A Healthy Chick’s Guide to Ringing in Spring: 10 things to do right now for health + happiness

Read full article | 2 Comments

Spring is finally in the air (at least here in Boston!) I can’t tell you how truly happy I was yesterday morning when I woke up to sunshine, 70-degree-weather and that oh so joyful feeling of utter bliss. I put on my new maxi dress ‘n shades, head outside and didn’t look back. There’s something about spring that gives me a newfound sense of renewal and passion, which I’m sure many of you can relate to.

Ready to ring in spring with an extra pep in your step, the Healthy Chick way that is? Here are 10 things to do right now.

1. Set Your Intention Spring is a time for new beginnings and change! Take out your journal and get really clear about your intention for the season. Think about what you want…and then ask yourself why. Right now my intention is around clarity, self-care and being true to myself.

2. Take a Spa Day Literally. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend an evening at Boston’s newest organic day spa, Spa Day. This hidden oasis on Washington St. makes you feel like you’re miles and miles away from the city. While I was tempted to do all the services, I opted for the Skin Savior Facial (geared toward blemish-prone skin) and Classic Pedicure. I loved the fact that they use clean, organic ingredients and go by the belief that “What goes on your body goes in your body.” (Seriously, think about that!) Plus the owner Maria is super informative about the products and services + such a doll.

When I left, I thought “Why don’t I treat myself to this more often?” which I am now going to make a point to do. And you should to. Seriously. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that my teal-painted toes look extra pretty in yoga class + my skin has an extra glow.

3. Shake Up Your Exercise Routine Does your exercise sched need a bit of a revamp? Trust me, I hear you! It’s great to have a routine you love, but if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, why not shake things up? Last week I tried Forrest Yoga at Coolidge Corner Yoga to change it up from my usual beloved Vinyasa. I loved the heated room and how the longer held poses helped me “let go” and feel a sense of peace mind, body and soul. It was a true exercise for both the body and mind.

Then this Sunday, the hubby and I went on our first group run of the season which felt absolutely amazing! Do what makes you feel energized and refreshed, and don’t be afraid to try something new. You just might fall in love.

4.  Treat Yourself It’s total BS that Healthy Chicks only eat lettuce and fat-free food. Um, far from it! Find little ways to treat yourself, that is when your body truly wants + craves something. There is no such thing as “bad” in my book. This week I enjoyed a Bloody Mary over brunch with my family at North Street Grille, and a burger (sans the bun!) later on while BBQing with friends. If you want the martini, order the martini. If you’re feeling pizza, go for it but truly savor it. If you’re really in the mood for the salad, that’s great too! And pretty please, don’t purchase yet another diet book or hop on the latest bandwagon fad this spring. You don’t need it. You’re beautiful. Just do you.

5. Bust Out Your Kitchen Skills I’m the first to admit it that us newlyweds slacked majorly in the kitchen this winter. We may have resorted to ordering takeout sushi, pad thai and delivery just a wee bit much. But now that spring is here, it’s time to get cookin’ again! Last week, I experimented with our new Spiral Slicer (which I’ve already fallen deeply in love with!) to make a vegetarian broccoli + zucchini pesto “pasta,” and tonight I made baked lemon garlic chicken served with smashed sweet potatoes + a cucumber, tomato, local mozzarella salad. It’s a myth that cooking has to be complex and fancy. Just throw on an apron and go with it. I know you have it in you!

6. Spruce Up Your Home Does the home-front need a little spring refresh? Girl, I hear ya. No need for a complete HGTV-style renovation, although that would be nice. Simply brighten up your space with flowers and herbs! Right now I’ve been into putting wild flowers in mason jars to “dress up” the kitchen, and I purchased a new basil plant this evening for cooking and decor. (Win, win!)

