Have Snacks, Will Travel + 3 Healthy Road-Trip Snacks

Hi, Friend!

I know it’s been a minute. Let’s catch up.

We have been doing even more traveling, but that’s the purpose of summer, right?! We drove to West Texas last weekend, and if you’ve ever seen Fievel Goes West for all my ’90s kids, that’s the kind of landscape I’m talking about: roadrunners, cactus, and real life Tumbleweeds. I capitalized “Tumbleweeds” because they can get as big as your car, and they deserve a capital letter level of respect. If your car has ever been hit by one, you know what I’m talking about.

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RIP to the poor bugs on the windshield

Zack’s family is full of multi-generation West Texans, so we headed out to celebrate his Grandmother’s 91st birthday.

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A struggle that I had after my diagnosis and deciding to change my diet for the better was finding snacks. I have since learned that Starbucks protein bistro boxes are a go-to if I’m in a pinch (I just omit the PB and bread when I’m Whole 30ing). I avoid fast-food at all costs, and this requires some planning. But we’re living in a cool time where a health-conscious population is on the rise, and companies are paying attention. There’s more choices than ever to stock up on wholesome snacks that actually taste GREAT!
You don’t have to stress about snack-planning if you’re trying to make dietary adjustments, and I’ll give you three reasons why:

1. Epic products.
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I was bummed about saying goodbye to beef jerky once I gave beef up, and many kinds of gas station turkey jerky were just TOO salty and really tough to chew. These chicken bites are a life saver. I fully believe that snacks should provide protein and energy, and these have exactly that. If you’re wondering where to find them near you, mouse on over to their website here.

Oh yeah- we even took them on our honeymoon.
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2. RX Bars– worth the hype.
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Full discretion: I HATE DATES. LOATHE. gag. But these don’t taste like dates, at least not the mint chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut butter, or coffee chocolate flavors. They’re also not a bad pre-workout situation, and they’re full of healthy fats, protein, and some fiber to boot, sans B.S.

3.  Jackson’s Honest sweet potato chipsIMG_4567-2
I thought it was only appropriate that Jaxon help me model the brand for his [misspelled] namesake. When meal prep gets tough and you don’t feel like peeling sweet potatoes and sticking them in the oven, these are a solid back-up with only coconut oil, a little salt, and sweet potatoes as the ingredients. They taste great, too. I don’t believe in food that doesn’t taste good though; I won’t steer you wrong.

Speaking of Whole30, I’m on that train again, Day # 27 Days Left. My breakfast:

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I’ve been craving COLD coffee in this hot summer, so I blended my coffee up with a banana, some cinnamon, and a bunch of ice (pictured above). SO GOOD. I won’t call it a smoothie, because it’s not. It’s just a creative iced coffee thing for these blazing hot summer mornings that require a caffeinated intervention.

Why another Whole30, Stacey? I’ve been feeling…off. It’s like I know that my inflammatory markers must be spiking- I’ve been having piriformis/sciatica stuff which I know is inflamed thanks to a recent visit to the doc who mandated that I take two weeks off from running *rolls eyes and sits down*. So I’m worried about my UC flaring up and taking measures to decrease inflammation. I’ve had the best results when I’ve done Whole30 in the past, so here goes another!

“Let food be thy medicine and they medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates

Hope your week is going well. Let me know what you think about these convenient snack options if you’ve tried them! Always open to suggestions or other recommendations, so holler at cha girl!

🙂

-Stacey

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Quick Guide to Austin Favorites + Weekend Recap

Have you ever been to Austin, TX?

Austin is one of my favorite cities, not just because it’s where I did my undergrad (hook ’em!). I love how it’s completely Texas but also energized with expressive people, entrepreneurs, and creative-thinkers from all over. If I’m being completely transparent though, I’m a little worried with how crowded it’s getting, but it’s still one of my favorite spots to grab a taco and explore outdoors all.day.long. No place like Austin.

Zack and I spent a few weekends ago playing and visiting friends down in Austin

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Clearly, he was thrilled^ 🙂

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And I got to see my sister!

