I think I first heard of Danielle Walker on one the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. She has a pretty incredible story of beating an auto immune disease, ulcerative colitis, through dietary changes she made. It's a great story that really shows the power of food. I would encourage to check out her blog or book Against All Grain.
Danielle has a recipe for this same dish that was my inspiration for making this. It was super simple and even Eli ate it. You can pretty easily scale the spice up or down depending on if you are feeding kids or you just don't like spicy food. Eating healthy food doesn't have to be flavorless which I think a lot of people fear. You just need a well equipped spice cabinet. You could easily sub out the ground beef in this recipe for ground turkey, shredded chicken or beef if you happen to have those on hand instead.
If you started reading this post you either figured out that I was talking about metaphorical cigarettes or you are an actual cigarette smoker. If you are a smoker, my advice would be to stop. But this post isn't for you, so let's talk about that metaphor I'm referring to in the title.
Shorter cigarettes in the health world basically means eating less bad things. I wish I could take credit for thinking of this comparison but I heard this idea from Jonathon Bailor. He's Mr. Analogy/Metaphor when it comes to taking complicated health stuff and comparing it so the average Joe can relate. Instead of eating a cheap hot dog on a white bun you opt for the nitrate free hot dog on the whole wheat bun. Instead of the Hidden Valley ranch dressing you choose Newman's low fat something. Instead of white rice with your stir fry, you use brown. Instead of old school mayo, you use a paleo mayo you find on Pinterest.
Personally we see so many take this approach to upgrading their food in our online groups. Here's the thing, making swaps for less "bad" things will only make you sick and fat...slower. In order to truly get healthy, the food you eat needs to heal your body. I often talk about 3 categories of food:
The million dollar question is: What foods fall into the 3 category and how much of them do I need to eat? This category is mainly non-starchy veggies. A few other things that I would throw in there would be anti-inflammatory fats like olive oil and coconut oil. Also foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats like chia seeds, flax seeds, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel that come from quality sources. I've held off mentioning fruit because a lot of times people can overdo the fruit thing. It's not unhealthy and if you eat a variety in the right amounts, it can be really good for you. Eating 5 bananas a day isn't going to help your health. Eating a banana, some blueberries and an apple will help most people. For more on my thoughts on Fruits and Veggies check out this post, "Eat Your Fruits and Veggies," Why That's Bad Advice.
Quantity... If you've followed us for any length of time you know that we aren't calorie counters. Our general rule of thumb is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This philosophy works incredibly well if you are eating a majority of your foods from Category 3 and some foods from Category 2 and minimal from Category 1. Basically what that would look like would be a plate that is comprised of 1/2-2/3 of things from Category 3, then the rest of your plate could be a protein source, chicken, steak or a vegetarian carb/protein source like beans or quinoa. Your veggies could be cooked in or topped with a healthy fat. It could be a salad with TONS of greens, topped with more veggies, then some nuts or seeds and some sort of protein source and a dressing made from healthy fats and vinegars or citrus.
It's really that simple, do that over and over and you will get healthier and lose weight. There isn't some magic pill or powder you need. It's whole food nutrition! It's not about eating less bad stuff, it's about eating more good stuff.
p.s. I realize that last line could be contradictory with our belief in Shakeology....please note that Shakeology IS whole food nutrition!! Shoot us an email if you want to know more about it!
I think it's safe to say that Charleston has been our FAVORITE place to visit thus far. We only had 4 days to explore....and that just wasn't enough time! All within a 30 minute radius you have:
- SO much history
- Cobblestone streets
- Parks galore
- Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson
- The OCEAN
- Farmers market
- Amazing restaurants
We were able to meet up with my cousin for dinner the first night in Mount Pleasant and then walk along Sullivan's Beach. It was SO peaceful and this was the first time Eli actually WANTED to go in the ocean! He fell in love with it!
The next day we met up with an "online friend", her husband and their little boy for brunch at Eli's Table. Angela and I met through my sister and through either Facebook or Instagram a few years ago but had never met in person...so this was a lot of fun!! I had a feeling we'd get along great in real life, and we all did. After brunch we walked around Charleston, the Battery, the Pier and then we found an adorable gourmet market and had some delicious beverages to cool off. It was HOT and very humid!
We explored Magnolia Plantation & Gardens one afternoon and had such a great time. Most of these plantations cost a bit of money because you have to pay for general admission and then pay for extra tours of the house, tours of the grounds etc...We paid for a tram tour and a house tour but kind of wish we would have done a tour of the slaves quarters instead. The tram tour was great because we were able to see some alligators, blue herons, see the entire plantation and hear a little history!
My cousin met up with us again and took us to the Charleston Farmers Market. I LOVE farmers markets and this one did not disappoint. SO much goodness!
After the market Dan, Eli and I headed to Kiawah Island to check out the beach. We were going to go to Folly Beach...but it was a Saturday, the forecast was clear skies, 85 and the 9 mile drive was going to take an hour. We opted to drive a little further to Kiawah...we loved it! This was the first time Eli actually went into the ocean with Dan. They jumped into the waves, dug in the sand and we went looking for shells.
After the beach, we were driving right by The Angel Oak Tree and knew we had to stop based on my cousin's recommendation. I'm so glad we did. It's 500+ years old, 66.5 ft tall and spans 178 ft wide. It's thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country!! Pretty magnificent huh??
