Finding balance: How to Juggle Healthy Eating, Exercise, Insanely Busy Work Life, a Seemingly Endless Social Calendar, and Planning a Wedding!

finding balance shed for the wed healthy eating exercise

If you read this headline and got very excited, well, I’m sorry to disappoint. Before you keep reading looking for the solve, know that there is no miracle solution to finding balance. “Work-life balance” is a myth. You just have one life. Work is a part of that life. It reminds me of what they used to say about working mothers– “she wants to have it all!” well the reality is you can’t have it ALL. Something will always feel like it is out of whack in some capacity. But what you can do is find routine and ritual to keep what matters most to you moving.

I decided to write this post because one of the most put together people I know was one of the people requesting it. If I couldn’t ask her to be a guest blogger on this topic, I was fairly certain there isn’t a clear answer.

This is coming from someone who searched for the answer for years! I remember my first real job out of college. I was working super late every night and really it was my first time really living on my own. I always felt too tired for the gym or to cook when I got home. I ordered takeout nonstop. I craved balance so badly. I kept saying there had to be another way. Well I can tell you, that led me to quit said job and move to another continent for a year in search of a better way of life. And I can say I learned a lot in that one year from the way that the Aussies live their lives in work and play. But moving to another continent is not really an option for most people, nor is it desired! The real question is how to make the life you have right now feel more ideal.

Here are my 3 steps to help you reclaim “balance” in your life.

1) Determine what feels off to you

If you are searching for balance that implies that something is imbalanced. Do you just feel like you are struggling to reach your goals? Do you feel exhausted with your current lifestyle? There is a tool I use with my one-on-one coaching clients called the Circle of Life. It helps you identify where you feel off in your current day-to-day life. What’s amazing is that it can change entirely from one week to the next. But it’s a great place to start if you are struggling to identify what feels off in your day to day. I’ve included it here for you, just because! Note: it includes a variety of facets to life. Those may be applicable to what comprises your circle, or you may need to make an adjustment to fit your life! Ask yourself, “what does balance mean to you?”

Do the exercise and see where your gaps come up for you right now!

2) Set a goal (or not)

Once you are clear on what is off, you can move forward deciding with what is most important that you would like to change. If goals are your thing, you could make yourself a goal to help correct the imbalance. Sometimes I feel like setting goals for everything takes away their power, so I would most likely give myself some weekly objectives (in my world they are different!) I would like to aim for.

An example of my weekly objectives: exercise 4x/week and meditating daily. I have check boxes in my planner for them both. I don’t always hit them, but that is okay too!

If it is something you really care about, you need to make it a priority. If you don’t really want to make it a priority, think about why that is. Maybe it’s that you feel like you should do something, but in your heart, you just don’t care. THAT IS 100% OKAY! But don’t beat yourself up about not working out everyday if it’s not something that you really don’t have any interest in prioritizing.

3) Be Prepared

Now that we are clear on where our imbalance lies, and what we would like to change, now it’s time to make sure it happens. If you have a typical 9-5 the weekend is a great way to get on top of it. Carve out time for yourself during the weekend or whenever your off days are. It’s easy to load up on social events, but make sure you have time for a bit of productivity. I have one friend who says “Sunday’s are sacred”– and it’s become my favorite phrase! For many people it’s meal planning and doing cooking for the week on Sundays. For others it’s plotting out and signing up for their work out classes for the week. Make that time a part of your ritual and then the Sunday scaries become empowering!

I’ll be honest with you, this step is my weakness. Because I work for myself, I’ve just gotten good at doing things that matter on the fly, and that works for me. I wouldn’t aim for that, but know that success looks different to everyone.

As I am all about the healthy eats, I will tell you the number one way to ensure success is to prepare in advance. The Shed nutrition plans have meal plans built in for 8 weeks. If you use one weekend day to really make meals in advance and portion things out for the week, you will be on the right track from the very beginning of the week! It’s all about making that a priority, if that is what matters to you!

