Why I Eat Gluten Free

Why do I eat gluten free? Should you?

Of course it seems super trendy, and I’ll be the first to admit I jumped on that bandwagon a few years ago.  It promised less inflammation, probably weight loss (less carbs!), and an overall high vibe wellness-y life!  Seemingly so at least.  To be clear, when I “went gluten free” back then, it was with little purpose other than testing it out, hoping it would be the golden ticket to perfect health and my perfect body. I never actually was very strict about it.  I would pretty much get a packaged product and think, “ooo, it’s gluten free!  It must be healthy!”  And, if there was something amazing like say, fried pickles or a delectable cookie, I’d eat it, guiltily. Needless to say, I never noticed a difference.

I was feeling pretty lackluster and very low on important vitamin levels for a few months despite eating very cleanly and (what I thought was) super healthy. I finally got a food sensitivity test done when all my other tests came back negative (thankful) for other major issues.  To the best of my knowledge, I do not have Celiac Disease or an allergy to wheat or gluten.  However, I have a severe sensitivity to gluten, wheat, rye, and soy.  This is actually a lesser-known issue they call Non-Celian Gluten Sensitivity. I truly can tell when I’ve been “glutened.” This is a personal choice of mine to stay away from it as much as possible.  I am far from perfect and thankfully a little bit here and there or cross-contamination will not cause lasting physical effects that I feel.  But I do know, when I knowingly have something with those ingredients in it, I feel tired, sometimes get stomach pains, my throat will hurt, and my eyes feel dry.

It’s really important to keep in mind just how different we all are.  This might not do anything for you!  Or maybe you have it worse than me and have a true allergy or Celiac’ s and need to avoid it completed.

There might not be any reason to avoid gluten/wheat, and you don’t have to!, but if you do want to give it a try it might help if you have an autoimmune disease to lower inflammation, lift brain fog, and help with digestion issues, among other things. Remember, just because something is gluten free does not mean it’s better!  Still focus on whole foods when you can.

Right now I do not worry too much about cross-contamination if I would really like to try something. That might change or it might not.  Plus, I will have something like a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery if I’m in NYC.  I just will try my best the rest of the day to be completely G-free so I don’t end up feeling totally wiped.  Another thing I do is pay close attention to how I feel after eating something new. Sometimes I might eat something with oats (usually have cross-contamination), and will feel some negative effects.  If that happens I probably won’t buy that brand/item again.

*Hot tip: This is controversial but I can tell a big difference taking an activated charcoal pill after I’ve been glutened.  Just don’t rely on it!

This is just one tiny piece of the puzzle when it comes to health and wellness so take it with a grain of salt.  I’ve been testing things out for YEARS and finally feel like I’m more in tune with what makes me feel best.

Something different works for all of us.  Wellness is not one size fits all. I don’t eat like this for any other reason other than I feel my best without these ingredients.

Leave a comment and tell me why or why not you eat gluten free!  Or if you have any questions, I’d love to see if I can answer them.

~Whitney

 

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Sugar Detox: Why It’s Necessary

Yeah, I know.  You might not want to actually quit sugar.  You might love it.  I totally do but it is one of those things that really hurts in the long run, no matter how good it seems in the moment.

I fully intend to have Lindt Lindor truffles on a semi-regular basis.  Because they’re amazing.  Because one makes me happy and satisfied.  No, they are not the healthiest chocolate in the world. They do have some questionable ingredients, but they are some of the best I’ve ever had.  Seriously, buy my favorite flavor right //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=whitneyvictor-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B002RNYDBU&asins=B002RNYDBU&linkId=c721a00dfc767e41e57020bca4c6fd57&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>here. The extra dark are to die for.   Well, every flavor really is, except the orange.  That one just shouldn’t exist in my opinion.

Anyway, sorry for the chocolate rant.  I just love it.  That proves my point that I will still have a Carvel ice cream cake on my birthday every year.  I just don’t want to NEED it.  I don’t want to crave sugar to the point where I feel powerless in it’s grasp.

In one sitting, I’ve eating an entire bag of those exact truffles I mentioned at on point probably a year ago.  Sugar is that thing that makes your brain think you need it to be happy and satisfied.  The first, oh maybe 3 chocolates were amazing and I loved every bite, and then my brain kept telling me “More is better.”  12 empty wrappers and one almost stomachache later, I knew that wasn’t true.

What do we do about the sugar addiction?

