Some Healthy Favorites

Hi friends and welcome to 2020!!!  We made it another decade!!!  Kinda crazy huh!  Though, I’m never going to be the person who sees age or thinks about how long a decade actually is.  All I know is that it’s going to happen whether we like it or not and I’m thankful.  And, also, though I hate the winter and despise January because of being so dark and cold, I do love the thought of an empty canvas and all the possibilities.

Of course one thing that everyone focuses on for the New Year is weight loss.  I too, am this year.  The past couple years I’ve adopted healthier habits, so my goals weren’t really to drop a bunch of weight or attain new healthier habits.  This year though, or at least my goal by the end of April/beginning of May is to drop 8-10 pounds.  I haven’t really figured out a good way to do that yet, but I’m working on it; starting with eating less and trying to incorporate more green into my diet.  I love salads, but at the most, I’m eating one a day which I’m sure is only a quarter of the greens I should be consuming.  I do have a few staples that I always go to when wanting to drop some weight though and I plan on incorporating those into whatever I decide to do.

Some of my favorite healthy foods and snacks:

Zone Perfect bars:  I wish I could say this was an ad, but it’s not.  Haha.  I’ve been eating these since I was 19 and running from class to class on my college campus with no time for lunch.  Brock even loves them, which is a miracle in itself, OK?!  I like them because they have a higher protein count and keep things pretty close to the macros I like to aim for everyday (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat).  My favorite flavors are the fudge graham, salted chocolate caramel and dark chocolate almond.  These can be found just about anywhere now.  Target, Kroger, Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, etc.

Eggs/Toast/Strawberries/Halos:  This is pretty much my go-to weekend breakfast all year long, but occasionally I’ll have enough time to make it during the week before jetting off to the office.  2 eggs over medium (if you need to kick it up a notch with flavor, try using the Trader Joe’s “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning on them!), 1-2 pieces of toast (I use Dave’s Killer thin sliced bread, 70 cals a slice) with no butter and only a natural fruit spread with low sugar, and a cup of strawberries and 1 halo.  Delish!  In the summertime I swap watermelon and fresh blackberries for the halo.

Fab Four Smoothie (Blueberry Muffin flavor): I use to ALWAYS start my day during the week with one of these.  I’ve gotten away from it, come back to it, and gotten away from it again.  When I get into the habit of having them, I don’t stop, because they are so good and so filling.  Here’s the recipe: 1/3 frozen organic blueberries, 2 cups unsweetened vanilla organic almond milk (I use Califia) 2 scoops of Primal Kitchen vanilla coconut collagen protein, 1-2 tablespoons of creamy almond butter with no sugar added (I use Barney Butter…so good and no oil on top!) 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and a handful of organic spinach.  Blend for about 30 seconds (I have a nutri-bullet and it works perfectly) and enjoy!  If you do not use frozen berries, you will need to sub some ice cubes.  This will keep you full at least an hour longer than any “normal” breakfast.  PS, there are tons of flavors out there for these!  This has just always been my go-to.  You can google them, or find them on Pinterest under Kelly LeVeque.  Most of the ingredients I purchase at Kroger and the protein/collagen powder I order on Amazon.

Baked chicken tenders with panko bread crumbs and baked broccoli: I use the big bag of Tyson tenders and bake them for 10 minutes (they come frozen), then take them out, add some panko breadcrumbs to the top of them with some sea salt and a couple other seasonings, and occasionally I’ll add a LITTLE parmesan cheese, continue to bake for 30-35 minutes.  Baked broccoli….yes..baked.  I use the big bag of Birdseye frozen broccoli.  Use a big cookie or pizza sheet, cover in parchment paper or aluminum foil, spray lightly with organic cooking spray (preferably olive oil) spread the broccoli out and cover it with sea salt.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  It’s cooked but crispy on the edges.  Also, I use more sea salt than most.  I have very low BP and using extra salt is not an issue for me, you may want to sub some of the salt with other seasonings like Mrs Dash or even sprinkle with a reduced fat cheese before baking.

So Delicious frozen almond milk bars:  These are so good and my go-to sweet snack in the evening after dinner.  I try to stay away from cow’s milk when I can, so almond milk is usually my go-to.  These mocha swirl bars are sooooooooo yummy!  180 calories.

100 calorie packs of cashews and pistachios:  I try to stay away from peanuts because my body is sensitive to them.  Not the easiest task considering I used to travel with my own jar of peanuts as a snack if I was hungry between classes in college.  Kroger actually has 100 calorie packs of almonds, cashews and pistachios in their organic section now.  Sometimes I mix these with the organic dried strawberries and cherries to kick the flavor up a bit.

