Japan: Embracing All of the Food and Finding Balance

Photo by Dustin Eastment

Two weeks ago packed bags in hand, I headed to the airport for a much anticipated vacation to Japan. In December despite having had time off for the holidays I was still feeling unsatisfied when I happened to stumble upon cheap airfares to Tokyo. Without much of a pause we decided to book the trip for late Feb. From the moment the tickets were purchased I started to get that usual feeling related to vacation, a mix of excitement and anxiety. One might wonder why I would be anxious, its a vacation. Well my anxiousness is not about going somewhere I have never been before, or going to a place where I cant speak the language. Instead it is always related to exercise and how will I maintain my daily routine while traveling. Let’s just say I have a tendency to be a little neurotic when it comes to vacations and fitness. Yes on vacation I will enjoy my time. I eat, drink, relax, but I also make sure I exercise daily in order to keep up with all of the vacation’s pleasures. Now this is not a bad thing and by no means am I saying one should not exercise on vacation or one should only exercise on vacation. What I am saying is vacation is also a time to rest, unwind, and enjoy a moment you do not always get. You need to make sure you are being authentic to yourself, what you need, and finding balance.

I can recall a trip to Portugal a couple of years back where after the 6th day of running in a row piled on top of miles and miles of walking my body ached. It was sore, tired, and hating me. Yet I pushed myself to run everyday until I left, 10 days straight. Why? Because I could not be satisfied with walking being enough for exercise. I was so afraid of being able to enjoy all of the food and drinks unless I did my daily sweat session. I ignored my body and followed my mind. I have struggled for years with embracing rest days. Even though mentally I know we need them as that is when our bodies actually change and physically I can feel when it is needed, but yet I tend to power through regardless.  Over the past 2 years I have been working really hard to find balance in all that I do and I have made huge strides from where I have been.

So where am I going with all of this? I know, I digress. Well after the ticket was purchased, the anxiety bubbled up, I pushed it back down, and I decided this was going to be the trip I find balance with exercise on vacation. I was going to use this time to listen to my body and just enjoy being in an amazing place with my favorite person. But if I am being honest with you all, I think this was also the catalyst and part of the reason I catapulted myself into almost 3 full months of eating Whole 30 and removing booze from my diet. If I could control my food choices prior to my trip it would make me feel better equipped to enjoy my time fully in Japan. See, I am still not perfect 🙂

A surprise at our hotel. A great omen to start the trip!

Now onto the trip! We flew down to LA the night before our direct flight the next morning to Tokyo. We decided spending an extra $80 for a hotel room was worth saving the stress of having to get up at 3:00 am in San Francisco and what a great decision it was. My morning started with a 6 mile run and a 20 minute weight lifting session. One obsession I have before long flights is getting a good run in as I like stretching my legs out before they will be sitting for extended periods of time. I also had been working my body really hard the month leading up to vacation, so after this session I felt fully ready to rest and take the vacation fully on. I pre-packed a ton of food (as per usual) to have healthy options on the plane. We ended up eating everything I brought, plus some, so it was a good use of time and backpack space.

Our AirBnb

The first half of the trip we spent in Tokyo. I took the first 2 days off of working out. My body needed rest, which I had been ignoring for the last month. Plus I wanted to be able to wake up each morning in my bed and enjoy a cup of coffee in sweats with my love. It has been probably 5 years since I have taken 2 days off in a row from working out, so it felt luxurious and empowering. On our first full day in Tokyo we crammed as much in as humanly possible. It started with a trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market, which was by far my favorite experience in Tokyo. There were rows upon rows of stands of food. We tried a bit of it all. Every taste was amazing, eclectic, and different from anything you could find back home. Instead of walking while eating, something we are very accustomed to in the States, you were expected to finish each treat at the stand with where it was purchased. Upon finishing you would say thank you and dispose of your trash. This was just one of the many differences culturally I enjoyed.

As the day progressed we happened to stumble upon the Tokyo Marathon on our way to the Sensoji Temple.  It was an amazing race with various acts of entertainment. You can think of a parade with Geisha’s, dragons, and more. After we had enough of the race we walked through to the temples, obviously trying more snacks from vendors along the way. Our last stop that day was to the Shibuya shopping district with the famous large intersection where thousands upon thousands of people are walking.  For those of you who have watched Lost In Translation this will look very familiar. Seeing the swarms of people was just astonishing and to me this was the iconic image I get in my mind when I think of Tokyo.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next day after all of the pure craziness that is Tokyo we decided to do a day trip down to a little coastal town Kamakura to see the Great Buddah among other various temples. The town was quaint and chilly, but worth the trek after the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. We enjoyed the quaintness and charm the town had to offer along with some great shops and cobbled streets.

