With this dish I took that idea of smokey, salty, and sweet and made it a bit more hearty! Definitely did not disappoint. It will for sure be made again in our house!
This dish was inspired by baked beans! I mean who doesn't love baked beans, smokey, salty, and sweet. The problem is you really can't make a meal out of just baked beans. Well I guess you could but that would just be kind of weird and not really the most well rounded meal.
With this dish I took that idea of smokey, salty, and sweet and made it a bit more hearty! Definitely did not disappoint. It will for sure be made again in our house!
As you may have noticed our travel blog posts have been few an far between. It's not that we haven't been traveling or doing anything fun but when I have time to sit down and write, doing stuff for our business seems to take precedent over travel stuff.
We last left off with us back in MInnesota for the Ryder Cup... yeah we are about 6 months behind! So here's my goal for the next year of travel, put out a blog post at least every other week. Do you ever have that thing in your life where you just can't seem to get out in front off, that there is always more and more. Maybe it's the laundry if you are a mom of numerous kiddos, or dishes if you live in an RV. Anyways, these travel posts are that for us so in order to get "caught up" I'm going to dump about 6 months of travel into this one post, so bear with me.
Where have we been in the last 6 months?
As you can see we tried our hardest to stay warm for the winter and have for the most part. We've learned that Florida winters are a little nicer than Texas! Other than being back in MN we only had one night where temps got below freezing, so I would say we did pretty well.
Some of the highlights over the past 6 months...
Eureka Springs, AR
Christmas in MN, Iowa and our RV
Galveston and Kemah, TX
The Rest of Florida
Traveling with Family
Well there you go, our last 6 months of life in a kick photo slideshow! We are now on our way back to the Midwest and eventually out to the West Coast later this summer/fall.
Two rounds of 21dfx (roughly 2 months) and I feel like a new person (even though I don't look a ton different on the outside). This program is probably my soul workout...I've done so many rounds of it and every time I see changes in my body...and it's ONLY 30 min a day!
The COOLEST part: I weigh the same in both pictures!! 😳 Don't base your results solely on the scale...please please please take pictures. Take measurements of your hips, thighs, waist, bust and biceps! My goal wasn't to lose inches...so I didn't track those this time around.
Every workout uses dumbbells or a resistance band in some way. I used heavier weights: 20's for lunges, squats, squat jumps and even got up to the 25's at one point...and 8's - 15's for upper body (There's this one shoulder move with a curtsy I could never do more than 8 with 😳) and PUSHED myself every day to do more and get stronger!!
Without the burn, it don't mean nothin!! (As Shaun T would say 😂)
Jan 7th was the day I took the "before" pictures and the "progress" were taken Mar 1st and I'm so glad I stuck it out for 2 rounds!! My nutrition didn't change a ton...I still ate clean about 90% of the time and treated myself 10% of the time. I maybe drank a little less wine 🍷 and added a bit more protein (try to get some at every meal)...I eat probably between 1800 cal and 2000 cal every day.
PLEASE REMEMBER: you can do anything you set your mind to. Your mind is POWERFUL! Commit to something FIRST and then figure out how to make it happen. Commit first. Then take ACTION! Then be patient!
Email us if you need help!!
Today marks one year since we moved into our motorhome and hit the road! This was the first time we were all hooked up and ready to roll out! We had just finished up most of our renovations...and were ready to head south. We left on a Sunday and made it to our first scheduled stop outside Augusta, Georgia by Wednesday.
Nothing like 1,300 miles traveled in 4 days to start our adventure!
Where Have We Been?
Over the past year we have logged a total of about 15,000 miles on our motorhome alone. We've visited 33 states!!! Everything from Bar Harbor, Maine to Austin, TX and Minneapolis, MN to Orlando, FL and a lot of stuff in between. We've also hit up a lot of touristy spots like Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Brooklyn Bridge and NYC, Boston's Freedom Trail and Acadia National Park.
We've spent a fair amount of time at beaches...Laura really likes the beach.
Ok fine... we all really like the beach!
A few of our favorites have been Gulf Shores, Siesta Key, Kiawah, Sullivan's Island, Cape Cod and Ogunquit! A few duds were Atlantic City and Galveston!
We've hit up a lot of Thai restaurants and coffee shops. Laura has had her fair share of almond milk lattes. So far the winner is Bluestone Lane's in NYC!!! Oh and get the avocado toast there too!
