 1-2 minutes.

Step 6: Add broth, peppers, jalapeños, beef, and tomato puree. Bring to a low boil and turn down to a simmer

Step 7: Simmer for 20 minutes then add beans and corn

Step 8: Simmer another 20 minutes until thickened.

I al also a huge fan of putting spur cream in my chili. Obviously this is not a “clean” option. So instead, I had started adding a dollop of coconut creme instead : )

For coconut creme, take a can of full fat coconut milk and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours of until creme and water have separated. The creme will rise to the top. Separate the creme and water in to different containers. The water can be used in smoothies throughout the week. The cream can be added straight to chili or can be used for other things including sweet coconut whip!

So there ya go! Happy meal planning folks : )

Boss Girl In The Making

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 Time to get a little personal. I want to talk about goals tonight. Understanding why we choose to do something is just as important as setting up a plan of attack to reach our goals. Do you have goals right now? Are they to get healthy? To get stronger? To get faster? Stop for a second, you, whoever you are reading this (thanks for reading by the way!) and ask yourself why this is something you want. What is motivating you to reach this goal? Be really truly honest with yourself.

You’ve heard me say it before and I will say it over and over again, it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with endometriosis that I truly started focusing on getting healthy. It wasn’t that I thought I was healthy before. It just didn’t matter as much then as it did now. Some people have gone so far as to call me “lucky” for being diagnosed. I have to fight myself from punching these people. But in a way it’s true. My motivation changed when I realized the answer to the pain I had been experiencing MIGHT be partially in my control. After my first surgery, I promised myself that I would do whatever it took to take care of my body in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to have another surgery too soon.

Before my surgery I talked options with my doctor. She said there was very little that could be done to help my symptoms, which at this time were becoming largely debilitating. Chronic back and leg pain, mind numbing cramps, ruptured cysts and highly inflamed digestive tracts just to name a few. She said the best option for me post op would be to begin medication which would cause me to start early onset menopause. Yea, Im pretty certain your face looks something like mine did when I first heard that. Imagine being 24 years old in a doctors office being told that is really your only option. We also discussed a hysterectomy. This all seemed way to drastic and of course was not anything to be taken lightly. So I spent the next couple months researching my disease and reading anything I could get my hands on.

Almost everything I found was too confusing or of no help at all. But then I found an article that discussed several women’s success changing their diet. It seemed too simple when compared to menopause and hysterectomy’s. The more and more I read, the more it made sense. While not much is known about what causes the disease, there is no doubt that a large amount of symptoms are affected by fluctuation in hormones. So of course the smart thing to do is balance these hormones as best as possible.

I could go on and on forever about this topic but I’ll cut to the chase. This was the beginning of my focus on nutrition. Looking back now I realize that what I thought was a healthy life was very very very unhealthy. The first thing I cut out was soy, dairy and any meat that was not labeled “hormone free”. This was a huge struggle for me. Let me tell you! I felt like the whole world was against me. I had to change by habits and that was not easy. I felt very alone in my struggle and had no idea if it was really going to work. I was wandering in uncharted territory and I’m a control freak so that didn’t mix well. In time I felt comfortable with these changes and integrated more. By May I decided it was time to do a 30 day clean eating challenge. This was when it all changed.

Now nearly two years later I am shocked by how much my goals have changed. By the things my body can do and how strong I have become. I still have a lot of days I feel discouraged. When I’m not seeing results fast enough or my time hasn’t increased like I want it to. But then I remember where I started and where I’m going and it helps me put things in perspective.

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I came to terms a long time ago with the fact that I was never going to be thin. Ive got big hips and thunder thighs and very broad shoulders. Such a build does not a skinny girl make. But a boss girl. Now that I can be. Have you seem the boss girls. SOOO MUCH MUSCLE! I’m not there yet but I like to think of myself as a boss girl in the making. Not one of those ones posting the slutty skanky pictures but the one fully clothed mid squat with the tight core and thunder thighs that you can see through spandex! That’s my goal. Those girls aren’t skinny, they’re strong. Stronger than a lot of men. And they worked for every ounce of that muscle.

I’ve got some mighty goals right now and they are just for me. I don’t want to be that skinny girl anymore. I want to be strong. Every ounce of muscle lately makes me prouder and prouder. I fought for that. Fought hard. Its rewarding in a way I have never experienced. Its something no one can take from me. No one can tell me it doesn’t exist or alter its significance because its mine. And I love that.

I’ve always carried my weight a little heavier than the rest of my family and in my younger years this was a huge insecurity for me. Now that Im getting older I take pride in my strong athletic body and Im doing everything I can to nourish it properly. I eat and eat and eat. Man do I love to eat. But I eat now to fuel and to help me reach my goals. And knowing what my goals are, is what keeps me focused.