That evening we came back to Tokyo and went for a drink in the Golden Gai district prior to our reservations at the Robot Restaurant. First let me paint a picture of what the Golden Gai district is. It is all of these narrow, tiny alley ways lined up side by side. If you were to just walk by you would not twice about what was there, but hidden in these small streets are over 250 bars. The bars are small, holding maybe a handful of guests in each, which makes it feel special and private. The best I can equate it to is like finding an entire alleyway built on the premise of speakeasy’s. This was nothing like the neighboring district it was in, which is kind of like the Las Vegas strip. The alley’s were dark and if you did not know what to look for you would completely miss it. We were there on the early side of the evening so most of the bars were still closed, but we did happen to find one open where we enjoyed some sake before heading out to the show at the Robot Restaurant. Now the Robot Restaurant is like stepping foot inside a Las Vegas show, but one that meets neon Anime. When we arrived we grabbed some drinks and were escorted down to our seats to wait for the show to start. The best way to describe the show is being entertained with music, dancing, visual effects, lots of costumes, robotics, and floats. Think if Alice in Wonderland met Dinosaurs met Robots met glitter, and flashing lights. The show was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and worth checking out if you visit. But mind you this is a total tourist attraction.

Our AirBnb

On our 3rd morning in Tokyo I woke up with a ton of energy and felt ready for a run. Plus I always like to run in every city I stay in. I did a 5 mile trek around the neighborhood of our AirBnB. It was a chilly 38 degrees out, but felt good once I got up and moving. After my run we packed up and headed down to Kyoto where would spend the rest of our trip. We took the bullet train, which was a really cool experience. Fun fact is the bullet trains can go up to 350+ miles per hour. We found some delicious treats in the station and had a leisurely brunch as we went.

 

Upon arriving in Kyoto we checked out their Niskiki Market, which if you have been to San Francisco is very similar to going to the Ferry Building. Lots of treats and snacks to taste and buy. This was by far one of my favorite parts of the trip (can you tell I love to snack on food). The food was amazing, with samples of everything. It was similar to the market we went to in Tokyo, but inside and with even more amazing food and gifts. Everything was served either on a stick or in a hand size portion.We went hear starving for lunch and although it took us a lot of little bites, we left feeling full and satisfied from the whole experience. Even as I write this I am yearning to go back and relive that market just one more time. I think I may have to go to the Ferry Building this weekend to fulfill my snacking craving.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next morning I decided to do a 30 minute at home barre workout mixed with a little cardio prior to us heading out to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This was my favorite outdoor adventure we had the entire trip and I can see why it is written up year after year as the best attraction in all of Japan. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Very iconic and there were so many visitors with selfie sticks trying to get a photo in. Can I just mention I have never seen so many selfie sticks in all of my life!  The hike was about 2-3 hours with the first half all going straight up stairs. By the end of it I felt I had been on the stair master for a good couple of hours. After the hike complete we grabbed a drink and decided our bodies were in need of some TLC, so we went to a traditional Japanese massage house. I already am in love with traditional Thai massages  in San Francisco and the Japanese style was not too far off.  What was different is you laid on your side in more of a fetal position for the entirety of the massage, alternating sides throughout.  When the massage was done I felt amazing and ready to keep going on for the rest of the night. That evening we checked out an amazing cocktail speakeasy bar owned by a French man and operated by an Irish fellow, a Polish lady, and a German. It was fun to chat with all of them and hear what had brought them to Japan. A common theme you might guess, love for a Japanese girl.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next day I woke up and repeated my barre/cardio workout, although I made this one a little longer at 40 minutes. My legs felt on fire from the day before, but moving and stretching helped get me ready for the day. Our first adventure for the morning was to head over to a snow monkey park. What was cool about this place is  the monkeys are not caged and roam freely around you. Thus giving you the experience of almost like being in the wild with them. There was a steep 20-30 minute hike up to the top of the hill where they resided. Upon hitting the summit I was nice and sweaty despite the cold weather.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

After a couple of hours frolicking with the monkeys we hiked back down and walked over to the bamboo grove, another top tourist attraction. Pictures do not do the beauty of this place justice. The bamboo towers over you, making you feel small and insignificant. Light would peak through creating unbelievable picturesque moments. Along the way we grabbed a pork bun and sesame bun, which I only mention because it ended up being one of my favorite meals from the whole trip. That afternoon/early evening we decided to go to the sake brewery district and do sake tasting. One aged sake we tried tasted like pure whiskey. With a little buzz on and  having walked 30k+ steps during the day with little food we definitely indulged in a huge meal for dinner. It consisted of a lot of traditional food with our favorite, rice with a raw egg on top. You have to try! We were home and asleep by 8:30. Two crazy kids living it up in the big city.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next morning my legs were still exhausted so I took a rest day and also wanted to be ready for the 90 minute hike we had planned up in North Kyoto between two little towns, Kibune and Kurama. We started in Kurama hiking up the steep steps and meandering through the temples before getting on the path to the next town Kibune. The hike was beautiful and it was nice to be outside with nature. The hike took all morning so after we grabbed a quick bite and hiked back down to the bus station to head back to our place in the city. We had read about a craft beer movement starting to spur in Japan with Osaka becoming a central hub. So that afternoon after we decided to take the train down south and test out a few of the breweries. In my true snacking nature we got a little appetizer at each place with the beer. Allowing us to taste a few various things. After we had our fill of delicious beer we headed back to Kyoto.

Once back in Kyoto we ventured to a ramen shop for dinner. Most of our evenings consisted of sake and ramen for dinner as Dustin was obsessed with the dish. On this night we found an awesome spot where you had to order at a vending machine outside and bring your ticket into the restaurant to get served. A very common practice in Tokyo, but challenging when the menu is only in Japanese. Thank god for google translator. The ambiance of this place was on point and the food was amazing. Perfect end to our last night in Kyoto. This was by far our favorite ramen stop on the trip and weeks later Dustin is still talking about it.