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And most of my bridesmaids (minus three!) 🙂 Picked them for obvious reasons…

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We stayed at the brand new Archer Hotel near the Domain, an up and coming area of shops, restaurants, and Rock Rose (all new bars and clubs). I can’t say enough good words about Archer Hotel.

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We had complimentary “sweet dream” wishes delivered daily to our room, and there was a fancy espresso maker that Zack enjoyed. This hotel was truly mindful of their guests!

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Also- heteronormative SLIPPERS! Honestly though, I loved these. ^ 🙂

The shower was big enough to fit some friends with space for a dance party, but I only photographed the entrance…

I also wanted to take this chandelier home.

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And the pool area…

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…we took note of the giant TV at the pool area. We’ll be back for football season. 😉

Homemade brunch in the hotel restaurant was reasonably priced, and the salsa was great. Win/Wins in my book!

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In honor of our fun weekend in Austin, I’m making a list of favorites! If you’re in Austin, try these and let me know what cha think 🙂

Favorite sno-cone:
SNO-BEACH. Bring cash. They give complimentary ice to your fur ballers, and that kind of love goes a long way. They’re delicious to boot- I never knew I could love a sno-cone so much!
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Breakfast Taco:
Juan in a Million, specifically the Don Juan. Do it. Thank me later. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to shake the owner’s hand…he’s actually won awards for “best handshake”. 🙂

Tacos:
Torchy’s Tacos (the OG is from Austin!). Texans know there’s a difference between breakfast tacos and just plain ‘ole tacos. You’ll see, too.

Breakfast:
Biscuits and Groovy. This is a food truck! I always forget to mention that. Plan to nap afterward; you’re gonna need one. If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, I suggest Bouldin Creek Cafe. The kick-ass granola and fruit is my favorite. They’re pet friendly with lots of vegan options!

Soul food:
HOOVERS. Casual, relaxed soul food at a good price. Get the Beet-A-Rita and DO order some cobbler. If you’re lucky, Anthony will be your server. I’m sure he has NO IDEA who I am, but the best service I’ve ever received at a restaurant was from him. I haven’t seen Anthony in at least three years, and I remember his name. BECAUSE HE WAS THAT GOOD.

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Thanks, Austin Eater, for the photo via google images

Margarita:
Matt’s Famous El Rancho– specifically, the skinny ‘rita

Pizza:
Homeslice Pizza on South Congress. WORTH THE WAIT!

Burger:
Hopdoddy, the OG on South Congress. My favorite is the Greek (probs because I don’t eat beef). My mouth is watering.

Nighttime bar:
The Handlebar. I’m not sure what it is about this place, but it’s SO.MUCH.FUN.

Texas BBQ:
Franklin’s (it’s an experience you’ll never forget) or The Saltlick, but we had our rehearsal dinner at The County Line. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

Running routes: (duh)
Austin is a very active city and a runner-friendly place! Lady Bird Lake Hike-and Bike Trail is my favorite, but go early in the morning before the city awakes. This is when it’s the most peaceful and it really feels like it’s yours. Cool down by kayaking on the lake after.

Hill routes:
HILL TRAINING LIKE A MOTHER on the hill at the intersection of Lamar and MLK but be aware of traffic. You’ll know this hill when you see it.

Best outdoor atmosphere:
Spiderhouse, they also have coffee AND alcohol AND food, so whatever you’re in the mood for.

Parks:
Pease park is nice and shady and Zilker is iconic for the pups. Can’t go wrong with either!

Coffee:
Epoch. Or Bennu for their chai teas, aka my kryptonite.

Hiking:
Loop 360 Bridge is iconic and picturesque, but I love taking dogs to Bull Creek.

Cheap, quick food that won’t kill you if you have digestive diseases:
P. Terry’s. I always get the #5 veggie burger, and it makes me so happy.

Hope you found these suggestions helpful 🙂

When life hands you lemons…

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I was a baton twirler in high school, so naturally my instinct is to juggle the lemons.

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My backup career is to join the circus. Barefooted.

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^ This book (highly recommend!) is what got me thinking about this topic. Not the joining the circus as a solid Plan B, but the topic of “When life hands you lemons…”

You get to finish that sentence.

