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Work Hard, Be Kind

This is it—my first big blog post. I have been  so nervous about this post.  For months I was in blog purgatory. Should I? What would people think? Would there even be interest? It was the encouragement of my client base, my friends and above all, my husband that led me this direction. Then, I had a moment, an epiphany if you will. You know the kind that feels life changing—like the planets aligned to send you a sign. I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast when she interviewed this amazingly spunky social media marketer. The person interviewed said…”isn’t it better to have 2 people who believe in you madly than to be followed by many, who barely believe?” It was in that moment I realized, who cares about anybody else. If I follow my passion, my heart and who I am, the rest will fall into place. So—here I am, vulnerable as ever, sharing my passion.

My Passion

I pondered how to begin my blog, what would be the most important to open up with? I realized that my audience needs to know where I came from and what led me to this point to truly understand the origin of my passion. Nutrition is personal. To some, like a religion. And just like religion, there are a million interpretations of what nutrition should look like. High fat, high carb, low fat , low carb…what is truly best? What I’ve come to realize…it’s all the best if it works for you. The act of bettering yourself is what truly matters at the end of the day. In a world of so much craziness and tearing each other down, the gift of kindness is one that we all have to give. The gift to support each other in our attempts to be better. Nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle is no different.

 

Work Hard Be Kind

”Work Hard, Be Kind…” It is our family’s motto. So much so that I whisper it to my kids as they head into school, so much so that it hangs on a banner in our kitchen and so much so that I had a shirt made to spread it to others. I feel like life can really be that simple.

So–it’s become my mission. To support people in their attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. To show people how to eat real food and find a healthy balance to enjoy something they love each day too. To spread nutritional love and support anybody and everybody who is trying each day to better themselves.

 

My Childhood

I grew up in a house where soda, Little Debbie’s and homemade noodles were a staple. It was no fault of my parents; honestly I think children of the 80s all had a similar experience. This health awareness revolution didn’t start until much later. Like most girls, I’ve always been self-conscience about my body but my parents never failed in making me feel beautiful. College became my true exposure to the importance of health. I was on my own, the controller of what I put in my body and the consequences it came with. I became obsessed, in an unhealthy way, with working out and eating. Part of it was being away from home and the other was the beginning of my desire to find a healthy, sustainable life.

After being Pre-Med and getting my degree in Life Science with a Physiology emphasis, I decided teaching was my path not doctoring (is that a word??). While completing my masters, I also became certified in group fitness. Along with teaching high school science and coaching basketball, I taught Spin, TBC, Step aerobics, etc. in order to help others find a fun way to be active. At that time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. If I knew I was going to a social event I would jump on the treadmill for hours. If I indulged in Coldstone, I immediately had to go for a run. I joked and told people “I run to eat.” Little did they know—I really wasn’t joking. I punished myself for loving food—and I know many of you can relate.

 

When Nutrition Trumps Fitness

It wasn’t until after marriage and our second child that nutrition really began to trump fitness. I realized that my bad nutrition would never out due the calories I burned on that treadmill. I wasn’t cute and pregnant. I gained over 60 lbs with my daughter and dialed it back to 40lbs with our second. After two babies, my 20 something body was gone and I hated the new one I had acquired.

My body changed externally and internally. Through pregnancy I had acquired autoimmune changes that made me gluten intolerant. This diagnosis led me to the Paleo diet. I loved it, became obsessed with it and lost much of my baby weight with it. Then, I became the “Paleo Nazi.” I was the one at the party everybody thought they had to justify their eating habits to. I’ll be honest—I judged people for their food choices like I had an awakening they hadn’t yet experienced. I look back and hate myself for it. What I don’t apologize for is the knowledge that turning to a Paleo life gave me. It taught me food quality matters. That any “diet” should focus on whole foods made of mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts and seeds. But what the Paleo diet is missing—is reality. I never let myself indulge and was truly miserable for it. I would watch friends enjoy chips and salsa and other treats at parties and be miserable. I was afraid to leave it for fear of weight gain and those dreaded “carbs.” I desperately needed freed. Freed from food guilt.

