We’ve all heard how eating a healthy, nutrient dense diet is expensive. Maybe you’ve given it a shot and came to that conclusion from your own experience. If you haven’t given it a shot yet and you’ve found yourself here, then you’ve come to the right place. While yes, you can most certainly rack up a pretty high grocery bill by filling your cart with nutrient dense goodies, you can also do it on your own budget, whatever it may be.
Let me show you how.
Why Source Local & Sustainable?
Knowing where your food comes from is the first step towards filling your kitchen with high quality foods. Sourcing locally and sustainably not only provides you with a deeper connection to your food, but also packs a more nutrient dense punch.
“When you choose to support your local farmer, as a result you’re supporting
the environment for future generations
economic profit for farmers
social and economic welfare
the welfare of animals and livestock
To achieve these goals, sustainable agriculture includes measures and methods
that promote soil health, minimize water use and wastage, and support the health
and well-being of both farm workers and livestock”*
How to Source Local & Sustainable
Before I share a few tips on how to source local and sustainable food, let me tell you what you don’t have to do.
You don’t have to overhaul your whole kitchen and change your entire life. Not at all! You can make small changes day by day and week by week that will add up to big changes over time.
This isn’t a race and it’s not all or nothing. Do what you can when you can and be proud of the steps that you’re taking.
The first and most accessible way to bring more nutrient dense foods into your life is to start with organic.
“These standards require that organic foods be grown
without synthetic agricultural inputs like synthetic fertilizers,
fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or food additives”*
You don’t have to buy everything organic. You can check out the Dirty Dozen by the EWG and follow
their recommendations for which products to prioritize purchasing organic.
Secondly, join a local CSA or shop at farmers markets.
This is a great method to get to know the locals around you who grow and provide your community
with food. You can ask questions, get advice, and create amazing relationships while selecting fresh
as you can get items. This will also help you to eat seasonally without even thinking about it. When you
eat seasonally you’re automatically saving on cash because seasonal foods are in abundance, therefore,
they’re cheaper, too.**
When you do go to the grocery store, check out the bulk options for grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
You might even be able to find these at the farmers market, but if not, a natural grocer is another great
And, before you head out into the world to implement these new tips and tricks, make a list!
Creating a list of items that you’re looking to purchase is key to sticking to a budget. I’d suggest heading
to Pinterest or your favorite cookbook and planning out meals for the week, seeing what you have on hand
already, and making note of what you need. This will help you to keep on budget and to create a calmer
shopping experience overall.
Now that you have your kitchen stocked with fresh, local foods, it’s time to cook them.
Here are a few methods of preparations when it comes to making the most out of your
Baking and Roasting – Cooks food with dry heat. This is a great option for large batches of foods, such as
root vegetables and meats.
Steaming – A quick way to prepare vegetables in a way that retains nutrients and makes them easy
Saute and Stirfry – An easy way to create a meal. Throw veggies, meat, and butter into a pan
for a simple clean up and delicious meal.
Grilling – Great for social gatherings. Use meat, veggies, or stone fruit for a summer picnic to infuse a
pleasant smoky flavor into your foods.
And last but not least, have fun! Let yourself explore and make this a fun experience for yourself in the
kitchen, at the farmers market, and in the grocery store. Take the steps that are most realistic, enjoy
each experiment and experience along the way, and be proud of where you’re at in your journey.
*Nutritional Therapy Association (2020) Culinary Wellness [PDFdocument]
Retrieved from https://www.nutritionaltherapy.instructure.com
**Nutritional Therapy Association (2020) Culinary Wellness Pt. 1 Kitchen Basics [Video]
Retrieved from https://www.nutritionaltherapy.instructure.com
To say that the past few months… okay, the past year in general has been a struggle would be a huge understatement.
First there was loss through death, then there was loss of the place I was living, and then there was loss of my health. And in the midst of all of that, there was so much more stress that piled up up up until everything within me broke.
And that’s when I called myself sick. Well, really, I’ve been calling myself sick for years. I’ve had chronic health issues pop up around age 6 and I’m still addressing them today. But the sickness that I am dealing with now is at a new level. And at the same time, I feel like I’m finally getting to the root cause of it all and part of it involves no longer associating with “being sick.”
