All posts by Savanna

All About Expo West 2019

So I know it’s been a while since Expo West (like March) but I am trying to get better about posting on my blog! 

So here we go: Expo West is a natural foods convention that takes place in Anaheim California every spring. There is also a smaller one in Baltimore in the fall, but I love California and so does my friend Tamar, so we decided to go on a trip together! We did one day at Expo and then moved to West Hollywood to explore the fitness/wellness scene 🙂 

Since we decided on doing only a day at Expo we planned way ahead. The California Expo is GIGANTIC and you can easily waste time from not being organized or getting overwhelmed by the scene. Tamar and I both went through each hall floor plan (which is on the Expo app or website) and listed each brand that we wanted to visit/try. After we made a list for each hall, we put them in order of importance, because we knew we probably wouldn’t make them all. 



Once we made it to Expo we would start in a hall together, visit the same brands we wanted to and then would split to find different brands we liked and meet up a few minutes after. We decided not to split up for long periods of time because again, the expo is HUGE and we wanted to experience it together. 

Once you finally get in and start meeting/trying new brands be prepared to eat all day. Do not eat breakfast before!!! Every booth has samples out and by the end of the day I was avoiding eye contact because I was so stuffed and couldn’t eat one more bite. I would recommend only trying the food you really like or are interested in, so you don’t feel sick. Also scope out water booths or a clean juice brand, like Suja, to reboot your system. 



Yes, it is a long day and will be tiring with all the walking and talking to people, but is it worth it? 100%! I had the absolute best time and was so so excited to see all of the health brands and products I love right in front of my eyes! It’s seriously like an amusement park for health nerds like me. Also another cool thing is that brands use this as a time to show their new products, so you will be the first to try and talk about a lot of them! (The only downside is waiting for them to come out in stores!!) So with a little preparedness, you will have the BEST time and be so so glad that you went!

Here are my tips for having the best Expo experience ever:

1) Like I said before, PLAN AHEAD for who you want to visit. Look at the floor plans and list the brands on each hall that you want to visit. Have this ready to look at on your phone or use the Expo app. 

2) Wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing a ton of walking! I would go for cute sneakers that won’t make your feet hurt later!

3) Bring BAGS! You will be getting a ton of samples so bring a backpack and put a few reusable bags inside of it. (You can’t bring rolling bags)

4) Prioritize! Like I said before, it can be overwhelming if you don’t plan ahead and prioritize the brands you want to see. I had a list of non-negotiables (like Sound tea above!) and then I had a secondary list that I wanted to hit if I had time. Also leave a little room for booths that you didn’t even know about and see on the way to somewhere else!

5) Have fun and talk to people! It’s really easy to get caught up in getting samples and trying to find your favorite brands, but remember this is a convention for health food! There are tons of like-minded people around you who could be a new friend. Reach out on Instagram before you go and ask if anyone else is going- it’s so fun to meet fellow bloggers in real life! 

6) This might sound outrageous, but if you can, bring an empty carry on suitcase for your samples. I was only there a day and filled up a whole suitcase filled with food. Just remember to put full sized beverages/liquids in your checked bag!


Have you been to Expo or are you thinking about going?! Let me know in the comments below! 

Vegan Thai Coconut Soup

I love soup anytime of the year, so a few nights ago I decided to make one of my favorite soups- Thai coconut! This recipe is vegan and contains certain veggies that I love, but you can easily switch the veggies and chickpeas out to what you prefer. 
Here’s what you’ll need:

Olive oil
Container of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, diced
Half of a sweet onion, diced 
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (omit or seed if you don’t like spicy)
1 inch or so of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 lemongrass stock, cut in half lengthwise. (Optional, but adds extra flavor)
1 can of chickpeas
2 tablespoons of sambal oelek or red Thai curry paste (less if you don’t like spicy)
1 can of full fat coconut milk (I get mine at Trader Joes, no added gums or extra ingredients!) 
1 teaspoon of coconut sugar
1 box of low sodium vegetable stock 
*If you aren’t vegan you can add a few tablespoons of fish sauce for extra flavor*

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 and roast your sweet potatoes for about 15-20 minutes, until soft. If you have time to simmer the soup for a while this step isn’t necessary, but it helps speed along the process if you are short on time!

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add your mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, ginger and garlic. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes and then add your sambal oelek or Thai curry paste. Stir in your lemongrass if using and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add in your can of rinsed chickpeas, the coconut milk, coconut sugar and vegetable stock. Stir and let it for about 10 minutes. After your sweet potatoes are done, add them to the dutch oven and season the soup to your liking with sea salt, pepper and maybe more garlic.

You can simmer it as long as you want, but at this point the soup is ready! If I have time, I’ll make this soup in the morning or early afternoon so it has time to sit in the fridge for a few hours- this helps the flavors mix! Either way, this soup is delicious, easy and really healthy! Top with whatever toppings you like, I like to add fresh jalapenos, cilantro, lime and crunchy chickpeas! 

