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First of all, I want to say welcome back to my blog! I really appreciate you stopping by. I have not written on this platform in quite some time due to life being busy and then some technical difficulties. But we got those fixed, so yay!
I really love writing, and I love how I can connect with you all on a deeper level than just in a short Instagram caption.

The holidays – a time of both excitement and anxiety. Let me explain.

With the holidays approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my relationship with food used to cause so much anxiety and feelings of guilt when I was younger. Sure, sometimes it still does if I’m being honest. But my mentality has evolved over the past few years, that I now actually do look forward to those home cooked meals and special traditions with family.

I know the holidays do cause a lot of stress for many of you, I’ve even gotten several dm’s on IG asking how I approach holiday eating. I’m still figuring that out, but I’ve found the number one thing to do is…. not stress. That’s it. Stress will kill you faster than any dish with a ton of calories or fat or sugar (or whatever else your mind decides to demonize that day).

Say no to diet culture.

With diet culture sending us the message that we need to “prep” for the Thanksgiving meal by fasting before hand or running a “Turkey Trot” the morning of, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need to earn food. Let’s get this straight, you never need to “earn” food. I know a lot of have fitness goals, and we eat a certain way to support that, but that doesn’t mean eating different foods or more food is inherently bad. I’m not saying totally neglect eating healthy and working out just because it’s the holiday season, but don’t feel like you need to earn your Thanksgiving meal by doing cardio at 6am or not eating all morning in order to save up room for family lunch.  I’ve been there, trust me it’s not a good idea. Going into a big meal starving is just going to set you up to eat way past the point of fullness, leading to more discomfort. Simply eat a couple of normal meals before your family gathering, then eat you desire. If you truly listen to your body, you’re not going to “over eat.” If you know certain foods are very rich or may cause a stomach ache, just be aware of that. But also remember, it’s one day out of the year – enjoy yourself. Enjoyment is key to health. I would strongly argue that your relationship with food is more important to your well being than the food itself. Remember it’s okay to have fitness goals (I do!!!) but they should never get in the way of time with family.

Family…

Thanksgiving can be quite a hard holiday for anyone that has dealt with disordered eating in the past. You may feel like all your family is judging what you eat, looking to you, “the healthy eater”, for their own diet advice. They keep a close eye on what you are or are not eating. You feel like if you go back for seconds, someone will make a comment like “oh your eating more? I haven’t seen that before.” Or, if you choose not to eat something, you get the comment “go figures, you don’t eat things with butter or sugar.” (or some other off putting comment). These comments are hard. Most of the time family members do not mean any harm, the love you! But, that doesn’t mean they fully understand your situation, past, or struggle. They might not know that thinking about eating that pie is already making you nervous, and that any comment about it is only making it that much harder.

Learn to appreciate the people around you.

Instead of focusing just on the food you’ll be eating, turn your focus to the memories you’ll be making with loved ones. I know for me, when I was really struggling in my eating disorder, those years have bad memories around food. Last year, I remember making all kinds of memories and fully enjoying the moment. Your mindset is everything. I know it’s easier said then done, but keep working through it. This time with family is so precious, it’s a shame to let it be ruined with worrying about food and your body.

Incorporate your healthy habits with holiday habits.

You don’t have to be all in or all out. Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you’ve “ruined” your healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to “get back on track” the next day if you don’t think of it as a cheat meal. Just simply return to eating foods that make you feel good. Don’t try to eat less to compensate. That’s unhealthy and just leads to a bad cycle. As far as exercise, if going to the gym that morning fits into your schedule with stress, then go! If it makes you happy 🙂 If you’re not able to, even just talking a walk with family after the meal can be a great way to get your digestion moving and make you feel a little active! Taking a short walk after meals is something my coach Paul suggests, and it really helps me physically and mentally.

