That’s All Folks…or is it?

Last Monday when I started the 10 Day Challenge, I figured come day 11 I would wake up and…


Where would I go to eat for lunch? For dinner? What sweet treats did I have in store for myself? I survived the past 10 days of having no “added sugar” in my life. Now, it was time for this curtain to close…

That's All Folks

I woke up this morning at 5am in order to get myself together, make a smoothie and be on my way to the Barre. I had some Chocolate Almond Milk that I had bought pre-challenge and didn’t want it to go to waste so I mixed it with the Aloha Chocolate blend, a banana and some ice. I didn’t feel a whole lot different throughout the day. For lunch I had some chicken salad, hummus and pita chips – all which had no added sugar.

Dinner rolled around and I had gotten caught up doing some work on the computer so I decided to head to Savor. I’ve been there a handful of times and hadn’t been there in a while so figured I’d swing by and grab something to go. If you’ve never been to Savor I definitely suggest checking it out. Their “…mission is to work with our local farmers, growers and purveyors to source products with integrity, flavor and soul.The result is food that is simple and straightforward using ingredients at their peak allows us to capture the essence of the season and bring it straight to your table.”

As always, I couldn’t make a decision so I ordered the “Carolina Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Gravy over Yellow Stone-Ground Grits” and the “Cowboy Pork Chop over Country Ham & Succotash Risotto” and figured my boyfriend and I could split it. While I waited for our entrees I stared at the dessert menu. After going back and forth (devil on one shoulder and angel on the other) and the bartender raving about her favorite dessert, I figured why not? Heck, for all the sugar I cut out having some sweets every once in a while isn’t that bad, right? After all, that was one of the main reasons I did this – to learn to have sweets on occasion, but not necessarily every day.

I opted for the Butterscotch Bread Pudding. I’m Team Chocolate for sure (no pun intended), but the bartender strongly recommended the Butterscotch Bread Pudding, promising I wouldn’t be disappointed. Coincidentally, she had also done the Fed Up Challenge before so clearly we had a bond and my trust was instilled in her.

Dinner was awesome. Loved both entrees. I know there was some added sugar in both of them for sure, but I wasn’t focused on that. I was too busy SAVORing (pun intended) how delicious my food was. On to the dessert…


I knew I needed to proceed with caution.


It was absolutely delicious just as she had promised, but…. What had I done?!?


Ok, so maybe I was being slightly dramatic with my texts to Christina about how I felt after eating several (large) bites of the puddin’ but I swear, my body went into sugar shock. I can’t imagine what I would’ve felt like if I had more than a few bites!


And this is exactly what I wanted in order to prove to myself that I really would notice a difference.

So, what’s next?


Well, not exactly. I’m going to make a VERY strong effort to do the following:

1.  Continue to buy more REAL food.
2.  Continue to be conscious of how much sugar is in any products I’m purchasing at the grocery store.
3.  Think more about the foods I’m ordering when I’m out to eat or getting take out somewhere.
4.  Still be sure to enjoy some of my favorite not so healthy treats in MODERATION.
5.  “Am I hungry?” vs. “Am I bored?”
6.  “Am I craving sugar?” vs. “Am I just hungry?”

“The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men).”

I think the most important thing is to realize that no particular lifestyle is for everyone. I say lifestyle because the food that we eat really is a huge part of our lives as a whole. After all, food is meant to fuel our bodies. In today’s society, I think sometimes that gets overlooked amidst all of the commercials, advertisements, restaurant openings and food trends. I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard NOT to get caught up in all of that.

Out of all my friends and family there are people that are vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans, paleo, gluten free, dairy free… The list seems to go on forever. Then there’s plenty that don’t follow any sort of dietary plan and just eat whatever they would like. At one time or another, I feel like I’ve tried out all of the above, but never really stuck to any of them (other than eating whatever I would like – whoopsies). After watching Fed Up, I think I had a little “ah ha” moment as I started to think about how much sugar I consumed on a daily basis. I also started to think about how much I must’ve consumed a few years back when I was far less “healthy” than I am now.

