Here is a list of some of my favorite things from books to snacks to home-workout equipment!
Intuitive Eating: This book is life changing! If you are interested in ditching dieting for good and finding food freedom + body respect, you must add this book to your list. It is foundational in everything I teach.
Anti-Diet: Another profound anti-diet culture book with eye-opening statistics on the history of diets. This book will help you see the problem with weight stigma & diet culture.
RX Vanilla Almond Butter: I love everything about these on-the-go almond butter packets. Easy, portable, tasty and a great source of protein & healthy fat to add to oats, fruit or just eat by itself!
Lily’s Chocolate Bar Variety Pack: ($5.50 / bar versus >$7.00 / bar) This is the way to buy Lily’s Chocolate! Sweetened with stevia with all of the delicious chocolate flavor. With food freedom, you can choose the real chocolate AND a lower sugar option – it’s all about what makes your body feel its best.
Resistance Bands: I love resistance bands because you get a great muscle burn from them without them taking up much space. I don’t have these exact ones, but love all the different levels provided.
Pilates Ball: Upgrade your throw pillow to an actual Pilates ball to add to your workouts.
Free Weights: Add these free hand weights to you workout collection. I don’t have these exact ones, but mine are similar! Love the neoprene covering for gripping.
NutriBullet: I LOVE my nutribullet! Great for making quick smoothies on the go, blender muffins, and easy clean up!
Definitely let me know if you try any of these!
Until Next Time, Happy Chewing! xoxo Katrina
This blog post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive a commission. All opinions are my own, and all brands featured represent what I personally like and support. This blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program where I earn advertising fees by linking to amazon.com.
So, you’ve dieted what seems like most of your life…and you’ve finally said you’re “done” with dieting…you just want to be “healthy”…so you look to magazines, blogs, Pinterest, and social media influencer’s to help you…
“This” influencer tells you to take a bunch of supplements, fast once a week, and drink a herbal detox twice a month. You do what they say, after all – this is what it takes to be “healthy”, right?
Then, “that” influencer tell you it’s okay to eat “forbidden” foods, but only on cheat days. And, if you want to eat fruit, don’t eat more than 2 servings per day if you really want to be “healthy”.
…only eat organic, non GMO foods if you want to be “healthy”.
Oh, and don’t even think about touching any grains, legumes, beans or night-shade plants because, well…you want to be “healthy”, don’t you?
“It’s not a diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle”…
Do you see a pattern here? It doesn’t matter if it’s a “fad” diet or not…if someone tells you to completely eliminate one food item out of your “lifestyle” (unless it’s an allergy or legit medical condition) – it’s a diet!
Now, why are diets undesirable? What’s wrong with them?
Well, in short, 90-95% of diets don’t work in the long haul. They aren’t sustainable for life. People go on diets to lose weight, then within 2-5 years after that diet, all the weight that was lost is gained back, plus some extra pounds. Does this sound familiar to you? It definitely resonates with me. And I’m sorry…but if you are still demonizing food but you’re not on an official “fad diet”, you’ve got a poor relationship with food. And without a true healthy relationship with food, you’ll have a hard time getting out of that “diet” mentality – whether you’re on a formal diet or not!
Here are 5 ways you can test if your “healthy lifestyle” is in fact diet culture posing as “wellness” or “fitness” culture.
You have a “good food – bad food” mentality You only buy the almond flour crackers because wheat is “bad”. You only buy cauliflower crust because it’s “gluten free”. You’ll only allow yourself to eat blueberries because other fruits are “fattening”, and blueberries are “super-foods”. You eat sweet potatoes over white potatoes because they are “healthier” according to diet culture. You’ll never touch anything with refined sugar in it, but eat the tar out of something made out of maple syrup or coconut sugar.
My friends, that is diet culture in disguise. “Wellness culture” is just modern day diet culture. If you find yourself forbidding these foods but you’re not on a “formal fad diet” – you’re still being affected by diet culture. Start by normalizing all foods. All foods provide your body with some sort of value, whether it’s nutrient dense or not.
Now, of course nutrient dense foods are nourishing for the body because they make our bodies physically feel good – packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber – but that doesn’t mean it’s “better” than other foods. Food does not hold a moral value – one food is not going to lead to weight gain or weight loss…food in excess leads to weight gain – regardless of what food it is.
