If/When I Bend the Rules on the Lifestyle

This is a tricky subject. Honestly, I rarely bend the rules/stray from eating clean. At least 95% of my meals each week are cooked/prepped by myself in my apartment. I know exactly what I am eating and what the ingredients are (and that’s how I prefer it). OK so do I eat cake? Cheesecake? Ice cream? French fries? I will tell you when I bend the rules.

I bend the rules as little as possible: why? Because this is a lifestyle – NOT a diet. I don’t have weekly cheats on Oreos, regular/conventional flour/biscuits/quesadillas, ice cream, candy, I don’t even chew gum to show you how extreme I am (chemicals and artificial sweeteners in gum, too!!). This is my body and I choose what I want to put in it – and I am VERY picky and honestly, you should be too. My “cheat” would be considered an ORGANIC Justin’s peanut butter cup (dark chocolate), or some other organic dark chocolate from Whole Foods usually. I used to eat Talenti Gelato every COUPLE of weeks (key word – couple – not even weekly), however, I decided upon starting the blog that I don’t even want to eat that anymore because that’s not living the code. It’s milk/cream – non-organic – and I don’t want to put that in my body. I won’t eat it (my discipline is strong so I mean that). Ok so what will I eat and when will I bend the rules?

I will eat a piece of this one and only cheesecake made by my dear family friend, around Christmas time. She uses pure ingredients, so there are definitely no chemicals, but, it’s still sugar and it’s not good for you. However, the cheesecake is that amazing (it’s crust-less) so I always enjoy a pretty big piece around Christmas! Hey, we are all human, and a piece or two of real (chemical-free at least) cheesecake per year is not so bad. That is SO ALLOWED because of how strict I am throughout the year! I can look forward to that cheesecake at Christmas guilt-free, and once I’ve had a couple of pieces over 2 days or so, I am done until next year. I won’t get cancer or cellulite or fat rolls from 1 piece of cake (just like 1 serving of veggies and chicken won’t get you abs).

I don’t really like cake besides that cheesecake to be honest. My fav is brownies. And guess what? My almond butter ones are the best out there and they’re clean and glutenfree/flourless. Wam bam thank you ma’am. So ok besides the once or twice a year real cheesecake that I indulge in, what else do I have? Every COUPLE OF MONTHS I might have some gluten. A high quality restaurant’s burger – made with fresh ingredients and not processed garbage (I still may not eat the bun though- I just don’t like bread)- or I might have some indulgent macaroni and cheese from my fav Birmingham restaurant Gianmarco’s (if you haven’t gone yet, go, but  make a reservation or go to the wine bar). I had their mac n cheese back in February with a GRASS-FED STEAK and it was outstanding. Granted, the next day I ate veggies, organic oatmeal and not much else, chugged even more water, etc., to make up for having some cheese and gluten. I won’t just eat mac n cheese at any restaurant nor would I order it again, say, if we went a month later. These treats are every couple of months – if that – because I just prefer MY LIFESTYLE of eating!

If I go to a Mexican restaurant, I’ll get fajitas: either just the veggies or steak or chicken. And I NEVER eat the tortillas. Gross.  I just don’t want the bread. We don’t go out to eat a lot though and I am SUPER picky about where I will go. I won’t even go out to eat once a week! I SO prefer to cook my own food and eat organic as much as possible. I feel so much better that way. I recommend you try it as well. Honestly, I have more fun staying at home cooking an amazing dinner with my boyfriend than I do going out to dinner! Sure it’s nice to go out every once in a while, but, for the most part, I like having control over my food 100% and avoiding grains and loading up on clean veggies and clean, lean meats.

Free candy, doughnuts, cookies, cake at work? Nope. I won’t eat it. Never in a million years, y’all. I PLAN my cheats (obviously – my cheesecake at Christmas is planned a year ahead LOL). I don’t want to eat anything else that is bad unless I have planned for it and it’s got to be REALLY amazing for me to try it/eat it. They don’t happen weekly or bi-weekly or monthly even. You need to limit your cheats or it’s going to be really hard for you to maintain this lifestyle. The key is remembering why you are eating this way to begin with. It’s to nourish your body with the nutrition it needs and not to eat junk with zero nutritional value that will only leave you feeling sluggish, tired, bloated, guilty, and fat. 

So, that sums it up! Oh and I can count on one hand in the past 2 years that I have eaten real bread (yes that’s real bread with gluten): I had a burger (and the bread) at Dram late last year, I think in December or something around that time, AND I had a burger while I was in Chicago for my birthday in January 2015. Oh I had some deep dish pizza too in Chicago because I had never had it before. That is three times last year I had real bread. That’s what I mean on I don’t bend the rules often – but when I do, it’s worth it!!! Picture below is from the Chicago’s Bistro Burger place OMG it was the best. Totally worth it. It came with sweet potato fries. Also below is my amazing steak and MAC N CHEESE from Gianmarco’s. And my deepdish pizza on my birthday celebration weekend in Chicago! Oh and keep in mind I worked out hard each of those days before those meals!!! But for real, it’s ok to have something not on the paleo/primal menu once in a while. The idea is to enjoy your life, eat what you want on occasion, (I am just lucky that what I want to eat is what I already eat and it’s usually paleo) but try to keep it clean and nutritious as much as you can because we only get one body and I want to keep mine as healthy as I can for as long as possible. So I limit the bad stuff to only a few times a year. We are human and it’s totally fine – just be sure you are working out super hard to make up for the times you DO splurge y’all!!! #liftheavy #andoften

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Living the Lifestyle and Traveling: My Tips

OK so I don’t travel a ton or anything but I do travel occasionally. The following are ten tips that I utilize when I am out of town in order to keep me on track with my lifestyle of clean eating and workouts! #nodaysoff people! It takes some planning and preparation, but, it’s worth it!

