Obsessed with Alter Eco


As you might remember, a few months back I featured Alter Eco as my business of the week.  I fell in love with everything about this company, from their products to their philosophy to their willingness to send me and one of my readers a gift basket of delicious goodies.  A special thanks goes out to the company for their general awesomeness + generosity.

I also promised them that I would review the products… In between then and now I moved twice, expanded my business, and started grad school.  The products they sent are mostly gone but my love for them has yet to diminish in the slightest.

My current stash –  the red rice and Blackout bars are my most recent additions.  There have been others.  😉

So without further ado, lets get reviewing!

Quinoa

Their quinoa is by far my favorite.  Its a little pricer than most others but 100% worth it (ad Common Kindness has coupons).  I usually buy the white to be most cost effective but have been dying to try out the other colors for some time now.  Luckily, they included the red in their gift basket to me and let me tell you, it makes for a much better presentation.

Taste-wise, both red and white have that nutty characteristic taste that quinoa fans adore and which lends itself to use in both sweet and savory dishes.  Its delicious hot or cold and can take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in.  As an added plus, I also find that I don’t have to rinse the Alter Eco quinoa quite as much as other brands.

Thai Sticky Rice

Part of my reason for delaying this review is that I had a helluva time with this rice, well, sticking.  It took me three or four tries before I was able to not totally lose it to the bottom of the (stainless steel) pan.  I followed the instructions to a T but what finally worked for me was following the “Flavor Tip” on the back of the package: toasting the rice with a touch of oil before cooking it.  The rice didn’t stick to the pan and I didn’t feel it was as sticky to itself.

Sauteed arugula, Thai Sticky Rice, and Refried Beans

In my opinion, the rice has a more complex flavor than brown rice.  In addition, its cooking time is much shorter than that of brown rice, which means you can actually make it a bit more o-the-fly.  Win/win.

Chocolate

Alter Eco sent me a variety of chocolate bars including Dark Quinoa, Dark Mint, Dark Coconut Toffee, and a milk bar.  Oh my word these were all amazingSeriously, go out and buy them now.  And then hide them so you can’t finish it all in one sitting.  Except for the milk bar but that’s because I don’t really like milk chocolate at all.  In fact, I’d prefer to go without chocolate period.

Now that that’s established… 😉  The Dark Coconut Toffee was my favorite and I think it lasted approximately two days.  <–in hindsight, not too bad  Next in line the Dark Mint (clearly since I bought a second bar), followed by the Dark Quinoa.  As you saw in the picture of my current stash, I recently purchased Dark Blackout.  Which, as expected, is amazing.  The chocolate isn’t too sweet or to bitter.  It is, however, smooth and full of tons of flavor.

I also love that each GIANT bar is technically only two servings, and with nutritional stats that won’t cause you to have a heart attack.  This makes me feel better when I eat 1/8-1/4 of the bar at a time  Quality ingredients –> good nutrients –> happy Kait.  🙂

Final Rating

Let’s just say that I don’t see my obsession with Alter Eco ending anytime soon.  Their products have so much quality and spirit that I simply cannot say no.  Each product is incredibly unique and many are unlike anything I’ve found elsewhere in the grocery store.  You can 100% tell that you re eating something real by taste alone.  <–yes, it’s that good.  

I highly suggest you check out some Alter Eco products asap.  You won’t be disappointed.  😉

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

All opinions expressed in this view are my own.  I am not affiliated with Alter Eco in any way.  No compensation was provided for this review other than the products to test. 

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A Food Discovery: Coconut Banana Oat Bran

Ok so I realize the title of the post is unnervingly vague.  I hope it did its job and drew you in!  😉

A while back I stocked up on some free oatsAnd I mean a lot of free oats.  I’m sad to report that five months later I’m finally coming to the end of my stash.  That being said, I had a container of oat bran staring me in the fact that I had gotten on a whim because hey…it was free.  Now I’ve tried Mama Pea’s oat bran recipe and didn’t love it but for some reason that darn container was calling my name last night.  So I listened.

And I’m so happy I did.  The result was this bowl of deliciousness (seriously can anyone make oat bran look amazing?).  Yes the inclusion of pb & j ab & j may seem odd but I figured coconut tastes good with just about everything so what the heck.

