Eat Your Colors!

Can't believe that Friday is already here and I'm not doing so hot with my 'weaning' for the upcoming juice fast. My juicing partner in crime finally got her juicer, but has yet to open the box :) Guess I might have to get my butt in gear and jump start on my own! Here's a little 'colorful' inspiration to carry you guys through the weekend! Make sure you're eating a good mix of fruits and veggies in all your colors! Cheers!

What are some fun ways you've gotten your colors in this week?

Juicy Thursday!

So I finally decided to bite the bullet and start "weaning" for my upcoming juice fast. I've tried to completely cut out or limit: meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, processed food, fried/fast food, and bread. Oh and alcohol. It's been a lot harder this time then the last attempt at weaning, but every little bit counts. It's not really a good idea for you to go cold turkey AND start a juice fast at the same time. It's too much of a shock on your body and you might have a lot of icky symptoms like headaches, nausea, body aches, fatigue and sleepiness. While you're weaning too, it's a great idea to up your water intake to and try to juice once daily to get your body use to it if it's not already a part of your daily routine. Went to Whole Foods today and scored a bunch of yummy produce! Actually really looking forward to this fast, thinking mid next week I'll pull the trigger :) Here's some "Instagram Inspiration" in the mean time. I've been finding a TON of new people on IG!

@ceeshah -- orange, pineapple, apple, mango -- this was from Day 24
of her juice fast. Truly inspiring to see so many people doing 10+ lately.
@linnea80 -- lime, spinach, celery
@chooselife_liveit_doit -- carrot, ginger, beet root, purple carrot, apple, cucumber
@leahmenner -- don't think this shot was intended for juicing, but it's a great
visual for me for juicing a rainbow :) Note: You can't juice bananas, but you can
blend them with the juice when you're all done to thicken it.

Anyone wanna join in this juice fast? I'm thinking 10 days, but maybe I'll push myself longer.

Lentil Soup.

So tonight I decided to give my food storage a test run by making my favorite Lentil Soup + Quinoa completely from #10 cans. I started off with about 8 cups of water to 2 cups of Thrive Lentils and after cooking for a couple hours, ended up adding more water to the tune of about another 2.5 cups. Always easier to add water then to try to take it out and lose your flavoring. I put some chicken bouillon in along with other spices. I added in Thrive Chili Peppers, Thrive Carrots, Thrive Celery and Thrive Onions -- I didn't really measure these out, just put in enough to my liking. If you've never cooked lentils, I suggest you start making dinner far enough in advance from when you actually want to eat. I learned this the hard way the first time I cooked them. It took about 2 hours tonight for them to be the right consistency. We whipped up some Thrive Quinoa real quick and then just stirred it into the soup to thicken it up a bit more. Or you can just serve it over the quinoa instead. This was by far the best one I've made so far. Not only did we have 3 bowls between the two of us, but we had a HUGE tupperware container of leftovers for at least another 3-4 more servings. Goes a long way :)

If you're interested in finding out more information about Thrive products, feel free to email me or check out my website at this link: Shelf Reliance -- click on the 'Shop' tab, then select which website you want to view, then scroll down to the bottom to 'Sign In' and create an account. This will give you the best pricing by sometimes 20%.

Review: Amy's Chili.

So I've had some of the Amy's brand cans in my cupboards for a while now -- saw someone post a review on Instagram and became aware that something this yummy could even exist! So I went to Whole Foods and sure enough, there was a huge selection to choose from. So I bought a few, brought 'em home and there they've sat for over a month. Completely forgotten about. Until now.
The good: all the ingredients were organic and there weren't any preservatives or additives added to the chili. No MSG, no trans fat, no garbage. I noticed that it did say it had organic tofu in the ingredient list and figured there might be chunks mixed in as the 'meat' source, but I discovered that it was blended in to make it thicker. (thank goodness) Consistency wise, it was very hearty and filling. The bad: it wasn't as spicy as I hoped. I guess I should clarify on that one -- I figured it'd be 'habanero pepper' spicy but I think the source of the heat came mostly just from the spices and of course, the jalapenos that were in it. In my opinion, jalapenos in recipes like this are usually pretty mild.
All in all, I'd do this again for a quick fix when lunch/dinner is rushed :)
What's some of your favorite 'healthy' canned brands?

