Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Bowl of the Week: Whole 30 Taco Bowl

Hi friends!! How is everyone doing today?! Yesterday it was actually SUNNY here in Chicago which is exactly what I needed. I don’t know about you guys, but when it’s gloomy for days and days and days I just get into the weirdest little funk.

Plus, I wasn’t feeling good AT ALL on Sunday and if you watch my Insta-story you also know I had the worst chapped lips EVER and I felt like I was coming down with something. So naturally I ate a HUGE acai bowl, chugged green juice & a tonnnn of water, and made sure I stuck to my paleo-ish diet that always makes me feel like a million bucks.

Speaking of which.

Yesterday I made the TASTIEST Whole 30-compliant taco chicken EVAAAA. I’m serious. It was so freaking good that even when I was cooking it I kept sneaking bites and then I had to stop because I knew if I kept going I wouldn’t have enough leftover for my lunches this week.

So obvs I took a lot of pics so I can share with you guys!!!

One of the best parts about this recipe is how freakin’ versatile it is. I just put together a random combo of ground chicken, cauli rice, and sweet potatoes but you can really serve the taco meat however you want – including on a butter lettuce leaf or piece of iceburg for some lettuce wrap tacos!

Ingredients (makes 5 lunch-portion-sized servings!)

Seasonings & OIL:

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Cayenne pepper (for the sweet taters!)


  • 2 lb ground chicken (turkey can also be subbed if desired)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 bags of cauliflower rice (this yielded a LOT, adjust as needed)
  • Whole 30-compliant salsa (I used Trader Joe’s chunky salsa)

Optional Ingredients:

  • Limes
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo or Tessemae’s Ranch Dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your sweet potatoes into small chunks and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper if you’re into some spice. Roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Mix up your spices (spice list above!) in a small bowl.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, spray some olive oil spray or drizzle olive oil in the pan, and add your ground chicken & seasonings. Cook the ground chicken until it’s cooked through (or balls up into small pieces).
  5. Set aside your chicken. In the same pan (it adds flavor!) add another drizzle of olive oil, cauliflower rice, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, some cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and the SALSA!
  6. Combine your ground chicken, sweet taters, and cauli rice in a bowl and serve with Primal Kitchen mayo, Tessemae ranch, guacamole or a sliced avocado, and/or a squeeze of lime.
  7. ENJOY!

I’m telling you guys, this is so quick & easy and can be made into SO many different dishes! And once you have this taco seasoning, you won’t even miss the sugar- and soy-filled stuff that comes from a packet.


So tell me… do you have a favorite Whole 30 taco recipe up your sleeve?! Is this something you want to try? Tell me everything! I will be back tomorrow with some fun new TIDBITS so be sure to check back! Xo.



Bowl of the Week: Whole 30 Fried Rice

Hi guys! How is everyone doing?! I honestly think this is probably THE hardest work week of the year. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve gotten really used to sleeping in until 10 (!!), watching a lot of TV, and not changing out of my pajamas. It has been such an amazing holiday week and I’m SO sad we have to get back to real life!!!

But anyway.

New Years Resolution season has officially started, meaning there won’t be any extra room in the gym for the regulars and everyone is on a DIET.

You guys know I’m not a “dieter” but ever since doing my first Whole 30 last year, I’ve completely overhauled the way I eat. I talked about this in detail in this post but I am a former junk food addict that has changed my ways and overcome some pretty unflattering health issues.

So this month I’m buckling back down and eating as Whole 30 as I can (I have my brother’s wedding this weekend, and well… just being honest with myself here). But this week I came up with a fun little lunch bowl to take with me  on the go!


Because I love fried rice.

And I know, I know, the idea behind Whole 30 isn’t eating “cheat” meals but I like to think of it as just an Asian-inspired cauli rice dish that just happens to be fried in a skillet?

I know, it’s a stretch.

Melissa Hartwick, if you are reading this, pls don’t judge.


Back to the recipe because I know y’all wanna try. (BTW, this recipe yields enough for about 4 days of LARGE lunch portions!)


