Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Bread

Hello, happy February and happy 2018!

I have today a seriously amazing recipe for gluten free (vegan option) chocolate banana bread!!

We went to Kauai last month and I was full on prepared to eat a lot of banana bread while I was there because it’s all over the place in Maui. But, get this, they don’t grow bananas on Kauai and I could hardly find a banana, let alone banana bread!

So, I had this hankering for banana bread for a good month and a half and finally had to do something about it.

This was my third trip to Hawaii, first time to Kauai. I hate to have a favorite…but I think Kauai might have to be my favorite. I mean, the beaches are the best and the mountains are incredible! Good snorkeling, good hiking, good food, good times!

I know hearing out other people’s vacations can be really boring so I’m just going to share a few of my favorite photos.kauai 1

From the end of the Awa Awapuhi Trail
kaurai 2
Also the Awa Awapuhi Trail
The Napali Coast via boat
banana bread
Banana Bread with bite taken out of corner 🙂


Gluten Free (vegan option) Chocolate Banana Bread


  • 2 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg, or substitute 1 flax egg or omit all together
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 oz almond milk or milk of choice or water
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 5×8 loaf pan.

Combine the 3oz milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla in a measuring cup or small bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork and then add the egg and stir until just combined. Do not over mix any of the ingredients.

Add the milk/vinegar mixture to the banana mixture and then add in all the dry ingredients. Add the melted coconut oil last since coconut oil has a tendency to harden up too quickly, especially in the winter months. It will seem at first like the oil will never mix in, but it will. Just be patient and gentle.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.




Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies

Alright, it has been 3 months since I last posted to this blog and I am having a serious dilemma. I keep thinking I should stop paying for this website and take the blog down…but then I get really sad thinking about that so in turn I do NOTHING.

If I did take the blog down I would first compile all the recipes into a downloadable pdf because this website is basically my cookbook! I just renewed for another year so I know for sure this website will be here at least until January 2018.

When I started this blog I lived alone, had a 10 minute commute and quite a lot of spare time to tinker in the kitchen. Now I am married, I have a 30-45 minute commute and not too much spare time to devote to tinkering in the kitchen.

But we’ll see. I do enjoy having this site to post all the random stuff I do and try out!

They say blogs are dead but I am not too much of a social media person and a rarely post anything to Instagram. Rocco is the ‘grammer in our house.

Speaking of Rocco, he is still doing so well after his chiropractic treatments! He is basically 100% his normal self now, but I am not going to take him running EVER again because both times he’s been really sick have been following a run with me.

The house is good too, we love it! I keep thinking I need to do a house tour video too! Maybe if I get really bored over winter break I will film that 😉

Alright, so here it is, the end of December and I am so sugared up and full of treats that I honestly don’t even want to see another cookie, but here I am anyway posting a cookie recipe because THEY ARE THE BEST gluten free, chocolate chip cookies I have ever had to this date and it needs to be documented before I forget how I made them!

I got the recipe from, which OMG everything on her website looks so incredible! I made the recipe gluten free though because my husband can’t have wheat and even though GF flour is supposed to be 1:1 I still had to make a couple tweaks, hence why I am posting the recipe here.

And PS I finally got a cookie dough scoop and I don’t know what took me so long to get one! It’s a game changer! I used a 1.5T scoop made by oxo that I picked up at Target.

And last, what I really love about these cookies is that they are basically half chocolate. The dough is pretty much just a matrix in which to hold the chocolate. So you want it to be fairly stiff but not so stiff the cookies come out hard or tough.

I hope you enjoy!

Gluten Free Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup real cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or regular sugar, I just don’t have any in my house)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (it’s naturally GF)
1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF 1 to 1 baking flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups chocolate chunks

Directions: Cream the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and do not over mix. Last, stir in the chocolate chips and chunks.

Use a cookie dough scoop to make perfect little cookie dough balls and place the dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.

**Important: Averie says to refrigerate the dough balls for 2 hours minimum. I popped mine in the freezer for 20 minutes and they were FINE. I can’t wait 2 hours for cookies!!

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or just until the edges have set. You do not want to overcook these or they won’t have that soft texture you want.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!


Gluten Free Avocado Pizza

This is a super simple, super delicious recipe that I HIGHLY recommend. It’s perfect for these busy fall evenings when you don’t have any time to cook.