Allowing for grace

For me, living intuitively within my body is the goal. I listen to my body and give it room to process. This goes for eating (I eat mindfully, and try to listen to the cues my body gives me) and exercise (if I’ve worked out 3 days in a row, and my muscles are telling me they need a break, I give them a break!). But it also is a part of the bigger picture in my life. Sometimes life is going to be madness, and you need to step it up to make everything come together. But then, you need to allow for time to recoup. We live in a world where productivity is the metric of living a successful life. We’ve been trained to think that way, but really, there is more to life than checking off every item on your to do list. If you don’t make it to the grocery store because you are spending time with people you care about and having meaningful connections with them, then you know what, I would consider that more productive than meal prepping for the week! It all comes down to what really matters to you. And depending on your phase of life this can fluctuate.

Why I love working with brides is because they have a definitive time frame to when they would like to reach their goals. They are highly motivated in the moment that they find me! That being said a bride’s goals and mindset is not the same as a new mother’s, etc. Each phase of life you are in, a new balance becomes clear. Allow yourself to be comfortable in the place that you are in right now!

There isn’t a one size fits all answer

Every individual has their own, unique set of challenges. This is why I have a coaching business and not just online programs that run without me. Because at the end of the day, finding that balance in our day to day lives is hard! Sometimes you need someone there to help you deal with your particular set of circumstances (the Shed platinum program is the best for this!). Following a program works for some people, but other people have more challenges that they need to overcome in order to reach their goals. Your experience is unique to you, and your job is to find what a balanced healthy lifestyle means in the context of your life!


So what does living a balanced life mean to you? Where do you prioritize your time? I want to hear! Leave me a note below or on Insta/FB. -AHS

Blueberry Banana Overnight Chia Oats

blueberry banana overnight chia oats shed for the wed healthy recipes

I love overnight oats because they are a quick and easy breakfast if you have time to prep the night before. You can also add a plant based protein powder for an extra protein boost!

Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds

  • handful of blueberries (or however many sound good to you!)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • Dash vanilla extract

Instructions

Take half a banana and smash on the bottom of a mason jar. Layer chia seeds (about 1/3 cup), blueberries, and oats (about 1/2 cup). Cover with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Add a dash of vanilla extract. Leave overnight covered in the fridge. In the morning 🎶 stir it up 🎶 before eating!

If you like your oats to be super flavorful, consider layering them on the bottom before the banana so they soak up more of the flavor!

Shed for the Preg: Mid-Pregnancy Update (with some fun prenatal yoga tips!)

I think after my realness posting on the first trimester, I think I gave a lot of people a scare. I wanted to check in and let everyone know that this trimester has been amazing! I’ve felt so good the past couple months! Mentally and physically.

The bump is definitely there! I’ve officially transitioned out of my normal pants and have been living in leggings. It is weird though, because it is still an in-between time and under clothes I think it looks like I’ve just gained a bit of weight. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m looking forward to it looking more official!

We had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound this week. It went very well! Baby is tracking on average. We are measuring a bit ahead of schedule, but not by much. I had to go back to get another one because lil’ man wouldn’t give us the proper view of his heart. And that’s right we learned it’s a BOY! We were absolutely shocked but our hearts are bursting! We really, truly believed it was a girl! But now fully readjusted and excited about all things little boy! We should’ve known that it was a boy because last weekend the baby was kicking me like crazy with Conor screaming in the last minute of the IU v Michigan State basketball game. A lil Hoosier fan in the making!

I finally started the process of registering for baby things. I spent 12 hours last weekend researching strollers. YEP. My mind is exploding about the strollers. I also realized that the cribs I like are almost impossible to find in the US. Classic me. I think I’m finally beginning to understand baby gear, which is huge up-leveling for me– and maybe overcoming a huge fear too?! Just another reason for me to get back to my Marie Kondo-ing of our condo! Lastly, beginning to understand this whole Mom tribe thing–I don’t know where I would be without all of my wonderful friends giving me advice!

I’ve been able to get back to my normal eating habits. Lots of eggs, sweet potatoes, greens, avocados, and all of the cucumbers (etc. etc. etc.). So my body is nourished, and has been full of energy! I’ve gotten back to yoga and even have worked in some cardio (more exercise thoughts below).

Cravings:

Still eating a lot of citrus–I’m blood orange and clementine obsessed. I am loving cucumbers (see photos!). I’ve continued to eat cereal and toaster waffles. I am definitely eating more sugar and carbs than my normal diet, but not too much. The actual cravings have not been extreme.