Sick is not a word. You are designed to heal.
You are designed to heal.
You are designed to heal.
You are designed to heal.
Your mindset is the foundation of healing.
Say it over and over and over again. And when you think that you’ve said it enough, say it even more.
This shift has been crucial. It’s the fork in the road where you take the new path, the healing path, instead of the perpetual path of victim and lack of control.
Sure, you don’t have control over the current health issues that you face at this time. But you do have control over your mindset surrounding them. This isn’t to say that everything must be sunshine and rainbows always. No, I know that things in this realm are frustrating, dark, and lack hope at times. Feel those feelings, feel them all, and then pivot.
Pivot to a space of light and healing.
Pivot to a space of ease and grace.
Pivot to a space of believing and knowing that healing is possible.
Because it is.
For you and me both.
Healing is possible.
How do you make this shift?
Become mindful with your thoughts and feelings.
– Are you getting stuck in negative thought loops?
– Nature is the most potent medicine.
Touch a tree, plant your feet, feel the sun. Breathe.
Commit to routines.
– Routines are powerful when you’re not feeling well.
Set yourself up for success through momentum by
committing to some structure. Start small, a 5 minute
meditation or 10 minutes of stretching, and build upon that.
Write it out.
– Journal. Write mantras. Brain dump. Allow yourself a space
to scatter your thoughts and clear your mind.
Start here and let yourself build on these pillars in a way that feels good for you. You are the creator of your life. Paint it like a beautiful canvas, allowing your healing foundation to guide the way.
Well, this is a weird and unexpected first blog post back into the land of Create N Plate.
It’s been a while, and for good reason.
Let’s just get right into it.
A few weeks ago I found out that I was living in toxic mold.
This is the kind of thing that you truly hear about and think “DANG, that’s crazy!” and never think it would happen to you.
I never would have imagined that it would be something that I would be writing about or experiencing, but here we are.
It all started last year.
We began looking for a house to buy in January 2020. Looking back on that time seems like it was another life. The COVID craziness happened and stopped our search for a few months. When real estate opened back up in PA, we were back at it. We searched and searched and searched for months. We had to move out of our rental and I was sleeping on a futon at my parents with all of my belongings packed in boxes. The real estate market was crazy. Things were selling in mere hours from being listed.
Finally, at the end of October, it happened. We found “the one.” I loved it at the time. It had a great upstairs with tons of windows and space, wood floors, and a deep bathtub – a must! We put in an offer and got the place. In the middle of December, we closed.
As we were cleaning we discovered the entire wall behind the refrigerator covered in mold. The entire wall!! I panicked and it was cleaned with bleach. I didn’t know it at the time, but I now know, DO NOT CLEAN MOLD WITH BEACH. Seriously, this is very important. Do not do it!
But, at the time we didn’t know what we didn’t know, so it happened.
I didn’t think too much about it afterwards because we didn’t see any mold so I thought that it was all good. Once again, we didn’t know what we didn’t know, but boy was I wrong!
We moved everything in and that was that. I found myself hating the place. It was so strange because I loved the place when we looked at it and I was so excited to live there. And when it finally happened, I hated it.
Around the end of December I started feeling off. I was getting headaches, bad anxiety, and my stomach didn’t feel right. I didn’t know what was going on and I wondered if I had a parasite. Parasites are more active during the full moon and this was around full moon time so I was considering that as my potential issue.
The full moon came and went and I was continuing to feel worse and worse.
I was getting EXTREME headaches. I’m not a headache person so this was the first sign that something was off. And then came the brain fog. It got to the point where I couldn’t focus on anything… at all. I would be trying to work and I would just stare at the computer, unable to process anything. It was like I knew that my brain wasn’t working, but I couldn’t make it work. Then I noticed that whenever the heat would come on, my lungs would be on fire. It got to the point where I couldn’t take deep breaths and I had to go outside to breathe. I was sleeping 1-2 hours a night. My entire body would be raging with anxiety and I couldn’t settle down no matter what I tried.
This was the point where I just knew that it was related to the mold and this is why I was hating the house that I once loved. My body/intuition knew that something was off whenever we moved into the place. I didn’t/don’t hate the house. I do hate what it’s done to me though.
