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The idea of supporting local farms is something I am very passionate about. I used to do the majority of my food shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s but we’ve slowly transitioned over to shopping at local family farms, in addition to foraging from our own gardens and gathering pastured eggs here on our own farm. The reward is so great! Not only do we find that the flavor profiles are insanely different (read: exploding with flavor), but supporting a local family, and our local economy, is something that makes us so happy! Living on a farm, we now understand the work that goes into caring for organic gardens and happy livestock. And since we choose to eat grass-fed or pastured meats and eggs, knowing where the cows, pigs, and chickens have grazed, and spent their lives, is very important to us, as is knowing the farmer who raised the animals. We make it a point to only support farming that is humane, free of chemicals and hormones, and of course free of pesticides and GMO’s. Sure, you can find these types of products at Whole Foods or other health food stores, but handing over that check directly to the farmer feels like a statement of support. I guess we’re hoping more people will forgo shopping at major grocery chains, which supports industrialized farming and Big Agriculture yada yada… and instead shop at local farmer’s markets or go directly to their local family farms.

The majority of us don’t realize how easy it is to locate local farms or farmer’s markets in our area – hint: it’s soo easy!

  • Please check out Eat Wild to search for local farms, or farmer’s markets, in your area that raise, produce and sell meats, cheese, milk, butter, fruits and vegetables, honey, coffee, eggs, and so much more that is all sustainably raised, grass-fed, organic, pastured or otherwise all-natural and humane. The site includes a US map with farms across the country ready to be found.
  • If you’re part of a big family, something like Philly Cow Share, might be of interest to you. These types of share companies connect responsible farms and butchers with urban communities who are looking to simply eat well. Depending on where you are in the country, you can do your own research to find something like this local to you.
  • Local Harvest is another directory that allows you to find local organic food, farmer’s markets, family farms, and sustainable farms in your area. This is an incredible resource that I refer to all the time.
  • If you’re looking for grass-fed beef, Mark’s Daily Apple has put together a little list of farms in almost every state for you to contact. Check it out here.
  • The American Grassfed Association also has an extensive list of grass-fed farms and products listed by state on their site.

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My mom and I are working on putting together some Farm to Table events for our local community in collaboration with our neighbors who have this gorgeous refurbished barn that is used for weddings and such. We are so excited about getting our community involved and bringing awareness to the importance of supporting local, and sustainable, farming. Our first event will take place late October and I’ll be sure to fill you in on details as we plan our events and source local farms, food and wine!

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performance

By now you all know I’ve been paleo for a good 10 months. My body is loving me, and I’m like, so freaking full of energy all the time I could run up a wall. Wahooo! But seriously, never felt better, healthier or happier. Being an extremely active person who trains almost everyday, if not 2x a day, I need plenty of fuel and nutrition to keep my body running nicely. Our bodies are machines, and the food and supplements we put into it is the fuel for it to run off of.

My simple rules for keeping my performance up and my body and mind strong: keep it clean, lots of water, plenty of rest and move more. This is my lifestyle, and while I know it’s not for everyone, here are my essentials for those of you who want to 1) keep it paleo, and 2) increase performance. Aspiring ninja’s welcome.

 

1. Bulletproof coffee. MCT oil + butter in my coffee? You better believe it. I have never been a coffee drinker in my entire life (until 2 months ago), and always felt sluggish and sickly after drinking a cup o’ joe. Turns out bad coffee is to blame. Read about Bulletproof Coffee on their site because they explain it better than I can. And learn about grass-fed AKA good butter vs. bad butter and why grass-fed butter is awesome here. I start almost every morning with a cup of BPC with my breakfast then workout 90 minutes later. My performance and brain power has increased significantly and I love it. #ninjastatus