Aversions:

Not much, but still very weird around chicken. I still eat it occasionally as long as its overly seasoned.



Symptoms:

The biggest is nasal congestion. I wake up almost unable to breathe every day. Which is wild because thankfully, I haven’t been sick since the first week in January. This happened when I was in Florida too! Apparently it’s common but I hadn’t heard of it before this.

Acid reflux has kicked in a bit, unfortunately. I need to keep my meals small and more frequent rather than larger and less often.

I also have some low back pain. Nothing too troubling yet. Looking into pregnancy pillows to help solve this.

Every night is a new vivid dream. Every night. Some terrifying, some fun. But every night I’m on a new journey. 😂

Prenatal was my favorite part of yoga teacher training. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing?

Prenatal was my favorite part of yoga teacher training. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing?

Exercise:

I’ve been trying to work in movement 4x/week but it’s been slow getting back to my normal routine. I have gotten back to spin class, cardio has felt great! The one downside is that sitting on a bike, I feel like I have to pee the whole time. Yoga continues to be awesome. I’ve added in a couple different prenatal classes into my routine and feel incredible afterwards. That being said, I still need a bit of a push to keep my strength up so I also still go to my favorite regular level 2 yoga class, but have to make some modifications.

In case you are also pregnant and want to go to a regular (meaning not prenatal) yoga class here are some tips of what to avoid and to modify for:

  • Avoid hot yoga. Moderately heated (like 80-85 degrees) is fine, but skip the Bikram (105!).

  • Avoid intense twists. You can do some gentle twisting if it feels okay to you.

  • Avoid poses on your belly like shalabhasana (locust pose) and dhanurasana (bow pose). My guru (aka my favorite instructor) had me do a variation of table pose during this part of class where you extend opposite arms and legs while balancing, and alternate grabbing your foot from above your head. (Does that make sense? If you want more details on this pose send me a DM! 😂)

  • Avoid over stretching. Because of the relaxin flowing through our bods “relaxing” our muscles and ligaments, it can be easy to overstretch our ligaments which won’t ever go back to their original shape! So whenever stretching, be sure to engage your muscles to prevent over stretching of your ligaments. (This is also why it can be detrimental wearing flip-flops during the summer months when your pregnant- don’t overstretch those feet ligaments!)

  • Some people are fine with extreme back-bending like urdva dhanurasana (wheel pose). I attempted it a couple times because it has always been apart of my practice, but it never felt right. So I finally adjusted to a supported bridge position. It also can cause diastasis recti (where your abs separate)- and no one wants that!

  • No need to keep your feet together when bending at the waist, make room for belly! (uttanasana [standing forward bend] or utkatasana [chair] come to mind)

  • When going from a position where your head is below your heart, take your time coming back up to standing. Pregnancy can cause haywire on your blood pressure, so you want to give your body time to adjust.

  • Your center of gravity has shifted, know that balance poses will feel different. And be careful not to fall!

  • Lastly, you are carrying extra weight that wasn’t there before. Your practice won’t look the same, and that’s a good thing! Don’t try to keep up or overdo it. Listen to your body, and rock child’s pose if that’s what you need!

Soooo that ended up being more than a few tips, so I think this is a good place to call it. Thank you all for all of your well wishes for baby BOY Shea and joining me on this journey! xx - AHS

Granola Butter, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and Brussel Sprout Sauté Kit Review

This week I tried 3 new products. I shared them with you guys on Instagram, and there was quite a bit of interest in each so I wanted to share some more in depth thoughts on them! While I loved the flavor of all of products, they are not all #shedapproved, so have a read for the deets!

kween and co granola butter review

Original Granola Butter with collagen peptides by Kween & Co

I’m late to this party. I’ve been eyeing this granola butter since it came out in 2018– but with a $12 price tag for a small container of what is essentially a “topper” it just fell low on my list of priorities. I will fully admit this was a mistake because after 4 days it has completely rocked my world. This is an awesome way to add “treat yo self” to your Shedding life! I’ve been able to use it in so many ways I’m going to run out soon if I’m not careful! Scroll to the bottom for a fun oatmeal recipe featuring tha buttah!