7. Hit the Farmer’s Market It’s that time of year again! Local farmer’s markets are beginning to pop up, and I couldn’t be more excited. If you’re local to Boston, you’ll be happy to know that both SoWa and Copley Square Farmer’s Market will be open for business again early May. Get your reusable tote bags + shopping lists ready! In the meantime, try to shop locally as much as possible and aim to eat foods that are in season–like asparagus, radishes and leafy greens. After all, they taste better that way and help support the local economy!

8. Spend Time with Nature This is at the top of my to-do list this spring, as I know how therapeutic it can be! Spending time with nature can be extremely healing and freeing to the mind, body and soul. If you can walk somewhere, walk. Bike around the city. Take a moment to sit on a bench and simply take in the sunshine + silence. Find as much time as possible to get outside. Trust me, your body + mind will thank you.

9. Revamp Your Beauty Routine Dry skin or blemishes got ya down? Oh, I hear ya, girlfriend! Get your glow back by revamping your beauty regime. Right now I’m especially loving my new Neroli Toning Mist by Om Aroma & Co., designed to calm and balance skin. (I purchased a bottle at Spa Day after my treatment!) I’ve also started taking MegaFood’s Women’s vitamins intended to nourish, balance and energize. I’m already seeing (and feeling) a difference, so I’m going to keep up with my new routine. But keep in mind –ya gotta find what works for you.

10. De-Clutter Your Life Are you feeling weighed down from the winter? Trust me, you’re not alone. Now is the perfect time to de-clutter, letting go of all of the things that aren’t serving you so you can make room for the new. From old clothes and random knick-knacks (you should see my room right now, it’s frightening!) to toxic relationships and negative feelings, you owe it to yourself to let it all go. Now take a deep breath. Doesn’t that feel good?

What are your favorite things about the new season? How are you ringing in spring with a healthy heart + mind?

                 

A New Kind of To-DO List: The Happiness Journal

Read full article | 1 Comment

Remember when I took part in the 100 Happy Days Challenge last year? Each day — no matter how crappy the weather or crappy your day — you were to photograph one thing that made you happy. And that I did.

I found such a great amount of joy living in the present + seeking out little things each day that truly made me happy, no matter how silly or insignificant they may have seemed to others. It’s what makes you happy that truly matters.

Flash forward approximately one year later from when I started the challenge, and I’ve yet again found myself drawn to look at my happiness levels, to look within. I’ve realized that I’ve been working so darn hard to make everyone else happy + get sh*t done that I’ve started to let go of some of the fundamental things that make me shine bright. That is, the things that make me me.

Something as little as spending an hour unplugged with the hubby, cooking a homemade dinner or taking 60 minutes out of the day to sweat can go a long way in filling up my “happiness tank.”

And so I’ve decided to create one of my infamous to-do lists, but this time focused on me & only me. I compiled a list of some of the things that I know bring me the most joy.

I figured if I can “check off” the majority of the items on this list most days, I should be able to see an internal shift. If I can put myself + my deepest core needs first, happiness should find me.

Here’s the start of my happiness journal, what would you put on yours?

xoxo,

Rachel

                 

5 Healthy Finds I’m Loving Right Now {Beauty, Fitness, Wellness, Fashion + Food}

Read full article | 2 Comments

Well, it’s officially Daylight Saving Time, and I’m praying/hoping/dreaming that we really do indeed “spring ahead.”

But in the meantime as I continue to freeze my butt off, share Ubers with strangers to work, and recoup from the Boston Blizzards of 2015, I’ve also been having a lot of fun navigating some new + exciting healthy finds. Hey, when the weather gets rough, spend your paycheck on things that are good for your health. Am I right or am I right? Hey, at least it makes things seem a little sunnier! Below are my latest obsessions.

BEAUTY FIND: Love Lettuce Face Mask, LUSH, $6.95

Last week while visiting my lovely friends at LUSH Cosmetics, I was given a tub of their “Love Lettuce” fresh face mask. Made with natural, soothing ingredients like lavender, almond oil, and honey, this mask is intended to give dull skin a renewed glow while balancing oily t-zones.  The product also contains ground almonds for an all-natural exfoliating effect!

