The One Task to Improve Your Health

And my 5 tips on how to do it

As someone who now considers herself a part of this “health and wellness movement” for full time work, I am extremely appreciative and grateful of the effort everyone is making to better themselves. It makes my heart happy that we are all finally paying attention to the ingredients that go into our body and the fact that many aspects of our lives can play a role in our health: food, relationships, physical activity, career, and so much more. That being said, it can be extremely overwhelming. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that an overabundance of options actually causes more stress. I notice this in certain aspects of my life, such as picking an outfit to wear or choosing between the thousand fitness studios NYC now fortunately offers, and I’ve chalked it up to potentially being the sheer aspect of FOMO that I continuously find myself struggling with (when will I ever get over this!?). However, I’m starting to notice it in one particular part of my life that I never thought it would affect: my health.

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What “Balance” Means to Me

In collaboration with Sweats & Balances

This post is in response to @sweatsandbalances’s question of what the term “balance” means to me. Check out the piece on their site also!

In today’s world, where the health & wellness movement has taken the forefront of attention, it is nearly impossible to read an article or listen to a podcast without hearing the trigger-word “balance”. It is sometimes being used as a filler to umbrella describe feelings, emotions, or situations that one struggles to fully explain. Some may use the term balance to describe having a kale smoothie for breakfast and a cheeseburger for lunch, or to kick ass in Soul Cycle class one day and then veg out on the couch the next. The term has almost become a noun we use to justify our actions; “hey, it’s all about balance, right?”

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Why I Quit my Job on Wall Street to Place a Bet on Myself

Hands down, the most memorable and remarkable college course I took was “Women in the US Criminal Justice System” my senior year. The class took place in the recreational center of the local prison in our college town. Yes, you read that correctly; the course met once a week for 3 hours in the women’s minimum-security section of the correctional facility. No, we were not teaching the inmates, we were all, in fact, students. When we entered the so-called “classroom”, we were all equals; the college students referred to as “outside students” and the women living in the jail referred to as “inside students”, never once using the word “inmate” or “prisoner”. (I know you’re probably wondering right now why the heck I am telling you about this class in a blog post promised to discuss quitting my job on Wall Street to pursue my passion in the kitchen, but stick with me here.) At the end of the semester we were required to write a paper reflecting on what we learned from this experience. As incredibly moving this course was for me, and as much as I learned about the criminal justice system, I walked away from our last session with the realization that the inside and outside students all shared one thing: the fear of the unknown.

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What I Learned from a Month of Healing

This is a pic from after this morning’s run. It was, for me, a slow-paced 2.5 miles. A run I typically would’ve considered a “waste of time”. But not this time! This photo and run exemplify so much more than the time or distance will ever show; it is my first time feeling like myself and finally being able to run in over 30 days. One month ago, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. It still sounds crazy to say out loud (or type) – how the hell does that happen!? For those of you thinking to yourself, “by crossing the street while fixated on your phone without realizing a car is coming”, I hear you. However, I was not on my phone. In fact, I had the walk sign and I still looked both ways before crossing the street. Turns out, unfortunately, you can’t control everyone else around you. After spending many more hours than I would’ve liked in emergency rooms over the two days following the accident, I was fortunately released with a healthy physical body but a bit of a bruised-up brain; diagnosed with a concussion. As someone who unfortunately has had her fair share of concussions (this whole failed attempt at a back h andspring on cement floor in 6th grade really seems to keep biting me in the ass), I thought I knew what was ahead of me. A bit of light sensitivity and nausea and a few days of headaches. I thought to myself, “okay, so you have to stay inside the rest of the weekend and just relax, you can do that.” Boy was I in for a surprise.

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My Morning Routine

Why and how I wake up before 5AM

My days begin at 4:40 AM. I know, you think I am crazy. And don’t start figuring out the  difference between the time when you and I get out of bed in the mornings because, let me reassure you, we probably do not go to bed at the same time; I am a proudly declared grandma. Plus, no two people are the same. Let it be said that I sincerely love the mornings. I love watching the sunrise. I love having time to decompress before rushing out the door. Most importantly, I love having the time to myself before the rest of the city wakes up. So, why does my alarm go off at such an ungodly hour? Because my day starts long before I get to my desk. During my first year at my full-time job I came to notice two things: I was incredibly tired and un-energetic in the mornings, and I was continuously missing workouts when my after-work plans suddenly changed. Between work happy hours, client dinners, meeting up with friends, and just having downright no interest in going to the gym after a 10+ hour work day, I found myself not exercising as much as I would have liked to. Personally, I am someone who views working out as a form of therapy. Playing sports all my life, my body craves the movement and the act of sweating. To be quite frank, without it I turn into a bit of a crazy lady. So, here I found myself, a year of full-time work under my belt, a slew of missed and neglected workouts, the beginnings of some pent-up stress and anxiety, and a new (and very unwelcome) digestive issue. Continue reading “My Morning Routine”