The options for toppings are absolutely endless, so I’ll just tell you how I like to make mine and you can adjust from there. For me, I like a lot of vegetables on my pizza. My husband likes to put cheese and chicken on his. But that’s the nice thing about it: everyone gets exactly what they want!

avo pizza dilla

Gluten Free Avocado Pizza (makes 1 serving)


  • 1 brown rice tortilla (trader joes or garden of life brand found in the frozen section by the gluten free bread)
  • 1/2 -1 whole avocado
  • red onion to taste
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro to taste
  • 1 Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger, cooked and cut into small pieces (Optional. Could sub shredded chicken or meatballs instead)
  • 1 handful of micro greens, washed

Heat a pan large enough to hold a tortilla over medium low heat. Heat the tortilla on both sides until it is thawed out and warm. The longer you cook the tortilla, the crispier your “crust” will be so I recommend letting the tortilla cook for several minutes. Side note: if you are adding cheese or other heavier toppings then do not defrost the tortilla. Pre-assemble the pizza on a plate and then place it in the pan to cook. Otherwise the tortilla could burn before the cheese melts.

While the tortilla is defrosting, mash together the avocado, salt, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl and then evenly distribute the mixture onto the tortilla. Don’t burn yourself!

Keep the tortilla in the pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped up veggie burger.

Remove from heat, slide the tortilla onto a large plate, top with micro green (or don’t) and drizzle with your favorite salad dressing if you desire. Slice your pizza into 8 mini-pieces of pizza! So good!

Alright, that’s it for now! I just wanted to get this recipe out before it got lost in my brain somewhere.

I hope you enjoy!




Kelp Noodle Salad with Tahini Dressing

Hey! It’s been 3 months since my last post but here I am!

I only feel like I’m exaggerating a tiny bit when I say this salad has been my life for the last 3 weeks. Ok, slight exaggeration. BUT, it is really super yummy and it’s such a nice change from regular green salads and the kelp noodles are a great way to incorporate some sea vegetables into your life without having to eat nori (which I think tastes like aquarium). Plus, noodles in a salad are FUN, am I right?!

Health update: I developed chondromalacia, aka “Runners Knee” just about 3 months ago now and it stopped me dead in my tracks from doing just about all activities. I’ve been able to do yoga and lift weights just in the last few weeks. But there were a couple weeks where anything that required knee bending was extremely painful.

The good news is that it’s super common and not serious at all. It’s just painful and takes a while to heal up. I think I’m just about all better though.

Rocco update: I never posted this on the blog because I was too nervous to put it out there, but over the summer Rocco had some health challenges. He started having a hard time walking and balancing and the veterinarian thought he was having a flare up of myelitis or  meningitis which is inflammation of the spinal cord. Not good! But after a round of steroids the vet thought maybe it was a back injury so Rocco started receiving chiropractic adjustments AND…it’s totally working!! I’d say he’s about 95% good as new and has all his energy back and he can balance and run around again. LIFE IS GOOD!! Most likely he threw his back out by jumping on or off something really high. We’ll never know but he is a very active dog so I can imagine him doing something crazy like that.

House/yard update: In the last 2 months we got a fence put up, sprinklers installed and landscaping complete! Here are all my baby plants and trees!


Alright, let’s get to the good stuff then! This salad recipe!


I’ve been taking this salad to work for lunch because it’s so simple to throw together. I just shred/chop a bunch of veggies and store them in containers in the fridge and then every morning I toss everything into a glass bowl. It takes less than 2 minutes.

salad lunch

Kelp Noodle Salad (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1/4-1/2 cup sauerkraut (I’ve been making my own!)
  • 1/2 cup Sea Tanlge Kelp Noodles (can buy at
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded beet
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • Chopped red onion to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach (optional-it’s nice to have a break from green salads sometimes)
  • handful of micro greeens
  • cilantro to taste

Layer salad in the order above with wet items going in the bottom of the bowl and greens going at the top so they don’t get soggy before lunch time.

Tahini Dressing (makes 4-7 servings)

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water (adjust to desired consistency)
  • 6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a magic bullet or blender and blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator. It will thicken up over time.

These are the micro greens I’ve been using and I love them so much! It’s so nice to mix up the green veggies and these are so small you don’t have to chop them up but they have a much better texture than traditional sprouts which I sometimes feel have the texture of wet hair, haha!

micro greens

Alright, that’s it for today. I have another recipe coming soon, I promise!

Bye for now!


Easy Grilled Chicken Beer Marinade

Hello, hello! Updates AND a new recipe today, woo hoo! Let’s start with the recipe!

Easy Grilled Chicken Beer Marinade

First up today I have a recipe for a super easy marinade for chicken that really ups the flavor and juiciness of grilled chicken and the ingredients are things you probably already have on hand!

I just want to say first that the beer & sugar do not add any significant amount of sugar or calories to the chicken. Only a small bit will be absorbed by the chicken and the rest gets discarded. Ditto for the salt, so please don’t panic when you see sugar and salt in the recipe. When marinading chicken, salt draws some moisture out of the meat which then allows the meat to absorb some of the flavors and liquid from the beer (or at least that is how I understand it to work).

