Chocolate Covered Everything

raspberry.JPG

Confession....I am a chocoholic.  I eat chocolate every day.  Yup.  EVERY DAY.  I use to eat milk chocolate...then switched to dark chocolate because of all the health claims.  As I got older, my body couldn't handle all the added sugar.  So when I educated myself more on the benefits of dark chocolate, I made a commitment to stick to eating more 100% cacao.

There are countless benefits of cacao.  It's been known to aid in cardiovascular health, enhance mood, and is high in antioxidants.  For me, eating pure cacao curbs my craving for the not so healthy chocolate.  We say we "need" chocolate when in actuality, we are deficient in magnesium.  Cacao is rich in magnesium so when consumed you'll be able to manage your need to overeat that chocolate bar or cake.  Here are my 3 cacao staples I consume almost daily to avoid high sugar in chocolate, and keep my chocolate rages under control:

  1. Pascha Organic's 100% Cacao Chocolate Chips have replaced my chocolate bar addiction.  I add these to trail mixes, yogurt, and homemade date balls.  They are free of gluten, soy, dairy, nuts, and added sweetener.  The extreme bitterness takes some getting use to.  I recommend trying the lower percentage cacao chocolates before you get up to 100%.  For a sweet treat, I'll stuff cashew or almond butter in a pitted date, and then add the cacao chips.  The natural sweetness of the date really compliment the bitter cacao.
  2. Speaking of dates...RX Bar's Chocolate Sea Salt are my protein bar of choice when I'm on the go.  With 3 egg whites in each bar, the 12g of protein definitely beat your typical chocolate protein bar.  The other ingredients include dates, nuts, and cacao.  These are delicious, and even my toddler loves them!
  3. Navitas Oganics Cacao Powder are featured in every chocolate flavored smoothie I blend.  Their organic cacao powder is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and magnesium.  Side note: cacao is not the same as cocoa.  

If you are addicted to chocolate, try replacing it with some of these.  And ladies, when it's that time of the month and all you want is chocolate covered everything, give these a try to avoid the sugar rush crash turned into guilt thinking "OMG I ate handfuls of chocolate in one sitting".  You don't have to give up your decadent restaurant desserts entirely.  It's all about balance.  On special occasions, I will indulge in only the very best chocolate desserts at my favorite restaurants.  Once in a while I like to treat myself to Vosges Chocolates or explore Whole Foods for one of many organic fair trade chocolate bar brands.  I've noticed when I practiced eating chocolate in a more mindful way, I stopped having guilt or a horrible sugar rush.  So enjoy your healthiest chocolate most days, and have the other delicios chocolate only a few (or less) days.  Now be happy that you can have your chocolate and eat it too!

With love and chocolate,

Carla

Lemon Raspberry Protein Smoothie

IMG_1115.JPG

Warmer temps call for chilled beverages!  This Lemon Raspberry Protein Smoothie has been my go to for post workouts, or for a fun summer drink.  It's naturally sweet, tart, and healthy.  Even my toddler approves!

You'll enjoy this recipe knowing that you are consuming good for you nutrients like fats, protein, potassium, antioxidants, vitamins, and more. Here's all you need to get in on this delicious drink...

Ingredients:

1.5-2 cups coconut milk (canned)

1 serving of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

1 frozen ripe banana

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Unsweetened coconut flakes for a topping (optional)

Instructions:

For a perfectly chilled smoothie, freeze your banana and raspberries.  If you don't have them frozen ahead of time, add ice.  Place all the ingredients in your blender then blend away.  You're the boss of your smoothie so adjust the amount of ingredients to your desired taste and consistency.

Enjoy!

IMG_1692.JPG

You got this, Dad!

Photographer: Kat of Indvisual FIlms

Photographer: Kat of Indvisual FIlms

I recently went to a yoga workshop, and bumped into a pregnant friend that was in her second trimester.  She totally had that pregnancy glow and I couldn't help but reminisce on how much I loved being pregnant.   A lot of the attention goes to the mom and baby, so I wanted to make sure I congratulated the soon-to-be dad too.  I asked him how it was going for him, and if he found those pregnancy apps useful.  He was excited and open to any advice.  A handful of things stood out in my mind that I quickly shared with him.  Obviously there are many more tips out there, but these were what Matt and I struggled and succeeded with the most.  We didn't have help during those early infant months.  We had to figure a lot of it out on our own, and had plenty of late night Google searches.  Every family is different, and what works for one family, may not work for another. 