 

xo Savanna 

My New Favorite Summer Salad

I haven’t been adventurous with my dinners lately, so yesterday I took some time to look for some new recipes. I don’t love spending a lot of time on new recipes after work during the week, so I decided to try this Carrot Ginger Rainbow salad out for our Sunday dinner and it did NOT disappoint! The only time consuming part of this meal is roasting the carrots and making it into dressing, so I suggest making that in the morning or prepping it a day or two ahead when you have extra time. 

I got the recipe from Love and Lemons and it is one of Alan and I’s new favorite meals!! You all know if I’m going to eat a salad for dinner it has to be super interesting and filling.. this one hit the spot. A perfect balanced of tang, sweet and crunch.. it’s a salad that is the last thing from boring. I only made a few tweaks and swapped some ingredients, so check out the recipe below! 

So here it is, the Love and Lemons Rainbow Kale Salad recipe with the changes I made in parenthesis! 

Ingredients
Carrot Ginger Dressing 
  • ½ cup roasted carrots (I roasted at 400 with salt, pepper, garlic and evol for about 40 minutes, or until soft)
  • ⅓ to ½ cup water (1/3 for me- I like dressing thick)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger (Added a little more and 2 bulbs of fresh garlic)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Roasted Chickpeas (I swapped chickpeas for Asian Salmon- see my recipe below) 
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Salad
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, grated (Didn’t have carrots)
  • 1 small red beet, grated (Added more beets to sub for carrots- warning your hands will turn purple!!)
  • ½ watermelon radish, very thinly sliced (only had a white radish- still tasty but just not as pretty) 
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (Can’t find dried cranberries without a ton of added sugar, so did dried raisins!) 
  • ¼ cup pepitas, toasted (Use pine nuts instead- more gut friendly nut)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
 
Instructions
  1. Make the dressing and roast the chickpeas (Or salmon): Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with pinches of salt and pepper. Place the carrot pieces for the dressing in their own corner on the baking sheet to roast alongside the chickpeas. Roast for 25 to minutes, or until the chickpeas are browned and crisp and the carrots are soft. Set the roasted chickpeas aside. Transfer the carrots to a blender and add the water, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and salt. Blend the dressing until smooth and chill in the fridge until ready to use. (I took two pieces of salmon and coasted them with raw honey, liquid aminos, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Then I roasted at 400 for 15-17 minutes, until cooked)
  2. Place the kale leaves into a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and a few pinches of salt. Use your hands to massage the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half.
  3. Add the carrot, beet, watermelon radish, half of the cubed avocado, cranberries, pepitas, a few more good pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and toss. Drizzle generously with the carrot ginger dressing. Top with the remaining avocado, more dressing, the roasted chickpeas and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Season to taste and serve.
 
Notes
– Make the dressing ahead so it has time to chill in the fridge before adding to the salad. (Could do the day or morning before to make it a faster dinner)
 
 
Can’t wait to make this again and thanks to Love and Lemons for the recipe- definitely check out her website for more delicious meals! 

Sugar Free Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not going to lie… these might be my new favorite cookies to make. We had them all of 2 days in our house before they were GONE!

They’re light, fluffy and not too sweet- but you wouldn’t believe there is no added sugar in them! Also, if you’ve been following me you know that I have absolutely no problem with clean sugar- I frequently use maple syrup, raw honey and coconut sugar! But right now I am temporarily trying to stay away from any kind of sugar (yes, that means fruit) because of my leaky gut. It’s SO much harder than I thought it would be, especially without fruit! (But I still cheat with wine sometimes hehe) 

 

The two things that made these cookies “sugar free” are the Lily’s Sweets Dark Salted Almond Bar and Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup- again, I probably wouldn’t use these all the time because pure maple syrup is only one ingredient compared to the four in this syrup, but these are both the cleanest option for no sugar and actually taste good!

So alas, here is the recipe that I got from Uncommonly Well- with just a few sugar free swaps- and definitely check out her website for more great recipes too!!

Servings15 cookies
 
Ingredients

Dry:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
Wet:
  • 1/4 cup lakanto maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 Lily’s Sweets Salted Almond Bar, chopped 
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients- almond flour, baking soda, and himalayan salt. 

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients: maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and egg. Once combined, add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk them together.

  3. Stir in the chocolate bar pieces, cover the bowl with a towel, and refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is done chilling, form it into balls and place on the baking sheet.

  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Why I love Papa Steve’s Snack Bars!

I’m all about a snack bar in the afternoon, to grab on the go or to bring with me when I’m while traveling. I’m always on the go and finding a good quality, clean bar to bring with me is something I’m always looking for! Cue: Papa Steve’s.