The next morning was my last day in Japan. I woke up with a ton of energy and decided to go for a run. What started off as a quick 5 mile run ended up being 7 miles as my body felt good and it was nice to move it. I ran all around and through the imperial palace, a short jaunt from our place. Next we headed on the bullet train back to Tokyo where I went with Dustin to check into his next AirBnb. I had to be back in San Francisco for work, but Dustin was tagging on a few more days to explore Tokyo. Our last meal together was at a little restaurant I managed to find which had amazing food and was on the oldest gold fish farm in Tokyo. Not bad for a last minute find and a great end to the trip.

Overall our trip was amazing. It consisted of a lot of sake, beer, ramen, markets, outdoor adventures, and a mass amount of walking. When I say a mass amount on average throughout the trip we walked anywhere from 10-16 miles a day, with our average coming in at 12-13 miles. I left feeling in love with the Japanese culture. The way they approach living. Their cities are clean and safe. People ride bikes without locking them up, kids 6 years old take the subway by themselves to school. Everything a big city should be. Their food is fresh. Their people are polite, respectful and I am now constantly thinking about how I can continue to bring a little bit of Japan into my everyday life. If anyone gets the chance I highly recommend checking it out. Also happy to give any tips and tricks I have. Enjoy!

Topics to Enjoy Over Coffee

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Happy Monday friends! We finally have a break from all of the rain in San Francisco, therefore I am trying to get in every ray of sunshine I can before the rain comes again. It is amazing how you can take something like sunshine for granted till you don’t have it for a few weeks on end. It has brought a whole new appreciation for mother nature, which is just nice to stop and reflect on.

I am officially 44 days into my Whole 30. I keep debating when I am going to stop. I have a little bit of an addictive personality so it makes it hard to give up something when I start. Watching each day pass onto the next and seeing them all add up to a sum total feels like a big accomplishment.  With that said, I am not feeling all of the amazingness I had hoped I would. Maybe it is just me wanting it to be more then it really is?

At the end of the month I will be heading off to Japan for an 8 day vacation!!  I am planning on eating and drinking all of the food and sake to my hearts content. Therefore I decided I may need to start re-introducing foods this week so I don’t defeat part of the whole goal of Whole 30, to see if you have any food sensitivities. I am also trying to pull back on my fruit intake as I have currently been using it as a crutch for my sugar cravings and frankly eat an absurd amount. Yesterday and today I have gone cold turkey, which may not sound like a huge accomplishment, but trust me it is.  Fingers crossed I can keep up withholding. Goal as of now is to try and be fruit and alcohol free till the trip starts. I am starting  dairy for re-introduction as I just miss my greek yogurt. And if I am giving up fruit a girl has to have something to look forward to!  Then I am thinking gluten free grains and maybe soy and legumes. Will keep you all posted!

Interesting People:

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Tim Ferris: A couple of weeks ago a couple of us went to see Tim Ferris speak at the Castro Theater. I was introduced to Tim’s work through my partner Dustin as he is a big fan. Tim is best known for being a national best selling author, with his most note worthy book being “The 4-Hour Work Week.” In addition he is an entrepreneur, a pubic speaker, and has been an angel investor. He saw  potential in some of the top companies within Silcone Valley before anyone else did. For instance Facebook, Uber, and Twitter just to name a few. He hosts a weekly podcast, which I love not only for his content but his voice as well. It is just memorizing. Overall he is an impressive man and constantly pushes himself to the limit for self experimentation. It was an informative and inspiring talk and I highly recommend checking him out!

Valentines Day: Although I am attached and very much in love, I have never been a big fan of Valentines Day. Maybe it was all of the years of being single and having to see happy couples celebrate with flowers and expensive dinners, where I spent many years with girlfriends, over drinking, and sharing in all of our awful dating stories. With that said I thought I would share a couple of articles I found interesting this week. And they are not about being madly in love.

Here’s The Porn People Will Be Watching on Valentine’s Day

These New Burger King “Adult Meals” Come With A Toy — And It’s Exactly What You Think

Shocking Valentine’s Day Stats That Will Make You Rethink Your Marketing

Podcast: How I Built This– A friend shared this podcast with me a couple of months ago and I am obsessed! As the website states “How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands. If you’ve ever built something from nothing, something you really care about — or even just dream about it.” I highly reccomend checking it out! My favorite ones thus far are the founders of Instagram, Air BnB, and Patagonia.

How I Built This logo

Whole 30 Week 4 and Workouts

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A few nights ago I dreamt of a cupcake. I was holding it, looking it up and down, assessing every inch of its deliciousness. It was not your conventional store bought cupcake, oh no. It was a perfectly baked, moist, treat. The flavor was simple, a vanilla cake with what I can only imagine to be cream cheese frosting. My eyes devoured it while my mind started to express the guilt I would feel for eating it, for breaking the Whole 30 rules. I took that first bite and the sugary goodness melted over me like being hit with a ray of sunshine on a summer day. Then I woke up.

A couple of nights later it happened again. This time not with a cupcake, but with alcohol. Whiskey to be precise. A beautiful cocktail in a stemmed glass. I swirled the liquid around, bringing my nose right to the top and smelling all it had to offer. The moral and mental battle raged on again before ultimately the first sip was taken. The warm liquid moved down through my body warming me up from the inside out. I felt calm, relaxed, and happy. Then I woke up.

