SNEAKY GETS A BAD RAP

I’ve mentioned before and I’ll say it again, fueling your body with what it needs is all that really matters when it comes to your diet.  Just because you can chew something, digest it and run it through your body, doesn’t mean it is food.  I guarantee you can chew up a few newspaper pages right at this moment, does that mean you can fill your plate with it for dinner tonight?  Probably not.  At the same time, people tend to hide from the thought of excess greens, alternative dessert options or those weird words like "quinoa".  Try taking the time to show your creativity in the kitchen and put a spin on some recipes to make your own.  You know your own food palette, so cater to that!  Creativity is my best policy!

A few years ago, I was introduced to the crazy concept of hiding healthy ingredients in some of your favorite decadent treats.  I was in Illinois visiting family for Christmas.  Still to this day, we love gathering at my aunt and uncle’s house because my aunt is quite the chef, to say the least.  With a plethora of delicious food options accessible in the kitchen 24 hours a day, what more could you want during the holidays?  My aunt is an inspiration and my sister and I now pick her brain regularly for her yummy, secret recipes. 

If you got a chance to know my family, you would know right away that food is very important staple in our household.  I'm always still full from the last meal as we sit down to the dinner table.  Of course we are sure to include lots of healthy options on the table, but we don’t always steer away from pizza or our favorite neighborhood ice cream shop that we’ve gone to for years either.  (Union Dairy in Freeport, Illinois… unreal!)

Anyway!  One night for dessert, my aunt decided to serve apple pie.  She gave us each a slice and we dug in.  After mentioning that it was a new recipe she was testing out, she asked us for feedback.  Rave reviews and asks for seconds followed.  As Aunt Dawn smiled, she revealed that it wasn't actually apples in this new favorite recipe we all now loved, it was ZUCCHINI!  What?! Naturally, the kids in the room spit it out and retracted their newfound desire for this sweet treat.  But, in all honesty, it made me realize that’s the type of cooking that should be embraced more often!  There was no real reason why everyone all of a sudden questioned if they still liked the pie or not, but sometimes we train our mind to think that unless something like dessert is as sweet, sugary and 'bad' as we think it is, only then will we be truly satisfied.

Placing your own creativity on your best guilty-pleasures is a great goal to strive for in the kitchen.  It is a sneaky way to add a ton of extra nutrients in your meals, helps you embrace food in a new way and you won’t feel so guilty (and tired!) after. Try it out, you never know who you might trick.

INTENTION:  Sometimes, sneaky is a good thing.

xo, Stacey 

On a typical weekend, you'll find Stacey playing on the beach, laughing with friends or jogging the strand of her Southern California neighborhood.  As a co-founder of Your Beautiful story, Stacey loves to appreciate all the beautiful things in life, mimosas included.  Follow her adventures with @staceylthomas or her passion to inspire the world with @beYOUtiful_story on Instagram.


THE DO'S OF NUTRITION

When it comes to food, we are constantly told what NOT to eat.  This contains too much sugar, do not eat it! That is going to go straight to your thighs, not worth it!  Way too much dairy, dont even think about it!  We are constantly inundated with temptation and restriction all at the same time. Daily, even hourly, we are reminded through advertisements, pictures, commercials and drive-thru restaurants of what we shouldnt have.  When we are repeatedly told something that we cant have and shouldnt eat, it quickly starts to become all we want.  Sex sells, yet so does millions of dollars of fast food on a daily basis.

About a year or two ago, I finally began to shift my focus on the food I should be eating rather than everything I shouldnt.  You begin to realize that what you fuel your body with, actually fuels YOU.  Its crazy how brussel sprouts have an impact on improving your eyesight, lean meats strengthen your hair and nails and coconut boosts energy and improves digestion.  No, Im not saying because you eat a turkey burger then magically your hair is going to look like an Herbal Essences commercial or consuming a hard-boiled egg will keep your nail polish from chipping after a few days, but what I am saying is that your hair and nails will become stronger, your body becomes stronger and you feel stronger. 

Your body is not much different than a vehicle.  In fact, your body IS simply that, a vehicle.  If you fuel your car with grape juice, you may not make it too far down the road.  Gassing up your car with what it actually needs, is going to benefit you down the road in a much greater way.

At its simplest form, your body is just a vehicle for your soul.  Learning how to treat it right and give your body the nutrients it needs is the core of living a vibrant and healthy life, inside and out.  Once I learned about all of the various foods I can have, I quickly became well, obsessed.  I now cook up a storm and grocery shopping is definitely in my top 5 favorite pastimes (just dont tell too many people that ).  Learning about new recipes and even creating yummy concoctions on your own is so fulfilling, literally!

Growing up, I was always told by my parents to finish my plate of food, especially the vegetables.  I tried all the tricks in the book.  I would hold my nose while I ate them.  Id try to stuff my face and swallow as much as I could at a time.  Oh and milk! Dont even get me started!  I absolutely hated milk!  I would sit at the kitchen table until it would get warm and almost torture myself by eventually chugging the glass so I could leave the table.

While I know my parents had the best intention (and I thank them every day for placing our health at utmost importance), thankfully I have now developed my own personal relationship with food and knowing what is and isnt good for me, and most important what tastes good to me. Most importantly, I respect my body and my health enough to hold value to this in my life.

While I am a huge kitchen junkie and I love playing around with all different foods, tastes and varieties, Id like to share one of my favorite recipes here.  I tend to have a sweet tooth and enjoy the more decadent things in life so if this is not your cup of tea, dont worry! You can expect more recipes to come in the future.  Maybe even experiment and place your own spin on this, let us know!

Intention: Fuel your body with the right ingredients and youll never feel deprived.

xo, Stacey 

 Stacey Thomas

Stacey Thomas

On a typical weekend, you'll find Stacey playing on the beach, laughing with friends or jogging the strand of her Southern California neighborhood.  As a co-founder of Your Beautiful story, Stacey loves to appreciate all the beautiful things in life, mimosas included.  Follow her adventures with @staceylthomas or her passion to inspire the world with @beYOUtiful_story on Instagram.