You have to “earn” food Wellness culture highlights the importance of intense exercise. And if you want to be healthy, you gotta exhaust yourself in your workout (according to fitness culture).
I’m totally on board with exercise – I love it! I love it because it makes my body feel amazing – inside and out. But, why are you exercising? Are you exercising to burn calories? Do you find yourself overly exhausted after a workout? Can’t sit on a toilet 2 days after a leg workout? You’re likely over-training.
I used to think I had to burn at least 500 calories in a workout if I wanted to eat for the day. And if I was “planning” on eating dessert or going out to eat, I’d push myself even harder so I could “earn” food. But you know what? Your body STILL deserves and physically needs nourishment even if you lay in the bed all day. You of course need more fuel the more active you are…but you need food every single day – regardless if you worked out or not. You don’t have to exercise to earn food. Your body needs it for survival. Period.
If you’re craving “this”, eat “that” Have you ever seen those Pinterest graphics that say “if you’re craving chocolate, that means you’re deficient in magnesium. Eat some kale, it’ll curb your craving!”
I used to follow that stuff! And y’all – I don’t care who you are – if you’re craving chocolate, I can promise you eating kale will not satisfy that craving. I see this a lot from people’s experiences (and my own) – trying so hard to mask the craving by eating something “healthy” instead…
What happens is, when we don’t honor that craving and try to substitute with something else, our mind can’t stop thinking about that one food. You end up eating other things to “fix” the craving…but ultimately, those other foods don’t satisfy you. So, you end up “giving in” and eating the craving anyway…you likely feel over-stuffed and intense food guilt. You blame the craving, when really it was all the food leading up to the craving that over-stuffed you.
Has this ever happened to you? I’ve been there!
Tip: Always honor your craving in an amount that will satisfy your body to prevent a binge later on.
You have to “track” your food This is probably my favorite one. Not too long ago, I did a “fitness challenge” hoping to work on my muscular strength. A big part of the program was tracking your food using MyFitnessPal. I did it for a few days just to see if I was hitting my macros…
Even though I thought I was “recovered” from diet culture at that point in my life (I wasn’t by the way…I was stuck in “wellness” culture), I found myself feeling guilty about food. I was so obsessed with getting my macros and calorie counts perfect, and when I didn’t count calories, I was worried if I was eating too much…”if I eat this, will I go over my allotted calories for the day?”…”am I allowed to have this?”…”is there too much fat in this avocado?”…”crap, I’ve gone over my carb count for the day, guess I can’t have anything other than water for supper…”
My “so-called” recovered diet-self was on a downward spiral back into diet culture, so I stopped tracking my food & quit taking “before & after” pics, and focused on how the workouts made my body physically feel. How the workouts improved my strength and flexibility. How the workouts improved my stress levels and mental well-being.
You CAN love fitness & exercise without tracking your macros. You CAN be “healthy” without tracking every little thing that you put into your mouth. Calorie & macro counting is meticulous and time exhausting – you can do SO much more with your time!
“Cheat days” or “cheat meals” This is very popular in the fitness industry. More specifically, cheat meals. You can eat anything you want in an hour time frame. So, you’ve restricted all these “cheat” foods for at least a week, as soon as you gain access to those foods during your “cheat hour”, you’re going to cram that food into your mouth as fast as you can so you don’t waste any of it…so you can eat as much of this “yummy, terrible for you” foods before the hour is up.
This is wrong on so many levels. First, you have the “good-foods bad-foods” mentality. Second, you’re completely ignoring your hunger & fullness cues – a very instrumental step in mindful & intuitive eating. Our body was designed to tell us when we are hungry & when we are full – to prevent us from overeating. But, when we restrict “forbidden” foods from our “lifestyles”, as soon as we get access to them when it’s “okay”, we go all out! And then, as a result, feel like total crap after the meal- then we blame that food! It wasn’t the food’s fault, it was the food in excess…the decision you made to ignore your hunger & fullness levels because it’s a “cheat meal”. Third, you tell yourself “I’ll just go back on my diet tomorrow”, and it creates a diet-binge-diet-binge-diet-binge cycle. If you’ve been a chronic dieter, I know you’ve been there- I’ve been there too!
