Spirulina is the ***!

Have you guys tried spirulina yet? HOLY MOLY…it is the shizzz! Packed with nutrients, this powerhouse powder is so good in my green smoothies…I really feel like I am doing a good thing by adding this to my daily routine.

The serving size is 1 tsp but I went with a 1/2 tsp last night since I wasn’t sure how potent it was or how I would even like it. This morning I kicked it up to 1 tsp because I am in LOOOOOVE:

Warning…it smells like the Atlantic Ocean once you open up the packet but as long as you can get past that, you will be good to go. In order to adjust the flavor, I added a little more honey to my smoothie and off I went…literally “went!”

Here is the link to where I bought it: Natural Nutra Organic Spirulina Powder from Amazon.

*I was not compensated in any way for this post…I simply blog about what I love.

Social Media: Be Genuine…and HONEST

Recently, a friend asked me about her postings on Instagram and what she should start posting about in addition to her regular content. I asked her what she was passionate about and then told her what I saw her passions to be.

Let the words flow. Be organic. Stay natural. Don’t talk about things you don’t know about…don’t be a phony. People will pick up on that. This is exactly what I said to her.

This is the founding principal of this blog. I talk about what I know, what I love, what I have a passion about. Whether my passion is good or bad, I want my feelings to come through in my writing.

I post raw and unedited pictures. Nothing is blurred, erased, buffed out, replaced, made smaller or larger. I have my mother’s neck. I have my father’s nose. I am missing half an eyebrow because I pick them. My hair is dry and my skin oily. I have a pooch from where I carried my baby. I have cellulite on the back of my thighs. But you know what, I am a good person and this is ME and I love me.

Sadly, there are many people in this world on social media that make things appear a lot more glamorous than what they truly are. That is their social media site and not mine. Thankfully, there has been a lot of movement towards promoting positive body images, people doing good and waving goodbye to the over-the-top phonies that have suffocated social media.

Speaking of raw and unedited: below is a picture from our most recent vacation. Zero makeup, extremely dry under eye bags because I forgot to moisturize, 3 day old pool hair and half an eyebrow. I am sure there was a rinse or two to keep my hair from turning green but, I love this picture.

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So, post the mess in your house! Post the spilled scrambled eggs on the floor because you tripped over Legos for the 412th time! Post your haircut that you just got that looks NOTHING like the picture you showed the stylist! This is life…live it and laugh about it!

Want to grow your following? Keep it REAL. I will follow you wherever you go.

Hasselbeck Sweet Potatoes

We are a sweet potato family! I am always up for trying to season and cook them different ways. My latest find is the Hasselbeck Sweet Potato! Recipe and link below:

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves, finely chopped

Directions

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Shave a thin sliver from one side of each potato to give it a flat surface to stand on while you slice it. Make thin slices into the potato about 1/16-inch thick, stopping before you cut all the way through. (Placing a chopstick on either side of the potato while you slice it can help stop the blade before it cuts all the way through.) Put each potato on a separate sheet of foil. Shape the foil around the potatoes to wrap them, but leave the tops open and exposed. Put the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until browned and nutty, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle the butter mixture over the potatoes and pinch the foil together on top to seal the potato inside. Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool for a few moments. Remove the potatoes from the foil, put them on a serving platter and drizzle with the sauce leftover in each foil packet. Sprinkle with the pecans before serving.

The Food Network – Hasselbeck Sweet Potatoes

Enjoy All!

The Detox Smoothie

A friend at work shared this recipe with me (she found it on Pinterest so thank you to whoever you are). It is a detox smoothie and though I was skeptical at first, I truly LOVE this smoothie. Not only does it make me feel like I should be sitting under an umbrella at the beach sipping this out of a carved out pineapple, but it has jump started my weight loss after I hit a plateau. Bonus…it really does “clean you out” if you catch my drift!

Ingredients:

  1. handful of spinach
  2. 1/2 banana
  3. 1/2 pear (I use canned)
  4. 1/2 juiced lemon (I save the lemon to use in my water)
  5. 1 celery stalk (recipe calls for 2 stalks but 1 was fine for me)
  6. ice/water (depends how thick you like your smoothie)
  7. honey (I used local honey but you could sweeten with Splenda, Stevia etc)

Chop, blend and enjoy the beachfront drink.

My Health and Weight Loss Journey

Earlier this year, I was finally able to get a grip on what was happening to me. I was overweight. I was unhealthy. My GI issues were at an all time high. I felt gross, tired, moody…the list goes on and on. I was 43 and had to to SOMETHING. Click here for my post on my health and weight loss journey.

As I have never been one to sugar coat anything, I am about to get super real with anyone who reads this blog…

I started my health and weight loss journey at 200 pounds (gasp!). I am currently (as of this morning) 173.2 pounds. I weigh in every day to hold myself accountable. I do research. I ask questions. I try new recipes. I post real and untouched pictures of what I look like and what I eat. Doctored up pictures and professionally edited postings have their place but that place is not on my blog. Fast forward to today! I feel amazing…27 pounds lighter and 3 clothing sizes smaller.