Also, in case you were wondering…Thursday is oatmeal-for-dinner night.  I go to a late yoga class and usually don’t eat until around 10 pm so I want something comforting and, well, not veggie-filled.  Its my version of thirsty Thursday but, IMO, way better.  <–yes I realize that made no sense.  Just roll with it folks.  😉

Banana Coconut Oat Bran

1/3 c oat bran
1/2 c milk of choice
1/2 c water
1 small banana (or 1/2 a large one)
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp+ ground ginger
1 tsp+ vanilla
1 Tbsp nut butter (optional)
1 Tbsp jelly/jam/preserves (optional)

  1. I prepare all my oats using Kath’s life-changing method.  It involves the 1:1 ratio of milk:water and cooking the banana in.  Follow her all the way up until she does the add ins.
  2. Once you remove your oats from heat add in coconut, ginger, and vanilla and mix it in, tasting to see if you want more.
  3. Top with nut butter and jam if you desire.

I wouldn’t suggest trying this with regular oats.  I’ve found the addition of shredded coconut gives them a really weird taste and so I’ve stayed away from that combo since once bad day.. 😉  With the oat bran though, the coconut blends in seamlessly, leaving you with nothing but pure deliciousness and the perfect texture.

As a random aside, some alternative dieticians believe that banana and coconut are great ways to help tighten the lower esophageal sphincter aka the muscle at the base of your esophagus that sometimes allows bile to come up and cause heartburn.  I try to stock up on these two items.  Placebo effect or not, I’m happy to oblige. 

Have wonderful weekends everyone!  Mine involves a garden party, grocery shopping + cooking, and lots of studying for my next midterm.

Yoga/beauty/mmmmm,

Kait xo

 

Project: Food Budget, Week 42 + An Announcement

Welcome to another edition of what I ate, what I spent, and what I saved.  This week marked the beginning of mid-terms (!) and as I write this I’ve spent the past many hours relaxing with cooking round two and watching episode after episode of Brothers & Sisters in a post-exam celebration.  I’m enjoying every second while I can since I have another exam next week so its back to the books tomorrow.

In the meantime, I must say that I’m proud that I’ve been able to stay so on track with my eating given the change in schedule.  I am still stress eating in a way I wish I weren’t and though my choices are different (some would say healthier), the underlying problem is still there: I get to the end of the batch of (insert food here) and realize then that I’ve fallen into an old pattern.  It may have been grapes and whole grain bread this week but it is the behavior itself that is the problem.  One of my reasons for wanting to overcome this habit is so that I don’t want to pass it on to my future children.  Yes I think this way – blame it on the psychology background or anything else.

Anyway, enough about my emotional eating habits…let’s talk food!

Weekly Menu

*I am happy to announce that I’m recipe testing for Happy Herbivore’s fourth cookbook!  I am super excited that the HH team asked me back as a tester and I cannot wait to see what Lindsay creates this time around.  For those just joining, I was a tester for HH’s soon-to-be-released third book.  Each week testers are required to choose three recipes and provide feedback about each.  I cannot disclose recipe names or details to anyone but I can tease you with photos…on weeks I take photos that is.  😉  Test recipes are denoted with a star*.

Over the Rainbow Cabbage Salad

Shaved Kale and Avocado Salad (Crazy Sexy Diet)

Harvest Soup (Crazy Sexy Diet)

Curried Sweet Potato Soup (Happy Herbivore Cookbook)

Pesto*

Spending Savings

Farmers’ Market: $19.00
Trader Joe’s: $10.90
Wegmans: $14.54

Total: $44.44 (saved: $6.00)

I’m slowly but surely bringing that total down.  And I’m still well within my July budget. 🙂 Last week I literally ran out of food so this week I had made my mind up that I wouldn’t make the same mistake.  I also wanted to purchase some convenience foods (Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers, Alexia fries, microwave brown rice)for those nights when I just want to toaster-oven and go!

I actually purchased most of the convenience foods at Whole Foods.  My wonderful momma sent me a gift card and I wanted to get the most food for my buck so I ended up doing some massive couponing and had my best haul in a while.  In fact, I only purchased convenience foods if I had a coupon.  I don’t mind paying full price for produce, but if its in a box then I refuse!