2. Yams + starchy vegetables . My one issue with the paleo diet is the tendency, or choice, to be super low-carb. Carbs are not the devil; rather the opposite, it’s just about choosing the right carbs to fuel your body, build muscle, replenish glycogen stores and feel fueled. A lot of people who go paleo will immediately drop significant weight due to the removal of all breads, pastas, cereals, starchy foods, etc. Then they hit a plateau and have difficulty losing remaining fat, or “leaning out”. Carbs are vital for athletes and highly active individuals, but should be consumed at the right time. I came from a place of low-carb eating slash severely damaged metabolism so adding a lot of high quality complex carbs was terrifying. Once I realized my depletion and lack of energy was related to my low-carb diet, I upped the carbs and now notice a nice hum in my metabolism. I eat plenty of yams, squash, zucchini, and even red potatoes if I need the extra carbs surrounding my workouts or at night before bed. An example of what this looks like is: slow-digesting carbs before a workout (yams), fast-digesting carbs post-workout (banana and/or berries blended in a recovery smoothie), and then 1 cup homemade paleo coconut milk ice cream or grass-fed greek  yogurt before bed. I usually go to bed pretty full, and wake up with abs. I still eat plenty of healthy fats and protein, and keep it all in balance. It’s about balance, people.

3. Glutamine + BCAA’s. Essential for recovery, muscle repair, soreness, fat loss, metabolism and everything nice. To read about BCAA’s you can go here, or for L-glutamine, here. I get mine on Amazon! Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules and Optimum Nutrition Glutamine Capsules are my favorite.

4. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. While you can’t actually eat this, you can consume it in other ways. The buzz surrounding Kelly Starrett’s book was deafening in the CrossFit community, and for good reason. I picked it up last week and have used it everyday since. For any ache or ailment, there is a mobility prescription to fix you. Flexibility and mobility is ESSENTIAL for healthy muscles and performance. Go buy the book! No need to thank me.

5. High quality protein. We are big on grass-fed and pastured meats and eggs. We love our protein, but understand that there is a significant difference in grain-fed meat vs. grass fed. The nutritional profiles of the opposing groups is crazy! We are omnivores, but make it a point to seek out high quality foods if we are going to eat meat. Being in the countryside of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the local farms are in abundance. We love that! We eat grass-fed beef a couple times a week, organic + pastured chicken and eggs regularly, pastured pork and bacon, and bison when we can find it! And as for whey protein supplements? We love Progenex and Formulx. Read more about the importance of grass-fed beef here. And buy your own here.

Cheers to being better humans! I’m back from a long summer vacation, and an actual vacation in Florida. Time to kick things up a notch.

 

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bikini season

1. Aviators \ 2. Despi Bikini \ 3. Isabel Weekender \ 4. Isapera Sandals \ 5. Wappo Bracelet \ 6. Seafolly Kaftan (ON SALE!)

Summer is my all. time. favorite. thing. ever.  Popsicles, neon toenails, ripped cutoffs, beachy waves, sunkissed skin, summer concerts, late night swimming, sandals, bikinis, bright colors, the smell of the ocean… I could go on forever, but you get it.

I gotta say, this will probably be the first summer of my life that I’m not feeling self conscious in a bikini. I’ve always been into fitness, but since starting CrossFit this past winter? I kinda feel like a whole new woman. I feel confident and strong! It’s taken me a lot to actually say that, but when Kyle and I went to the beach a few weekends ago, I was rockin’ my new Despi bikini (thank you Orchid Boutique!) and feeling awesome. I want to help you feel awesome, too! Let’s do this!!

 

Here are a few tips for feeling awesome in your bathing suit this season…

1. GO workout! Yeah, if you thought I wasn’t gonna say this you were wrong. Go to the gym, lift some weights, squat every week (air squatfront squat, back squat), get your heart rate up, stretch, recover, repeat. Or just find a really good CrossFit gym in your area with excellent coaches who teach good form and join! Best investment ever. There, I said it.

2. Quit gluten and grains. That crap makes you bloat. If you don’t think this applies to you, then you’ve probably been living bloated for a long time now (like I was) and you don’t even know the amazingness that is a flat tummy. Gassiness and bloating after dinner is not normal. Gluten and grains have lecithins that are hard for the body to digest and can cause a very acidic environment in the stomach. If you need more information about why gluten and grains are slowly killing you, go here, here and here. We are all very different, but I have yet to meet someone who is grain-free and says they aren’t healthier.

3. Eat LOTS of green vegetables. Green veggies (think: kale, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard) have lots of water in them and are loaded with fiber! These foods help keep your — eh hem — insides clean, limit bloating and digestive problems, and are fantastic for fat loss! Any questions?

