‘Emergency Food’ Guest Blogger- Diary of a Snacker

Really thrilled to have collaborated with Kristin in the past -here- for some food writing. I asked her to write something for my blog this time around and she happily agreed!

Kristin’s blog, ‘Diary of a Snacker’, is really unique because it tackles subjects from fitness and nutrition to living a busy life and not always having the answers but doing the best with what’s available. She regularly reviews her favorite snacks, fitness products, lends fun recipes and other insightful memoirs and research. She even does frequent giveaways!!

Please, please do me the honor and favor of checking out Kristin’s blog, subscribing, and sharing with friends!  -Diary of a Snacker- Enjoy the post!!

Emergency Food

Life happens. You get stuck in traffic and it takes you extra time to get home. You need to squeeze in laundry, soccer practice, and a ton of other chores. You have to work late or take on another shift and haven’t gone grocery shopping in 3 weeks (not like that one happened to me or anything). Fast food always comes to the rescue – pizza, burgers, tacos, Chinese food. No. Not this time. You’re prepared.

It’s helpful to create your own Emergency Kit – complete with a variety of healthy on-the-go foods. I started doing this about a year ago and now I always keep a few items at my desk, one or two in the car, and one in my purse for those “ah shit” moments. Anything to fight the temptation. Below are a few of my favorites.

Crankin’ Cranberry Snack Sticks by Chomps – $1.99 each

These are pretty freakin’ good – like a healthy SlimJim. And, man did I love my SlimJims when I was younger! It’s spicy and the cranberry gives it a nice tart flavor. However, the name “sticks” is a little misleading. Let me clear it up for you – you only get one stick per package. This was a bit disappointing, but hey, you live and learn.

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Mint Chocolate Bar by RxBar – $2.49 each

I love RxBars. They can, however, get out of control pretty quickly if you use them to feed your sugar cravings. I save these for dire emergencies, such as when I’ve been on the road for 5 hours and can’t find anything but a Taco Bell and fields of corn and soy in sight. (Have you ever driven from NY to Florida?) Anyway – this one is good. I like the cool feeling of mint in my mouth; it’s very refreshing. And since I’m not a chocolate fiend, I can handle it 😉

Fuji & Reds Apple Chips by Bare – $33 (for a 24-pack – can be found individually in store)

I can’t get enough of these apple chips. They are perfectly crisp and lightly sweet. You won’t find any preservatives or sweeteners in the bag – just apples.

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Pitted Kalamata Olives by Gaea – $2.59 each

Olives are a good source of healthy fat, which keeps you fuller longer. I like to add these to my salad or on the side of scrambled eggs, but they are also good to eat straight from the package. This brand sells black and green olives too.

BBQ Hickory Tomato Beef Bar by Wild Zora – $3.39 each

I love Wild Zora bars and recommend them to EVERYONE. They are so soft and yummy – not your typical jerky (you can read my full review here). I was really partial to the Chili Beef, but I have to say that this BBQ Bar is the bee’s knees! It’s small, but filling. I like to eat these with a extra side of veggies like carrot sticks.

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Beef with Cranberry & Sriracha Bites by EPIC – $6.99

I tried EPIC Bars and I can’t say I was impressed. Actually, all of them went into the trash and, considering the price, it hurt a bit. But these Bites are good. There’s something about the combination of beef and cranberry that I love, plus the spicy kick. They aren’t as soft as Wild Zora Bars (above) – in fact, they are a bit dry, but they work and can easily hold you over until you can get a real meal.

GoGo Squeeze Fruit & Veggiez Pedal Pedal Peach by Materne – $3.29

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These are surprisingly good. Technically they are for kids, but I like them because they are easy to take along and they have veggies hidden in every bite. This one is a sweet mix of peach and sweet potato, but there are 3 other flavors that are just as yummy.

Hint Water – $24 (for a 12-pack variety – cheaper in store)

16325771_10155526008210260_226744975_oThis is great for anyone who isn’t keen on plain water. This provides a subtle, but still noticeable, hint of natural flavor without any added calories, sugar, or crap. Hint Water comes in 15 flavors including green apple and blood orange.

If you notice that this list sounds pretty yummy – you’re right! I’ve made sure to stock things that are more appealing than a few lonely celery sticks, because when I’m hungry, I get HANGRY and plain water just won’t cut it. When selecting the foods to add to your Emergency Kit, make sure they are healthy options that you actually want to eat. You’ll thank me later.

What are your favorite on-the-go foods?