I hope this helped, and if it did please let me know! I know we all have our own struggles and I believe we can help each other feel a little less alone. Let’s embrace this holiday season with open arms and work on finding that “balance” we all long for. I love you all!
xoxo,

Steph

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Hey y’all! Today we’re talking about skincare. One of my favorite things. I love trying out new skincare and also researching key ingredients and what they’re doing for my skin. A brand that I’ve fallen in love with lately is Sunday Riley. I was introduced to the brand last year when a girl at Sephora recommended U.F.O. I took home a sample, and came back a day later to buy my fist of many bottles. Recently, I’ve been trying more of the brand and have found some new favs. I love that the brand was started buy a woman who is so passionate about what she does. I fell in love with Sunday after watching this interview with PixiWoo. Each product has been specially formulated with only the highest quality natural ingredients. The entire line is formulated without parabens,
sulfates, phthalates – which I have really been trying to avoid in skincare. As I’ve been on such a journey with my skin, and curing my hormonal acne, the last thing I want to put on skin is a harsh chemical. I have really found that my skin is responding well to adding in these new Sunday Riley products. It’s been a couple of weeks using these 3 products together , and while yes I still have some acne scarring- I can already see them getting lighter. And none of these products have broken me out. Praise the Lord! lol.

Now… let’s talk about why each of these products are so awesome.

Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser

I have definitely tried my fair share of cleansers and it’s safe to say I’ve found a new favorite. Ceramic Slip is a balancing deep pore cleanser that contains French and Moroccan clays to help pull impurities from the skin. It leaves my skin feeling clean, but never tight or over-stripped of its natural oils. I have noticed a significant difference in my pores- this cleanser definitely  visibly tightens the appearance of pores. It has a lightweight (almost watery) texture, and does not foam due to it’s natural ingredients (love!) I apply it to dry skin, massage in, and rinse off with warm water. I find it gentle enough to use morning and night.

skin types it’s good for: normal, oily, combination, sensitive

solutions for: pores, oiliness, blemishes

Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

I wasn’t expecting to love Tidal as much as I do. I freakin’ love this stuff. I’m usually not a fan of any kind of “gel” or “water” based moisturizers. They usually just don’t cut it for me when it comes to lasting hydration. Tidal is different. It’s described as “An advanced brightening and refining treatment, infused into a next-generation water cream.”  It delivers intense hydration with two forms of hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract so your skin looks youthfully hydrated and plumped. Papaya enzymes smooth and exfoliate while alpha-arbutin visibly brightens the appearance of hyper-pigmentation and dark spots. This is something I’ve been looking for!! I swear my hyper-pigmentation has gotten so much better. I don’t need as much foundation because this instantly calms my redness while making me look radiant. Tidal is said to increase hydration by up to 68 percent in as little as 15 minutes for up to 24 hours of continuous moisture. Even if you have oily skin, you need a moisturizer! It’s so so so important. Tidal is great if you don’t want to feel greasy. It’s just enough. Perfect.

skin types it’s good for: normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive (really anyone!)

solutions for: dark spots, dryness, fine lines

U.F.O 

No, not that kind of UFO. It stands for Ultra Clarifying Face Oil. And oh boy does it do that! This was my first love from Sunday Riley, and I think it will always hold a special place in my heart. This stuff has gotten my skin through some BAD times. U.F.O is a quick-absorbing, medicated oil that deep cleans pores to clear acne. It contains 1.5 % salicylic acid and tea tree oil to clear up breakouts without leaving the skin greasy. Licorice will naturally brighten the discoloration of old acne scars to even out skin tone. Because salicylic acid can be potentially drying, it also has milk thistle to help hydrate and chamomile and neroli to  soothe the skin. I apply 1 drop in the morning, and 2-3 drops at night. It can also be mixed into your foundation to add acne fighting benefits and a nice glow. Along with Tidal, U.F.O. also has helped with my scarring because of hexylresorcinol and licorice – which naturally brighten the appearance of old acne discolorations.

skin types it’s good for: normal, oily, combination, dry, sensitive

solutions for: acne and blemishes, blackheads, pores, dry acne prone-skin, unbalanced skin

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I hope you all enjoyed learning a little bit more about Sunday Riley. If you try out any of these products, please let me know how they worked for you. I hope they help your skin as much as they did mine. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me through a comment or email me at beautyandbananas@aol.com.