I think these will be useful for a new dad, and a good reminder for any other dad out there.   You're welcome, moms ;)  

Okay listen up, Dad.  When the baby comes it's going to be overwhelming.  It's a lot.  So when things get a little crazy, take a deep breath in and out....take another one, and remember these 5 tips:

1.  Keep mom hydrated.  When she is nursing or pumping, bring her water or whatever beverage she likes.  Do this every single time.   I remember getting extremely thirsty during each feeding session.  Feeding a child from your own body is draining.  The thirst is like no other.  I would get thirsty-angry - thangry!  Hydrating fruits and vegetables are a must if the water isn't cutting it.  Give her fresh cut strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, pineapple, spinach, cucumber, celery, green peppers, tomatoes, etc.  Pretty much all the wet or watery fruits and veggies--these hydrating foods are made up of about 90% water.  

2.  Feed mom first.  Make sure she's eating, and make sure you are eating too.  Let her eat first when the food is hot and fresh.  After all, ladies first right?!  I swear my son would wake up to the sound of my fork touching my food when I was by myself.  It was so hard for me to eat with him.  When my husband was home from work it was always nice to know I would be able to enjoy at least one hot meal.  Bonus Pro Tip:  Pack snacks in the diaper bag if she is going out with the baby.  

3.  You WILL bond with your baby.  Be patient.  New babies only know mom, and all they want is mom.  Especially, hungry nursing babies.  Mason wouldn't take a bottle, and that did not make Matt feel like "Dad of the Year".  It was hard for him to not be able to participate in feeding the baby.  He found other ways to bond with Mason, like bath time or tummy time.  Mason eventually started to recognize Matt's voice, and his first word was "Da Da"!  Now they're best friend goof balls! 

4.  It's the hormones!  There is such a huge flux in hormone levels for the mother after she gives birth and breastfeeds.  If the gorgeous mother of your child says some crazy shit, just let it go.  It was the hormones talking.  Be prepared for some crying spells too.  Rollercoaster hormones and lack of sleep are not a good mix.  And just a heads up, when mom starts weaning baby from breastfeeding expect the same hormonal changes.  Every mother has their own postpartum baby blues experience.  Just be ready to be extra understanding and compassionate.  

5.  "Can I get anything for you, beautiful?" A simple question like this goes a long way or better yet, be proactive.  When your man does things without being told it's the sexiest thing ever.  You want to be sexy for your baby mama, right?  Acts of service, my friend.  Change the diaper, wash the bottles and breast pump parts, offer her a cup of coffee, or give her a massage.  Do something kind for her.  She'll love it.  Matt made up this Diaper Deal.  Since I am mostly a stay at home mom while Matt works during the week, he promised me that on the weekends I change zero diapers.  It's a pretty sweet deal.  The small gestures really do matter, and you'll come out a total hero.

That's it!  That's all you need to know to be the world's greatest dad!  Just kidding, start with being a good partner, and the rest you will learn along the way.  And Dad, you may not get all the recognition, but trust us moms, we acknowledge and are grateful for your support...even if we don't always tell you.  Enjoy this new ride.  Drink coffee.  Good luck, and you got this!

Welcome

IMG_8911 (1).JPG

Hello, and welcome to my blog!  Ah!  That sounds kind of crazy to me.  I remember when friends would encourage me to start a blog, and I would always give them an excuse or create some irrational self-doubt to talk myself out of it.

I've secretly wanted to start a blog for a while, but was too nervous.  Other bloggers have always inspired me, and I was drawn to their courage to share their passions.  When l was pregnant with my son in 2015, my secret desire to start a blog grew even more.  Throughout pregnancy, and the infant months, I would scroll through my feed wishing I was confident enough to share my favorite prenatal tips, and new motherhood stories like the other cool mom bloggers.

For those of you who have encouraged this long overdue blog post, thank you.  I decided to dump the self-doubt, and get out of my comfort zone.  So here I am.

I am a Chicago based Wellness Maven.  I have a major passion for holistic health, yoga, and fitness.  It is my lifework.  You can find me teaching group classes at CorePower Yoga and The Barre Code.  Health coaching is another love of mine, and I have worked with individuals and groups to create balance, and healthier lifestyles.  My two other jobs that I have inspired everything I just described:  I am a proud wife to my husband, Matthew, and as I mentioned earlier, the mama of my crazy cute toddler, Mason.  My other love is chocolate.  Like the highest percentage cacao possible.  I consume it every day.

The intention of my blog is to share everything like my favorite yoga pose, simple sweat-to-street fashion, and healthy recipes.  I also want to share my experiences with motherhood--the good, bad, and messy.  I’d like to keep it real by creating a positive platform sharing my struggles and successes, my holistic practices that maintain balance within myself, and I hope to inspire someone else to find theirs. 

I welcome you all to read along, and stay connected with me as I go through this beautiful thing called life.

Photographer: Tek Chung

Photographer: Tek Chung