Summer Lovin’: What I’m Crushing on this August

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August has been a whirlwind of a month for me. I joined the SheBreathes team (I’ll be teaching a Journaling Class + will be available for 1:1 health coaching), got settled into our new apartment, stood by my dear friend’s side at her wedding in Virginia, and traveled to Greece to watch my soul sister marry the love of her life sea-side in the beautiful village of Eressos.

As we prepare to transition into fall (my favorite season!) and close out the month, I wanted to share with you some of my August obsessions. Here are some things I’ve been crushing on big-time lately:

CLARY CALM ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND

Where has this been all my life? I’m absolutely in love with this essential oil blend, and use it quite often. This monthly blend for women works to keep hormones in check, and minimize those not-so-fun symptoms. During that time of the month (which also happened to be while I was traveling!), I rubbed it on my belly and on my pressure points…and NO cramps. I kid you not, this is the first time I didn’t have to take Midol for my discomfort. Lady friends, get yourself a bottle. Feel free to reach out for more info on essential oils…I’m happy to get you started ;)

DIY TONER

Speaking of essential oils, I also concocted my own toner this month using equal parts apple cider vinegar + water, and then adding a few drops of lemongrass and tea tree oil. I love spritzing this on my face in the morning before makeup, and throughout the day whenever I need a little refresh. Making your own beauty products is super fun, and you can save lots of money doing so!

FUNKY HIPPY PANTS

Just ask my husband, I practically live in these pants! I bought them at a little shop in Newport this summer, and can’t get enough of them. For me, summer is all about being comfy and free and these pants do the trick ;)

LET IT OUT WITH KATIE DALEBOUT PODCAST

I stumbled upon Katie’s podcast a few weeks ago during my social-media hiatus, and absolutely fell in love with her energy and style. She interviews some super cool chicks, each speaker always leaving you with some sweet little nuggets of wisdom. I highly recommend her podcast, and you can learn more about Katie here in her Healthy Chicks in the Community feature.

SIMPLE ONE-BOWL RECIPES

When it comes to cooking, I like to keep it simple. I am so not the girl who follows a recipe to a T, and hate anything too complicated requiring 20+ ingredients. In the summer, I especially like to keep the cooking to a minimum, and one-bowl meals are where it’s at. Last night, I made this Quinoa with Herby Avocado + Tahini Cream and Summer Vegetables created by my dear friend Atara of The Fennel Frond. Trust me, this one’s a must. I left out the feta cheese because hubby + I overdosed in Greece, and added some fresh garlic to the sauce…because, garlic is everything.

JOURNALING

I can’t get enough of my journal lately! Ever since I left my full-time job and moved (two huge life changes), my journal has been my place of comfort (even more so than usual). I love writing my morning pages to clear my head, jotting down ideas that spark me at random, and sharing my dreams.

TRAVEL

As I mentioned, this month has been a big one for travel. I especially loved visiting Greece for my first time, and completely fell in love with the culture. The people on the island were so hospitable, constantly feeding us (Oh, the food! I’m still dreaming about the cheese pie and mousakka), playing live music, and bringing us rounds and rounds of ouzo. Opa!

MOO BUSINESS CARDS

I love, love, love my new MOO business cards! Seriously, how cute are these itty bitty babies? I love that they’re personalized to me, using all of my own instagram posts. They definitely scream “Rachel!” Love ‘em as much as I do? Snag some of your own here! Note: I chose the square design.

SUCCULENTS

I mean, what’s not to love? These guys make any day more sunshiny :) And Briggs Garden Center is pretty much succulent heaven.

What are you currently crushing on, lately?

xoxo,

Rachel

Fall Detox Group Program: Recharge + Ground Your Body For The New Season in 14 Days

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Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons. I love the crisp air, perusing the farmer’s market, picking apples straight off the tree, and the smell of a fresh pot of soup cooking on the stove. It’s the season of apple picking, transition, and also when I got married to the love of my life.

When transitioning from a hot, sweaty, go-go-go summer, fall is also my favorite time to re-set and get back to the basics through lots of self-care, clean eating and slowing down. That’s why I’m going to be hosting a 14-day REAL FOOD group detox group, starting the end of September. This interactive program is designed to cleanse and pamper your body from the inside out —improving your digestion and eating whole, seasonal foods that are designed to support your body’s natural processes of detoxification and cleansing.

But as you know by now, I’m so not into dieting, so I made sure this program is chock-full of real, seasonal foods (60 recipes worth!), daily self care tips, a step-by-step guide and even journaling prompts to keep you inspired throughout our journey.

