Some Advice & My Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes

Does this sound familiar?

You’re going along in life, maybe trying to be healthier maybe not, and you read an article on a blog/FB/Instagram/Snapchat/whatever social media you crazy kids are using these days that is about a recent study claiming doing this will either give you the best health ever or ruin it entirely and you think, “Hmmm…. Maybe I should try/eliminate whatever this article is talking about?”  Some Advice & My Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes | Life Healthfully Lived Continue reading

Three Things I Want You To Know Today

1. You Can Do It Three Things I Want You To Know Today | Life Healthfully LivedNo matter what it is you’re facing, you can do it.  I don’t care if it has to do with your health, your job, school, life, food, unicorns, or finally defeating that last level in that video game you pretend you know nothing about when it comes up in conversation because you’ve wasted so many hours playing, you can do it.  It might take some hard work, a few tears, and some less than classy phrases, but know that you can do it.



2.  It’s Ok NOT To Do It Three Things I Want You To Know Today | Life Healthfully Lived  On the other hand, there are times when it’s ok to not do the thing.  In a world of social media, we are constantly getting the message that we need to do something great, something big, something more, something better and while that is awesome it can also be a little paralyzing.  Maybe everyone you know is traveling the world but you hate traveling.  Don’t feel like to be worthy you need to suddenly pack your bags and head to the Sahara Desert.  Are all your friends getting married or having babies and that’s just not where you’re at in your life?  Totally fine.  You don’t HAVE to do the thing.  It’s ok to be you and do what gives you joy.

3.  Enjoy It Three Things I Want You To Know Today | Life Healthfully Lived I took a walk yesterday because it was absolutely gorgeous out and it would have been a crime not to take a walk along the lake.  As I was walking, I started thinking about all the things that I needed to do for the week and all the things I wanted to do which of course led to thinking about where my life is going and what I want from the future and getting excited/nervous for things to come or that might not come… and then I paused.  I was completely ignoring the beauty around me at that moment.  There was a wonderful breeze, the lake was a beautiful blue-green, families were laughing and playing and eating picnics, the sun was warm on my skin but I wasn’t sweating buckets (a small miracle), and life at that moment was good.  By constantly focusing on the future we often forget to enjoy the ride.  You will get to where you need to be, I promise, but in the meantime don’t forget enjoy each moment because you don’t get them back in the end.

Sure, these might be cliche pieces of advice but sometimes you just need to hear them one more time before they sink in.

Happy Monday everyone!

Eat This, Not That

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

Have you seen those articles/posts about what you should eat instead of the junk food you normally go for?  Or those articles that highlight restaurants worst menu items and then tell you what to eat instead?  Or have you ever tried to look up an ingredient or some other food thing online to see if it’s healthy or not and 3 hours later you have a pile of research saying yes it is and no it will kill you?

It’s really frustrating, isn’t it?

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

How most people look when they try to start eating better.

Just the other day, I googled quinoa to look up the different varieties and was immediately met with headlines like: Quinoa: Is It The Next Superfood or Will It Destroy Your Gut? And: Quinoa Is The Seed The Acts Like A Grain And Could Be The Way To A Smaller Waistline. Don’t get me started on the back and forth over whether quinoa is “paleo” because that would take an entire day.

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

They’re both fine, eat whichever makes you feel better!

While I’m sort of used to nutrition research and know that for every study published stating the benefits of some food there is another one that says it’s horrible for you, I realized that people just starting out on their healthy journey probably feel overwhelmed and confused when trying to figure out if something is good or bad.  I think that’s why I’ve started to move away from that idea.  Food isn’t inherently evil nor is it undeniably good.  It’s food and it either makes you feel your best or it doesn’t.  It helps you meet your goals or it deters you.

So what if quinoa isn’t paleo?  Does it make you feel good when you eat it?  Can you perform your daily tasks without hindrance?  Are you gorging yourself with only quinoa? No, hopefully you have a diet full of real foods like fruits and vegetables.  If you are subsisting on a diet of only quinoa, I’m going to bet you have other things to worry about….

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

Anyone else feel like this?

So here is my advice for you health newbies out there and this is something that I wish I had realized early on in my journey because it would have saved a lot of time and stress: Stop worrying so much.  You can always find a reason something is bad or good.  Start looking to yourself to see whether what you put in your mouth is helping you or hurting you.  Start by cutting out processed food and move to whole foods and go from there.  Try new things and if they work for you then that’s all that matters!

