[Recipe] Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Inflammation has been identified by numerous researchers to be the underlying cause of a wide range of health issues and diseases. Lately, I've experienced some health concerns and have been working to reduce inflammation in my body overall. I try to buy mostly everything organic to avoid chemicals, additives and pesticides. The closer to nature I can get, the better! Green smoothies help me start the day off right with plant power and natural energy.

This recipe is for a healthy smoothie that also fights inflammation. Here are a few ingredient highlights:

Spinach:  In general, leafy greens pack a strong nutritional punch. For reducing inflammation, spinach in particular has beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K. Just one cup of spinach has 987.2% of the daily value of vitamin K!

Blueberries:  These lovely little berries have a ton of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, help to reduce inflammation and combat free radicals. Plus they make the smoothie a pretty shade of purple!

Cherries:  Another powerful antioxidant berry, according to Health.com, tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.” That's a pretty powerful statement! Apparently sweet cherries do not have the same benefits.

Raw Almonds:  In addition to adding a boost of protein and fiber to the smoothie, almonds have high levels of vitamin E and magnesium, which both help to fight inflammation. Always go for "raw" versus "roasted" or otherwise when choosing almonds. Our bodies tend to accept the raw state more easily, since once they're heated the molecular structure changes.

Coconut Oil:  It has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and fever-reducing properties. Bonus that it tastes so good, adds some healthy fat and helps you feel fuller.

Berry Almond Green Smoothie Recipe

  • 1 cup (large handful) of organic spinach (or other leafy greens)
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen cherries
  • 1 cup organic almond milk (used 365 unsweetened vanilla here, but coconut water would also work well)
  • 1 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp raw extra virgin coconut oil
  • Place all ingredients in a blender. 
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour and enjoy!


Spring in the air!

So thrilled today is the first day of SPRING!! 
Bring on the fantastic weather, picnics in the park, outdoor festivals and concerts. I love this time of year because it's gorgeous outside, blooms everywhere in Atlanta, and there's always a reason to go out and about. Here's my short list of things to experience this season:

Plan a picnic (or ten) in the park
Spring clean the apartment (and car) from top to bottom
Keep fresh flowers at home all season long
Arrange food truck lunches with coworkers
Plant a potted herb garden
Eat and drink on restaurant patios
Visit local farmers markets and cook with seasonal produce
Read outside in the fresh air with a glass of wine
Take Roxy on more walks on the Beltline and parks
Eat lunch outside at the office picnic table as often as possible
Stock my closet with sundresses, skirts and sandals
Take a few day hikes around Atlanta
Spend a weekend on the Georgia Wine Trail

Cheers to a beautiful season!

My Weekend: Instagram Edition

Instagram is by far my favorite social network. I love that it's visually driven, and hashtags have an instantaneous effect (pun intended) in finding like-minded individuals. Here's a quick recap of my weekend fun around Atlanta. For more, follow me on Instagram @FoodieInMotion!

The fiancé and I had a date night on Friday, and decided to stay in our little neighborhood of Virginia Highlands so we could walk instead of drive. We ended up at Highland Tap for dinner and drinks. I'm super proud of myself for sticking to Pinot Noir all night, while he switched up beer selections.

Highland Tap’s Famous Steak Oscar
filet medallions topped with jumbo lump crab, asparagus and béarnaise with mashed potatoes

Next stop was for dessert, but we took a detour along the way to Dark Horse and 10 High. Some random Florida band was playing at 10 High and we stopped in for a few songs. Couldn't hang around very long due to the smoke. I can't stand cigarette smoke indoors, especially in basements with zero ventilation. Probably won't be coming back here for a while...

glitter floor @ 10 High

Finally dessert time at Atkins Park Tavern. This place is divided into restaurant (no smoking), bar (smoking) and patio (fresh air). We put in our name for a table, grabbed another glass of wine for me and a beer for him, and settled outside on this twinkling patio while we waited.

had this patio all to ourselves

Tiramisu cheesecake, yes please!

On Saturday, we stopped by Honey Bubble for some refreshments and then took Roxy out for a long walk around the Beltline. The weather was absolutely perfect for walking, clear and sunny with a breeze.

french macarons from Honey Bubble

There's art everywhere along the Eastside trail, and this little gem was sort of hidden from plain sight.

blackout poetry: life disappears. warn people.