I focused on nothing else except mold research for a few days. This became my life. I took Lily and Molly (my dog and cat) to my parents and I overnighted an ERMI test to the house. It arrived, I did it, and I overnighted it back to the lab. At this point I didn’t care about money or the crazy costs involved, I was desperate and I needed answers. When the results came back I was so disappointed, but not surprised, that I was right and there was toxic mold, and high levels of it, in the house.
I packed up a few clothes and I headed back to my parents futon, where I’ve been since.
I thought we’d have it resolved in a few weeks, at most.
That was 2 months ago.
What are we doing about the mold, you might ask?
Well, we don’t know yet.
All that I know and am focusing on at this point is my health, because that is all that I can focus on. I am desperate to feel better. I started working with a practitioner and she wasn’t right for me. I scheduled with someone else that I see soon, and I can’t wait. This has put my health problems into the darkest place that they’ve ever been and the crazy thing is that no one else has any adverse reactions to the house except me.
That’s a whole other story for another day, but whenever you’re experiencing health problems related to a location and no one else is experiencing them, that adds another layer of stress and confusion to an already very stressful experience.
And so, here I am with my sole focus being on healing. I will heal from this. I am healing from this. And once I’m at a good place, I will help others do the same.
This is my purpose and my path now. I know that and I feel that deep within.
This is just the beginning.
I made it to day 30 of my writing and I’m feeling so good about this new habit that I’ve created.
October is my favorite month (and birthday month!) but summer is my favorite season so on those warm and sunny October days I feel my absolute best.
I set a small goal of writing daily in September to try to pull myself back together after a very tough 6 months (more on that in later posts) and the fact that I did it really motivated me to keep it going and add a few more things to my plate for this month.
I love a fresh start via either a new week, month, or year even though we can absolutely start new things any day and any time we choose.
This month I’ve chose two new goals to add to my daily writing.
Number 1 – Check social media 1-2 times per day
I used to do this and you wouldn’t believe the amount of things I accomplished in my days compared to days when I just open social media and scroll randomly. Truly a game changer! I checked in twice today and that felt pretty good. I’m going to keep playing around with it and see what feels best. Not only am I putting a limit on how many times I’m checking in, but I’m also putting a limit on the time that I’ll be spending each time I do start scrolling. I don’t want to spend more than an hour a day on social media and let’s be real, even an hour a day is a ton! But I’m committing to not just scrolling but to actually reading posts and interacting with the people that I follow. It’s called social media for a reason and I feel like we often just consume and lack the social aspect in general. Today I was on Instagram for 1 hour and 7 minutes. Here’s to keeping it under 1 hour from now on!
Number 2 – Yoga 30-60 minutes per day
I truly have only done a handful of yoga classes since June. Who am I?! I know that it’s always a good idea to take a break at anything that you do on occasion, but dang. Yoga has been a part of my life for so long and I am a much better person when it is consistently in my life. I’m aiming for an hour a day but even if I do 30 minutes I’ll be happy with that. After a stressful year (for all of us, let’s be real) this is one thing that I know is a necessity to keep me chill. I’m going to be practicing Strala Yoga on Strala Home for the most part but any yoga practice is a great idea!
Here’s to a new and fresh month. Astrologically this month is pretty intense with a micro full moon today, a super new moon on October 16, and a micro full moon on October 31 (!!!!) that will have us energetically back and fourth all month long. It’s going to be a wild month and now more than ever is such a great time to gather practices that can settle you back into your middle space time and time again. Staying grounded and centered within yourself is more important now than ever.
Let me know what your goals are for this month!
Funny/crazy/so weird that I haven’t shared anything since February, but is it?
22 days after I declared that I was back to share more I completely disappeared. There are some very good reasons for that. Ever since the end of February I feel like my life has just been spinning, and spinning, and spinning and I don’t know which way is up. I’m sure you can probably relate. My life then compared to my life now is insane, truly. A complete 180 that I never ever could have imagined.
More on all of that later.
I just wanted to come back here to share… again. And tell you that I’m back… again. And to declare that it’s for real… again.
Because this time it is.