Did any of this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments section here or on Instagram. I know it’s hard to let go of the diet mentality – in both diet culture & the fitness/wellness industry. Know that your body is worthy of achieving health promoting goals that have nothing to do with dieting, weight loss, restriction, deprivation, or over-exercising. You CAN be healthy without falling into diet culture’s trap.
Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!
Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing! Katrina Detter, RD, LDN Follow me on social media for more food freedom + gentle nutrition + body respect material
One of the 10 Principles of Intuitive eating is using your hunger and fullness cues, but what does that actually mean? How do you do that?
After years of fad dieting, I kind of lost touch with my physiological signs of hunger. I ate when society said it was “time to eat”. If I was hungry at 11:00am, I’d avoid it like the plague until the clock striked 12:00pm. I used to treat hunger as a “bad thing”–because I associated eating as a “bad thing”. Now that I have a healthier relationship with food and myself, I am able to eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satisfied, and you can too! Use my 4 Steps to Learn Your Hunger & Fullness Cues!
Use a hunger/fullness scale before, during & after meals
When you are first learning your hunger/fullness levels, it is important to use some sort of scale to keep your hunger in check. On a scale from 1-10, how hungry are you? how full are you? are you satisfied? Ask yourself these questions before, during and after a meal or snack to help you gauge your true hunger. The goal is to be completely satisfied with your meal–not hungry or overly full. This is not only to keep you physiologically full until the next meal, but also to help you keep your mind off of food.
Journal before and after your meals
As cheesy as it sounds, this can be your most helpful tool in re-learning your hunger & fullness cues. When you use the hunger & fullness scale, write about it! Before your meal, document what level of hunger you’re experiencing. After your meal, note what level of fullness you’re experiencing. If you are not satisfied, figure out what you can add to your meal to appease your hunger. If you are miserably full, write down how you can prevent that from happening in the future.
Avoid starvation: use practical hunger
Practical hunger is essentially eating something when you’re not physically hungry to prevent overidulgence later. For example, if you are not very hungry at 12:30pm but you know you won’t get to eat again until 6:00pm, use practical hunger to tide you over. When using practical hunger, choose foods that will nourish your body with at least 2 of the 3 macronutrients. This will keep you full for a longer period of time.
Slow down at meals Take time to really enjoy your food. It will not only make your meal more enjoyable but also allow your hunger to catch up with your brain. When you take your time at meals, it allows you to feel hunger satisfaction before you reach the “over full” stage, preventing overindulgence.
A note on overeating:
It happens. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Our bodies can handle some overeating here and there–we learn from it and move on. It takes time in the beginning when you’re learning how to correctly use your hunger/fullness cues. Give yourself grace and learn from your experience. Eventually, you will know your body so well that overeating will happen less.
I challenge you to learn your hunger & fullness cues. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll eventually become fully in tune with your body’s hunger.
Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂
Have you ever struggled with food freedom? Felt guilty at just the thought of eating a certain food or food group? Been on every diet in the book?
I sure have. I have shared my obsessions with food and over-exercising several times before…and today, I want to share with you the freedom I have found with intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating is such a big topic that I am going cover a few blog posts on. Today, I am going to break down what intuitive eating is and what it is not. It is my hope that if you struggle with food rules, deprivation, restriction, purging, or maintaining a healthy relationship with food that this may become one of your wellness goals: to become an intuitive eater.
What is Intuitive Eating?
When you think “intuitive” think “instinctive”. What are our actual physical instincts when it comes to hunger? Logically, when we are hungry, we *should* eat. Many restrictive diets cause us to completely neglect our true hunger cues and just eat a portioned amount of food based on society’s limitations.
Intuitive eating is also based on these 10 principles:
1. Rejecting the diet mentality
2. Honoring your hunger
3. Making peace with food
4. Challenging the food police
5. Discovering the satisfaction factor
6. Feel your fullness
7. Cope with your body’s emotions with kindness
8. Respecting your body
9. Exercising to feel a difference
10. Honoring your health
The Break-Down of The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:
Rejecting the diet mentality:
Transitioning the common societal view eating “healthy”. Especially this time of the year, many people go around saying “I am going to get back on track” or “my diet starts tomorrow”. When you become and intuitive eater, you honor your hunger and body by fueling it properly using gentle nutrition, but also know there is a time and a place for cookies…because let’s be real, a life without FUN foods is not as enjoyable.
