While I was slightly nervous during the week leading up to the event, everything went as smooth as can be and I’ve never felt more confident in the work I am doing and growing my business. I truly feel I have finally found my calling, and am doing the work I feel most passionate about. It also didn’t hurt that I had the support of my wonderful friends and my sister, who captured pictures and videos (and helped me lug all of my heavy bags!).
While you can read a bit more about the event description here, I wanted to share a few highlights from the evening with you.
As attendees trickled in, I had appetizers on the table to snack on like Mediterranean Snacks lentil crackers, Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks, organic sliced celery & carrots, and artichoke hummus.
To break the ice, everyone went around the room to share their #1 guilty pleasure or greatest health concern, which ranged from late-night pizza to Mike’s Pastry’s Amaretto cannoli. I then shared my personal story of how I escaped a lifetime of dieting to where I am today (happy, confident, and 20+ pounds lighter) all thanks to loving and appreciating my body, and just as importantly: eating real food.
I kicked off the workshop by discussing the top 12 food additives to steer clear of, many of which are frighteningly enough found in most packaged foods today! This includes things such as artificial sweeteners like Aspartame (which is appallingly found in Dannon Light & Fit yogurt), MSG, artificial colors (straight up synthetic chemicals), partially hydrogenated oils (hello trans fat!), and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), all of which have numerous detrimental side effects.
Everyone was completely shocked by some of the statistics, many saying they’ll think twice next time they’re grocery shopping. I then went into a discussion of my “Top 7 Healthy Foods That Aren’t Healthy,” offering up healthier, more natural alternatives for each. I covered everything from Diet drinks like Crystal Light and Diet Soda (both containing numerous artificial sweeteners and colors hence drinking CHEMICALS), foods with health claims (low fat! sugar free! all natural! made with ‘real’ingredients!) to reduced fat/nonfat foods and wheat products claiming they’re “made with whole grains.”
For each topic, I gave a number of real-life examples, stressing the importance of READING THE LABEL and knowing the ingredients you’re putting into your body. For instance, did you know Skinny Cow ice cream contains high fructose corn syrup, a highly refined sugary substance derived from corn starch that’s linked to diabetes and obesity? Or that Vitamin Water is actually owned by Coca Cola and was sued for advertising their product as healthy, even when it contains over 30 grams of sugar, essentially sugar-induced water? Oh, or how about the fact that most veggie burgers out there contain over 60 ingredients, many of which aren’t vegetables at all?
While these factoids may seem shocking, it’s unfortunately the truth. When sugar-laded breakfast cereals like Lucky Charms have health claims all over the box, and fake packaged cheeses, breads, and snacks stock 99% of the supermarket, we know we are in HEALTH CRISIS.
Throughout the session, I shared healthier alternatives for the group to try including Vita Coco Coconut Water, a homemade Quinoa & Wild Rice Salad, garlic & basil goat cheese from the Copley Square Farmer’s Market with Mary’s Gone Cracker’s herb crackers, a variety of Truebars and KIND Bars, and almond butter with sliced organic apples. I guess it’s fair to say I feed my people well!
[quinoa & rice salad with goat cheese, celery, cherries and toasted pecans]
After our discussion, I shared my personal tips on how to eat real food in a society where real food is hard to come by, including one of my favorites: eating whole fruits and vegetables that don’t come in a package and shopping from local farmer’s markets. We then concluded the workshop with a quick Q & A session, where I answered any last minute questions that weren’t covered during the evening.
Each attendee left with a little brown goodie bag including:
- Vita Coco Coconut Waters
- Exhale pass for a comp Core Fusion or Yoga class
- a variety of herbal and green teas
- Kind Bars
- organic chocolate
- An Eventbrite notebook
I can say with 100% confidence (and a huge grin on my face) that the event was a success. I look forward to hosting additional workshops in the Boston area, and will keep you posted on my next one in July! Big thank you to Eventbrite for inviting me to take part in their Week of Wellness in Boston.
What’s your diet like? What are areas you wish to improve on? Do you eat REAL food?
Good afternoon, and Happy Memorial weekend! I hope you are all out enjoying this beautiful weather, BBQing, beaching and sipping on refreshing, summery drinks.
Attention Boston friends & readers: I just wanted to remind you that I’ll be hosting an interactive workshop called Get Real (About Food) for my business Zesty Living at Oficio on Newbury Street on Thursday, June 14th. You can read more details below, and purchase your “Early Bird” tickets here on Eventbrite. It’ll be a wonderful night of networking, socializing, learning and eating delectable (healthy) treats. Yes, I’ll even feed you!