Since my skin can be on the sensitive side, I tested it out on my nose and neck last night and fell in love. I can’t wait to try it out on my entire face tonight. The best part is you keep it in the fridge so it’s super cooling + calming! Not to mention the smell is nice with notes of lavender. Ahh…spa in a jar.

FIT FIND: FlyBarre Class, Flywheel Sports, $28

The ever-so-popular Flywheel recently launched their just as popular barre class, FlyBarre, in Boston! Obviously, I had to check it out and was lucky enough to attend a class during grand opening week. Ladies, it was epic.

Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of bar classes and have tried pretty much everything from Core Fusion to Pure Barre to The Bar Method all a little bit different but with similar technique.

What sets FlyBarre apart from the rest is their killer music (seriously, these instructors have the best playlists) and their unique, challenging athletic-style routine. Bar (or barre) can become rather predictable (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!) and typically have sort of ‘blah’ playlists but Flybarre’s fresh style is just what I was craving. I can’t wait to get my butt back to the barre!

WELLNESS FIND: Balance Essential Oil, DoTerra, $26.67

While most people consider me to be quite “chill,” (perhaps it’s because I hate drama and am pretty low-key for the most part), I actually tend to be a pretty anxious person. I’m extremely hard on myself when it comes to work, and I worry…a lot (which I think is something I picked up from my beloved Grandma Carol). In comes balance essential oil by DoTerra to save the day! With grounding + soothing oils like spruce, Ho Wood, frankincense, and blue tansy, balance is perfect for creating a sense of calm.

I love using this oil when I’m feeling particularly stressed or “busy,” or when my mind starts spinning. It’s also a perfect life-saver for public transportation nightmares, traffic and any other stressors life may throw at you. Anxiety, be gone (just a few drops will do it)!

I recently became a DoTerra Wellness Advocate, so if you have any questions definitely reach out or shoot me an email. You can shop directly from my website here!

FASHION FIND: Chaturanga Floral Flow Tight, Athleta, $74

If you know me, you know that I pretty much live in leggings…99% of the time. From gym to work to coffee dates and meetings, leggings literally carry me through my day-to-day activities. While I’m pretty much a walking advertisement for leggings, I’m also very picky about what I wear; they have to be just right. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Athleta’s new chaturanga tight prints which I now own in a variety of patterns.

My latest purchase were these floral flow chaturanga tights – perfect for spring! I love the funky color combination, and super soft material that fits to your body just perfectly. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and just the right amount of stretchy — great for yoga, errands or pairing with an oversized sweater. Seriously ladies, get on ‘em (or in ‘em). They’re simply f-a-b.

Oh, and did you know that Athleta offers FREE shipping on orders over $50, and hassle-free returns + exchanges if you’re not 100% in love with the product? Now that’s customer service!

FOODIE FIND: Sprouted Buffalo Almonds + Ranch Cashews, Organic Living Superfoods, $3.75

Fun fact you may not know about me: I have pretty much a zero sweet tooth. Yes, I love my dark chocolate and berries, but I’ll always choose something savory (ahem, cheese!) over sweet. Perhaps I’m fortunate that I don’t crave cake or cookies at midnight, but before you say I’m lucky let me tell you I’m a sucker for all things cheesy, salty and crunchy (Like, it’s bad and the struggle is real.)  And while I indulge in these savory not-so-healthy snacks  from time to time, my body doesn’t like me when I do so too often.

That’s where these raw sprouted buffalo almonds + ranch cashews by Organic Living Superfoods come in for the win! They are 100% vegan, raw, organic and gluten free and the best part: they are made with real, simple ingredients. Combining sun-dried tomatoes, dill, onion and garlic powder (to give me that cheesy flavor I know + love!) with tantalizing flavors like sea salt, lemon juice, coconut nectar and extra virgin olive oil, this snack is everything I wanted and more — spicy, tasty and healthy without compromising flavor!