Sargento Balanced Breaks: Now, let me preface this.  I try to stay away from cow’s milk, so typically I only will eat a few of the cheese cubes (usually 3) and then eat the fruit/nut blend.  Basically I’m too lazy to make my own fruit and nut blend, so I grab what’s easy and portioned out.  Sorry, not sorry.  I also love that I can get different combos that DON’T include peanuts.  The Balanced Breakfast Breaks are good too!

Healthy Choice Power Bowls Italian Chicken and Peppers:  Alright, yes, it’s processed.  I get it.  But it is soooo good and so spicy and really low in carbs and high in protein, and also….quinoa. 🙂

Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax Oatmeal:  I always add fresh blueberries to this and sometimes a little extra cinnamon.  So good!

Atkins Ham and Cheese Omelets:  This is an exception for avoiding cow’s milk.  I ONLY eat these when I’m running really far behind of a morning and need something that takes 2 minutes or less.  I pick half the ham out of it because I’m not a huge pork person, but I am a big omelet person.  The eggs actually taste good that they use and it’s very high in protein.  Sometimes you have to do the easy thing.  I just don’t make it a habit to regularly have these.  Plus, there’s a reason I avoid cow’s milk when I can if you’re picking up what I’m putting down haha.

There ya have it!  Those are the staples I always have to have handy.  Literally, these things are always available at our house.  Some of them may not be 100% clean or preservative or dairy free, but they are all useful in different situations.  Obviously I would love for this list to be longer, and “cleaner” than it is, but hey….let’s not forget, I have an 11 year old and a 6 year old, I work 40+ hours a week, I’m trying to work out, have therapy once a week, write for this blog and also do some influencing on the side along with Rodan & Fields.  My schedule allows for….well, only so much haha.

What are some of the staples you always have handy in your home?  What are your favorite recipes?

Drop them down below in my comments!!

Happy Monday all!!!!!  Let’s get this!

xoxoxox

 

 

 

Why Being an Advocate for Anxiety is So Important To Me

Hey friends!  Welcome back!  I truly hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about why it’s so important to me, to continue to tell and share my story about anxiety/OCD/panic disorder.  The obvious reason is that it helps others and helps me continue to push through my own anxiety when I consider the fact that I’ve talked to so many people and pointed so many in the right direction for help.

I wholeheartedly believe that one of the reasons God put me on this Earth was to be an advocate for anxiety.  The ginormous silver lining to the fact that I’ve struggled with anxiety since 4th grade, which then turned into panic disorder and OCD, is to be able to get up in front of anyone and tell my story, to help others.  It’s truly a gift.  It really is.

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When I was diagnosed with panic disorder, in the spring time of 2018, I was feverishly searching for someone else who had been through the same situations, someone else who got through it, and had tips and tricks or….just SOMETHING.  I googled, and I googled until I think I killed Google.  I searched for books that had some kind of similarity to what I was going through, asked my therapist for book ideas, searched Netflix for documentaries.  I literally turned up with nothing, which just made me feel so much worse and singled out.  I just wanted to find SOMEONE to relate to, read someone else’s story.

Most anxiety or PTSD situations start out by having some kind of trauma.  I didn’t have that.  I had a great childhood, a wonderful family, a great marriage and perfect kids.  I’m so thankful I didn’t have the trauma, but it always irritated me, because I would ask myself “why me, then  why all the anxiety disorders with no troubled past like the books and therapists say???”  Well the best answer I can come up with is “because it did, now get off your ass and help other people!”

My hope is that I can be “that person” that I was looking to relate to, 2 years ago when all this was happening to me, for others, if that makes sense.  I’ve been down several roads of anxiety disorders and come out on the other side victorious when it comes to panic disorder and general anxiety.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ve beat OCD, because I have not, and I’ve definitely still got a long road in front of me on the “stomach issue” part of my contamination OCD, BUT I will say that certain parts of my OCD have gotten better over the past year.  But, like with any anxiety disorder, it can come and go and OCD is generally a harder one to completely conquer since your brain is fighting itself.  That being said, I feel that sharing my obstacles and feelings regarding OCD can also be helpful to anyone else experiencing it.

I’ve said it before, but I’ve always been a story teller.  I’ve always wanted to write a book, about my life, and I would love nothing more than to be followed around by cameras most days of my life–haha!  So, if I can use whatever platform I have (though it may be small), to help other people through their anxiety struggles, I want to do it.  I want to be that person.  I want to be an ear for your irrational thoughts, because I’ve probably had them, I want to be the person to try and put your mind at ease and let you know that it’s not uncommon and so many more people have the same thoughts and same worries as you do!