Honoring your hunger:
Have you ever been on a “diet” that gave specific times to eat food? Certain portion sizes? Only allowed you to eat certain foods? That’s a major problem with diet culture–not teaching you to really listen, know or honor your hunger cues. With intuitive eating, you base eating needs on your physiological hunger.What are the physiological signs of hunger??
Physiological hunger is your body’s way of saying “hey, feed me!”
Making peace with food:
Any of you ever experienced fear foods? Foods you fear are going to make you gain weight? Foods that society has deemed “bad”?I used to have a huge fear of peanut butter and would only eat the powedered peanut butter because it was low in fat and calories. However, when I started studying nutrition in college, I learned that while peanut butter may be higher in fat and calories, it is also a great plant based protein source. The fat in peanut butter is actually beneficial for your hormone production and heart health. There is much nutrition in peanut butter, and I am happy to say now I am at peace with it and probably eat it daily.You can make peace with any food. When you can break it down and realize your body needs fuel for survival. Truly think of food as fuel. Know that your body can handle eating a cookie on Christmas…a slice of cake on your birthday…a piece of chocolate on Valentine’s day. The bottom line is: with intuitive eating, you never feel deprived or restricted of any food…so when you allow yourself to have more indulgent foods, you don’t feel the need to eat as much as your body can hold.
Challenging the food police:
Do you know how many times people have analyzed what I eat? Especially now that I am a registered dietitian. I remember my grandpa telling me I shouldn’t eat macaroni and cheese because it would “make me fat”. Or having family members say “Oh, you’re eating cake??” at Thanksgiving dinner. Those comments are annoying, and very difficult for those transiting into the food freedom lifestyle. As hard as it may be, my biggest advice is taking those comments with a grain of salt, and always think about what you’re gonna say next. You can always say “I’m at peace with food, and very thankful that I can enjoy this pumpkin cheesecake today”. 🙂
Discovering the satisfaction factor:
Lots of times when we “diet”, we may not be satisfied with what we are being “forced” to eat. “Oh, I’m trying to eat healthy…guess that means I have to eat salad every day.”
When we are in that mindset of “I have to eat this because it is healthy”, then our bodies aren’t satisfied. We aren’t eating foods we actually enjoy…meaning we aren’t satisfied after a meal. With intuitive eating, you choose foods based on your preference and what you want to eat. You may choose a big mixed greens salad for lunch with some lean protein, avocado, and vinegar based dressing. Other times, you may choose to have a burger with roasted vegetables. Regardless, you learn how to be satisfied after a meal so in turn, you won’t binge and mindlessly eat later on.
Feel your fullness:
Just as we should honor our hunger cues, we also need to honor our fullness cues, or our satiety level. As an intuitive eater, you learn how to stop eating when you are full. No one is perfect! Overeating happens to all of us, but intuitive eating can help us learn when to stop at our fullness level, which helps us not overindulge.
Cope with your emotions with kindness:
This essentially means not to “fix” your emotions with food. Find other kind ways to handle your emotions. Find something that destresses you…that brings you comfort. It could be painting a mural, talking to a friend, journaling…whatever it may be, focus on that instead of food.
Respecting your body:
This can be easier said than done. From a spiritual aspect, God created you the way He wanted you to be. He wants you to be healthy and develop healthy relationships with people and health. Your body is a celebration of His creation, and wasting time worrying about your size does not enhance your life. Respect your body and what it can do. You are more than the number on the scale or the size in your pants. Focus on your strength. Your talents. Your growth. Your relationships. Your happiness. Respect yourself.
Movement-feel the difference:
This is all about shifting the mindset of “how many calories can I burn during this session” to “what movement brings me joy?” Don’t run if you hate running. Don’t spin if you hate biking. Find what exercise brings you joy and you’ll never feel “forced” to workout ever again…you’ll even look forward to your workout sessions!
Honor your health using gentle nutrition: This is my favorite one! There are so many misconceptions with intuitive eating, but intuitive eaters know how to eat well by using gentle nutrition. With gentle nutrition, you honor your food choices and taste buds with foods you enjoy. Bye, bye kale salads, hello burrito bowls! You don’t instantly become “unhealthy” from one snack, meal, or one day of eating. Intuitive eaters focus on eating well consistently over time versus eating perfectly 24/7. It’s all about progress over perfection with gentle nutrition.