No deprivation.

No fad diets.

No starvation.

Just a real plan to tackle your health and bring your bod back into balance.  This step-by-step approach to detoxing is designed to help you finally figure out which foods fuel you—and which ones don’t—safely and quickly, WITHOUT feeling like you’re missing out on your favorite foods.

THE DEETS

Dates:

The Group Detox Program starts on Monday, September 26th — just in time for the first week of fall!

What’s included?

  • Fall Detox Guide: A step-by-step manual that’s chock-full of everything you need to know to detox in a safe and natural way, plus countless physical and emotional support tools that will beautify your body from the inside out.
  • Recipe Guide: Packed with over 60 scrumptious recipes that will improve digestion, decrease inflammation, and keep you feeling satisfied.
  • Daily Email Support: I’m right there with ya, girlfriend! I’ll be in your inbox daily to provide support and accountability during the 14 days, as well as 4 days before to get your body prepared!
  • 14-Day Guide with Suggested Meals: This will help you stay on track and take the guesswork out of meals during your detox.
  • 14-Day At a Glance: A day-by-day protocol for your entire detox, with easy-to-follow recipes that make this journey the easiest thing you’ve EVER done.
  • Seasonal Shopping List: Let me make trips to the grocery store or local farmer’s market super simple, which makes preparing and cooking for your detox a breeze.
  • Food Diary: This amazing and beautiful tool will help you keep track of how you’re feeling physically, mentally and emotionally throughout the program.
  • Access to Our Private Facebook Group: Stay connected with other fabulous women throughout the program, and get daily inspirational support from yours truly!
  • Bonus: Surprise healthy superfoods snack sent your way plus you get a BONUS 30-Minute Post-Detox ‘Body Love’ Nourishment Session with me when you sign up via the early bird special!
Here are some of the results you can expect during the program:
  • You’ll likely lose a few extra pounds & feel amazing in your body!
  • You’ll feel lighter, experience an inner glow that others notice immediately, and have tons of natural energy (minus the crash that accompanies your daily cup of coffee).
  • You’ll ditch sugar cravings for good…it’s not that hard, I promise!
  • You’ll snooze like a Sleeping Beauty, without tossing and turning all night long.
  • You’ll de-bloat your belly — uncomfortable jeans, be gone!

Pricing + Sign Up:

Early Bird Special: Your investment in yourself is only $47 when you sign-up by September 12th.
Gal Pal Duo: $80 (save $14 when sign up by Sept 12)
Regular Price: $67
Fall Detox Group Program

Common Questions:

WILL I BE STARVING?

Not at all! There are over 60 recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there is room for snacks in between. Every meal is delicious and created by a fabulous chef to nourish your body from the inside out. This program is not about starvation or deprivation, and we are not counting calories or dwelling on carbs. You will feel satisfied with every bite. If you do get hungry, there are extra snack recipes included!

CAN I STILL WORK OUT DURING THE PROGRAM?

Please work out during the program! If you feel tired or have low energy, exercising restores both strength and energy. During this program, you will be eating protein and drinking plenty of liquids, so if you’re already exercising, there’s no reason to stop! It is important to remember that whenever you change the foods you eat, your body changes as well. Please consult with your doctor if you have any specific concerns about your health.

WHAT SORT OF PROTEINS WILL I BE EATING?

You will have the option to choose between various plant or animal-based proteins, which will be listed out for you in your recipes and suggested meals. There are so many clean-eating protein sources to choose from, you won’t get bored with your options!

AM I ONLY GOING TO BE DRINKING JUICES AND SMOOTHIES?

No way! While there are some juices and smoothies for you to choose from, you will also be eating salads, soups, and even desserts that are delicious and nutritious and will eliminate toxins from your body in a safe and natural way.

DO I HAVE TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS, PILLS AND POWDERS?

Nope, not in this program, although it is recommended to take a daily probiotic (We’ll learn how to do this through food too!)

WILL I FEEL WEAK DURING THE PROGRAM?

You are going to feel so healthy and energized it will amaze you! In the beginning, your body may go through a “ healing phase”  to re-balance and let go of toxicity. It is important to listen to your body through this program, and I will be here to support you with that. I will guide you step by step through exactly what can be done to reduce any unwanted symptoms that may appear. This program is completely flexible because we’re here to figure out what works for YOU!

WHAT SIDE EFFECTS MIGHT I EXPERIENCE?

