Weekend Grocery Shopping

When you work long hours and try to simultaneously maintain a consistent workout regime, eat healthy and get enough sleep, doing your grocery shopping on weekends can be a serious life saver. Many people plan their meals for the week and write their grocery lists accordingly, which is an especially great strategy if you’re cooking for a family, interested in making sure no food goes to waste and/or sticking to a budget.

I tend to be a bit more lackadaisical when it comes to grocery shopping for a couple of reasons: (1) I’m only cooking for myself so I have more flexibility with my meals, which means that if I want to eat nothing but sugar snap peas and jalapeno hummus for “dinner” no one can say anything! 🙂 (2) I try to eat seasonally as much as I can so I like to see what’s available in stores/at the Farmer’s Market before deciding what to eat. (3) I get a CSA basket every other week so I have to factor in its arrival when I consider what I’ll need for a given week. (4) Finally, I only spend every other weekend in San Francisco since I spend the other half in Sacramento with my boyfriend, and obviously if I’m coming back on the train at 7pm on a Sunday there’s no hope of grocery shopping.

In all of the situations above its great to have some basic staples and emergency items in your pantry. Just in case.

I like dipping.

A lot.

Hummus is a non-negotiable staple in my life and I usually have a couple store-bought varieties on hand at any given time. I also like to get sprouted garbanzo beans at the Farmer’s Market to make my own hummus, though I that I must warn you, sprouted hummus has a very distinct flavor. I’ll also dip virtually anything (including a spoon and/or my finger) into nut butter, so I usually keep a jar or two of sunflower seed butter in my pantry (and under my desk) as well as cashew butter.

Dipping time! Lydia's kale chips & juice pulp crackers/flatbread from TwinCakes

I like crudities and/or apples for dipping in hummus and nut butters, as well as kale chips (Lydia’s Organics can be hard to find but all of her products are worth the effort) and juice pulp crackers. I mentioned TwinCakes in this post, they are a vegan/gluten-free/mostly raw East Coast bakery that you can order from online. I adore their crackers, flatbread and snack bites, all of which are parfait pour dipping!
Another staple that I keep in the pantry are various gluten-free goodies, pastas & grains for quick meals, breakfasts and snacks.

Gluten-free goodness: Brown rice pasta from TJs, Quinoa pasta from Real Foods, Mary's Gone Crackers chia seed Sticks & Twigs and Glutenfreeda Oatmeal

The gluten-free snacks that I keep around vary depending on what I find in stores and what I’m in the mood for. My last trip to the Farmer’s Market yielded a ton of new products so I had to move my stash to the freezer for safe keeping, so in addition to the above I have sprouted garden burgers, chickpea flour naan, spicy Moong Dal and GF falafel in the freezer.

Healthy raw or dried snacks and canned goods that can easily be added to/used as the base of a meal are also good to keep around. 

I always have tons of nuts, chia seeds, dried fruit, lentils, beans, seeds, quinoa, couscous and canned beans & tomatoes on hand. These might not seem like much but adding kidney beans to a salad can be the perfect topping, dried pineapple rings (no additives) the most amazing dessert when sprinkled with cinnamon or quinoa the ideal base to your grilled vegetable dish.

Two other quick meal basics that are absolutely necessary in my kitchen are nooch and Braggs, which can both be used for a variety of dishes.


I couldn't live without Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids (less sodium than soy sauce & ideal for a quick stir fry) and nutritional yeast from the bins at Real Foods

Nutritional Yeast (aka Nooch) is deactivated yeast, available as a powder or in flakes, either pre-packaged (looks like parmesan cheese cans) or in the bulk bins at a health food store. Nooch contains protein & vitamins and is a complete protein, in addition to being free of sugar and allergens like dairy and gluten. Vegans, vegetarians and raw food enthusiasts often use nooch in place of processed cheese substitutes like soy cheese and Daiya to achieve “cheesiness” in their recipes. If you checked out the Oh She Glows Mac n’ Cheese recipe that I talked about here, you’ll see that nooch is a major ingredient.
Bar love. 🙂 While I’m not a ‘replace my meals with bars’ kinda girl, I do always keep bars of some sort in my purse, desk and pantry.