It has to be.
Really, it does because I know that this space will hold me accountable for creating some semblance of a routine and structure in my life. All of that completely went out the window shortly after I disappeared. And I sure did try, but I couldn’t pull it all together to get myself back into any routines.
So at the beginning of this month, well on the 2nd, I decided that I was going to write for 10 minutes everyday. I’ve been at it for 22 days now and I’m not planning to stop anytime soon. I find it to be so therapeutic.
When I was younger (like teenage years) I LOVED to write. I wrote and wrote and wrote all the time. Once I “grew up” and got a job and social media (let’s be real, that’s the big culprit for time sucking) then all of that changed and I wrote sometimes but it never felt the same.
These past 22 days have been a chance to reunite with a piece of my true self. It’s been feeling so good and I just felt so called to get on here and share.
Here’s the plan.
So I’m envisioning sharing more of my nightly writings and little snippets of my life in 2020. I’m sure we could all write a book on The Year 2020. But I’m going to bring it back to the blog. With October on the horizon and Libra season officially here (shoutout to my fellow Libras!) I’m feeling like good things are coming and we are almost out of the dark tunnel that is 2020.
Bring on the light.
Coming at you today with a recap of Detox Your Life week 1, the 22 day healing program that I’m doing!
It’s no secret that I’ve done crazy resets, detoxes, and diet changes before all in the name of trying to heal my body. This is another one of those times, but it’s also different. You can read more about my thoughts, expectations, and musings surrounding this reset here. Today I want to go a bit deeper and explain how it’s been going and how important it is to tailor everything to suit your unique needs.
So the basis of the reset is 22 days of no processed sugar, oil, or salt. Plant based. Whole Foods. You get the idea. As we all know, I’ve been vegan before and I dabbled in removing sugar, salt, and oil but looking back I now see that I didn’t do it quite “right.” I’ve come a long way with my stomach problems over the years but I’m still not quite where I want to be and since Jordan is one of my favorite bloggers, I knew that this reset would be perfect for me to do.
The first few days were difficult. Over the past year or so I’ve very much found myself comfortable with a decently balanced plant focused diet. That also includes sweets a few times a week and a generous amount of Siete chips so I knew that I’d have to find alternatives to those over the next few weeks. Around Wednesday I got into the grove with cooking and having everything prepared which set me up for success. But I was also feeling really shaky and light headed. I thought it was either all of the fruit I was eating in the morning that was affecting my blood sugar or it was the fact that my body was giving me signs that it needed sodium. I tuned in and I felt that I needed to add a bit of salt into my diet. Once I did that, and we’re talking a very minuscule amount, then everything was smooth sailing.
Saturday rolled around and I knew that I’d be eating out. I could have took my own food or figured something else out, but I consciously chose to do my best and eat as SOS free as possible during the day. We stopped by a burger joint, Burgatory, where I knew that I could piece together something good. I ordered their house made veggie burger with no bun and topped it with organic green, cucumber, and pineapple. Instead of my usual fries, I got a side salad with steamed tomatoes. The burger tasted so salty, I couldn’t believe it. I asked Darrin to try it to see if it was overly salty that day or if it was my tastebuds. He thought it tasted fine. I assume that it was because I cut way down on salt earlier that week. I was amazed!! Not even removing it completely and I noticed a huge difference in less than 7 days.
For dinner we went to Federal Galley which is a food hall with options for everyone. Perfect for groups. I was able to get a rice bowl filled with steamed greens, edamame, chickpeas, mustard caviar, pickled ginger, onions, cucumber, seaweed salad, sprout, teriyaki sauce, shiso, and shallot crisp. Once again, not SOS free but the best I could do and something that I absolutely LOVED. I didn’t notice the salt or oil in this dish like I did in my lunch and I felt great after eating it.
Overall, I had a great week even though it was challenging for me at times to cook all my meals instead of running somewhere to grab something. That’s my biggest struggle with things like this, especially now that I live in an area with quick and easy access to lots of good and healthy ish options! I feel good and I’m excited to continue the next few weeks to see what else comes up!
