I was recently having a conversation with a friend about being grateful. She was complaining about typical issues we all have and it was getting to be a bit much. It was hard to keep the conversation going because it was much more about poor me, than anything else. I totally get it, we all have our shit. I have days where I just want to complain all day too. But what happens when you begin to complain more than not? What happens when that becomes a daily habit?
You become less grateful, less happy. The world starts to feel so much darker then it did before. It's so easy to get caught up in our everyday chaos. It's easy to allow someone who cut you off on the parkway ruin the next hour of your day. But it's also easy to let it go. No one has power over you, unless you give it to them. If you live by those words, you'd never let another individual make you feel anything less than.
I believe that we all have our stories. Sure some people may have had an easier life than others, but we all go through the mud at some point in our lives. But it's how we choose to perceive it that makes all the difference. When I consistently listened to my friend, it began to make me not want to speak to her. The conversation was filled with so much negativity I had felt like the only thing I could do was distance myself. But the truth is, that isn't helping anyone either. We live in a world where, if the going gets tough we run. There is always a replacement, the newest shiny thing that comes out next. But what about what we already have? Why can't we fix the problem at hand? So I decided not to hide and say something. And the most beautiful thing happened.
I said "it sounds like you're going through a lot, do you want to talk about it?". Her entire mood instantly changed. She did want to talk about it. She needed advice and didn't know how to ask for it, so her approach was complaining until someone asked. No we are not all perfect and maybe that's not how I would have gone about it, but that isn't the point. The point is, we got to talk about what was really bothering her. We got to discuss options on how we can make what she's going through, better. She became grateful for our friendship, grateful that she had someone who was willing to listen and help, and grateful that her problems weren't as bad as they felt.
We're human, sometimes all we need is a shoulder to cry on. Be that person for those who may need it.
I loveeeeeeeee soup. Especially in the colder months. Soup makes me feel all happy and warm inside. That being said, I don't always love the calories that come along with it. One of my favorites, broccoli and cheddar soup is delicious but sure is not nutritious. I always enjoy making foods that I can also buy, because I know I can make the healthiest version of it. This recipe is my homemade chicken noodle-less soup. It's low in calories, high in protein and vegetables and tastes delicious! One of my favorite and may I say easiest homemade meals is this soup and a salad. Almost like my very own soup and salad, you pick two from Panera! This soup takes only minutes to prep, and a few hours to cook in the crockpot. Which means you can dump in your ingredients, do your thing and come back a few hours later to a yummy meal waiting for you.
I created this recipe noodle-less for my paleo friends out there. But you can really add anything else that you'd like, like rice, noodles, more vegetables, quinoa. The options are endless! Also, big disclaimer, if you are cooking with rainbow carrots, know that the color of your broth will change. I used a lot of the purple carrots, which meant my broth had a light purple tint to it. Still tasty, of course but do not fear the color! :)
Natures promise low sodium chicken broth
3 stalks of celery
1/2 bag of organic rainbow baby carrots
1 whole rotisserie chicken (shredded)
1/2 white onion
Pepper, salt, oregano, parsley to taste
Chop up all of your vegetables. Put vegetables, broth and shredded chicken into your crockpot. Place on high for 4 hours. Add seasonings to taste, after 1 hour of cooking, to your liking.
Vegan homemade pizza. Before you run from the word vegan, hear me out. This can also be "regular" pizza if you want to add more to it. I've recently been on a kick trying to add more vegetables into my diet, and less well, crap. I've replaced a lot of meals that I typically have animal protein with, with vegetables and legumes. This recipe is so easy, takes only a few minutes to prepare and it's delicious!
If you want to beef it up a bit, you can add meat and whatever type of cheese you like. I chose vegan cheese for this recipe as well as tomato sauce that is considered vegan. I typically cook with vegan cheese, because dairy in general doesn't work well for my digestion. But the best part, in my opinion, is that it does still tastes like cheese and gives you that cheese like taste you're looking for. If you are vegan these are absolute necessities to check before purchasing. If you are not strictly vegan but are looking to try it out for health reasons, I'd still check labels for sodium, sugar, and any other additives.
Whole wheat tortilla
4 tbsp of tomato sauce (vegan optional)
2 tbsp of vegan parmesan cheese (vegan optional)
3 whole mushrooms
1/2 yellow pepper
1/4 white onion
1 handful of fresh spinach
Slice all of your vegetables. On a sheet pan lay out two whole wheat tortillas and spoon out your tomato sauce, spreading thin. Assemble the pizza with all of the vegetables and top with parmesan cheese. Set oven to 350 degrees and cook for 15 minutes!
Before cooking After cooking
When you're putting all of your calories into one cheat meal, you have to make it epic. I totally get it. You are working hard all week, eating as clean as possible, completing workouts. But you still have to treat yourself. So where do you go? What do you choose? Well. If you live in the New York area, I've already got you covered. Check out these places for some hugely delicious cheat meals.
Pizza you said? Pizza Barn has huge slices of pizza, that should probably be shared but for your cheat meal you can probably finish it yourself!
Mexican? This burrito will have you full for the entire day! Pinatas monster burrito is exactly what the menu says, HUGE!
Sweets? Why just settle with ice cream, or a cookie, or cake, when you can have it all in one dessert! These outrageous shakes are seriously out of control.
Manny's Sweet Treats
Craving for Japanese? Udon noodles that are never ending, might be your next spot. The picture of these large udon bowls don't even do it justice, so take my word when I say, this could easily be split between two!
Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie
Burger? Nothing beats a juciy cheese burger, but this one might be tough to eat alone! The Behemoth burger from Bowlmor in NYC.
Alcohol? My favorite cheat meal! Check out this mega margarita that's only $30.
All images courtesy of Yelp! Comment your favorite cheat meal below.