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Just know, no one goes through (or should have to) go through any type of anxiety alone or feel isolated.  It’s such a common aspect of daily life now and it should be talked about.  Talking helps people work through it.  I’ve learned this time and time over, so now I’m reaching out….my ears are open and so is my heart.  If you don’t feel like you can talk to a professional or just aren’t ready to take that step yet, just know you will always have someone (me) to listen and offer some support.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Years and that your 2020 starts off blissfully and stress free 🙂

xoxox

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope all of you have an amazing Thanksgiving tomorrow, filled with family, friends and happy, full bellies!

From me to you; a few tips…..don’t forget to “bunny” up so you don’t have to wash dishes, make sure you grab some “Thanksgiving Turkey” pants, don’t get your head stuck in a door by being late, any English trifles you encounter may or may not have beef sauteed with peas and onions (beware), and make sure to tell your friends and family that you love them. 🙂

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xoxox

Mary

NOVEMBER WARM FUZZIES

Hi friends!  It’s about that time of year-when I hunker down and go into my “why do I still live in the Midwest?” state of mind.  The weather is completely unpredictable from day to day and everything is turning brown, or white if there happens to be a random snowfall.  Although I enjoy decorating everything in white, I’m not a fan of it being outside…mmmmmk?  🙂

However, with that said, November always gives me the warm fuzzies, in that, after Thanksgiving, I’m full on Christmas mode, which sort of takes me back to being a kid, as it does for most people.  In honor of all the warm fuzzies, here are my absolute favorite things about late November.

***The start of Christmas movie season!  I don’t break them all out…but I do start the day after Thanksgiving with Miracle on 34th Street (the new one with Mara Wilson) and then usually watch Serendipity and The Holiday before month end.  Oh, and also, every year I find myself buying another favorite movie, since I’m getting too impatient in my old age (ha) to wait for them to come on TV.  Haha!

Miracle on 34th street

The Holiday movie

***Thanksgiving leftovers.  I mean….right??  I’m pretty sure Brock and I eat turkey sandwiches, turkey salad and turkey for breakfast for a week after Thanksgiving.  Yes, turkey for breakfast…put it in a pan, flip it a few times and have it with eggs and toast.  And, since our turkey isn’t crazy marinated or fried, I feel like it’s the only healthy thing to come out of Thanksgiving.  Speaking of healthy choices–I also love eating a slice of pumpkin or apple pie, for pretty much everyday after Thanksgiving, for a good week.  My mom eats pumpkin pie for breakfast after Thanksgiving.  I mean, I’m not there….yet.  But, I seem to be headed down that path. Don’t know what to do with all the leftovers?  Well, you could start here with this amazing panini RECIPE

***Decorating for Christmas.  I personally am old school and believe every holiday needs it’s own time.  I also am crazy busy with work and sports and life, so no shame to those who jump the gun and decorate early.  Truth be told, if we didn’t host Thanksgiving, I would most likely have the trees up the week of Thanksgiving, just so I could enjoy them the day after Thanksgiving and not be rushing around like a crazy person on my day off.  I typically have Brock get everything down the day after and put the trees up and start decorating them with the kids, and spend the next week or so getting everything else out and up.

***Christmas mugs for life!  You know what I do FIRST THING after I get my kitchen cleaned up after our guests leave?  Get out my Christmas mug collection!  I have, probably like most, had a few Christmas mugs stashed in my cabinet for years.  However, in the past 5 years or so, I decided that I wanted to start picking more up, because these mugs bring me so much silly joy for an entire month!  What used to be 3 random Christmas mugs from the early 2000’s has now turned into about 20 mugs!!  I’m not even sorry!  It’s probably the most inexpensive, joy filled tradition I have for myself in November/December.  My 2 newest additions can be found HERE & HERE!

These things are all simple, yet bring me so much joy in the start of a season for giving and sharing.

I hope you can find time to look for the things that bring you the most smiles as we head into the Christmas season.

Cheers!

xoxoxo

Mary

 

International OCD Awareness Week

OCD week

I’ve recently been made aware that October 13-19th is International OCD Awareness Week.

I’m pretty excited about this, because if nothing else, people need to understand what REAL OCD is, and how debilitating it is.  Therefore, I’m going to be posting this week, with tips and coping skills I have learned (from professionals for the most part) over the 6 years I’ve had Contamination OCD.

–Tips that are tangible for anyone suffering from an anxiety disorder.

–Quick effective ways to feel some relief.

–Practices to master that help in panic situations.

–Ways to explain to those around you what OCD is, and how they can help.

 

Join me this week, friends, in educating yourself about TRUE OCD, and what it really is, and how you can help your friends/family/coworkers that have this debilitating anxiety disorder.

 

xoxox

Mary

 

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