What Intuitive Eating Isn’t:
Intuitive eating isn’t anti-health. It isn’t eating cookies all day long. It isn’t failing to eat nourishing foods. It isn’t mindlessly eating. It isn’t neglecting physical activity. It isn’t eating highly processed foods “just ‘cuz.”
Intuitive Eating is used to help people truly learn to fuel their bodies without a fear of food, without restricting, without guilt, without over-exercising. Intuitive Eating helps us learn to be comfortable choosing a big salad for lunch, but also realizing if you eat a cookie for dessert that you aren’t “unhealthy”.
I hope you now have a better idea of what this intuitive eating movement is all about, and it is my hope that we all can make peace with food. Life is too short to be a chronic dieter.
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Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
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We live in a society that seems to value appearance more than anything…
In order to be noticed, popular, or “important”, you have to dress a certain way, wear gobs of makeup, and…be a certain size.
Body Image is something I’ve struggled with what feels like forever…and honestly, I still struggle with it! However, I’ve found ways to remind me of what I’m worth…which has nothing to do with size or weight!
Here are my 5 ways to LOVE my body–and I hope this will inspire you to do the same!
I am strong
It’s amazing what your body can do! I first started working out regularly when I was a senior in high school, and intially, it was all for appearance. As I continued my wellness journey, it became more of “let me see what my body can do” versus “let’s see how small my body can get” mindset. I’ve completed 2 half marathons, a sprint triathlon, and can actually do a bunch of body weight exercises that I couldn’t do a year ago all because I focus on my strength. My legs may be “thick”, but they allow me to move. Keeping that in the back of your mind helps you focus on the positive things about your body.
I feel good in my clothes
My all time NUMBER ONE indicator of how confident I feel is how I feel in my clothes. When my clothes fit (or are even a little loose!), my confidence is boosted and lets me know that my lifestyle is working for me. Being confident in your own skin is a great way to LOVE your body.
I am healthy and well nourished
While I am no size 0, I am healthy and well nourished. What do I mean by that? My organs are functioning properly. I eat nourishing foods to build my healthy gut and colon. I get daily movement to help with digestion, mental health, blood sugar balance and cardiac health. My body craves fresh foods encouraging me to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stop focusing on the number on the scale or the size of your pants–take a step back and see if you are truly HEALTHY and WELL NOURISHED.
I’ve got people who depend on me
Take a look at your life and who is in it. Think of all the people who depend on you–significant other, children, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents, friends–they love you for you. Instead of choosing to better yourself for shallow reasons, think of doing it for them–choosing healthy practices to better yourself FOR them. Think of all the extra things you’ll be able to offer your loved ones when you choose to live a healthy lifestyle.
I am HAPPY
Happiness comes from within–not from your outward appearance. While YES it is okay to get dolled up with makeup and a nice outfit–that can’t make you happy. You need to be happy with yourself and where you are with your life. If you are struggilng with that, I highly encourage you to take a look at your lifestyle and see what little changes you can make that may improve your mood–a daily walk, more plants, extra water…every BODY is different and thrives off of different things–find what works for you…find what brings YOU happiness.
This is not an exhaustive list–so make sure to let me know how YOU love your body in the comments section down below OR on my instagram feed.
Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂
Have you ever been inspired to make healthier changes but just wasn’t sure where to start? I’ve been there, too.
Throughout my sophomore year in college, I told myself I’d make time for my workouts. You see, I was really determined with my workouts during my freshman year. Then, I injured my knee and took a break to allow it to heal. After that, it was really hard for me to get back in the habit of working out 5-6 days a week.
The commitment was hard…I fell back into my old, teenage habits of “putting it off until tomorrow”. I’d try to work out in between classes and science labs, but then I’d quickly talk myself out of it…a nap sounded better instead.
After gaining a few unwanted pounds, developing a poor relationship with food & self, and having a hard time fitting into my clothes, I decided things needed to change…I needed to change…I needed to get my mind right so I could be happy with myself again.
But how?? How did I manage my time for my health?
I changed my outlook
While at the time my motivation was how my clothes fit, it didn’t take long for me to remember the “exercise high” from endorphin release–and I fell in love with exercising again. I quit looking at exercise and health as a chore and just made smaller decisions along the way that now last me a lifetime. I put a priority on my health, and eventually, my “healthy habits” became a part of my daily life.