  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken and/or shrimp (I did a combo of both!)
  • 2 bags of cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen, I went with the organic frozen version from Whole Foods but Trader  Joe’s has fresh!)
  • 1 bundle green onion
  • 1 carton mushrooms
  • 1 yellow or white onion
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • Carrots (I got some multicolored organic sliced carrots from Whole Foods… They look fancy but they were literally $2)
  • Coconut amigos (this is basically naturally soy- and gluten-free soy sauce)
  • Red Boat fish sauce (this definitely isn’t necessary but it adds some nice flavor)
  • Sesame oil (not pictured below BUT if you don’t already have this, you will be OBSESSED – it’s so good)
  • Garlic powder, salt, pepper (always)


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Peel shrimp and/or slice chicken. Since I used both, I sliced the chicken and got it started cooking while I peeled the shrimp.
  2. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a dash of coconut aminos to your chicken. Cook until the outsides are white. Add your shrimp & the same seasonings. Cook through.
  3. While your meat is cooking, chop your broccoli, green onion, & white or yellow onion.
  4. Put the meat aside, and using the same pan, add about 2 tbsp of sesame oil, heat, and add all veggies except your cauliflower rice. Once the frozen veggies have de-thawed, season with garlic powder, salt, pepper, coconut aminos, and fish sauce.
  5. Add your cauliflower rice and continue to cook. Let it sit so the veggies can brown. Taste test & add seasonings as desired. If you’re adding egg, go ahead and crack that bad boy and scramble it in your rice mixture.
  6. Combine your veggies & rice with your meat, sprinkle some extra green onion on top, & ENJOY.

I like to throw mine in these glass bowls from Amazon so they’re super easy to take on-the-go.

So tell me… is this something you would try? Do you have your own cauli rice recipe that you love? Tell me everything! I will be back Thursday with a new coffee talk! See you then. Xo.


P.S. MINIMALIST CHALLENGE UPDATE: I successfully spent 24 hours “offline” with the exception of researching some stuff for my blog. It literally took me 30 minutes to scroll through Instagram this morning and I was SO over it. I also had a super productive day because I wasn’t on my phone the whole time. TODAY: Meditating for 15 minutes. Will probz do this after work with some candles on to really set the mood. Will keep you updated!


7 Whole30 dinner ideas PLUS a printable PDF grocery list!

7 Whole30 Meals for Every Day of the Week

You guys!!! Happy Tuesday!! I’m coming to you with this much enthusiasm because it’s my birthday!! I am freakin’ 27! And I don’t know if I still feel 17 or if I already feel 47 that part is up for debate. Lol.


I’ll go into more detail about my 27 years of life probably during this week’s coffee talk.

Today. I have a gift for YOU guys. Because I’m kind of obsessed with y’all.

I heard from a ton of you guys during my giveaway and so many of you told me you’re starting off January 1st with a fresh Whole 30! And if you are – I think that is awesome and a perfect time to start. Sometimes, eating super healthy can be tough because it feels like the universe is against you, but typically in January everybody is trying to step up their health game, so there’s a lot of support! And also, there’s just not as much temptation to “break” it because it’s January and tbh it’s pretty boring.


With that beings said.

I wanted to get you guys started off on the right foot and share 7 meal ideas that can take you through an entire WEEK of Whole 30. All of these ideas are quick, easy, and most importantly super TASTY so you don’t feel deprived! Also, I tried to keep it with the “theme” of the day, so like on Sunday I have a spaghetti-inspired dish, and Friday a takeout-inspired dish, so you don’t feel super bummed you can’t eat your comfort foods.


SUNDAY: Spaghetti squash with Whole 30-compliant sausage and marinara.

So. Freakin. Good. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out any seeds, drizzle some olive oil, salt & pepper on each half, and toss that bad boy in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 375 degrees. Cook your sausage on the stovetop, and once it’s browned, throw your marinara on top so it can soak up the yumminess. The sun-dried tomato sausage from Trader Joe’s is Whole 30 compliant and y’all know I SWEAR by Rao’s Arrabbiata. Throw your meat sauce over your squash and VOILA. So easy.

(P.S. you can find most of the ingredients for these ideas and pictures of the labels on my Whole30 Essentials post!)

MONDAY: Salmon, cauliflower rice, and asparagus.