Whole Foods: $19.29
Saved: $28.00 (145%) <–that’s what I’m talking about!!! 

Steals & Deals

Wow…its been forever since I’ve done this section.  I stumbled upon some awesome savings at Whole Foods that I wanted to share with you.  If you haven’t checked out my Guide to WF Couponing yet, now would be a good time. 

Seeds of Change Rice: $2.99 (sale price)
-$1.00 May/June Whole Deal cpn
-$1.00 Seeds of Change cpn
=$0.99 each

Pacific 7 Grain Non-Dairy Milk (32 oz): $3.19
-$0.75 July/August Whole Deal cpn
-$1.50 Pacific Foods cpn
=$0.94 each or $3.76/gal

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Milk (32 oz): $1.99
-$1.00/2 May/June Whole Deal cpn
$1.00/2 Blue Diamond cpn
or- 2 $0.50 Blue Diamond cpns
=$0.99 each or $3.96/gal

Saffron Road Frozen Meals: $3.99 (sale price)
-$1.00 July/August Whole Deal cpn
-$1.00 Saffron Road cpn
=$1.99 each  <–I had free product coupons but this is still a great deal, especially since they do have vegan options.

Alexia Fries: $3.49 (sale price)
-$1.00 Alexia cpn
=$2.49 each

I just realized its also been a while since I’ve shared the P:FB love!  Don’t forget to check out the other amazing bloggers who are a part of this movement.  Each of us has a different budget, number of mouths to feed, location, and belief about what food we should be eating.  🙂

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

A Simple Guide to Whole Foods Couponing

Source

***UPDATE*** Whole Foods recently released a Corporate Coupon Policy!  This is super good news because all stores, no matter where you are, follow the same rules.  And its the most inclusive policy out of the ones they used to have.  As usual, I suggest printing and having it with you when you shop.

***UPDATED*** Here is a copy of the Mid-Atlantic WF Coupon policy.  I suggest printing it and having it with you when you shop.  Check the comments for the North Atlantic  link.

If you are like me, you’ve undoubtedly heard this quip about Whole Foods.  In fact, now that I’m in grad school, I’m hearing it more and more.  Fact of the matter is, most of us are in a similar position: we’ve got tens of thousands of dollars in loans (or more), we’re living off of savings or loans, and we have no or minimal steady income coming in.  Yet being Public Health students, we want to live a healthy life.  For many of us, that means supplementing our Farmer’s Market trips with a stop at Whole Foods, the major option for organic products in downtown Baltimore (the two Trader’s are out in the county and otherwise its Safeway).

Lucky for my classmates, and all of you, I happen to be a budget-and-couponing loving shopper who truly believes that shopping at Whole Foods can be affordable with a little work + awareness + know-how.  I’ve figured out how to “work the system” to my advantage as much as possible and therefore save myself money while sticking as much as possible to my food values.

So here you are….my quick guide to making Whole Foods affordable.

Where to Find Coupons

  1. Whole Foods. Whole Foods has this great booklet that gets released bimonthly called The Whole Deal.  You can pick them up in store (usually right near the entrance with the weekly sales flyers) or print just the coupons you want right at home.  Each coupon is is good for three months.  For example, the coupons in the  the May/June Whole Deal don’t expire until the end of July.
  2. Online.  My favorite sites for all natural coupons themselves are Mambo Sprouts, Common Kindness and RecycleBank.  The latter two require accounts and are free to join.  RecycleBank is a website that allows you to complete tasks for points and then buy coupons with these points.  I was able to get Earth Friendly dish soap for $0.99 at Wegmans a while back thanks to this site.  I usually visit it a couple times a month and do a ton of activities in bulk.  Right now I’m also loving Earthbound Farms’ Organic Step Forward Program.  Again, it’s free to join.
  3. Online Part II.  Lots of “regular” coupon sites (Coupons.com, RedPlum, etc) also have all natural coupons.  To save you time + money, there are couponing blogs that do the legwork of finding out where such coupons are for you.  My favorites are Healthy Life Deals, Organic Deals, The Thrifty Mama, and The Greenbacks Gal.  Hip-2-Save also has an epic coupon database where you can look forcoupons for a specific product.
  4. The Weekly Newspaper.  Try to find a neighbor who gets the weekend newspaper and doesn’t use the coupons.  In Baltimore, the coupons come Saturday for subscribers and Sunday for those who just buy it at the store.  There won’t be a ton in here but hey, every dollar counts.
  5. VegFests, your local co-op, mom & pop natural stores.  This is where I get the bulk of my really good coupons.  If it is for a product I use a lot of, or can be convinced to use a lot of, I will grab a small stack.  It is important, however, to always ask before just grabbing away.
  6. The manufacturer’s themselves.  Goya lets your print coupons from their website once/month.  Attune sends out a monthly newsletter that almost always includes them.  Food for Life will mail them to you once every couple of months or so. E-mail the company, and check out their website and facebook page.  I was impressed at what I found.

