Real. Raw. Peanut butter cups.

Peanut Butter Cups

Pass the peanut butter, it’s time to get down to business. We all know how hard it is to resist a Reese’s. Chocolate and peanut butter are truly a heavenly pair. Honestly though, the cleaner I eat the more sensitive my taste buds are to artificial ingredients. I don’t get the same high off of a store-bought peanut butter cup as I used to. The initial bite might be AMAZING, but I’m left with an odd taste in my mouth. Not to mention the guilt of willingly feeding my body absolute garbage!

This morning I tried my hand at homemade raw peanut butter cups. Ooo-wee they’re good, and FULL of superfoods.

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Mix

1/4 c. almond butter

1/2 c. peanut butter

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp raw honey

**Pour mixture into muffin tins or cupcake wrappers and place in freezer until hardened.

Meanwhile…

Mix 

1/2 c. cacao powder

1/3 c. coconut oil, melted

large handful of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I crushed up half of an almond NibMor bar)

1 tbsp raw honey

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Take the hardened peanut butter base out of the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture on top. Place back in the freezer until completely hardened and enjoy!

xo

 

My first acai bowl, baby.

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Isn’t it beautiful? After scrolling through countless photos of bright purple acai bowls on Instagram and Tumblr, and spending way too much money buying them from my favorite juice joints, I finally made my very own. And oh baby…

Yes, I know what you’re thinking–”Does that really taste as good as it looks?” My answer to you is: hell yeah it does!!!

Blend

-1/2 C. frozen organic raspberries

-1 1/2 frozen bananas

-1 tbsp organic cashew butter

-3 Organic Burst Acai Capsules

-a splash of water!

Sprinkle

-coconut flakes

-hemp seeds

-cacao nibs

Enjoy!

 

xo

Getting off-balance

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I like ice cream. Actually, I LOVE ice cream. It’s obviously not the healthiest food out there (not even close), but there’s something about summertime that really kicks my sweet tooth into high gear. Indulgences are a part of a healthy diet in moderation, but what happens when one treat turns into two, and two into….four?

Confession: I had some form of ice cream four times in the past week(!) The world is not ending. I repeat, the world is NOT ending. I’m not going to suddenly gain 15 pounds and I’m not going to go on a fast to punish myself for it either. However, while I enjoyed every last bite of my “Salted Crack Caramel” ice cream and my peanut butter frozen yogurt this week, I realized just how quick my body responds to the kind of food I choose to put into it.

In the hours following my sweets I felt bloated and sluggish. The following day I felt unusually tired, still bloated and just “off”. During the next few days my cravings were through the roof!! Which is probably why I caved and just had more ice cream, digging myself even deeper into a sugar coma.

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I’m not going to stop eating ice cream–I love it too much! Though, I will practice better self-control…or at least try my best to. It was kind of remarkable how fast my body was able to identify and react to junky food. I eat relatively clean most of the time (I would guess about 70/30), and I believe that the more consistently you put nourishing foods into your body, the quicker it will be to dismiss less-wholesome foods.

It’s been a few days since my string of ice cream runs, and I’m still trying to regain control of my cravings and self control. It makes me feel a little better knowing that I’m in the same boat as a lot of people (science says we’re programmed to crave sugar)!

I have found a kick-ass alternative, though! Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit in Union Square is seriously amazing. All it is is frozen fruit, water and a little organic cane sugar. Definitely takes the edge off when I’m dying for a frozen dessert. That peanut butter drizzle is no joke. Also, I will definitely be toying with the idea of “nice cream” (a.k.a. banana ice cream) in my upcoming posts as another healthy, at-home alternative.

How have you been able to manage your sweet cravings? What’s your go-to healthy sweet treat? Let me know in the comments below!

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XO

 

What really happens on a wellness retreat

Adam Rosante and morning bootcamp

Photo credit: C9 at Target

This past weekend I took a trip to the Hamptons. It was 48 hours filled with a lot of firsts–the main one being my first wellness retreat! One of the things I love about my job is getting the opportunity to test-run new products, new workouts, and in this case, new experiences. Along with a group of fantastic female journalists, I made my way out to Montauk to Ruschmeyers hotel. It honestly was like an adult camp. Who doesn’t love camp! Maybe not everyone, but still, it was amazing. We stayed in rooms that resembled cabins, and the main garden had hammocks and life-size checkers.

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Besides being transported back to my days as a young camper, I got to spend time with two fitness-leaders: Adam Rosante and Kristin McGee. Kristin lead us through sun salutations as the sun was setting on the beach. In a yoga class instructors often refer to the “oceanic sound” of the breath and encourage you to connect with it. Practicing near the water really amplified that connection for me. Though the view was undeniably beautiful, I spent most of the practice with my eyes closed listening to the waves and breathing in that salty, delicious ocean air. I do have to admit, however, that yoga on the beach is a lot harder than it looks! I sunk down into the sand constantly and was wobbling all over the place. Regardless, I felt restored at the end and was so happy to be a part of the experience.