And also, this chicken won’t taste like beer per se, but if you absolutely hate the taste/smell of beer then it’s probably not for you. You can use any beer you like (or don’t like as they case may be!). We have a pantry full of beer and there are some that we really don’t like for drinking but they have been excellent to use as a marinade! I’ve used an IPA and a gluten free pale ale. The IPA had a stronger beer flavor whereas the pale ale was more mild. I really liked both even though I’m by no means a beer drinker 🙂


  • 3-4 pounds chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 can/bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce of choice
  • McCormick Garlic Pepper to taste (optional)

Combine all marinade ingredients in a casserole dish large enough to hold all the chicken or in a large ziploc bag. Cut the chicken breasts up into strips/pieces. There is no proper way to do this, just use a knife or kitchen sheers and chop away. Add the chicken to the marinade and make sure the chicken is completely submerged in the marinade. Marinate for 4-24 hours.

Heat outdoor grill to about 450 degrees F and grease the grates with some coconut oil by using a silicone brush (be careful, don’t singe your arm hair off).

Cook chicken for approximately 4 minutes on each side. Cooking times and temps vary greatly depending on the time of year, wind, the grill etc so just make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Remove from the grill and enjoy!


Running (injury) Updates

And now for part 2 of this super exciting post. My running, or rather NOT running update!

I had been training for a 50K (31 mile) ultra trail marathon for about 10 weeks and everything was going great. I was waking up early and hitting the trails before work and then doing long runs on the weekend. Training was going awesome and my body was feeling good. I rarely missed a run and was keeping up with my mileage and then BAM, I came down with a case of “runners knee” and it stopped me

One Saturday, about 3 weeks ago now, I went out for a 15 miler. I read the trail map wrong and the trail was twice as steep as I thought it would be which meant…it was really steep. But I have a steely determination so I ran this trail even though my body started screaming in pain. The trail was also half the distance I thought it was so after finishing that trail (in pain) I still had to run 6 more miles. So I ran to a different trail, still needed more miles, and finished with yet another trail which was also steep. At this point every step was extremely painful. But I pressed on anyway. Why? Because I never seem to learn my lesson and I hate the thought of quitting anything! Arrrgh!! I “only” made it 13 miles in 3 hours, 45 minutes. Yep.

The next day walking down stairs was agonizing. It felt like my knee cap was going to pop off and fly across the room. So I rested, rested, rested and finally went to the Dr. He told me I just have a case of runners knee and it’s super common and told me I will be fine in a few weeks and it’s really not a big deal. He even thought I would still be able to run the race.

But in my head it became a huge deal. I started thinking that after taking 3+ weeks off there is no way I will be able to resume my training program and pick up with 19+ mile workouts. Especially since it’s been 3 weeks and my knee only feels marginally better!

So it was a huge drama in my head and I started thinking, well at least I can still do the half marathon distance. But now that I’ve calmed down (which can only come with a significant time away from training I think) I realized this is such a tiny, insignificant thing and who cares if I run 0, 5, 13 or 30 miles? Nobody!! Ha! I’m just thankful that’s its not my ankle, it’s nothing major and like, whoopety-doo I have tendinitis. Gold star. And now I honestly don’t even care if I do any race at all, I just want to feel better so I can get outside and enjoy running because I really, truly love the heck out of it.

One of the mistakes I made during this train up is that I wasn’t doing any sort of cross training. I was advised that with that much running it’s best to not do anything else. So no mountain biking (which I love), no strength training, no other cardio, nothing.

But putting 100% effort, time, dedication & determination into just one activity is a recipe for disaster I realize. Because if that one activity is taken away from you, what do you have? For me, I suddenly had a whole heap of free time and anxiety to match it. My knee hurt so bad that even walking, biking, lifting and swimming hurt. So I was in a bad spot mentally there for a little while.

If I had been say, mountain biking once a week and going to yoga once a week it would have been much easier for me to shift my focus to those activities and I wouldn’t have freaked out so bad.

So now it’s feeling good enough to walk and do easy mountain biking and I can do yoga. So that’s where I’m at and I’m not totally fine with it but I recognize I’m being a giant drama queen and that’s annoying, haha!

Alright, that is quite a novel and probably enough for one post. I actually have another recipe I’m excited to put up so I will be back soon!

Have a great week!


Torn Postibial Tendon to 50K? + a Must Try Recipe

Hello, hello!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time now so let’s just get down to it!