Papa Steve’s are clean protein bars made with real ingredients. Every single bar is handmade in small batches from Southern California and they put NOTHING bad in their bars! They are all gluten free, and also have paleo + vegan options as well! I can’t tell you how good they taste too- like a cookie! My personal favorites are the lemon, vanilla cashew coconut and dark chocolate cherry cashew! My husband Alan also loves them, which is also a bonus. He’s not always into the healthy bars that I like, so knowing that he will eat these and have something nutritious in his body makes me smile 🙂

Here are the ingredients in the vanilla cashew coconut:
Organic coconut, pea protein, raw hemp seeds, cashews, almonds, tapioca fiber, organic coconut palm nectar, organic certified gluten free oats, organic vanilla bean.
Simple, clean and delicious.
I take these to work, with me when I’m traveling, and to the gym to eat after a workout. They could also be used as a clean dessert 🙂

There is something about knowing exactly where your food is coming from and the love that goes into making each product that makes it taste that much better, and I love supporting a brand like Papa Steve’s. Seriously, I can’t recommend these bars enough!
Here is a link to their website if you’d like to check them out!

xo Savanna

Healthier Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I needed a healthy dessert to bring to a family gathering, so I found this recipe from Erin Lives Whole and let me tell you, they were a hit! They are dairy and gluten free, and such a good combination of sweet and salty- you will want to make a double batch for sure!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (certified gluten free)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life dairy free)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together almond flour, coconut flour, rolled oats and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, coconut oil and coconut sugar.
  4. Whisk in egg and vanilla.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine.
  6. Add in chocolate chips.
  7. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to place dough on parchment paper.
  8. Bake in oven for 11-13 minutes or until slightly golden brown, adding sea salt after taking out of oven.

And that’s it! Super easy, clean and delicious. Also if you haven’t checked out Erin’s website before, make sure to do so here 🙂 She has amazing recipes!

Happy Monday! xo

Grapefruit Salmon Salad with Garnish & Gather Grocery

If you know me or have been following me for a while, then you know I love Garnish & Gather! I could go on forever, but a few reasons why I love them is because they are an Atlanta based company, they source everything from local farmers, the dishes are incredible tasting and they strive to be as sustainable as possible. If you live in the Atlanta area and haven’t tried them out yet, I highly recommend them!!

Another cool feature about Garnish & Gather that I love is that you can add-on local groceries to your order, or without a meal order! I’m talking about farm fresh veggies and local products + produce- it’s exactly like going to the farmers market, but online!!! It’s so easy and it makes me SO happy because I can get the fresh food I want even when I can’t make the farmers market, because Garnish & Gather will deliver it for me!

So this week I decided to order some food through the grocery section and create my own dish- a Grapefruit Salmon Salad! It’s tangy & light from the citrus, but nourishing & creamy from the healthy fats from the avocado + salmon. It was such an easy & tasty combo, so check out the recipe below!

Here’s what I ordered through G&G grocery:
– local arugula
– local kale
– grapefruits
– organic avocados
-salmon fillet
– sparkling grapefruit water (to accompany the salad!)

Here’s what you’ll need at home:
-olive oil
-cilantro
-pumpkin seeds
-fresh garlic

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400

-Season salmon with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Place each filet in parchment paper (skin side down) and top with slices of grapefruit. Wrap until covered and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

-Place pumpkin seeds (as many as you want) on a baking sheet and toss in olive oil and sea salt
-Place in oven when salmon has about 10 minutes left and bake. Stir halfway through to make sure they don’t burn!

While the salmon + seeds are in the oven, it’s time to make the avocado dressing!

Avocado Dressing:
-Place one ripe avocado in a blender
-Add about 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
-Add a bulb of fresh garlic
-Add a handful of fresh cilantro
-Add a few tablespoons of water
-Season with salt and pepper to taste
Blend together until smooth!

Assembly:
Place a mix of the kale and arugula in a big salad bowl and top with the salmon, pumpkin seeds, fresh grapefruit slices and avocado dressing.
Have with a side of grapefruit sparkling water from Montane- the perfect side!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments and thank you for reading 🙂 Xo Savanna

Reformer vs. Megaformer Pilates

Today I want to talk about a frequently asked question:
What’s the difference between reformer pilates and megaformer pilates? Check out my simple breakdown below!

Similarities: The reformer and megaformer machine have similar basic structures with a carriage, platform and spring loads for added tension. They both aim to tone the body with lots of small, repetitive movements in a low impact workout setting.

Differences

Reformer pilates -is the traditional pilates machine with a focus on length, flexibility, toning and stretching with light to medium resistance. The instructor will have you stretch on the machine between moves so your body gets length and flexibility while getting your workout in. You leave feeling toned and stretched at the same time. Though it is not an easy workout, I would say it is beginner friendly. Most studios will have you take a basics or beginner class to start, which is a great way to get familiar with the machine and concept!
My favorite, beloved studio in Atlanta is The Daily and I also loove New York Pilates in NYC!