Eggs+Chili Peppers!

So the beau woke up this morning and decided to make himself a little breakfast. We had two eggs left in the fridge and a ton of cheese -- this guy could live on cheese alone. He still isn't a total believer that Thrive can be used on a regular basis for everyday cooking, so when he was muttering that he wished he had some peppers to put in his eggs, I had to smile to myself. And pulled out my pantry can of Green Chili Peppers :) He gave me a kinda weird look and then poured on top of the cracked eggs and mixed it all in. By the time the eggs were cooked, (and smothered with cheese) the peppers had re-hydrated themselves and were the perfect solution for every day dull eggs! Starting to make him a believer!

What add-ins would find helpful already diced and ready to toss in to dishes?

Rainbow Friday.

So today is already "Eat Your Colors" Friday and the week is drawing to a close. Weekends are usually the hardest time for most people to eat healthy -- myself included. It never fails, if I start my day off eating wrong, I usually finish the day out the same way and think to myself, "I'll start over tomorrow." Each meal should be a start over time. And our health should be so important to us that we don't "wait till Monday" to start making changes in our every day eating habits. 

So following tradition of 'EYC' Friday's -- I'd like to encourage parents (myself included) to make sure that they are being good examples of health to their children. They learn from us. It's not just what we tell them but also what they see us doing. You can't tell them to eat their fruits and veggies and then not fill your own plate with them. So often I see people (again myself included) running into drive thrus and getting the quickest option for our children's dinner instead of the healthiest option. Make eating their colors fun AND educational for them. Try going to the grocery store and enlisting their help with finding 'blue' things. Or make a weekly chart for the fridge with all the colors and give them a sticker in the same color every time they knock one of them off the list. When snack time comes, ask them what colors they want to eat instead of giving them an unhealthy alternative. 

If you start kids off on good eating habits now, they'll more than likely continue that path thru adolescence and even adulthood. Look around you next time you're out and about -- there are overweight and obese children everywhere! Why do you think that is? It starts with the parents teaching them what's right to eat and providing it for them.

Live by example guys! And have a great weekend!

Get Juiced.

So it's Thursday already -- geez, where did the week go?! Tons of my Instagram friends are either starting juice fasts, mid juice fasts or finishing them up. I've seriously got the bug and would love to jump start my healthy eating habits again. I've found that once you open the door for a splurge -- it eventually gets swung wide open if you don't do it in moderation. Hardest places to be good in my book are happy hours, GNO's, date nights and the occasional play date lunch. Enough about me though (haha) here's your Juicy 'Instagram Inspiration' for the week.

@barkadajane -- I'm not sure how far along she is in her juice fast at the
moment, but I know she's full swing right now. Find her on IG for tons of
pictures and motivation!!
@linnea80 -- new find on IG and tons of great pictures!

So whose gonna join me for a juice fast? Thinking 10 - 15 days, but would love to get some 3-day people in there too. Gotta start somewhere :)

Carpal Tunnel.

So my mom use to have a TON of health problems, but over time with diet changes and supplementation (plus getting off a lot of medications), she's been able to maintain a pretty healthy lifestyle. Over the last several years though, she's been struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome to the point where her dominant hand will render itself completely useless. For someone that works on a computer daily for her job and then comes home and cans pounds of food from the garden every night/week -- it's a HUGE inconvenience for her, not to mention very painful. When I started my juicing journey, I decided to buy my parents a juicer so that they could join in on all the benefits that I was experiencing. Though my mom has used her juicer a TON for canning and has become the 'queen of watermelon juice' amongst her friends and neighbors, she's still experiencing a lot of pain. So this post is dedicated to her and other people that might be dealing with this very real everyday pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is basically pain, numbness and tingling in the fingers/hands/wrist -- you might also experience weakness and a loss of sensation as well. Pain is usually felt in all fingers and joints minus the pinkie finger. Not sure why that is, but it doesn't seem like any of the studies I've researched site that as a place of pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is believed to be caused by a number of things and I want to try to cover a few of the biggest ones and give you information to help alleviate or even eliminate your symptoms/pain. I want to add real quick that I have no medical or naturopathic background and everything I've found is from people that are qualified to make these statements. I'll even provide links at the end of this post to help you further research some things on your own -- I believe people should be informed of alternatives before just turning to medication or surgery as the only option.