Some people go through this program and feel nothing but energized, while others may feel tired or light-headed as their bodies eliminate and let go of unnecessary toxins. The experience will differ from one person to the next, but this program is designed with that in mind. You’ll have access to all the tools you need to keep any unwanted symptoms at bay.

I HAVE A KNOWN MEDICAL CONDITION. IS THIS STILL SAFE FOR ME?

While this program is based on eating only whole foods, it is still advised that you consult your physician before beginning this or any program. Note: It is important to consult your physician before beginning any new eating or exercise program. This is a clean-eating program designed to teach you the difference between foods that inflame you and foods that fuel you. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

BUY NOW

Fall Detox Group Program

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Fiery, Animal-Loving, Hula-Hooping Cali Babe

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Happy Friday, loves! I’m off in Virginia, celebrating a dear friend’s wedding on a vineyard. Then on Monday, I jet off to Greece with my husband for another friend’s wedding. I couldn’t be more excited to soak in all the joy + magic of the season. Seriously, someone pinch me.

Anyway, on to this week’s spotlight on Healthy Chicks in the Community, a weekly feature highlighting badass women doing their thang in the community. Celsea is a lovely young woman, who I had the pleasure to work with at my last job. She’s sweet, bright, witty and full of life! Celsea’s totally a gal after my own heart, always up to multiple projects + endeavors, vs. working just one 9-to-5 job.

I’ll let you meet this fiery red-head for yourself!

NAME/AGE: Celsea Novotny Jenkins

BLOG/TWITTER: FreshMeetsFierce.com@CelseaJenkins on Instagram

CURRENT CITY: Oakland, CA

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): A few months ago at my home in the Oakland Hills with one of my dogs, Bernadette

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: Right now I do freelance writing and marketing and I’m helping sweetgreen grow in Northern California. I’m definitely a generalist and love doing a lot of different things. Earlier this summer I was on tour with Wanderlust, and I’ve worked with large brands as well. I’m a connector so bringing people together and doing different types of work is really fun for me.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: I’d like to say healthy food, but really it’s the well-being of animals which affects me deeply. Animals don’t have a voice so they really need ours.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Outside hiking with my dogs or walking on the beach, I love the ocean!

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I drink New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc :)

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Vitamix, lemon squeezer and I hate cold water so my electric kettle is always running

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Pizza!

SONG THAT MOVES YOU: I love dance music so I’d say anything with a great beat

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU:

1. I have an identical twin sister who is my BFF

2. Before I got into health and wellness, I worked in theatre and grew up onstage

3. I just turned 30 and bought a hula hoop to learn to hoop dance after taking a class at Wanderlust

FAVORITE BODY PART: My arms. They feel really strong and support me in doing so many things.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Dancing!

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Stop being so hard on yourself and don’t bother comparing yourself to anyone else, everyone’s journey is their own.

Big thank you to Celsea for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community! If you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

Do you compare yourself to other women?

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Do you compare yourself to other women?

For many years, I would compare myself to other women’s bodies. I was super self-conscious at the beach when I was around my skinnier friends, and would refuse to take off my shorts. How dare I reveal my “fat thighs?”

Being around my slim, beautiful friends made me feel fatter, uglier and less than, ultimately stemming from that internal feeling of not being “enough.” I remember the anxieties I’d have around getting ready to go out in college. While sometimes I’d feel “OK,” the second I walked out and saw how I sized up against my roommates, I’d feel really blah.

Spring break of senior year in Cancun was probably the lowest I’ve ever felt about myself. After a week-long Lemonade Detox stint and endless efforts to lose weight with dieting, I had reached my all-time heaviest. I hated the way I looked in a bikini, and was really embarrassed to be “seen” in front of the frat boys and sorority girls. I still vividly remember taking a picture on the beach with all my girls, as I hid behind one of my friends so my thighs wouldn’t be seen.

Why couldn’t I have her legs?

If only I could lose weight and look like her, I’d be happy!

Man, it must be nice to look like that.

This was the type of negative self-talk I’d beat into my head.

As I transitioned away from dieting and began to live more, I naturally started to focus more on myself. I felt so good about the fact that I was taking care of myself and doing me that it didn’t matter what other women’s bodies looked like. I remember the first time I freely took my shorts off at the beach — and nothing happened! That’s when I realized that no one really gives a sh*t what you look like, or that your thighs are exposed. It’s just whatever.

While my years of body comparison are far in the past, old habits of comparing myself to other women have been popping back up for me lately — this time with career and success. I guess old habits die hard, right? It makes perfect sense that my old ways of comparison are coming up, this time in an area that’s relevant in my life now.