I go cold turkey with the hard stuff.  By this I mean the chemically engineered, fully processed versions of sugar like high fructose corn syrup and anything like Splenda or aspartame.

Then I start with replacing those sugars with naturally-derived sweeteners like raw stevia.  I will only use //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=whitneyvictor-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00CQ7YSW6&asins=B00CQ7YSW6&linkId=d9b24b6dc9f8de599a82580af56164c9&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Stevia in the Raw packets or this //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=whitneyvictor-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01B048808&asins=B01B048808&linkId=7cd9d157d83feabff1e74535624af3ba&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“> liquid stevia (it comes in caramel and other great flavors!).  I also use limited coconut sugar and unsweetened applesauce for baking. My snacks will include some whole fruits and I’ll still allow some clean snack bars. More on this in my next post.

The next week or so, I’ll try to limit adding stevia to my oatmeal and cut back on bars.

After that, I only eat fruit once a day, preferably in the mornings, and don’t add any sweetener to my dishes.

Then I stay in that phase for at least another week to the point that I don’t crave something sweet after lunch and supper.

That’s always my goal.  I want to kill the cravings.

Is craving something bad?

Well, it is when it’s sugar.  See, sugar is in so much conventionally-made food these days that you might not even realize it unless you’re constantly reading nutrition labels like I do.

When you give up sugar, you gain a LOT.

Some benefits:

  1. Clearer, brighter skin
  2. Less noticeable cellulite (yeah, it’s true.  I’ve seen it happen)
  3. You’re less hungry for junk food
  4. Lose belly fat
    1. and overall weight loss, for that matter
  5. Drastically lower risk for diabetes
  6. Energy increases

Check out the following sources: Here, here, and here.

Now.  What does sugar actually do to you body?

Side Effects of Eating too Much Sugar:

  1. Weight gain
    1. “Additionally, excessive fructose consumption may cause resistance to leptin, an important hormone that regulates hunger and tells your body to stop eating (4). In other words, sugary beverages don’t curb your hunger, making it easy to quickly consume a high number of liquid calories. This can lead to weight gain.”  source
  2. Increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  3. Increases risk of depression
  4. Accelerates skin aging
    1. Yes, I’m vain enough to admit this is a factor in my detox
  5. Potential liver damage

And, those are just a some of the reasons it’s necessary to quit the habits.

Now, who’s with me?

~Whitney VictoriaIMG_1934

P.S. Bonus shot of me holding an ice cream cone called The Salty Pimp.  The shop is fun and bright and offers treats like the “Dorothy” and the “Rocky Roadhouse.” Any ice cream place that joins rainbow sprinkles with the Golden Girls is okay by me.  Just not every day…

Sugar Detoxing: Easing into It

I’m early into it, very early, like 2 full days into my self-imposed sugar detox.  I’m always one for challenges and pushing myself but this decision seemed extra necessary this time of year.

I love ice cream and chocolate, obviously.  Who doesn’t? I’m good at making healthier desserts but the problem is that if those options aren’t there, what am I going to want?  The traditional cake, with gluten white sugar, and lord knows what else.

Those cravings were just getting out of control.  Sure, I could kid myself and act like I’d only eat some super clean blueberry muffins that I whipped up, but then slowly I’d “allow” myself candy or Halo Top or something once week, which would become twice a week.  Every savory meal left me wishing I had a sweet bit to finish it off. Sometimes I’d just have a piece of hard candy but other days that just set me off to wanting even more.

I just got tired of having a craving at all.  I believe a craving means you don’t have control over wanting something.   I don’t like feeling powerless, especially over something as small, and meaningless as sugar.  I kept pushing it off and saying I’d stop eating “next week” or after the weekend, etc.

After July 4th, I knew I had to kick the habit.  I had a “goodbye” bowl of ice cream and felt terrible after eating it.  When I go for awhile eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and overall clean food, a big serving of sugar affects me like crazy.

I swear my heard beat a little faster and I felt soooo sluggish.  I even woke up with what felt like a sugar hangover.  I had no energy!  It just reinforced exactly what I already knew.

Sugar was harming me.  It felt for about 5 minutes and then it went bad. IT really is an addiction.

So. Yesterday I decided to go cold turkey.

I made up my own challenge because I wasn’t finding any program I really cared to follow.