Most blackened seasonings and even Old Bay are Whole 30 compliant and taste amazing on fish. Wrap your salmon in one sheet of foil and asparagus in another tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and bake them both in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes or throw it on the grill. Sauté your cauliflower rice on the stove with olive or coconut oil, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. Squeeze a lemon over top of all of it for an extra kick.

TUESDAY: Porkchops, spinach, and applesauce.

We like to bake our porkchops in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 350 with some Whole 30 compliant seasoning, olive oil, and a sliced onion on top. Then we sauté the spinach in some olive oil with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add a dash of cinnamon to your applesauce for a sweet treat. SO good.

WEDNESDAY: Coconut flour chicken tenders, butternut squash & Brussels.

Dredge your chicken tender cutlets in coconut flour and seasonings of your choice (garlic powder & paprika are my go-tos) and “fry” them up in some coconut oil on the stovetop. Roast your cubed butternut squash (I like the pre-cut kind from Trader Joe’s!) and Brussels in the oven with some olive oil & seasonings for 30 minutes at 375. Easy peasy.

THURSDAY: Bunless burgers & buffalo cauliflower.

Pick up some pre-packed burgers (either turkey or beef, whatever floats your boat!) and cook them up on the stovetop or grill. Throw some mustard & pickles on your burger and roast up some cauliflower tossed in Frank’s (I like to roast mine in the oven for 30 minutes on 375). I SWEAR by this buffalo cauliflower. It will taste like such a treat. Plus, this meal is perfect for game night!

(P.S. you can wrap your burger in some lettuce if you’re feeling wild. Top it with a roasted Portobello mushroom or large slice of a grilled poblano pepper for some extra oomph!)

FRIDAY: Green curry with chicken & green peppers.

Y’all know I love this. Recipe can be found here. It feels like SUCH comfort food. Just serve it as-is, no need for rice! I swear you’ll love it.

SATURDAY: Steak, roasted potatoes, broccoli.

The best combo. We love our steaks with Weber Chicago Steak seasoning (Whole 30 compliant!). For the potatoes, just dice them up and throw them in the oven with some olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, and salt & pepper. The broccoli is perfect steamed on the stovetop. It’ll feel like a fancy dinner out!


So how are you going to remember all of this!?

Oh don’t worry, I made you a little grocery list!

And YES I was so proud of this if you watch my Instagram stories lol. Feel free to print it out or save it to your phone following the link below!


[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Whole 30 Grocery List PDF”]


So tell me… do you plan on starting a Whole 30 this January? Are you trying another kind of healthy diet? Do you refuse to diet on January 1st?! Tell me everything! I will be back this Thursday with a fun new coffee talk! I’ll see you then! Xo.


Life After Whole 30

You guys. I’m a little off this morning. It’s one of those mornings where we ran out of coffee (I mean, I could just stop there – disastrous), then I couldn’t find a parking spot outside of any Starbucks (I know, my life is so hard), and then once I finally got to one that I could actually get into, the line was almost out the door. And it was one of those lines where it was at a dead stop and no one is at the register and everyone is looking around at each other like what the heck is going on? and crossing their fingers that 10 people in front of them are going to jump out of line because they’re so annoyed.


The good news is – I now have my HUMUNGOUS coffee in front of me and I’m READY because I have been wanting to post about this for awhile. Because the #1 question I get asked when it comes to my diet is whether or not I eat Whole 30 all the time.

And the short answer is no, I don’t. But I want to explain.

A little while ago I talked about my health issues and my never-ending search for reprieve. And honestly, it wasn’t until I completed my first Whole 30 (aka my Whole 27 – read about it here) that I was finally able to strip my diet down to the bare bones and figure out what my “trigger” foods were for my health problems.

But I didn’t just want to talk about what I eat now. I also want to talk about what I used to eat.

Because sometimes people will literally text me and say they don’t know how I eat the way I do, and they would still be starving if that’s all they ate.

So let’s back up.

Like wayyyy up.

Like 2010. Because in 2010 you could probably find me in the Wendy’s drive-thru munching on nuggz & fries drenched in Ranch at any given second. And that’s how a lot of my friends know me, too. I was the type that ate whatever I wanted 24/7, and even though it didn’t look like I was gaining weight or hurting my health, eventually it caught up with me.

