Dining in the Dark

To me, Montreal is one of the most magically beautiful places on the East Coast. The old-timey buildings, cobblestone roads, and wrought iron fences make it look like a page straight out of a storybook. It’s also one of the few places where I can practice the six years of French I have under my belt.


First visit to Montreal in 2012!

Last year a coworker told me about a restaurant he went to in Montreal – O.Noir, where you dine completely in the dark, served by wait staff who are visually impaired.

The idea is two-fold – gain an understanding of what it’s like to be blind AND experience heightened senses of taste and smell, while mindfully eating your food. This definitely piqued my interest.

I haven’t made it back to Montreal, but two weeks ago my husband and I spent a long weekend in Toronto. Lo and behold, I noticed a restaurant called O.Noir a few blocks away from our hotel. I was stoked and made reservations as soon as I could!

The Restaurant

We almost walked right past the restaurant. It was easy to overlook the awning with the O.Noir logo over a set of steps leading down to a cellar of sorts. Of course! To be completely in the dark, it would make sense to have a space without windows.


The wall in the waiting room.

We were immediately greeted by a woman who heard us coming and offered to take our coats. At check-in, we were given menus (in the light!) and then recited our orders to the server. After, we were led into the pitch black dining room, holding right hand to right shoulder. Finally, we were seated, offered bread, and served our drinks.

The Food

We both started off with two refreshing glasses of pineapple juice. The shared starter was a “surprise meat.” I’m still not completely sure what it was, but I’m going with a seasoned sausage over rice. It was tasty. For a main dish, I had the shrimp risotto with mushrooms and garlic. It was so delicious. I made sure to slowly swirl the food around in my mouth so I could taste all of the flavors. It almost reminded me of wine tasting. For dessert, my husband and I split fruit sorbet, which was very citrusy and topped with chunks of pineapple.

The Experience

Well, let’s just say that I didn’t expect anything other than loving the visit to O.Noir. Never in a million years, did I think that I would have a small panic attack from being in the dark. And yet, that’s exactly what happened.


Earlier that day.

As soon as we were led into the dining room, I started feeling something in my chest – like a tiny ball of fear. Nothing worse than walking through a dark maze at a haunted house. That feeling quickly spread over my entire body as we were seated. I broke out into a cold sweat and could hardly catch my breath. “I don’t think I can do this,” I gasped and felt for my husband’s hand. He asked if I wanted to leave. I did, but I definitely didn’t want to chicken out and ruin the entire experience. After all, I was the one who wanted to do this!

He was able to calm me down by having me feel my surroundings, so I would know that I wasn’t as enclosed as I felt. I kept sipping the cool juice, did some deep breathing, and reminded myself that we were doing something fun and once in a lifetime.

After what felt like an eternity, but was probably only a few minutes, I was able to semi-relax and begin to enjoy the experience. But I can’t tell you how overjoyed I was when I could see the light again.

The bottom line: This was one of the most expensive meals I’ve ever eaten, and I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of it. (Check the sites below for a list of prices.) It’s worth mentioning that I have a newfound appreciation and respect for those who are visually impaired – whether they were born blind or lost their sight later in life. I don’t think we can truly appreciate what we have until we’ve lost it – senses included. As always, I encourage you to try new things and see for yourself. And, I don’t want to be biased, but I do have to mention that the Montreal menu looks more enticing!

For more information on O.Noir, visit their Montreal or Toronto sites.

Count containers, not calories

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. No additional cost to you!

If counting calories drives you nuts, you’re not alone. As hard as I try to log my food on my Fitbit – or even in a journal – I just can’t keep up with it.

That’s why I love Beachbody’s Portion Fix Containers. They make it effortless to plan and keep track of meals, so you can enjoy your food without having to do the math.

The Containers

container breakdowns

Photo courtesy of Beachbody, LLC

The Plans

The plans stretch from A-F depending on your caloric needs, which are determined by a simple formula. Once you find your plan, you won’t have to do any calorie counting. If it’s on the list of approved items and fits in your container (with the lid closed) – you can eat it!


Breakfast (or a snack) made easy!

It sounds basic because it is. I can’t tell you how much time this simple system has saved me. Most of the Beachbody programs use these containers, but even if you’re not into fitness, you can still use them to eat the right amounts and better your health.