Now I am not one to dream about food, especially foods I almost never partake in. Maybe once or twice a year I indulge in a cupcake or a whiskey cocktail, but neither are high on my can’t live without list. Which made it that much more interesting to see these treats pop up into my sub concise. My best guess for interpretation is after 28 days of nothing but pure obedience to the rules, my mind feels it is either tired of being so strict or maybe it feels it deserves a reward. Either way I am on the home stretch with 28 days complete and 3 more to go. Right now I am still debating if I want to continue on after the 31 days or start the re-introduction of foods instead. Most likely I will just keep going until something so amazing and tempting comes across my plate I can’t say no.

This week I had the pleasure of actually going to see Melissa Hartwig, the founder of the Whole 30 speak at a book signing. It couldn’t have been better timing since starting the program I have become slightly infatuated with her. It was on Thursday night up in Marin County, a pretty short 25 minute drive from my house over the Golden Gate Bridge. Ideally I would have had a partner in crime to go with me, but it wasn’t in the cards so a solo adventure it became.

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One of my favorite pastimes is seeing authors speak. I love to hear them describe their work, their passion. Hearing them describe how they came about the eloquent words they spent hours typing. I love the questions the audience asks and seeing how quickly they are able to gather their thoughts to respond back. (Which from personal experience is a pretty nerve racking endeavor.) I ended up being more then pleasantly surprised with Melissa, I was flat out impressed. She was fluid with her thoughts, personable with a happy demeanor, smart, candid, and relatable. After almost an hour of talking and Q&A I waited inline for longer then I should have to get my book signed by her and the other author at the event, Danielle Walker from Against the Grain. What ended up being my huge disappointment of the evening? Asking the stranger behind me to take a photo of us. Is it that hard to get someones whole head in a shot? It was a smart phone, not a complex point and shoot. Oh well, if that was my biggest annoyance of the week it was a good week.

Here is to the last 3 days, hopefully the food dreams will start to calm down. Its making it hard to stay on track!

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 60 minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method, 30 minute strength training at gym

Wednesday: 65 minute Spinning Class at Body Rok, 20 minutes of  strength training at gym. Technically class was only 45 minutes but I stayed on the bike a bit longer

Thursday: 60 minute Burn Class (mix of weights, cardio, and pilates board)

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok. I was looking forward to this class all week! Not only was it taught by my favorite instructor in SF, but it was also an 80’s themed ride!

Saturday: 46 minute 7.10 mile run

Whole 30 Week 3 and Workouts

 

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Wow, I cant believe I am 21 days into my Whole 30. This week was pretty much on cruise control, thank god! Since I was home from traveling I was able to cook  and prep most of my meals, which makes a huge difference. Typically I like to do most of my meal prep for the week on Sundays. It is a life saver to make a big dish so I have something to eat for lunch throughout the week. This past weekend I ended up having lots of time with friends, so my Sunday routine was thrown off. This meant I had to do more cooking at home after work when all I wanted to do was sit and un wind. My other saving grace this week was Whole Foods Hot Bar. It has saved me when I didn’t get my usual veggies roasted and I needed to grab some quick to add to a salad. My only complaint with Whole Foods is they use a lot of Canola Oil in their food, which technically is complaint in the Whole 30, but not encouraged. Oh well, a girl has to make sacrifices and for me that was it.

So what should I be feeling 21 days in? In reading the Whole 30 guidelines by this time I should be in the stage they call Tiger Blood. What is Tiger Blood you ask? Well according to their website it was a phrase they took from the actor Charlie Sheen (which who knows what he was using it for) and then attached their own definition to it. Essentially Tiger Blood is the part of the program where you are passed the biggest hurdles, i.e. the cravings and “hangover” part. From the website, “Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.”

For myself it is not this dramatic transformation I anticipated. However there are definitely some noticeable differences. I would say if you are not looking for them, it could be easy to miss. Let’s start with the more noticeable ones. First my carvings for non Whole 30 Foods is pretty low or non-existent. I dont have any urge right now for anything processed, sugary, bread/grain like, or even alcohol. Which if you know me a glass of wine, bread, and cheese plate are my 3 essentials if I would be trapped on a desert island.  I was also really nervous about not drinking for a month due to the social impact. Instead I have been trying to spend more time with friends outside of happy hour. This has lead to many a coffee, breakfast, or workout class dates. It is a friendly reminder are friends love us regardless of what we put in our mouths.

Next and probably the most impactful is I am sleeping sooooooooo much more soundly. If you can relate, there is nothing worse then waking up all throughout the night. You wake up feeling almost as bad as if you had gone to bed at 2:00am. So to be able to get a full nights sleep night after night is incredible. Just to be fair though, we also did just buy a new King Bed around the same time this started, so that may have something to do with it as well.

My pants are fitting better. This was something I noticed after the first round I did of Whole 30 back in December and was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to continue the program. After years of practically starving myself I just can’t ever go back to that place. So it is nice to feel like I am not depriving myself of any food and I am still able to see an impact. I have also had some other things I started around December 1st that could be attributing, but regardless of what it is I will take it.  I am not sure what this equates to weight wise as we are not allowed to weigh ourselves on the program, which is fine by me as I broke up with my scale over a year and a half ago and have never looked back!