It isn’t easy and I am truly thankful for each and every person that has lent an ear, showed support, noticed my changes  and have encouraged me. Some of that support came from those who I would never have imagined.

I am going to start posting a lot of different topics on here…some will help, some will offend. I make no apologies for that…I am who I am and this journey is what it is.

*Disclaimer- I am not a dietitian. I am not a doctor or a nurse. I do not give out any advice relating to health/diet. This is about what works for ME.*

My Swim Style

Gone are the days of the “swim skirt” being only a style for your Grandma to wear…I know mine did! At this point in my life, I am all about style, function and what makes me comfortable. In addition, now that we are in the party circuit and live in Florida, there are going to be BBQ’s and pool parties. Staycations at Disney hotels. The beach…you get the point. I want to feel my best, look my best and not worry a boob is going to pop out of the top of my swimsuit in front of someone’s kid…or husband.

After a recent 24lb weight loss, I wanted to see how things were shaping up for me with a new swimsuit. On a recent trip to JCPenney, I decided to try on a few styles (I do shop around but ended  up at JCPenney for cost, style and size).  After trying on a few tankini’s, a one piece and a bikini (oh how that ship has sailed!), I ended up with these two swim dresses:

These two style are from a line called Azul by Maxine of Hollywood. They are both of excellent quality and really keep things where they need to be. The style has great coverage (even up top). They retail for $99 but I got them both on sale for just under $50 each with an in-store special and my JCP credit card.

If you are looking for a new style, don’t toss out the idea of Grandma’s swimdress just yet…they have come a long way since the 60’s! Unedited and raw. No Photoshop. Inside the dated dressing room…that’s what ya get!

*The opinions above are my own. I was not compensated in any way from JCPenney. I just like to talk about things that I like…you can shop this post from the link above!

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Gradually over the past 2 years, I have been experiencing “digestive issues.” These occurrences most commonly included an unsettled stomach, burping, vomiting, radiating pain in the upper abdomen following around to my upper/middle back. I didn’t think too much of it since it wasn’t brought on by anything in particular. But to the defense of food, I really wasn’t tracking what I was eating either.

Last year was a very difficult year for me and the last 3 months of the year were filled with cookies, cake, candy, pies, muffins…you get the picture. As I sat at my desk shoving mounds of garbage into my body, the bouts came on more frequently. I couldn’t ignore it any longer since these episodes became debilitating at one point. I found a great GI doctor and after listening to all of my symptoms (I started writing down EVERYTHING) she determined I have developed food sensitivities along with acid reflux/GERD. Great…what a mess. I now have to say good goodbye to garlic, onions, tomato-based anything, citrus, anything cooked in vegetable oil, anything off the McD’s menu, fried foods (goodbye chicken sandwiches and french fries) sweet tea, and basically all the crap I stuffed into my body last year. There are also some other items that have triggered episodes like cinnamon graham crackers, green apples and strawberry vinaigrette dressing.

I had to make a DRASTIC change. That being said, I researched the hell out of what foods are high on the acidity scale and what could trigger an episode…I have to stop eating like a garbage can. Time to get serious and cut out all the bad in my diet.

I was in Costco about 7 weeks ago and came across an in-store demo for a Vitamix blender (I think you know where this is going). I stood in front of the demo as the rep blended whole fruit with the skin still on along with vegetables. Damn, this looks too easy I thought as he poured out samples of lime, pineapple, orange, kale, spinach, fresh ginger and water. He called it “Tinkerbell Juice”. I called it “sweet green magic”. My daughter chugged down 3 samples and I had 2. Ding, ding, ding…we have a winner. Here is a way that I can eat better, cram more good wholesome foods into my diet and hide veggies in a delicious tasting concoction without my daughter (and hubby) knowing! I loaded a Vitamix into my cart and shuffled away. I just came to Costco for milk, eggs and bananas…$327 later…

Fast forward 7 weeks and I am now 15 pounds lighter, have more energy, am more “regular” and have had only a two episodes (this was due to foods I didn’t know could be an issue but now have been added to my “damn, I cant eat this anymore list”).

Smoothies are my new addiction. So is kale…can we talk about KALE!?!? Where has this been!? Right in front of my face; I dismissed this super food like bad teenage gossip! I have been busy blending new mixes on a daily basis…sometimes two a day. I have two apps that I use as well as a few blogs/internet sites for recipes. Here is my latest tasty addiction:

  • Honey: if you can, always opt for locally produced honey. So many wellness benefits!
  • Banana: well, because it is a banana!
  • Coconut milk: Aldi has a very inexpensive brand that I love. The coconut adds a little something tropical to the overall taste!
  • Kale: a neighbor grows kale in his backyard. What a difference from the chopped bagged kind from the store. Tip: remove the stem before you blend. That is where the bitterness lives…yuck!
  • Pears: leftover fruit cup from what Eva would not eat. I drained the juice…score!

Do you smoothie for health? Can you share some recipes? If so, please comment below.

Thanks for reading…Kara