Want in on the fun? All Healthy Chicks readers will receive 10% off their first order with code [healthychicks10]. Choose from a variety of healthy superfood snacks from sprouted nut mixes and energy squares to superfood powders and dried fruitsBrowse products now! (Note: this code is not valid on gift certificates or “snack pack samplers.”)

Now, I want to turn it over to YOU. What are you loving lately? What do you take with you in your gym bag / purse / work bag to keep you healthy + energized throughout the day? In the meantime, don’t forget to snag your 10% discount for Organic Living Superfoods using the promo code above.

xoxo,

Rachel



                 

Are you listening?

Read full article | 3 Comments

Are you listening…

to your body?

your mind?

your gut instinct?

your significant other when sitting across the table at dinner?

to yourself?

As much as I’d like to think I’m a good listener, if I’m being completely honest with you this is definitely one area of my life that could use some major work.

For one, there’s the addiction that I have to my iPhone. (It’s bad, like really bad) For some reason, I constantly feel the need to check work emails (even on the weekends and past 9 o’clock), browse twitter and check to see if my latest insta post got any likes + comments. Meanwhile, my husband will be trying to have a meaningful conversation with me but I’m failing to listen, to really be there for him. Even though I’m not doing it intentionally, it doesn’t feel good inside. And thus this is something I want to STOP DOING NOW.

Then there’s the whole listening to your body. This is something I preach often on the blog, and feel that the majority of the time I practice. But I am human too (and by no means perfect!), and sometimes I let this slide…

…Like in the morning when my body really wants + needs a solid protein-packed breakfast but I’m running late to work and grab the easy gluten-free waffle option

…and when I take the “easy way out” instead of listening to my gut

…Or when I don’t drink enough water some days, and instead go for another coffee to “power through” (even though I know caffeine is not the answer)

…Or last night in my power vinyasa class, when I couldn’t help but stare at the slim, flexible yogi in front of me sculpting her body into this crazy impossible shape when I simply stayed in tree pose feeling week + comparing.

I was failing to listen, to truly listen with all my heart and soul.

Sound familiar? If you can relate, I urge you to take some time (even 20-30 minutes) to yourself to truly listen and be alone with your thoughts. What is your body crying for? What are your heart’s deepest desires? What are some things in your life you can let go of, that aren’t serving you well and perhaps blocking you from getting what you really want?

After spending some time alone with my thoughts, this is what I heard:

1. “Start running again. It makes you feel strong, powerful and beautiful! You can use the treadmill for now, but pretty soon the snow will melt and you can get back outside!”

2. “Take time for yourself to unplug. Perhaps every Sunday take a “me day.” You work hard and deserve it.”

3. “Yes, you aren’t feeling the best about your body these past couple weeks but it’s winter. It’s been a long, cold brutal one. Sunshine is coming soon and you know what to do! Keep nourishing yourself + yes, remember to drink that H2O.”

4. “Set weekly date nights with J. Cherish this time together, and really be together. (Turn that damn phone off!)”

5. “Practice yoga more often even if it’s just once a week at first. You love it and it makes you feel clear-headed, energized and alive!”

6. “Write…often. It’s your escape and you need this time for yourself.”

Let me just tell you…that felt darn good.

Now, let me ask you something: are you listening? How can you choose to actively listen…more?

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

what’s your love language?

Read full article | 1 Comment

Good afternoon, lovelies! Hope you all had a glorious, love-filled Valentine’s Day. Stuffed teddy bears, candy hearts and expensive dinners aside, I hope you were able to feel the love in some way or another.

Speaking of love, I recently started “reading” (well, listening) to The 5 Love Languages on Audible as recommended by a friend. Sure I’ve taken the test in the past to discover my love language (which I found fascinating!) but wanted to dig a little deeper and see what the book was all about.