  1. I bring lemons and cayenne pepper. Any time I am prepping for a trip I will figure out how many lemons I will need depending on the days that I will be there. I never go without my daily lemon water because, frankly, I just love it and it’s the easiest  way you can detox your body in the morning. You wouldn’t skip coffee if you are a coffee drinker, would you? No! So why should I miss my lemon water? Going home for just a weekend? Easy, two lemons (usually I travel with my boyfriend). If I am going somewhere for a week or so, I will either go ahead and pack enough lemons so that each day I can have 1/2 of a lemon, or, I will ensure that I will have quality grocery store access. I, of course, bring cayenne pepper! You can bring these items in a carry-on of a plane as well so there should be no issues there.
  2. I pack my own oatmeal and boiled eggs and fruit as needed. If I know that I will be going somewhere where I have access to clean breakfast foods etc., I may not worry about this as much. Typically, however, I take little bags of pre-measured oats and then a separate bag to add cinnamon, sea salt, chia seeds, raw nuts, etc. so that I can make my oats and then add my clean toppings. These don’t weigh anything and are easy to pack. I also make a bunch of boiled eggs and will bring these to eat as snacks (if on a road trip, pack a cooler!). Apples and bananas are easy fruits to bring along as well.
  3. I pack my own almond butter to snack on. Almond butter does not require refrigeration like (organic) peanut butter does so I always travel with a jar! I can eat a tablespoon or two with an apple or banana and that is a very substantial snack/meal to eat on the road/as a snack if out of town staying with non-clean-eaters.
  4. I make wise choices at restaurants. I always, first of all, choose a high quality restaurant and I never eat fast food (never an option). I will find some type of quality grilled/baked/roasted/ meat and if it comes with a dressing or some mysterious sauce I will ask for no sauce/no butter/etc. I also always try to find some sort of steamed vegetable – be cautious with other methods of cooking the veggies as there is likely NON-clean butter and other mysterious sauces mixed in there as well.I avoid gluten, I don’t eat bread from the bread basket, and I don’t order pasta/sandwiches/fried food/desserts/etc. No gluten. No bread. No wheat. No sugar. Up your veggie intake – always – when traveling!
  5. I stay hydrated by always carrying my water bottle. I don’t go anywhere without my stainless steel Hydroflask which you can buy at Whole Foods or Amazon. I make it a priority to always get 1 gallon at least, of water per day – no matter where I am. Ensuring you are properly hydrated plays a huge role in keeping you on track with your lifestyle.
  6. If you travel a lot via airplane, choose to fast – that is, just drink tons of water and don’t eat much that day. Studies show that fasting is actually very good in resetting the human body and it helps to prevent cancer in that it’s a total detox for your cells. Many times if I am traveling via airplane, I will have my lemon water, coffee and a light breakfast before getting on the plane, and then from there on I just chug water and perhaps have an apple or a fruit (that I have packed). I continue to drink my water and I will be hungry by the time I reach my destination, yes, but it’s worth it! Sometimes being hungry is a great thing and you can then go find a healthful dinner with a clean salad or some meat and veggies. You just have to make these things a priority and for me, I would rather be hungry than eat crap food and that is my choice. This may sound crazy to you, but, that is how dedicated I am to this lifestyle and ensuring I only eat nutritious food.
  7. Limit alcohol. Traveling can wreak havoc on your skin and your body. So I recommend limiting alcohol – especially high sugar content ones. I drink even mor water, usually, when I travel in order to combat the stress. If you must have a drink, have at most 1-2 and up your water intake. I will have a glass of dry red or white wine, if I must drink, and have extra water with it!
  8. Exercise! Pack exercise clothes. Always! I make this a priority (I used to not but now I just cannot go more than a day without a workout. It makes me feel too good!). For example, the last time I went to Chicago for vacation for 5 days I brought workout clothes and I used the gym at my friend’s skyrise apartment 3-4 of the days I was there. I made it a priority to get up, have my lemon cayenne water and stretch, and go to the gym! Even if it’s just a quick 45 mins-1 hour workout, SWEATING daily is so good for you so I knew it just had to be done! It doesn’t take much time and you feel so much better after. So make it work. If I am going somewhere without a gym I will make up a workout, i.e., running, pushups, squat jumps, burpees, abs, lunge jumps, sprinting, etc.!
  9. I dry brushThe brush is super easy to pack with you if you are going anywhere, so do it! Use it first thing in the morning and maintain your glow and keep your skin healthy. I pack my brush every time I travel, y’all!
  10. Make sleep a priority. This is one more thing I always try to do. Sleep is SO important to me and I never like staying up much past 10 o’clock – even on weekends. I just love getting rest and waking up feeling great and refreshed and being able to have a productive day! Granted, every now and then (maybe once or twice a year for a special occasion) I will stay up later than normal and attempt to sleep in the next day to make up for it, but, I just do not like doing this. I love sleep. There isn’t much else to say. I am not ashamed or embarrassed. I prefer to get 8-9 hours of sleep and wake up early and get my workout in! That is the LIFESTYLE I live and love.

If anyone has a question about anything in relation to this, please feel free to shoot me an email kelly.fitness.21@gmail.com and I would be happy to discuss anything!