Lastly and the least noticeable is my energy. I wear a fit bit everyday and track my steps. Since starting the Whole 30 I have noticed without even trying I have added an extra 2-4k steps a day. This is huge if you really think about it as it is an extra 1-2 miles a day. Without trying my body has just wanted to move more. I have also found I have energy to do more “life” stuff like go through my closet, pay bills, cook, get together with friends, etc.  If I had not been paying really close attention to this one I may have completely over looked it.

To summarize, I may not be Tiger Blood yet, but I am seeing the Eye of the Tiger for sure.  One week left to go, although I am not going to lie, I might just keep this party going as long as I can. It feels good to feel good, you know?

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at the Bar Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 50 minute Barre Class at Mint Studio, 26 minute 4.15 mile run

Wednesday: 50 minute Spinning Class at Core 40

Thursday: 60 minute training session with personal trainer. Lots of legs and arms! Could hardly walk the next day

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 33 minute 5.15 mile run, 60 minute Barre Class at Pop Physique

Whole 30 Week 2 and Workouts

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Just last week I sat perched in one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops writing my first Whole30 post feeling inspired. As I sipped on my decaf coffee with my Whole30 approved nutpod creamer, now a staple in my oversized purse, I felt confident, in control, and motivated. Sure I had been ravenous with hunger all week and yes I had been snacking way too much, but I was eating whole nourishing foods, most of which was prepared by my own two hands. I looked forward to the days ahead where if history repeated itself I would be feeling amazing and questioning why I ever ate any other way. As I write today, feeling annoyed and slightly discouraged,  I can’t help but think what a difference a week can make.

What happened in a week you might ask? Two words, Orlando Flordia. Yep, I had my first work trip of the year. Now managing eating healthy while traveling is nothing new to me. Years ago I embraced being “that girl” who had almost an entire carry on bag with homemade meals and snacks to last me through a good chunk of my trip. I am also quite skillful at researching what is around my hotels and typically have my workouts and grocery store lined up in order to prep for the week. Going into this trip I found one of my favorite barre studios along with a Whole Foods half a mile from the Hotel. As I boarded my plane on Monday, bag full of food in hand, I thought this week was going to be a breeze!

The first day was just that, a breeze. I had my  pre-made snacks and found an awesome all veggie salad at the airport from one of my favorite restaurants in the city Plant Organic Cafe.  I dressed the salad with my carry on sized coconut aminos, saving some calories from the high caloric dressing included with the salad. Upon arriving to the hotel I un-packed and headed over to Whole Foods. I walked up and down the islets at the hot food bar reading every items ingredients thoroughly as if I was going to be tested on it later. As I passed by each delicious looking veggie or meat dish I found there was either soy, dairy, or sugar hiding in it. I gradually became more and more annoyed with the fewer and fewer options I had to eat. Must we cook everything in soy or add sugar!  But at last I found some good options and went back to my hotel room to eat, watch Netflix, and prepare for the couple of long days ahead of me.

Day 2 started fine. I brought breakfast and lunch with me, a combo of groceries from Whole Foods and snacks I had brought with me. Later that evening my team wanted to go out to dinner. I of course wanted to be a good sport and spend time with them, regardless of my dietary needs. I was determined to make it work! At the restaurant I did my do diligence. I asked for the gluten free menu and after reading it thoroughly landed on the chicken lettuce cups with cashew cheese and a couple of sides of steamed veggies. As soon as the waiter laid down the beautiful plate in front of me I took one look at the chicken and knew there was some sort of sauce on it which would not be compliant. I had to be “that girl” and send it back t to be replaced with plain grilled chicken. I left the restaurant feeling proud of myself, I had navigated through my first dining experience out.

Later that evening as I laid in bed my stomach started to feel off. I decided to go online and look at the menu again just to make sure. Apparently the regular menu had more details then the gluten free and right there with the cashew cheese it said peanuts and soy sauce. Um not ok! What if someone who was gluten free also had a peanut allergy, it would have been nice for them to include that information in the regular menu.  Immediately my heart sank. The Whole 30 rules are very strict. You break a rule you start over, no matter what.

I sat there contemplating and debating back and forth on whether I follow the rules or carry on. Starting over meant the last 10 days would have been wasted. The sauce was on the side and I hardly used it, but rules are rules. However this was not a personal slip or from a lack of trying or lack of willpower. I was annoyed, but finally I decided I would just march on as if nothing had happened. I needed to feel motivated to keep going and giving up the last 10 days was not going to do it. Plus I figured at day 30 I could just add one more day. Then after that day, I will add on one more, and so on until hopefully I could make up the extra 10 days.

The rest of the trip and week ended up being smooth, as I just stuck to the meal prep I had. However I started to feel bored with what I was eating and frustrated in how every restaurant prepared food. As the week started to come to a close my emotions started to take a tole. I was now 13 days into the program and not feeling the amazingness I felt by this time on the last go around. Maybe it was the slip up I had, maybe it was the 3 hour time change with the trip, maybe it was the serious sleep deprivation, either way I was not feeling the ease of motivation to continue. Luckily I am pretty determined so once I set my mind to something I will see it through. Although it does make it a hell of a lot easier when you feel like you are getting something out of it. Oh well, now I am just hoping with this next week the tides will change and my body will become the amazing temple I know it can be.

