5/22/2017

Whole 30: Week 3 | The Hardest Week Yet + Finding Balance

I wish I had a better report for you, but Week 3 was H A R D. 

People often ask me: Is Whole 30 hard? My answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Whole 30 is not hard because it's some crazy and unrealistic diet, in fact in relation to other lifestyles it's quite the contrary. I think it's a rather reasonable way of life. Well, I should say, I think it's reasonable most of the time. If you read my recap post of Week 2, you may think that I was singing a different tune. And honestly, I was. I had so many social activities that I wasn't sure how sustainable this would be. But then this past week I was researching a keto lifestyle / diet and let me tell you -- THAT is strict. (Not going to stop me from doing it though....) So anyway, all this to say, in comparison to other "diets" - Whole 30 is easy. You can have fruits and alllll the vegetables. (I'll do a keto prep post soon, but basically no fruits! and no sweet potatoes!)

So what keeps making Whole 30 so dang hard for me is external factors like guests visiting and events. This past week my cousin was here visiting me and we had the best time! I loved having here, she's like my little sister but it's hard to entertain and also stick to Whole 30. I didn't go completely crazy, but honestly I didn't pay strict attention to making sure everything was 100% compliant.



We did a lot of touristy things and the coffee shops were the easiest to navigate while on Whole 30. I either got cold brew coffee and added my own homemade almond milk or I just got an iced tea like these from Intelligentsia in Silverlake. So good.

Our meals were of course a little trickier.
One night we had Thai food. I had yellow curry, which thankfully did not come with rice. And it was made with coconut milk so I think I'm all clear there. We did go to sushi one night and I got a California roll. I took off as much of the rice as I could but there were a few pieces of rice still stuck on it. You know what, I ate it anyway. We also had Persian food which was easy -- I just got grilled beef kabob with no rice. So that was fine. And one night we had burgers at Shake Shack and again easy -- because I had it wrapped in lettuce instead of bun. But I ate fries! I mean they're potatoes. I get it that fries are against the philosophy of Whole 30 but I consciously broke the philosophy.

I think that's the thing with lifestyles and diets. I understand that it helps tremendously to change your mindset as well. But part of that healthy mindset is balance. And I believe it's also about making conscious decisions about what you're putting in your body and how it's affecting you.

So anyway, I'm not going to call Week 3 a total bust, but just a mediocre week.
I'm so excited because for my final week of Whole 30 (I might actually extend one more week to make up for Week 3, but we'll see...) I'm partnering with Model Meals to have a bunch of prepared meals delivered to me! Ready to eat! Whole 30 approved! I CANNOT WAIT.

GIVEAWAY | Belcorva Leggings! The Best Workout Clothes Ever!


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I'm so happy to team up with Belcorva Clothing to give away a pair of workout leggings to one lucky winner! Your choice! Plus their leggings have POCKETS!! Are you kidding me! Now you don't have to figure out where to put your iPhone when you're lifting weights at the gym.

I have loved getting to know Lindsey, the owner of Belcorva. She shared with me that Mae is a very common name in her family - how fun is that! Also, I encourage you to check out their Instagram and read Lindsey's story. She lost her younger brother and is honoring him through her company. (I also lost my younger brother so we bonded over that as well.) I'm so lucky to be able to connect and support other female entrepreneurs through my social media channels. So special. 

Save 10% on your Belcorva purchase by using code MAEBAD

I hope that you'll support Belcorva! Their leggings are so cute and *affordable*! 
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5/15/2017

Whole 30: Week 2 | No Desserts! Parties & Events, What I Ate + My Experience

Well....Week 2 was hard! Not because of the Whole 30 program necessarily but because of several external factors. First of all, I had a lot of lunch meetings! And a lot of events that revolved around food! It was tough to resist temptation.  (If you haven't yet caught up with my journey and how to prepare for Whole 30, start with the recap of Week 1 here)

The beginning of week 2 started out with an easy breezy lunch meeting. I got a spinach salad with strawberries, pine nuts and salmon. I verified that the balsamic glaze didn't have added sugar and I was good to go! So delicious.



