American Version of Ireland

It’s 12:15am and I’m eating frozen bananas while standing in front of my radiator.

But I wanted to blog! My brain can only organize things into an incoherent list right now though, so that’s what we’ll work with today.

This past week:

1) We had a snow day on Tuesday and it ruined everything.

My gross anatomy lab practical that was supposed to be last Tuesday is now tomorrow, the same day as the gross anatomy lecture exam. #ILoveEverything.

2) I can’t complain about sleeping in and having warm Slytherin socks though (thanks, Fiona ♥︎).

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3) Megan and I also made a mini snowman after Mass that day.

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same.

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we named him Stello, the counterpart to Stella the storm

3) Megan, Briana and I were craving a taste of Ireland on our snow day, so we baked Irish brown bread (one of our favorite foods when we were abroad) using this recipe. It ROCKED fresh out of the oven with butter and jam/honey. *Irish jig*

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3 mini loaves

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we have finally mastered the art of baking in our hell-hot box of an oven

4) Another low regarding the snow/ice was that I walked 30 minutes to dance on Wednesday morning (and royally wiped out on the ice on the way there) all to find out that class was cancelled. ‘Twas totally my fault for not checking the facebook page for an update after the large snow storm.

5) I forgot how much I liked getting sandwiches/wraps at the dining hall until I ordered this beauty last week.

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roast beef, provolone, roasted veggies, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, honey mustard on whole wheat wrap

6) Some of my favorite moves and grooves from last week:

Wednesday: 10-1 pistol squat/burpee ladder (10 of each, then 9, 8,7…1) + squat clean practice

Saturday: 5 rounds of this functional workout from Peanut Butter Fingers + overhead squat practice

Friday: alllll the dancing for St. Paddy’s day!

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ugh this night was so fun!

7) I tried making a healthy homemade shamrock shake with peppermint stevia drops that had been sitting in my pantry unopened for ages.

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milk, yogurt, oats, chia seeds, frozen banana, 1/4 avocado, greens, vanilla protein powder, peppermint stevia drops

My friends hate me for making this.

It was tasty and creamy, but I should have just left out the stevia because it wasn’t that strong, so I kept adding more until it just left a nasty aftertaste.

At least it wasn’t as sickeningly sweet as the McDonald’s version? And it’s green!

8) I helped out with a high school confirmation retreat on Saturday and the church spoiled the volunteers by inviting us to their St. Patrick’s/St. Joseph’s potluck dinner!

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salad, lobster ravioli, jambalaya, clam fritter, eggplant parmigiana, shepherd’s pie, soda bread

#global.

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all the boxed baked goods!!!

I also ate Welch’s fruit snacks and Cheez-Its earlier in the day during the allotted snack time, and I was on cloud nostalgia.

9) Despite the complain train of this post, I am truly grateful for the many wonderful people and privileges I have in my life. And especially this week, I am grateful for the little trials and heartaches that God uses to teach me how to be better.

I hope you all have a fantastic Monday. Go get ’em!!!

So tell me:

How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Danced and snacked the night away with my friends (and watched them drink because I’m still a baby here in America).

Two things you’re grateful for.

The best thing you ate this weekend. That one lobster ravioli (raviolo?) I ate at the potluck was smashing.

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I’m a Slytherin!?

APPALLED.

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I was appalled when these Pottermore results showed up on my screen. I chose a snowy owl as my pet, guys. HOW.

I guess I should just own it, because apparently I’m in the “coolest and edgiest house” in Hogwarts. Slytherins are also “frequently misunderstood,” which might be fairly accurate for me.

The day after I took this quiz, I was telling my friends: “I can’t believe I’m a Slytherin.”

Friend: “How come you’re wearing black and green right now then?”

*Look down at my green Ireland t-shirt and black athletic pants*

Touche.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m thoroughly obsessed with Harry Potter now. Megan and I finished the second book and movie last week, and now we’re well into number three. HELP (but don’t, because I’m having so much fun).