Workouts:

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday: 55 minute spinning class at Uforia Studio.

Tuesday: 40 minute 6 mile Run. Plus LOTS of extra walking today

Wednesday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. 1 mile run. 20 minute heavy weight set.

Thursday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. Was going to run, but woke up with my legs extremely tired after walking 13+miles the day before on top of my workout. I am trying to do a better job of listening to my body.

Friday: 55 minute spinning class at Lavation. This studio is not my favorite, but is only a half mile from my house. Proximity just wins sometimes.

Saturday: 60 minute Burn Class. Burn is a mix of cardio ( burpees, mountain climbers, sprints, etc.) plus weights, and a pilates board with bands. Great full body workout

Whole 30 Week 1 and Workouts

 

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I am officially 7 days complete into my January Whole 30 and so far so good! Luckily I came from a pretty good jumping off point. Having already completed 16 days  of the Whole 30 in December and holding onto most of the principles the rest of the month has made this transition a lot easier. In general the majority of the food I already consumed was in the fruit or veggie family, but I have never been a big meat eater. In December the hardest transition was stopping my morning greek yogurt or overnight oats, obsessed, and having to add in more protein. I get very easily confused for a vegetarian, but in reality I just never never been one to crave meat. It feels quite bizarre to now be eating chicken for breakfast.

Now let’s get real for a moment. Although I have been 100% compliment in terms of the food you are allowed to eat, I do need to improve upon some of the core principles. For instance I love to snack and have been a grazer the last five years. This has made it very challenging for me to adhere to the 3 meal a day rule with only having snacks if you are truly hungry. I also have a fruit problem and pop grapes like candy. This goes against the whole “Slaying your sugar dragon.” I have also just been plain ravenous this week. Maybe it is due to workouts, hormones, or what have you. Either way I would like to get a normal appetite again.

If this whole 30 goes like the last one did it was around day 9-10 my appetite started to get suppressed, I had more sustained energy, and was not reaching for food to help get me through the day.  It usually takes about 10-14 days once you get sugar out of your system for your body to start using fat to run off of instead, which then helps in aiding weight loss. On a positive note my sleep has dramatically improved over the last 4 nights. I always struggle with sound sleeping, so having had 4 nights of rest makes me feel like a whole new person!

I thought for the month of Jan as I am going to be talking a lot about my food why not add my exercise routine in as well. Since it is a huge component to the overall picture. Below is what I did this past week. On a side note I also walk a TON, which I didn’t include as I just count is as a part of my daily life. Most days I walk an extra 2-5 miles outside of just my usual moving around. This is why I love having a dog, they force you to move. I wear a fitbit and walk a minimum of 10k steps a day for reference. On average I am in the 14k-16k range a day.

Workouts:

Sunday: New Years Day Special 90 minute barre class at one of my favorite studios Mint!

Monday: 50 minute spinning class. First time trying Flywheel in the city. As you know from previous posts I am obsessed with this place and overtime I go to New York it is on my hit list. I was a little underwhelmed with the SF class.

Tuesday: 60 Minute Barre Fight Class at Salt. A mix of Barre and Kick Boxing. 30 minute weight training set at my work gym.

Wednesday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Thursday: 60 minute strength training session with my awesome personal trainer.My favorites moves of the day were the trap bar deadlift and the landmine

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 40 minute sculpt class on reformer machine. 50 minute spin class. Both at Body Rok

 

 

 

New Year, New Goals

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Last week I got on the subject of New Years Resolutions with a friend. He, like many other people, is in the camp that resolutions are silly and it makes no sense to use only one time a year to set a goal or make changes to one’s life. His mindset is if you want to do something you should just do it, there is no reason to wait. I of course agreed with this point of view, but also challenged my view on how there is something refreshing about starting a New Year with a set of new possibilities. A cleanse  from where life was and where you want it to go.

I have never been one to set a resolution per say. I feel stating large goals like I want to lose weight, are arbitrary and can set you up to fail. I on the other hand am all about starting a new year with new goals. I try to make my goals SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time oriented (And yes this is just one of many signs I have worked a lot of years in a corporate office.)

For example. If 6 years ago I had just said to myself I am going to lose weight, I may have stopped at just 10lbs or 15lbs. However if I had also said, I am going to lose 70lbs than I may have set myself up to fail as it was such a huge hill to climb. Instead I set an attainable goal. I am going to lose 20lbs. Once I hit that goal, I set a new one. I am going to lose another 20lbs. This continued until I no longer needed to lose weight. Then I set new and different goals for myself. I am going to kick drinking diet soda, which I used as a big crutch during weight loss. What I liked about this method is it set me up to succeed and kept me on track. Every year my goals tend to be pretty similar. I usually have one related to my body or health, one related to work, and another centered around a hobby or interest like reading, cooking, or something artistic.

This year I decided to set just January goals to start. I felt like a month was a good jumping off point as it would be enough time to get me on track, felt attainable, and would set me up to succeed. Also since habits usually form after 21 days it would hopefully keep going into the rest of the year. Most of my goals tie back into one another. I think this will also help keep me motivated.

