Autism Humor – I’m Taking It With Me

I have the honor to volunteer with many children with autism and there are some things that just go with the territory (aside from the fact that I’m always smiling – they light me up every time! ūüôā )

Many of the children I have the joy to work with like to bring personal items along with them to play time (or wear something they love.) We typically don’t allow them to bring toys from home, heaven forbid something is lost in the shuffle – the organization I work with has a TON of toys for the children to play with, so outside items could easily disappear.

Still, when they really WANT to bring something (for example, little felt pieces in the shape of animals) chances are a mountain will be made into a molehill by not going with the flow. Trying to separate them from a comfortable “known” can be a lot more trouble than it’s worth and frankly, at the end of the day, there’s nothing at all wrong with that (particularly in a less frequented environment.)

We do, however, have to keep a sharp eye out so that they also go home with everything they brought along!

Krave Bars

I was pretty psyched to see these new Krave Bars Рthey are available in-store and online, and come from a popular jerky snack brand, Krave. 

When trying to stay clean on trips, it’s always a struggle to find non-refrigerated protein options. ¬†It isn’t at all impossible, mind you, it just requires forethought. ¬†The great thing about these bars is that they offer savory flavors, and a dose of protein for minimal calories minus the need to have a cooler.

Stats range from:

  • 1 bar: 110 – 120 calories
  • 1.5 – 4g total fat (0 – 1.5g sat fat)
  • 240 – 290mg sodium
  • 12 – 13g carbs
  • 0 – 1g fiber
  • 6 – 11g sugars
  • 8 – 10g protein

There is a bit of sugar in there, so keep that in mind if you need to steer clear. ¬†That said, sometimes a snack like this is better than wheat you’ll find at rest stops! ¬†It’s also smart to have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t end up going hungry, and eating more than you’d like to later.

For those of you who don’t do red meat, the turkey one sounds pretty delicious, and very Thanksgiving-ish. ūüôā¬†

The other thing? ¬†There isn’t much IN these, which is always nice. AND…you can pronounce all the ingredients. ¬†Refreshing!

  • Turkey, Cranberries, Quinoa Flour, Candied Orange Peel, Granulated Sugar,¬†Sea Salt.¬†
  • Contains 2% or less of the Following:¬†Thyme, Sage, Granulated Garlic, Onion Powder, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Black Pepper,¬†Celery Powder.¬†

Thanksgiving 2016

I’m not a huge “holiday person” (save for Halloween, which I daresay is highly evident given my posts!), but it’s always a treat to be with¬†family…and to be forced to relax (admittedly hard for me BUT…much needed.)


I’m grateful for so much, but of those many things…I’m especially thankful for those closest to me. ¬†Food-centric gatherings are not really my thing – I am incredibly boring with my nutrition (though I enjoy my foods immensely!) so there is always extra care involved. ¬†

My husband always makes sure that I have things I’ll like – always. ¬†He’s never not aware , and will make certain clean foods are available for me (believe it or not, finding someone who wouldn’t think I was crazy for the way eat (like a zoo animal!) was a major source of anxiety for me. ¬†For a decade at least!) ¬†This year he made lobster and he made a few extra for me with nothing on them – at all. ¬†Super clean, and wildly delicious! ūüėÄ


As for the rest, we always have yummy sides – I have a few intolerances, so I stick to what I know works…and it never disappoints. ūüôā ¬†Once upon a time I had a really difficult time portioning, and feeling obligated to have everything – after a few bouts of making myself sick in the past, I’ve learned NOT to do that! *LOL*


It was a wonderful few days…as I hope it was for everyone. ‚̧ ¬†

Appreciating Family and Fresh Food

I had the wonderful fortune to spend time with my parents, an uncle, and my sisters this past weekend. ¬†My fianc√© had not been to the island – ACK, to be clear – so it was a special treat to share a childhood haunt…and many fond memories and traditions…with him.


A gorgeous ship in the harbor (prompting pirate accents when we saw it!)

We were there only two days and my heart really sank to leave – the combination of vivid memories from my youth, paired with having us all in one place (my brother and sister-in-law were missed!) plucked at my Empathetic heartstrings! ¬†It is always jarring to swap realities for me, and always has been¬†– not to the point I can’t do it, just that it takes a little adjusting (incidentally, it appears this is a common problem for folks – google it and see!)¬†I truly, however, appreciated every moment while I was there.


Harvested, fresh clams…er, the shells!

One of our traditions is going out to the harbor just before low tide, and taking advantage of the low water levels to snag fresh clams (in season, and within the regulations, obviously.)  I love that the restrictions are in place, lest individuals harvest with gay abandon and upset the ecosystem for their own gain.


Fresh clams

Once we have a good bushel (or more!) we haul them back in and make two things Рclams casino and clam sauce for pasta.  


Clams casino


Martelli pasta (the BEST!) with clam sauce

As a clean eater, I actually don’t have either dish (though, in my defense, casino contains cheese, which I – and my stomach – definitely cannot have!) ¬†It is more important to me personally to maintain and achieve my goals, so I’m okay with abstaining. ¬†I always have enough of my own goodies to not feel hungry (my fiance made stir fry chicken and vegetables! ūüôā and I know I will feel better later.


Fresh candy from the local farm!

That said, I do enjoy the preparation, having all of us together…AND a few steamed clams in olive oil and green tabasco (my uncle’s favorite concoction!) ¬†The most important part of the meal preparation, and devouring, is the time with my loved ones.