I had been craving sugar though. Well, just dessert in general. I was starting to feel a little sick from all the meat and veggies. You know how you just feel heavy after a meal? I felt like I wanted something to cut the taste. So I decided to sauté an organic apple in Fourth & Heart Vanilla ghee, added some almonds and golden raisins and topped with Barney Butter sugar free almond butter. It was PERFECT. Exactly what I was craving and just hit the spot. I had that for dinner one night early in the week. Well sure enough, I got a ton of messages from you guys that it's not technically Whole 30 compliant. I just couldn't understand why all the ingredients individually were Whole 30 compliant but mixed together they were not. So I reached out to Whole 30 on Instagram. This is the answer they gave me! 



So basically, Whole 30 does not permit desserts or treats because it is feeding old habits and perpetuating the problem of us being reliant on sugar. Makes total sense. I still loved eating that apple though ;)

I had lunch with my good friend Britney from FittyBritttty on Instagram (if you're not following her, you are missing out! She is such an inspiration -- she lost 80 lbs! And is just a ray of sunshine!) We walked to Whole Foods and made salads from the salad bar. That is the *perfect* solution for Whole 30. Then we walked to a park and ate in the beautiful LA weather! Woohoo! Here's my salad, it doesn't look that great but it was amazing: spinach, romaine, broccoli, tomatoes, roasted potatoes, tuna, chicken, artichokes, peas and balsamic dressing.


I stopped by the Whole Foods salad bar a few more times throughout the week. It's just so easy and convenient. It's not the most affordable to eat there every day, I realize that. 

As a side note, one of the most common questions I get is how to eat healthy on a budget. I get it, organic, healthy food can be expensive (not to mention all the potions, etc -- that adds so much more!) Check out my YouTube video for all my very best tips on how to eat clean affordably -- it definitely is possible!

If you can't make it to Whole Foods, try Sprouts -- they also have a great salad bar and it may be a little cheaper! I loved this meal that I put together from the Whole Foods salad bar:


Once again roasted potatoes and chicken. Plus mushrooms and salad with shredded rainbow carrots, watermelon radish and spring mix dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I also picked up a GT's kombucha. It is the only kombucha I've found that is Whole 30 compliant because it doesn't have added sugar. The only sugars come from the fruit juice they add. So I think it's ok. I can't give up my booch!

So the end of the week is when things got tricky! I attended a gala party with the City of Beverly Hills and was faced with so many delicious food options. It was tempting but I was able to stay away from carbs, gluten, sugar and dairy! Just ate lots of chicken! ;)

I was invited to attend The Eat Show in DTLA as an influencer. I was SURROUNDED by so much good food! But I did a pretty good job of weeding out the things that were not compliant. I'm amazed I made it out with my Whole 30 intact! Haha :)

Then my cousin came to visit and once again we were hitting the town and eating out! I had a smoothie for breakfast at home so that was easy. At coffee shops, I once again brought my own cashew milk. We also went to the Farmers Market for the most delicious, fresh food. I posted this photo on Instagram but I wanted to share here as well. 


So on Mothers Day, we were strolling the Farmers Market and we came across Cumin Restaurant at the Farmers Market and John, the owner, was the kindest man!
He runs a cash-only operation and of course I only had a credit card, so he let me just take the food and told us to come back some other time to pay him. How sweet is that?! I feel like people never do that anymore. It was so fitting that that happened on Mother's Day. My mom is the nicest, sweetest gem of a human being. She spreads so much love and happiness wherever she goes in this world and treats everyone with so much kindness. I feel like I am just reaping the benefits of her goodness! We had such a great day, eating the most deliciously seasoned chicken and potatoes and spending time on the beach in Santa Monica. It was so special to spend time with my cousin, who is like my little sister, while our moms were together (in another state) and celebrating us being together and happy :)

I finished up the weekend just grateful I survived all those events and curveballs that were thrown my way. I love Whole 30, but I just don't know how to do it when you have a normal social calendar or even just work. So far, it seems like you have to completely hide out! But, I'm excited for Week 3! And even more excited about Week 4 because I'll be working with a special company I can't wait to tell you all about soon! 