I must say, I’m 8 chapters in and can’t put the book down take my headphones off! It’s no wonder I was always so fascinated with Psychology and relationships throughout highschool and college. Perhaps that’s why I started off as a relationship blogger…which I’m so glad I put in the past (that’s a whole ‘nother story for another time!)

So what’s this whole love language thing about, anyway? Written by relationship counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, the book discusses how we communicate through 5 primary love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts and physical touch.

The catch is that we all have different love languages, meaning what works for one may not work for another (similar to the concept of bio-individuality). This very fact is what Chapman believes to be the reason behind many divorces, and also the key to love that lasts.

You see, most of us tend to speak the love language that we prefer, although that may not be the love language of our partner. For example, if your primary love language is words of affirmation (like me!) you may show you partner you love them by saying “I love you!” and leaving cute notes around the house or in their lunchbox. On the flip side, if their main love language is acts of service (like my man’s) all the mushy gushy notes in the world aren’t going to make up for the fact that there’s a sink full of dirty dishes.

See the problem here? No worries, there is indeed a solution. Once we learn to speak our partner’s love language, you can begin to truly be heard and improve your relationship.

After taking the quiz, I found my primary love languages — no surprise here!– to be words of affirmation and quality time. My man’s on the other hand was a mix between acts of service (number 1) and quality time. We both had some physical touch as well, though it didn’t weigh as strong, while gift-giving wasn’t too important to either of us.

“So J, what are some chores you’d like me to do more of?” I slyly asked while he was watching a James Bond movie. (Keep in mind: this is after I already forced him to hit pause to take the love language quiz. What a guy!)

“Huh? I don’t know…nothing really. I don’t want you to have to do anything, we’re both equal and can both pitch in. Plus, I’ll always do the dishes since I know you hate doing them.”

Well isn’t that sweet…but I knew he wasn’t telling the full truth.

“I can learn to love doing them… or at least do them for you!” I exclaimed. Boy wants acts of service, I was determined to do some acts of service.

“Well, I guess it’d be nice if you put away the dry ones when you have time.”

That I can do! We were on the right path. Also, since we both had such a strong scoring of “Quality Time,” I suggested we get back to doing our weekly date nights (which we put a slight pause on due to the cold weather) and make a list of activities we’d enjoy doing together like yoga, hiking and concerts.

I was beginning to feel like a relationship therapist. But the thing is, there’s nothing wrong with our marriage at all (heck, we’re newlyweds!) but like anything it can always be better. And that’s something I always want to strive toward.

Now it’s your turn! Find this stuff as fascinating as I do? You can discover your own love language here! What’s your primary love language(s), and what do you think is your partner’s? Were you surprised at all? How can you begin to implement speaking in your partner’s love language to improve your relationship?

                 

My Journey Through Overcoming Food Fear

Read full article | 7 Comments

I spent a large portion of my life — that is, the majority of my upper teens and early twenties — hating food.

It’s not that I didn’t like the taste of food; now that I loved. That certainly wasn’t the problem.

It’s that I hated the way food made me fat (or so I thought.) Regardless, it made me feel fat and for that reason alone I grew to despise it.

Even worse than hating food was that I was well aware of this “issue” of mine, and wanted so badly to be normal like the rest of my friends. I was ashamed of myself and my weird ways with food.

I’ll never forget that feeling of watching my beautiful + lively college roommates enjoy pizza, pasta and beer without a care in the world, as I’d sit there starving myself. Literally. “Thanks, but I already ate dinner,” or “I’m stuffed,” I’d lie to myself (and my friends) and I sat there salivating watching them eat, feeling 100% empty.

Whether I ate a spoonful of peanut butter, some rice cakes, roasted chicken or a half of a bagel, I was left feeling guilty; it was never good enough and I always found a way to punish myself for being “bad.”

Every meal, dinner out, or snack was a whole ordeal for me involving a meticulous calorie-counting formula swallowed by an extra dose of guilt. I was constantly on edge, worried sick about that next meal. When would it be? Who would be watching me? How many calories would I consume? What would the scale say the next morning?

