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Pumpkin

Here's a few things you should know about me... things that I love: 

  • Autumn.

  • Everything having to do with autumn. Period.

Seriously.  When you think about autumn (or the fall), if you are like me, your mind goes to... football games, local parish fairs (I'm from Louisiana, we have parishes, not counties), cool temperatures which let you stay outside later and not swat at mosquitoes, bonfires with roasted marshmallows, flannel shirts with your favorite pair of boots... and pumpkins.  

How can you NOT like fall, right?  Plus... my birthday is in the fall, just sayin'.  That's awesome.  

So.  With fall peeping around the corner, I busted out with my FIRST pumpkin spice latte at the "Bucks of the Star" coffee shop while heading to work.  (sometimes, vet life calls for coffee).  

Wow.  I am sharing ALOT about myself in this blog... I'm a Louisiana girl.  Autumn birthday.  Veterinarian.  

{ BOOM }  

But...

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea came into my life about 3 years ago... I was browsing along in the nearby mall when I stumbled into a tea shop.  The saleslady asked if I'd like to take a sample of the "tea du jour".   um, yep.  I pretty much don't turn down samples :)  

for the next few minutes I watched in awe as she poured and whisked the green tea powder into a frothy mixture.  when she handed me the sample, I thought I was in love... until I sampled it- literally, tasted like I licked a lawnmower.  I gagged.  I retched.  it was awful... thinking I was not a novice tea drinker, she apologized and sweetened the tea with a wee bit of honey.  

now we were talking... I loved it (with a bit of sweetness). and as she explained all the benefits of matcha green tea... I fell more in love and purchased on the spot.  the saleslady was good... but so were all the goodness in matcha green tea.  check it: 

How to select Matcha Green Tea? 

  • ...

Lemon

lemons. 

this little powerhouses of sunshine seriously make my day.  I love the fact the scent reminds me of summer and the amazing properties they hold.  plus, they are so versatile.  we drink fresh lemon juice... shave lemon rind into baked goods... add drops of lemon essential oils into cleaning products... and even use lemons for beauty products (like our sugar lemon scrub).  AMAZE-BALLS!  

my love affair with lemons began about 3 years ago, when I actually WON a lemon tree at an Arbor Day festival... YES.  I WON A TREE!!!  I literally have won TWO things in my life... 1) a lemon tree  2) an old-smokey BBQ pit 

*I won the Old Smokey in a raffle at a High School Conference*  

anywho. let's dive a wee bit deeper into the lands of lemons. 

How to select the right one? 

  • Always opt for the vibrant, yellow one with a little shine. It should be a wee bit heavy and semi-soft.

  • We avoid the hard, dull and wrinkled ones....

Adding Healthy Fats to Our Plates: Avocado

avocados. 

it was not love at first sight with these little green powerhouses... (gasp of horror).  but truthfully, it wasn't.  growing up, I wasn't a fan of avocados or even guacamole.  more of a chips and salsa kinda girl.  

yet. somehow along the way, I realized all the amazing benefits of avocados... and started to incorporate them on my plate... in my smoothies... and even in my beauty routine!  

seriously!  

so. let's dive a wee bit deeper and learn more about these amazing fruits! 

How to select the right avocado? 
This is something that seems to trip people UP on... and here are a few tips I have learned along my way! 

  • ripe avocados will be slightly soft when you press on them

  • ripe avocados will be dark in color

  • firm avocados will ripen in a couple of days

  • you want to avoid ones that are cracked or have sunken spots

  • you also want to avoid ones that are dull in color

How to store your avocado? 
Here's the...

Coconuts

almost two years ago, we started using coconut oil in the Gillies’ household and I’m not a HUGE fan of coconuts.  so this was a HARD step for me. * honesty alert *  

but when you hear that coconut water is known as Mother Nature’s sports drink you try to deep your toes into liking coconuts.   and as we dove into the world of coconuts… I fell in love! 

yet recently, it’s been getting a bad rap and I have no idea why.  

do I think it’s the bees knees… yes.  

do I think coconut oil can cure anything and everything… um, no.  

and no.  I don’t apply it to everything like the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” does with Windex.  Well… maybe I do a wee bit.  

but here’s the thing… coconuts are freaking amazing!!!  loaded with antioxidants, fatty acids and known to have anti-inflammatory properties.  we use the coconut “meat” in our...