Like… literally to the point where I was in the fetal position after every meal because I was in SO much pain.

And yet I would still fill my plate with fried chicken wings, pizza, nuggz (always a favorite), mac n’ cheese and wonder why don’t I feel good? Why am I tired all the time? And especially why am I hungry all the time?

It honestly wasn’t until I tried Whole 30 that I finally realized how it felt to feel satisfied and energized and content after I ate because I was putting real food in my body.

But before I did it, I thought there was NO WAY I could eat like that.

Sometimes I would literally get hunger anxiety. Do you know what I mean? Like I would see a small portion of something and it would give me anxiety because I would look at it and know I would be hungry in an hour.

And I’ve tried dieting before and it just left me hungry and sad. I focused on calories and carbs and “healthy” foods like low-fat Greek yogurts, hummus, and bleak salads covered in sugar-filled dressing just so it was palatable. And then I would be so hungry that I would just throw in the towel and eat until I was stuffed and vow to start again the next week.

We all know that vicious cycle, right? I know I’m not alone here.

When I first heard about Whole 30 I genuinely thought that anyone that could do it was a psychopath. Like, literally had a problem.

But I got to the point where I was tired of feeling exhausted, grumpy, and constantly hungry. I felt like I was always gaining weight or always feeling bloated. OH, and I was super tired of feeling miserable after every meal I ate with no explanation.

I really didn’t expect Whole 30 to have that big of an effect.

But you guys… it seriously did.

Once I cut everything out of my diet and “reset” my system, this crazy thing happened where I became super in-tune with my body after meals. I was actually able to figure out that what was causing me all of this pain and misery was DAIRY. And that wheat makes me itchy and sugar makes me anxious and irritable. And that when I eat real food, regardless of the calories or carb count or whatever, it actually makes me feel so full and content.

Crazy, right?

So,  you get it, I figured it all out yadda yadda yadda.

But I want to get to the real question – do I eat like this all the time now.

And I know the short answer is no, but the long(er) answer is… kind of.

I like to call what I eat “paleo-ish” – and seriously I know you’re mid eye-roll right now, I don’t blame you, that phrase is so annoying but it’s honestly true.

Eating a Whole 30 diet 24/7 just isn’t realistic. Or good for my social life. I really like wine. And Paleo cookies. And popcorn.

Plus I don’t shy away from small amounts of rice or soy ingredients (that’s why I call it Paleo-ish).

BUT I have completely cut out dairy and cut out most of the wheat in my diet (ugh, idk, I’m a sucker for pita bread and pasta!!!) and I really try to avoid sugar as much as possible.

You guys, HONESTLY though, I feel amazing. It makes such a difference to have figured out my triggers and to eat real food. And if you told me in 2010 mid-nug that I was ever going to eat like this I would have LOL’d so hard at you, omg. But I swear it’s not too hard once you just make up your mind. And you really do feel fuller after smaller portions because your body is functioning the way it should.

So… what do I eat?

I love Mediterranean and Greek food. I get chicken schwarma or gyro meat with some lemony potatoes and dunk it in Tahini sauce or garlic sauce (which is amazingly dairy-free!). I seriously eat this for lunch almost every time I eat out. I also love Mexican food – especially Chipotle – and I get bowls with brown rice, chicken, hot red salsa, and guac. Yes, it makes me SO sad to not cover it in sour cream, but YOU GUYS – try squeezing a lemon over your Chipotle bowl. It is SO good.

When I’m craving snacks, I love making a trip to Whole Foods because it’s like they do all the hard work for you – most of their “snack” foods are minimal ingredient and super good. You guys know – I’m obsessed with beef jerky if I want something salty.

Other than that I cook at home a lot, which I’m sure you can tell from my recipes, and I try to keep them pretty simple and cheap and easy to make. Trust me, I know I’m not Emeril over here. LOL.

But yeah, there you have it! That’s kind of how I’ve adapted the Whole 30 diet to my everyday life. And it’s made me feel pretty darn good. And I know this is so People-magazine-how-they-lost-the-weight of me but I really do feel like if I can do it, you can too!!