We've mainly stayed in a lot of RV Resorts just due to amenities and ease of booking and getting in and out. We bought a zone pass with Thousand Trails in June of last so we've spent a fair amount to time in their parks. We've done some state parks, a couple Walmarts, and a lake front boondocking spot at Laura's brother's house.
What Have We Learned?
"Fulltime RVing does not mean a fultime vacation!"
After a few months in vacation mode we learned that vacations are expensive. So after going through a chunk of our savings account we decided to slow down and stick to a budget! We've maybe missed out on eating out at some fun a few less days at beaches but it's allowed us to live within our means and keep the adventure going.
With that we've learned that we operate best with at least a tentative schedule in place. This allows us both some time to do some work, time alone with Eli and lots of time together as a family.
We've also learned that we don't need nearly as many clothes as we originally packed up. We tend to wear the same stuff over and over... mainly workout clothes and yoga pants! There are a handful of other things that we've brought along that we've hardly used... like a tent, veggie spiralizer, extra camping chairs, bosu ball....to name a few.
Another thing we learned early on was that we all reach our breaking point after about 6 hours of driving on travel days. 4 hours max is what we prefer! With travel, we also learned that it's not ideal to show up at a new park after dusk... short, wooden posts in campgrounds tend to hide a lot easier!
We've been semi-stationary for the past 6 months, 2 1/2 months in Texas and 3 1/2 months in Florida. We love that we've been able to stay warm for the winter but definitely miss traveling. We traveled around both Texas and Florida but the scenery hasn't changed all that much. So there is a balance between quenching our travel/adventure needs and not moving as fast...so we can manage our finances.
What Lies Ahead?
Currently: we are in Florida and will be here for another month. Then our adventure will take us north and west. We will slowly make our way back up to Iowa and Minnesota around the 4th of July to spend some time with family. It will also be convenient since we will be dropping Eli off with grandparents while we head down to New Orleans for our annual Beachbody Coach Summit the middle of July.
After that conference, the plan is to start heading across the northern part of the country. We hope to hit up Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks on our way out to Washington state. We always appreciate advice on places we NEED to visit so if you know of anything between Minnesota and Washington, let us know.
Our plan is to be out to Washington by early September and hangout in the Pacific Northwest for a couple months before we start heading down the west coast as the weather cools. At this time, we think we'll spend at least another winter as snowbirds but we aren't exactly sure where we will be... maybe Southern California... maybe Arizona... we'll see!
That's about all we have "planned out" so far. After that we'll potentially talk about settling down but that isn't for sure either!! What we do know: God is faithful and is providing SO MANY amazing experiences & relationships through this journey. He is ultimately our guide...so if we feel led to change our course...we will!!
If you've followed us for a while you know we aren't big fans of counting calories. It's not that we don't think they matter because they do 100% when it comes to weight loss. The thing that people get confused about though is just doing straight up math with calories in versus calories out and if those numbers tip a certain direction your weight will also change. Your metabolism is a bit more complicated than what your fitbit tells you that you burned during your exercise session that day and what My Fitness Pal tells you that you consumed.
What's our approach then to help people lose weight! It comes down to nutrient density and calorie density. Our bodies are pretty intelligent and for most people they know when to stop eating in order to maintain our weight. The thing that happens when people eat processed foods, the triggers that tell us to stop eating don't get tripped. The other way that these triggers don't go off is when we consume food at a fast pace!
So our approach is to consume high quality, whole foods at a slow pace and stop when you are close to being full and you will likely lose weight. If you are trying to maintain, then you eat to being full. Yeah there is certainly some nuance that can come into play around macronutrients and timing but for the most part this strategy works.
This is where the question of, what weighs more... a pound of broccoli or a pound of nachos? Let's breakdown this comparison:
I took the challenge myself of eating both a pound of nachos and pound of broccoli in one sitting. Let's just say it was an interesting experience. Overall both "meals" filled me up equally and the rate at which I ate definitely slowed down towards the end of both.
I mentioned it was an interesting experience... what that means is I actually became physically ill by consuming one whole pound of broccoli. My stomach and GI tract just couldn't handle processing that amount of broccoli. The nachos, no problem... I was eating again in a few hours. Why this happened I don't know the exact answer. Fiber content maybe, but I've consumed 11 grams of fiber in one sitting before this. Vitamin or mineral overdose, possible but not probable. If you have an answer let me know, I'm curious.