My  3 simple rules:

  • No added sugar
    • read this article for all the sneaky names of sugar!
  • Only 1 serving of fruit/day
    • before lunch
  • Follow for at least 30 days
    • preferably until the cravings are gone

I’ve done this type of sugar detoxing before and have pretty many tips and coping mechanisms.  It’s never easy but I know it will be worth it.

I’m going to share just how to get through those cravings this week and how to still have fun eating! Stay tuned!

~Whitney Victoria

No sugar spelled in magnetic letters

 

Whitney Lately Vol. 2

Admiring lately:IMG_8663

Lower Manhattan

This is from a recent Uber ride from Brooklyn to MSG to eat gluten free pizza and have have macaroons from the bus station. This view will be a part of my daily life.  It’s always been in me.

Crushing lately:

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Tone It Up Bikini Series 

“Crushing” might be a little strong but I’m officially on the last day of the TIU Bikini Series.  I gotta say, it’s 8 weeks, but those weeks really did fly by.  There’s an app that has free daily moves every day.  Each day is dedicated to a certain body part you’re working.  You swipe through the moves and then the last screen is this one.  A little encouragement is always welcome.

Seriously check it out.  I’m a TIU girl now for the long run.

Sipping lately:

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Knoebel’s Cookie Nook

All the iced coffee  

I’m loving my coffee cold even more so than usual.  It just tastes sooo good to me this time of year.  Who am I kidding?  It tastes good any time of the year but in winter my hands start to freeze if I don’t get hot drinks.  But then again, that’s what I have gloves for.

Researching lately:

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Summer Events

On July 18 I am going to an event for the Almost 30 podcast  in NYC and I cannot wait.  I took the day off  and the next day just because I’ll get back late on a “school night.”  Even though the event only starts at 6:30 pm, I’m planning on taking some time in the city before it starts.  Right now, my schedule is wide open.  I’m a planner but I’m working on being more flexible with my schedule.  It’s actually way tougher than I thought it would be when I started to work on this trait a few months ago.  I actually feel stress when I have something “fun” planned but I don’t have an entire, completed, highly-detailed itinerary in my possession.  Anyway…I am slowly getting there and am allowing myself to enjoy some true free time.  So, for this day trip I had to at least have some things in mind.  As we speak I have a few options:

  • Catch a matinee show on Broadway (This most def. revolves around finding a good price.)
    • Currently cruising this site right here for tips and tricks – Last Minute Broadway Tickets
    • I’m dying to see Anastasia and Dear Evan Hansen (amazing music that I only know because of my Greatest Showman Pandora station)
  • Find a new cafe and people watch while I enjoy a great coffee and pastry
  • Eat at a top chef restaurant for lunch and take my time enjoying the meal
  • FINAAAALLLY go to a Soul Cycle class
    • I so want to do this eventually but my main reason for most likely striking this one from the docket is that I won’t look super cute for the Almost 30 shindig a few hours later
  • Possibly find a semi-affordable hotel for the night so I can leisurely enjoy myself without rushing home at 9pm

Watching Lately:

Imposters TV show on Bravo: ratings (cancel or season 2?)
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Imposters

This was just recommended to me by a friend and I’m hooked.  A Bravo show that follows a team of con artists and the jilted marks who are trying to catch them.  I”m currently catching up on the first season on Netflix and will probably finish it in a few days.

Tonight I’m heading to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and can’t wait.  I haven’t looked at a single review because I want to just go enjoy Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, and some Velociraptors.

 

Mocha Protein Muffins – Gluten Free & Vegan

Sometimes I want to eat cake for breakfast…but when I actually do that I end up on a downward spiral for the rest of the day, craving more sugar, more carbs, more unhealthy anything.  These muffins can be a great option for those days when I really want the cake without the crap.  IMG_7395

This is the nice middle ground between a muffin and a brownie.  I tweaked a recipe from Tone It Up. These aren’t dry like some gluten free recipes and they have a rich chocolate flavor because of the coffee.  Coffee brings out I learned that from Ina.

So easy. Tasty as a snack or dessert.

Mocha Protein Muffins

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 oat flour

3/4 cup vegan chocolate protein powder (using this kind at the moment)

1/4 cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/4 cup raw honey

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup coffee

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax dissolved in 2 tbsp water)

Instructions:

Mix dry ingredients together. Add all wet ingredients. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.  (I prefer coconut oil spray) Pour batter evenly Bake 24-28 minutes until just firm.

Let me know what you think!