Besides becoming completely immersed in the wizarding world of HP, other good things have happened in the past week, like KaisaFit liking my Instagram video! She’s one of my favorite fitness influencers of all time, and I couldn’t help but smile when she liked one of my videos that I hashtagged #KaisaFitxAsics for one of her giveaways. No shame.

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She also liked every other video with that hashtag, so I’m not special, but I won’t let that fact steal my excitement.

On Saturday, a few of us went on a Ring of Kerry bus tour! We started our day super early at 5am so that we could walk to the bus pickup in city centre. Thankfully, we had 2.5 hours to nap as we drove to Killarney.

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It had snowed a few days before we visited, which is rare for Ireland. It made the mountains look even more beautiful!

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The Toc Waterfall in Killarney National Park was my favorite stop of all. The moss-covered trees looked magical (HP on the mind, ya know), and the waterfall itself was bigger than I imagined!

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water and green things— a Slytherin’s dream.

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The tour was a lot of sitting on the bus with many photo stops that ranged from 10-45 minutes each. The scenery was gorgeous for sure, but I don’t think it was my favorite bus tour in Ireland. Connemara a couple weeks ago might have won it for me.

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always climbing trees

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Inch beach in Dingle

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We had a long lunch break in Killarney, so Megan and I walked around the charming city (reminded us a lot of Galway!) and bought…

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DESSERT.

We both got this super sweet sticky toffee caramel apple muffin, which was delicious. I very much desired a glass of milk to go with it, but life wasn’t bad without it.

(p.s. we had already eaten real lunch on the bus at 10 am due to early morning wakeup.)

It was a long trip, mostly due to travel time between places, but I enjoyed it! I think that was my last trip within Ireland, and I’m glad I went.

The weather has been frigid these days. Usually I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve had to wear only my Toms outside because I’m pretty sure I have retrocalcaneal bursitis, which causes my heel to hurt when I wear any tight shoes, such as boots or sneakers. Toms give me just enough room for my inflamed bursa to breathe.

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It’s nice to work in a physiotherapy clinic, where people can take care of me and educate me on the job 🙂 Google is also great.

Luckily, Megan offered me her bag of frozen vegetables to ice my heel like the good friend she is.

I have been advised to not do high impact exercise for a while, and to even take it easy on lower body weight bearing for a couple days. I’ve been mostly compliant. Sadly though, walking is becoming more and more painful, and I generally walk with a slight limp now.

It’s so hard to avoid walking though! How else am I supposed to go to Mass and Sunday brunch!? (The bus, yes…)

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After Mass this past Sunday, Megan and I went to Whitefriar Grill for another Sunday brunch. This one was a WINNER. She got the classic eggs benedict, and I got the crab cake eggs benedict to compare with the one I got at San Lorenzo’s last weekend.

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This was our favorite savory brunch so far. The crab cakes in my dish were a lot fresher at Whitefriar than at San Lorenzo’s IMO. And that hollandaise was phenomenal. Megan agrees!

We also got free watermelon bellinis because I “checked in” on Yelp.

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“We don’t always drink, but when we do, it’s for free.” – Megan

We didn’t even finish them.

Later on Sunday night, Megan and I made some amazing focaccia bread, if I do say so myself. Megan comes up with the best ideas. Last weekend she suggested scones, which were a hit. This week, focaccia was another fabulous treat.

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We made it using this recipe, plus rosemary, thyme, garlic, and caramelized onions. ‘Twas a pillow of olive-oily, aromatic goodness.

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fresh out of the oven ♥︎ 

We’ll be in Boston opening up our scone and focaccia storefront soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!!

So tell me:

Which1 Hogwarts house are you? 🙂 I want to retake mine, but the Sorting Hat has decided.

What is one delicious thing you made and/or ate this weekend?

Have you ever been to the Ring of Kerry? 

Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would usually hug you before we sit down, but I’ve been sick these past few days, so we’ll nix that for now.