  1. Complete a Whole 30: I tend to eat pretty healthy already, but have always had a love of carbs, it takes all of my self restraint to say no to a cheese and bread plate. I have also never been a huge meat eater, which since I am trying to build more muscle I need to make sure I am upping my protein. After Thanksgiving with all of the indulgences I decided to do a whole 30 for as much time as I could before heading home for Christmas. This ended up being about 15-16 days on the strict program. I ended up feeling amazing! I have been pretty much eating this way since December 1st, but have definitely not been strict. So I decided I may as well get back on track for Jan with the whole program. Plus it then goes into another goal of mine which is to try and cook more new  and different recipes.
  2. Embrace Minimalism: I grew up loving stuff. I was raised on going to garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. I loved the hunt, finding something someone’s no longer found value in, and creating a story to tie back to it. I have always been able to look at possessions and tie them back to memories. Whether it was a gift from a dear friend, a treasure I found on a trip, or just a great deal while shopping. I learned to equate stuff to memories, which in turn has always made it hard for me to part with belongings. Having lived with a minimalist for 5 years now, I have become much better at learning to part with items and also just not buying them in the first place. However for the month of Jan my goal is to not bring any none necessities into my home. Tied to this is also parting ways with items which no longer serve a purpose. Two days into the new year and I have already posted 3 ads on Craigslist to sell furniture along with getting rid of 4 bags of clothes. Off to a good start!
  3. Spend Less: For me the holidays got a little crazy with spending this year. Not only was it all of the gift giving for others,  but  a strong desire for stuff for myself. Not to mention my ass got kicked by a lot of unexpected expenses/bills. Thus for January I am going to be very aware of my spending habits. This ties back nicely to my two goals above. If I am not drinking  and eating out as often (Thank you Whole 30) and I am not bringing none necessities into my home it should help me pair down expenses. It will also help me think outside of the box on ways to hang out with friends and be social. Instead of the typical happy hour and dinner with friends I am going to try to plan a hike and do a homemade brunch with my girlfriends.
  4. Nurture my Home: Lastly all of these goals will lead to me spending more time at home. I want to clean, organize, and spend time loving my place. Nothing beats quality time reading, cooking, writing, and entertaining more in the space I love so dearly.

I am curious to know how others feel about New Year Resolutions and what goals you are setting for yourself? Either way, Happy New Year and hope everyone is kicking some 2017 butt already.

 

Topics to Enjoy Over Coffee

 

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Whole Foods Market Serves Up Top 10 Trends for 2017– Let’s all be honest food, groceries, and what to eat is becoming a phenom. I find Food to be just as trendy as Fashion and Style, with maybe a little longer shelf life. No-pun intended. I know there are a few items on this list I am personally very excited about!

Trends

Pantone Color Institute’s color of the year is ‘greenery’– 2016 has been a tough year for me personally and I don’t think I am alone. I have been very vocal about my excitement for 2016 to end and 2017 to begin. Pantone has released the color of the year and it is greenery, “A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.” Seems right up my alley.

Topics Worth Discussing

How we shop as consumers is changing. For those of us who remember a time, not that long ago, when if you wanted a book, a new top, or just to rent a movie you had to get in a car and drive to a store. The landscape of retail has changed over the last 2 decades with online and mobile shopping. Retail will only continue to morph from where it is now and grocery is the next frontier.Amazon is launching a new concept store where a customer will never have to go through checkout or even open their wallet. Walmart is making it easy  for customer’s to get groceries by just pulling up in a car and picking up, and of course new players are starting to emerge.

Radical Change Is Coming To Grocery Business As Amazon, Walmart, Lidl And Aldi Get Aggressive

Having lived in San Francisco for over a decade I am never surprised when our city does something progressive with legislation. I mean we were the first city in the nation to ban plastic bags. Depending on where you live in the States you may look at us and think we are extreme, but for me it is just one of the many reason’s I love this city so much. San Francisco is a place not afraid to push boundaries, to be innovative, and to push the envelope.

I came across a couple of articles this past week where Portland is stepping out with new legislation regarding pay inequality. Essentially the city has voted to tax companies whose CEOs make more than 100 times the median employee pay. Now the debate here is if this legislation is practical or more symbolic in nature. Below are two articles opposing different views. Curious to know what you think?

Council passes CEO surcharge, leans towards public campaign financing:

Why Portland’s Drastic Move to Limit CEO Pay Will Make ‘Virtually No Impact’

Welcome to December, Let’s Chat!

 

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Happy Friday! I thought it would be fun to share some things I am finding interesting, thought provoking, or just simply fun this week. Enjoy!

I love reading and I love celebrities, so when you have celebrity’s who write books, there is a good chance I am going to read it. Luckily celebrity memoir’s and health/fitness/beauty books have become very trendy so there does not seem to be any lack of content out there. Last night I went to an event by Book Passage to see Anna Kendrick talk about her new book, “Scrappy Little Nobody.” I find it fascinating to watch celebrities in real life. We become so accustomed to the characters they portray on our TV’s or on the big screen and can easily forget that is not who they are as people.  Anna seemed to be exactly what you would expect. Bubbly, confident, full of energy, funny, she was non-stop throwing out zingers and one liners to the audience, however it seemed to be following a well rehearsed “real life” her. I left wondering if there was much authenticity or was it just the version of herself she wanted portrayed. Either way I have yet to read the book, but I imagine it is going to be amusing and filled with lot’s of humor.