I scheduled time
We are all busy! We all work, have families, school functions, socialization…it all adds up! My biggest advice to you (and myself!) is to schedule time in your day for your health. If you want to meal plan, pick one day and dedicate one hour to prepping all of your fruits + veggies for the week. Schedule time for your workouts. If you know your busy in the evenings, try waking up early to get your workout in. Allow yourself to take an hour daily for you to find joyful movement to help you reach your health promoting goals.
I’m a very spiritual person, and I look to God daily for guidance. When I was struggling prioritizing my health, I prayed to Him. I reached out to Him to help motivate me. Exercising was important for my mental health, and I looked to God’s support to guide me. I even started going on walks in the evenings just to talk to Him–I looked forward to those walks because I knew I’d feel enriched after.
I found an accountability partner
Luckily, I have some great friends! Friends that encouraged me to wake up early to go for a morning run. Friends that had the same goals as I did. Friends that motivated me to drink more water. Friends that helped me normalize foods! Friends that supported me. We were able to lean on each other, talk about our struggles and learn from one another. I highly suggest finding someone that can keep you accountable for both gentle nutrition & joyful movement–and it may be two different people!
I gave myself grace
Sometimes life gets in the way, and you can’t complete your workout. Sometimes you really want to eat french fries instead of a side salad at your favorite restaurant. Sometimes your muscles are sore and your body is telling you it needs rest. And you know what?? That is totally and completely OKAY…and normal! That is part of making sustainable lifestyle changes–allowing yourself to take a rest day, allowing yourself to eat foods that may not be the most nourishing–that IS part of a healthy lifestyle! Food flexibility, food freedom, joyful movement, gentle nutrition, rest days–all of that makes up a mindful & intuitive eating lifestyle. It can be hard in the beginning to give yourself that grace, but eventually, your life will be transformed and you will truly enjoy all aspects of a well-rounded life.
My hope for you is that you can apply at least one of these time management strategies to prioritize your health.
**Challenge for the week? Focus on one of these areas to help you prioritize your health.
Anyone stuck in a rut with workouts?
Here are some exercise ideas to incorporate into your workouts—whether they be at home, at the gym, or at a park!
Now that spring is here and the weather is nice, I love to go running but want to get a total body workout in as well…here are a few ideas to get a great total body workout in at your local park or greenway: ***i show modifications to most exercises in video so the workout is friendly for all fitness levels 😊
Interval Running/Jogging + Exercises:
•go to your local green-way/park and run/jog/walk (whatever your fitness level may be). Every time you pass a bench, stop and complete one round of 30 seconds work: 10 seconds rest of the exercises shown above. Complete as many rounds as desired, aim between 3-5 rounds. ***modify as needed!
•instead of doing exercises for 30 seconds work:10 second rest, you could choose repetitions instead. For example, when you come to a bench, do 12-15 reps of each exercise, 3-5 rounds.
These are just a couple of examples and the options are endless! The most important thing is that you MOVE your body and do something you love. Get out, enjoy the sunshine and build those vitamin D stores ☀️
Happy fall, y’all! Bring on those cooler temperatures, crunchy leaves, and fall fashion! Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons, but more so now because it is the season that I married the love of my life. If you have been following me for a while, you know that my family just opened a wedding venue in a little town in the foothills of North Carolina. It was at this venue that I married my dream man!
Located in western Alexander County, NC, Hill Top Orchard Venue is an apple orchard turned into event venue complete with a beautiful mountain-top view perfect for an outdoor ceremony, a covered pavilion with outlets and protective rain walls just in case a storm passes by, and a refurbished apple house with a 2 dressing room suites, kitchenette, and restrooms. What more could you need for your perfect, outdoor wedding?
Flashback 2 years ago on a warm, August day, when a dashing man proposed to his loving girlfriend. After saying yes, it was soon after that operation wedding mode commenced.
Ever since I was 10 years old, my dream was to get married in a grassy pasture in my parent’s backyard. A wedding at home, how quaint!
Imagine having your house re-painted so it can be presentable and moving all the things you considered saving for “hard times” around the old, rusty barn just so your daughter can have her dream wedding…it even looked like fall had exploded in my old bedroom because we were doing a lot of “diy” decorations for my special day…
I spent 9 months planning a wedding to get married on my perfect sledding hill location with a backup plan at a local church, but I just knew the weather would be perfect so I could have the outdoor wedding I always wanted—it never rains in October!