…I would be eating leftover green banana pancakes via The Healthy Maven that I made yesterday.

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topped with plain Greek yogurt, “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter, and peanut butter + glass o’ almond milk on the side

…I would ask you if you’ve been watching the Olympics. It’s funny; I feel like I become more sedentary as I watch ALL the sports all the time on TV. I’ve been enjoying the gymnastics, tennis, beach volleyball, diving, and swimming the most so far!

…I would take a second to fan over Simone Biles and Oksana Chusovitina, that 41-year-old gymnast from Uzbekistan who is STILL KILLING IT at the Olympics. Literally almost three times older than some of the gymnasts competing.

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I just want to finish everything I do in life with gymnastics arms from now on

…I would tell you that I leave for Ireland to study abroad in less than a month, and I have very few (if any) emotions about it. I tell people that I’m excited, which is half true, because I’m looking forward to the adventures and travel. But I’m also NOT excited, because I know how much I’m going to miss my family at home and friends back in Boston. I’m just gonna go and see what happens, honestly!

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I just need to start thinking about what to pack…and stuff like that.

…I would recommend that you read Kylie’s post about why she hasn’t weighed herself in 2.5 years. Whether you have a history of an eating disorder or not, this is a great read for anyone with body image issues (which is most of us living in an affluent society). Kylie rocks.

…I would tell you that my new veggie obsession is Thai “pun” (wraps, not funny puns). Lettuce + some kind of protein + cucumber + cherry tomatoes + Thai basil + cilantro + mint + spicy peanut sauce. The fresh herbs are ESSENTIAL.

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For this week’s version, Madre grilled up some lemongrass-scallion-black pepper pork patties. For her peanut sauce, she mixes her classic spring roll dipping sauce (similar to this recipe) with peanut butter to taste.

I’ve also had the combo on a big bed of salad greens.

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JUST DO IT.

…I would tell you that I think baking skills are a prerequisite for becoming a physical therapist. All the the treats that the PTs bring in to work are phenomenal. Like these cookies and cream cupcakes for someone’s birthday:

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oreo on the bottom, chocolate cupcake, homemade cookies and cream frosting, mini oreo on top

Other treats this summer have included cake pops, homemade chocolate chip cookies, the moistest (sorry) banana bread ever, and pound cake. #help

…I would perpetuate Asian stereotypes for giggles.

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Italian pasta originated from Asian noodles anyway

…I would tell you that I got to hang out with Daliza twice this weekend! She took me to the movie Cafe Society on Thursday night, which I really enjoyed (check it out in smaller, indie movie theaters!). It stars Steve Carrell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Blake Lively.

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Then on Saturday I met up with her and our other high school friend Apaula to see our high school chorus teacher at one of his gigs. Fun to catch up with all of them!

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…I would gush over the weather we had last week and hope that it continues into this week.

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…I would tell you that eats at home recently have been on point. It’s been fun eating out these past few several weekends, but I loooooove eating home cooked meals.

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classic overnight oats

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Mom’s comforting meal on Friday night after a long, sick day at work: whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce, grilled spicy chicken, and fresh basil

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banana nectarine hot oatmeal with “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter

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classic avocado egg toast with sriracha

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delicious panini a la Madre: whole wheat roll with turkey, swiss, greens, homemade carrot and radish pickles, spicy hummus, and sriracha *drool*

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artichoke hummus that I finally popped open from Stowe, VT with baby carrots

…I would tell you that moves and grooves were low-key this weekend since I was sick. Thursday was yoga, Friday was rest, Saturday was Pilates + one day of the 100s challenge (sort of…I didn’t do all the sit-ups), and Sunday was some walking and random playtime on a playground.

…I would tell you that it’s already been a year since I went to the local Indian festival with Rachel! I went with Ben and Pop yesterday, where we shared some Indian grub and walked around the park.

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 …I would ask you:

Which Olympics sports are you following?

If you studied abroad, how did you feel before going?

