Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nashville Eats

Whenever I travel, I love to find local "hippie food," or at least that's what I like to call it. Basically, I look for local foodie stops that are full of delicious, unique, and healthy menu items. If it's a road trip, I usually spend 80% of the car ride surfing websites like HappyCow, planning where I am going to eat each meal, and calculating how I can fit as many food stops as possible into one short trip.

Well this past weekend I road tripped to Nashville... (Which will hopefully become my home in August...) And boy, this city did not disappoint the foodie inside of me.

After using Yelp to look up the best coffee shops, it became clear that Crema was a must-go. I ordered an americano (per usual) and let's just say I will be frequenting this joint once I become a Nashville resident.

While I enjoyed many delicious treats on this trip, my favorite meal was from The Wild Cow. It is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant located in East Nashville. I ordered the pistachio and pear salad, which included beets, quinoa, grilled tofu, and tahini dressing.

Pistachio and Pear Salad

This salad was so incredible. I am craving it while I write this... I've also never been a huge fan of tofu, but this place has changed my opinion entirely. Additional table eats included cashew "cheese" dip, BBQ tofu, and couscous salad. It was all delicious.

Vegan Cashew Cheese Dip

BBQ Tofu with a side of Pearl Couscous Salad
Other notable yumminess included a green smoothie from Lynne Lorraine's and brunch from Marche Artisan Foods.

I can't wait to move to Nashville and explore all the other delicious gems this city has to offer!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Same Place // Same Pose // New Year

It's honestly crazy to realize how fast a year goes by. I have been to Arizona two years in a row for spring break, and both times I have climbed Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale. (And Jason, if you're reading this, I did in fact climb to the "top top top") The picture on the right was taken exactly one week ago.

Hiking is such an exhilarating form of exercise because each individual step seems so insignificant, but when you reach the top you realize that they've all joined together to bring you somewhere incredible.

There is something about a mountain that makes you feel closer to Our Creator.

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Cheesy" Kale Chips

Vegan cheese is very good. I have been obsessed with Quite Cheesy Kale Krunch for some time now, but at $6 for a 2oz bag... it didn't seem like a wise investment for a poor college kid.
So, I searched the internet near and far for a recipe in order to recreate my own "cheesy" kale goodness. (And by "cheesy" I mean to imply that there is no dairy involved here.)

I stumbled upon this recipe, and while I enjoyed it, I was still seeking a flavor more similar to the Kale Krunch version. So using the recipe I found on Pinterest as inspiration, I created my own version, and I am pleased to say it tastes exactly like my beloved Quite Cheesy Kale Krunch.
1 Bunch Kale
1 1/2 c. Cashews
1 small Red Bell Pepper
2/3 c. Nutritional Yeast (this is NOT baker's yeast)
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 cloves Garlic
1-2 tsp. Pink Himalayan Salt
1-2 Tbsp Chia Seeds (optional)

1. Soak cashews in water for a minimum of 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
3. Wash and dry kale. Tear into pieces, removing large stems.
4. Drain soaked cashews and pour into a food processor.
5. Remove stem and seeds of bell pepper, adding it to food processor, along with the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and chia seeds. Blend until an orange paste is formed.
6. Generously massage the vegan cheese spread onto the kale leaves.
7. Spread the leaves out onto a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray.
8. Cook in preheated oven for approximately 1 hour (It may be more or less depending on how spread out and how small the leaves are; the chips are done when they are crispy to touch, but the cheese has not turned a dark brown color)
9. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

Enjoy!! I literally have a hard time not eating the whole batch! They taste exactly like Cheez-It's to me!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's About Balance, Right?!

So, technically I would consider this a health and fitness blog, but a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, right? So alongside my kale and broccoli, I prefer to indulge in the following:

1. Oh, Chocolate Chip Pancakes... does it really get better than this...? I honestly don't think so. Especially when they're fresh buttermilk pancakes from Guglhupf in Durham.

2. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, a Christmas morning tradition, forever and always!! My favorite recipe is Overnight Buttermilk Soft and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls from AverieCooks.

3. Chocolate and Peanut Butter is always a winning combo... especially when it's in the form of Big Spoon's Peanut Cocoa spread.

4. If you haven't tried the combination of bacon+chocolate, you need to. ASAP. Whether I am dipping my own bacon into bowls of melted chocolate or indulging in one of Mo's Dark Bar by Vosges, it NEVER disappoints.