Have you done Whole 30? What was your experience? Any tips you can share?
I'd love to hear all about it, please leave me a comment here or connect with me on Instagram @maebad
XOXOXO



Just in case you missed it, here's the recap of Week 1 on Whole 30 plus how to prepare, cheat sheets and more! 


And here's my YouTube video on how to eat healthy & affordably on budget: 


5/10/2017

Whole 30: Week 1 | How To Prepare, Cheat Sheets, What I Ate + My Experience

What a week! Earlier this year, I decided to try Whole 30 but honestly, I wasn't taking it too seriously. I thought that the Whole 30 philosophy was how I was eating anyway. But I quickly learned that was not the case. Whole 30 requires a shift in mindset. So I decided that Monday May 1 was going to be the perfect day to start the program and be strict about it!

Here's a look at my first week of doing Whole 30 -- May 1-7, 2017 -- how I prepared, what I ate, what I learned and more!

HOW TO PREPARE

My friend Bari lent me a copy of Melissa Hartig's book, It Starts With Food. That lays out the entire Whole 30 program and lifestyle. And it is just that - a lifestyle.

I also started following Melissa on Instagram as well as the official Whole 30 account and Whole 30 recipes. Several of my favorite Instagrammers share Whole 30 recipes already as well. Search the hashtags #Whole30 #Whole30Approved and #Whole30Recipes for more. I have also started sharing my Whole 30 food journey, recipes and meal ideas over on Instagram. Follow along @maebad over there!

I also checked out Pinterest for so many amazing recipes! And Whole 30 Cheat Sheets!






There's a lot of the Whole 30 philosophy. And while it can't be reduced into just few simple lists, I still found these very helpful for a quick and handy guide. The basics that I was the most concerned about: NO SUGAR, NO DAIRY, NO GRAINS, NO LEGUMES.

Changes I Made

I realized that there is SUGAR in EVERYTHING! No more maple syrup which I love. I had a big jug of it so I hid it away so I wouldn't be tempted when I saw it. I made a shopping list and hit up Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joes. I made my own nut milks (almond and cashew). I cut out all condiments and salad dressings. I switched out my Vital Proteins Collagen Whey (because of the milk proteins) to regular Collagen Peptides.

WHAT I ATE


During the week, my meals pretty much looked like this. I did a lot of meal prep on Sunday. I made the perfect 7 minute soft-boiled eggs. Seriously the yolk tasted like jam! So delish. I also roasted a lot of veggies, steamed broccoli and sautéed salmon with turmeric, Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning and lime. I packed my lunch every day!


EATING OUT
I wanted to make sure that I was living my super fun life and not sitting at home all the time because I was afraid to eat out. At the end of Week 1, I went to TWO brunches with my friends over the weekend. It was super easy to stick to Whole 30 while eating out! I just had to be prepared. Duh. I checked the menu of the restaurant before I went to see what I could eat. And I knew what my substitutions were going to be if I had to ask for them and I was prepared to pay the difference. Now, I did have to bring my own DIY Cashew Milk. No problem though I just reused an old Kreation glass shot jar with a lid and stuck it in my purse. None of the restaurants minded at all! My DIY Cashew Milk was made with dates (which are allowed! Phew!) so it was a little sweet. But I did not add any other sweeteners to my coffees.