  • Numerous studies have been done that show CTS symptoms being directly related to a deficiency in B6. A lot of things can be to blame for this, but one of the biggest is stress. If you're looking for a natural way to boost your B6 intake you could try: sweet potatoes & potatoes, avocados, bok choy, bananas and mangoes amongst some other non fruit/veggie things like brown rice, etc. A daily intake for the average person should be around 50-100 mg -- but for those with carpal tunnel pain, it's recommended that you load up with 100-200 mg a day and take a high dosage Vitamin C as well. NOTE: Taking an increased amount of Vitamin B(s) will more often then not cause your urine to turn fluorescent yellow. Don't be alarmed :) This is just something that happens and it's your body flushing the excess out of your system. 
  • Bromelain is a nutrient that can help reduce tissue swelling significantly. So fruits that are high in this are papaya, kiwi and pineapple. The levels of Vitamin C in these will also help heal the swollen/injured tissue around the area.
  • In several places, I found that you should reduce the intake of red meat as it leads to inflammation of joints in your body. My personal opinion is that red meat should be limited or eliminated from our diets all together -- for all people across the board. If you're a heavy red meat eater and you're not exhibiting signs of ailments and health issues, it's just a matter of time. (I'll post about this one sometime in the near future)
  • Ginger is also a heavy hitter when it comes to reducing inflammation and it can be taken in capsules or consumed as tea as well. I like to put a small slice of ginger in my juices -- but it does add quite a kick, so use it sparingly until you are familiar with the taste. 
  • @eathealthyworkhard
  • Surprisingly, strawberries were listed on several sources I found to help with carpal tunnel and also with arthritis in general. Apparently our bodies give off something called COX enzyme. This leads to arthritis over time. Strawberries can help naturally block this enzyme and help you fight against the pain and inflammation that comes along with arthritis and carpal tunnel. 
  • Tumeric, sage and cumin helps with the inflammation and swelling.
  • Willowbark is an all natural 'aspirin' alternative with very similar properties. Best to steep it in hot water and make a tea out of it. You can also try chamomile tea as well.
There are many other good things to add to your diet to help with arthritis, inflammation and carpal tunnel -- this list is not all inclusive, but it is a very good start and are some of the main heavy hitters that you should focus on. 

Additional Sources: -- CTPRN -- Yahoo -- Bukisa (this is a good one)

Just remember, there are always healthy alternatives for ailments and symptoms that you might have in your day to day life. You're first instinct should always be to let the body heal itself first and foremost. That's what they were created to do. Long before medicine, doctors and surgery, there was mother nature. Sometimes you just have to find the root cause of what's causing all of your pain or discomfort and slowly whittle away the side effects. It might not happen overnight, but usually the ailment itself took days/months/years to form in the first place. 

What are some things you're currently struggling with?

Friday Night Market.

So if you didn't go to the Friday Night Market this past week, you missed out yet again. Each time I go, it gets bigger and better than the time before. There were quite a few new vendors inside the food court area this time. Some selling sweets, some bread and jams, others hand made things.

Chuy's was doing a promo for their upcoming Green Chile Festival that they're celebrating for the next month. They do this every year during harvest time for this hot little suckers. They were giving out free samples of their green chile concoction with corn tortillas -- I personally didn't indulge myself since I didn't think it would mix well with my glass of wine, but my friend had to go and ask for a large cup of ice water after the first bite :)

Outside the produce was looking AMAZING as ever! So many bright colors and tons of new stuff. I hadn't really noticed a wide variety of peppers leading up to Friday but they were out in full force -- I have a weakness for hot things of all kinds. Swafford Farm's doesn't have their usual abundance yet this year, but they're a great stop for habaneros and hot/sweet banana peppers. They also sell jalapenos in 15# boxes. Smiley's (to the left) had over 15 baskets full of these beauties along with a huge supply of cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, zucchini, squash, bell peppers and some other things. Everything that they sell comes straight off their farm daily. I can appreciate some locally grown stuff!