~Whitney Victoria

 

Food In Review

First off, let me just say I’m pretty happy the Eagles finally did it again. I heard fireworks and people hooting and hollering in the neighborhood! But….. that doesn’t mean I watched any of it. I was refreshing the score a tad obsessively near the end though…Wait, I lie!  I watched this Chris Pratt commercial…twice, and I’m not apologizing.  He makes me happy.  Just following my bliss…hah.

It’s not news that I’m obsessed with grocery shopping.  The food, the endless new products, the coffee bars, , the mini carts with cupholders to carry the coffee I just bought…The only thing I don’t love is the freezing temperature that somehow is not just in the frozen aisles.  Another recent trip to Whole Foods was as delightful to be expected.

Also unsurprisingly, I love trying new healthy products and want to share whatever I learn.  As much fun as it is to do some testing, it’s not great fun to spend my hard-earned money on something I don’t like and end up ditching.  Thus, I’m a nerd who reads food reviews.  Here are some of my own!  Most of my new purchases are snacks.  You know snacks are the best.

Ripple Half and Half

I’m usually into black coffee but lately I’ve been wanting just little bit of milk to smooth it out.  If I ever add something to my coffee, I prefer real half and half for the richness it adds without the sweetness.  There are a lot non-dairy creamers out there and I am underwhelmed by most of them.  I recently discovered Califia Farms line and enjoy it but I’m not settled enough to stop trying new ones.  I’ve seen Ripple milk for awhile but never saw the half and half until this weekend.  Pleased to say it’s great for a creamy touch with only 1 gram of sugar per tablespoon and clean, pea protein.

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Verdict: Great as a non-dairy sub for half and half. Not so great if you’re into sugary creamers.

Whole Foods Americano 

IMG_7474Wow, I can’t believe I waited this long to get an Americano from the WF coffee bar.  It was delicious just straight up, no cream. I’m still finishing it up cold because I’m weird and drink coffee any way I can get it.

Verdict: Bold.  Yes, please.  Trading it in for the Costa Rican blend I usually go for.

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I love salt.  I used to be a cracker addict.  I could finish half a box of Cheez-Its in one sitting.  The problem with that is it’s all chemicals, gluten, and artificial dyes. These rice snaps are not low sodium but they are gluten-free, crispy, and richly flavorful.  The first word that comes to mind when I try to describe the taste is umami. According to Urban Dictionary, it’s definition is the pretentious way of saying the 5th human taste (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and savory, aka “umami”) Sorry, I watch a lot of Top Chef…

Verdict: Satisfying as lunch topped with tuna and good with hummus or avocado as a snack.

Hail Merry Sea Salt Caramel Bites

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I am doing a gluten detox for at least three months to get it out of my system and I really wanted something cake-like yesterday.  It’s not that easy to find, even at a Whole Foods.  No, this wasn’t the heavenly WF carrot cake that I was craving but these little, refrigerated cookies were good.  Butttt, these were an impulse buy, fueled by hunger so I didn’t realize they were coconut macaroons.  I was hoping for more of a crumbly/pastry-type cookie.

Verdict: I’d buy them again if I’m looking for a coconut taste and texture.  The sweet caramel flavor was nice and I only needed one to feel like I had dessert.

P.S. This Cookie Dough Is Good Ror You

It’s edible, protein-packed, chickpea-based cookie dough.  Um, duh.  And, it’s in a nice little container for 190 calories.  This is nice because I’ll admit I’ve bought those terrible, break-off pre-made cookie dough packs and popped them like candy…like you haven’t.  I’m glad this is one serving.  No need to have an endless supply of dough in my fridge.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH

Verdict: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough flavor was pretty amazing. If I didn’t know it was chickpeas, I don’t think I would have guessed it was conventional cookie dough.

Anyone buy any random new foods lately?  Obviously, I’m always open to suggestions!

~Whitney Victoria Eating well is a form of self respect - AZENDA.com

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Christmas Countdown Is On

I’m a little concerned it’s already December 18.  This time of year goes the fastest and some people probably like that but I like to savor it all.  But who’s to say I can’t keep celebrating past Christmas?  Maybe it’s not readily available but I can buy peppermint candies all year round and make my own mochas.

I watched a bunch of Christmas movies while wrapping my presents over the weekend.  I can honestly say it took me about 6 hours…not really complaining!

The past week involved tons of great food.  I tried a bunch of new recipes and with a few tiny tweaks, I’d say they were mostly all keepers.