To put things in perspective a bit on whether or not this is a lot of food. The average American eats between 3 and 5 pounds of food per day, we will call it 4 on average. So, a one pound meal probably isn't that unusual. To break things down a bit further, the average American consumes around 2,700 calories per day. So doing a little math the average pound of food that an American consumes is around 675 calories (2,700 calories divided by 4 pounds of food). Based on the nutrition facts, you can see that broccoli falls WELL below that average and the nachos a fair amount above that number. Can you see how eating whole foods and especially non starchy veggies can help a person consume fewer calories?
The reason a lot of diets fail I believe is because our bodily is naturally satiated by a certain poundage of food. If all you are doing is eating smaller portions of your current foods your body is going to crave more food to fill itself up. I wrote up a whole other post on this topic, Are You Smoking Shorter Cigarettes to Get Healthy? If you aren't filling your body with a certain poundage of food you either need to resort to some incredible willpower or you will likely binge a time or two.
If your goal is weight loss and you don't want to micromanage every gram of food that goes into your body here's what we would recommend:
Believe it or not, this is actually a problem for some people out there. For others, they approach cutting calories the right way. I wanted to share what happens to a person when they subject themselves to a calorie deficit! It can be a good thing or it can lead to some long term issues.
So How Do You Avoid the Pitfalls of Being In a Calorie Deficit?
First thing would be to make sure you are getting an abundance of nutrients! This will happen through eating nutrient dense foods, mainly vegetables! Calorie for calorie veggies rank at the top of almost all the nutrient density scales. We also love Shakeology for this fact too. It is loaded with nutrition but not a lot of calories!
Second, make sure you are doing some resistance training! In a study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition two groups were put on calorie deficit diets. One group strictly did aerobic style exercise 4 times per week and one group did resistance training 3 times per week. The aerobic group lost a total of 37 pounds of which 27 pounds was from fat and 10 pounds of muscle. The resistance training group lost a total of 32 pounds but lost ZERO pounds of muscle. The aerobic group's Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) decreased by 210 calories daily whereas the resistance training group increaesed their BMR by 63 calories. Even though weight loss seemed to be more effective by doing aerobic exercise strictly by total weight loss, long term weight loss will be more difficult for that group due to their lower BMR and body composition. LIFT WEIGHTS!!!
Lastly, manage your stress and energy! If you have low energy levels, don't just drive through Starbucks, eat something! This is also another reason why we love whole foods! Quality proteins, fats and carbs will sustain your energy longer with less energy crashes than highly processed foods. Stress Less!!! Get adequate sleep is a great place to start here. Also work smarter not harder when it comes to exercise. Doing an hour plus of exercise daily causes a lot of stress, science has shown that 30 minutes 4-5 times per week is enough see substantial results. Meditation and finding some quiet time is also a great way to recenter and slow down. On top of cutting out stressful things, find some activities that bring you joy! Time with family, hikes in nature, playing a sport. Whatever it is build up your good vibes bank account to help you push through those stressful times.
Hope those tips help!!!
This cross country adventure was on our schedule even before we hit the road. For those of you that don't know a bit of my (Dan) past, I used to work as a golf professional. The course I worked at just so happened to be Hazeltine National Golf Club which was also the site of the 2016 Ryder Cup. I left my job at that club in October of 2013 after working there for 10 years.
Hazeltine was a second home for me. The members and staff were like family. So when the biggest golf tournament in the world is being hosted by said club and members it was a no brainer to make the trip back.
One of the fun things about making a trip half way across the country, we started in Maine, is you will likely come across some friends and family. Our first stop was just south of Sryacuse, New York where we were blessed to spend some time with Dan and Christa Hamon and their 3 boys. Once again we were able turn Instagram friends into real life friends! They have such an amazing family and their boys played so well with Eli. We can't wait for our paths to cross again.
After New York we made it to the Cleveland area where I was able to meet up with a golf pro friend. That was a super short stay, and we were off to Elkhart, Indiana where we returned to the dealership we purchased our RV. We had some routine maintenance done there since we had logged almost 12,000 miles on our RV since purchasing it. Crazy, we've done that much traveling in that short period of time.
We had an interesting adventure at our next stop in the Amana Colonies. We are learning that a lot of RV parks are located on flood plains, I guess its cheap land. This was our first experience where we nearly got flooded out! It was a little scary to wake up to all of the water surrounding us.
We were hoping to spend some time exploring the Amana area but instead decided to just move onto Laura's aunt's house. We parked in front of their house for a few days so that we could spend some time with them and Laura's grandma. It was great to see her and have Eli spend some time with her. He really liked her magnifying glass and her stash of ice cream!