I’ve always been Plan A for all the programs, but in week 3 of 80 Day Obsession, I noticed I was frequently hungry in the afternoon and evening. I decided to bump myself to Plan B and feel so much better. I’m allowed 4 veggies, 4 proteins, 3 fruits, 3 carbs, 1 healthy fat, 1 oil/seeds, and four teaspoons. That ends up being a shit ton of food – enough to sustain me through the 400+ calorie burns I’ve been experiencing with 80 Day.

The Cookbook


The Fixate cookbook is a fabulous edition Beachbody’s line of products. It was created by Autumn Calabrese – Beachbody super trainer, with a mile long list of credentials. I love it because each recipe already has the container counts listed. The only way it would get easier is if she came to your house and cooked all your meals! Hey, I wouldn’t mind that. Would you?

If you want more great recipes, you can also check out the Fixate cooking show, where Autumn and her brother Bobby team up to deliver all the healthy goodness.

The bottom line: If I were to recommend only one product from Beachbody’s nutrition line, this would be it. Affordable. Useful. Effective. What more can you ask for?


Photo courtesy of Beachbody, LLC

Click here for a video breakdown of the the entire container system.

Sugar Free Me – Reintroduction

For those of you who have been following my Sugar-Free series, I started reintroducing some of the questionable foods into my diet on January 22nd.

It ended up being a pretty long and stressful part of the process. The Guide recommends ditching the gluten-containing grains, but since I was trying to find out my headache triggers, I added back everything – just to be sure.

During the last week of the actual detox phase, I created a reintroduction calendar that would test out dairy, gluten-containing grains, legumes, caffeine, and Shakeology.

How does it work?

The first day (Monday), I ate according to my clean eating plan with the addition of dairy at all three of my main meals. Then went back to clean eating for two days. On Thursday I added gluten to all three meals. Then went back to clean eating for two days. And repeated this cycle until all of the food groups were reintroduced.

Allowing for some in-between time helps identify any triggers that might not have immediate reactions.

Dairy…is the devil

I was really looking forward to my breakfast of cottage cheese and fruit, and the addition of cheese with lunch and dinner, but after I ate my first meal, it felt like someone was trying to knot my intestines together. Oh, the pain.


I swear there is cottage cheese under all those berries!

I tried a little mozzarella with lunch, but the bloating and twisting returned. I melted a little Monterey Jack on my burger for dinner, and, fortunately, that didn’t seem to be too rough.

It looks like, for the most part, I will be avoiding dairy or looking into lactose-free alternatives. Of course, there is always the last resort Lactaid that I will bring with me on vacation – just in case!

Other than the stomach pain, I found no correlation to headaches.

Gluten…doesn’t seem to be a threat

I can’t tell you how excited I was to reintroduce this. I’m Italian, so I literally grew up with a chunk of bread in each hand. I know it’s just food, but I would probably be heartbroken if I couldn’t indulge in my favorite doughy treats – zeppole, pizza (sans cheese), and gnocchi – every once in a while.


Isn’t this a beauty?

I ate a jumbo lemon poppy seed muffin with breakfast, half a sandwich from Panera for lunch, and a burger from Five Guys for dinner. And…nothing happened. No bloating, itching, or pain, and my headache seemed to remain the same that day. The next day, it was less intense. Go figure.

Legumes…aren’t all bad

Before I became more familiar with the different food groups through research, I had no idea what legumes were. The most obvious are peanuts, peas, beans, and soy.

Sushi rolls and miso soup were the first items on my list to try. I love both of these, so I was pretty ecstatic when I didn’t sense any type of reaction from the foods. I think coconut aminos are wonderful and all, but my wallet tends to disagree.


From the Fixate cookbook.

I haven’t had PB in a really long time, so I decided to add that back into my diet as well. I quickly learned that was a mistake when I experienced sharp pains in my intestines and head. Just to be sure, I stretched out Legume Test Day into the following day. And, yes, to confirm – peanuts are a no go.

Over the course of the detox I learned that almonds give me hives, so I’ll be sticking to sunbutter or cashew butter for now.

Caffeine…is just fine

Almost everything I’ve read about headaches cites caffeine as a culprit. Now, I’m not a coffee fiend, nor do I rely on caffeine to get me through the day, but I do enjoy some caffeinated things once in a while.

Pre-detox I started my intense workout days with Energize, a Beachbody Performance caffeinated energy drink. I’ve found that I burn about 10% more calories when drinking it.