The other week, I was flipping through instagram, stalking Facebook and clicking on the websites of those I admire, slowly but surely feeling worst and worst about myself.

I am so far behind.

My website isn’t pretty enough.

So many other people are doing what I’m doing, how will I shine?

It got brutal. Then I realized, why should I let the success of these other beautiful women make me feel any worst about myself? Right then and there, I knew I had to take the advice of my 21-year-old self and once again look within. After all, when jealousy and comparison sets in, it’s a signal that something is a little off in your own life, and you’ve got some work to do.

And so I went on a bit of a social media detox, and spent lots of time alone with myself meditating, reading, journaling and listening to inspirational podcasts. I got real with my feelings. I let myself feel (without judgment).

Suddenly I remembered how darn amazing I really am — as are you, and her and them.

Ravishly recently published an article, “6 Ways to Stop Hating Other Women” and I particularly resonated with #4: Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. That is, don’t let what looks to be like success and perfection and living the dream make you feel like a total failure. Often times, we’re all fighting some sort of battle even if it doesn’t look that way on paper.

In the end, it’s OK to feel jealous or to compare yourself, as long as you recognize where those feelings are coming from and make a solid effort to work on that for yourself. In the meantime, I think we could all use a little more lifting up, celebrating and connecting with other women. Just imagine the magic of positive vibes that would come from that!

Do you compare yourself to other women – be it their job, relationship or body? What have you done to work through those feelings?

xoxo,

Rachel

5 Mindset Shifts I Experienced On My Journey to becoming a “normal eater”

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During my days as a chronic, obsessive dieter, I knew my relationship with food was not normal, but I just couldn’t stop. It was like being in a toxic relationship — you know the dude’s not right for you but for some reason you stay. Meanwhile, all your friends are like get the eff out of that. Then years later, you look back and say “What the hell was I thinking?”

That was me with food!

When I was in college, I so envied my friends who could eat normal. They’d nonchalantly order a pizza after a long night out, get a salad whenever they felt like eating salad, and be able to have a bagel on a Sunday (with all the fixings!) without guilt. I wanted that. But instead, I sat there drooling over their meals, as I anxiously counted calories, picked apart my sandwich and ordered what I thought was “healthy.”

Years later when I decided to quit dieting once and for all — cold turkey — I subconsciously began to develop the mindset of what I referred to as a “normal eater.” I realized right then and there that it wasn’t about what or how they ate at all; it’s about the way you think about food and your body.

Once again, it goes back to mindset.

Here are 5 mindset shifts I experienced during my journey to becoming a “normal” eater:

1. “I can eat anything I want, if I want it.”

This is a biggie. Those who are restricting themselves tend to follow certain rules or guidelines when it comes to food, which can get you into big trouble. Think about when you were little and told you couldn’t have that toy or cookie for dessert. Makes you just want it more and more, right? Same with eating.

When you label foods as “off limit” or “good” and “bad” you’re attaching an emotion to your meal. Instead of thinking X is good and X is bad, you must get to a place where all food is food and you can have anything you’d like if you really want it.

2. “I’m eating x because x makes me feel good.”

This brings me to point #2. Dieters or those with a crazy relationship with food (like I once had!) often eat something because they’re told they should (from a nutritionist, diet book, magazine, best friend etc.) or because they think said food is healthy for them. This goes back to my years of ordering a bland iceberg salad for lunch everyday because I actually thought I was making a low-calorie, healthy choice that would make me lose weight.

What I didn’t realize is this way of eating was dangerous, in that I was ignoring my bodies natural cues. I honestly didn’t know what made me feel good, and what made me feel crappy since I was so caught up in what was “healthy” or “right.” All of our bodies are made up different, and what works for one may not work for another. Play around with food, and eat the foods that make you feel good. Here’s the best part: Once you begin practicing this, you don’t even think of it anymore. It simply becomes innate to do and eat the things that make you feel your very best. Kind of a no-brainer, right?

3. “I’ll eat whenever I freakin’ feel like eating.”

A dieter’s mindset is very routine and regimented. You eat around the clock, and likely think about food a l l. d a y. l o n g. I remember ever so carefully planning out my schedule of exactly what I’d eat, and how many calories I had consumed thus far. It was absolutely exhausting! I’d often starve myself when I was hungry because I was “bad” the night before, or eat just to eat because I was so out of whack.