I go through phases with my bars, and while I will always LOVE Larabars, I'm deep in Raw Revolution devotion right now

I’ve also made two batches of these super easy raw cacao snack bars from Choosing Raw in the past few weeks. You can easily add/subtract flavors based on what you have on hand (cacao & coconut turned out SUBLIME) and these are delish after being frozen.
In addition to the dry (i.e. pantry) items that I like to keep on hand, there are also a few perishable staples that I consistently keep at home. Hummus (as lovingly mentioned above), spinach, firm pressed tofu, onions, ginger, garlic, large dates (always key for raw dessert recipes), sprouted garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, dipping veggies like celery, carrots, cucumber, cabbage & peppers, Daiya (Pepperjack is AMAZING) and berries to throw in the freezer for smoothies.
After the weekend shopping I cut up my fresh veggies and store in two ziplock bags, one to take to work (with a tub of hummus)  and one to keep at home for snacking. I also cube 1/2 my sweet potatoes and any squash I may have picked up, to make them easier to prepare mid-week (I love baked sweet potatoes as a side so usually keep one or two whole). I also make big batches of black beans (try this recipe for Cuban black beans) and lentils to be added to wraps, stir-fries, salads and eaten as sides during the week (small containers of each go to the office with me as well).
Other than this minimal prep I tend to just eat what sounds good on any given night, since I have all the necessary ingredients on hand!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this peek into my cupboards and I’ll be back at a later time with a look at the goodies I keep stored my office for mid-day snacking.
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Nutrition vs Disease

Today I would like to discuss an important topic, the relationship between what we choose to eat and how those choices affect our overall health. There are many different diets and lifestyles out there and an equally large number of reasons behind those lifestyle decisions, our dietary choices can be made based on health, financial limitations, available time, ease, convenience…

I truly believe that each person has a different ideal diet, based on their preferences, needs, allergies and overall health. I believe that if you listen to your body – how it feels after certain foods are consumed, what your energy levels are like, how well you sleep – you can determine what works best for you. Some people will need to consume or limit consumption of various foods due to allergies and/or health concerns and I recommend discussing this with a doctor or dietitian prior to making any changes to your diet.

That being said, I think that nutrition is the single greatest factor impacting personal health today. According to the CDC the increasing cases of diabetes indicate that 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed at some point during their lifetime (CDC). To me that is an even more terrifying statistic because Type II diabetes is preventable. Yes, you can be predisposed, but leading a healthier and more active life can reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease regardless of genetic predisposition.

People are beginning to become aware of this important correlation and as a result there is increased scrutiny on how healthcare professionals treat illnesses and the level of nutritional education being recommended/received in these related fields. The following article was sent to me by a doctor that I work with and I thought it provided an excellent outline of the important role of nutrition in good health (What physicians don’t know about nutrition – but have every reason to learn).

A quick look at the leading causes of illness and death makes it clear that knowledge of nutrition is critical to the modern practice of medicine. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, innumerable cancers —all are linked at least in part to poor diet. What’s more, the success of many of the treatments and interventions used to address these illnesses hinges on improving diet and nutrition.

Yes, it is easier to take a pill to alleviate a symptom than it is to change your lifestyle, eating habits and possibly your entire outlook in order to cure the underlying problem that is causing those symptoms. The question is, is it better for you in the long run?

This question is the basis for how I approach my personal health. Sure, you can pop some aspirin for a headache, but why do you have a headache to begin with? Are you dehydrated? Are you hungry? In our modern world built on convenience and instant gratification, it’s habit to reach for the most accessible and effortless cure for what ails us, not necessarily what’s best for us.

I loved Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic when I was growing up and there was a line in it that resonated with me each time that I read the book:

Sometimes they ate nothing but Snickers and Milky Ways for nearly the whole week, until their stomachs began to ache and they finally called for a salad or a glass of milk.

As children we’re more in-tune with our bodies, we don’t binge or stress eat. Yes, we’ll try to get away with eating nothing but Halloween candy if our parents will let us, but eventually we give into our body’s true needs. Have you ever tried to feed a baby when it has gotten full? They will stubbornly refuse to take another bite, no matter how hard you try. Somewhere along the line we stop listening to our bodies and we lose that connection with our body’s basic demands. What goes into our body stops being what we need, what our bodies want, and starts being based on emotion or preoccupation or comfort.