Meal Prep: GF Pancakes 2 Ways

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Between working full time, coaching and training, meal preparation has become an essential part of my survival. The best part of being single and utilizing meal prep is that more often than not, my freezer is stocked with a variety of options for breakfast and dinner. Each weekend I try to prep at least 2 dishes in large enough quantities to last me 5 + plus meals. (As a single girl this means taking a regular dish and separating it into separate single serving containers)

I’m a “hearty” breakfast gal but this weekend I cannot kick this sweet tooth. So pancakes only seemed fitting. I figured if I was going to go through the trouble of making pancakes I might as well make two batches to freeze. So next step was deciding what kind to make (I am not a plain pancake fan).This morning I made gluten free pancakes made two different ways. I prefer to use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Mix.

Almond Butter and Bacon Pancakes:

Gluten  Free Pancake Mix (1 Batch)
6 Strips Hormone Free Bacon
1/4 Cup Almond/Sun Butter.

I cook the bacon until it’s crispy crispy crispy. Once it’s cooled, add it to the pancake mix by crumbling with fingers. Stir in Almond Butter.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes:

Gluten Free Pancake Mix (1 Batch)
2 Honeycrips Apples (Peeled and Chopped)
1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Once all pancakes are made, I wrap in plastic and foil in groups of two and date for 6 months  out, not that they ever last that long. This allows for a quick and easy on the go sweet tooth fix.

Happy Sunday Folks.

Clean Eating Guide for My Mini Vaca – Portland Here I Come

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I’m not going to lie, I have been super nervous about leaving for this weekend birthday extravaganza. I have finally reached a point where my lifestyle change is habit. I’m comfortable at home/ at work/ at restaurants making wise choices about what I eat and how often I eat and the portion sizes. What if my mini vaca throws me off track? I told the birthday girl for months that I wasn’t sure if I would make it down simply because I didn’t know if I would be ready by now. But now that the day is here I know I am ready. So I thought this might be a good time to write about what I’m doing to make sure I will stay on track. But first I want to talk about why I was so nervous to take this trip.

I havn’t been to Portland since August. If you know me very well, you know that’s quite shocking. It’s been 5 months. The longest I’ve gone since I moved there 8 years ago. The trip itself was full of wonderful moments but was ultimately the catalyst for my return to an unfit life.

When I left for Portland in late July, I felt strong. I was running constantly and eating clean. I had spent those last three months pushing myself to the limit to drop the final few pounds I had gained during my diagnosis/surgery period (which in total amounted to 35 lbs). But truthfully, I was motivated for all the wrong reasons.

I had two back to back weddings in Portland. One was my good friend Katelyn’s and I was in the wedding which meant tons of pictures I wanted to be ready for.The other was the wedding of a good guy friend of mine. This one meant seeing a lot of people I hadn’t seen in awhile all in the same spot. I felt an irrational need to prove I was doing so well. Probably because I had spent the previous two years pining over the loss of the boy I thought I loved and most of them had seen my tears, weight gain and insecurity in full over this time. I felt the need to prove that I was over it. That things were great for me and that I was not only doing okay, I was thriving!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t. It was still hard to see him and I consumed more alcohol than I care to divulge trying to numb the pain. The most unfortunate part is looking back and realizing that my motivation for those previous months always had an ending point. That weekend was my goal and I had achieved it. I looked great! But with the end of that weekend came the end of my motivation. I made excuses for why I could cheat that weekend, drinking what I wanted, eating more than I should and not making time for exercise. By the time I got back, a lot of my cravings that I had worked so hard to banish had reappeared. I didn’t go completely back to my old ways but I slowly kept slipping farther and farther away from the successful point I had reached.

What’s my point here? Make sure that your motivation is not anchored to an ending point or routed in an insecurity that needs greater attention. This is how we relapse. And I say “we” because I am still capable of relapse. Everyday is a battle I fight to make progress towards the lifestyle I want. So that one day, it is not a battle. So that I wont be nervous to leave on vacation or go out to a restaurant where I don’t know the menu.

Alright enough of my cathartic writing. Time to set up a battle plan….

I purposefully got a hotel room that had a fridge so that I could bring items with me. I tried to put together a list of items that were convenient and reached all necessary food groups. For a second I was concerned because I had no meat here (except in the chili). I freaked that I hadn’t thought about protein enough until I remember that I had 5 eggs and Shakeo there. Those two things alone would cover my protein for the next two days haha. Pack what suites you best, just remember that you wont have a lot of accommodations.

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So what do I have here?:

1 Jar of Frozen Homade Chili
1 Jar Frozen Hulk Juice
2 Packets Shakeology
1 Blender Bottle filled with 8 oz Almond Milk (For Shakeo)
5 Hardboiled Eggs
1 Cucumber (Sliced)
1 Cup Chopped Lettace
1 Avacado
3 Fuji Apples
5 Cutie Oranges
Do I plan on eating ALL of this food? Not at all. But personally I find the best way to ward off cheating is by leaving yourself options.
Phew. That’s all folks! Off to Portland I go. Ill check in when I get back and let you know how it went : )