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16244516_10155526010395260_1816164427_nKristin Phillips is the founder of Diary of a Snacker, a food and fitness blog catered to the newbie. Just before she graduated college she decided to move out of her childhood home. There was only one problem – she didn’t know how to cook. Because it’s not healthy living on a diet of ramen and grilled cheese, she knew she had to learn – and fast! After a lot of practice, trial and error, and too many failures to count, she was able to find out what worked and what (definitely) didn’t. That long journey resulted in the creation of a blog that marries both her love for eating and writing. She lives in Hyde Park, NY and can always be found making a mess in the kitchen!

Fitness Revolution

I’m writing this blog post because I want to share with anyone who is interested what I feel is a revolution in health and fitness.

I started on this path a year ago because I saw my physical (as well as mental) health decline and I knew I needed to turn it around. We’ve only got one body and one life to live so why not enhance it and make it run more smoother to enjoy our lives! Like the old saying goes-‘Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed!’

All that said, we are entering an age where literally everything is a click or tap away. You can stream movies off Netflix, find any answer on Google or Youtube, order anything off Amazon, heck, even have rare Japanese seafood or oysters delivered to your doorstep!

Now we can even stream fitness programs and take them on the go with us! ‘Beachbody on Demand’ is what I like to refer to as ‘the Netflix of fitness’. It has changed my life and I’m moved to share it with as many as I can who are looking for a change in their health as well. It’s targeted for ALL AUDIENCES-people with sedentary careers, travelers, athletes, injuries, weight loss, weight gain, yogis, chefs and more..

CLICK HERE to read more about this!

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Starting 2017 with Health, Help and Happiness…The Rest will Follow

in 2016 I made a simple resolution for myself to get healthy, accept help, and be happy. Although vague, I knew if I focused my mind on those simple concepts in multiple areas of my life, my actions would align.

Although it seems simple it was actually really hard. I ran in a lot of different directions, faced a lot of self doubt, resistance, discouragement, criticism and other signs pointing to, “Play it safe and just do what you have been doing up until now and hope for the best.”

Frankly, I didn’t want to be stuck there.

So I focused and worked. I worked at getting in shape, eating balanced, being vulnerable, being more present, expressing myself more, being happier, finding a spiritual path that I believed in, and working towards the things that I TRULY wanted in my life.

What a year it was when I put my focus on these three words: Health, help and happiness.

So for 2017 my resolution is to help others see their potential in this concept and join them to stay accountable towards their goals.

I am a firm believer that anything seemingly difficult can be broken down into simpler and more manageable systems.

Health, help and happiness.

Health is what fuels our bodies and minds to do remarkable things. Human bodies and minds were meant to do remarkable things!

Help is what everyone needs, I don’t care who you are. To think you can do anything alone is simply naive.

Happiness can be the result or goal in practicing the first two. By taking care of yourself first and then others, we can all be happier and more fulfilled in this life.

I thank all of my readers, contributors, and followers for being here and having a look from time to time and giving or taking what you feel.

Happy New Year!

My wish to you is health, help and happiness.

-Austin

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Healthier Comfort Food- Guest Contributor

A few days ago, I caught a picture from my friend, Brit, on good ol’ Facebook that stopped me dead in my scrolling. This bowl of bulgur wheat, mushrooms, veggies and spices just looked the the most perfect lunch, side or impromptu comforty meal.

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Here’s what Brit says:

“I don’t ever post foodie photos but this was too good to not share. Sometimes not having a plan for what to make and using only what you have kicking around is the most gratifying. Bulgur wheat, toasted pine nuts, onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and a tablespoon of organic spirulina powder. This dish should take no longer than 10-15 total to prepare and cook! 🙂 Some other additions that would be great are chopped cauliflower and maybe some chicken!”

Recipe:

Makes about 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Bulgur Wheat, cooked
  • 7-8 Chestnut Mushrooms, chopped
  • 7-8 Mini Sweet Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Dash of Turmeric
  • Sea Salt and Black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Organic Spirulina Powder

Directions

  1. In a pan on medium heat, heat olive oil and saute onions until soft (3-5 minutes)t hen added in garlic and peppers and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add in pine nuts, salt and pepper and a dash of turmeric.
  3. Add in mushrooms and cover.
  4. Turn down heat and add in bulgur wheat. Cook on low until mushrooms are tender.
  5. Once mushrooms and veggies are cooked, add in spirulina powder.
  6. Stir on low heat for a couple more minutes, season to taste, and you’re done!