Cons

  • $12 a jar

  • Addicting 😂



Pros

  • Low sugar and no refined sugar

  • Added collagen peptides (pasture raised to boot) for a bonus protein boost

  • Tastes like cookie butter

Verdict: Shed Approved for both months 1 and 2 of the program if used according to serving size daily. Side note: if you aren’t into collagen there is a vegan version that is shed approved too!

Some of the many ways I used the granola butter this week! Also links to my amazon affiliate page if you click the photos above! (If you buy through there I receive a small commission!)


Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Trader Joe’s

Sooooo a lot of you have tried this and everyone was surprisingly impressed. It definitely tastes amazing and is very easy for a quick weeknight dinner. The bigger question is it Shed Approved? Welp, unfortunately I think we have to give it a no go. It contains wheat flour, white potatoes, butter sauce, and cheese. Dairy, wheat, and white potatoes are not included in the Shed program. It’s just too much inflammation and high GI.

Cons

  • Gluten and dairy (aka inflammation)

  • High in calories (don’t obsess over this, but when something is packaged, its something to be more mindful of)

Pros

  • Delicious

  • Literally takes less than 10 minutes to make

  • Shed for the Preg approved (lol the only rule there is that there are no rules!)

Verdict: Not Shed approved, but enjoy it on occasion post-shedding!


Brussels Sprouts Sauté Kit from Trader Joe’s

Again a lot of you had tried this! It absolutely tasted fantastic. And while there are quite a few ingredients, they seem to be high quality. This is a nice quick option for weeknights! My biggest qualm is that there quite a bit of cheese in there, and to be shed approved it would have to be a garnish sized amount. I made this for my step-dad who isn’t a fan of brussels sprouts at all and he loved it!

Cons:

  • Too much cheese (that dairy will get ya!)

  • More sugar in the dressing than I would like

Pros:

  • Super delicious

  • Fast

  • Getting your greens in!

Verdict: If you use only half of the cheese, or just truly treat it as a garnish, it is Month 1 Shed Approved. If you aren’t shedding it’s a nice occasionally side for a weekday din!


Cherry Vanilla Oats with Granola Butter

cherry vanilla oatmeal recipe with kween granola butter

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c gf oats 

  • 1/3 c vegan vanilla protein powder 

  • 1/2 c macadamia milk 

  • Splash of water to cover remaining oats 

  • 8 frozen cherries 

  • A drizzle of granola butter


Instructions

Mix oats, protein, milk and water in a bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir it up. Add cherries and granola butter and stir it up before you eat! The juice from the frozen cherries melting mixes in and gives it extra oomph! 

A Guide to Taking a Break from Booze

A lovely sparkling water, with a dash of cucumber shrub and splash of simple syrup.

A lovely sparkling water, with a dash of cucumber shrub and splash of simple syrup.

I always thought that when I became pregnant, I was going to hate not drinking. I don’t think I drink very much compared to the general population, but I enjoy the social component that accompanies drinking and I love an occasional glass (or 2) of red to unwind during the week. Spoiler: it hasn’t been that hard!

If you are considering skipping booze before the wedding this post is for you! The second month of the Shed program is booze-free. While it is not required for longer than a month, I highly recommend skipping booze for the few months before your wedding. It will really bring out that bridal glow! Below, I’m sharing my experience and tips on skipping booze from over the past few months!


Day-to-Day Sans Alcohol

In general I wake up with more energy. I can only imagine how wonderful I would feel if I wasn’t pregnant (AKA not waking up in the middle of the night to pee every night and the general exhaustion that goes along with it!). In all honesty, I think that most of the benefits of not drinking are somewhat compromised by pregnancy symptoms (for me at least)– so non-prego brides-to-be take advantage of this time! More on this in section 3!

While I do miss the occasional relaxed buzz vibe from a nice glass of shiraz, I really have been amazed at how little it has affected my overall enjoyment of social events. I’ve been to several large parties and weddings sober now and have been able to really enjoy them. Here is how I have taken them on to maximize my enjoyment:

  • I always carry a drink- preferably similar to what I typically drink. Like a soda water with a splash of cranberry (all I’m missing is the vodka!). Before I was showing, people had no idea, and I even felt like I was drinking with them. My mom was laughing at me on the dance floor at a wedding, still holding my drink. Holding a drink, alcohol or not, is a part of my party persona and it really makes me feel like my normal self. Pro tip: ask the bartender to use the same glass that they are serving alcoholic drinks in especially if you are not public with you news yet! It can be a dead giveaway (I’ve busted several friends this way!).