Saturday Brunch
I went to brunch at Blu Jam Cafe in Sherman Oaks. If you've never been you must go next time you're in The Valley. I ordered The Breakfast Burger, subbed the bun for lettuce and got all the sauces on the side. It came with roasted potatoes (which I'm still surprised are ok to eat but yay!) There was also an egg on the burger which made it even better! A quick note about the food quality. I shared this on Instagram but it bears repeating. I have been trying my absolute hardest to eat the absolute best quality food I can -- which means organic vegetables and fruits and grassfed meats. Now, I am also trying to maintain balance. So I have no idea if that burger meat was grassfed. I don't know if the eggs were from pasture raised chickens (I wish they were from Vital Farms - my favorite company!) But you know what, I still ate it. And it was delicious. So balance my friends. Balance.


Sunday Brunch
I went to brunch at The Butcher's Daughter in Venice. Oh I was in love with that place! The decor was fabulous -- a little bit vintage and whole lotta flowers. I ordered the cauliflower grits. Goodness they were delicious. The base was cauliflower and topped with an egg, sautéed mushrooms, and micro greens. It was supposed to come with adzuki bacon. I didn't know what adzuki was so I asked the waitress and she brought the allergy list for me to check out. That's another super helpful tip - ask your waitress for the allergy information - it lists all the ingredients so you can see if it's compliant or not! Turns out adzuki is made from black beans so I couldn't have it because there's no legumes on Whole 30. So I asked if I could sub for potatoes and she said yes! The perfect delicious meal.



My First Week Experience
I definitely missed the sugar!! I thought that just because I already wasn't eating any added / processed sugar, I would be fine. Boy was I wrong! I was used to make banana bread with maple syrup or adding dark chocolate chips to my oatmeal. Um, no more of that! And I could feel it. But, I was able to push through. I did also have some fruits like banana in my morning smoothie that helped. Overall, I am so happy to be doing Whole 30. I feel like it's a necessary way of life. I miss the quinoa and cheese but I'm good!! Stay tuned for Week 2!

5/01/2017

On Defending Ourselves... (and weekend fun!)




What a weekend! 🌞 I kicked it off Wanderlust 108 at Santa Monica Pier​.  t was a wellness festival full of cool people, my favorite brands like Rx Bar and Healthade, and lost of activities like yoga and a 5k. The weather in LA was perfect, albeit a bit hot in the sun. So fun to have custom flower crowns made and frolic around the beach surrounded by like minded people. I was lucky enough to get tickets from Rx Bar!

On Sunday, Milk and Eggs - Farm & Food Delivery​ threw a PAR-TAY The Container Yard​! Lots of local food, music and fun. It was the best! Local chefs were creating dishes on the spot using locally-sourced ingredients. More of my favorite brands again like Healthade were there too. There was a Photo Booth and an Urban Farm Container - the future of farming! Seriously, I haven't been to an event that amazing in a long time. It was in the Arts District of LA so that alone made so cool. And of course, Milk and Eggs spoiled us with an amazing gift bag full of goodies.






Then last night I had a mini epiphany. I was with friends & the conversation turned to....basically my lifestyle. How I make my own almond milk now (💁🏻) & adaptogens & all the other things I'm doing. I found myself subconsciously defending my choices. I was saying things like "I know y'all think I'm crazy, but..." As I was reflecting, I realized that's ridiculous. Even though it was a subtle little phrase, it's not necessary. I don't have to defend anything. Even to my friends. I feel amazing & I'm happy. So I encourage you to make sure you're speaking positively about yourself - in all scenarios whether big or small! Happy May, friends!







3/03/2017

My Favorite Health + Wellness Podcasts



As many of you know, I embarked on a health + wellness journey at the end of 2016 and I've been focusing on it more and more as move throughout 2017. To that end, I'm trying to listen to more podcasts not only because they offer an incredible amount of information from experts, but you can listen to them literally anytime of the day and in any situation -- at home, in the car, at the gym, whenever. My favorite time to listen to podcasts is either in the morning while I'm making my morning smoothie (full of adaptogens - more on that to come!) or at night while I'm cooking dinner / meal prepping. Here's a look at my favorite, and I personally think, the best podcasts related to health + wellness. 