Your diet will never be perfect and that is quite alright.  No one’s is.  Not the Instagram stars, not the celebrities, not the fitness guru’s, and not mine.  You aren’t striving for perfect, you’re striving for better than what you were.Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

Eat this OR eat that.  As long as it works for you, don’t stress it!

Self-Affirmations & Feeling Silly

We have all probably heard at some point in our life that we should think positively, especially about ourselves.  Browse around on Pinterest and you will see thousands of pins that have sayings like “BeYOUtiful” and “You are your harshest critic” and “Hey, stop being mean to yourself”.  Ok, maybe not the last one but you get the idea.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

The thing is we know we should be kind to ourselves, we just have a really hard time doing it.  It’s easy to critique our own body’s, habits, and personalities.  We’re used to being kind to others but don’t really know what to do when it comes to us.

That’s why self-affirmations were made.

Ok, that’s also probably not true but someone along the way that in order to be kinder to ourselves we should actually talk positively to ourselves.  Like actually out loud say nice things about us.  Stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom and say things like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”  By doing this every day, you’ll learn to love yourself and be kinder to your body.  Those of you rolling your eyes at me right now, don’t worry I’m with you.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

Or, at least, I was.

Self-affirmations sounded like a load of self-help hogwash.  Something that sounds good on paper and in books but doesn’t really work.  How is standing in front of the mirror every day (something I already don’t like doing) and talking out loud like a lunatic going to really help me like myself more?  But I also thought what have I got to lose?  If it doesn’t work no skin off my nose.  It’s not like I had to make these affirmations out loud in front of a crowd so I started talking nice to myself.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

I didn’t choose hokey phrases that meant nothing to me, but rather I would look at myself and make a conscious effort to say something I truly liked about my body/life/personality.

“Good morning Katie, your eyes look really green and bright today.  Lots of people would really like to have your green eyes.”

“Hey there Kate, you just squatted more weight than you have before and I can tell your legs are stronger than ever. Nice work!”

“That dinner you made from scratch last night really hit the spot and it’s awesome that you can come up with flavor combinations like that all on your own now.  Keep up the good work!”

Sure, I felt silly at first but then a funny thing started happening.  I started to believe my affirmations.  I was getting stronger, my recipes were coming to me easier, there are certain features of my face and body that are absolutely beautiful.  And these feelings started to flow into other parts of my life.  I felt more confident and believed I could do anything I wanted.  I started complimenting other people because I knew just like me they were awesome.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

Moral of the story?  Sometimes things that sound silly and hokey can really help you out.  If you’ve never tried self-affirmations, give it a go.  Will it feel awkward and weird?  You bet.  Especially if your husband knocks on the bathroom door and asks if you’re talking to one of the cats and you tell him no, just yourself…. but as time goes on it will fell less and less weird and more natural.  It will start to show that you think highly of yourself and you should always think highly of yourself.

Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!


Healthy and Helpful Kitchen Tips

I am a huge advocate for getting into the kitchen and preparing the majority of your meals yourself.  I think that one of the reasons so many people today are struggling with their health is that they have no clue how to make or prepare their own food so they rely on others (mainly restaurants and packaged food products) to do it for them.  Maybe you weren’t taught how to cook and the kitchen intimidates you or you do know how to cook you just think it’s boring and tedious.  Whatever the case may be, I have a few kitchen tips for you today that can help you in journey to be healthy.  Some of these were taught, some I’ve figured out along the way, and some I’ve picked up from places like the Food Network (thanks Alton Brown!).  Hopefully these tips will help you get over your fear of the kitchen or cut down the time that you spend prepping food so that you can get on with your day!


Kitchen Gear

  • Ever heard of a Silpat?  I hadn’t either until I was watching Iron Chef on Food Network.  It’s basically a thin silicon mat that you can use instead of aluminum foil or parchment paper.  The nice thing about the Silpat is that it’s non-stick and can handle fairly high heat, which makes it ideal for baking and roasting vegetables.  With the Silpat you can use less oil because you don’t have to worry about your food sticking to the pan, plus it’s reusable so you don’t have to keep replacing it.  I use mine almost every day.  It’s a great time and money saver!
My (slightly dirty) Silpat. Told you I use it every day!

My (slightly dirty) Silpat. Told you I use it every day!


  • Invest in a variety of sizes of glass storage containers.  I have a few different sizes of the pyrex brand and I use them all the time.  These are really helpful in terms of food prep as well as leftovers.  If you buy a bunch of fruit and vegetables at the store (which I highly encourage), you can come home and wash and cut them right away, then store them in your containers.  I like the glass kind because they last longer and are much sturdier than the plastic containers.  Also, storing your food in see through containers helps remind you of all the healthy prepared food you have in the fridge!