  • The above works until the witching hour- which is now what I refer to the period of time when everyone’s eyes begin to glaze over and don’t make sense anymore. That is now the time I know its time to GTFO. It’s no longer fun when your people don’t make sense. I find that leaving around 12:30 on average is probably the best call.

  • I also have been able to chill at crazy bars and have an amazing time, but at the end of the day it comes down to the company! I don’t need to be drinking to enjoy hanging with my friends!


What to drink

It is really nice to find any beverage besides water to drink - it can be really boring drinking water all day every day (including sparkling!).

If you are shedding for the wedding, you’ll want to avoid sugary mocktails:

  • Go for soda water with a splash of juice of your choice.

  • You can always add a dash of cucumber shrub (vinegar based flavor) or a tiny bit of bitters to change things up. But it’s really easy to overdo it! Gotta keep it in very small amounts!

  • If you want an extra caffeine boost- unsweetened iced tea is great and looks like it could be boozy.

  • You can enjoy kombucha just make sure the sugar content isn’t higher than 4g.

If you are shedding for the preg, all of the above works but be mindful, kombucha can have trace amounts of alcohol, so be mindful about your consumption. Feel free to enjoy those mocktails, but treat them as a dessert and enjoy them on occasion. Just don’t make them habitual.


Sober but still having hangovers

Oddly, I haven’t stopped getting hangovers! What?! How is that possible you say?

Well, what I’ve learned is that what I always thought was a standard hangover is a combination of either 2-4 things:

  1. Dehydration

  2. Fatigue

  3. Previous high sugar consumption

  4. Alcohol

Typically it just takes 2 (of the 4) to make it feel like a hangover. Obviously, #4 isn’t an issue for me right now, but if three happen, I’m really in trouble. So my number 1 objective is to drink enough water consistently throughout the day so I don’t need to drink a lot before bed. Number 2 objective- I now get like 9 hours of sleep- yeah I know that’s a luxurious amount. If I have less than that it’s problematic. I chalk it up to growing a human. But that being said this is why I feel like I’m hungover all the time. It’s hard to get that 9 hours. Lastly, I try not to overdo the sugar. It’s very easy to do if you are not being 100% active in keeping it down. Added sugars are in everything, and then if you are allowing for a treat most days, it can add up and really negate all of those positive benefits from skipping the booze!

If you are shedding for the wedding, added sugars are out and probably won’t need quite as much sleep. So hopefully, if you drink enough water, you should feel “hangover”-free, energized, and fabulous!


Overall, I think I may be choosing to skip the booze even after baby arrives! What do you think? Are you sober curious? Let me know if you are tempted to take a drinking hiatus or if you have any questions on the drink-free life! -AHS

Avocado Pineapple Popsicles

avocado pineapple popsicles shed for the wed healthy dessert

Avocado Pineapple Popsicles

Well there has been a lot of debate over these bad boys. My first bite I was apprehensive, but by the time I finished, I thought I wouldn’t change a thing. Others thought it needed more sweetness. Others thought lime would be a good addition. I’ll let you try them and you decide for yourself! This is a perfect maintenance #treatyoself! It won’t hinder your wedding bod and is a super satisfying treat! .⠀

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado 🥑 ⠀

  • 1 20oz can of pineapple 🍍 chunks in juice

  • A quick squeeze of 🍋 ⠀

Instructions
Blend ingredients. Pour mixture into popsicle mold and freeze overnight (you probably just need a few hours but I’m not actually sure). ⠀

Thoughts on a Healthy Marriage

In all fairness, everyone looks happier on vacation. :) (Roma 2018)

In all fairness, everyone looks happier on vacation. :) (Roma 2018)

I am by no means a marriage expert. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to share a quick little post on what a healthy marriage looks like to me! And while Conor and I are going on 5 years of marriage- we have been a couple since 2007 (😳) so we have learned and grown a lot together as people and in our relationship.