What is your favorite way to eat vegetables lately?

Have you seen any good movies recently?

Old-School Things That I Hope Never Die

Look what went down in our kitchen last night.

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PeachBlueberryCobblerICannotContainMyExcitement. !!!!!!!!!!!

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I used this recipe as a guide, which is different from the one I used last year. This one is more of a biscuit-topping-cobbler, while the one I made last year was more of a cake-like-cobbler.

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I used a little too much fruit, because the cobble to fruit ratio was a little low for my liking. (I was seriously considering making another batch of the biscuit topping but decided not to be so greedy.) I also used lime zest instead of orange zest, and added ground nutmeg and ginger to the fruit, which made it somethin’ special. Dad and I enjoyed it a la mode of course.

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Something about baking peach cobbler makes me feel like I should be wearing a 50s housewife dress and a white, lace-trimmed apron. That sounds so anti-feminist, but frankly, I think making something delicious by hand that brings a smile to someone’s face is anything BUT lame.

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After baking fresh peach cobbler— a classic Southern dessert— I started thinking about some other old-school things that should never go out of style. For the record, this list does not include long-haired slick backs, white T-shirts, good girl faith, or tight little skirts.*

Old-School Things That I Hope Never Die

1. Sit-down dinners with family members.

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Sitting down for dinner with family members is a privilege. I find that having dinner with loved ones not only encourages good conversation and slower eating, but it also helps foster greater gratitude for the food and people I have in my life.

2. Snail mail.

Seriously, there is no feeling like getting a letter addressed to you in the mail that is from a loved one and has nothing to do with bills, coupons, or local politicians.

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During the summer I love taking the opportunity to find a couple pen pals and write back and forth a few times. It’s exciting receiving a letter and equally as exciting sending one, especially if he/she isn’t expecting it!

3. Late nights at the diner.

Diners seem to be more of an east coast thing if I’m not mistaken, but I love the casual, family-style atmosphere, as well as the comfort food (fries, milkshakes, pancakes, HIIIIII.)

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Diners on rainy nights are quintessentially classic. Like, cue some Grease music, please.

4. Real books.

I know a lot of people would agree with me on this one. As much as I love reading blogs and I love the environment, you absolutely cannot replace the experience of reading a book with tangible, dog-eared pages and that glorious smell of…paper…when you flip through.

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Although, I have issues taking care of my books, because I always tend to get them wet and wrinkly. The way I see it, the water damage adds character and vintage vibes to the book.

5. Ballroom dancing.

Secret sharing time! I used to take ballroom and latin dance lessons, and I would dance with my tall, skinny Russian instructor in shows (and in one competition).

Oh. Look what I found from six years ago…

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So there’s that.

Anyway, amidst the grinding, twerking, you’re-a-jerk-ing, and pop-lock-and-dropping of this era, I like to think that ballroom dancing remains a respected art that displays romance in a classy manner. I think it would be a sad day if no men knew how to properly frame a woman for dancing (not the prom-style hands on hips, arms around neck thing).

Wait, have we already reached that day?

6. Sleepovers.

Not that I think this will go away anytime soon…for young girls at least.

Is it socially acceptable to have sleepovers with my girl friends when we’re out of college? (I could say “adult sleepover”, but that connotes something quite different.) Like, if/when we’re married and my husband is out of town? Can I invite my gals over for pajamas, nail painting, face masks, cookie baking, chick flicks, and TMI talk?

Imma do it.

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Call me a retro-wannabe, but I think some things are called classic for a reason!

*Reference to Taylor Swift’s song, Style, in case you didn’t know what was going on there.

Hope you cool kids have a groovy day! 😉

So tell me:

What is your favorite summer desert?

Are there any old-school things that you hope never die?

Do you agree/disagree with any of the things on my list?

Rest and Digest

I love the kitchen.