There truly is so many different components that factor into what YOUR body needs and it might not be what your significant other or your best friend needs. Finding a balance between making healthy choices and enjoying your favorite foods can be really difficult at times. It can take time, but finding what works best for you and you alone will hopefully get you on your way to living a balanced and healthy life.


Believe You Can and You’re Halfway There

I’m halfway through the 10 Day Fed Up Challenge, but hey, whose counting? Um, THIS girl. I haven’t been in hiding all week sulking – this week just got a little crazy!

By Monday night this is basically what my brain was thinking of.


Dramatic much? I was definitely obsessing what the next 9 days were going to be like after surviving Day #1. I realized very early on, this was going to be a very mental challenge. STOP thinking about SUGAR!

Reading this a couple of days ago made me feel a little better:

Sugar alters our biochemical pathways in our brain and tampers with our dopamine receptors. In order for us to get the next dopamine spike, however, we need a greater dose of sugar. That’s why out of the 600,000 food products in America today, 80% are laced with some form of sugar, and more specifically fructose, because it’s cheap and keeps us addicted.

Read the 6 other deadly truths about sugar from The 7 Deadly Truths of Sugar from Summer Rayne Oakes.

Tuesday rolled around and I decided to make another recipe from the Thug Kitchen cookbook and also made something from a cookbook I had picked up at Kohl’s a while back called “Just Four Ingredients Fast! By Delish”. Figured if I was making something from Thug Kitchen (not the simplest recipes in the world) I should balance it with something quick and easy.

From Thug Kitchen, it was the 5-Spice Fried Rice with Sweet Potatoes. It was good, but think I would play around with the recipe a bit the next time I make it.

My quick and easy recipe consisted of eggs, bacon and tomatoes. Where’s the fourth ingredient you ask? I cut out the bread. The recipe? Chop up bacon and throw it in a muffin pan (sprayed with olive oil first), crack the egg over the bacon and throw in the oven for 15 minutes.  Once they’re done add chopped tomato, salt and pepper. You could definitely add other vegetables, either prior or after cooking for even more flavor and variety. Voila!

Wednesday rolled around and I didn’t make it to class so figured I would go for a run before heading to the Charlotte Hornets game with some friends. I wanted to see if I felt better / worse / different when running, but it was hard to gauge since it’s been a while since I went for a run.

We had no plans to go out after, but you know how that goes… Luckily, I’m not a huge fan of beer/wine and there’s no added sugar to vodka.  Hard part was when we went to a grab a snack after the game and everything on the menu seemed to have sugar in some shape or form.

My friends ate their food looking at me like:

Full House

And I was over there like:

Tic Tac

On Thursday, Pure Barre partnered with Luna’s at the Lake in Cornelius, NC to do a class at their boutique. Of course the class was followed by some light snacks – why do yogurt parfaits have to have sugar in them?! That night myself and three of the Pure Barre girls went to try FlyBarre and FlyWheel for the first time. I loved Flywheel. The music was awesome and I love that the lights are out. That way if I’m singing, making weird faces or crying about how I want a cookie no one will see me.

I can even do this:

PeeWeeOk, maybe it’s not that dark in there.

Friday, I went and picked up food for my boyfriend from The Burger Company. Of course, he asked if I would mind getting him a milkshake. Why, of course not as I just stare at it and drool. To make it worse, he was raving about how great it was.

TravoltaExcuse the language, but this was just too perfect…and Mr. Travolta said it, not me.

Today I woke up feeling great. I made a smoothie with Aloha Berry Blend, a ton of spinach, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, pineapple and strawberries and took the Aloha Foundation pack. After taking class, I ran over to Harris Teeter and grabbed a banana and some pistachios. This whole sugar thing really isn’t that bad. Until I walk out of Harris Teeter and..

CookiesYou have got to be kidding me.

Alright, alright. All jokes aside. Let’s focus on the positives:

  1. I notice a difference in my energy level.
  2. I’m paying much more attention to whether I’m actually hungry or just bored.
  3. I’ve found most of the time when I want something sweet is right after I’m eating and MOST of the time the feeling goes away. This whole thing is definitely very mental. I definitely ate sweets every day for the most part and then factor in all that added sugar. Yikes!
  4. I’m paying attention to what’s in my food whether it’s something I am making at home or purchasing somewhere.
  5. I’ve lost 2 pounds. That wasn’t a goal, but I won’t complain.