Cooking Live Series

Since the beginning, my passion has always been not only to cook for people but to inspire and teach others.

Since I now work from home, the majority of the time I cook from home!

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Excited to be introducing a new series over on my Facebook page every Friday afternoon called, “Cooking Live”-half hour videos of me throwing together simple, healthy and creative recipes using seasonal and local ingredients.

Check out the archive of past videos -here-

 

Diary of a Snacker Collab

Pretty honored to have been featured on the blog, ‘Diary of a Snacker’!

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I had a fun time putting a little diddy together about snacking and staying accountable to healthier options.

Kristin’s blog is a lot of fun.! She is regularly sharing recipes, product reviews and has some KILLER informational articles.

I look forward to growing the relationship and future collaborations!!

Check out the post here- ‘Get Snacking!’

Nutrition Simplified

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How many times have you been rushed in the morning and forgotten to eat what is ‘the most important meal of the day’?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to sound like a parent or an annoying doctor, but I’m writing from experience here.

I was the guy who NEVER had enough time in the morning for breakfast and would either go without or stop at some donut or coffeeshop for a ‘quick fix’.

Last year, I discovered Shakeology and it literally changed my breakfast habits, if not my whole life.

I was resistant at first, for sure. A shake instead of breakfast? Get out of town… But after researching the alchemy of ingredients and health properties from the shake and the guy behind formulating them, Darren Olien, I was convinced to give them a try.

Shakeology is a super food shake that has 70+ ingredients that lend to a balanced meal and nutrition.

Now. I’ll interject real quick and say that to me NOTHING can ever replace a big plate of eggs, bacon, toast and homefries for when you really want a breakfast. I’m not ever going to say these shakes are more amazing than that.

But they are incredibly easy.

And being a well rounded source of nutrients and vitamins, I rest assure that no matter where I am in the world or what I resort to eating on busy days, I have always started the day with  healthy dose of the essentials.

How do they compare to other shakes on the market? Well watch this little video from Tony Horton below.

Let’s take a closer look at the 5 proprietary blends of ingredients and functions in Shakeology:

PROPRIETARY PROTEIN BLEND: Whey, Pea, Sacha Inchi, Chia, Flax, Quinoa.

Protein is made up of amino acids, the body’s primary building blocks. Muscles, bones, skin, internal organs—and much more—are all made of amino acids. What’s more, we’re in a constant state of breaking all these things down and rebuilding them. Long story short, we’re made of protein and therefore we need to consume it to stay healthy. This blend is formulated with a variety of quality protein sources.

 PROPRIETARY SUPER-FRUIT/ANTIOXIDANT BLEND: Camu-Camu, Acerola Cherry, Bilberry, Lycium Berry (Goji Berry), Green Tea, Luo Han Guo, Pomegranate, Rose Hips, Vitamins A, C, E.

A number of your body’s vital processes depend on a series of chemical reactions called the oxidation-reduction (redox) cycle. Free radicals are generated by oxidation reactions. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation. When in balance, they’re both good things and necessary for a number of biological processes. Unfortunately, a number of 21st century issues, including lousy diet and stress, can promote free radicals, causing an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant levels. Consuming antioxidants helps bring balance back, therefore helping to fight free radical damage and helping support a healthy immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E are known antioxidants. Also, key superfoods in Shakeology have been specifically selected for their antioxidant properties.

PROPRIETARY SUPER-GREEN/PHYTONUTRIENT BLEND: Moringa, Chlorella, Spirulina, Spinach, Kale.

Phytonutrients are substances distinct to plants that also happen to benefit the animals that eat them (including us). They’re also what give fruits and veggies their various colors, thus the saying, “Eat the rainbow.” The nutrition science community has been gaga over phytonutrients for years, as new studies come out almost daily—most demonstrating how they help support human health and vitality. While it’s still recommend you eat your veggies, this Shakeology blend will give you a phytonutrient leg up.

 PROPRIETARY ADAPTOGEN BLEND: Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Maca, Maitake, Reishi, Schisandra.

Adaptogens are just what they sound like: substances that have traditionally been used to help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress—and they’ve been being used by cultures across the planet for centuries. While there’s no shortage of science behind many of the ingredients in Shakeology, this blend focuses more on holistic approaches, traditional practices, and ancient wisdom to offer ingredients that can help promote homeostasis, or balance, in the body.

PROPRIETARY PRE- AND PROBIOTIC/DIGESTIVE ENZYME BLEND: Yacon Root, Chicory Root,  Bacillus coagulans , Amylase, Cellulase, Lactase, Glucoamylase, Alpha-Galactosidase, Invertase.