As you transition into normal eating habits, you begin to eat when you feel like eating. This goes back to listening to your body. What’s it craving? Is your stomach growling? Is it dinner time? Are you going out to lunch with your girls? Are you truly hungry? The rest of the time, you start to not even think about food because it becomes irrelevant.

4. “La La La, I’m having my cake and eating it too. So, about The Bachelorette last night…”

Which brings me to my next point: normal eaters don’t think about food all the effin time. They can have a slice of cake and forget about it. They can order a box of pizza, and stop at just two slices because they’re full and then forget that the leftovers are even in the fridge. They can eat “too much” one night and then get a stomach ache and drink some water or ginger tea and move on with it. There’s a whole lot of things more important than food, you know like who JoJo sent home.

5. “No mom, I’m not hungry right now! We’re building a fort!”

This one’s probably my favorite of all. Remember when you were a little kid, and your mom would ring the dinner bell but you just wanted to keep playing? That’s how normal eaters think. There’s so much other fulfilling things going on in our lives — from career to relationships to spirituality to play — that eating starts to take a seat on the back-burner. I mean, why obsess over the calories in your salad all day when you could be building a magical fort?

Do you struggle with eating “normally” now or in the past? Which of these mindsets resonates with you most?

xoxo,

Rachel

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Soulful, Journaling, Podcasting Guru

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Happy Friday ladies! I’ve been taking the week off of social media, and it feels oh so glorious. I had a strong urge inside of me to step away from it all — the comparison, the noise, the posting of everything I’m doing — and just be. I am, however, allowing myself to check my email and blog because, well, it is kind o’ part of what I do after all ;)

Anyway, in stepping away from the social media, it’s forced me to look within. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my journal, reading, meditating and listening to inspirational talks (which ultimately led me to Katie who you’ll meet today!) I stumbled upon Katie’s podcast Let It Out with Katie Dalebout (formerly the Wellness Wonderland) during an interview she hosted with spiritual guru Gabby Bernstein.

I immediately felt connected. I was so drawn by Katie’s lighthearted sense of humor, joyful voice and her authentic way of building community — virtually! “I could totes be friends with this chick!” I thought to myself, and so I curled up with my blanket and continued to listening to podcast after podcast. It was then I discovered she also recently published a book, “Let It Out: a Journey Through Journaling.” Total rockstar.

And so I reached out to Katie to tell her how much of an impact she’s making and that I’d LOVE to feature her here, and the rest is history. I hope you fall in love with Katie’s mission as much as I have…and go listen to her podcast, like now.

NAME/AGE: Katie Dalebout, 26

BLOG/TWITTER: katiedalebout.com/blog // @katiedalebout

CURRENT CITY: Detroit, MI

PHOTO TAKEN: this past March with my best friend and photographer Abbey Moore in Detroit

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: Podcasting, blogging, writing, + more…

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Having deep conversations with people.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Having a really great conversation with someone and being fully present with them.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I feel ugly in my body, feel worried about what people think of me and second guess myself.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Avocados, Greens, Sea Veggies

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Toast and peanut butter // PB & J

SONG THAT MOVES YOU: Girl Pool, Before the World Was Big

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU: (1) I’m a great conversationalist; I can talk to anyone with ease. (2) When I focus and apply myself to something, I can be very productive and successful. (3) I have some pretty awesome ideas.

FAVORITE BODY PART: I have really strong nails.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Long walks with others or with a podcast.

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Focus more on making your life as a whole really great and beauitful not just making your body perfect or beautiful.

Big thank you to Katie for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community! If you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

Digging into the Diet Industry + What It Means to Follow a Healthy Diet for Weight Loss

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My journey with dieting started when I was 16 years old with the South Beach Diet. I started it right after a family vacation, when it became apparent to me that my thighs were ‘huge’ and I was ‘fat.’ So I scoured the internet in search for a solution, and of course going on a diet was the number one answer from Google.

I still vividly remember sitting through English class, counting out my celery sticks and 30-calorie cheese wedges. I started the diet right around my sister’s birthday, where I avoided nearly all the food and quietly ate my ricotta ‘pudding’ in the corner as everyone else devoured the cake. I had egg beaters every morning for breakfast, turkey roll-ups at lunch and grilled chicken or fish with veggies for dinner. I avoided most fruit, all grains and bread like the plague. After all, they were ‘off limits.’

Throughout the whole diet process, it was the first time in my life I became obsessed with the scale, counting calories and losing weight. Even though I was in fact dropping pounds (mostly water weight in the beginning), I was more self-conscious than ever and literally consumed with how I looked.