Now, I’ve just got the rest of today, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then bring on the cookies. Kidding. The whole point of this is to regulate my sugar intake, be little more mindful to what I’m eating and cut back on desserts. I’m actually really enjoying finding alternatives and better choices along with doing some research about sugar and food in general.

Stay sweet, my friends.


Did Somebody Say Challenge?

I made a point on Friday to add watching Fed Up to my “To Do” list. Check. I also mentioned the bag of Cookie Chips and Jalapeño Cheese Puffs I had purchased.  On the “To Do” list was not to finish eating those by the end of the weekend. Whoops. After watching Fed Up, I figured what better time to put my Thug Kitchen cookbook to use. At least I would be checking off another item off the “To Do” list.

I was actually so inspired (or maybe just looking for a challenge) by the movie that I decided to take the “Fed Up Challenge – Sugar free for 10 Days.” I repeat, SUGAR FREE for TEN days. For some of you, this may sound like a piece of cake (pun intended…clearly sweets will not leave my mind).  For me, I have some type of sweet just about every day. All sweets aside, there is sugar in EVERYTHING. Did somebody say challenge?

Why not?Sure, why not?
Sign me up.

If you haven’t heard about Fed Up, it takes a closer look at what we as a country have been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years. It’s narrated by Katie Couric, who also happens to be the Executive Producer. Here’s a little preview of what it’s all about:

The American Heart Association recommends no more than the six teaspoons of sugar (for women) a day. I never pay attention to just how much sugar I consume on a daily basis, but I’ll assume that I go way over this amount.


So, I’m doing this for several different reasons:

1. Pay more attention to the amount of sugar in the foods that I’m eating every day.

2.  See if I noticed a difference – day to day and on day #11 (if I end up getting half a dozen cupcakes from Cupcrazed.

3.  Force myself to cook more. Hey, my Mom gave me a Vitamix, Toaster Oven and knives for Christmas – I think she was trying to tell me something. It’s not that I don’t like cooking, but half of the time I wait until I’m starving and then opt to go grab something instead.

Day #1 was a success.

Breakfast – Aloha Berry Blend with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, Pineapple and Strawberries. Not cutting out fruit. Yes, I realize there’s sugar in it, but your body processes whole fruit different because of the fiber in the fruit.

Lunch – Vegetarian Sushi Roll

Snack – Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares (they’re not Cheez-Its, but were surprisingly not too bad)

Dinner – Made the Cauliflower Cream Pasta with Fresh Herbs from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. I added some grilled chicken and broccoli to it. I always forget that rice pasta seems to suck up all the sauce, so would definitely either make less pasta or more sauce next time.

I can’t wait to try out more from this cookbook – particularly, the desserts after I survive this challenge. Not saying that after day 10 is over, will I do my own challenge of a dessert only diet for 3 days straight or anything. I just know, I won’t cut out sweets forever and ever. I just want to cut back and have them every once in a while 🙂

If you’re looking to cut back on sugar be sure that you’re not fooled. Here’s the 56 Names of Sugar. 56. Sheesh. I feel so deceived.

Hidden Sugar

Who needs sugar anyways when I’m already so sweet?

What about you? Do you have a sweet tooth? Or are salty treats your go to? Do you pay attention to how much sugar is in cereals, dressings, salt, everything-in-the-world?

Dine, Music

Sensory Overload

“Every second of every day, our senses bring in way too much data than we can possibly process in our brains.” – Peter Diamandis

Sometimes I feel like my brain is on shuffle. There’s just so many things I want to do, people I want to see and places that I want to go. And let’s be serious… foods I want to try is always top of mind.

So, let’s take a few moments and go through all five senses based off of things I encountered today 😉

1. Sight

What I’m planning to watch tonight (or at least by the end of the weekend).

Fed Up

A friend’s mom let me borrow this a while ago and I keep putting it off. Mainly because I’m slightly petrified at what I’m about to be enlightened with.