How to Use Coupons

  1. Stacking.  Stacking coupons means that you use more than one coupon for the same item.  This is usually done by using a store coupon (e.g. one from the Whole Deal) with a manufacturer’s coupon (like one you get out of the Sunday paper).
  2. Combing coupons + sales.  I love doubling up on coupons and sales.  A couple weeks ago, for example, Whole Foods had Earthbound Farms Power Greens on sale for $3.99 (save $1).  Between that and my coupon, I saved a total of $1.75.
  3. Using both of the above.  This is the best deal you can get!  Not only is something on sale but you also have a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for it, saving you the most amount of money possible.  🙂

Here’s an example to put it all together.

Nature’s Path Granola Bars: 2/$6.00 (reg. $4.69 ea) <–item on sale
-2 $2.00 Nature’s Path coupon <–manufacturer’s coupon
-$1.50/2 Whole Deal coupon <–store coupon
=$0.50 or $0.25/box <–awesome deal

Other Ways to Save

  1. BYOB. WF gives you $0.05 for each bag you bring to the store.  This includes reusable produce bags<–$ saver + good for the environment = big win
  2. Buy in bulk. If you buy a case of any item, you get a 10% discount. Products usually come in cases of 6 or 12 and you can find the exact number either by asking or looking in the lower left-hand corner of the price tag.  You can use coupons with cases but you will not get the discount if you get a case of something that is already on sale.  This may vary by store.

FAQs

  1. How much time do you spend doing all this each week?  I know it seems like a lot!  And at first it might feel that way too.  But eventually it becomes second nature.  I spend between 1 and 2 hours on finding + printing coupons, meal planning, and organizing my grocery list.  I tend to get lost in grocery stores and spend 4-5 hours shopping BUT when I’m not meandering the aisle I can do it in about 30 minutes.  I organize my list + my coupons by the rows of the store.
  2. What the heck do I do with those $x.00/2 items coupons?  Wait for the product to go on sale 2/$x,00 (like I did with the granola bars above).  Or use them with another coupon.  Or do both.  😉
  3. How do I know what’s on sale?  Whole Foods’ sales run Wednesday to Tuesday and the flyer can be found from their homepage.  There likely are more sales int he store than listed and this is where those coupon blogs come in handy again.  Each does a weekly match-up.Baltimore folks: I have yet to find a good match-up for our stores.  I will update this when I do!  For now, I suggest using Healthy Life Deals’ Cheat Sheet.
  4. Are there any couponing “rules” I should know about?  Here’s a crash course in Couponing etiquetteBe nice, be respectful, be honest, be fair.Do tell your cashier ahead of time that you will be using a lot of coupons andlet anyone who comes in line behind you know that it might take a while.
    Do not snap at the cashier if s/he isn’t sure what to do, steal all of the sticky coupons off the x container (sometimes manufacturer’s will put coupons right onto their products), try to use one coupon for another product, etc.  The grocery industry can easily pull these awesome savings out from under us at any time.  Don’t contribute to a negative couponing culture.
  5. So I’m going to start saving $100s with this, right?  Like on Extreme Couponing?  Um, not so much.  Consider this the part where I talk about managing expectations.  Some weeks I save more than I spend.  I try to do it every week but it still doesn’t happen.  Have I saved several $100s since I started couponing in the spring?  Undoubtedly.  But some weeks I save less than $10.  My thoughts are: if I want to buy x product and there’s a coupon available, why not use it?  I would have bought it regardless so all I’m doing is keeping extra $$$ in my pocket.  Understand that extreme couponing takes time…to learn and to dedicate to it.  For now, the basics will still help you out…poor grad student or not.  😉
  6. Ok but sometimes the sales price isn’t the best deal for that item.  What gives?  So true!  This is where unit prices come in.  I try to think of everything in terms of pounds, gallons, rolls, etc.  The 10oz package of quinoa that costs $3.99 is actually more expensive per pound than the 1lb bag that costs $4.99.  I like to pay less than $6.00/gal non-dairy milk, $0.25/roll of toilet paper or paper towels, etc.  You can calculate the unit price yourself or just look in the upper left-hand corner of the price tag.