Fortunately I’ve been off dieting for nearly 8 years now, but you can clearly see how they get a bad rap. After all, the diet industry makes thousands and thousands of dollars off of people — mostly women — trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that many of the diets out there are revolved around cutting back, cutting out, or deprivation, which only leads to disaster in the end. After all, how many of you have gone on a diet only to go off of it, and feel even worse about yourself / gain even more weight than when you started? Trust me, I’ve been there.

The types of super strict diets that limit particular food groups, vital nutrients and make you feel bad about your body is something I cannot stand behind. They’re not healthy or sustainable.

However, something I can get behind is following a healthy diet, or more specifically a balanced way of eating, that nourishes + works for your body. And I’m happy to see that the folks at Tufts Medical Center recognize this and the negative effects that can come from the diet industry. It’s less about deprivation, and more about providing guidelines on food combinations, portioning, variety, and even frequency of eating. In fact, Tufts Medical Center even states that many of their patients trying to lose weight actually aren’t eating enough to manage their hunger. So it’s not always about cutting back after all! ;)

So maybe you’re happy with your weight and don’t need to lose any weight, and that’s phenomenal! But if you are looking to shed a few pounds (for you, not because some diet commercial told you that you should), then going on yet another strict diet is probably not the answer. Rather, focusing on ADDING IN the good stuff & following a nutritious, balanced meal plan can help you see the results you want.

Here are some basic guidelines from Tufts Medical Center of what you’ll want to add in:

  • Lean protein like chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, greek yogurt, lowfat cheeses, nuts, nut butters (almond is my fave!), beans, tofu and tempeh
  • High fiber fruits & veggies like berries, apples, pears, oranges, peaches, kale + leafy greens, spinach, zucchini, brussels sprouts and cabbage. I like to stick to local, seasonal and organic as much as possible! (Note: if you don’t already have a spiralizer, get one. Zucchini ‘noodles’ are the bomb dot com.)
  • Whole grains like barley, oats, quinoa, whole grain bread + pasta. Fun fact: I eat gluten free for the most part so our cabinet is filled with quinoa, quinoa pasta and brown rice. Hubby doesn’t even know the difference! ;)
  • Heart-healthy fats like quality olive oils, avocados, and nuts. Did you know fat can actually help keep you full and is an essential part of a healthy diet? All those fat-free diets of the past can take a hike!
  • Lots and lots and lots of H2O! I like to add lemon + mint during the summer to spruce it up.

So what’s my verdict on this whole diet thing?

I am not a fan of the typical industry definition of a diet, and never will be. I don’t believe in depriving yourself to look a certain way, and your body does not deserve that sort of shame and restriction ever. I am cool with nourishing yourself with real food, and eating in a way that works for your body. And if losing weight is one of your goals and you need support on meal plans, portion control, and calorie consumption, then seeing a respectable dietitian who can support you is a good option.

However, if you’re like I used to be and struggle with body image, calorie counting, and obsessing over the scale, taking a more holistic route by working with a health coach is probably a better option for you. In fact, because of the struggles I’ve personally gone through I now work with women, by empowering them to nourish their mind, body + soul through wholesome food and self-love.

What about you? Have you ever gone on a strict diet that drove you crazy? Seen a dietitian? Worked with a health coach? What do you think of when you hear the word ‘diet’ vs. ‘following a healthy diet’?

xoxo,

Rachel

Note: This post is sponsored by Tufts Medical Center, but as always all opinions are my own. I partnered with the brand to write this article but every word is mine.


My Transition From Food Fear to Food Love (& Escaping the Vicious Cycle)

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As a child, I absolutely adored food. I was lucky to grow up in a household that valued good food, and sitting down for family dinners. My mom’s chicken parmesan, shepherd’s pie and chicken devan were absolutely to-die-for, and I cherished each and every bite.

I have fond memories walking into my grandmother’s house to the comforting aroma of a fresh pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I loved helping my grandma cook, plopping celery and carrots into the boiling water ever so carefully to assure I wouldn’t get burnt. She taught me how to make pierogies (making sure to pinch the dough juuuust right), and that there’s nothing sweeter than a tomato picked fresh from the garden with just a pinch of salt.

Food was love. And we all loved to eat.

Somewhere along the way, that all changed. I learned that food was “bad” and would in turn make me fat. And so the self-depricating, fat-shaming deprivation began. Food consumed me for a solid 6+ years of my life. It was always on my mind, and I completely let it dictate my life. I’d skip out on dates, dinner with friends, and fabulous opportunities all because of my fear of food.