After walking around for about an hour (and torching 250 calories!!), we were parched and stopped at Mellow Mushroom to have lunch on the patio. Their new gluten-free pizza is actually pretty good and crispy like a thin crust pizza. Flavor is all there so you don't feel like you're missing out. Will definitely order it again!

pansies & sunbeams

gluten-free Strongbow cider

gluten-free white pizza

I adore weekends like this! ♥

Planning for Health and Fitness

Let's face it, being healthy and fit doesn't just happen. If it did we'd all be as fit as fiddles... forever. You know you have to work for it, and if you don't use it you lose it. The key to taking on the challenge of altering your lifestyle to become healthier and more fit is PLANNING. Here are a few things that I've personally found helpful in forming healthy habits.

Meal Planning

Each Sunday, or whatever day works for you, take a few minutes to map out your meals for the week. Not only does this help with prepping for healthy eating, but its also beneficial for making shopping lists for trips to the market.

I found this handy weekly whiteboard at Target (made by Board Dudes) and couldn't resist bringing it home with me. Using a different color marker for each meal / person has been fun and useful to see the week at a glance.

Green = breakfast for both of us
Blue = fiance's lunch
Pink = my lunch (eating lots of salads these days)
Orange = dinner for both of us

Sometimes I add in snacks or drawings of produce. Good thing about whiteboards is that you can easily update and change things around as needed. I like to leave at least one day open for eating out, and of course I schedule in brunch (its by far my favorite meal). Love this board because it takes the guess work out of what we're going to eat for the week!

Workout Calendar

Each month, schedule in your workout sessions like appointments on your calendar. Set alerts, reminders or alarms, and lay out your workout clothes or pack your gym back the night before to prepare. The only person you'll cheat is yourself if you skip out on your workouts!

I've recently started using this super cute Excel calendar (download here), which allows customization by year and first day of the week. Each little rainbow bear head denotes a month in the year, and I love the colors. Simply fill in your workouts at the start of each month, or use the calendar to mark off completed workouts.

In order to be prepared for obstacles along your fitness journey, make planning FUN and a part of your routine!

Pinterest Recipe in Real Life: Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken

As soon as I saw this pin for Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken, I had to make it! I've made Honey Mustard Chicken before...just not sprinkled with bacon and smothered with cheese. *drool*
{ left: Pinterest recipe | right: my version }

Luckily the recipe didn't call for a ton of ingredients, and most were already in my kitchen. I didn't have much mozzarella cheese left, so I used a little of that and topped it with a slice of Gouda. Instead of regular bacon I used crispy turkey bacon (we've completely switched to nitrite-free uncured turkey bacon), and organic steamed broccoli with a little butter instead of green beans.

Love that the prep time didn't take long at all! Flavor was awesome, and it's fiancé-approved as one of his "favorite meals I've made in a while." This recipe would definitely be even better if you marinaded the chicken for a few hours in the honey mustard sauce. It would also work well with a barbecue marinade for the summertime.

Will be keeping this one on our recipe list!

Bonjour, March!

{ my photo from Atlanta Botanical Gardens }
Happy to say "bonjour" to March because that means 
SPRING is around the corner! 
Can't wait for warmer weather, long strolls in the sunshine, 
flowers everywhere and picnics in the park.

The new moon is today, which is an excellent time for setting intentions (and stargazing). Earth's moon has a natural gravitational pull on our bodies since we're comprised of 60% water. Just think of the moon's affect on the tides! I enjoyed this video by astrologist Kathy Rose that gives her perspective on today's full moon.