I broke out my Gwyneth cookbook.  Cherry tomatoes and arugula were in my fridge and they needed to be used. It’s full of good, Whole food and love the variety of recipes.)img_6752.jpgI could have ate the entire bowl of them.  I’ve roasted tomatoes before but the ratio of EVOO was just perfect.  I only used the below recipe for them, not the rest that’s mentioned.

IMG_6750Seriously.  Look at them!  Perfectly blistered and browned.IMG_6748I had some smoked salmon so I really wanted to incorporate that as the protein.  For a dressing I used this one just with balsamic vinegar instead of red wine, only because that’s what I had in the house.  It made a lot so I’ve had extra dressing all week!img_6763.jpg

My favorite part might have been the sour cream corn bread.  I used Ina’s recipe from Make it Ahead and fell I love with it.  I substituted coconut palm sugar instead and gluten free flour!img_6772.jpg Forget what you think about dry, crumbly cornbread.  This is not that at all.  It’s moist and soft and did not need any topping to be delicious.  Ina recommends butter and strawberry jam!  She also said you could could toast it but mine fell apart a little.  However, warmed up was amazing.

It was a nice carb addition to the salad.  We all need it.  IMG_6780

A few days later I still had sour cream leftover and needed a reason to use it.  My brilliant idea was to use it in scones.  It’s been awhile.  I was on a huge scone kick awhile back and love the way sour cream or buttermilk change the texture.  This was my one recipe semi-failure… let’s say #Pinterestfail.

I laid out all my ingredients but somehow forgot to add the brown sugar.  Now, if you know scones, they’re not meant to be very sweet so these are still edible but I had planned on giving them as a thank you present.  Yeah, that wasn’t happening.  I have standards.  I did eat one for breakfast with coffee anyway!  I added chopped dates and pecans and will try these again one day.  After Christmas!

After that debacle, I was out of butter so I found an interesting cookie using olive oil.  Now, I really liked these.  I’m not sure what everyone else thinks since they are definitely different.  The fleur del sel and olive oil added a gourmet depth that most cookies don’t have. I think I’d leave about 1/4 cup of sugar out next time.  They were pretty darn sweet.  or maybe use bittersweet chocolate chips!  fimg_6875.jpgMy last little culinary experience involved a greattttt cappuccino and a gluten-free peanut butter chocolate free cake.  As much as I love coffee, I’m a little boring sometimes and stick with black.  This cappuccino was down right wonderful.  The cake was good too, but I totally could have just eaten the peanut butter mousse layer in the middle and I would have been sold! (The capp was much prettier before I took a sip!)IMG_6869

7 Days until Christmas!

~Whitney Victoria

Friday Faves and Peppermint Protein Smoothies

There are a lot of things I’m excited for right now and spinning is one of them again. I found myself smiling while we were going up a hill and felt too silly about it to stop.  Super crazy ready to try Sprint!  It’s coming to my gym and I can’t wait to try it.  The fact that it’s only 30 minutes should seem nice but I know that means it’s intense.  You’re fitting an hour’s worth of speed, resistance, and cardio into half the time. Check it out people.

 

My Taylor Swift tickets…I worked hard all November getting ticket “boosts” for a closer place in the virtual box office line.  My spot opened and I took too much time texting with my sister on what type of seats, pricing, etc. we wanted.  I was about to select the seats when the entire Ticketmaster site said there were no tickets available for that event.  I kept thinking it was just a glitch and even if they somehow were sold-out, I’d get to go.  I checked back every few minutes and suddenly they were back!  I didn’t waste anymore time and bought them.  Whew.  Seriously, the best two concerts I’ve ever been to so I cannot wait for this one on July 14. img_6737.jpg

Macarons!  They’re the best, chic, decadent treat. My mom and I absolutely adore them.  They’re so instagramable…I haven’t tried these new flavors yet because I can’t think of not sharing them.  They are in the freezer!  I love this little company who does pop-up shops in the area!  They have a bunch of holiday flavors.  My selection this time was peppermint, gingerbread, eggnog, cinnamon bun, cookie dough, and strawberry cheesecake.

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Short hair!  I totally feel like I lost some dead weight, not just the hair but also the weight of whatever I don’t need from the last year or so.  I feel more chic and sassy (best word I can find to describe my feels but not my favorite…)

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Peppermint everything!  I found this candy cane smoothie on instagram and new I needed to make it ASAP.  My weird banana intolerance meant I had to adjust the recipe a tiny bit.  I put it in the freezer so it could be thicker and I’d have to eat it with a spoon. I was hungry so it didn’t freeze long but it was just long enough to form a frozen crust.  I had to crack the surface like I was eating creme brule. It’s fun to trick myself into thinking Im eating some delectable bowl full of protein.  It turned out wonderful and refreshing and basically better than ice cream.