… “Make lemonade”
… “Add alcohol and make vodka sours”
… “Juggle them”
… “Throw the lemons on the ground and stomp on them”

However you want to finish that sentence- that’s your choice.

But what isn’t always your choice is what form the lemons manifest in your life. My lemons have taken many forms, most notably getting diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease at age 21. Shoutout to moderate to severe ulcerative colitis

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Oh- the diagnosis was “Crohn’s disease” for a few years, by the way. Let’s keep this as confusing as possible.

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And at times I threw it on the ground.

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I did not handle the lemons gently and I didn’t do life so gracefully, because ulcerative colitis is a bitter-sour pill to swallow…again and again, ups and downs of flaring and thriving- one step forward and two steps back.

But at the end of the day- it’s my choice. What am I gonna do with those lemons?

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What are you gonna do with YOUR lemons? The pain and the uncomfortable, unfair life that happens that you can’t control- what are you going to do?

I think we create our own realities. Not completely because, you know, disease and things out of our control. Lemons.

But we choose the response that becomes our reality, and that is powerful. YOU choose to get up off of the bathroom floor, put down the Netflix remote, and chase the world outside and around us. You choose to see and feel the beautiful life stuff. You choose to muster the appreciation of the crap that’s happened to you…because even though it’s bitter-sour, it makes you all the more resilient; a stronger being that was resurrected from the ashes of who you were yesterday, if you let it.

So.

Let the lemons make your life more flavorful, even though it doesn’t always taste good – let it make you better.
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Because I believe you’re bigger and badder and sweeter than your lemons, and if you disagree then we can just join the circus together.

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P.S. Health benefits of actual lemons:
-Vitamin C is good for your immune system
-Helps with hydration: drinking flavored water sometimes makes you drink faster
-Natural diuretic and can prevent bloating

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P.P.S. I set up the self-timer on my iPhone to take ALL of these goofy photos with lemons AND THEN I put them on the world wide web for the world to see— *hair flip anyway*

-Stacey

Let Them Eat Carbs!

I read something infuriating today.

It was one of those “Daily Mail” articles from SnapChat- I know, it’s basically tabloids a la social media; not my proudest moment. This article was about how Kim Kardashian has been sweating her way to redemption from those thong bikini pictures. (disclaimer: I don’t even know the difference between the Kardashians, so I had to google “Which one is Kim?”)

The article angered me, nonetheless- “unflattering” bikini photos? Were the photos so bad that Kim needed to dedicate her life after vacation to living the photos down and THEN we needed to publish an article about it? I mean, c’mon, people. We have got to get away from the body-shaming rhetoric. Make. it. stop. Could we not have written about her confidence in her bikini? How she was proud of her body while on vacation? How she was spending time with people she loved? Nope.

But what really got my blood boiling was that the article quoted that she is eating “absolutely no carbs.” And I hear so often from people around me about how they’ve “cut out carbs” and I just need to lay some truth.

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YOU NEED CARBS.
Normal recommendations are about 3-5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (or 45-55% of your diet). If you’re active, make that 8-10 grams/kilogram, or 55-65% of your diet. Runners especially need carbohydrates, because the muscles are fueled primarily through carbohydrates during endurance exercise.

WHY do we need carbs? 
Because carbs give us energy! Glucose is your body’s main source of energy, and it comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates. Your brain and central nervous system need glucose to function, and so does your metabolism! If your body has enough carbohydrates in the body, it will carry out protein and fat metabolism without using the protein that’s being used to build muscle.

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What kind of carbs can our body use? There are three: starch, sugahh, and fiber.

1.Starch-peas, beans, potatoes, or grains (note: whole grains contain all parts of the grain and thus have more nutrients than a refined grain)

2.Sugar– you may have heard of “simple” or “fast acting” carbs. This is because the insulin is quickly released into your blood stream, causing a decrease in your blood sugar and a suppressed release of fatty acids from fat stores. There are two types of sugar carbs: Those in milk or fruit, which are naturally occurring, and those in sweets and sodas, which are added in a process.