Your intestines are loaded with bacteria—and much of it is hugely beneficial in a number of ways, including helping properly break down food and creating important nutrients like short-chain fatty acids. Probiotics such as Bacillus coagulans are digestible forms of these beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics, including yacon root and chicory root, act as food for these important little critters. Consuming a combination of the two can help support the biome in your belly, therefore supporting a healthy digestive system.

So there you have it. Find out more -here- or send me a direct message.

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Building Blocks of Good Nutrition and Life

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I recently became obsessed this piece of art by Dutch artists, Lernert and Sander. It’s called ‘Cubes’.

It stands out because it represents a few key elements in my passion for food, nutrition, the art of food, and the appreciation and enjoyment of excellent ingredients and stories.

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Rather than keep gushing on about this, I want to present the bullets:

  • Food is colorful. I cook, and present meals with the idea of colors and contrasts.
  • ‘Healthy’ or ‘boring’ food can be presented in a fun and creative way. (There is no such thing as boring food, only boring point of views)
  • Food is art. It’s a composition in the field, on a shelf, on a farmer’s market stand, on the plate and in our soul!
  • What we eat becomes us-our vitals, our muscles, our various systems, our brain and our heart.
  • This picture will last longer than the food.

Without cheating, how many food cubes can you identify?

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Becoming a Coach

The post before this was published October 2014. Certainly a lot has happened since then in this rollercoaster of a life.

If where you are in life isn’t where you want to be or is going to get you closer to your dreams, than it’s time for a change…

One thing that hasn’t changed is my burning dream and passion for entertaining, food, travel, meeting new people and learning about their amazing stories on how they got to where they are now. Whether it be a cheese maker in northern Vermont, a chef that cooks over open fires, or Oyster growers in Martha’s Vineyard- I love meeting new people and growing relationships.

Perhaps this is why a new opportunity that was put in front of me intrigues and inspires me so much.

I guess it’s easier if I go back a couple of years. I was just on the cusp of 30 years old and all of a sudden I realized that 2 decades of eating (and drinking) mostly whatever I wanted well started to take a toll on me.

So after determining I was not taking care of myself and was overweight, I was stuck as to what to do about it. You see.. NO ONE can tell me what I can and can’t eat. I love to eat and I eat to live. I love seafood. that’s right, I SEE food, I eat it. So when my doctor told me I was overweight and that what was leading to me feeling less energy and stressed a lot of the time, I had to make a decision to either eat less or exercise.

I never played sports or went to the gym before. I used the excuse when I worked in kitchens that “I had plenty of exercise while walking on my feet all day and going up and down stairs”. Well either I wasn’t walking up those stairs fast enough or I was eating more nachos than there were stairs to balance it all out.

Alright, I got this! Exercise! I’m going to get on my bike, hit the gym, hell, maybe even take up running and be one of those guys that goes on a 5am run before work and meets his buddies at the gym after work for a quick workout and sauna.

Well didn’t work out so well since I had NO IDEA what I was doing and was still eating more cheeseburgers than the amount of times I pedaled that bike or lifted that weight.

As fate sometimes has it, When you are looking for something, that thing just appears. In this case it was a new friend at the time that was involved in a company called Beachbody who marketed at-home workout programs and supplements. Veronica actually babysat his kids first and told me that this guy was involved in this company that sold shakes and dvds. Skeptical as I was, I said something like “Yea that sounds like gimmicky waste of money. How many installments of 19.95 do you have to pay?”

Veronica brought home some shakes. I laughed at here and this product, ‘Shakeology’ and told her that no one would ever catch me dead drinking this stuff, get brain washed to drink the ‘Koolaid’ and spend money on other products by this company named ‘Beachbody’.

What I did notice, however, is how much this guy was involved in the company and the business he made for himself. So my curious self googled Beachbody, Shakeology and all these fitness programs and I found this HUGE network of people doing these workout programs together in groups and drinking this Shakeology. ‘It’s a cult!!’

But after reading around more I see that the guy that formulated Shakeology, Daren Olien, is a pretty interesting fellow that travels the world hunting for these superfood ingredients that go into the shakes. Hunting the word for exquisite ingredients and su? hmm that sounds familiar to a certain someones dream…

Ok I tried the damn shake…and It wasn’t bad at all…I drank a couple a week and noticed more energy and just healthier.