I really hope that there is someone out there who is googling:

Torn posterior tibial tendon healing time

Torn posterior tibial tendon will I ever run again

Torn posterior tibial tendon should I get surgery

Because those are all the things I was researching like crazy back when I ruptured my posterior tibial tendon 4.5 years ago. I think that’s how long its been anyway and it has FOR SURE been a long journey. My ankle is not what it was before my injury and I don’t think it ever will be, BUT it’s pretty darn good and still getting better and I (think) am happy I didn’t get surgery.

The backstory is that I ruptured my tendon bad enough that my doctor’s first reaction was to recommend surgery. I don’t know what the percentage was that it was torn, but bad enough for surgery. But then he gave me the option of not having surgery and just seeing if it would heal up on it’s own so I opted to not have surgery.

I spent 12 weeks in a boot and after that it still hurt to stand, walk or do anything. I did yoga, swam, rode the bike and started doing more high intensity interval training. If I ever did too much my ankle would let me know. Even balancing on 1 foot hurt really bad. This was the norm for a long time.

About 2 years after the injury I was able to start slowly running again. So yes, I’ve just basically said my recovery time was 2 years. I could run 1-2 miles without pain. It’s not the kind of pain you want to push through because my experience has been that once that area is angry it will stay angry for a loooong time. So to be clear, I use the term “recovered” very loosely as I went from being able to run 26.2 miles to being able to run 1-2 miles max. So if you want to recover in less than 4 years surgery might be the way to go.

3 years after the injury (last summer) I got my mileage up to 3 miles and I ran two 5K trail races. I was honestly 100% happy being able to run 3 miles. I think being able to run 3 miles is a wonderful thing.

But then this last fall (October 2016) I decided I wanted to train for a half marathon. I kept really quiet about this training and didn’t really tell anyone because I was worried that 1) my ankle would start to hurt and I would have to quit, or 2) People would tell me not to run because of my ankle.

So, I kept my training in the closet and ran all winter. We got a lot of snow this winter and I did all but 3 training runs outside in the cold, snow, rain, wind etc. It was amazing. I loved getting up early and doing tempo runs in the snow or speed workouts on the track in 15 degrees when it was still dark outside. Ok, maybe love is too strong of a word but looking back on my winter training I feel super proud of myself for going through it and it was a really good boost to my self-esteem.

I ran the half Marathon in Moab back in March, 2017. It went well! My ankle was FINE! Ok, I say fine, but what I really mean is that the injured part of my ankle was fine but a different part of my ankle totally felt like garbage and hurt the entire time. I just didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to have anyone telling me I shouldn’t/couldn’t do it (I am only moderatl. So I did it and then I went to a Dr and then I rested for a few weeks, I had to start wearing orthotics and now I’m fine!

Somewhere in the weeks after that 1/2 marathon I decided I was up for a 50K trail race (that’s 31 miles). I obviously think with my heart because I don’t think your brain ever thinks running far a logical idea. But, I made up my mind and the plan is in motion now. I have gotten smarter about my running and I hired a coach to design a training plan for me. It’s a good plan. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend working with a coach, no matter what your ability is. When it comes to running I know just enough to be dangerous. I’m the kind of person who will pull a training plan out of a book or off the internet and then follow it to a T even if it kills me. So yeah, I recommend a coach.

I am currently 1/4 of the way through my training and it’s going great. I LOVE running on the trails. I’m lucky in that I can drive less than 8 minutes from my house and be at an awesome trail head with several different trail options. I’ve been able to trail run before work and it was scary at first! I’ll have to do another post with all the gear I’ve been acquiring!

So there you go, recovery time for a ruptured posterior tibial tendon is about 4.5 years, haha!

If you want to follow my training and see snippets of my runs you can follow me on instagram @ laura_bagora

And now for a recipe. I’m actually just going to share the link for this recipe because it is out of this world good.

I pinned a recipe for something called “Bitchin Sauce” several years ago. I saw that the real Bitchin Sauce at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago and bought all 3 flavors (original, chipotle and basil) and they are all SO GOOD!! So then I finally made the recipe and it really does taste every bit as good as the stuff in the store.

So for real, try this recipe, it’s good on everything. I use it as a salad dressing or as a vegetable dip but I could also eat it with a spoon so you know…it’s good.

The only substitution I made was that I used Olive Oil instead of Grapeseed Oil but it still turned out delish.


My Moving Story!

We finally moved in to our new house!

We actually moved 3 weeks ago but I’m just now starting to come up for air.

So, 3 weeks ago on a Tuesday afternoon we got the keys to our new house (yay!). Wednesday morning the movers showed up and started whisking my belongings away faster than I could have ever imagined! They had pretty much my entire house loaded onto a truck in 1.5 hours. I had them unload everything into the garage of the new house and within 2.5 hours the move was just about complete! (PS I used Skinny Wimp and would HIGHLY recommend them if you are moving).