I’ve learned through my research that wellness retreats come in all shapes and sizes. However, the point of them remains consistent throughout. A humble retreat like this one and even more lavish ones are supposed to bring you back to a greater state of wellness.

lobster and corn on the beach

I mentioned earlier that I experienced a few firsts on this trip, another being my first lobster! Can you believe it? It only took me 22 years to crack one open.I had no clue whatsoever what I was doing, but I have to say I quickly became a lobster fan after all that cracking, twisting and pulling. I couldn’t resist a few dips in the melted butter, either! Too good.

We ended the evening with a big bonfire, live music and my absolute favorite dessert in the world–s’mores. It may not have been the healthiest evening, but being well is about balance. Any expert or registered dietitian will stress that. Balance means waking up in the morning and having scrambled eggs and a green smoothie, yes. It also means indulging in an ice cream every now and then, or having a few glasses of wine on occasion.

I ate three s’mores that night, and I don’t regret a single one of them.

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At 8AM the next morning, Adam kicked our butts in a killer bootcamp. My muscles were sore before it even ended. Afterwards we enjoyed a nice breakfast of fresh fruit and avocado toast, followed by a mini spa session. Once the “official” activities ended I broke away from the group to explore the town and beaches on my own.

So, what really happens on a wellness retreat? This may not sound like a groundbreaking 48 hours, but it really helped to reboot my mindset. Living in Manhattan can be incredibly stressful and it feels like you’re moving 100 miles per hour at all times of the day. A wellness retreat reminds you to think of yourself. It gives you the opportunity and excuse to be selfish and assess how you’re feeling. It gives you the chance to slow down.

This may have been my first, but it definitely won’t be my last! If you get an opportunity to go on one yourself I highly recommend it. I’ve heard a lot of people say that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. I think there’s some truth to that.

Oh, and I was feeling so inspired during this trip that as I was walking along the beach alone I spontaneously just dropped all my belongings and started running. Running in the sand was a lot like yoga in the sand–it was hard as hell, but it felt pretty damn good afterward.

XO

To track or not to track

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With so many advancements in activity tracking technology, it’s likely that wearable fitness tech has crept into your social media feeds or has become commonplace in your office chatter.

“Have you heard about the new Nike Fuel Band?”
“Should I get a FitBit?”
“Do they even work?”
“Isn’t that a bit obsessive?”

Wherever you land on this skepticism scale–from ‘that’s the biggest waste of money’ to ‘I will never leave home without it’–there’s no denying that being aware of your daily activity and daily food consumption has real, significant benefits to your health.

If I’m being honest–I hate running. I really do. I used to force myself to go running in high school and college to make sure I got in enough cardio. However, treadmills are horribly boring and running outside killed my knees and my hips. I ended up having to go through physical therapy in college because I was running so much.

While this doesn’t mean I’ve sworn off running for good (occasionally I’ll go for a jog through Central Park), I definitely keep it to a minimum. Ever since I moved to New York walking has become my favorite way to be active–which is where my Fitbit comes in.

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I’ve been using the Fitbit Flex for about seven months now and almost never leave home without it on. Activity trackers like this one don’t claim to be 100% accurate and I don’t believe that they are, but since I started using it I’ve noticed a major shift in the way I live my life day to day.

Monday through Friday I spend 8-10 hours sitting at a desk, which has taken a toll on how I feel physically. My muscles and joints are stiffer, I experience back pain on a regular basis, and I seem to be getting less and less flexible (let’s all remember for a second that I’m only 22)!

According to my Fitbit, on average, I walk five to six miles a day. Sometimes I even hit seven to eight. If I skip my morning workout I make a point of walking to a farther subway stop on my way to work and also get off a few stops earlier just so I can fit in more steps. I would have never started doing that if it weren’t for my Fitbit. I’m so aware now of how much I move each day and also of how little I move sometimes.

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Like I said, it isn’t completely accurate, which is OK because I use it as a gauge. I don’t hate myself if I don’t reach my daily goal of five miles per day. The point is that I’m aware of my activity and making an effort in light of that awareness. I also believe that I’ve been able to manage my weight more easily because I’ve been walking so much. Hey, it adds up!

My personal philosophy is that you should try to move your body in some way every single day, and also continuously throughout the day. Instead of eating out for lunch during the workday, I go for a twenty minute walk instead and eat at my desk. It’s all about movement and striving to fit more of it into your day (especially if you have a desk job like me).

A healthy body is one that stays in motion. All you need to do is move. It’s up to you to decide how and when. Every little bit counts. That’s a realistic goal, don’t ya think?