Until next time, stay happy and healthy!

xoxo,

Steph

 

 

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Hey y’all! I hope you’re having a great week! As I’m preparing for my next competition, I’m also preparing for…. the beach! Whoo hoo! I am so excited to relax and get away for a few days. My parents and I will be headed to the beach just two days after the competition. I’m starting to gather up the clothes, beauty products, snacks, and other things I think I’ll need at the beach. I thought I’d share my personal favorites I’ll be packing, and some things you should remember to pack! I’m going to break it down into beauty, clothes, and healthy snacks. Let’s get started!

BEAUTY & SKINCARE| WHAT TO PUT ON YOUR FACE

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  • waterproof Mascara
    • any kind will do, but waterproof is a must for obvious reasons!
  •  tinted lip balm

 

CLOTHES | WHAT TO WEAR

  • white tee shirts
    • they go with everything from skirts to jean shorts. I love to get mine at Target.
  • jean shorts
  • white shorts
  • comfy shorts
  • wrap skirt
  • sun dress
  • t-shirt dress
  • off the shoulder top
  • floral top
  • tank tops
  • sweater
  • pj’s
  • undies
  • sandals
  • wedges
  • flip-flops for the beach
  • workout/running shoes if you plan on being active
  • workout clothes for hiking or outdoor activities
  • bikinis (i like to limit it to 2 or 3. It’s good to have options but you  don’t need to over pack)
  • one piece
  • baseball cap
  • sunhat
  • fun jewelry

HEALTH | WHAT TO SNACK ON

some of my favorite protein/energy bars:

other yummy snacks:

  • trail mix
  • rice cakes and travel packets of almond or peanut butter
  • travel packs or protein powder (great to mix in oatmeal at the hotel) I like these from PEScience.

OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • water bottle
    • I love Corkcicle because they keep your water ice cold for up to 24 hours!
  • sunglasses
  • beach bag
  • cross body bag
  • wristlet
  • reading for the beach – I’m taking a book and a few magazines!
  • your vitamins/supplements
  • cash for beach shops
  • extra sunscreen for your body
  • after burn sunscreen- I know you all wear sunscreen… but just in case!
  • camera – I’ll be bringing my cannon to get some quality shots and my polaroid for some fun snaps.

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I hope you all found this checklist helpful! Let me know what you’re beach (or pool) essentials are!
Stay happy and healthy.

xoxo,

Steph

 

Hey lovelies! Welcome back to my blog and thank you for reading! Today I wanted to write the first post in a series I’ll be calling “Stop Fearing and Start Fueling.” This series will be focusing on common foods the media labels as “bad” and debunking the myths behind them and also the “fear food” we create for ourselves and how to overcome them. I know a lot of my readers are girls who have a past with eating disorders or unhealthy relationships with food, so I hope this can help shed some light on why we should stop fearing certain foods. I also know a lot of you just want some insight on healthy living, so this series can help provide some truth and information on why certain foods you may think are “bad” really aren’t. Today I wanted to just start by talking about the idea of “good” food and “bad” food.

Let’s stop fearing and start fueling. (hashtag worthy? let me know)

(I would like to preface this blog post by clarifying that I am not a doctor, dietician, etc, and am simply sharing my own knowledge through research and experience. If you have any dietary restrictions, please follow your doctor’s guidelines for what is healthy for you. If you are struggling with any type of eating disorder I encourage you to seek help and visit a doctor and dietician.)