Going out to dinner was the worst, as each meal was more like a science project than a joyous occasion. I’d sit there and dissect every little bite, count the calories and make sure I didn’t eat “too much.”

I vividly remember the spring during my senior year of college, when all of my girlfriends were going out to celebrate the last semester with margaritas and Mexican. At the time, it was my version of complete hell. I sat in my room by myself, contemplating whether I should go or not. All the while, I was super angry at myself for not being able to “loosen up” and have fun like the rest of my friends, whose thoughts were consumed with far more glamorous things than food. At the same time, I was scared shitless of what might happen if I did go: the calories I’d consume, the guilt I’d feel, what the number might say on the scale the next morning.

After a couple of hours of pondering — and some peer pressure from my friends — I decide to go. I snacked on chips and salsa all night, and then ordered a margarita on the rocks (because all the other girls got one and I didn’t want to feel out of place.) I drank half of it and immediately felt the sugar making me fatter. While everyone else was laughing, cheers-ing and celebrating, all I could think about was all the calories I was consuming.

Why can’t I just be like them? Will this cycle ever end? How can I be free?

Years later — through lots of soul-searching, positive mantra and self-love practices — I began to discover the notion of food as a celebration, an experience. And everything changed.

I realized that food wasn’t the villain; it was my mindset + relationship with my body that needed to change.

Nowadays, some of my fondest memories revolve around the table surrounded by food.

It brings me back to a summer I spent in Southern Italy during college. I was living in a tiny little village by the water, with an apartment that didn’t have a scale. Not to mention, the food there did not come with a label (as it was fresh, real food) so there was literally no way to track my calories.

I was on my own and, while I didn’t see it at the time, forced to improve the relationship I had with food.  I purchased fresh produce, cheese and bread from the local market (loving the fact that I could communicate in Italian!), I put olive oil on almost everything and indulged in a little bit of gelato almost daily.

One evening, some of the girls in my group were invited to an authentic Italian meal at a local’s house. We sat outside on a family-style farm table, enjoying a home-cooked 6-course meal. Although the salad was fresh as can be and the garlicky seafood-adorned pasta was absolutely decadent, it was the first time in years I wasn’t thinking about the food.

I looked around and thought about how lucky I was to be in such great company in a beautiful new country. I soaked in the vibe of the romantic, candle-lit table setting. When I closed my eyes, I felt the sea breeze swaying through my hair and heard the laughter carry across the table.

While I didn’t realize it at the time, that is what celebrating food is all about.

Have you ever struggled with your relationship with food + your body? Do you create specific rules for yourself when it comes to food?

New Moon Mantras: Getting Clear + Setting Your Intention for the Year Ahead

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Good afternoon, beautiful souls! There’s something magical about a new month, don’t you think? It paves the doorway for new beginnings and gives you a sense of “permission” that it’s OK to change paths, re-route, or heck even start over. This is especially true when the start of a month begins with a new moon like today. Where are my fellow astrology sisters out there? ;)

New moons have been known to symbolize letting go of the past, and making way for a fresh start. It’s the perfect time to set intentions, get clear about your heart’s true desires, and re-set your focus. Make sense, right?

And according to The AstroTwin’s, tonight’s new moon in Leo may actually spark your inner creative genius + give you a little confidence booster to boot. So for all my fellow creatives out there, this new moon is totally working on your side!

As I reflect upon the new moons + what I’d like to manifest in the year ahead, 3 phrases immediately come to mind: abundance, focus + vibrant feminine energy.

I’m going to take some time today to write out some affirmation cards, and then spend some time journaling what exactly those words + phrases mean to me.

Would you like to join me? I’d love to hear your new moon mantras + what you’d like to manifest into your life!

xoxo,

Rachel

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Colorful, Artsy, Creative Dancing Queen

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Happy Friday, loves! Hope you had a fabulous week. Mine was super blissful, filled with a trip to Briggs Garden Center, lot o’ journaling fun, and putting the finishing touches on an exciting creative project I’m launching soon. PS If you missed yesterday’s post, I’m starting a weekly (virtual) journaling club in August and would love you ladies to join.

Anyway, I’m super pumped to bring you this week’s feature on Healthy Chicks in the Community, a weekly series celebrating badass women doing their thing. When you’re a blogger and social media addict, you tend to socialize with many people on the interwebs, many of whom you’ve never even met IRL (in real life). Some of those “online friends” you connect with more than others because they just “vibe” with you, and Sanae is one of those people.