After our time in Iowa, we made our way back to Minneapolis for the Ryder Cup! Seven years after I first learned that Hazeltine would be hosting the biggest golf event in the world, we were there! On top of the amazing golf event it was also a homecoming for me coming back to Hazeltine, a club I spent countless hours at for 10 years and met so many amazing people. Oh and top of that it was a week where I got to spend some quality time with my family! It was pretty special, let's juts say!
The Ryder Cup itself was pretty epic! Europe has pretty much dominated the Ryder Cup winning 5 of the last 6 matches going back to 2002. There was excitement for the US team but also apprehension around whether they could get a win on their home turf.
The venue itself was incredible! The infrastructure that was built to host this event was amazing, over million square feet of platforms were erected to hold everything from merchandise tents, corporate hospitality and concessions. The golf course was pristine! The stage was all set for a great event and it didn't disappoint.
The US team got off to a great start and never really looked back. There was a moment in there Saturday midday, whether or not the lead that the Americans had built was going to disappear. They rallied Saturday afternoon and dominated on Sunday to bring home the cup! If you want all the details you can head over to the full scoring here.
So while I was chasing around a golf course, Laura found some pretty amazing ways to keep Eli entertained! Here are just a few pics from their time at a local apple orchard with his cousins. They also made a trip to the zoo which I think he really missed!
It was a pretty incredible week back in Minnesota! We saw family and friends! I also got to witness an epic golf event at a course I used to call home! Until next time Minnesota!
I know we haven't done many book reviews on our blog in the past. Recently we were approached by a "book tour" company and they asked if we would read and review Darin Olien's book Superlife. I first read this book back when it came out back in 2015! I was even fortunate to get to meet Darin and hear some stories behind the book. Turns out he grew up about an hour from where I did. Apparently kids from small farm towns in rural Minnesota can have a career in nutrition!
When I was approached to share Darin's message I was all for it. The principles he teaches in the book are also some of the fundamentals of living a healthy life and always good to revisit myself. Darin breaks out these fundamentals into what he refers to the 5 Life Forces.
Life Force 1: Nutrition
This is at the core of being healthy. His basic approach revolves around eating whole foods in abundance and variety. Eating this way will ensure that you are satiated with micronutrients that all too often we lack. Being a vegan himself he isn't a huge proponent of eating animal products but is ok if people chose to eat animal products as long as they are high quality and occasionally eaten.
With nutrition he also stresses the importance of keeping your gut healthy! This is something I strongly advocate for as well and think can be a real game changer for a lot of people. For most people that looks like... cutting out processed foods, adding foods/supplements rich in probiotics and prebiotics, and probably supplementing with some digestive enzymes.
Life Force 2: Hydration
Water... something so basic but something that so many people fail to consume. As humans, we are water! Roughly 2/3 of our bodyweight is water. It does everything from provide pathways to carry raw materials around our body to insulate us and keep us warm or cool. Let's just say it's super important! Darin provides some great tips to upgrade the quality of your water also in the book.
Life Force 3: Oxygenation
Oxygen - it's critical to life and something that gets overlooked in regards to health. Darin quotes a couple of studies that talk about how cancer thrives in low oxygen situations and dies off in oxygen rich environments. Pretty amazing stuff! Increasing oxygen ties back into life forces 1 and 2. Whole food plants contain more oxygen than processed, packaged foods. Getting adequate water also increases the amount oxygen that enters our bodies. Combine that with some intentional deep belly breathing and you are really improving your oxygenation.
Life Force 4: Alkalization
This life force is one that is definitely overlooked and understudied. Darin and I maybe differ slightly on this point. Some of the research that I've done and read suggests that it is highly unlikely your body will become more acidic based on what we eat. The pro-alkaline movement tends to look at the acid levels of a person's urine which looks at what is excreted versus the pH of a person's blood and cellular fluid.
My opinion here is the jury is still out, but I would agree with Darin in that a diet high in plant based foods will improve your overall health.
Life Force 5: Detoxification
Darin is a big believer in the process of detoxing the body. He points out the constant stress that our bodies are under from everything in our environment to what we consume. Our bodies have normal detox pathways but they get backlogged when we consume low quality foods and are exposed to chemicals in our environment.
His advice to handle all of this, focus on the first 4 life forces and your detox system will be able to handle the workload.
Darin, finishes the book with some recipes and final thoughts on how you can implement the 5 Life Forces into your current life.