I’m no chef, but I have been loving my time spent cooking and baking in the kitchen this summer. I don’t know if you picked this up from my blog/Facebook/Instagram (new handle by the way! @alison_grooves), but I love food! I am immensely grateful to have access to so many different kinds of food that are both good for me and good to me.

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lemonade and cookies from a stand run by some boys and their mom ♥ 

I also love my mom and her cooking, but not gonna lie, two is a crowd in the kitchen. #BattleForTheFrontBurner

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Simple Mills almond flour pumpkin muffins + Justin’s vanilla almond butter, courtesy of Blend swag

For the most part nowadays, I have the privilege of eating whatever I want, whenever I want. The only meal I consistently think about is breakfast, but that’s only because it’s my favorite meal of the day…because it always involves nut butter, banana, and dairy.

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Thursday morning oatmeal cookie dough cereal with banana

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Friday morning hot banana chia egg white oats in a {glass} Teddie peanut butter jar

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Sunday morning banana oat French toast bake topped with peanut butter+ Greek yogurt 

Then there are those few-and-far-between days when I start thinking about what I should be eating, when I should eat a snack, or whether I’ll be hungry enough for a scheduled meal out at a restaurant. It makes me anxious.

When I get anxious, my mind focuses on my stomach— in a bad way. I overanalyze my fullness or any sort of signal that might mean hunger. I physically feel stress and tension in my stomach because my mind is on it. When this happens, I usually feel full and crappy for the rest of the day. Any time I want to eat feels like I’m stress eating, because I don’t feel quite hungry enough for food, and then the cycle continues.

I don’t know why these rare days come up out of nowhere, but they do. Recently, it could be the fact that I have fewer obligations during the summer, lack of sleep, a combination of a few things…

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caprese grilled chicken {“This is better than a restaurant!” — Dad ➔ if I could physically blush, I would}

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best sweet roasted potatoes again!

I had a couple of those wonky days this past week, but what I’ve learned during recovery is to not be anxious about being anxious. It happens, and I’ll be okay. “This too shall pass.”

You know what else I’ve learned? Rest and digest (that whole parasympathetic nervous system at work, for all you biology geeks) is LEGIT.

For those of you who might not be familiar with “rest and digest”, digestion is not a priority for our survival when we’re in a stressful situation, so that’s one of the first processes to halt when we’re under stress.  When our bodies return to a normal, non-stressed state, digestion can continue.

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strawberry milkshake at the diner with Daliza 🙂

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making her own “coffee affogato

Thus, when I’m not stressed about food (or anything), I have more of an appetite! For instance, whenever I take a nap (like that crazy two hour nap I took last week), I almost always wake up ready to eat something.

Former me would have thought: There’s no way I can be hungry. I was out on the couch for two hours doing absolutely nothing with my body.

Current me knows: Napping gives my body the opportunity to rest and, therefore, digest. {which is why breakfast is such a fun meal, because I (most of the time) pop out of bed like eyyyy let’s eat!}

In addition, I feel that eating enough calorically also helps my digestion, or at least my comfort. When I eat a lot of volume but not a lot of calories (unintentionally!), my stomach feels like an inflated balloon, but the rest of my body feels like it needs some energy.

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crockpot bbq chicken with pasta + salad with homemade mustard vinaigrette + suhweeeeet corn!

And when I feel digested, I feel more comfortable throughout the rest of my day. I don’t have to focus on my stomach anymore.

Side note: I’ve also lowered my veggie intake. As in, I don’t need to have a monster salad and a freaking garden of vegetables for both lunch and dinner. Some peppers with hummus at lunch and a normal side salad at dinner is good enough, allowing my GI tract to be like, HALLELUJAH.

TMI? Sorry, not sorry. Gut talk is important.

With that said, I hope you all have a rockin’ Monday! Rest and digest.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt the difference in your digestion between when you’re stressed and when you’re not?

Do you like having the kitchen to yourself (or are you less selfish than I am)? 

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? For me, it’s a tough call between the caprese chicken, french toast bake, and sweet corn!