5. A hot, fresh donut is always a winner. Whether its an apple cider donut from Monuts Donuts, or a homemade baked donut, I'm a fan.

6. Sunflower Seed Butter. Yes. Just Yes.

7. And last, but very far from least, an Iced Chocolate Coffee from Bean Traders. If I'm ever missing, just call Bean Traders. Odds are, I'll be there :)

And that concludes my current list of favorite indulgences. Now back to studying biomechanics. Oh how I wish I could just continue daydreaming about food. (As I contemplate grabbing my jar of sunflower seed butter...)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Five February Favorites

1. NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia -- stevia is an all natural, zero-calorie sweetener, and this is by far my favorite brand. I add a couple drops to my coffee, tea, plain yogurt, homemade desserts, etc.

2. Chocolate PB2 -- I really like the original PB2, but this one has cocoa powder added and tastes magical blended up with flavorless protein powder, a frozen banana, and a cup of unsweet almond milk! My perfect post workout snack.

3. Quest Bars -- 20 grams of protein, ~1 gram of sugar, all natural... enough said.

4. Almond Milk Lattes -- more specifically, almond milk lattes from Bean Traders. I could have one every single day, and I pretty much do.

5. Organic Darkest Cacao Truffles by LivingRaw -- AMAZING. (and expensive...) You can find them at WholeFoods, which is much cheaper than ordering them online.

Monday, December 31, 2012


If one word could sum up my entire year it would be this: humbling.

Time and time again I was humbled by how little power I actually possess. My life is completely orchestrated by an omnipotent God, and for that I am very grateful.

2012 has been the hardest year in my life, bar none. In January, my little brother was abruptly taken from the world and it left me feeling confused about the purpose of life. If life can be so easily ended then what is the point of working towards a goal?

I pushed on through the entire spring semester and then continued pushing through the summer in efforts to continue my plan of graduating college a semester early. Once fall rolled around I wasn't ready to start school again. Reluctantly, I struggled through the semester finally finishing up my general education requirements (forcing me to sit in classes I had no interest in... aka China150). All that time I  wondered about my passion for health and fitness. Why do I spend so much time interested in healthy foods? Why do I beat myself up over eating 3 pieces of dark chocolate cheesecake? Why do I put down my computer and go run 8 miles on a freezing cold morning when I could have just stayed in bed watching Netflix?

It all seemed so pointless to me.

My little brother Blake was in incredible shape. He had just finished training for 3 weeks at a tennis academy and he had a 6 pack to show for it! (I'm serious). But none of that mattered on the afternoon of January 28th.

Thinking about all this would make me want to spend a week binging on cookies because "none of my hard work really matters anyways." As 2012 comes to a close I realize that it does matter. Eating healthy and exercising helps me feel so much better in my day to day life. By putting my health first, I am able to be a sweeter daughter, a better sister, a kinder friend, and most of all, I am able to love myself and stop being so critical of my flaws.

So beginning today, December 31st, I started a 3 day veggie "cleanse." It's not really a cleanse, but I am eating only vegetables and 3 fruits per day. The 3 fruits are all consumed in the form of a Glowing Green Smoothie. So basically I am drinking 64 oz of a vegetable/fruit smoothie throughout the day and then the occasional brussel sprouts, okra, etc.

The Glowing Green Smoothie

I am excited for 2013 to begin and I am ready to take it on full force with healthy eating, running, weight lifting, crossfitting, yoga, pilates, you name it!

I do these things so I can be my best self for others. As I read this morning in 2 Corinthians 3, as a Christian I am a letter of recommendation for Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. I think a healthy lifestyle is just another way for me to accomplish this task.

Bring it, 2013!

To read more about my brother and his life click here. (this is a blog post written by my cousin Jenni)
Also, check out his website at

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pure Barre

I went to my first Pure Barre class!

My friend Christina from lululemon invited me to come to her class on Thursday.

It was completely different than anything I am used to. If you're not familiar with pure barre, it is basically a full body workout using a ballet barre and a couple other props, like 5lb weights and a small red ball. 

It primarily focused on core and legs, which is basically the opposite of what I usually focus on... Needless to say, my core and my hamstrings were particularly sore. My arms on the other hand, not at all.

I would definitely go again sometime because I love to work muscles that aren't worked as much in my weekly workout schedule, but I couldn't see myself doing this on like a weekly basis. It is much more "toning" and high-rep strength training than I prefer.