During this time, my parents purchased an apple orchard just across from my wedding pasture with the intentions of making it into an event venue. It is such a beautiful location. With countless weekends of picking up rocks, digging holes, sowing seed, building buildings, trimming trees, and picking up branches Hill Top Orchard Venue was ready just in time for my brother’s wedding in September 2017—yes…we got married 3 weeks apart. Why wait, right?
My brother’s wedding was perfect on the mountain, beautiful weather, amazing views, fun reception…now it was time to focus on my wedding.
Exactly a week before my wedding, the extended forecast was showing rain all week leading up to my big day. I was not too worried at this point because weather constantly changes…and like I said before…rain in October is just not a typical thing…
I really wanted an outdoor wedding…I love nature, autumn’s breeze, clouds…but the Friday before my wedding, I had to make a decision: Rainy wedding or Church wedding? Then I began thinking, hey…we conveniently have a covered pavilion across the way—let’s just call everyone and tell them the wedding was moved! So that is what we did!
It sprinkled all morning and had a high percentage of downpours at 2:00pm (when my ceremony was), however, through the power of prayer, the rain held off until 6:00pm that evening–long after Bobby and I left for our honeymoon. Though the weather was not what we had planned on, my day could not have been any better! And thank goodness for Hill Top Orchard Venue having a backup plan for rainy weather!
Better yet, Hill Top Orchard Venue now has clear rain walls that can be set up for rainy weather making it a perfect place to get married rain or shine!
Though it was not my plan to get married under a pavilion, it was so magical I could hardly believe it! I cannot imagine my wedding in any other way.
Looking back a year later at the whole process, it is neat to know how involved my husband and I were in establishing Hill Top Orchard Venue. While the venue was still in the construction stages, I was upset that it took up so much of our time…picking up rocks and branches, mowing grass…my now-husband spent all his free time helping my dad building the pavilion instead of spending time with me–seems petty, I know…but girl gotta see her man!
Seeing the venue complete and open for business is a great accomplishment…we have happy memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue from the beginning stages, to our wedding, and now–seeing couples devote their love and become one. We have had a total of 5 weddings at Hill Top Orchard Venue this far and look forward to the weddings to come.
Know anyone engaged, getting married soon, or just want a venue for an event? Contact Hill Top Orchard Venue on Facebook or visit their website at https://www.hilltoporchardvenue.com/ . Follow them on Instagram @hilltoporchardvenue.
What memories do you have from your wedding day? I’d love to hear them!
Who likes going out to eat? On a busy, chaotic day, it is so convenient to stop by your local favorite restaurant on the way home instead of slaving over a hot stove after a long day.
While cooking at home may be the healthiest route because you are in complete control of what is going into your food, dining out doesn’t always have to be “bad”. It may lead to more temptation to order fries or fried chicken, but staying on track with your healthy lifestyle is totally doable while dining out.
Today I am going to share my favorite tips that I use when I go out with family, friends, or with the hubs for date night.
Order something that is veggie heavy
One thing I always look for at a restaurant is something that is loaded down with veggies. In a country that is very meat-potato heavy that may be difficult. For example, I LOVE eating at Mexican restaurants, but they are limited with vegetables. You may get lucky and get some peppers or onions in your fajitas, but that’s about it. Even the “vegetarian” options are usually carb heavy, but they always have veggies in the kitchen! I typically order a spinach and cheese quesadilla, heavy on the spinach and light on the cheese. Don’t be afraid to ask! They are generally accommodating, considering you are paying for the meal.
Another perk to ordering something with tons of vegetables is that it improves satiety (fullness). The fuller you feel, the less likely you are to overeat. Also, vegetables are high sources of fiber which aids in digestion and improves colon health. It’s a win-win!
2. Don’t ditch the salads
I have read a lot of articles saying that salads are bad because they may contain more calories than a burger and fries…
This may be true, especially if you’re loading that sucker down with bacon bits, extra creamy dressings, and a bunch of cheese, however that doesn’t mean you should stay away from them!
There are ways you can order a salad and it still be kind to your waste-line (and organs). Opt for salads that have leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula or baby romaine. These greens are plentiful in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals our bodies need for different metabolic pathways. Choose lean proteins like grilled chicken or fish instead of deep fried meats. A lot of people are against the cheeses on salad…but sometimes the cheese can really bring all the salad components together, just ask them to go light on it-1 ounce of cheese goes a long way.