The following day (Thursday) we packed up and headed to Moab so that I could (SURPRISE!) run a 1/2 marathon on Saturday! Yes I’ve been running again which I will post about another time. I kept quiet about my training because I didn’t want to jinx myself!

So anyway, moving heavy boxes and furniture a few days before a long run is not conducive to training FYI. I way overdid it moving but you kind of don’t have a choice when you move, right?

We came home Saturday right after the race because we were eager to start settling into the new house. Sunday was a beautiful day so my husband decided he would take a break from unpacking boxes and went paragliding. By 11am he had “tweaked” his hip and came home. He could not lift his leg and could barely walk. Luckily my family was in town at the time and my SIL is a PA. She told my husband to get the dr PRONTO as he had most likely torn something. So off to the E.R. we went and sure enough, he had TORN his hip flexor. I’m not sure which muscle exactly, but it was 1 or 2 of his quadriceps muscles.

The tear should heal on its own so he doesn’t need surgery but he’s offline for a good 8-12 weeks. So obviously that sucks that he’s injured and down for the count but also, at this time we still had quite a bit of stuff in our old house and a new house full of boxes so I was like POOR ME, I have to move by myself, haha! Again, luckily my parents were in town and they were hugely helpful even though my Dad has a broken foot and he was in a boot! We were quite a bunch.

So anyway, we are finally all moved out of the old house and there’s enough room in our current garage to park out cars in there so I’m considering us all moved in, ha!

As much as I’ve wished I could just snap my fingers and have everything all organized, clean and in place I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the moving in process. I’ve been enjoying organizing everything and clearing out things we no longer need.

And I know everyone mostly just wants to know how Rocco is, so I will cut to the chase and say that Rocco loves his new home. My awesome parents went to the new house right away and installed a temporary fence and a dog door so he could have immediate access to his yard. He’s not spoiled at all. He has about a half dozen places he likes to sleep around the house and he has various perches where he can sunbathe and watch out the window. We also have several parks in our new neighborhood so he really enjoys going to the park every day to check out all the new smells.

I went around the house and snapped some photos. Obviously it’s still kind of a mess and I’m lacking furniture in some areas. But it’s still fun to look 🙂

Enjoy the pictures and I’ll be back soon with stories and recipes!


Main floor family room. Obviously lacking some furniture.
Kitchen! Ok, the kitchen is pretty darn organized.
Part of the backyard. It’s small but that’s what I wanted! 
Temporary dog door solution. I’m getting a custom made door soon because the humans can’t fit through this one as is.
Garage door entry. So organized it’s heaven. And that charging station is money!
Messy garage stacked deep on both sides but hey, my car fits!
One end of the basement that will eventually be a gym!
The other end of the basement.
My husbands gear storage room. I LOL that this is the only decorated room in the house. This is what it looks like when you have hobbies galore.
My laundry room! I got a new washer & dryer and they are amazing! The washer is so deep I have to stand on that little stool to get everything out and even then it’s a stretch for me.
Just a nice, lovely closet. I’ve never had such a closet.
Office! This room is pretty much done. Notice Rocco’s duck on the floor, haha!
Rocco’s room. Notice his perch/nest on top of the futon so he can look out the window. He’ll have to share his room in the event we have overnight guests.
Master bedroom! We sold our bed because we were sick of stubbing our toes on it! My husband keeps saying “I like just having a mattress on the floor” so we may never get a bed, haha!
Master bath. Excuse me, en suite.
The outside! Crazy to think it will have grass pretty soon!
My street is basically a construction zone. We are 1 of 3 finished houses so we’ll be surrounded by construction for quite some time.

Lessons I Learned the Hard Way


Hello! Long post ahead. I don’t usually do these type of posts but I felt compelled to share some of my greatest diet and health lessons today.

I started this blog because I felt like I was a human science experiment of sorts. Well…I have learned a lot about health and nutrition along my journey and I want to kind of summarize my experience for anyone else who might be walking this same path.

Obviously I have many more lessons than this but I don’t want this post to get too long!