After about a month without “treats,” this actually wasn’t very satisfying.

Some of my favorite mocha, chocolate, and cafe latte shakes include caffeine.

Then there are brownies, chocolate chip pancakes, RX Bars – you name it. So, it would be a little disappointing to be anti-caffeine.

Today I had one serving of Energize, a cup of green tea (ahhh matcha!), and a mint chocolate RX Bar. Easy does it. No reaction.


The last item I introduced were shakes. I love Shakeology and Vega – they both make quick on the go meals and awesome emergency food when you are out and about. I even brought Shakeology on a road trip to Canada!


My favorite blueberry blend. Just realized how much blue is actually in this photo!

I blended vanilla Shakeology with blueberries, raw honey, oats, and a scoop of collagen peptides. I only drank about half of it before heading into a 5.5-hour meeting (no, that isn’t a typo).

I ended up having a slight headache that evening, and the next two days it was more intense. I’m not sure if the culprit was the shake, the lack of a full breakfast, the stress associated with work, or the fact that mother nature will be visiting me this week (sorry guys!).

So this one stands unknown for the time being – I’ll try shakes again after my headache fizzles out.


The bottom line: The reintroduction period was an important part of the overall program. It’s helpful to be in tune with your body and know how certain foods affect you. However, because I noticed that I’m reacting to some foods (e.g., peanuts and almonds) that have always been okay to eat, I decided to see an allergist and have some confirmation testing done. I believe there is a place for both holistic and conventional medicine, and would like to see if there are any underlying causes for my allergies and reactions. The appointment is scheduled for February 15th and you know I’ll follow-up!

To find out more about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, click here. Then check out my week one, week two, and week three updates!

Sugar Free Me – Week 3

So, this is it. The end. Well, not really because I still have two weeks of reintroduction. But this is the official last week of the detox.

The cover of The 21-Day Sugar Detox reads “Bust sugar & carb cravings naturally.” Did it deliver?

Let’s find out!

The play-by-play

Day 15: Extended Weekend Day 1

It was nice to be home today to recover from that scratchy sore throat I had over the weekend. It’s about 80% gone now.

Started the day with a hot cup of tea and some reading (Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein).


My favorite herbal tea.

Today was also the start of a new Beachbody workout program – 80 Day Obsession. I’ll update you on my progress with that as well. Stay tuned.

Day 16: Extended Weekend Day 2

I stayed home from work again today – I could seriously get used to this. Decided to hijack my own meal plan because I need more variety in my life. I mean, how many times can you eat zoodles or cauli mash? And, holy moly, why are coconut aminos and macadamia nuts so damn expensive?

I burned over 300 calories in my booty workout today and my muscles were screaming as I walked up the stairs from my basement gym.

Today was the first day I actually missed Beachbody Performance Energize and my shakes. I do hope that I can bring them back after the sugar detox, but both include sweeteners and Shakeology has pea protein too. I think I’ll test them out during reintroduction.

Day 17: Back to the Blues

My headaches don’t seem to be getting better. Unfortunately, that still leaves a lot unknown. Could another “healthy” food be causing the pain? Perhaps eggs or bananas? Could it be an environmental trigger such as stress? God knows I have a lot of that right now.

I wasn’t feeling my workout. Probably because jumping really makes my head feel a lot worse and today was all about bouncing around.


Jalapeno Turkey burgers with the fixins.

But, on a positive note, I did get my meal plan all figured out for the next week. I welcome the return of gf oatmeal, paleo bread, and the raw honey I take for my allergies.

Sticking to a paleo lifestyle wouldn’t be difficult, but I’m planning to test out dairy, gluten, and caffeine next week – all of which will be tested for their…ahem…after effects. I’m hoping I don’t have any food sensitivities. Wouldn’t that be great?

Day 18: The Sun is Shining

Today was a better day. I dragged myself out of my warm and fluffy covers to work out for 40 minutes before heading off to work. No headache while I powered through!

I realized I’m not snacking every ten minutes at my desk, which has become a BIG problem in the last six or so months (can you say Cheez-Its?). Baby carrots make a fine afternoon snack – even better with one of the sugar-free dressings from Tessemae’s. (I love the Habanero Ranch!)

Day 19: Just Three More Days!