Let’s talk salad dressing…this is where the bulk of the fat and calories come from–especially with the creamy dressings like thousand island, ranch, and blue cheese. Personally, I am not a fan of mayo-filled dressings, but if that is your jam, then that is okay. Try to limit your salad to 1 tablespoon of dressing-again, a little goes a long way! If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, choose the olive oil based dressings like oil and vinegar and vinaigrette. These dressings contain omega 3 fatty acids which may improve heart health.
3. Choose nutrient-dense sides
I know…you want that burger real bad…and nothing goes better with a burger than fries, right? If I am really craving an entree that may not be the best for me, I try to choose a side that will balance my meal out. For example, if I want to order a buffalo chicken wrap from Backstreets (my fav!) then I am going to choose a side dish that is more nutrient dense. Typically that would be a side salad, steamed veggies, or mashed cauliflower (if available–and Backstreets has the BEST mashed cauli!).
4. Drink water for your beverage
I know I am going to sound like a broken record here! I don’t know about you, but I drink a TON when I am at restaurants because the waiter is constantly filling up my glass…if it’s there, I’m gonna drink it! Think about all the empty calories in a soda or sweet tea (hey, I’m from the South!). In 8 ounces of soda, there are about 100 calories and 24 grams of sugar…most glasses at restaurants are about 16 ounces. If you drink 2 glasses of soda at your meal you are consuming around 400 calories and 96 grams of sugar just in your beverage! We really should only be getting between 25-30 grams of added sugars daily…I realize they put ice in the cups that take up room, but this is just an illustration.
Not only is water better for your body, but it’s better for your wallet too! Water is free. I don’t know about you, but I love free stuff! Water also helps push the fiber in your meal through the digestive track making for an easier exit, if you know what I mean.
Dining out is an experience, and I realize it can be a special occasion for many of you–it is for me too! In those cases, I am totally a promoter of indulging…but for the average American who eats out several times a week, these tips can come in handy! While there are many tips and tricks you can do, these are the four that I utilize regularly. Hope they benefit some of you!
What are your guides for dining out? I’d love to hear some new ideas!
One important part of well-rounded wellness is the sense of adventure. Many people have different ideas of adventure…for example…
My husband’s idea of adventure is going to Carolina Adventure World for a weekend with his buddies to ride dirt bikes 24/7 for 2 days straight. He gets the thrill of excitement and it makes him happy.
For me, my idea of adventure is being out in the wilderness surrounded by trees, pine cones, and a nice breeze. I spent a lot of summers going on outdoor excursions as a child, and I still enjoy them to this day.
Glacier NP 2012
Glacier NP 2012
Yellowstone NP 2012
Yosemite NP 2015
Glacier NP 2015
Zion NP 2017
I want you to think about your favorite adventure spot…imagine what you would be doing there right now…
And I will tell you mine…
When I think of adventure and true bliss, I think of the time my parents and I visited Mount Rainier in Washington state in September 2015. The first day we arrived, I was not too impressed…it was rainy and gloomy, we had no cell reception, and I missed my boyfriend…
The next day, I woke up to a cold breeze and ready to see what this place was all about.
As I hiked up the mountain, I was surrounded by a mystical land that looked like it came straight out of a fairy tale book. To make the experience even more magical, it began snowing…it felt like Christmas in September! Soon, the enchanted forest became covered in the fluffy snow making our hike unbelievably beautiful.
Though on our hike we did not get to see the panoramic views due to the clouds, snow, and wind, we still had an amazing adventure–and one that I consider my favorite.
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with stress? As humans, we tend to stress about all sorts of things–relationships, school, work, health…but stress can shed years off your life. My mom used to tell me to “go to my happy place” when I am feeling down or overwhelmed…it is a tactic I have implemented in my life that I truly believe improves my well-being.
Mount Rainier is an adventure that I experienced and is now my “happy place” that I visit often. I encourage you to think of your happy place and visit it when it seems like things just aren’t going your way…it happens. We can stay organized and make plans for things, but sometimes things just don’t pan out the way you want them to. When this happens, go to your happy place. Counting your blessings can help with stress and depression too.
Seek adventure in your life so you can re-visit them when times get tough.