  • While we’re on the subject of glass containers, try storing your spices and grains in mason jars or other recycled glass jars.  If you buy this stuff in bulk it’s much easier (and prettier) store them in jars instead of the bags you use at the grocery store.  Plus once again, if you store your food in see through containers you’ll be much more likely to use them more often!


My numerous glass jars. Great for storing grains and spices!

My numerous glass jars. Great for storing grains and spices!

  • Silicone spatulas are a great thing to have in the kitchen.  They are good for making scrambled eggs, scooping batter out of the bowl, and scraping up the last of the cookie dough.  I have a variety of shapes and sizes that I use all the time.  They are great because they are non stick, won’t scratch your pots or pans, and can function in a variety of situations.  Plus they’re fairly cheap, so stock up on a few.


  • Have a few different cutting boards instead of just one.  Once you start having a food prep day, you’ll be cutting, chopping, and dicing a variety of foods.  It’s nice to have a few cutting boards that you can rotate instead of having to wash the same one over and over again.  This makes food prep go faster and makes your cutting boards last longer.  I’m a fan of wooden cutting boards, but plastic or even silicone ones work just as well.



  • One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them in the oven.  Upside: this makes the vegetables taste amazing.  Downside: the vegetables have a tendency to stick to the pan (even using a Silpat).  At least mine did until I started preheating the roasting pan in the oven.  Think about it, whenever you cook something on the stovetop you heat the pan/oil up BEFORE you put the food in the pan.  Why not do the same thing with your roasting pan in the oven? A few minutes before you plan to put your vegetables or whatever else your roasting in the oven, place the pan in the preheated oven.  Then prep your food with whatever oil/spices you’re using.  Pull out the preheated pan and carefully spread your food out onto the pan.  You should hear that satisfying sizzle as the food hits the warm pan, just like on the stovetop!  This little trick (plus my Silpat) has helped cut down the amount of stuck vegetables on my pans!


  • I love dark leafy greens like collard greens or kale, but sometimes they can have a very bitter taste to them.  I can’t remember where I learned this but by soaking leafy greens in ice water for about an hour before cooking/eating them can cut down on the bitter taste.  Wash and cut your greens like normal then place them in a large bowl, cover with water, and add a few ice cubes.  Store this bowl in the fridge for an hour.  After the hour is up drain the greens and dry in a salad spinner or with some paper towels.  Prepare your greens however you like, sans the bitter taste!


  • For the longest time, I was afraid to use too much salt in my cooking.  The thing I was most worried about was consuming too much sodium like most of the U.S.  This resulted in under salting all my dishes, leaving them with a bland taste.  The problem with salt is that we’re consuming too much added sodium, mostly from packaged foods.  Once I got over my salt phobia and started adding the right amount to my dishes, everything started to taste a lot better.  Now I’m not saying go salt crazy and add heaps of it to every single piece of food, but salt naturally enhances the flavors of most dishes.  Using it properly can actually help you feel more satisfied.


Other Kitchen Tips

  • If one of the problems you have is overeating, try using smaller bowls or plates when you eat.  You can trick your brain into thinking that it is eating more food when in fact you are eating less.  When you have a big plate, the tendency is to fill that plate to the brim.  This means that portions are generally much bigger than they need to be.  Try eating off a smaller plate and you can cut down your portion sizes without feeling like you are depriving yourself.


Too big of a plate = too big portions. Try a smaller plate!

Too big of a plate = too big portions. Try a smaller plate!

  • I just learned about this tip and it’s awesome.  Try using a condiment dispenser for your olive oil instead of just pouring it right out of the bottle.  This will cut down on the amount of oil that you use because you have better control of how much oil comes out.  Plus it will keep the bottle and your hands from getting oily because there won’t be any oil dripping down the side of the bottle!  You can find the condiment dispensers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $2.


Best discovery ever! Plus it's fun to squirt the oil into fun designs!

Best discovery ever! Plus it’s fun to squirt the oil into fun designs!

  • When using your cutting board on a slippery surface, like a granite counter, place a dish towel underneath it.  This will help keep the cutting board in place as you cut your food so you have less risk of cutting your finger off in the process.  Now that’s a good what I call a win-win!


These are a few tips that make my time in the kitchen a little easier and healthier.  What are some kitchen tips that you have learned along the way?  Have a great day and I’ll see you Friday with another recipe!