I went to Keith (the Beachbody guy) and asked him to recommend me a workout program based on my level of experience and goals and he got me this 90-day program. Ok a challenge! I got this! I was going to kill this program, loose weight and be that jogging guy with a headband at 5am in LESS than that 90 days!

First 4 days goes great, then I missed a day. No problem, I’ll make it up tomorrow. Then I missed the next day. Its fine, no worries, its life, I’ll do 3 workouts the day after.

Well I never finished that program and was ready to give up when Keith invited Veronica and I to Nashville to help take care of his kids at the company’s annual recognition and training event called ‘summit’.

So we go to Nashville, stay at the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and live it up! All while these Beachbody coaches are running around like ants in their groups.

I observed tremendous bonding and closeness with these different groups of coaches.

Upon returning I went back to the inter web and looked into this thing more closely. What I noticed is that people and coaches together did these programs and help each other accountable through Facebook, text messages and even doing workouts together. I also saw that these coaches were working full-time as a beachbody coach and were seeming to make a decent living for themselves and their families. All this for slinging shakes and dvds?

I remember it clear is night because it was so out of the normal and comfort zone for me. I texted Keith, “Hey man, do you think someone like me has what it takes to be a coach?” He replied’ “Absolutely but its going to take some work”

Work? I was used to sweating away 17 hours straight in the kitchen, I think I can handle it..

I met with Keith and got signed up and went through trainings to learn how to set up one of these fitness accountability groups and then lead a 21-day group of about 5 people (4 of which were my family members) But I did the whole program 100% and lost 20 pounds, and felt friggin’ awesome!

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I loved the shakes by then, was drinking them daily and everyone was noticing and complimenting me and asking what I was doing the get into shape. I was so excited to tell them about Shakeology and these dvd programs but its funny how people reacted. Not a lot of people cared or saw it how I was seeing it.

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Well I was determined and kept sharing and sharing and I got another small group together but I felt discouraged that I couldn’t get a huge group together and make this into a sweet side business.

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Then I realized what this business was really about. Although the core of the business was supplements and dvd fitness programs, the philosophy of the business was the most crucial for individual success. That was seeking and building strong relationships.

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Woah, I get it! I mean every job I did in the past stated with relationships too: meeting your farmers who grew the food for the restaurants, talking with your clientele and relating stories to inspire them to eventually taste and make a decision to purchase a cheese.

Where I originally thought this company was a pyramid type scam of a marketing gimmick, I was dead wrong. It as an opportunity for people to share something most people are looking for- postive life change. That positive life change could be in the form of nutrition, fitness, but also leadership, team building, and financial health as well.

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So here I am, focused and determined to become a full time Beachbody coach. Because I see the vision and I’ve rubbed quite a few elbows with some highly successful coaches to know what it takes to be successful in this business. Also the rewards for me are going right back to what I dreamt of as this young kid fresh out of college with a culinary degree and a humungous appetite for food, life, travel and meeting amazing and inspiring people.

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Follow me on my new journey! It’s going to have its ups and downs for sure but it’s all a learning curve and what I’ve learned so far is irrefutable.

It’s living life right at the edge of my comfort zone.

I’ll with end with the same statement as I started with this post:

If where you are in life isn’t where you want to be or is going to get you closer to your dreams, than it’s time for a change…

Is this an opportunity that you’ve been looking for??

If you are interested in this opportunity or learning a little more, shoot me a message, I’d love to tell you more about it!

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Outdoor Kitchen

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Stuck in a sweaty kitchen on a gorgeous summer day was torture in the past. I can remember yearning to just run out the kitchen doors to enjoy the beautiful day and never come back.

Well as luck has it, about 10 years later I have left the kitchen with thoughts of not returning. But I do itch to be back in a professional kitchen every once in awhile…

As the summer wraps up so does the incredible catering adventures I had through Fire Roasted Catering this 2014 season. What a blast it was to set up an open air kitchen brigade and cook some of the most amazing looking and tasting food I have ever cooked before. Local animals, local produce, and everything cooked on an open fire right down to the dessert and coffee. Though not easy work lifting 100+ pound iron cooking trays and contraptions, being engulfed in smoke at times, and meeting a strict timeframe, it sure was rewarding at the end when all the guests “oo” and “ahh” over the culinary theatre and performance of our setup. Oh and a shower never felt so good!!

View the video -here- on the Fire Roasted Catering homepage and see below for a few of my favorite pictures I took when my hands we free and not turning a spit, shucking oysters, or arranging grand charcuterie boards. #fireroastedchef

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