My version:

Peppermint Cacao Protein Smoothie Bowl!

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup frozen cauliflower (you won’t taste it, I promise!)

1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1 tbs cacao or cocoa powder

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used this one)

Garnish with 1 crushed mini candy cane and 1 tsp mini chocolate chips (My faves!)

Lick the bowl.  img_6769.jpg

I’m in love with this bed.  Totally going on my vision board.  I love the high headboard and that it’s modernish but still sort of homey feeling.IMG_5076

Some Black Friday deals that are even better than expected.  That blanket I randomly got of $12 at Sears, of all places.  Hello, those owls are drinking coffee…and wearing scarves…and some have ear muffs.  Of course I love it. It is so soft and oversized that I’ve been covering up with it while watching tv and then taking it to bed with me!  The pillow was an impulse buy from TJ MAXX and I’m equally in love with both.  (Pictured with a Godiva Santa bear from 2000.  For real.  I’ve been a semi-hoarder since a child.)IMG_6559

 I can a bracelet that says “You are Magic” on it in Connecticut so this pic makes me happy.  I’m telling you to believe it too.IMG_6395~Whitney Victoria

 

 

Festivities – Food and Facials

Festiveness is everywhere!  In my food and self-care practices…

Festivity Part One: I had a facial today here.  It was heaven.   I chose the spa because they focus on natural ingredients.  I didn’t want harsh products on my poor face.  After my first facial I felt super red and slightly in pain and I’ve never had super bad skin so I can imagine what it’s like for other people.  This time was going to be different.  I had already decided that before booking an appointment.

Other than my skin looking a little lackluster lately, I didn’t have any major concerns to addresss.  I mainly wanted some advice on my type of skin and some sort of cleansing relaxation.  The “seasonal facial” was right up my alley.

This was the description: “A botanical experience perfect for all skin types featuring vitamin-rich holistic products that enhance your skin’s natural balance and vitality.  While your skin absorbs the healing properties of our masques, we’ll delight you with a decollete, full hand & arm exfoliation and body butter application followed by a warm tower hand wrap.”

The esthetician used hot buttered rum exfoliant, peppermint oil in my scalp massage, and some amazing cocoa face mask…yes.  It was like I was getting a facial in Christmas land.  So many hot towels draped over my eyes and my hands wrapped up.  It was so relaxing and my face was a tad red (as to be expected) but it also looked dewy and renewed.

She did tell me that I had small blocks all over and it wasn’t super noticeable to me because I have small pores.  She said that it was most likely caused by something topical.  I literally never wear foundation so I knew it must be my face cream.  Another fact I loved about the process was that I was given a “prescription sheet” of all the products she used on me in case I loved it and wanted to use something at home.  It was completely this brand, Eminence Organic Skincare, which I have never heard of before now.  It’s so tough for me to find something natural that also doesn’t cause any negative reactions or clogged pores.  The “calm” line was recommended since I’m pretty sensitive…of course I am.I’m not one to be talked into a ton of products but I want my skin to be something I’m proud of.  Instead of just choosing say the cleanser, or just the cream, I am trying this starter set so see how I like it.

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Seriously.  I loved every minute of it.  I’m currently working them into my schedule because this needs to happen every six weeks or so.

Festivity Part Two:

Oh man.  I had the best idea yesterday morning.  I had some time to actually use the stove for breakfast.  Normally I prep oatmeal the night before or  so I wanted good pancakes.  You know, with the little crispy edges that show up when you bake something in a pan?  I use coconut oil usually but there’s nothing wrong with real butter!  My stomach does not do well with egg yolks and I’m always on the lookout for something gluten free. My search led me to this easy recipe.  It’s actually a waffle recipe but they’re always the same and I was not dusting my waffle iron off for a batch of 2.

It was so simple yet I was almost out of my regular almond milk and didn’t think I could squeeze a 1/2 cup out of it.  I thought, “Hey!  Who says I can’t substitute that for my beloved Good Karma Holiday Nog?”