So tell me… what does your diet look like? Do you have any “trigger” foods or a specific type of food that you avoid? Are you also a former junk food addict? What helped you change? Or have you changed? Tell me everything! I will be back tomorrow with a new COFFEE TALK and I can’t wait!!! Xo.



Bowl of the Week: Fajita Steak & Sweet Taters

Hi sweet friends! How was your Monday?! Mine was pretty great until Ben & I were bored and feeling Halloweeny and watched AHS Hotel. Holy crap that’s a weird show. I had the craziest dreams all night. Never again, y’all. Never again. Have you seen it? Did you have to see a psychologist after?

I’m seriously considering it.

But anyway.

Today I wanted to share another Whole 30-ish recipe (I’ll explain more why it’s -ish tomorrow) that is super quick & easy to make and perfect for a fun Friday night dinner or lunch bowls for the week! I’ve done both. In the same week. I’m obsessed.

My favorite part of this recipe is the SKIRT STEAK.

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Skirt steak is super quick & easy to cook and has the perfect amount of fat to where it’s still a lean piece of beef but it’s not totally flavorless, ya dig? Oh and it’s pretty cheap.

PLUS I replace the rice in a traditional fajita recipe for SWEET POTATOES. I know it’s a little strange but the sweet flavors blend SO well with the fajita steak every single bite is salty-sweet perfection.

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Are y’all ready?!


Yes, I just got all Pinterest-y on you. You can pin it I guess, whatever, it’s cool.

Shopping List:

  • 1 piece of skirt steak for every 2 meals. This can vary depending on the thickness of the steak, but for 4 lunch bowls I got 3 super thin-cut skirt steaks. If the steaks are thicker, one piece for every 2 meals should be sufficient.
  • 3 bell peppers. I like to get red, green, and yellow just because it’s pretty.
  • 1 sweet onion. I prefer sweet over white so I don’t cry like a baby when I slice them.
  • 1 sweet potato for each meal. I replaced the typical rice in this recipe with these sweet little taters and the combo is surprisingly de-lish.
  • Fajita seasoning. For this recipe I used Frontera Carne Asada marinade on the steak & just some garlic, cumin, and chili seasoning on the veggies, but the Carne Asada marinade is NOT Whole 30 approved (it has some sugar so the steak gets a nice char and a touch of soy sauce), so feel free to sub it for your personal fave. OR if you don’t have one, combine olive oil, garlic, jalapeños, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin in a food processor and pulse until it’s nice & saucy.
  • Olive oil.

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  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour your marinade over your skirt steak and place in the fridge to set. While the steak is chilling, chop up your sweet potatoes.
  2. Once the potatoes are chopped, throw them in a baking pan with olive oil and seasonings, and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Chop your bell peppers & onion. Heat one skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat and your grill pan (or an outside grill) on high heat. Be sure to spray with non-stick spray (Whole Foods olive oil spray is my fave).
  4. Place your bell peppers in the skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat. Don’t touch! You have to let them sit on the skillet so they can get that nice crispy fajita skin.
  5. Once your grill pan is HOT HOT HOT, pull out your steak and add any dry seasonings you desire (I love Weber brand’s Chicago Steak seasoning – which is Whole 30 compliant). Then throw them on the pan and – again – don’t touch!
  6. Flip your steak after about 3 minutes (the outside of the steak should have a nice char) and stir your veggies. Continue to cook your steak for another 3-5 minutes depending on thickness & veggies until they’re at your desired consistency.
  7. Slice up your steak and make your bowls! And, of course, don’t forget the GUAC. (I love Wholly Guacamole brand because they have individual serving packs so it doesn’t turn all brown and nasty).
  8. Eat up!


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I seriously looked forward to these every single day when I took them for lunch! They’re so fun and so freakin’ easy!

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So tell me… Do you love fajitas? Are you totally gonna make this?? Do you have any fun fajita recipes or Whole 30 fajita seasonings that are your fave? Tell me everything! I will be back tomorrow talking about life after Whole 30, and how I’ve adapted my diet. I’ll see you then! X0.