7 Diet & Nutrition Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

  1. There is no such thing as a perfect diet. 
    When I first became vegan I was quick to latch on to all the vegan spokespeople who preach veganism as the perfect diet and I really bought into it. I mean, I saw incredible benefits and it seemed to really be working for me for quite a while. And then I did the whole Paleo thing for a while because proponents of that diet say it’s the perfect diet. And honestly I did feel really great on the Whole30 (I just didn’t feel great beyond it). But it left me thinking, “who is really right?” The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect diet because we are all so different and our dietary needs are all so different!
    I know, I know, you see the Vegan Triathletes that are just crazy fit and they say they can train hard because of their plant based diet. And then you see the super ripped paleo folks who say they look like that because of their diet. It never really occurred to me that those people would probably be super fit and ripped no matter what they ate. There will always be a small percentage of the population who can eat pretty much anything and look incredible.
  2. Carbs are really important.
    If you are a healthy, active person you need to be eating carbs, period. I’m not talking about eating crazy insane amounts of bagels like we did in the 90’s, I’m talking about healthy carbohydrates obviously. Low carb and grain free diets can be really helpful for people with insulin resistance and they certainly have their place. I don’t want to get too much into the science here, but what I want to say is, I see a lot of young, healthy, active people giving up carbohydrates just because going low carb has become mainstream and it really isn’t advisable for many people.
  3. Fat is really important but not eating too much fat is also really important.
    Fat matters. Just like everything else we put in our mouths, it ALL matters. I think fat is shedding its bad rap which is a good thing, but now I’m seeing things swing too far in the opposite direction. People are eating copious amounts of nuts and putting butter in their coffee thinking there won’t be any negative backlash and that’s simply not the case either! It all matters!
  4. You CAN have a protein deficiency.
    So many famous vegans preach about how “over protein-ed” we are in the U.S. and how nobody really gets protein deficiencies. This is false. I was vegan for a long time and I never tracked how many grams of protein I ate but I would estimate I probably never ate more than 60 grams of protein on any given day. This wasn’t nearly enough protein for my activity level which consisted of marathon training + strength training.
  5. Vitamins are a must no matter what diet you follow!
    Ahhh the great vitamin debate. It seems like everyone likes to say “I get my nutrients from my food” these days (I used to say this as well until tests revealed massive vitamin deficiencies). Well, good luck with that. The truth is, our soil is so nutrient depleted there’s no way we can get all out nutrients from food even if we are eating 10 pounds of vegetables a day. Also, the  “Recommended Daily Allowance” for vitamins and minerals is so we DON’T GET a deficiency. It’s not the dose we need to THRIVE and be at our OPTIMAL LEVEL. Sorry for the all caps here but I wish someone would have shaken me and been more stern with me on this one. But do you see there difference there? One level is just the basic minimum needed to survive, but we need much more to function optimally, especially if you are active. Dr. Hyman has great things to say about this topic if you are interested in doing more research.
  6. When it comes to your health, “Test Don’t Guess”.
    I haven’t written about my latest thyroid testing debacle, but the short version is, I got tired of guessing what was wrong and I took a list of tests I wanted to have run to my doctor and made him run them all! I lied and told him I was working with a dietitian who suggested I get all these tests done. He was very receptive to this and gladly ran all the tests, haha!! It revealed my thyroid was pretty low (very low in some aspects), but my DHEA levels were non-existent! I simply started taking a DHEA supplement and that got all my other levels back up to normal. There was no way I could have ever guessed that. So whatever issues you are having, get tested for it. If it’s stomach stuff, get tested. Don’t just assume you have too much stomach acid because it could be more than that.
  7. Quality water and food DO matter!
    I’ve written about water quality before and how I’m convinced it is what cleared up my acne, but I’m serious when I say clean water is important! There are so many contaminants in our drinking water and they simply don’t get filtered out with regular filtration systems like what we have in our refrigerators.
    Ditto for food quality. I was resistant to this one for a long time, simply because I didn’t have the money to spend on higher quality food. So you know what analogy I like to use? The home:body analogy (I made this one up and I’ve very proud of it)
    When people go shopping for a new home they will typically get approved for a loan and then go shopping for a house that is in the very top of their price range. People will calculate the monthly payments and buy as much house as they can afford because it is an investment. You see where I’m going with this? We spend our maximum budget on our homes and in some cases our cars/clothing/purses/shoes etc. But for some reason, when it’s time to buy fuel FOR OUR BODIES we buy the absolute cheapest food out there because it’s good ‘nuf. Just think about that one. Isn’t our health really our best investment? I certainly think so.

Alright, that’s all for now, I’ll try to think up some more hard lessons learned!


Protein Pancakes (protein powder free)

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the last 3 months but I keep forgetting! I just came across the pictures in my phone which reminded me that I still hadn’t done it!

But first, a house update! The new house is almost done. In fact, we will be moving in one week exactly! I have started packing but there is still LOTS to do. It’s actually really stressful when I think about it.

I don’t really have any super good photos to post yet but I’m thinking once it’s finished maybe I’ll make a video and it will be just like MTV Cribs (my favorite show of all time btw). The whole house is pretty much done, they are just to the stage where they go through and clean and fix all the little things. It’s a big mess right now and everything is covered in a layer of dust so I didn’t take many pictures.