I just have to say that today’s breakfast was glorious. Scrambled eggs, bacon, veggies, avocado, and a side of ruby red grapefruit. When I was little I’d have grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar on top, but it definitely wasn’t needed today – it was so deliciously sweet.


Said breakfast.

I did a lot of repeat meals this week – Shepherd’s Pie and Shrimp & Pork Cabbage Dumplings, to name a couple. Started feeling the restriction a little bit too – it would be nice to have soup and a sandwich with paleo bread. I have to remember that this detox is about ridding my body of the “bad stuff” – like sugar and refined carbs – and, that in just four days, I’ll be able to bring back my paleo favorites.

Day 20: Energetic

I’m in the home stretch. This morning I woke up around seven and felt pretty energetic. I did a cardio workout and then ate banana “pancakes” made with a mashed banana, two eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla. I was afraid they would taste like scrambled eggs, but they weren’t half bad and seemed more like a treat than a healthy breakfast.

Tonight I went to a fancy dinner and gala for my husband’s job. Stayed on track with a bunch of club soda’s with lime, raw and grilled veggies, and the most delicious chunk of steak I’ve ever eaten. Refrained from dessert (cannoli, chocolate mousse cake, and mini pecan pies), and had a cup of tea.

It made me realize just how much I would have indulged had I not been on the detox. It’s so easy to overeat dinner rolls and hors d’oeuvres, and drink cocktails (which we all know go down easier than water).

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and I actually felt great when I got home – no bloating or full feelings!

Day 21: This is it.

Today looks brighter. Not feeling as hungry and I don’t have any cravings. In fact, I didn’t even finish my breakfast because I wasn’t my usual “starving.”


Target brand. These waters are definitely “keepers.”

I’m both excited and nervous to reintroduce dairy tomorrow. I have always loved cheese and it’s hard to stop at just one slice. Think of all the wonderful cheesy meals – mac & cheese, pizza, cheese burgers, cheesecake – you get the idea! I’m lactose intolerant, but I would like to see if dairy is also a contributor to my headaches. Then I would know to stay away for good!

I’m also ready to eat the RX Bar I’ve had in my cabinet for almost a month. Next week I’ll reintroduce Chocolate and Shakes.

I did my grocery shopping today and as I was walking past the bakery, I could smell fresh backed chocolate chip cookies. Wow was that tough. I love cookies just out of the oven – especially with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup on top.

I think what really gets to you during the detox is the restriction. When you can’t do something or have something, you tend to want it even more. I don’t want to binge or indulge, I just don’t want to feel deprived. I want to know that if I want a cookie or a slice of pizza, I can have it. Everything in moderation, of course.

The Results

Three weeks. Twenty-one days. Enough time for a habit to form. Enough time to BUST the cravings.

On this program, I lost 5.4 lbs* and 5 inches.* I’m leading with that because it’s a huge selling point, but it’s definitely not all about the scale. It’s about retraining your taste buds and your brain to avoid and not crave sugar.

More importantly, I stopped evening snacking, snacking at my desk, and always craving “something sweet.” I made healthier choices and created healthier versions of my favorite foods. I wasn’t always hungry or starving to the point that my stomach was growling every two hours. I was able to make it through my day and workouts without a jolt of caffeine. I stopped binging on Cheez-Its and Peanut M&Ms from the vending machine at work.

All of the above “Non-Scale Victories” are my proof that the program WORKS.

Unfortunately, the one constant that did not change was my headaches. I’m disappointed, but I also look up at the list above and realize that I do have a lot to be grateful for in just 3 short weeks. And I already conquered one goal for 2018 – Complete a Sugar Detox. Woohoo! I’ll continue to research headache causes and treatments and I’m confident that one day I will find a cure that I can share with other headache sufferers.

Bottom Line: I would recommend this program to those looking to cut the sugar out of their diet and learn to eat healthier. The books are very comprehensive and explain the science behind everything. A lot of the meals are very tasty too! (Recipe Roundup Coming Soon). The list of non-scale victories are abundant, and it may even contribute to weight loss.**

To find out more about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, click here. Then check out my week 1 and 2 updates!

*Weight and inches lost were due to healthy eating combined with moderate 30-60 minute workouts six days a week.

**You may or may not experience weight changes or looser fitting clothes. Author Diane Sanfilippo (recommends ditching the scale for the three weeks and focusing on why you are doing the detox.