My Thoughts on Doing Whole30 the Second Time Around

How Whole30 was so Different the Second Time

About exactly one year ago I embarked on my first Whole30 challenge; overwhelmed, intimidated, curious, and weirdly excited. What initially began as a way to hopefully get some answers to some gastrointestinal issues, turned into a much more insightful experience. I learned a lot about myself and my eating habits, specifically that I had a full-blown granola addiction and that I was consuming more sugar than I liked to admit. As outlined in the piece I wrote for Mindbodygreen, I learned that meal prep is an absolute must, you may not need alcohol as much as you think you do, you must listen to your body, and some other important lessons. Fast forward to a year later and I was ready to tackle the Whole30 challenge for the second time around, expecting it to be not too different than the first run. However, now after completing this second go, I am surprised to look back and assess how different these two sets of thirty days were for me.  What was so drastically different? Continue reading “My Thoughts on Doing Whole30 the Second Time Around”

Dining Out on Whole30

A list of Whole 30 approved dishes around NYC

For all of those reading this partaking in Whole30 – way to go! Whether you are on your first day or last, congratulations. It is an accomplishment just to commit to beginning this venture! As I discussed in length over on Mindbodygreen, the number one mistake people make on Whole30 is not being prepared. It can be an incredibly overwhelming and daunting experience and always being prepared is essential to successfully finishing the thirty days. This concept of preparation includes meal prepping and batch cooking, always having snacks on hand, and calling restaurants beforehand to discuss menu ingredients and ordering options. To focus on the latter, I have created a list of restaurants where I have been able to enjoy Whole30 approved meals. This by no means that these are the only restaurants in NYC where you can do this, or that every item on their menu is approved, but hopefully it can be a resource for anyone on Whole30 who is looking to dine out. Let’s face it, cooking all your meals for thirty straight days is basically impossible and every once and awhile it’s nice to put on pants and eat dinner somewhere other than your couch. I will be continuously adding to this list, but for now here are some of my finds.

If you have any restaurants you are looking to try while on Whole30 but unsure what youd be able to order, please send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment on this post and I will report back with approved dishes!

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Freckled Foodie’s Friendsgiving

My Friendsgiving recap and the perfect, downloadable, Thanksgiving recipe and grocery list booklet

“A meal is only as important as the people you share it with”. Four years ago, I typed this sentence onto an Instagram caption of me and my close girlfriends all gathered around my kitchen counter in front of the Friendsgiving spread I had just cooked and served them. The words simply streamed straight from my consciousness to my fingertips before realizing how true and meaningful they were to both my beliefs and lifestyle. Yes, eating is an obvious survival necessity, but it is just as vital that you are enjoying these nutrients in a comforting, loving, and welcoming environment. Even better, surrounded by people you care about. In my mind, and stomach, this is what the holidays are all about. Designated days to spend time with your loved ones, whether family or friends, enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy great food. Not only delicious, rib warming, meals, but nutritious food. Dishes that leave you feeling nourished and well fed rather than sprinting to the other room to unbutton your pants (because, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there).

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Freckled Foodie’s Breakfast Truck

What are three of the things I love most? Breakfast, the beach, and showing people that eating healthy does not have to suck. So, why not combine all three? Two weekends ago I found myself taking an oh so favorite barefoot stroll from my parent’s house down the block to the beach as I was stopped by two young kids and asked if I wanted a glass of lemonade. Walking with my cousin, who has a life rule of never passing a lemonade stand without purchasing something, and the fact that they had those blueberry mini muffins that defined my childhood but I haven’t seen in forever, I was searching my pockets for money. As we walked away with a cup of lemonade in tow, I jokingly said “wouldn’t it be funny if I had a Freckled Foodie stand?”. We laughed for a second and, as soon as we stepped on to the beach, the scent of the ocean quickly took focus and swept the food stand thought away. It wasn’t until the next day when I returned to NYC and began re-focusing on Freckled Foodie business that I realized how how fun it would be to make this idea a reality. So that is exactly what I did.

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My recent found love and appreciation for Yoga

I’m taking advantage of international yoga day to preach about my newfound love for this activity so buckle in for a lengthier non-food related post. Yoga is a recent practice in my life that I for some reason dismissed for the prior 10+ years. My mom has been practicing yoga since I was a small kid but, quite honestly, growing up I never found it interesting. Since then, yoga has obviously become much more popular and has taken a front seat on the recent health and wellness movement. When I graduated college and was forced with the unprecedented need to workout on my own vs simply showing up to lacrosse practices and games, I was a bit lost. No matter how many people recommended yoga to me, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Is it really a workout? It kind of just seems like an hour of stretching. Instead, I turned to distance running and other high intensity workouts that resembled the competition of college sports. As much as I still love these types of workouts, having this as my only sweating outlet became an unsuccessful practice.

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