There you go!  I hope this guide was super helpful.  I want to send a shoutout to Kristin for teaching me all she knows and opening my world to natural food couponing. Thanks girl!

Questions?  Leave ’em below and I’ll do my best.  😉

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Home

“Somebody famous once said that you can’t go home again, but I think you can. And there is nothing sweeter than going home after you’ve built a life that you love far, far away from that home. Going back is a touchstone, a comforting reminder of all that you’ve accomplished. But the most important thing is to never, ever forget what got you there in the first place.”

~~Beyond the Blonde

I read Beyond the Blonde years ago, but this quote has stuck with me (not only in my heart but also on my Facebook profile) since then.  This weekend it proved truer than ever before.

Of all the emotions I expected to feel upon my move to Baltimore, homesickness wasn’t one of them.  I expected nerves + anxiety + excitement + loneliness + joy + overwhelm but homesickness…me?  Never.  Too bad I was completely wrong.

Ironically, of all those emotions I’ve been feeling, homesickness is the one I’ve been dealing with the most.  It’s odd because, for those who know me, you know I spent a greater part of my young adult life avoiding home.  For reasons I don’t feel the need to share here, home was too painful, too stressful, and simply too much work.  If I went “home” it usually meant I was going to CT (my home state) to visit the beau.  I honestly never understood my friends who happily made weekend trips to their parents’ house.  It just wasn’t my life.

The past few weeks though I’ve been missing home like whoa.  I miss being able to see the beau whenever I want, I miss the spiritual community of my yoga studio, I miss my friends at the Trader’s in Shrewsbury, I miss lunches on the UMass lawn, I miss Kaybird, I miss my patients and my docs…I miss all of those things that make a “home” just that.

So this weekend I decided to be spontaneous.  Ten hours, 500+ miles, and $100 later and I had my taste of home.  It was oh so worth it and oh so necessary.

I told myself it wasn’t practical.  After all, I couldn’t leave until Saturday (Friday evening I had a yoga workshop here) and would have to come back Sunday.  But the beau was dog sitting at his parent’s house…which is two hours closer to me than his actual apartment.  And when I mentioned the idea to one of my classmates she asked, “What do you really have to do this weekend?”  Hint: I couldn’t think of anything.

Yes the house needed to be cleaned, homework read, and Downton Abbey finished…but did I really have to do any of these things?  When another friend brought up the whole “you’ve only got one life to live” point and that this was the last weekend before exams and assignments starting coming due, I knew I was going.

An awesome find in a NJ rest area

Friday I packed and Saturday morning I was on the road by nine, ready to be with loved ones, even if only for a few hours.  I was giddy (almost) the entire trip and when this rascal greeted me at the door, any hesitations or doubts flew out the window.

How can you say no to that face? Seriously.

We did little more than hang-out, watch TV, take Mable to a local park (where I practiced yoga in the middle of the field..such a good experience!), eat, and cuddle.  And it was the perfect dose of home + love that I needed.

When all was said and done, those 10 hours in the car didn’t feel so bad either (though my hips beg to differ).  On one end was the beau + the puppy and on the other was this new place I’m still learning to call home.  I was fortunate to hit minimum traffic and with the exception of some crazy weather (look at those clouds!), the drive was quick and easy.  Cheap gas in NJ didn’t hurt either.

New York

Maryland

This weekend reminded me more than anything to listen to my intuition…and that you can always go home.  Nothing about what I did was “logical” but it was right…it was what I needed.