Understand your spouse for who they are and accept them unconditionally: the good the bad and the ugly. What I mean by this is that if you are married (hopefully!) you really know your spouse inside and out. If you fell in love, you know all of the wonderfulness they bring to the table. But let’s be honest, no one is perfect. We all have our shadow sides. And knowing the dark sides of your spouse isn’t a bad thing. Always try to bring out the best in them, of course, but also allow them to not be perfect. Accept their imperfections and love them for them.

Along those lines, don’t try to change their essence. This may sound obvious, but we all have a something unique we bring to the table. I’ll use myself as an example. I am often floating high above the clouds dreaming big. I have lofty aspirations. I’m a very woowoo Pisces who loves reading books on self-improvement. My husband is not into any of it (at least not in the same way!). But instead of trying to change me to be more like his practical self, he loves me for it (even though I’m pretty sure it drives him crazy sometimes!). Along the same lines, my husband loves sports (playing and watching) oh so much, and I couldn’t care less most days. But instead of trying to change that part of him I have leaned in to the most important games for him (Indiana University Basketball, in case you were wondering) and prepare myself with other things to do for other big games I can’t mentally care about. Obviously, we compromise- he would watch sports all day every day if he could, but instead we watch lots of other things that we both like (current favorites being Schitt’s Creek and Medici!).

Spend alone time together. Make time to recharge your relationship. Having a regularly scheduled date night will help keep things fresh and fun. It’s easy to have your weekends dominated by social plans with friends and family. But it becomes increasingly more important as you have less and less time for yourselves (yeah I’m talking to you young parents!). You need alone time in order to keep your bond strong and to feel connected. Related to that, it’s important to keep intimacy a priority. Yeah, I said it. It’s easy to let it slip away, but if you prioritize intimacy it helps your connection stay strong.

Lastly, remain independent. Remember you are an individual first and foremost. Don’t rely on your spouse to define you or fill every need you have. Friends are important. Family is important. Your spouse can’t be everything to you. Other relationships are important to our mental health too. I don’t expect my husband to understand all my woowoo inclinations- but I have a whole other tribe for that! Just like he has all of the bros to talk/play sports with. Take responsibility for your own happiness! It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy. You make yourself happy and the rest will follow. If that isn’t romantic, than I don’t know what is! ;)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Treat your boo right today and every day! :) -AHS

Celery Juice

16oz of the good stuff!

16oz of the good stuff!

What is the celery juice fad? Why is everyone doing it?

The “global celery juice movement” has been popularized by the Medical Medium (MM). If you haven’t heard of him, there is lot to process there. As a medium, he receives all of his information from the “spirit of compassion” on the other side. Let me tell you, I am all into the woowoo. I don’t doubt that people can communicate with other planes, spirits, or even with God. But whenever there is too much celebrity involved (he has a whole half page of testimonials only from celebrities), I just get a little skeptical. I haven’t read any of his books, but I did read one of his diets when my step-dad was really sick and no one knew what was wrong with him for almost 2 years (he tried the diet for 3 weeks it didn’t help). While I have reservations about the Medical Medium himself, he touts the power of fruits and vegetables, and in that we are 100% aligned. I will cover the basics in this post, but to get a full understanding on all things celery juice from the main source, I recommend reading Celery Juice 101.

The basics

What to do:

Drink 8-16oz of fresh celery juice every morning before eating or drinking anything else. Wait 15-30 minutes before eating breakfast.

Use organic celery, and rinse it. I also cut off the ends. If using conventional celery, wash with clear fragrance-free dish soap. Juice it in a juicer, or blend and then filter through a cheese cloth. Drink up.

Working your way up to 16oz is advised, because it can have a cleansing effect (which is your body eliminating toxins). If you prepare in advance, it will only keep for 24 hours. Seal it in a mason jar with a lid.

What not to do:

If you do any of the following it will take away from the “medicinal properties”, per MM:

  • Make more than 24 hours worth in advance. It won’t keep.

  • Add anything else (ice, or other fruits or vegetables)

  • Drink with the fiber (like if you blended it and then skipped the filtering)


My experience

The process:

I drank the celery juice for about 6 days in total non-consecutively.