Sugar Free Me – Week 2


Favorite meal this week – shrimp and pork cabbage dumplings

I was off my game this week. My headaches resurfaced on day 8, and I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. After all this work and five days of freedom, it feels unfair.

I promised to be honest with you, and here’s the truth – I thought about giving up multiple times. I felt worse than before I started – headaches, bloating, hives, moodiness. By Friday night, I just wanted to demolish a white pizza and follow it with a giant brownie. Water is getting boring and I should probably chill on the amount of herbal tea I’ve been drinking.

I just have to remind myself that this is 21 days, not forever.

The play-by-play

Day 8: Return of the Headaches

I had a dull ache from the moment I woke up – expected it to dissipate as the day went on, but it’s stuck around. It could feel the pressure around my jawline, ears, and temples, with a pulsing around the crown.

It was so bad when I finally got into bed that I couldn’t switch positions without a stabbing pain on the left side of my head.


Can’t chew gum? Light a candle before chopping onions. It helps prevent tearing, just like gum!

Day 9: In a Fog

I was hoping yesterday’s headache was a fluke, but it wasn’t. I had a burning sensation until around 4 pm – makes work even less enjoyable.

Today I had a small craving. Not for anything in particular, just for something sweet and yeasty – doughnut, brownie, apple pie?

Really though, food-wise I’ve been pretty okay. My favorite weekday breakfast is so simple – two hard boiled eggs, mashed avocado, hot sauce, and a side of nuts. I’ve been having a green-tipped banana or green apple for a snack in the morning so I can burn off the (naturally occurring) sugar during the day. Both taste so deliciously sweet.

Day 10: Hangry

To be fair, I was only hungry because last night’s leftovers did NOT taste good reheated. Actually, they were terrible, but fabulous the day of. I’m noting this for my recipe roundup.

The headache is still lingering. I thought that it might be cycle or stress related, but I don’t know for sure.


This vanilla n’oatmeal was fab.

In Dr. David Buchholz’s book Heal Your Headache, he talks about how everyone has a different threshold for headaches, and when the level floods over, the pain begins. One day I might have stress and feel fine, the next day I might have stress and then eat something that puts me above the threshold and boom! a headache.

It’s so complicated to explain to others. Even my doctor said she “exhausted all possibilities with me” after her treatments (i.e., prescriptions for seizure medications) failed. It’s a miserable life.

Day 11: Oh, the Temptations

Did you ever notice that once you get to the halfway point in a book, the second part just flies by? I’m wondering if that will be the case with this program.

Eleven days in, multiple temptations, no cheats. I’ve endured the smell of fresh bagels in the kitchen at work, the ramen noodles my coworker makes for breakfast, pizza, chocolate, cinnamon toast, coffee – so many delicious things. But can you believe my mouth isn’t even watering right now?


This chicken tortilla-less soup was very filling.

Day 12: Thinking Ahead

Do you know what’s just as heavenly as banana with almond butter? Baked green apples with cinnamon and a drizzle of coconut oil or butter. Oh. My. God. It’s seriously delicious.

I’m starting to think about my Reintroduction and which foods I want to eliminate. I’m really on the fence about dairy. I know it isn’t good for me, but pizza.

Day 13: Feeling Low

I had a nice sore throat to go with the throbbing head. I seriously felt like Debbie Downer this week. My headaches can do that; they make a sunshiny day turn into a cloudy rainstorm.

I checked the “what to expect” section, and on all accounts, I should be feeling good with looser pants. If I really think about it, yes, my pants are looser, today’s workout was on point, and life is good. It’s just my headaches that cloud it all.

Day 14: Out of the Funk

Today looks brighter. Not feeling as hungry and I don’t have any cravings. I went grocery shopping last night and walked past all of my favorite foods without the urge to throw them in my cart.


A little Sunday prep.

I know I wasn’t technically supposed to weigh myself, but I’m starting a new fitness program tomorrow and had to capture my weight and measurements. I’m officially down 5 lbs and 4.25″ from January 1st. Of course, in addition to eating healthily, I’ve been working out 6 days a week.

I am a little worried about emotional eating. I realize how hard it can be for me to pump the breaks when I’m eating something I really enjoy like sour patch kids and salt and vinegar chips (there are a half bag of these in my cabinet right now). I’ll just have to remind myself of how far I’ve come to reach my goals and take care of my health.

Overall, I feel like I am benefiting from this program. Here’s to a better week and a happier update!