I'm a big fan of Darin's approach to health and this book does an excellent job in getting people to think a little differently about their health. It's not all about being reactionary and trying to take care of yourself after you get sick. It's about doing things that produce vitality in your life and keep disease at bay. If you are looking to up your health game I highly recommend this book to give you a solid baseline of information.
Meatloaf... it was a staple in our house growing up! My mom would always make it with beef and slather on the ketchup sauce on top. It was actually quite tasty, except for the onions. I despised onions when I was a kid. Not the flavor as much as the crunch that you would occasionally get from one that wasn't cooked enough.
Times have changed quite a bit! The breadcrumbs that you would normally add to meatloaf would now make me breakout in a rash. The high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup, yeah... we are just going to avoid that if we can. That's the backstory on how this recipe got created.
I suppose with mushroom sauce this maybe is closer to the salsibury steak that we would occasionally have in our tv dinners. No matter what you call it, I hope you call it delicious! We certainly enjoyed it!
This is post is dedicated to the second half of our travels through New England! We did a lot of up here and so if you missed our first post, that was all about Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The second half of our time in New England was up in New Hampshire and Maine! Let's just say we loved it!
After we left Mass and the Cape Cod area we headed north to the Lake Winnipesaukee area for a week roughly. We had gotten some recommendations to go check this area out, so we listened! It didn't disappoint. We were camped out right by Wolfeboro which was a super cute little town.
We noticed that our ice cream consumption increased quite a bit when we were in New England. There were cute little ice cream shops everywhere we went. I think it also helped that Eli learned how to say "ice cream" so therefore he was asking for it all the time.
We also were told we needed to drive the Kancamagus Highway through White Mountain National Forest. Eli and I made the drive one day leaving Laura behind to do some work. Yeah believe it or not we do actually work a bit from the road. It was a super pretty drive... from the car. Unfortunately Eli fell asleep as we turned onto the highway so we didn't get to stop and explore all that much.
From New Hampshire we moved onto Bar Harbor! Yup, pretty much loved this area and all of Maine! It was also fun because we were able to meet up with Laura's cousin who was also a new coach on our team for a couple days since she and her husband moved out there this past summer. The campground we stayed at was amazing! It sat right on one of the canal in between the mainland and Mount Desert Island. It was amazing to see thew change in water level with high and low tide.
Like Niagara Falls, Acadia National Park was on our list of places we needed to visit. We spent a couple days exploring the island that the park was on. One of the first nights there we took a drive around Southwest Harbor. This was definitely the slower side of the island but still fun. We caught the Bass Harbor Lighthouse right at sunset and was just breathtaking.
After our lighthouse visit we decided to finally indulge in lobster rolls. We had been holding out until we could actually get a "Maine" Lobster Roll. So good! The place we went actually had gluten free buns too, so I could partake!
The rest of our time in the area we spent exploring Bar Harbor and Acadia on the busy side which included Cadillac Mountain. Let's just say we have contemplated spending an entire summer out here based on our experience.
That was a busy and fun weekend in the Bar Harbor area! From there we down the coast a bit and continued to explore but at a slightly slower pace. We explored everything from Portland all the way down to Ogunquit. One of the most common questions we get asked...
"What's been your favorite place you've traveled?"
Both of us both usually respond with the time and places we visited during the two weeks we spent in this part of Maine. Not only was it beautiful but the people were fantastic, there was some amazing food in Portland, there were beaches, the temps were perfect, and we got to explore at a slower pace.
A lot of our trips revolve around coffee and food. We found this super fun wall on the side of a coffee, books, and beer store in Saco.
Our campground was only a mile or two from the Ogunquit Beach so we made sure to take a couple trips over to it and hang out. A super fun simple beach, Eli loved it!
Another awesome find that we stumbled across was the Marginal Way walk. It was simply just a path that followed the coast right around Ogunquit.
We also hit up brunch and an ice cream shop in Ogunquit. Once again more ice cream!
Another super fun little spot that we were super close to was a cute little town called Kennebunkport. We spent an afternoon driving around this town, mainly driving around. One place stumbled upon was the home of President George H.W. Bush. I knew that his home was somewhere in the area but when we drove past Walker's Point, it jumped out to me that there would be a security guard station at the entrance to a home out there. So we stopped a little turnaround spot and did a little googling and sure enough, it was his house. We ended up doubling back and stopped really quick on the side of the road and snapepd a few pics of his compound and also a monument for him.
That day ended with a peaceful time on the beach. There was a fun playground that we found and we just let Eli play. It's days like that one that I have to pinch myself. We love this life and it has been such a blessing for all of us!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.