This is the main floor and I am most excited about the flooring! It was the biggest thing we splurged on. I really wanted this luxury vinyl plank flooring and it worked out that I was able to get it. It’s like laminate but it’s also waterproof and darn near indestructible. The color is gorgeous and it doesn’t look like plastic even though the name “vinyl” makes it sound like plastic. I’m stoked!

house pic

The house isn’t fenced yet so I think our first priority is getting some sort of temporary fencing and a dog door so Rocco can run free. OF COURSE the dog’s priority is #1! I mean let’s be real, who is this house for really?

On to the pancakes…

I have been experimenting with baking/cooking with protein powders a lot recently and let me just say, I have wasted approximately $500 worth of protein powder. I kid, I kid. But seriously, baking and cooking with protein powder is a bust. It doesn’t taste good and in the end it just wastes perfectly good protein.

So, I was excited to come up with a high protein pancake recipe that doesn’t use any protein powder! They have a great taste and texture and they are very easy to make. Perfect for weekends!

High Protein Pancakes
Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 a ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons cottage cheese or greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground flax (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender (a magic bullet type device is clutch in this situation) and blend until smooth. Let the batter “rest” for approx 3 minutes to allow the batter to thicken up. Heat your pan over medium heat. Pour/scrape the batter into the heated pan. It will make 3-4 small pancakes. Flip once they start to bubble.

Top with pancake toppings of your choice (obviously).

I am the WORST at taking food pics. You know I made these pancakes after running 8 miles or something and I just wanted to sit down and eat so I snapped a picture really quick before they got cold. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I loathe cold food, especially if it is a food that’s supposed to be hot!







Wellness Gizmos I’ve tried-Are they worth the money?

One of the main reasons I started this blog many years ago was because I am basically a human science experiment. I enjoy trying different wellness “things”, cleanses, programs etc and I wanted to be able to share my experiences so others don’t waste time on the stuff that isn’t worth it!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for over a year now but I’m just having the hardest time getting myself together when it comes to updating my blog!

I compiled a list of the latest, weirdest things I’ve tried in the last year and I must admit I’m a little scared to reveal how much money I’ve spent on all this stuff!

So I’ll just cut right to the chase. In no particular order here are the various Wellness “things” I’ve done with a description and then my personal verdict.


  1. Steam sauna. Cost: $90
    This one looks super weird! Last winter I missed the feeling of getting really sweaty. I know that sounds crazy especially to anyone who lives in a humid environment. But in Utah the air is dry year round and I was just craving that feeling. So I ordered this sauna off Amazon. Our house is very small and it’s not like we have tons of room for a sauna so my husband placed a large piece of plywood over the bathtub and the sauna sits on top. When I want to use the tub it’s easy enough to take the sauna down.

The Verdict: I love it! I would absolutely recommend this. There is a ton of research on the benefits of using a sauna that I won’t get in to here. The only downside is it’s hard to find a good time to sauna since it requires a shower afterward.

2. Infrared heat lamps. Cost: $20
This one came about around the same time I was researching saunas. I actually wanted an infrared sauna but the steam sauna was much less expensive. The research on infrared is really overwhelming. Some people swear it heals all wounds, acne, muscles, joints, everything basically. Infrared setups can be really pricey so I purchased a bulb and socket from amazon and just made my own.

The Verdict: Didn’t do anything for me or for my husband. Rocco liked to lay under the lamp because it was warm but that’s about it. I can’t say the heat penetrated any deeper than a heating pad.

3. HiDow TENS unit (muscle simulator). Cost: I have it on loan from my mom. Her Cost: $200-300
This is a pricey one, I know! My mom suffers from really horrible neck pain and I think anyone who deals with chronic pain is willing to spend just about any amount of money to make the pain go away! Spoiler alert: this thing made her pain go away, she never needed it again so she gave it to me! My husband had purchased a cheap, $20 version from the drug store but trust me when I say it was weak sauce compared to this bad boy! The HiDow has some serious power even though it is tiny. I love using it for sciatic nerve pain and my husband uses it for back pain. You can use it for every ailment under the sun though.

The Verdict: It’s awesome! Expensive, but if you have chronic pain that is muscle related it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

4. ALCAT Test. Cost: $350 (gulp)
The ALCAT test is something I had wanted to do for a reallllllly long time. I did a lot of research before pulling the trigger to see if it was legit. Basically it’s a “food sensitivity” test. You order the blood draw kit online and then go to a lab to have your blood drawn. The lab mails your blood to the ALCAT people and a week or two later you get a complete list of all foods you are either a) highly reactive to, b) moderately reactive to, or c) non reactive. I did this mainly for entertainment/curiosity since I really didn’t think I had any food sensitivities. The thing is, you don’t know if you have food sensitivities unless you get tested! The theory is that we could be eating some health food (green tea for example) and actually be sensitive to that food and that causes low grade inflammation which obviously is not good for many reasons. My results were pretty mild. I didn’t have any foods I was highly sensitive to. I was lactose intolerant, no surprise there. I was moderately sensitive to a lot of health foods I consumed on a regular basis like green tea, beets, cucumbers and beans.I just want to say CHOCOLATE, COFFEE AND PEANUT BUTTER WERE OK. I was so scared I was going to come back as sensitive to my 3 favorites but all was well.