It was also recommended to me to use a blender and use a cheese cloth instead of a juicer. I never bought the cheese cloth so I just kept using my juicer. I love my juicer but it needs to be cleaned almost immediately after use– time consuming and annoying. Because of that I didn’t do it every morning.

I did add ice sometimes, it made it super delicious to me (that was before I knew it was a no no!). A couple of times when I made it for me and hubby, I added other things (apple and cucumber) to make it more palatable. It was super yummy we both couldn’t get enough of it–but I did notice that it didn’t feel quite as awesome as when I drank it plain.

How I felt:

benefits of celery juice

I felt very clear and light when I drank the juice in the am. It also made me crave healthier things throughout the day. During this time, I had some dental work done and my gums were sore. Unintentionally, I realized that the juice was totally soothing on my gums.

It really did “cleanse,” even with just 8oz- so starting slow was important. I did work my way up to the 16oz and didn’t notice a huge difference.

Overall, it just made me feel just, good. Its hard to explain, but it definitely felt like my system was very pleased to have the green boost!

 

Final thoughts

Ideally, I would have done it for a longer period and sequentially, but it just didn’t work out that way. I think I would have been able to see stronger results. Without a doubt, when I drank the juice as prescribed, I felt good. Very good. And that is never something to discount. I know now that it is a great thing to do when I just need to feel good in my body.

The question I kept asking myself was how to make this a tangible apart of my daily routine. And is it worth the time. It can be a bit of a pain making it fresh every morning. Just time consuming. I recommend washing and trimming ends in advance to save some time.

Also, as a generally healthy person, I question if I need to be drinking it every day. It is supposedly very healing, and great for breastfeeding, but I just can’t imagine a world I make this juice every day. I do know that if I was suffering from an illness, I would prioritize making it.

My net takeaway: it definitely doesn’t hurt. Especially if you feel like your body needs a serious pick me up. If you can find the time to add it into your routine, I would definitely recommend it.

Have you tried celery juice? I would love to hear your thoughts! Send me a DM on Instagram or Facebook to let me know what you think. Chin chin! - AHS

Buffalo Quinoa

franks hot sauce quinoa healthy recipe super bowl

This is one of my favorite healthy meals that really feels like it’s not. Hot sauce creates the impression that the food is indulgent, but sneaky- you’re eating QUINOA AND BROCCOLI! It’s perfect to hit your Super Bowl junk food craving this weekend! I’ve been making this for years and this is a 100% #shedapproved variation. It only takes 20 minutes to make AND it’s #vegan if you skip the cheese! Feel free to improvise with adding any other veggies you love! I will warn you, this dish does pack some heat, so if you are sensitive to spice, you may want to skip this one. Enjoy! -AHS


Buffalo Quinoa

Buffalo Quinoa shed for the wed healthy recipes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa⠀

  • 2 cups water⠀

  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (original - NOT the wing sauce - it’s not Shed approved)⠀

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced⠀

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus a drizzle)⠀

  • Salt to taste⠀

  • 2 cups frozen broccoli ⠀

  • Optional: sprinkle of feta or blue cheese (month 1 only)



Instructions

In a medium size pot, add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. ⠀

Meanwhile, add olive oil to a small pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they are nicely browned. Add salt to taste. ⠀

Steam broccoli in the microwave. You could use steamer bags or I just put the florets in a bowl with a little bit of water and microwave for 4 minutes. Be sure to drain any excess water.

When quinoa is ready add Frank’s and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix in onions, broccoli, and optional feta/blue cheese. Serve warm. ⠀

#ShedApproved Ribollita

bon appetit basically ribollita healthy recipes shedding for the wedding

YEP. I think it’s safe to say we are deep into winter. Because of this “once in a generation” level of cold, I have been craving something super cozy. Since meat has been tough on my stomach to prepare, I’ve been looking for protein packed vegetarian meals. I was deep in Instagram stories, and saw the folks at Basically (by Bon Appetit) making this dish–it fit the bill perfectly.

I used a crusty sourdough loaf and Ezekiel bread- but the original recipe calls for a crusty country bread (mmm yummy!), but to make it Month 1 #shedapproved just use Ezekiel. I honestly barely noticed the difference between the Ezekiel and sourdough once it was all together! I would skip going back for seconds if you are shedding, but doubtful you would even want to! It is incredibly filling!