To see how the first week went (spoiler alert: it was better!), click here.




Sugar Free Me – Week 1


This Portuguese Green Soup was to die for!

Let me start by saying that I can totally understand why a lot of people don’t eat healthy – it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just so difficult and time-consuming, not to mention expensive.

I made all of my meals and snacks for this detox because sugar is a sneaky sucker. It hides in pretty much everything – condiments, dressings, beef jerky, nut mixed, frozen foods; you name it. I’m doing this to heal my headache and start fresh, so I have to be cautious.

I mostly followed the Plan 3 Week 1 meal plan from the 21-Day Sugar Detox, with a few modifications – removing all of the fish, and meat that wasn’t chicken, beef, or pork.


Shrimp Pad Thai w/ zoodles

The hardest part was beginning.

The play-by-play

Day 1: Feeling Great!

Seriously, it felt easy. It was nice to start the program when I had a day off of work to get all the meals situated.

I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one snack. I didn’t even mind serving my husband a piece of cheesecake while I snacked on my chili lime nut mix and homemade jerky (the latter of which, I’ll be honest, wasn’t very good).

Nope, nope, nope…

Worked out mid-day and wasn’t starving after. I went to bed full and content. Migraine pain about a 4 or 5, but tolerable.

Day 2: Killer Headache

Woke up before six, drank a glass of water and worked out for 30 minutes. By the time I got to work, everything hurt and I felt like I was dying or (more accurately) had the flu. I couldn’t even bend over without my head feeling like it was going to combust. Not sure if that was my body detoxing or just an extension of the migraine I’ve had for two days. I’d put the pain at about an 11 (out of 10). It literally hurt to think.

After lunch, I went to the grocery store on a FULL stomach to pick up a bottle of coconut aminos, and I wanted to hijack the chocolate aisle – I’m not even a chocolate person. I guess it didn’t help that two coworkers filled our back table with candy, cake, and cookies leftover from their holiday parties. I avoided it like the plague and drank three cups of herbal tea. Excessive?

Day 3: Feeling Good

Woke up with a clear head – no pain, not even the fuzziness I sometimes get. Started the day with a cup of Egyptian Licorice tea (no relation to the candy).

Found out that broccoli is not a good friend. After eating the same(ish) meals for the last two days, I was severely bloated after eating a bunch of broccoli for lunch. So sad.

I love how this detox, after only three days, is showing me how to be in tune with my body.

Day 4: Lot’s of Energy

Can I tell you just how heavenly banana with almond butter is? Seriously, it’s delicious (and allowed).

I think I’m supposed to feel pretty crappy right now, but I actually feel great. I was able to do a 30-minute cardio workout, shovel heavy snow for over an hour, and then cook dinner, all without feeling starved or exhausted. Although, by the end of the evening, I was very happy to take a rest on the couch before bed.


I love snowy days!

I went most of the day without a headache, and it was glorious. A slight stress headache was triggered around 9 pm, but it went away on its own without medication. This is completely unheard of for me.

Day 5: Continued Energy

Third day without a full-blown headache or a migraine. It feels wonderful. I noticed that I’ve been drinking more, which is a huge accomplishment for the girl who doesn’t fancy water.

I’ve eaten some great meals and some not so great ones – I’ll do a recipe round-up at the very end of the detox.

A few simple swaps, such as coconut aminos for soy sauce, have been immensely helpful.

Planned out my meal plan and grocery list for the next week. Yum!

Day 6: Feeling…Normal?

It’s always easier for me to avoid snacking on the weekends. When I’m at my 8-5, I want to snack ALL day. Maybe it’s the stress of the job?

Woke up after 9 (a complete blessing!) and made a delicious egg scramble. Usually, I like pancakes or waffles a la mode with a glass of OJ on the weekends. I didn’t even crave it. And I’ve been fine drinking plain or sparkling water with every meal.


Said egg scramble

Started meal planning for week 3. I’m really excited about the meals for the next two weeks. And I love that I can still recreate some of my favorite things – like donuts – to be paleo and sugar detox friendly.

I’m feeling great – lighter, less bloated, and energetic. It feels completely amazing to be headache-free for four days straight.

Day 7: One Week Down!