Special Bonus: To all my blog readers and friends of readers, you can use promo code blogperk for $2 off your ticket!
The Event Deets
Last night, I was lucky enough to be invited by Sara Steele-Rogers, the Boston Event Evangelist for Evenbrite, to attend a Boloco Burrito + Samuel Adams Beer Pairing. The event was hosted by Boston Marathon runner Danielle Pillon to raise money for Jumpstart, a national early education organization that helps children develop adequate language and literacy skills in order to be successful in school.
It couldn’t have been a lovelier evening in Boston for the event, which took place at the Boston Society of Architects Space on Congress Street. And what a wonderful idea to pair delectable burritos with refreshing beer, especially on a perfect spring night. Even better, the head chef and cofounder of Boloco, Jason Hutchinson, and Director of Consumer Relations at Sam Adams, Todd Bellomy, were there to offer their expert knowledge.
Everything was extremely organized with a low-key vibe, which is totally up my alley. Upon walking in, we were promoted to simply grab a paper plate and a cup and let the tasting begin! Before I dived into the fun, I entered the raffle to win a dinner for two on the Odyssey, which would be my dream evening for sure (fingers crossed). They were also raffling off a Boloco card filled with goodies, and a Sam Adams Bottle of Utopias.
[Sorry for the blur! Check out all the tasty burrito + beer combos]
I loved how everything was labeled including exactly what went into the burrito, along with the suggested Sam Adams beer to pair it with. As you know, I’m a huge fan of being aware of the ingredients in a meal, and essentially what’s going inside your body.
[take a look at the variety of burritos & brews!]
I started off with the Tika Masala Burrito, consisting of brown rice, Masala sauce and grilled chicken all wrapped up in a mini flour tortilla and decided to pair it with the suggested brew: Belgian Session. The Tika Masala was my absolute favorite of the evening, as the sauce had a savory, Indian flare to it which I simply couldn’t get enough of. Also, coming from a gal who typically doesn’t care for beer, I was presently surprised by the refreshing, spicy finish in the Belgian Session.
[Slowly becoming a beer connoisseur...]
Next, I decided to give the Boston Lager burrito a try (Boloco rice, steak marinated with Boston Lager, mushroom confit and arugula) but this time I changed it up with the beer and went for the East West Kolsch. With sweet lemon, fruit and flowery notes, this beer was number one on my list, a perfect spring brew if I do say so myself especially in combination with the arugula and mushrooms.
The best part about the pairing to me was the perfect portion sizes. I love that Boloco offers “customizable mini burritos” which you typically can’t find at a Mexican food restaurant or chain around here. If you aren’t in the mood to indulge on a gigantic larger-than-life burrito, the mini is for you as it’s perfect for a hearty snack, or when paired with a smoothie or salad for a light, satisfying meal.
Better yet, Boloco offers a nutrition calculator on their website to add up exactly what you’re eating, and modify any existing menu items to cater to your dietary needs. They even include Weight Watchers points for those utilizing the program. Who knew?
Sam Adams did a wonderful job with portion-control as well, as Todd poured small cups of brew so guests could enjoy the flavor without overly indulging or getting sick of just one beer; instead you could sample several to equal one beer which worked out perfectly for a beer-newbie like myself. I even snuck a mini “taste tester” of the Cherry Wheat at the end of the evening just to say I tried it!
As my motto goes: forget deprivation and choose everything in moderation! While I had quite a few savory eats yesterday evening, I left feeling happy, satisfied and most importantly, good about my body.
In my book, it’s perfectly OK to eat “forbidden” foods like pizza, beer, burritos, nachos, you-name-it if you do so with a conscious mindset, in moderation, and without guilt.
Thank Yous & Eventbrite News
A big thank you to Boloco, Sam Adams, and Evenbrite for throwing this fabulous event. If you need to plan an event in the future or are just looking for things to do in your area, I highly recommend using Eventbrite, a great source to discover events in your city, as well as create online registration and ticketing for your own events. If you’d like to learn more, simply attend their Eventbrite 101 online “event” here.
It’s so wonderful to see a company that helps organizations, charities, aspiring entrepreneurs and everyday people plan an event of their own with confidence. I myself am participating in Eventbrite Boston’s “Week of Wellness” for my business Zesty Living where I’ll be teaching a class on Eating Real Foods Plus Natural Health & Beauty Secrets. Stay tuned for more info, as I’d love to have you there!