When I reflected on our many summers together, my heart just glowed – sometimes Life goes ¬†too quickly. ¬†Or maybe we are young and aren’t thinking about time marching on as vehemently as it does… But since we all are at a stage where we DO have control of mindfulness, make sure to take the time to stay present (something I work on daily.) ¬†Cherish the moments you have – they make for a mind-blowing tapestry of memories and love.




Hungry Girl Cruise Update

For those who love to travel but ALSO love to eat clean, stay healthy, and aim to come home from vacation feeling great…the Hungry Girl Team is running a Cruise in 2017 that might suit your fancy.

I posted about it here some days ago, but there are more updates here! ūüôā¬†

I love the idea that someone was thinking “larger picture” here, and recognizes that feeling totally sabotaged upon returning from a Cruise or vacation not only happens all the time, but *might* be preventable with a little help from the (literally!) crew! ¬†With healthy options to choose from it makes it so much easier to eat healthily while away from home!



Hungry Girl Cruise

So I’ve followed Lisa Lilien since she founded Hungry Girl back in the early 2000’s. ¬†Having been through two eating disorders, as a result of PTSD, I was more mindful than ever about what I ate (to get WELL, that is.) ¬†What I loved about Lisa’s blog was that she shared healthier options, but also kept things realistic. ¬†She isn’t a nutritionist, but she likes to eat, she likes to eat on the healthier side of things, and she loves to share what she learns along the way.

I recently read that Hungry Girl is organizing a cruise with Royal Caribbean, aiming at January 2017. ¬†I smiled because I DESPISE cruises. ¬†There, I said it! ¬†I know the many people love¬†them but…I always felt uncomfortable about being confined to a space (albeit a large one!) with the predominant focus being on FOOD. ¬†I mean…I have awesome willpower but let’s be honest…being surrounded by goodies makes it tough to have a good time – you feel this pressure to “be good” when all you see are delicious, not-so-healthy options!

But a cruise run by Hungry Girl?! ¬†Holy smokes, that’s AMAZING! ¬†The concept is one I absolutely love – for people who DO enjoy cruises, this offers them the opportunity to have the best of the islands, the onboard fun, AND healthy selections for their meals. ¬†

All too often I hear people lament after a week-long vacation that they had “too much” and went “overboard” with the food. ¬†Well…if this cruise comes to pass, you will not only have the great vacation you are looking for but you will also come home feeling great about yourself (and not overstuffed!)

Brilliant, Ms. Lilien!

If you want to chime in with feedback, go here.

Time Off is OKAY

A lot of my friends are athletes and lifters…and the common thread is that we all push ourselves incredibly hard. ¬†In my mind, that’s a good quality…but we CAN push a little too hard sometimes, and fail to take the time to recover that we are aware we need.

Most of us are completely cognizant of our body’s goings on – we posses a keen¬†awareness¬†of the different types of “pain,” whether it be muscular exertion (the “good” kind of muscle repair after lifting), injury pain (when we have definitely pushed too far), the pain of exhaustion and resultant overall fatigue (which affects the physiology, our mental acuity, our spiritual center even!…) ¬†But¬†on occasion…if not maybe too often…we push through it. ¬†

We need to embrace that “rest day” we know is crucial to our muscular growth and development. ¬†We KNOW it, that’s the point…but taking it is another story.


As I’ve gone through assorted, rather debilitating injuries, compounded by time marching by (much to my chagrin!)…I’ve learned to tone it down when I need to. ¬†A day off may be exactly what’s in order, and your body WILL tell you.

But what about when you¬†are traveling and you can’t get to a gym. ¬†Maybe it’s the kind of trip where it simply isn’t going to fit in… ¬†I would traditionally say to toss a few pushups, sit-ups, burpees, lunges…planks into the morning routine as you get up and get ready for your day. ¬†BUT…


Sometimes that is just not the reality, and it isn’t up to you. ¬†Shocker – it won’t always be, and it doesn’t HAVE to be! ¬†


There are times when taking a few days off…in a row~*gasp!*~…is just what’s in order. It gives us an opportunity to FULLY recuperate, giving our muscles a well-deserved break.

I took four days off since last week…yes, in a row…and I’m so happy that I did! ¬†I used to have severe anxiety about it – for YEARS I couldn’t travel without having a meltdown. ¬†What was I going to eat?¬†How was I going to workout?¬†What would I do if I couldn’t…? Would I gain weight and have to work double-time to get it off?! It was paralyzing. ¬†


Over the years I have learned… I have forced myself to be uncomfortable, let go, and ACCEPT.¬†

You are NOT going to gain substantial weight if you can’t make it to the gym for a few days. ¬†

You are NOT going to experience muscle atrophy.  

You aren’t going to lose your strength or¬†your hard-earned physique.

These may seem like silly notions to some…but if you are IN the fitness industry, if you are a figure (bikini, bodybuilding, fitness etc) competitor, or in a stringent sport…or maybe you have just suffered through eating disorders like I have…these anxieties are very real.

But when we DO go a couple of days, we find that we are still in good shape!  

We haven’t dwindled to nothingness! ¬†

We haven’t suddenly outgrown our clothes! ¬†

And we are still just as strong.

In fact, I argue that after a much-needed break…I am stronger than I was before!


So DON’T stress – the world will not collapse and you will NOT be derailed. ¬†Only in your mind can that occur…and what’s the sense in that? ¬†

If you are on vacation or a leave…you are on it for a reason. ¬†

It will be okay! 

Promise. ¬†ūüôā