Comfort Zones + Sahara Desert

this picture below brings a certain memory to my mind... 

I remember sitting in Large Animal Medicine lecture class while a classmate was talking about running a race- an ultra marathon to be exact across the Sahara desert. 

she mentioned the end of the race would have you running the last 5 (out of 150) miles right in front of the pyramids. 

everybody was ohh'ing and ahh'ing with a few people telling her she was nuts... that's when I said those words, you know the ones... the words that make you cringe yet excited at the same time... the words that in the future you curse yourself for saying out loud... 

I simply stated "I'll do it". 

I didn't have ANY marathon training let alone ultra-marathon training... 

I was basically weak and pasty from being in vet school and studying 24/7 so my body composition was basically a skeleton (to me anyway) since I was living off of rockstar energy drinks and fireball candies... 

(yep, not the healthiest point...

The word: Transformation

when you hear the word, transformation... a few people think about a weight loss journey. some think about a mindset shift.


for me... I think of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon - battle scars, memories of the obstacles overcome and a beautiful new beginning.

and when I think of my OWN transformation. my own journey. it's literally a hot mess. literally. and I am in love with it.

see. 
it's not just about the POUNDS lost, but about the strength GAINED.
it's about the mental toughness and the relationship with God that became stronger. 
it's about the PEOPLE who rallied with me and those who picked me up, lent me support, provided me with a roof over my head or a kind word in the darkness. 
it's about the knowledge learned...

and most importantly, the truth I have found about myself.

 

for instance. 
I've overcome eating disorders... strict caloric restrictions. 
I've been a size 16 and a size 2.
I've been able to lift 100lbs and not even lift myself out of...

Homemade "No Oats" Granola

growing up, I always "assumed" granola was healthy.  I would see folks eating it with yogurt... berries... parfaits, etc.  and I just thought it was good for you.  but when I dug deep and started reading labels- YIKES- I noticed MOST granola is loaded with sugar!!!   with all the added sugar, the granola I was getting OFF the shelf should be considered a TREAT and not a daily consumption. 
 
so.  I did what I typically do when I learn something is bad for me... I give it up... completely.  I'm not good with having temptation in the house... seriously.  I can eat a WHOLE bag of tortilla chips if left in the pantry.  YIKES, again. 
 
then I started seeing all those yummy PINTEREST recipes... berries, granola, etc.  and it got me thinking... "why can't there be a healthier version?" ... hmm... "I bet we can whip one up!"  
 
now.  to stay true to our health goals which promote optimal brain and gut health... we...

My favorite salad: Arugula Salad

dudes. 
 
three things... 
1. why on Earth do I keep saying "dude", I'll need to come up with another term. 
 
2. hubster grilled up some skillet chicken and mama sliced it up for a salad... loaded with arugula, spinach, pears, chicken, Gorgonzola and walnuts. it's the bees knees
 
3. fun fact: arugula was thought to be an aphrodisiac back in the day now not so much BUT it's loaded with potassium and vitamin C... so there's that. 
 
just a bit of salad trivia for ya.


what's your favorite salad... it's kinda a strange, but I use to think salads were so much better IN a restaurant... then I learned, I could make them at home JUST as yummy!!!   the key... good lettuce.  fresh ingredients (duh).  the extras (roasted walnuts? candied pecans?  speciality cheeses?).  the dressing.  um... so the all the ingredients really ;)  
 
anywho.  here's the ingredients to this yummy bowl of greens. 

GROCERIES:

  • 1...

2 Ingredient: Dry Shampoo

let's be honest.  
 
sometimes. this mama-bear doesn't have time for a full shower... it's hard... balancing fitness goals, the twins, working at home, laundry, dishes, etc.  
 
and if I waited for the days, I could get a full shower in... to WORK OUT or go out in public.  No one would see me... I'd be eating cheetos in my sweats watching QVC on the couch.  

well, no. that is bad... but no one should see me like this.  no one.  
 
anywho.  
a friend mentioned how she uses dry shampoo... and well, I wasn't a fan.  I mean.  I was blessed with uber baby fine hair that gets super oily as soon as the wind blows.  seriously.  2 minutes outside.... hair slicker than whale snot.  it's ridiculous.  
 
so, WHY would I try to put ANYTHING in it...
 
duh.  because dry shampoo is suppose to wick away the oily-factor.   thus began my search for dry shampoo... I was looking for one that used natural...

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