Let me tell you.  It’s one of the best “nogs” on the market right now.  I’ve tried most dairy-free kinds so that’s saying something.  It’s great straight up.  I can’t wait to down a glass with a little plateful of gluten-free almond cookies this season.  So…it had to be a great addition to my pancakes, right?

SOOO much better than I expected!  My pancakes tastes like sugar cookies!  I added just a hint of coconut oil at the end and drizzled some maple syrup but next time I wouldn’t even need that! The nog added its own sweetness.

Please try this recipe out!  I got my nog at Wegmans but this time of year it’s usually at Giant and Target too! You can use any kind of dairy-free nog (or any kind of milk, I think) but I think you’ll love the festive feel to this breakfast.

Holiday Nog Pancakes

(Makes 2 large pancakes)

1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill gf blend.)

1/2 cup Good Karma Holiday Nog

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients together. Cook on medium heat in pan with melted coconut oil.  Flip once, when you see bubbles on the surface. It will take awhile!  Practice patience.

fullsizeoutput_20c4I’ll be making these all winter long.  Or at least as long as I can find great dairy-free, healthy drinks.

My favorite way to drink “egg” nog of the season.  Christmas Vacation will forever hold a place in my happy holiday heart.

~Whitney Victoria

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Supermoons and Staycays

Crazy lunar happenings this week.  It’s a supermoon (full moon) in Gemini and the first feels of Mercury in retrograde.  don’t worry if you missed the moon last night!  It’s the closest it’s been to Earth for all of 2017 right now so you can still see it in all it’s glory tonight.

The Moon is most powerful when at Full Moon, when her light outshines the light of the Sun and our emotions are stronger than our Solar consciousness. Just look at the Full Moon. The Full Moon is honest, the Full Moon reveals herself entirely. When full, the Moon wants to expose everything, to show things as they really are The Full Moon on the 3rd of December is in Gemini, and will be all about illuminating the truth. (source)

“The full Moon on the Gemini / Sagittarius axis is a quest for the truth.

In a few weeks, it will be Capricorn season-aka Whitney season. I can tell already.  I’ve decided years ago just how intuitive I am and I can honestly say I feel the effects of things like this.  There’s a spark in the air around my birthday.  It’s easier to hear my thoughts and drop facades and let myself have more fun.  I never put two and two together until now actually….that’s probably why I love the holidays!  I just always attributed it to being festive and in the spirit but now it all makes sense that it’s probably closely linked to my time of year.

I finally decided on a new planner from Danielle LaPorte for next year and I’m excited to use that little baby.  It’s beautiful and massive and full of good words.  Check it out!  LOVE the look and feel.

I’m using it this week to remember all the things I want to be and how I stopped myself from fulfilling that potential the past few months.  In a good way.  Nothing too deep…that’s not true.  I want to go real deep and listen to my soul (feel free to insert eye roll).  We teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves, which brings me to my second point.

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I have vacation this entire week.  Long story short: I had a trip planned that my inner self was so not feeling so I cancelled. The minute I got my hotel refund, I felt crazy relief.  What I’ve been craving was time away but not away.  You get it? (Staycay?  Yes way!  Hah!) Now I’m doing some major R&R and detoxing in the form of workouts, clean eating, and home organization and cleansing ala Marie Kondo. Attachment gets us nowhere, my friends. I also have scheduled a facial.  It’s literally been years since I had one and I don’t want to wait until my skin hates me to start that pampering.  Lets be proactive. I’m not getting any younger, although it is said to be true that Capricorns age in reverse.  I can attest to the fact that I used to think I was like a 35 year old and serious as a jr. high kid.  Now I think I’m 16.  Don’t hate me when I’m youthfully glowing at age 72.

Anyway, enjoy the holiday vibes going on just about everywhere and take time for YOU in between all that present shopping.

Case in point below.  A wonderful Whole Foods trip that involved lots of gifts for family members also included me finding this (yet-to-be tasted) Mint Cocoa Califia Farms almond milk creamer.  Um yeah, I bought it for myself.  It was a necessity.  All in the name of self-love.  As was posing for a pic in front of the bulk nuts. IMG_6680

Be good to yourself this time of the month!  It’s not just the full moon phase; it’s almost a new calendar year.  2018 is in sight.  This is when you reassess and are able to see things in a new light.  We all have things we want to leave behind. It might have been wonderful once but nothing is meant to last forever and stay the same.

There’s nothing wrong with moving on from what no longer serves us.  Make room for the new surprises.

~Whitney Victoria

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