I can't wait to try another new workout class! I have so many options now that I am not training for a half. Maybe I'll try crossfit?!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reese's Protein Drink

So I know I have raved about PB2 before, but I have recently found another delicious use for it. After my workout this morning I put a scoop of Cytosport Whey Protein Isolate Chocolate in my shaker bottle, along with a tablespoon of PB2. Then I just added about 8oz of water and shook the bottle to mix. It was so amazing! I seriously felt like I was drinking a Reese's peanut butter cup! It is definitely worth a try. Not to mention I just realized that WholeFoods now carries PB2, although it is MUCH cheaper if you buy it online in a larger quantity. (You can buy it here.)

The drink has 115 calories and 22 grams of protein.

Today's workout (Shoulders, Bi's, and Tri's):

Seated DB Bicep Curl 3x10/arm
Arnold Press 3x10
Bodyweight Dips 3x8

Barbell Bicep Curl 3x10
Overhead Cable Shoulder Press 3x10
Tricep Rope Extension 3x10

Rope Bicep Curl 3x10
DB Shoulder Press 3x10
Overhead DB Tricep Extension 3x10

100 Reps of Abs

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ramblin' Rose Half

What a fun day! Stephanie and I woke up at 5am to eat my typical pre-race breakfast: toast with peanut butter. Then we headed back to bed to sleep until 6am. We arrived at the race at 7 and we were so ready to start running. The hardest part to me is the first couple of miles because you know you have 13.1 ahead of you.

Once we started I knew that I was going to have to be pretty uncomfortable the whole time if I wanted to get a decent time. I never listen to an iPod or wear a watch while I am running because I like the mental aspect of racing. I like pushing myself as hard as I can and then finding out my time once I have crossed the finish line versus trying to keep a set speed throughout the race. 

I have never felt so uncomfortable while running. Mentally I was completely there, but I felt dehydrated and I had a headache beginning at mile 1. The course was incredibly hilly and my calves hurt from reducing shock to my knees as I went downhill and my quads hurt climbing up all the hills. I was reminiscing about the Tobacco Road Half Marathon, where the course was almost completely flat.

I remember the sense of joy as I turned the corner and saw the finish line. As I got closer and closer I could read the clock and I saw that I was going to PR! I sprinted through the finish line (or what felt like sprinting at that point) and finished with a time of 1:52:31. I PR'ed by a minute and a half.

I finished 4th in my age group and 79th overall (out of 785) with an 8:35 mile pace.

I definitely think that my lululemon running skirt helped score the PR. I mean it's a lot easier to run fast when you look cute doing it...

After the race we went to my favorite cafe in Durham, Nosh. My mom and I split the peanut butter, banana, and honey stuffed french toast, along with a side of cheese grits. It was incredible. And fattening. But so incredible.

Then I headed to lululemon where my boyfriend rewarded me with a new pair of running crops. The Run Inspire Crops are seriously my all time favorite pants ever. Ever ever ever.

And then to top it all off, I went and got a pedicure with my cousin. My disgusting feet look much better now!! But they still have quite a few callouses and blisters. They could use some rest!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Boost to the Immune System

So I woke up yesterday morning and my symptoms from my terrible sickness from the other week were coming back! My tonsils were extremely red and swollen and my energy level was super low. I went to the doctor this morning and told them I NEED to get better because I have a half marathon on Sunday. They gave me some medicine and I am going to pray it works because I am running in this race no matter what. I can't just train for 12 weeks and then not run the race. That would be awful.

I went on my last training run this morning after the doctors appointment, and it was not good. I only had to run 2 miles, and afterwards my body felt like I had just run 20. So I decided that I was going to spend the next two days completely resting and eating lots of dark leafy greens and citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C.

I got out the blender and made a huge green smoothie. I filled an entire Nalgene bottle (32 oz) and I even had a cup left over that I drank immediately. My plan is to drink this immune boosting drink intermittently throughout today and tomorrow in hopes of restoring my sick little body in time for my race.

"Boost Your Immune System" Smoothie:
1 Frozen Banana
6 Strawberries
3/4 c. Unsweet Almond Milk
2 Huge Handfuls of Baby Kale
1 Handful of Baby Spinach
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Juice of 1/2 of a lime

This will make a large smoothie, but don't fear, it won't make as much as I did. I doubled this recipe and was very generous on the portions. This will serve 2 regular people or one extremely hungry, post-workout person. ;)

I need to heal!!!! Only 3 days till race day!