Patagonia’s Black Friday sales hit $10 million — and will donate it all–  You know how people have spirit animals? Well for me, Patagonia is my spirit company. I dont know what it is about the brand, especially since I tend to be brand-agnostic, but I have always loved them. My crush started in high school. Anytime I saw anyone was wearing Patagonia I felt like they must be the most adventurous or authentic person out there. In college the admiration continued. I did a whole independent research symposium on outdoor retailers and their efforts on sustainability, which without dating myself was prior to anyone knowing the “Sustainability.” To no surprise Patagonia was leading the pack with all of the efforts. Next I read Yvon Chouinard’s book  “Let My People Go Surfing” right upon it’s release in 2005, fascinated by the man behind the brand. Which if you have not read it I highly recommend! Patagonia continues to impress me as a company. They have a clear cut vision and purpose, which is acted on continuously in their business practices. This year they made headlines by pledging to donate everything they made on Black Friday to help fund over 100 environmentally friendly companies around the world. Now that is something to be inspired about this holiday season!

9 Delicious & Gorgeous Bay Area Cookbooks to Gift This Holiday Season– I love cookbooks! I think there are two types of people when it comes to cookbooks. Those who use them religiously when cooking and try every recipe they can. And then  the second group of people like me who will try maybe a recipe or two, but mainly buy them to look through all of the pretty pictures and keep on a bookshelf to show off. Here is a list of beautiful books for either gifting to yourself or others all from local chefs.

ModCloth’s First Store Is Exactly What Shopping Should Be– This article appealed to me on a few different levels. The first being I work in eCommerce and daily research articles describing what is moving and happening within the segment. Second Modcloth is partially based in San Francisco, so again I found this interesting as the company is close to home. Lastly I personally found it very easy to relate to based on my own personal experiences. 9 years ago I had my first trip ever to Las Vegas with 2 of my girlfriends. Upon landing and checking into our hotel, we decided to go out shopping and find new outfits to wear out for the evening. My girlfriends became ecstatic when we passed by Betsy Johnson. They ran in, grabbing beautiful dresses off of the rack to try on. My stomach dropped before even entering the store. I knew there was not going to be anything in my size, which at the time was a 12-14.  As my girlfriends came out of the fitting rooms sporting their size 4 figures, they looked at me puzzled. Why was I not trying on dresses? I simply explained nothing was really my style and therefore was just passing. This was a bold faced lie! I loved all of the dresses. They were beautiful and it hurt me to not be able to try them on with my friends. Mod Cloth is looking to create a shopping space where all women can feel confident, sexy, and equal. This is a concept I can get behind. It is these small things that may seem insignificant to some, but can be make or break another someone else.

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Let’s Get Nasty……#GIRLBOSS

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About a year ago I went through a new hobby on the verge of a semi-obsession. Like anyone else, when you find something new it starts to pre-occupy all of your spare time. It is fun, exhilarating, and helps to make the hours in a day fly by. For me this new hobby was all about business, literally. I became fascinated with the upper echelon in corporate America. How did the CEO’s of some of the biggest companies in the world get to where they are now. For those leaders who are women, how did they standout in a world dominated by men. I read book after book on the subject, attended conferences, and all the while it just pushed me even more within my own career. I had to get to the next level, I wanted to become one of these women I was reading about. It was not long after this I was promoted at work. Now having felt I had achieved a goal I had set out for myself I took a break from the all consuming world of business in my spare time to go back to reading a few lighter reads.

Now a year later and feeling that itch at work to get ahead becoming almost a rash I cant scratch, I decided to pick up a book that has been on my business to read list for quite sometime. I try to buy most books used if I can. As much as I want to become a kindle or tablet reader for the sake of the environment, there is just something I love so much about holding a newly purchased book in my hand. For this reason I try to buy most books used. Plus there is also the extra bonus of it feeding into my love of thrift and the hunt for what you want. I had looked for this book for quite sometime at my favorite used book store in the city with never any luck. Finally a couple of weeks ago I was in luck! I purchased it immediately and headed home on this particularity raining day to snuggle in my bed to start reading it. Upon opening the book I found what I can only imagine was the author Sophia Amoruso’s autograph, dedicated to “Hawks is a #Girlboss!” I knew this book was meant to be mine. Plus another perk of buying used, you never know what surprise you might find.

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I have read a lot of memoir’s along with business books over the last couple of years and this was defiantly one of my favorites. More for the story of Sophia’s rise to stardom vs the business advice. Although I do think she gives some very solid points, especially for girls who are just starting out in their career. She writes in a way that you can tell is truly in her voice.  Sophia is not afraid to tell it like it is or just be herself, something I truly admire. As a leader, you are made to think you have to be a certain type of leader in order to get a head or be respected. Something I have never quite agreed with. I admire Sophia for being the type of leader she wants to be, not who she feels she needs to be in order to get ahead. She truly proves anyone who is passionate, dedicated, and has that fire inside to succeed can.

I finished the book quickly and have since become fascinated by the author and what she has to say. I have found myself listening to her pod-cast , #girlboss, on my drive’s home from work. Here she interviews various women who within their own fields are dominating. Her conversations are real, not staged, and truly authentic. Sophia may not be for everyone, but for myself she is providing a much needed refresh into what a women leader can be.