Megaformer pilates– focuses on whole body strength with springs that have a higher resistance than reformer. You transition quickly between moves to burn your muscles out and your core is working the entire class. You will probably leave feeling SHOOK because it’s a super intense workout, but it’s super effective! I would not recommend this class for beginners, but hey if you’re up for a challenge go for it!!
My favorite studios in Atlanta are Stellar Bodies, Pace and SculptHouse!


While I love both, there is a time and place for each of them in my routine! If I’ve already done some intense workout classes I won’t go to a megaformer class because it is intense, but if I feel like I need a good burn and tone session I will book a class!
I can do reformer pretty much anytime, and do it on a more consistent basis, as it has the toning and length structure that I like.
Some people love both types but some people don’t, I suggest starting with reformer and then trying megaformer.

Let me know your thoughts on this or if you have any questions!
Xo

Bean-less Turkey Chili (Low FODMAP)

I’m going to talk about something that isn’t so glamorous but hey, nutrition isn’t all about pretty food!

My digestion is weak and it makes no sense.. I eat clean, have TONS of fiber everyday, drink more water than a fish and take a strong probiotic daily. I have tried everything under the moon to help with my digestion, including celery juice, and that seemed to be the only thing that helped. (And while I love having it, it’s not sustainable to have fresh celery juice made everyday)

I started thinking and remembered hearing about the FODMAP “diet” in school, so I went back into my library and started researching. In short, the FODMAP diet is a list of foods high in a certain short-chain carbohydrates that irritate someones gut who may have continual digestive issues like bloating, gas, constipation and IBS/Chron’s. I took at look at that list and I was SHOOK. Pretty much everything that I was eating was on the red list of foods to avoid…. I decided it was time to make some changes and see if it helped.

Long story short, I tried cutting out my routine apples, cashews, brussel sprouts, chickpeas, pomegranate, lentils, asparagus, onions, garlic, etc. (with the exception of when we went out to dinner) and slowly started re-trying foods after they were out of my system. Now I haven’t completely taken out everything, especially garlic because OMG IT’S SO HARD AND DELICIOUS, but the main thing I noticed that irritates my system has been chickpeas and beans. It’s crazy to realize how you could be eating something everyday without realizing how it could be affecting you!!
While legumes are going to be gone for good because it’s not a “severe” issue, I am going to cut them way down and save them for I really need hummus or am going out for tacos!

So that brings me to this low FODMAP bean-less chili recipe that I created for when we’re cooking at home! It’s sweet/savory, easy to make and you don’t even miss the beans- it is a new favorite in our household!


Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb Ground Turkey (Use quinoa to make vegan)
1 Zucchini, diced
1 Squash, diced
1 Jalapeno, diced (optional)
1 Large Sweet Potato, diced
1 Box of Low Sodium Broth (I use veggie)
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Cumin
Chili Powder
*(If you need to save time do 1/2 a packet of taco seasoning instead of the above spices)

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed sweet potato on a baking sheet and cover with olive oil and a little sea salt. Roast for 30 minutes, until soft.
-When the potatoes are half-way done, place the squash, zucchini and turkey in a dutch oven with a little olive oil. 
-Saute until turkey is cooked and the squash are soft, about 15 minutes.
-Add in the jalapeno and the sweet potatoes and stir.
-Season to your liking with the salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. (Sometimes I add a dash of salsa too)
-Stir in the vegetable broth and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Top with avocado and whatever else you like! We usually do that and cilantro. Makes 4 servings. 

Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for reading!!
xo Sav


Cinnamon Roll Smoothie (Vegan)

You might already know this, but cinnamon rolls are my favorite!! 😋
So this morning I went out on a mission to make a smoothie that tasted like one, and it did not disappoint 😍

I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a smoothie at home without spinach, but this morning I opted for frozen cauliflower instead! It really doesn’t add a taste, but it makes your smoothies super thick and adds vitamin C + antioxidants!

Here’s the ingredients I used for the smoothie:
•1/2 large frozen banana
•1/4 cup or so of frozen riced cauliflower
•scoop of Tone It Up cinnamon roll protein
•couple spoon fulls of Lavva vanilla vegan yogurt
•1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
•dash of vanilla extract
•tablespoon of Georgia Grinders almond butter
• cup or so of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
•Not essential, but I also added a scoop of flax seed for the omega-3’s/fiber

Blend all of the ingredients together and you have a FAB, creamy, dreamy and healthy cinnamon roll smoothie that will keep you full and happy!

This is definitely a new favorite smoothie of mine and I can’t wait to make it again! (Like tomorrow!)