4. Drink ~1 gallon of water a day. You need to hydrate. It’s hot out there. Your skin will start to crinkle (ew) if you’re dehydrated. Drink up already!

5. Don’t starve yourself, woman! If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me she was watching her calories more closely now that it’s bikini season, I’d be freaking retired. Here’s something for ya: if you’re eating less than what your body needs, your body goes into fat storing mode because you aren’t feeding it enough. Good food is fuel to the body, and keeps the metabolism purring like a Jaguar. Eat enough clean calories so your body functions properly, you can fuel your workouts (assuming you’re already kicking ass), and so your body doesn’t store unwanted fat. Also, no one likes a hangry girl, just sayin’.

 

Do you have any tips for feeling good this summer? How are you feeling about “bikini season”?

 

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This post encompasses the basis of what my life is made of: kale, lemons, silliness, Mexican blanket patterns (?), sandals and wild, undone hair. Now that summer is basically here, I’m so thrilled to be able to drink a cold green juice on sizzling hot days, let my hair air dry and work on my tan, yo! Getting a tan is one of my top priorities at the moment… which also means I get to finally load up on some vitamin D. Thank goodness.

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Oh hey! I’m wearing a Roxy dress and DVF sandals.

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So let’s talk about juicing. I’m a total juicehead. No, not like one of Snooki’s boyfriends. The greener the better kind of juicehead. Make it a double kind of juicehead. I’ve received a ton of questions about juicing in the past few months so I decided to answer a few here and give you some info on why juicing is awesome, healthy, and totally delicious. It can be tricky sometimes, especially if it’s your first time getting juicy. Hopefully this post answers your questions and gives you some courage to go green with your juicing.

Here are my juicing rules, tricks + tips:

1. Your juice should be made of 90% vegetables, and little fruit. Juicing takes the fiber out of the fruit or vegetable, making it easier to be absorbed by your body and bloodstream. While this can be awesome if you’re juicing kale (YAY!) or any leafy green, juicing only fruit can actually be harmful to your body. Fruit juice is super high in fructose, causing your insulin levels to sky rocket, and then quickly crash. This equals major mood swings, high levels of triglycerides in the liver and a possible future of insulin resistance. No bueno. Fructose isn’t harmful in whole fruit (within reason), but when concentrated in fruit juices, it’s just not a healthy option. If you’re looking to get good flavor in your juices, and if anything green scares you — get over it, seriously — try using one green apple in your juice. Over time your tastebuds will adjust and you’ll be craving kale concoctions.

2. Juice to alkalize. Your body is constantly trying to maintain a balanced pH level. Whatever you eat is either alkaline or acidic. I am a paleo girl, and I eat a lot of animal products which are acidic foods; juicing helps to balance my pH levels so I can have healthy blood. Juicing alkaline foods keeps me cleansed, refreshed, healthy and functioning properly. A 7.4 is an ideal pH, which is neutral, or balanced. Juice plenty of alkaline vegetables! For a list of alkaline and acidic foods, check out this chart.

3. Juicing is not an excuse to get out of EATING your veggies. As previously stated, juicing strips the veggie of it’s fiber. Fiber is essential, not to mention there’s a lot of nutrition in the skin and fiber of the vegetable. Juicing does not and cannot replace eating the whole vegetable. Eat your veggies first, juice your veggies second.

4. Juice organic. I’m an organic snob and I’m not afraid to say it. I know it’s expensive and all, but I’d rather shell out the cash for pesticide-free, GMO-free food than buy an extra pair of shoes or blow money at ______ (fill in the blank). Health is a priority for me and so organic produce it is. If you want to read about GMO foods, click here. If you want to read about why buying organic food is better for your health, click here.

5. Don’t juice to lose weight. Juice cleansing can be great, or it can be really stupid. Your intentions and reasons for juicing should be just to cleanse the body of toxins (maybe after a holiday cookie exchange party or a vacation). If you’re doing a juice cleanse to lose weight, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You will only lose water weight, and the weight will more than likely come right when you start eating again. Be realistic, and do it for the right reasons. If you’re looking to lose weight remember that it takes time, lots of effort and a healthy lifestyle. Juicing can be a great supplement to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Get the foundation down first, but feel free to juice as much as you’d like on the side.