3.Fiber– carbs are non-digestible and come from plants, like spinach, kale, lettuce, beans, legumes, nuts, oatmeal, fruits and veggies (especially those with edible skin and seeds). Try to consume 20-30g/day for optimal benefits. Fibrous foods will help with the feeling of fullness, or satiety.

“BUT I WANNA LOSE WEIGHT, STACEY.”
I get it- it’s true that if you have TOO MUCH glucose, it’s going to get stored as fat. So cut the carbs that release insulin into your blood stream too quickly (these are those simple or fast acting sugars). These carbs, like breads, pastas, cakes, and sodas, will slow down the release of stored fat. We want to burn fat when we exercise, so we need it to be released! The goal is to use the fuel that is consumed; not to store it as fat, so you’ll want to eat food that slowly moves glucose into the blood stream and provides longer-lasting energy, like whole foods and fibers (think brown rice, berries, oatmeal, or bananas!).  Fuel well! But don’t cut ALL your carbs, dear people- I beg of you. Your brain and your body will thank you.

[Please note: A cool thing about being human is that everyone is unique; some people may require less carbs and more fat than others, etc. It’s important to speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian before any medical adjustments or dietary changes.] 🙂

After a few days of practice over the last couple of weeks, I finally feel like I can *almost* jump rope without tripping over my own two feet. This was yesterday after ten minutes of hopping around. I’ve been trying to make working out less regimented and more fun- highly recommend the jump rope 🙂

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And if you’re looking for a way to make your arms and abs a good kinda sore…

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Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey

—–

What do you think of low-carb diets? Have you ever tried one?
Any recommendations for weighted jump ropes that aren’t made for giant humans? Having a hard time finding one! 

 

References: In case you’d like to read some of the articles that I used for this blog post: 🙂
http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/diabetes/carbohydrates-part-of-a-healthful-diabetes-diet
https://riordanclinic.org/2012/04/fuel-sources-during-exercise/
http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/types-of-carbohydrates.html

 

Weekend Recap: Pizza Day, OKC + Movies

CHRISTY CAME TO TOWN!

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Christy and I roomed together in Houston for a year and a half. She and Zack met in the same graduate college at Rice University, and almost immediately we knew that Christy was “our people”. We’ve been close friends since 2014!

We began our weekend by enjoying the weather on the patio at Empire Slice House in OKC, probably one of my favorite pizza spots in Oklahoma to date. I mean. Look at dat pizza. Plus they had Shiner beer, and ain’t nothin’ finer than Shiner, so we’re 2 for 2, Empire Slice House. HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you’re ever out and about around OKC! Christy picked a good day to fly in- Remicade/Pizza day! 🙂

Then we rented Hidden Figures a la RedBox. I love a girl power, and I love space. I can’t believe it’s taken so long to tell the story of these GENIUSES behind NASA who were complete trailblazers, except I kinda can (#society). But Hidden Figures is definitely up there with some of my favorite movies now. Just go buy it.

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Saturday’s weather demanded outdoor festivities, so we settled for some specialty pops in the sun with ice cold beer on the side. Christy said, “Hey Stacey-pretty sure you could make these for free.” <– not untrue. I also got a really good chicken and hummus wrap situation from a food truck, but I forgot to photograph. Still gettin’ this whole blogging thing down! A nice family sat at our table with us and immediately started talking politics. Honestly, I really enjoy how eager people are to make conversation here in Central Oklahoma. These people are genuine and kind, and they always have enough time to speak to you and make you feel like a friend…even if you disagree politically ;).

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I found a new sour beer that’s pretty good ^ . I. luv. sours.

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And then we walked down the street to a brewery for more sips. Unfortunately neither Christy nor I are big drinkers, so after three beers over the span of four hours we needed naps (I’m a little ashamed to say). So we came home, ate leftover pizza (#CarboLoading), and watched the new Beauty and the Beast. Emma, you’ve come a long way since Hermione, and I love you all the same. 

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The brewery was a special kind of place, really…

This morning we woke up and had breakfast at a local eatery and then walked a couple of miles around and throughout campus just to look around- OU is really quite beautiful. I know nothing about it, but the architecture is admirable.