Wow – I can’t believe I made it through 1/3 of the program already. When I did the Whole30 back in 2016, it was so hard for me to remain in control. I relied on Lara Bars and sweet fruits to get me through the days. I guess the difference now is that I’m desperately trying to rid myself of headaches for good. I’ll do whatever it takes – even avoiding my beloved choco mint chip ice cream.

Sadly, I learned that almonds don’t agree with me either. I’ve gotten hives the last 4ish times I’ve eaten them. I switched to almond butter over a year ago after I stopped eating PB and it never bothered me, but now that I’m cooking with it and using it in various recipes, I’m noticing the sensitivity.

Overall, I’m super pleased with how I’ve been feeling and what I’ve been eating. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks in the program.

Can’t wait to give you another update!

If you’re interested in trying your own 21-Day Sugar detox, check out these resources.



The start of something new

New Year, New Me, right? To be honest, I hate that we always wait until the new year to start losing weight, looking for a new job, paying off debt, or [insert other goal here]. It’s so cliché.

But, maybe it isn’t.

Friday was my last workday of 2017. I spent much of the time finishing my annual self-assessment, cleaning out my old files, ending promotions, and literally wiping away all of 2017’s mess. When I go back tomorrow, I’ll have a blank canvas to begin again. New promos, new invoices, new goals. It’s a fresh start.

Whatever your beliefs, today – Monday – the start of a new week AND a new year, is a chance to begin again (after you pigged out and drained your bank accounts during the holidays, of course).


My 2018 Vision Board

My only real goal for this year is to do things that scare me – get out of my comfort zone. For me, that’s a HUGE one with many layers.

See, I’m an introvert. I hate any public speaking or presentations; my palms get sweaty when I walk into a room with more than ten people, even if I know them. I’m perfectly content curling up on my sofa with a good book, cozy blanket, and cup of peppermint tea. Just add ten cats, and I’ll be living the dream!

But seriously, if I do this, I know good things will follow.

I’m starting the year with two tangible goals – Complete a 21-Day Sugar Detox and a round of 80-Day Obsession.

Why these?

21-Day Sugar Detox

Chili Lime Nut Mix & Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins. Yum!

To start, sugar is everywhere – even in sauces, salad dressings, and other pantry items you would not expect.
Then, there are my headaches. In addition to getting married, buying a house, and moving, part of the reason why I was MIA in November/December was that my chronic headaches/migraines resurfaced with a vengeance. One brutal one lasted ten, yes TEN, days. And I can’t take it anymore. When I feel poorly every day, life is just miserable.

I think this detox, which also eliminates legumes and dairy, and is paleo-friendly, could be the beginning of something good – at least I’ll be able to identify any food triggers that may be contributing to the pain.

So, I planned out my first week of meals, made up my grocery list, and I’m starting TODAY. (I just had a delicious breakfast of buffalo chicken egg muffins [pictured above], avocado, and almonds.) No more excuses. I had to go to four local stores and Amazon to get all of the ingredients I needed, so I’m not taking this lightly.

Will it be hard? Hell, yes. But I’m up for the challenge.

80-Day Obsession

20171220_205559576134467.pngI may be fit, but lately, I haven’t been 100% happy with my body, my stamina, or my mood. It seems like after every fitness challenge I do, I revert to the “old me,” and that’s just not good enough anymore.

January 15th, I’m starting a new Beachbody program that scares the shit out of me. It’s an 80-day commitment (6 days a week for 13 weeks) that will challenge me both mentally and physically. High-intensity workouts will focus on the abs and butt (perfect for the beach!), and it’s just what I need right now.

It’s going to take a lot of planning and effort, but it will be worth it. When the program wraps up in April, I’ll be a different person – one who isn’t afraid to set hard or scary goals and conquer them. I might even be a push-up master by then.

Spoiler Alert: 80DO is apparently filled with all types of push-ups. Scary!

Will it be hard? Without a doubt. But, I got this.

To learn more about this program and see if it’s something that might interest you, click here.

FitBook Lite20171231_0941291589829603.pngI’ll be tracking my daily progress with a FitBook – fitness planner. It’s always a challenge for me to be consistent with this, so I’m starting out with the FitBook Lite, which is a 6-week version instead of the usual twelve.

There’s room for tracking measurements, food intake and how you felt after each meal, water, workouts, positive thoughts, and more.

I’ll also be posting weekly progress updates here – I’m committed. And when both programs are over, you’ll get the full run-down.

Why not make 2018 your healthiest year yet?