When was the last time you did something you needed, logical or not?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Project: Food Budget, Week 41

Happy Thursday lovelies. 🙂 I’m writing this post on-the-go so I apologize if there are any errors. I’m not totally used to writing posts on my phone! Probably because I’ve never done it before….

Anyway, this is week one of the cleanse and boy did I miscalculate my food needs. I ended up making two extra trips I the grocery store just for more greens. I kind of forgot how much I consume during the cleanse! Add into that the fact that I’ve been eating more to fuel my hardworking brain and … well you guessed it, I went over a bit again. Thankfully when I budgeted for the year, I did $200/month which actually works out to be a closer to $50/wk so I’m still ok and, to me, that is what counts as I continue acclimating to my new lifestyle. 🙂

I don’t have any photos of the food I made on my phone but I don’t want to leave you without anything to feast your eyes on so I figured I’d tempt you with some delightful dishes I’ve eaten over the past few weeks. Apparently I can’t insert these wherever do keep on scrolling to indulge your senses! 😉

Spending Savings

Whole Foods:$9.58
Wegmans:$25.95
Trader’s:$11.88
Farmer’s Market:$9.50

Total Spending:$56.41

Of that I saved about $15.00.

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The best “MD Freak Storm” dish ever: sauteed arugula, Thai sticky rice, and homemade refried beans.

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Fried deliciousness at Sticky Rice.

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Veg sushi at Sticky Rice.

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Decidedly not-vegan brownie trio from a wine bar in Fell’s Point.

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Burrito with grilled plantains + summer squash + corn from Golden West.

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Curry falafel sandwich from the Gypsy Queen food truck.

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Yesterday

Yesterday I…

met some fake friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time.

procrastination. fear. regret. guilt. let down.

struggled with my gremlin the whole damn day.

he told me I wasn’t worth it…was a fake, a hoax, a phoney.  taunted and teased…incessantly.

had detox brain fog that left me unsteady.

unstable. confused. worried

struggled more than I had in a while.

and wasn’t totally sure what to do about it.

found no solace in my yoga practice.

instead i felt disconnected, disheartened, lost and loney.

missed “home” more than I had in a while.

mom’s house, worcester, MYoga, my family, my friends.

fell into old patterns I thought I had left behind.

ones I thought I’d never see again.

was not my best day.

and it also wasn’t my worst.

I survived.

and today I started anew.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Let the Cleanse Begin…again!

Hi folks!

I hope you had a beautiful weekend.  Mine involved lots of Brothers & Sisters, adeliciousinternational potluck with my classmates, dancing until the early morning hours, late night girl talks, lots of grocery shopping + cooking, a 3am shower, a trip to the farmer’s market, dancing in my car, and fantastic conversations with new friends.

And…restarting the Crazy Sexy Cleanse.

A couple weeks ago one of my good college buddies bought and read the book.  Both of us have similar struggles with our weight + eating and I had been suggesting the book to her since I did my last cleanse.  She wanted to do the cleanse and I offered to do it with her, both for some moral support (it isn’t always the easiest + she isn’t plant-based to begin with) and because I know it won’t hurt me to do it again.

So last night I enjoyed all sorts of Indian, Asian, and American food + dessert + beer (and that dancing) and today I started my day with fresh vegetable juice (carrot/ginger/beet/apple/parsley/kale/celery/garlic) from the farmer’s market, followed by some baked fresh this morning whole wheat walnut bread and sun butter, and topped off tonight with a new-to-me raw kale salad.

I forgot how good it feels to eat this way.

I won’t likely be talking about the cleanse quite as much as last time but I will be following the principles to a T.   For those just joining me, that means: no meat/poultry/seafood/eggs, dairy, sugar or alcohol.  It also means daily meditation, workouts, and dry brushing, as well as using toxin-free health & beauty products and getting enough sleep.  Kris suggests giving up gluten but I’m not quite there yet (personally or budget-wise).  Quite frankly, I think that I probably will feel even better and I’m not ready for that change.  I have no doubt that I’ll get there (and have certainly learned to never say never).

I hope you join me over the next 21 days as I work my way towards a lighter, more cruelty-free life.  My goals with this cleanse are fat loss (not to be confused with weight loss) + more focus.  I’ve been doing much better with the focus thing, often choosing to do that what needs to get done than that which I want to do.  As many of you know, this is a huge step for me and I have no doubt that cleanse will help strengthen this new muscle I’m building…plus a whole lot more.