I avoided dinners out like the plague, family vacations were centered around food and exercise, and Thanksgiving (and most holidays in that case) was a giant anxiety fest. I was living fearing food, in turn not really living at all.

One summer, I traveled abroad in Southern Italy, and for the first time in years had to get by without a scale or nutrition labels. Most everything was served fresh (from mozzarella and fish to fresh breads and fruit I’d pick up at the local stands), and the minimal processed food I ate was labeled in Italian with a different way of tracking calories.

Put plain and simple, it was just me, myself and my body. So I did what I was meant to do: listened to it.

I enjoyed the rich flavor of chocolate gelato on hot summer afternoons, stayed up until midnight sharing memories and breaking bread around the table with new friends and carelessly ate real bread, real cheese and real meat for the first time in a long while. I felt so alive, so free.

That was just the beginning of a major life shift I was going through (one that took several years to break through), a shift toward truly learning to celebrate and enjoy food.

It pains me to look back on this time at my old self, a girl who was so self-conscious, anxious and so very mean to her body. It pains me even more to know there are hundreds of other girls going through a similar story: ashamed, scared and confused. They (or you) are not alone.

Now, some of my most favorite memories are centered around the table (over good food). A place that once brought such a great deal of fear now brings joy, happiness and laughter.

Each family recipe tells a story, like Grandma Carol’s famous chocolate cake, Grandma Mary’s pierogies, dad’s award-winning chili, and my annual birthday meal: chicken parmesan with Fettuccine Alfredo. And believe it or not, Thanksgiving is now my favorite holiday: a time where family and loved ones can come together to celebrate love (and food).

As I lay here on this snowy eve with my hubby (snuggled up in my favorite fuzzy blanket), I slowly sip a glass of bold Cabernet as I savor the rich, tart berry flavor.

I am blessed that this (sometimes crazy) life of mine has taught me the lessons it has, and await many more memories we’ll create around the table with good food, good laughs and a few good drinks.

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

Find an exercise that makes you shine: A Fab Fitness Giveaway with Women’s iLab

Read full article | 3 Comments

As you know, I’m a firm believer that in order to thoroughly enjoy fitness + discover your personal path to wellness, you must find an exercise that makes you shine. In other words, the goal is to find something that you love + look forward to instead of something you feel you “have” to do.

After all, there’s nothing worse than painfully dragging your butt to the gym for a treadmill run just because you “need to work out.” Where’s the fun in that?

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover several exercises that makes me shine and feel my best self including running, yoga and barre. These are the exercises that make you sweat, feel sexy, and leave feeling totally OK with the fact that you just spent $20+ to get your downward dog on. These are the exercises that leave you wanting more.

One of my true loves — which has always been there for me through thick and thin — is spinning. There’s nothing like a good, sweaty ride that gets my blood flowing + heart pumping!

Living in Boston, I’ve been blessed to experiment with many different spin studios – - seriously there are so many popping up! But one of my favorites since the beginning has been Flywheel. Just like an old friend or your favorite skinny jeans, I know I can always count on them to deliver.

Maybe it’s their stadium-style seating + their club-like bumping beats. Or perhaps it’s their rock-star instructors who motivate + inspire. Or maybe it’s the way they encourage you to push yourself further (both personally or competitively).

Or it could very well just be the fact that Flywheel simply rocks.

That’s why I’m thrilled to team up with Women’s iLab and fellow Boston health blogger Michelle from Sunshine & Superfoods to bring you the ultimate wellness giveaway: that is, two passes to Flywheel! Now you have the chance to give this latest fitness obsession a ride for yourself.

All the giveaway details are over on my instagram, and you have until Friday 1/30 at 12:00 a.m. EST to enter!

Best of luck!

xoxo,

Rachel

                 

Are you a dream chaser?

Read full article | No Comments

Are you a dream chaser?