She’s such a beautiful soul — inside & out — and I’m so glad that social media brought us together. I first “met” her through some comments on my instagram feed, and quickly realized what an inspiring, cool, rockstar of a woman she is — all the ingredients for a Healthy Chick in the Community. She even has her own Etsy shop — you must check it out ;)

Alas, I introduce you to Sanae; I hope you find as much inspiration from her as I have!

NAME/AGE: Sanae Ferreira/28

BLOG/TWITTER: Blog: Where the BlueBoots Go (bluebootsgo.com) Twitter: @dieTribebyS

CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): On the blissful streets of Paris in the 7eme district in June 2015.

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I am a doctoral candidate in Nutrition & Metabolism at a medical school in Boston. I am not a dietician (which is what most people think when I first tell them what I do) but I do research with kids to understand what diet, family, and body shape factors put them at higher risk for obesity and later cardiovascular disease. That’s my most professional hat I wear at the moment.

I also write my blog and do some freelance writing and editorial work. I design jewelry art and paint custom pieces for home, gifts, or weddings on my Etsy shop inspiréebyS, which incorporates my love for all things French (inspireée=inspired) with a combination of colors, textures, feelings that I express in my art.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: This is hard! I would say working on any project where I can be creative and make organized messes with lots of color.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Well-rested, well-fed, and in-tune with what is going on inside and outside of me. All it takes is one day when I wake up feeling terrible to realize the gift of health, the presence of wellness. I like to wake up early in the morning and have quiet time to appreciate being alive. The ideal morning starts like this, with some prayer and reflection to fuel up my joy, then some exercise – yoga or barre – followed by a light but filling healthy juice or smoothie.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: The weight of responsibility to fulfilling my investment in my education and career, pursuit of success in creative endeavors, keeping up with friends, and maintaining a pleasant place to live can be overwhelming. In those cases, a slow walk in the neighborhood, talking with a friend or my husband, sitting and daydreaming for a while, doodling, or watching an episode or two of Friends or Gilmore Girls is just the ticket to cheer me up.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES:

Edible: 1) I always have a lemon available because I’m constantly drinking lemon water. It tastes good, and is cleansing. 2) Green living things – currently, basil, apple mint, and rosemary. 3) bananas – easy on-the- go fuel or snack.

Inedible: 1) cast iron pan 2) colorful and fun patterned dishtowels 3) coffee and tea –lots of varieties

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: I’m half Chinese and there’s a chinese spicy dish that I love called ma po tofu – it’s a spicy, saucy dish with soft tofu and ground pork that is just so comforting over rice. I like it without meat too!

SONG THAT MOVES YOU: Literally, “Better When I’m Dancin’” by Megan Trainor is a song I play on repeat when I’m at work and need to power through the afternoon. It always energizes me when I dance to the beat a little. It’s our little secret :-) .

“Show the world you’ve got that fire
Feel the rhythm getting louder
Show the world what you can do
Prove to them you’ve got the moves
I don’t know about you,  but
I feel better when I’m dancing, yeah, yeah.”

A precious verse of a hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, that I love very much and is moving goes like this:
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU: I’m colorful, calm (mostly), and creative.

FAVORITE BODY PART: Lips or eyes. Because I like them, and not because anyone else does!

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: I love yoga, barre, and Body Jam – a cardio dance class. Moving to a beat makes me just as happy as flowing from downward dog to tranquil child’s pose.

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Find your tribe that will support your flourishing presence. We are often striving and challenging ourselves, which can be great, but always check in and listen to what is going on inside. No matter of the instant “pay off,” if you don’t have wellbeing, you don’t have happiness. It isn’t something people our age thinks of, but even if we’re young now, we have to start thinking of healthy aging because aging is a natural process. We have the opportunity to make healthy choices every day to age beautifully or else spend years trying to undo damage and catch up. Adequate sleep, reflection time, a diet which fuels and renews you, caring for what you eat and apply to your skin or hair, and staying active and flexible are all so important.

Finally, take care of your whole being – physical, mental, social, spiritual. Envision where you want to be. How do you feel? What do you look like? Are you smiling? Just imagining yourself as your best self helps bring happy hormones to be active and helps engage your whole self in a cycle conducive to a positive state of being.

I’d love to connect and talk about any of this more, so thanks for reading, and thank you so much, Rachel, for asking me to be a part of Healthy Chicks this week!

Big thank you to Sanae for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community! If you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

 
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