I’d like to start off by saying I believe there is no such thing as “good” and “bad” foods. I do believe there are foods that are more nutrient dense and foods that are less nutrient dense, but I don’t like to “food shame.” Of course I don’t believe McDonald’s is especially good for you (as far as the ingredients and chemicals they add to their food) but I also don’t think having McDonald’s once in a while is bad.

Labeling food as “good” or “bad” implies you are better for eating “good” or worse for eating “bad.” No, food doesn’t have morals and what you eat makes you no better or no worse than anyone else.

HEALTHY IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE

What is healthy or not healthy for someone is going to depend on their own situation. Everyone is different. Not only do we look different, but we are genetically and biochemically different as well. Food allergies and intolerances are good examples.

Lifestyle also plays an important role for someone’s dietary needs. An athlete will need much fuel than someone who is sedentary. A runner will likely need many more carbs than someone that just leisurely goes to the gym a few times a week.

For someone who is overweight and dealing with diabetes, Ben & Jerry’s in that case would be “un-healthy” for them because they probably need to be focusing on a lower sugar, lower calorie diet with the goal of improving their health. On the other hand, for a girl recovering from an eating disorder, who may need to gain weight and mentally need to challenge herself to having the ice cream- Ben & Jerry’s would be a very healthy choice for her. Her body needs those calories, fats, and carbs, and also it’s a big mental step to overcome. This example shows that just saying “ice cream is bad” makes no sense. The ice cream is not “bad”, it just depends on the context.

HEALTH IS NOT JUST ABOUT FOOD

The terms “good” and “bad” food usually only refer to health. But food is and should be more than just fuel. For most us, food has the ability to increase our quality of life and also happiness! When we think of food only for the health benefits, we might be missing out on overall happiness. Happiness does play a big role in our overall health. And isn’t that what it’s all about? What is the the point of living a long “healthy” life if you are unhappy doing it?

Of course, if you strictly focus on “foods that make you happy” and only enjoy fast food and neglect nutrient dense foods, it can eventually make you unhappy and unhealthy. It is all about balancing and trying to maximize both happiness and health. Besides, how “bad” is a food really, when it makes you so happy to eat it once in a while?

The media way too often tries to tell us which foods are “bad” and which foods are “super” and will “prevent disease”  in some magical way. Nobody wants to click on a Facebook article that says “The Key to Being Healthy is All About Balance and We Can’t Say What That Will Be For You.” No, that is long and boring. People want a quick fix and need a catchy title to draw them in. “Lose Weight Only Eating Bananas” or “10 Foods That May Be Secretly Killing You.” Let me tell you, you can eat as much kale and chia seeds as you want – but those alone are not going to make  you healthy. “Health” has so many factors including your exercise, sleep, hormones, and is completely unique to each individual. We can’t simply say that eating super foods is an all across the board “fix” to our health.

Besides from “worshipping” certain foods, the media try to demonize other foods. Like one food is what’s going to make you unhealthy or gain weight. I am a nutrition nerd and I love learning about it, but nothing bothers me more than the people that try to shame others for what they choose to eat. Dairy may not be great for some people, but I’m not going to tell someone it’s “bad.” For example, I don’t think of butter as “bad” like many people think, it’s actually a very healthy fat and has no proven negative effects on health – but that’s another conversation for another day. 😉

Before you get drawn in to what media has to say, do your own research and ask yourself what you think about it.

LEARNING TO STOP FEARING FOOD

For me, a big part of my health journey was actually focusing less on being perfectly “healthy” with food. I had to learn that “unhealthy foods” (I put that in quotes because again- who determines what’s unhealthy for me??) had a place in a healthy balanced diet. The fact that I feared eating pizza was more unhealthy than if I actually ate that pizza. Mental stress and fear around food does more damage to our health than a slice of pizza ever could. I had to learn to see food for what it was. I had to learn to talk myself through it in my head. “Yes that pizza has more calories than my typical dinner, but what are calories again? They are units of energy. Okay, so it’s just more energy. And pizza is really just bread. I like bread. With cheese. I like cheese. Tomato sauce and veggies and meat. Cool.” Not so scary when you break it down right?