Barne's Produce always has such a wide variety of things -- apple season is one of my favorite times to stop by their booth -- I learned last fall that there are more than just 5 varieties of apples :) And I'm quickly learning that the tomato varieties are just as numerous. I think right now they have about 8-10 different Heirloom tomatoes and around 9 different kinds of eggplant! The great thing about Barnes (and most of the market vendors really) is that they know their fruits/veggies and they're always willing to let you have a taste. I got my hands on two kinds -- the one of the left is a German Strawberry and I can't make out on the one on the right (sorry) but they were both delicious and not at all what I expected. Looks like I'm going to have to can some of these lovely specimens for the fall :)

I capped the night off with my favorite guilty pleasure, Sweet Stash -- as of last month's Night Market, they are now a permanent vendor with a cute little corner location. They had some amazingly tasty truffles which I'd never indulged in before -- so I got one of each. The Birthday Cake Truffle was 10x better than the ones that Starbucks sells right now. And the PB Cup Truffle was WAY too rich for even my sweet tooth, but definitely could give Reese's a run for it's money. I was ecstatic that they finally had a vegan cupcake to tickle my fancy. I only wish that I was going straight home after the Night Market so I could've bought a half dozen of them! If you haven't had any of their stuff yet, definitely check them out. They have a flavor list daily and I've never had a bad flavor from them!!

What did you guys do with your weekends?


So we've been talking about 'eating your colors' for a while now and I can't help but stress how important this is for our health! This shouldn't just be a weekly thing, but a daily challenge that we try to master. Having trouble mastering certain colors? Try buying snacks that focus on just those groups! I eat and juice plenty of the reds, oranges, yellows and greens, but seem to really struggle with the blues/purples/whites. So my chore next week is to figure out what 'finger foods' I can buy to snack on or even make smoothies/juices that are mainly those colors once a day :) 

Again -- don't forget about the Night Market tonight at the Nashville Farmer's Market @ 6:30pm!

Juicy Fruits!

...And veggies of course! So this week's Juicing Inspiration comes from Instagram (duh, where else?!) and features some yummy flavors and beautiful rich colors! When you're at the grocery store or farmer's market next time, try picking up something new that you've never juiced before and incorporate it into your routine. You'd be surprised at how most things blend together really well -- but not always. Juicing is definitely a learning experience and the best way to learn what works together and what doesn't is to simply just juice them and have fun with it! I would give a word of caution though on straight carrot juice -- if you drink too much of it on a regular basis, it will start to turn your skin an orangish color -- true story :)

@aniiit -- straight carrot juice!
@barkadajane -- looks like some ginger, celery, GS apples and greens
@judsonmoss -- I believe him and his SO just finished up a juice fast and
 you'll find a ton of inspiration if you follow him on IG. Looks like he was
doing a green juice in this one + a few random colors. Also included chard!!
@theveganchemist -- definitely has beets in it :)
Quick note: The Night Market is going on tomorrow night at the Nashville Farmer's Market from 6:30pm - 8:30 pm. I'm super excited about going this month because I'll be meeting up with my friend Ann whose never been before! She's new to juicing and we're going to focus on getting her on the right track and buying a ton of produce :) Can't wait!! Come join us!


So prior to juicing, I'd never really paid attention to what chard was, let alone most green leafy vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I love salads and I love veggies -- but I didn't have a particular desire to source out new ones. If it wasn't something that I could easily buy out and about, then I just didn't eat it. When I started focusing on eating healthier though and started making Whole Foods a regular part of my shopping routine, I discovered that there are so many different kinds of green leafy things! Chard included. And if you go to grocers like Whole Foods, you'll soon learn that there are a variety of different kinds of chard as well. My favorite in particular is rainbow chard, mainly just because it's pretty :) Fun fact: Swiss chard is in the same family as beets.