 

Overnight oats with healing cardamom

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Oatmeal for me is like a big bowl of pasta or a nice hefty scoop of ice cream–it’s a comfort food. It’s a comfort food that also happens to be good for you (often not the case). I’ve found that oats can actually be a lot more versatile than you think, and I like to experiment with them regularly to keep them exciting.

Now, I really like the idea of overnight oats. For mornings when I’m running to a workout at 7AM I can just grab the jar from my fridge and bounce. They save me from my sad, unhealthy and pricy breakfast options at work. One morning I was desperate for a healthy breakfast but didn’t have time to make my own, so I went to our cafeteria and got some oatmeal with berries, banana and cinnamon (thinking it would be a decent option). It tasted like the cardboard container it came in–blech. Hence, overnight oats are genius! And so easy.

This particular recipe features a spice called cardamom. Until recently, I had only associated cardamom with the delicious, doughy, sugar and cinnamon-laced bread my mom would buy us for Easter. However, it turns out that cardamom has some powerful healing properties. Traditionally it’s used in Indian cuisine, and is also a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. Its benefits range from aiding in digestion and detoxification to improving blood circulation, protecting against cancer, fighting free radicals and more. It’s also quite tasty.

I’ve come across a bunch of recipes for overnight oats online, and decided that I understand the general idea enough to kind of freestyle my own recipe. Here’s what I came up with:

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Ingredients

1/3 cup organic extra thick rolled oats

1 tbsp chia seeds

3/4 cup almond-coconut milk blend

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla powder (or 1-2 drops vanilla extract if you don’t have the powder)

2 ‘shakes’ of cardamom (more or less depending on how much you like the taste)

2 tsp stevia

1/2 cup mixed berries/fruit (I used frozen blueberries, raspberries and tossed in a few frozen peach slices)

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Directions

1) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into your favorite glass jar.

2) Let it sit in the fridge overnight, and enjoy in the A.M. <3

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Is green juice a waste of money?

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It’s safe to say that green juice has become more of a status symbol today than anything else. We all know those 12-ounce bottles cost $10 a pop, and most of us don’t shell out that kind of dough for a single drink. I mean, is it made of gold? Sort of. While the price for liquid greens is a tad absurd, and I HOPE it dips sometime soon, I’d rather spend twice as much on something that will do my body good as opposed to a $4 latte from Starbucks, or god forbid, $2 on a can of soda.

A recent goal of mine has been to fit some kind of green veggie into every meal. It’s a lot easier said than done, but I’ve found green juice and green smoothies to make my goal a lot more attainable. I was lucky enough to be given a juicer as a gift, though I must admit I don’t take the time to use it as often as I should.

Now, not ALL green juice is created equal. Just because it looks like a liquid salad, doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy. If you’re not making it yourself, take a hard look at the nutrition label or ask questions. Sadly, downing a fruit-heavy juice could send your body on a sugar-high the same way a can of soda would. It is natural sugar, but when it comes down to it–sugar is sugar, and calories are calories. I try to pick or make juices that are 70% veggies and 30% fruits. That’s a rough estimate, but the more greenery the better. When I do take the time to make my own juice, I go a little heavy on the ginger and lemon to make it more flavorful so I don’t need to add so much fruit. Try it!

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This particular juice is a combination of celery, cucumber, kale, bok choy, spinach, ginger and lots o’ lemon. I do have a sweet spot for Juice Press and Organic Avenue, but recently I tried a brand of juice called Daily Greens (below) that was quite tasty! Again, they’re a bit pricey–but totally worth it in my opinion!

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***Daily Greens ‘Renew’ is my flavor-pick of the pack! ‘Purity’ is the greenest, making it the lowest in sugar and calories.

 

Cheers to healthy.

Happy brunette girl smiling

Hi all,

So it seems I’ve finally taken the plunge and started my own blog. After much deliberation and insistence from my dear, dear friends–I’ve done it!

It feels like I’ve been an advocate for healthy eating and mindful living my entire life, but in reality that’s not the case. To paint you a picture of pre-green smoothie Tiffany–I used to pick the vegetables out of my canned chicken soup (if those even qualify as veggies). From Cheetos to stove-popped popcorn donned with nutritional yeast, and from mac n’ cheese to quinoa salad (can you tell I loved my fake cheese products?), I’ve come to realize the power of food and taken on an active approach to eating and fueling my body.

Diet has a particular power that spans all areas of your life. While I’ll be sure to touch on it in future posts, the gist of it is this: to be happy, you must be healthy. To be healthy, you must nourish your body with whole, nutritious foods. I don’t claim to know everything about health and what’s right for everyone–I’m still learning every day. What I do know is that finding what works for you and your body is the single greatest discovery you can make.

As I learn and explore the world of wellness, I can only hope that I can open your eyes to new and wonderful ways to give your body what it craves in the hopes that you’ll find greater happiness and health in your own life.

Cheers! To healthy. One day at a time.