One of the most significant lessons that I’ve learned in the last few years is the art of listening to my body, and I can’t begin to convey how much that has altered my approach to eating and to food in general.

In your search for the lifestyle that gives you the most energy and makes your body run at its best, I suggest doing research on your own while you try various alterations to your eating habits. In 2009 I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and had to learn to feed myself all over again. I had never been much of a cook, relying heavily on prepared and processed foods, and it was a bit of a shock to suddenly be faced with the task of not only teaching myself to cook, but educating myself on what I could and couldn’t, should and shouldn’t, eat. I did online research, watched documentaries and bought an embarrassing number of books on the subjects of health and cooking.

Here are some of the books that I found interesting and/or helpful (even if I did not ultimately agree with their point or conclusion), in no particular order: Clean by Alejandro Junger, Live To Eat by Joel Fuhrman, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell & Thomas M. Campbell, Thrive & Thrive Fitness by Brendan Brazier, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone, Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin, Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry, The Vegan Monologues by Ben Shaberman,  Vegan Freak by Bob Torres & Jenna Torres, The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott, Eating in the Raw by Carol Alt, Raw Inspiration by Lisa Montgomery, Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo and a countless number of additional cookbooks.

By taking my nutritional education into hand I opened up an entire new world for myself. I had never heard of green smoothies, chia seeds, sweet potato fries, socca, polenta pizzas or quinoa before, all of which are now staples that I can’t imagine life without. During my late teens and early twenties I led a low-energy life that required immense quantities of caffeine and had suffered from sinus infections, migraines, eczema and annual bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis. Over the years I’ve tried incorporating and giving up various foods, studied the results and while I am still a work in progress, I am the healthiest and most energetic that I’ve ever been.

So I challenge you, next time you reach for the easiest, simplest cure for what ails you, take a minute to think about what might be going on in your body to cause your symptoms. Next time you reach for something packaged and highly processed, take a minute to think about what you body really wants, really needs. Next time you pour that third cup of coffee just to keep your eyes open, take a minute to think about what you’re eating that’s leaving you restless at night or your body sluggish in the mornings. Think about the connection between what you eat and how it makes you feel, and how better nutrition can improve your life.

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Blogger Confessions {III}

  • The most important people in my life are all outside of my home city of San Francisco – They’re in Albuquerque, Palo Alto, San Diego, New York, Southern California, Alaska…

  • It took me a very stubborn year of running {and I’m using the word “running” loosely} before I started enjoying it. Then I signed up for a race and now I can’t remember why I ever liked it…
  • I LOVE DANCING MOVIES. It doesn’t matter what age the intended audience is, it doesn’t matter how cheesy it is, and it certainly doesn’t matter what number in the series it is. Center Stage. Own I & II. Step Up. Own all three. Save the Last Dance. Stick it. Burlesque. Bring it On. Fame. Take the Lead. Honey. I clearly have a problem… Or do I?
  • I’ve studied French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and Latin over the years but most days I still have trouble with English…
  • My favorite color is green though I went through a phase where I wore nothing but black for YEARS!

Related Reading: Blogger Confessions & Blogger Confessions II

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Fitness Motivation

Personally I find an external motivator to be great incentive to keep up with an exercise regime. I wish I could say that I have all the internal motivation that I need in order to meet all of my goals, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.

On days when I’m tempted to skip my workout, knowing that I’ll have to admit my lapse out loud to someone else is usually enough incentive to push through. Usually.

So here’s some Fitness Motivation so we can all stay on track to meet our goals!

I’m registered to run the San Francisco Half Marathon on July 31st and haven’t run consistently for months so I need to begin training… Now!

It just so happens that one of my best friends is training for the Death Ride (which I lovingly call The Ride of Death) a 129 mile bike race with 15,000 miles of climbing through the Sierra Nevada’s near Tahoe. Her race is July 9 and although we’re training for different types of races in different cities (she’s in Sacramento), she has been acting as an unofficial sponsor and motivator for my last-ditch training efforts.

Monday mornings I email her my proposed workouts for the week (subject to scheduling changes) and each morning I send her a confirmation of what I accomplished the previous day. I’m going to include various types of exercise in my training program in addition to running, specifically circuit training and Pilates.