The Verdict: Unsure. I got my results back and thought it was a worthwhile investment so I made my husband do it too because he likely has food sensitivities. The test confirmed he has gluten sensitivity which we already suspected but at least now he has a piece of paper to confirm it.
The bottom line: I probably wouldn’t recommend this unless you are just a curious soul like me and don’t like to leave any stone unturned when it comes to health. OR, if you know that gluten is making you sick but you need external confirmation to help you get it out of your diet for good.

5. Fascia Blaster. Cost: $90
Oh I know I am totally crazy with this stuff, I’m killing myself here! If you haven’t heard about the Fascia Blaster yet it’s a stick like doo-dad with claws on it that you use like “the stick” for rolling muscles. The claws break up fascia which releases bound up scar tissue, fascia, muscles, etc. The Fascia Blaster has a huge following and people buy actual big infrared saunas to put in their homes and dedicate 30-60 minutes of their day to blasting. So at least I’m not that extreme…

The Verdict: It works but it may be too expensive depending on your needs.
Ahhh, I feel like I’m going to be burned at the stake by FB devotees for saying that. I know some people’s lives have been changed forever because of the FB, especially people with scar tissue and people who have had surgeries. So if that is an issue for you I would 100% say it’s worth every penny. I like to use it on my calves and I did break up some scar tissue in my husbands foot. The hardest thing is that, like all fitness things, you have to actually use it for it work 🙂

6. Sauna Suit. Cost: $20
Alright, so I obviously went through a “sweating phase”. I have the hardest time getting sweaty which I know is weird. So I bought one of those old school, plastic suits and for a while I was wearing it to workout in. Actually I was only wearing the top because the bottoms were hard to move in.

The Verdict: I loved it at the time but I wouldn’t recommend it now. My phase was short lived and now I have this plastic sweat suit in my garage…

7. Bellabeat Leaf. Cost: $139
I wanted the Leaf so bad so I asked for it for my birthday. It’s fitness tracker jewelry basically. It has many of the same features as a Fitbit but it looks like a bracelet or necklace and you can wear it different ways. The reason I really wanted it is because it is also tracks meditation and your monthly cycle and gives you a daily stress score based on how much you slept, how much you moved, how much you meditated and where you are at in your monthly cycle. This feature for me was the selling point. I don’t need any encouragement to get up off my butt, I need confirmation that I have indeed worked hard and it’s time to sit my butt down and take some deep breaths. As a result I went from meditating 0 times/week to meditating 4-7 times a week. As someone as compulsive as I am, if I see I’m getting a bad grade in the meditation department I will take 10 minutes to meditate to get a better score.

The Verdict: I love it but I’d recommend waiting for the next gen to come out. I bet the next ones will be smaller and less clunky. I also think it’s a little overpriced compared to other fitness trackers out there and it doesn’t allow you to record what you eat. Hopefully in the future the app will have that capability.

8. Liver Cleanse (Global Healing). Cost: $70 a pop.
Over the summer I went on a liver cleansing spree. Why you may ask? I don’t know, I don’t even drink really but I was in the mood to cleanse something so I decided to go with a liver cleanse since I’d never done one before. I actually did 3 rounds with alternating rest week’s in between. It’s a 5 day cleanse and every day you drink 2 different potions throughout the day and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. It also doubles as a colon cleanse which is a bonus. It’s short enough that the restrictive diet is totally doable. I mean…it’s only 5 days. I should put a disclaimer on here though that on the last night you have to drink a glass of epsom salt water which tastes extremely bad. Like, really bad. But then the worst part is that 30 minutes later you have to drink 6 ounces of olive oil (and not throw up). Yes, 6 ounces, aka more than a 1/2 cup! Probably one of the grossest things I’ve ever consumed. That potent cocktail is what cleanses the gallbladder which is something you’ll have to experience for yourself!

The Verdict: I love it and can’t wait to do it again! By the end of the 5 days my liver felt like it was pink and shiny and sparkling. I can’t say I experienced any lasting effects that would indicate that it really “did anything”, but I felt good at the time and you just never really know about this stuff, right?

Alright, now you know how crazy I really am! I hope you enjoyed this little list of nonsense 🙂