March 2014: Progress & Intentions

Measurements/Weight Progress:

  • From February 1, 2014 to March 1, 2014 (today) I've lost a total of 6.25 inches and 5.2 pounds
    • Zero inches gained and lost 2.75 of 3 inches gained in January
    • Most inches were lost around my torso and arms
    • Lost less than expected in my legs, 0.75 only on the left side
  • Cumulative progress since December 2013: 7 inches, 8 pounds
Workouts and Insights:
  • I exercised 9 times in February (13 in January, 6 in December), all T-Tapp workouts and walking
  • My back/neck/body pain has improved a bit since last month
  • As I posted earlier this week, we're halfway through the T-Tapp 60-Day Challenge and I will be solely doing the T-Tapp workout and walking until the end date of March 25, 2014
  • Think I deserve a little prize! Maybe one of the fitness gear items from my list.
March Intentions:
  • Keep up with my T-Tapp schedule, and successfully complete the Challenge
  • Body brush daily ("don't rush the brush")
  • Schedule a massage, and discover a
    far-infrared sauna
  • Buy local food as often as possible (farmers markets, Natures Box)
  • Continue to drink lots of water, cut out gluten and reduce dairy intake
  • Relax, breathe and let it flow; Meditate (aka unplug and sit quietly) for 5 minutes each day

Ready to see what this lovely month springs into my life!

P.S. I found a super cute (and colorful) Excel worksheet for my March fitness game plan. Will share it on the blog soon!

Challenge Crunch Time

We're officially a little more than half way into the 2014 T-Tapp 60-Day Challenge...seems like the right time to reflect and set myself up to soar through the second half.

Challenge Details
For those not familiar with the T-Tapp workout, it's an effective total body workout series (not tap dancing!) that focuses on building core strength, flexibility and reshaping the body. Results are measured in inches lost vs. pounds, and most are able to lose at least a size per month with consistent workouts.

The first Challenge of 2014 started on January 25 and runs through March 25. During the Challenge, participants are required to only do T-Tapp workouts (there are plenty of options to choose from!) for the 60 day period, take before and after measurements and photos to submit online. The goal is consistency, not to workout every day of the Challenge. Registration process is easy (currently closed for this one), support from other participants is excellent, and reviewing results from previous Challenge winners is inspiring enough to make you want to get off the couch and into your workout gear. Check out T-Tapp.com for more information and sample exercises to try for free.

My Progress
Over the last 30+ days I've had a lot going on in my personal life, and have experienced several new health issues that set me back a little. Despite everything that's been happening, I keep T-Tapping regularly. Maybe not every day or every scheduled workout, but I'm doing what I can and that counts as progress. Believe it or not, even a little T-Tapp is greatly beneficial. Adhering to the rules, I've only done walking (outside with the dog, on the Beltline trails, to dinner and back, etc.) in addition to the workouts. On my list after the Challenge is to buy a bicycle and add a little yoga back to the mix.

Although I haven't officially measured since January, I have weighed myself and so far I'm down about 6 pounds. Just tried on a few pairs of skinny jeans this morning, which I could not get into in December, and they fit! That's proof alone that inch loss is happening as well. All of this without really sticking to the schedule I created for myself.

Second Half Game Plan

  • Move daily: Full workouts 3-4 times per week (30-60 minutes each), Short workouts/stretching/walking 3 times per week (5-20 minutes each)
  • Incorporate Ladybug Workout and more floor exercises in general
  • Body brushing daily
  • Continue to drink lots of water

Can't wait to see total progress at the end of March! I'll post a Challenge recap with my total results after the 25th.

Big news... I'm engaged!

To celebrate our 9th anniversary of dating (can't believe how quickly the years have passed!), my man arranged a special date night for us. We started the night off at SkyView Atlanta, a brand new Ferris wheel downtown that's almost 20 stories high. I adore carnival rides and roller coasters, so this was a fun way to kick off our date. Plus, it's so pretty and lit up at night.

We got our own gondola, and on the second time around while we were at the top... he proposed! I obviously said yes, hence this post, and totally cried happy tears. Then he told me that the ring was my grandmother's, which made it even more special and brought on more tears. We're both thrilled that it's now "official" after all these years!

After the ride ended, we walked over to the Westin for a fancy dinner out at the Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View, a tri-level complex featuring a revolving restaurant and lounge. This is by far the best place to go in Atlanta for an incredible 360-degree view of the city. We enjoyed champagne, watching the buildings pass by, and a delicious meal together (I got the lobster, my fiancé!! got the filet mignon).

I will remember this night forever... it was perfect, and everything a girl could dream of!

Caesar Salad

Roasted Lobster

Crème brûlée