Of course I am not saying I eat pizza everyday. I really like fueling my body with whole food sources like meats, rice, sweet potatoes, oats, peanut butter, eggs, avocados, fruit, veggies, etc… but I don’t just eat those things because I “have to.” It’s a choice and I choose to eat other things when I want to. But I am still working on my own journey to being completely guilt free when I eat foods I’m not as comfortable with. And that’s okay. I want to show you guys it’s OKAY to feel like that, but it’s not okay to let it effect you. If you’re out with friends at a restaurant and you want to order a burger but you feel like you “should” order a salad, stop and think. Do you want a salad because you truly want that salad or is it because you’re trying to order something low calorie? It’s totally cool to want a salad, I love salad. But’s also cool to want a burger. And you should honor that. It’s not cool to think a burger is “bad.”

I hope this post wasn’t too rambly for you and maybe helped a bit. Let me know your thoughts on the idea of “good” and “bad” food and what you’d like me to talk about next.

xoxo,

Steph

Hey guys! Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite meal ideas lately. These are just inspiration, I’m not going to be listing excact portions/calories because that’s not the point. These are simply some healthy meal ideas and unique combos to serve as inspiration for you own meals!

So let’s get started!

My go to breakfast has been an egg white omlette with spinach (topped with reduced sugar ketchup or hot sauce) and a bowl of oats with blueberries. Coffee with almond milk and stevia – always.

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I’ve also been liking protein oats – just mix in a scoop of protein powder (my favorite is PEScience Snickerdoodle) into your oats and top with your favorite toppings. I’ve been loving ground flax seed and Justin’s Maple Almond Butter.

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One of my favorite mid day meals has been white rice, chicken, and avocado. It’s so simple but I honeslty love it and don’t get tired of it. I always top it with some hot sauce, sea salt and Mrs. Dash Chipotle seasoning.

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Dinner is usually a big salad for me. I genuinely love salads and I don’t just eat them because they’re “low carb”. As you can see below I actually added carbs to this salad in the form of some baked potato.  Also in the salad: chicken, salted almonds, avocado and green beans (I used whatever leftover veggies I have in the fridge). For dressing I like to mix apple cider vinegar, mustard and olive oil.

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I made these sweet potato protein pancakes as a post worout snack the other day and they’re perfect for breakfast or any meal. I just mix 1 scoop of protein, 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato, 50 grams (about 1/4 cup liquid egg whites), cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 cup almond milk (any kind of milk works) or water. Whisk together and cook in a sprayed pan on low heat. I topped them coconut oil and sugar free syrup. (note: I was not on prep I’d use full calorie pure maple syrup!)

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You guys all know (if you follow me on Instagram stories) that I am obsessed with nightly smoothie bowl. It’s thick like ice cream, sweet, and just always hits the spot. Not to mention it’s HUGE because of all the ice I use.

Smoothie Bowl:

1 cup frozen blueberries (plus a few for topping)

1 scoop Snickerdoodle Protein Powder

1/5 cup almond milk (+ a litte water to get blending)

2 cups of ice

Blend! A Vitmaix works best

Top with cinnamon, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. SO GOOD.

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A treat I had last weekend (on a high carb day) that I thought was worth sharing was a pint of Chocoalte Halo Top topped with two birthday cake oreos. 😉

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Another post workout snack (also would be a great pre workout breakfast) was this peaches n cream cream of rice.

30 grams cream of rice

1 scoop Snickerdoodle Protein

Chopped peaches or nectarine microeaved in and topped fresh.

YUM.

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I hope you all found these meal ideas helpful, and found some fun new combos to try. What are some of your favorite meals lately? I’d love to know!
Stay happy and healthy.

Xoxo,

Steph