Other changes I made: I skipped the beginning steps and just used Trader Joe’s amazing Mirepoix. Easy > Everything. Also, I had thought I had a chunk of parm at home, but it turned out to be Romano, so I ended up a bit of pre-grated parm and Romano early on instead of the parmesan rind, however, if I hadn’t of needed to I wouldn’t have skipped that step. I’m sure the rind really adds depth!

This recipe was perfection, and did not disappoint! While this is essentially a bread soup, it is guilt free! Loaded up with kale, tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and beans it packs a nutritional punch! It is the perfect #hygge meal for these soup belly kind of nights! Now, mangia!! -AHS


#Shedapproved Ribollita

ribollita healthy recipe lose weight before wedding

Serves 4-6

Adapted From Bon Appetit (I highly recommend going to the original recipe- they have lovely step by step visuals!)

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion (or use Mirepoix from Trader Joes)

  • 3 medium carrots (or use Mirepoix from Trader Joes)

  • 2 celery stalks (or use Mirepoix from Trader Joes)

  • 8 garlic cloves (I used 6 because they were massive)

  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale

  • 1 small wedge of Parmesan with rind - adapted - used 2 tsp parm/romano mix

  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

  • ½ loaf Ezekiel bread (about 10 oz.) (adapted to make #shedapproved)

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 14-oz. can cannellini beans

  • ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°. Time to prep your veg! You are going to make a mirepoix, which is just a fancy French word for the combo of chopped onions, carrots, and celery that form the flavor base for a lot of European dishes. First, cut 1 large onion in half through root. Peel and discard skins. Finely chop and transfer to a medium bowl. If using TJ’s Mirepoix skip to step 4.

  2. Wash, peel, and trim 3 medium carrots. Cut in half (or in quarters lengthwise if they’re large), then cut crosswise into ½" pieces. (You can also just chop the carrots down into coins if you don't mind larger pieces of veg in your soup.) Add to bowl with onion.

  3. Chop 2 celery stalks crosswise into ½" pieces. Add to bowl with the rest of the mirepoix.

  4. Smash and peel 8 garlic cloves with the back of your knife. If any of them are left more or less intact after that initial smashing, give them another good wack with the back of your knife so they really open up and start to break apart. Add to bowl, also.

  5. Strip stems from 2 bunches Tuscan kale and discard. Wash if they're gritty or you really care about washing vegetables, then tear leaves into 2" pieces; set aside.

  6. Cut rind off of 1 small Parmesan wedge; set aside.

  7. Place 28 oz. canned tomatoes and their juices in a strainer set inside a medium bowl. (You need that bowl to collect the juice, which you're going to use later—don't throw it out!) Squeeze tomatoes and crush them with your hands while leaving them submerged in their liquid so they don’t squirt.

  8. Tear ½ loaf crusty country bread into 1½" pieces.

  9. Heat ⅓ cup extra-virgin oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium. Add bowl of mirepoix and 2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 8–10 minutes.

  10. Lift strainer full of tomatoes and give it a few shakes to remove any liquid. Add tomatoes (but not juices!) and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the rawness is cooked off, about 10 minutes. Giving those tomato solids a chance to caramelize before adding the liquid back in helps to add a lot of flavor to the stew. (Remember: Reserve the juices, you’re going to use them!)

  11. While tomatoes are cooking, drain and rinse 14 oz. canned cannellini beans in the strainer you just used, then add to pot along with Parmesan rindtomato juices¾ tsp. red pepper flakes, and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer.

  12. Add kale in two additions, stirring often and allowing to wilt in between.

  13. Add about one-third of torn bread (no need to measure, just eyeball it) and cook, stirring occasionally, until coated and warmed through, about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning.

  14. Remove from heat. Place remaining torn bread chunks on top of stew. Drizzle generously with olive oil.

  15. Transfer pot to oven and bake stew until thick, bubbling, and bread is golden brown on top, 10–15 minutes.

  16. Ladle stew into bowls, drizzle each generously with olive oil, and grate lots of Parmesan over.