Health Benefits of Chard:

  • One of the most antioxidant rich foods out there. Jammed full of Vitamin C&E, beta carotene, zinc, luetin and a ton of other disease fighting goodies.
  • Helps promote healthy bones. One cup of chard has 101 mg of calcium in it -- plus Vitamin K and magnesium.
  • The high levels of Vitamin K are also helpful in helping the nervous system and brain to maintain proper function.
  • Regulates blood sugar thanks to syringic acid and fiber. Those that are at a risk of diabetes or have been diagnosed with it should eat more green leafy vegetables like chard.
  • Fights against colon cancer. Chard is known for being a super food when it comes to it's cancer preventing ingredients: chlorophyll, phytochemicals, fiber and other plant pigments.
  • High levels of Iron. This combined with the Vitamin K help keep your circulatory system running smoothly and helps with bruising, blood clotting and anemia. 
  • Boosts eye health. One cup of chard contains your entire day's worth of lutein which helps prevent age related eye diseases.

Note: A 3-1/2 ounce serving contains roughly 77 mgrams of sodium. So for some people, you will have to adjust your diets accordingly to compensate for the high amounts.

Additional Sources: WHFoods -- Nutrition and You -- Nature Cure

Looks like a fun way to make veggie wraps with peppers and chard. 

What are some of your favorite chard recipes via juicing or eating?

Mas Tacos!

So today was the kiddo's first day back at 'school' and the beau and I decided to grab a quick bite to eat before I had to pick her up. I'd never eaten at Mas Tacos Por Favor and was super stoked when he suggested grabbing some for lunch! I figured it'd probably be a 'splurge' meal for me, but I was pleasantly surprised to see several vegetarian things on the menu. And only $3 bucks a pop, tax included. And $2 Mexican Cokes! I love East Nashville!

I got the Sweet Potato Quinoa with red cabbage, tomatillo sauce, fresh cilantro and crema. And the Fried Avocado with spicy yogurt sauce, red cabbage, red onions and tomatillo sauce. Both were amazing. Got them on corn tortillas too, so they were gluten free.

Definitely a great stop for lunch or an early dinner. Small spot, but great vibe, kinda funky. Cash only. Like them on Facebook to find out when their Food Truck is out on the town. For those of you that don't know, it's in an 'up and coming' area so make sure you lock your doors and think twice about going after dark :)

What's your favorite thing on their menu?

Pickle Me This.

So this weekend at the Tomato Art Festival, I came across a newbie in town and wanted to share with you guys this little gem! Pickle Me This (PMT) made their debut and sold out of all 220 jars that they brought with them! Check 'em out on Facebook: Pickle Me This and show some love! I grabbed some carrots and a tomato relish for my stash and can't wait to bust 'em out.

This is a shot of their booth at the Festival this weekend via their FB page.
My goodies! Love their logo and whole presentation!

What are some of your favorite local food people in East Nashville?

E-Y-Rainbow Friday!

Ok, so Friday is here and this week has just absolutely flown by! I can't even believe it. Tomorrow is the Tomato Art Festival in East Nashville and I am super excited since it's my first one. Hoping for some great vendors and some even greater food opportunities. Probably won't be the healthiest eating day for me :) That's why it's so important to eat your colors thru out the week, so you can splurge every once in a while!

Enjoy your weekend guys!


So another week has come and gone since my last juicing post. I've been trying to relax and actually enjoy the process of juicing lately. I think I got so burnt out over juicing because it seemed like a daily chore that I'd added to my 'to do' list. I'd start to get down on myself whenever I'd missed a chance to juice and then wouldn't eat anything because I should have juiced -- and nothing would be as healthy for me as that would've been. Started to become this vicious circle almost. So I put aside all my expectations and just started taking each day one at a time. If I didn't get around to juicing one day, so be it. Adding juice into my lifestyle a couple days a week or more is still better then never juicing at all. And being burnt out = no juicing AT ALL. So less is more in this scenario. For the time being.

Enjoy some Juicy Instagram Inspiration!

@nicelifehealthyliving -- Kale, Corriander, Celery, Lettuce, Parsley
and two Lemons. Fresh picked.
@leanlibrarian -- Pineapple, Pears, Oranges, Grapefruit
@theveggieme -- Beets, Red Cabbage, Cucumber and a Lemon.

What combinations are you liking or disliking this week?