Do you vision-board your life over and over again?

Are you constantly thinking how you can be better, faster, stronger, always thinking you need to do more?

Do you strive for this ideal version of yourself, yet never feel quite satisfied?

Now let me ask you this: do you ever feel downright tired?

I know because I’ve totally  been there. I used to be THE dream-chaser. (And it’s not like there is anything terribly wrong with being a dreamer by the way) That’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s when you are so busy chasing your dreams, that you lose sight of the present and the beauty that is. That’s where the problem is.

There comes a time when you just need to stop (chasing/striving/running) and start living and breathing in the moment. You see, when you stop trying so darn hard to get EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT and just trust + believe, the universe can finally start working on your side. It’s as if you unblock this sticky fog (smog?) that’s been suffocating you, and finally allow yourself to see things as they really are.

Sure trusting in the universe can be a bit scary — how can you trust in something you can’t see nor don’t know will ever come true? — but once you break through that fear the magic starts happening. Beautiful things begin to manifest for you.

So no, my darling, never lose sight of your dreams; dreams keep us youthful, hopeful and inspired. Simply shift the way you act upon your dreams into a belief and intention rather than a “I need that right now” mentality. Then take a step back, and a deep breath and let things flow to you. From the wise words of my yogi tea bag, “Let things come to you.”

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

Clean Slate + Review of Thirst Juice Co.

Read full article | 4 Comments

I am not really a fan of cleanses, detoxes and definitely not diets. When you think of a traditional cleanse, you think of restricting yourself, juice fasting and calorie-counting, all of which I don’t believe in. I’m a HUGE advocate for treating yourself, and firmly believe that Healthy Chicks Eat Burgers Too.

I also don’t feel that a 7-day or 14-day juice fast can “fix” your body (like a magic pill) and erase years of pizza parties, wine binges and sitting on the couch only to go back to your old habits once the cleanse is over. It’s a lifestyle, and like anything making changes to your diet takes time and commitment.

That said, I am a believer in doing a whole-foods based cleanse with the goal of resetting your body and getting you back on the right track (vs. healing you and erasing years of “bad decisions.”)

In the past few months, I got married, enjoyed a two-week honeymoon in Hawaii, forged through some busy times at work, and survived the holiday season. Needless to say, my body was feeling a little blah.

This is the very reason I decided to give Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide a go. Written by the editors and chefs of Martha Stewart Living, this book is chock-full of whole-foods based recipes intended to reset your body, promote detoxing and help you feel your best.

Since I generally lead a rather healthy lifestyle (and like I said I’m really not a fan of “cleansing”) I chose to do a 14-day version of the 21-day cleanse they outline in the book. Week 1 is primarily fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and oils and then Week 2 you can add back in gluten-free grains and fish.

During the entire two weeks, you cut out alcohol, coffee, gluten, soy, added sugar, meat, processed foods and dairy (all of which, to be honest, us Americans over-consume anyway). In addition gluten, soy and dairy are among the most common allergens and given my sensitivity to gluten, my body was definitely craving a little break.

I won’t lie: the first 3 days pretty much sucked big time. I had headaches (did I mention I’m hooked on coffee?) and I was pretty darn cranky (just ask my husband). I actually cried on day 2 as I was so very emotional, and my husband came over to comfort me asking “Are you sure you don’t want to delay your cleanse when you have less ‘stuff’ going on?” to which I shouted back “NO!”

I must say, I am glad I stuck through it as by day 4 I was feeling like a brand new woman, and all of those not-so-glamorous symptoms began to fade. One of my favorite parts of the cleanse has been the way it’s sparked my creativity in the kitchen. Instead of focusing on what I “can’t” have I focus on all the glorious things I can have: colorful produce, flavorful spices, rich oils. Believe it or not, it’s actually been pretty fun!