Hi friends! I am so excited to be sharing this post with you today because I am feeling more inspired around health and food than I have felt in a long time. I’ve really struggled the past few years with food and figuring out the next steps in my journey to heal my stomach issues. After unexplained hives, bloating, pain, and constant instability with my blood sugar that was debilitating and affecting all areas of my life, I lost all interest in spending time in the kitchen and with food in general. I tried to reignite that spark since then but nothing did the trick until I came across Detox Your Life. I’ve been following Jordan for years and when she shared about her new program I just knew that I had to sign up. It felt right and I felt like this was the thing to bring the light back into my relationship with food and the kitchen.
The basis of the program is 22 days of no salt, oil, or processed sugar. I’ve done something similar before, but different at the same time. Not to mention that I was in a very different place with my health at that point. Currently, I wouldn’t say that I’m struggling but I’m also not where I’d like to be either. It’s a process and after taking a break to regroup and figure out what steps are actually worth taking, I’m ready to dive back in and take this journey into the land of SOS free.
And I have to be honest when I say that I don’t think I will be 100% SOS free during the 22 days. I will do my best and the majority of my intake will be SOS free foods, but I don’t think I will be going all the way. Realistically it’ll be about 95%. I have found in the past that I need at least small amounts of salt in my diet to feel good. I plan to remove salt completely at first to see how I do and then adjust from there.
Otherwise, I am so ready and so excited! This is exactly what I need to get back a part of me that I have lost over the past few years due to health struggles. When I started this blog back in 2013 I was just beginning my health journey. I have come so far since then and I feel like everything is coming full circle, like I’m back at a new beginning point where everything is fresh and exciting.
I can’t wait to share about this journey and to get back in the kitchen to create new recipes! Let me know what you guys would like to see!
I am SO EXCITED to be writing to you today and sharing this post! I want to say that it’s been a long time coming, but honestly I didn’t know that I was going to go in this direction until very recently. It feels so right and I feel like I am stepping back into a familiar homey place, but this time with an upgrade.
Lets get into it.
I know that a lot of you are here for the food, which makes total sense because this was a place for food for many years. It’s crazy that I haven’t posted a single recipe since February 2018. What?! Can’t believe it.
Since then I’ve played around with posting other content when I feel like I have something to share but it never really felt right or got me excited to create. Then at the end of last year I deeply considered coming back and posting recipe after recipe again just like old times. That didn’t quite feel right either. What I’ve landed on is sharing about my lifestyle which includes food/recipes, yoga, and hiking. Those are three things that I love at my core and I have always struggled to pick which one to focus on. But here’s the thing, I’m not picking just one anymore. I’m fusing them all together and that is what Create N Plate 2.0 is all about. We’re still going to have a deep focus and connection to food and recipes because that is at the center of everything else. What we eat and how we feel in our bodies is connected to literally everything else we do and experience in our days. Eating healthy (whatever that means for you) and having that solid connection to your food is the core that shines onto every other situation that comes about in our days. Crucial!
And to add to that, I’ll also be sharing yoga and my hiking/fitness adventures because I see those as big parts of my physical and mental health, too. Sharing it all will give a much more rounded feeling and experience here!
What to expect in the near future: I just signed up for two things this past week; a 300 hour yoga teacher training and a 22 day healing protocol! I plan to document and share more about both of these and I can’t wait! Recipes! Simple, easy, healthy recipes. Favorite veg spots in DC. And more!
I’m really glad to be back here and sharing again. If you’re here and reading this, thank you!! Truly.
Talk to you soon!
As a lot of you probably know, I was training for a marathon at the beginning of this year. I was 4 months into my 9 month training plan and boom, injury. This has been part of running that I’ve struggling a lot in the last few. years and has completely changed my relationship with running from something that I loved and enjoyed to something that was stressful and disappointing. Since these injuries keep popping up I’ve gotten a lot slower than I used to be and enjoy it a lot less. I know that I shouldn’t equate my joys of running to my times but I know what my body used to be capable of, so when I’m putting in all of the time and effort into marathon training then I want to at least feel decent doing it.
As fate would have it, the marathon this year wasn’t in the cards and my ankle made sure I knew that. So after I was completely healed it took me a while to even put on my running shoes again. I was discouraged, disappointed, and over it. And yet, I knew that over it the last thing I was.