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My favorite juicing “recipes” are:

Green Juice-

2 cups kale
2 cups romaine lettuce
1 small green apple, core removed
1 small lemon (skin can be removed for less punch but I love it punchy!)
fresh ginger (about the size of the top of your thumb)

Minty Green Juice-

2 cups kale
1 cup collard greens
1 cup spinach
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small green apple
1 small cucumber
handful of mint

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More great posts on juicing:

6 Things to Consider Before buying a Juicer - Summer Tomato
Juice Week: The Green Refresher – With Style and Grace
A Lesson in Juicing – 101 Cookbooks
The Great Juice Feast – My New Roots

Happy juicing!

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Whoa. Deep breath. Never did I imagine my life what it is now. I am more overwhelmed while simultaneously ecstatic at the same time. Pretty sure that’s not even possible? Somewhere between deciding to take a sharp turn with the direction of my blog + career and the moment I unburied my innate desire to #BETHEBOSS of my work and life — I found myself here. 

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I have been unsuccessfully juggling too many things. Things which include school, starting a business, taking care of two cats, 1 dog and 27 chickens, freelancing, starting another business, taking B-School and oh, I’m sure I’ve missed a few.

Can my head explode now? I’m doing alright but geeeeze.

When was someone going to tell me that juggling 498 things and keeping my sanity would be virtually impossible? Anyone?

So here I am. Happy as a clam, but taking a step back. I have had an overwhelming response to the start of my health coaching business, and so many incredible opportunities come up along the way. Life is so good and I feel so blessed. When you open up your heart and your mind to risks and challenges, crazy things happen. The good crazy.

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But I’m in desperate need of balance. And time management. Some say balance doesn’t exist…  I can’t wholeheartedly agree. But it starts with choices. Balance is all about choices, people!

So how do you juggle your endless to-do list and your social life while eating healthy, getting enough rest, working out and um, everything else? Impossible you say? It’s only impossible if you say it is. Here’s how I’ve been making sense of the mess that is my to-do list, while living healthy, working out 6x a week and well, you know…

1. Make a to-do list every night before bed on a 3-inch post-it note. If it doesn’t fit on the sticky note, it probably won’t get done. And no need to overwhelm yourself with what you weren’t able to accomplish. You are only one person!
2. Plan yo meals! I plan my meals for the week on Sunday’s and then take my grocery list to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods the same day. I prep what I can ahead of time and then follow my schedule accordingly. Being a schedule freak has made my life so. much. easier. That is if I follow it :) The trick, of course, is to follow my schedule just like I follow my planner for tasks and appointments. Practice makes perfect.
3. Schedule down time. This is so huge for me. I need fresh air and sunshine to recharge my batteries and renew my creativity stores. Get outside to clear your mind, find solace and peace. Breathe in the fresh air. Lay in the grass. Read a novel. Take a walk. This is healthy for you! You need separated time to just breathe and be present. Soak up those moments. Bonus: Having down time allows you to be more productive when it’s crunch time!
4. Trim the fat. Learn to say no. You do not have to read every book, go to every event, or make an elaborate meal every night. Marie Forleo taught me this: make a list of all the things you think you “have” to do. Then go over it several times. Whatever doesn’t really need to be done? You know those things are there. Cross them out. Toss them out. Overloading is overwhelming.
5. Shut down technology. You do not need to check your e-mail at 11pm. You don’t need to check instagram every 14 minutes. You don’t need to watch TV every night. Dude. Just shut down. I’m trying to enjoy my weekends pretty much cell phone free these days, and it’s so amazing! Too much technology gives me anxiety. Learn to be present, take a load off and do fun IRL things!

What are ways that you balance your busy lifestyle with trying to be healthy?
Do you find that when you’re busy your health and fitness take a backseat?

These photos were taken by my amazing friends at DuckDuck Collective. They really accurately depict my love for fresh air, adventure, nature and peace. I’m wearing a Zara dress, Sorrelli gems and NARS Funny Face lipstick.

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