And to put this cookbook to use.

Thug Kitchen

I bought it because I liked the title and was pleasantly surprised when I got home to find the humor, but more importantly the story behind the movement. I didn’t even realize the cookbook was vegan friendly, but hey, not complaining about that! I plan to make every recipe. No joke.

2. Hearing

A couple of weeks ago, I made a video with hundreds of pictures in memory of my cousin who had just passed away. One of the songs I used was a cover of Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars”. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this version by Boyce Avenue right now.

3. Touch

I’ve never been huge on wearing scarfs, but when we got the Soulscarfs at Pure Barre, I fell in love. Bonus: They donate 20% of the proceeds to charity. Look good and feel good.

Soul Scarf

4. Smell

Loving Ralph Lauren’s Midnight Romance that was given to me as a gift not too long ago.


5. Taste

I couldn’t stop thinking about Cookie Chips ever since I saw a Facebook post about a giveaway that they were doing. I stopped at Rhino Market on my way home to grab a bag. I don’t know why I love them so much.

Cookie Chips


If that wasn’t bad enough, I walked around the corner and saw these and had to give them a try. Unfortunately, I really like them. I love the assortment of products that you can find at Rhino Market (more to come on this place soon!)


Oh well, I’ll do damage control on Sunday morning.

Work out

Work Out 2

Have a great weekend!


Aloha, ALOHA


Like a lot of things in my life, I stumbled upon ALOHA by accident. In the past decade or so, a lot of these finds have been from a click, another click, another click and another… before I know I’m lost in the lovely world wide web. This particular find came from an @aloha tweet promoting their free trial. Up until very recently, I rarely ordered anything off the Internet, but was looking for something new to start my day and after doing some browsing around ALOHA’s website, I figured why not. And hey, you can’t beat free.

The initial trial I ordered was two pouches of each of the three blends – Original Blend, Chocolate and Berry. The packaging reads “The Daily Good – The World’s Finest Dried Green Juice” and “Energizes, Boosts Immune System, Detoxifies & Hydrates”. All of them share the same base of 14 superfoods. You can read all about the ingredients on their website.

Since November 2nd, there were three different days in which I didn’t start my day off with the Daily Greens – other than that, I have had it every morning for the past two and half months. I’ve added it to a variety of beverages and by ordering the Blend Box (mix of all three blends) there’s plenty of options so my taste buds don’t get bored. Needless to say, the Vitamix I got for Christmas is getting plenty of use… at least in the morning. Might I also add, that I also cut out my daily caffeine on November 2nd as well.

My go to is often 10 oz Chocolate Almond Milk, Daily Good Greens Chocolate Blend, 1 Banana and a few ice cubes. I’ve mixed the Berry Blend with all sorts of fruit combinations – banana, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple and some vanilla or plain almond milk. When I’m traveling and don’t have access to my Vitamix, I’ve added the Berry Blend to orange juice or oatmeal and the Chocolate Blend to hot chocolate. There’s all sorts of recipes on their website if you’re ever at a lost for what to mix it with.

I’ve also tried the Premium Protein Powder, which I really like. It’s a plant based superfood protein powder that comes in Vanilla and Chocolate. My diet already contains quite a bit of protein, but have opted to add some of the Chocolate Protein Powder to my morning smoothie/concoction on occasion. Head over to their website to read more about the Protein Powder, The Foundation (a daily nutrient pack) and their latest addition – the Superfood Chocolate bar.

They have a great option called The Discovery Kit. It contains 3 Daily Good Greens, 2 Premium Protein, 2 The Foundation and 1 Superfood Chocolate bar for $29.

There’s also a few different options for a free trial. If you use this link: https://aloha.com/home?invite=HKj5Se9kKco you will also get a $20 credit. Hey, you may get hooked after your free trial and realize you want to order more. If you don’t want to order anything else, it’s easy to pause or cancel your subscription. There’s lots of different options for how frequently you would receive a shipment and what combinations of products would work best for you. When you click the link a pop up should come up that looks like this:

ALOHA Screenshot

Want to know more? I’m here to answer your questions!