In the past week, I’ve made raw cacao coconut balls adapted from MIX Wellness, gluten-free dairy-free vegetable lasagna inspired by YumUniverse, and Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Avocado Aioli from Oh She Glows. I even brought vegan Jalepeno Poppers (via Minimalist Baker) and Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip (via 86 Lemons) to “Football Saturday” as we watched the Pats last night.

I have discovered the amazing way that cashews (when soaked, blended and mixed with delicious spices) can double for cheese, I’ve learned that life goes on (with a lot less bloat) without bread, and now have a new-found love for green smoothies and firmly believe garlic should be in everything.

<

Then this past Thursday, I got the opportunity to visit Thirst Juice Co. — a brand new juice + smoothie bar in Downtown Boston — to see what they’re all about. Located on School Street, they’re just steps away from Downtown Crossing and Park Street Station making it a convenient option for the city-goer.

Serving up made-to-order juices and smoothies, cold-pressed juices and homemade soups, the folks behind Thirst Juice Co. know what they’re doing. Founded by husband and wife duo (and former-lawyers!) Chris + Heather, Thirst was born due to their love of real food and healthy living. And what better way to kick things off than by sharing their love of health with the Boston community?

I ventured over to Thirst during Day 8 of my cleanse, excited to walk into a place where I could have literally almost everything! After chatting with one of the owner’s Heather, I decided to give her favorite juice “The Green Dream” a shot, made with kale, cucumber, pineapple and jalapeno.

[co-founder Heather Stevenson prepping behind the bar!]

I absolutely loved the way the flavors came together, especially the jalepeno kick. It was the perfect blend of refreshing and zesty (with a touch of sweet!) that led me to gulp down my entire cup as I snapped photos and browsed the menu in awe.

While I was there, I also tried the Apple-Ginger-Turmeric-Lemon shot for a winter wellness boost. I loved the spicy, strong flavor (and the adorable slate it was served on)…I could tell it was doing my body good!

[The Green Dream + Apple-Ginger-Turmeric-Lemon Shot!]

I’m excited to know Boston is becoming more health-conscious, and more and more local businesses that get it are beginning to pop up around the city!

As I approach Day 12 of my “cleanse,” I am feeling vibrant, re-energized and ready to continue this healthy way of eating + living. Remember: it’s not about what you do for 1 day, two weeks or even a month; rather it’s the little things you do daily that add up. You don’t need to be PERFECT, you just need to be consistent.

Cheers to good health + good food!

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

A shift in energy: do you give to yourself?

Read full article | No Comments

Last week I wrote about gratitude — on appreciating others and what you have. Isn’t it such a joy to be grateful for others and in turn give them that joy?

Today, I want to take a step back and focus on how we give to ourselves. Earlier today when talking with a dear friend, she said something that really struck me. “I think we tend to just give to other people and don’t take time for ourselves.” BINGO. She hit the nail on the head.

I give my energy to friends + family (because I love them).

I give my all in my job, and go above and beyond to get things done.

I give my time to other people…a lot.

I give handmade gifts + presents + treats.

I give myself…with no expectation of anything in return.

But the question is, what am I giving to myself? As we enter 2015 — a brand new year of exciting, magical things– one of my intentions is to GIVE MORE to me.This means spending more time doing the things I love, you know “me things.”

I’m a hard worker and tend to give 110% of myself to anything I commit to (be it work, relationships, or projects). This year I want to make sure I also dedicate 110% of my energy to myself. The time has come to quit putting myself on the back burner.

This means saying no more often.

This means scheduling writing time to work on my book (and sticking to it).

This means spending quiet time with myself to reflect on things.

This means doing more yoga + meditation.

This means spending more time with my hubby (without my iPhone or emails distracting me)

This means unplugging. A lot.

It’s time to give back…to myself. 2015, I’m ready for you!

Who’s with  me? Are you giving enough to yourself? How can you shift your energy + schedule around to make more time for YOU?

                 

 
Loading...
Get on my list to receive FREE weekly bursts of healthspiration (plus my 11 Secrets For True Weight Loss!)