 

Much Needed Change

I was in need of a change. I had plateaued—I was unhappy with my health, my body, my athletic performance and my burden of not feeling honest about food. I began my own work with a nutrition coach, who later became my mentor, and it truly changed my life. Flexible dieting, or macro tracking, has been the most freeing food experience of my life. It is moderation to a tee. It has showed me, more than ever, that whole foods should be the bulk of your diet because they are truly the “biggest bang for your buck.” It has showed me that being on either extreme of the nutritional spectrum has no sustainability. Food is amazing. Food is meant to be enjoyed…in a way that meets your own personal goals that only you know. It has showed me that nutrient timing is critical to maximize your results. Most of all—it has showed me that I can enjoy the things I want because I am the driving force behind my own nutrition. Food is not WHO I am. Food is FUEL.

Here I am now: many clients coached, hundreds of pounds lost, personal records crushed and so many healthy relationships with food reestablished. I am only motivated more to continue to guide others in their journey. Watching my passion to support and encourage clients cultivate their success is gratification beyond words. What started as a small side hobby has turned into something that I truly feel inspired to do each day. Good nutrition and changing your food lifestyle is addictive. I can’t wait to continue to help others feel that same addiction.

So—here I am, “AWALK”…working hard, being kind and spreading nutritional love. Can’t wait for you to join me and take “AWALKmyway.”

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

Restaurant Review: Phoenix Public Market Cafe

I am a foodie!  I love to eat and I love to eat at new places that are local, not big chains and offer some type of unique setting.  This week’s review is one I’ve been wanting to get to but just never hit the timing right.  Phoenix Public Market Cafe is located in the heart of busy downtown Phoenix.  The coolest part is that it is attached to the Open Air farmers’s market that takes place on Saturday mornings.  You can enjoy an awesome farmer’s market and then hit up the café for a breakfast or lunch.  Even more awesome, is much of the produce used in their meals comes from the local vendors of the market.

The market’s vibe is an industrial  feel–raw brick finish, industrial-ish furniture, open and bright. The café offers some unique breakfast and lunch dishes geared toward health conscience people (didn’t pay much attention to dinner because of the time of day we went).  They have an excellent coffee bar which transitions into a great evening option for happy hour too. There was a great selection of unique dishes-something for everyone. I selected a gluten free dish called “The Evans Churchill”.  It was a gorgeous bed of quinoa with 2 poached eggs, mixed broccoli, peppers and onions, a small amount of pesto and a drizzle of agave syrup.  It was seriously amazing!  The combination of flavors was unique, distinct and I loved every bite!

I love trying meals and macroing them out in my head (I know I am crazy).  I think eggs are important and a great fat to have on board for many reasons.  I make room for an egg yolk each day.  Today—it was worth 2!  To save fat, I pushed my pesto to the side because  of its high fat content but did sample a taste of the pesto flavor in a bite (It was delicious and not overwhelming like many pestos).

One of the many questions I get from clients is “How do I eat out?”  So–in each restaurant review I’ll show you my estimations for tracking my meal out and how I decide what to say yeah to and what to say nah to.  Many restaurants include their own nutritional menu, but I tend to frequent smaller locations that don’t provide that info. I use the My Fitness Pal data base to find the most similar options to the meal I am about to enjoy.  Eating out requries a great deal of estimation and honesty.  I always error on the side of more knowing I can’t measure and that there is often hidden fat that I can’t account for.  Here is the stats for the “Evans Churchill”:

Macro Stats:

1 Cup Quinoa:    3.5F/39C/8P

2 Poached Eggs: 10F/0C/15P

½ Cup Broccoli: 0F/3C/1P

¼ Cup Red bell pepper:0F/2C/0P

¼ Cup Onions:0

1 Tbls Pesto: 0 (I passed to save fat)

1 Tbls Agave Syrup: 0F/16C/0P (You could easily ask for no syrup to save carbs too)

Total Estimation: 14 F/60c/25 P…and worth every single macro!

I highly recommend the Phoenix Public Market Cafe for an all around awesome experience!  It’s quality is outstanding and with so many options, your whole family will love it!

 

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

14 E PIERCE STREET

PHOENIX, AZ 85004