1. Soul On Fire:
Jordan Younger (@thebalancedblonde) is the girl behind Soul On Fire and author of Breaking Vegan. I was lucky enough to meet her and have a chat and she is sooo sweet! And beautiful. And just really lovely. Jordan has interviewed so many experts and entrepreneurs in the health, wellness and blogging world that includes Sophie Jaffe, the creator of Philosophie (love!), Kelly Leveque, celeb holistic nutritionist, Jonathan Albrecht, the regional operations manager of Orange Theory, Lauryn and Michael Bosstick, the two behind @theskinnyconfidential, and one of my favorite Jeannette Ogden from ShutTheKaleUp on Instagram. With each episode, Jordan finds out what the interviewee has done to set their soul on fire, hence the name of the podcast.
Faves: Ep. 3 Sophie Jaffe, Ep. 5 Kelly Leveque, Ep. 15 Jeannette Ogden

2. Bulletproof Radio:
A great introductory podcast for learning more about quality nutrition and life hacks. This was one of the first podcasts I started listening to. Dave Asprey provides cutting edge research from world-class experts. I'm not 100% into the Bulletproof lifestyle but I do occasionally incorporate a modified version of the coffee into my morning routine. Dave interviews some of the top researchers, biochemists, meditation experts, entrepreneurs, and doctors across the world who share tips for taking control and upgrading your biochemistry, body and mind so they work in unison.
Faves: #376 Vegetable Oil – The Silent Killer W/ Dr. Cate Shanahan
3. The Model Health Show:
Shawn Stevenson is a nutrition expert. I really love his fun and casual way of talking about really important health topics. He does include ads (which I'm finding has become the norm) but honestly I just skip right over them. I've learned so much from him about sleep and bone broth!! Two of my favorite subjects now ;)
Faves: Ep. 188, Bone Broth Diet with Dr. Kellyann, Ep. 193 with Dr. Mark Hyman, 

4. The Fat Burning Man Show:
I really love this podcast. Abel James speaks the truth about health and nutrition and exposes the misleading claims that have been made, leading most Americans astray. I truly believe it's so important to do our own research and not just take what we hear at face value so that's why I love him. Some of my favorite topics have included: getting the inside scoop on how Kobe incorporates bone broth into his daily regimen (!!!), learning why we overeat and and how to beat cravings, understanding the thyroid connection and leaky gut, and learning more about the ketogenic diet (something I'm really trying to learn more about).
Faves: Dr. Cate Shanahan: Why Kobe Bryant Drinks Bone Broth, Dr. Mithu Storoni: The Ketogenic Diet, Brain Boosting Fats & How To Avoid Low-Carb Mistakes
5. Revolution Health Radio by Chris Kresser:
Chris Kresser has one of the top 25 natural health sites in the world and is on the New York Times Bestseller List for Your Personal Paleo. (Amazing!) He is a physician and is very well-respected in the functional and integrative health world. I'm starting to learn more about functional medicine and it's role in the traditional medical model so I love his background. Many of the episodes are fairly short (20 - 40 min) and thankfully he doesn't include ads! Thank you Dr. K! The topics and information covered are cutting-edge, nerdy, and provide practical information on how to prevent and reverse disease in a natural way.
Faves: #32 Dr. Mark Hyman on the Future of Medicine, #19 What Causes Hormone Imbalance, 

6. Cabral Concept:
Dr. Stephen Cabral is a Naturopathic, Ayurvedic and Functional Medicine Doctor. Again, I love the functional medicine perspective and am trying to learn more about naturopathic / ayurvedic modalities. The coolest part about his podcasts is that he assigns a different topic for each day of the week– Motivation and Mindset Monday, Total Wellness Tuesday, Weight Loss Wednesdays, Training Thursdays… I love a good theme!! And his podcasts generally are short, perfect for a quick smoothie-making session before work. 
Faves: #349 Clean 15 vs Dirty Dozen, #313 Top 5 Foods To Eat After Your Workout