I didn’t want to jump right back into training for something else in fear of getting injured again. I had a lot of hiking trips this past summer and they were more important to me than running and training for a race. So I took an unexpected break.
When I knew that it was time to get back into it I knew that I had to do it differently. Gone were the days of following training schedules and adding up my weekly milage. I knew that had to at least go out the door temporarily if I was going to repair my dull and dreary feelings towards the thing I adored for years previous.
So I started going for timed runs instead. I know this is a common thing for those just starting out and even for some who are seasoned runners. But this is something that I never imagined myself doing. I saw myself as too much of a go-getter. Too type a for that. And that’s exactly what I needed!
I started with 2 days a week, 20 minutes each day. Totally doable. Enough to get back into the habit but not enough to dread and overwhelm myself. I didn’t care about the distance. I cared about the time. Ten minutes out, ten minutes back. Tuesday. Thursday.
I loved it.
I started to look forward to my runs and I’d be out there running with a smile plastered on my face. I was “that person.” But I didn’t care because I found something that worked from something I least expected and it gave me so much, it gave me back something I love and enjoy deeply.
If you’re struggling with whatever it is, try to do it differently. Do it in a way that you never thought you would. Do the thing you love, just show up in a way that’s unexpected with an open mind. You never know what will happen.
Someday I’ll get that marathon. But right now I’m enjoying things from exactly where I am.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts but I’m really into the idea of sharing my intentions for this season. I always try to set seasonal intentions as well as monthly intentions. Having a clear idea of what I want out of each season gives me a chance to really narrow down what it’ll take for me to get there in my monthly intentions! It’s my way going from big picture goals, to smaller goals, to ultimately achieving those goals. Step by step, little by little. Because let’s be real, you can set some big 3 month goals and then when it’s time to put things into action you get so overwhelmed and end up looking back at those 3 months in disappointment because the overwhelm resulted in paralysis of actually kicking it into gear and making things happen!
So today I’ll be sharing my intentions for this fall season and next week I’ll pop in with my October intentions so that you can see what I’m talking about!
Cook and bake with mindful intention – I am STILL struggling with mindful eating and cooking in general. I went from food blogger extraordinaire to lazy and mindless in the flip of a switch. I intend to get back to more mindful practices surrounding food with this season of slowing down.
Take my studies deeper – I have a guide/coach/mentor that I’ve set up to start working with in November which I am so excited for. I know that it’s exactly what I need and I know that who I’m working with is exactly who I need to show me what I already know but need reminding of. Also! I’m really playing with the idea of how to take my yoga studies a bit deeper, too!
Stick to doing one self care thing every day – I’ve set up a schedule that fits in sauna, rebounding, exercise, and writing into my week in a reasonable and doable way. I started it last week and I definitely need the structure and commitment to it in my life so this is something I intend to stick with for the next few months!
Fall festivals! – I want to do all of the fall things! Pumpkins, apples, leaves, festivals, fun fall things!
Holiday prep early – I want to do all of my holiday prep early so that I have no stress during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to be able to enjoy the end of November and all of December and getting all of my holiday ducks in a row will ensure that I can do just that!
Make friends in my new town – More on this in a future post, but I’m moving! I’ll share all the details about this almost year long process/decision in a future post! But one of my big intentions for this season is to get out and make friends!
Start a new project – More on this later, too. But there is something that I really want to start and put into the world and I want to do it this season! Around my birthday specifically, which is next month! It’s something I’ve thought a lot about over the past year or so and it feels right to do it now. More on that next month, but it’s an intention that I want to start something new and wanted to share!
And there you have it! My intentions for the next few months. I love this season and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I was born in October. All of it feels so magical to me and I think that’s a lot of the reason that I felt drawn to sharing today.
I put out a Autumn Equinox yoga video on Youtube that I’d love for you to practice along. I think that it’ll help you set some intentions, if you’re not clear on where you want these next few months to go. Or maybe you are and you feel like grounding into a yoga practice to transition from the energy of the summer to the fall energy! Either way, I hope that you enjoy!
I’d love to know what your intentions are for this upcoming fall season. Let me know in the comments of the Youtube video or down below!