Below is a draft of a proposed schedule for one of the weeks of training:


  • Run to work (1.3 miles)
  • Mini cardio session (2 miles stationary bike & 1 mile elliptical trainer)
  • Pilates Mat class (5pm – 6pm)


  • Jog to work
  • 15 minute circuit training workout
  • Run (pm)


  • Walk to work
  • High intensity interval training on the elliptical
  • Pilates Mat class (5pm – 6pm)
  • Yoga Flow (6pm – 7:15pm)
  • Walk home


  • Walk to work
  • 25 minute circuit training workout
  • Run (pm)


  • Jog to work
  • 15 minute circuit training workout

Saturday & Sunday – Rest & stretching (maybe a massage if I can be convincing enough) and long walks or a hike

Hooking up with a workout buddy who you can share your plans with or a like-minded friend who you may not workout with but who has similar goals, can be a great motivator.

If the idea of sharing your workout goals/plans with someone else isn’t appealing, or if you’re just getting started and want to hold off until you feel like you’ve made some progress, there are other external motivators that may help you when the odd lazy day rears its ugly head.

(1) A kick-ass play list can do wonders. Put a super charged playlist on your MP3 player or blare it over your computer/sound system. Everyone has their own style and different beats that get them pumped up, and I personally refresh my Nano weekly, but here are some artists/bands that never fail to get my heart rate going, regardless of my mood: Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Chemical Romance, Finger Eleven, Breaking Benjamin, My Darkest Days, Jason Derulo, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, K$sha, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Sean Kingston.

(2) Sign yourself up for a class on a day when you don’t think that you can make yourself do a work out. You’ll feel guilty not showing up after having reserved a spot in the class and even guiltier when you see the charge on your credit card! The two days of the week that are the hardest for me to get off my booty are always Monday and Wednesday, so I’m getting into the habit of doing at least a Pilates class at Glow Yoga  each of those days. And now that I’m getting to know the other students and the instructor, there’s even more motivation not to play hooky!

(3) If you have a movie or a book that you find extremely motivational, that can be a great way to get yourself going. If hearing Jillian’s commanding voice shoots you out of your seat, start your workouts with some Shred, even if you don’t plan to do the video it can give you the push you need. Personally I’ve found that popping in a dance DVD before my 5:30pm after-work runs or reading a few pages of Born To Run are a sure-fire way to get myself going.

(4) Finally, one of my favorite pieces to read when I need to stoke my motivational fires is The Better Man, about the (then) 75 year-old fitness guru & health nut Don Wildman (my friend Jim sent me this YEARS ago and I saved a PDF in case of emergencies). This always gives me the kick in the pants that I need to get off of the couch.

Good luck getting yourself onto the trail, treadmill or into the gym. Make me proud!

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Fashion Inspiration

Fashion isn’t just about what you wear, what goes on your body. It’s truly an expression of yourself that extends beyond your clothes.

“Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time.”  – Tom Ford

And just as fashion isn’t limited to the cloth that we wrap ourselves in, inspiration can also be found in many forms.

I began clipping pictures from magazines as a pre-adolescent, not necessarily fashion inspiration per se, just pictures that caught my attention, things that I found eye-catching, or memorable, or mesmerizing.

As I became interested in fashion however, my clipping habits became more focused. And while I don’t confine myself to photographs of clothing and accessories, I’ve found that my love of fashion gives this activity more direction and purpose. I’ve found that even without context, pictures can serve a creative function.

They excite. They encourage. They inspire.

The beauty and artistry captured by a photographer can be moving, regardless of the medium. Advertisements, promotional materials, editorials, art, beauty, home decor…

I’ve found that by keeping these images available to myself I can stay out of a fashion rut. They provide new ideas and inspiration, get my creative juices flowing, and motivate me to grow and evolved sartorially. I highly recommend creating and maintaining a Look Book, a collection of images that make you smile, that invigorate you, that make you push your boundaries.

Whether it’s a physical book filled with clippings like mine are, or Boards on Pinterest, this is a great creative and inspirational outlet. Keeping pictures of looks that you like, styles that call to you, photos that take your breath away, can all be great tools to keep your approach to fashion fresh and interesting.

What’s YOUR favorite way to get inspired?

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