Capped the trip off with an amazing steak dinner at my cousin's house. We will definitely be going back to Charleston when we have more time and money to go try ALL THE FOOD! Their restaurant/food scene just seemed pretty incredible..just like Savannah!
This dish was totally inspired by leftovers. To be honest a lot of the meals we make are throw together at the last minute. We try our best to just keep healthy ingredients in our fridge, freezer and pantry. Then I (Dan) find inspiration either from Pinterest, Google, a random cooking show or something I've made before to dictate what we eat. I'm not the most creative person when it comes to other things, but food, that's my jam - pun intended!
Seriously this soup was so easy to make and you could easily scale it up if you wanted to make it for a larger group. Like most soups the key to flavor is using a flavorful broth/stock and letting it simmer for a long time. I recently made up a batch of chicken stock in our pressure cooker. Homemade stock makes a huge difference in my opinion both in flavor and quality of ingredients. I probably need to write up a post about our stock recipe. Very simply we just add water, old chicken bones, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns and a little salt into our pressure cooker. We pressure cook it for about 3 hours and it turns out great!
We hope you enjoy this soup! We always love to hear if you try out our recipes, so if you give it a try, drop us a comment on the post or shoot us a message.
Our pressure/multi cooker has been a lifesaver while we've been on the road. For convenience I wish I could just say we have an Instant Pot because 90% of the people that own a pressure cooker own an Instant Pot. We just happened to find an incredible deal on a different model, a Fagor. Doesn't exactly have the same ring as Instant Pot, does it. Either way, like I said this piece of equipment has been fantastic for us to make quick one pot meals. If you are an Instant Pot user hopefully it has similar settings and you can translate my Fagor talk to your machine.
If you are all about fast, tasty meals that are easy to clean up I highly recommend you look into getting one of these. With RV living this is perfect, because it means less dishes and dinners that can be made last minute after a day of exploring or swimming in the pool. Win for everyone!
Seriously this recipe maybe takes 20 minutes of active cooking time and 27 minutes of downtime letting the pressure cooker do its job. If you really want to kick up the flavor of this dish, add some chopped bacon, 3-4 pieces worth right away with your chicken. We had bacon for breakfast the day we made this so opted to not have anymore that day.
So easy and so good! Go make it and lets us know what you think.
Citrus and summer go hand in hand in my book. I know it isn't technically summer yet but the weather in South Alabama has felt like it is the middle of August. I'm sure if you were to talk to locals they would tell you how great the weather has been. For this Minnesota boy it's a different story. Temps were in the 80's everyday and the humidity was above 90% everyday. That's hot!
Being in South Alabama we had the benefit of getting some really good shrimp and it was cheap. This has definitely been one of the things that I've enjoyed about traveling so far, local food! Getting to eat food that was picked, farmed or fished recently is so fun and adds so much more flavor. We've tried to take in local markets wherever we are and get some fresh veggies and proteins, then fill in the gaps with some food from the big box stores.
I made this while in Gulf Shores, Alabama and it was super light and perfect for a warm day. We hope you enjoy it!! If you have a shellfish allergy you could easily leave out the shrimp and do a piece of baked whitefish.
Where do we even begin?? The last month has been a whirlwind!! One month ago we left Minnesota for a quick stop in Nashville, TN...on our way to Augusta, GA so Dan could go to the Master's. Since then here's what we've done and where we stayed:
Greenville, AL: first Walmart parking lot experience. Pretty pleasant actually!
New Orleans, LA: Spent 8 days here to watch some friends play in the AVP tournament and to check out a few touristy things
Foley, AL: Spent 11 days here to see some friends, go to the beach in Gulf Shores and just relax a bit.
Quincy, FL: Just outside of Tallahassee. Spent 1 night at a small RV park...couldn't pass up $12/night in lieu of the Walmart parking lot. It was HOT and humid and we wanted to be able to plug in for electricity and run our air conditioners rather than run the generator all night.
Savannah, GA: This is where we are currently staying for 7 days and we can't wait to explore downtown Savannah, Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island, find a farmer's market and some good coffee shops and food!
Honestly, we're still trying to find a rhythm with our daily schedule. Since we work from home doing online health/fitness coaching it's really really easy to get sucked into working ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. We don't want that. There needs to be balance. We did this so we could be together as a family and have more flexibility/freedom!! So we are committing to a daily schedule where we both can focus on our priorities at different times so one of us is playing with Eli or taking him out of the RV to do fun things or run errands...then in the afternoon after Eli's nap, we'll head out and do some exploring around town for 2-3 hours. Every day may look different...depending on what we need to focus on that day but we both know we want to get up around 5:30/6:00 am every day to make sure we get our devotionals/coffee and maybe a little work done before Eli even wakes up! Yep, that's early BUT because we know the most successful people start their day early, we want to model our habits after them!
The other day I asked Dan if he was still glad we took the plunge and did this...his answer, with no hesitation was "YES...what else would we be doing?"...Well, we'd be living in our townhome in Minnesota most likely...working from home. And while there is nothing wrong with that, we both knew we wanted to see where God would lead us by stepping out in faith and doing something a little unconventional. Giving up something good for something great is hard to do when you can't see the whole road!!
I FULLY believe that He called us to do this for a purpose...whether it be for us OR for the people we interact with...or something completely different...I have a gut feeling that as long as we are open and willing to follow where He leads, He'll lead us into some pretty amazing things and put us in touch with some pretty awesome people.
I can't wait to watch the road unfold.
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.