Yoga/beauty/veggies,

Kait xo

MPH Top 10 List

I haven’t talked much about Orientation yet (and probably won’t) but there was one part that stuck out to me that I wanted to share with you all.

First, a little background.  Most of the two day orientation was spent sitting in uncomfortable chairs listening to people talk.  Most of the talks were your standard, “Welcome to Hopkins.  This is the office I’m from and this is what we do and this is how to reach us.”

Aka it was pretty boring…

Others talked about graduation + becoming an alumni

….and overwhelming. 

And we spent essentially 16 hours over the course of two days learning everything there is to know about the program.

and intense. 

Needless to say, by the end of the second day we were all exhausted + drained.  After moving back into my apt on Tuesday, I started organizing my Orientation materials (you get a lot), and found my notes from one of the more engaging lectures from Monday morning.  Dr. Burke is uite possibly the goofiest, funniest speaker I’ve ever seen and I am excited that our class gets a chance to have him as a professor.  He talked primarily about building our toolbox (aka skill set) + using the amazing connections we can take advantage of as Hopkins students.

At the end of his presentation, however, he shared his “MPH Top 10”- the 10 things he wanted us to remember over the course of the next 11 months.  Since I think these generally apply to all of us in life, I wanted to share them here.

MPH Top 10

  1. Relax!  It’s intense but you can do it.
  2. Get to know your colleagues (horizontally + vertically).
  3. Decided how you are going to build your tool kit (and do it).
  4. Get outside of Hopkins.
  5. Recognize the importance of communication + communication skills.
  6. Think politically.
  7. Keep your sense of humor.
  8. Don’t stress (too much) about grades.  B’s are more than okay.
  9. Develop four mentors.
  10. DREAM.

Which piece of advice is your favorite?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

 

Project: Food Budget, Weeks 39 + 40 AND a GF Giveaway

Wow…its week 40 already!  That means only 12 more official weeks for P:FB!  <–that’s insane!

This is going to be a quickie check in, not only because I haven’t been keeping close track of everything but also because today marks my first day of classes! 

Given the events of the past few weeks (moving, losing power, etc), my budget has been a bit up and down.  The week I  moved in…well I can’t even tell you how much I spent.  I was constantly running to the closest store (which happened to be Shoppers…not the cheapest IMO) to grab lemon juice or flour or something else mid-cooking/baking that I believed I had…but didn’t.  Try not to do this folks…its gets expensive and annoying!

I promise more food porn posts coming soon.  And by food porn I mean mediocre pictures of outstanding, drool-worthy food that looks good despite the fact that my photography skills are far from good.  <–not saying this to self-patronizing but rather to let you know that photography just isn’t a top priority of mine.

Now about that budget…

Week 39: $30.50 (savings ???)
Week 40: $69.90  (savings: >$30)

So if you are wondering what happened this week, its called stocking up on overpriced non-perishables so I can eat semi-healthy without access to a fridge.  Then of course, I did have access to a fridge but not an affordable grocery store so…I paid the Giant prices (double entendre fully intended)  Luckily, the beau paid for half of those since he was worried about me eating.  And I have enough larabars + raw sprouted trail mix to last me for months.  <–seriously.

Giveaway Alert!

Wegmans just recently debuted its Food You Feel Good About (FYFGA) gluten-free line.  FYFGA products are made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.  As part of the debut, they sent us obsessed loyal customers coupons for some goodies.  Since I don’t really need the products, I thought I would do the nice thing and share the love with you all!

Up for grabs…

Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Gluten Free Sugar Cookie MixSugar Cookie Mix (only 70 cal/cookie)

Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Gluten Free Fusilli
Fusili corn pasta (only 2 ingredients: corn + water!)

Though I haven’t had either of these products, I have sampled and purchased many private-label products from Wegmans and have been impressed with them all.  The sugar cookie mix also has a 5 Star rating on the Wegmans site.  just sayin’.  😉

To enter: just leave a comment below.  Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 7 at 11:59pm.

That’s it for today folks.

Yoga/beauty/food,

Kait xo