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We finished off the weekend with a trip to the theatre to see Wonder Woman (lots of movies). I LOVED WONDER WOMAN!!!! GOOD LAWD I want to learn Brazilian jiu jitsu and meet Chris Pine. I loved that movie. Hope your weekend was just as great!

Have you seen Wonder Woman or Hidden Figures? Thoughts?
Any other sour beer drinkers in the house? Suggestions? 

Infusion Day

Hi, Friends! HAPPY FRIDAY! I’m blogging from my phone, so if the formatting is off that is why. I have never blogged straight from my phone before, so it’s a new adventure-here I go!

Today is Remicade Day 🎉

I went through hospital registration and admission, which took FOEVAH and evah. One hour and 45 minutes after my scheduled infusion, we finally got the show on the road. 


But my blood pressure has been WAY TOO LOW during the duration of this infusion (we’re talkin 80s over 50s…yikes), so I’ve been up walking around lots. But all I wanna do I nappppp. 


See the dark circles ^? You may also notice my fuzzy blanket. I call it “fuzz” and it’s a Remicade Day essential, along with a snack, a big jug of water, some headphones and a good book, just to pass the time. 

The hospital is delivering meals to all the patients, which is really nice but I have sworn off red meat ever since my diagnosis years ago, and the entree is meatloaf. Hopefully time flies by and I can grab something that won’t be painful to digest! 🙂


Yesterday after work my coworker rescued a baby bird whose friend had gotten ran over in the hospital parking lot. Little Guy was still beside him, scared to move! SAD! Thankfully, this guy is going to be okay and got a clean bill of health by a local wild animal rescue. 


I tried a HIIT workout on a stairmaster last night after work and had a near-puke experience. Safe to say I need to cross train more! My legs and hips feel sore in a good way today. 


Then I took Jaxon to run pet groceries with me since he was out of his favorite treats and food. He loved getting all the attention from cruising around in the shopping cart. I should’ve snapped a pic!

Tonight one of my best friends (pictured on the right; sister in the middle) flies in from Houston to hang out for the weekend. I haven’t seen her since our wedding in January when she was in the wedding party! 

Can’t wait to see ya, Christyface!
Hope you have a really great weekend, wherever you are 🙂

Workout Wednesday: Summer Solstice Workout!

Happy HUMP DAYYYY!

Today has flown by for it being the longest day of the year- I’m not even sure if I can believe that today had the most daylight.

I follow this instagrammer, NutritionStripped, and in her story today she discussed something interesting that I’ve actually been pondering lately. Workouts don’t have to be a big to-do; they can just be a good part of your day. No special routines are required. Stacey’s version here: No “Slay” water bottles with graphic tee shirts. No fancy notebooks to lug around the gym. Sometimes it’s nice to just move your body without adding stress to it- just move! Whatever kind of movement makes you happy.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful in my own workouts without making them a thing. For instance, a couple days a week I try to run without any gadgets or music in my ears. I love running with goals and looking down to see that I’m staying on pace, but sometimes it’s SO NICE to just move your feet and let your thoughts swirl around without being drowned out by some Kelly Clarkson (the girl makes great running music, y’all). Pure, undisturbed movement. Also, I have NO ROUTINE when I go to the gym- I know- this will make some people absolutely NUTS. But for me it works right now.

However, if you do need some guidance fear not! I have somethin’ for ya 😉

Summer Solstice Workout (that can be done any day of the year)
It’s a doozy, and it’s for the whole body
-1 mile, easy
——————–
-Set a timer, jump rope for 5 minutes (I use this weighted jump rope)
-21 air squats
-21 burpees
-21 high knees
-21 commandos
-21 lunges
-21 push-ups
-jump rope for 5 minutes
*Repeat 6 times
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-1 mile, easy

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Recovery smoothie with frozen banana, Vega protein, a few frozen blueberries, and water. That’s it! Oh, and topped with some oats because I didn’t consume enough carbs today.

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And here’s a selfie, because I have blueberry seeds lodged in my teeth and I didn’t even notice. You’re welcome.

-Do you like to have a workout routine when you head to the gym? 
-What’s your favorite way to move? Spin class? Yoga? Weights? Dance parties in the kitchen?