just start. (foundation #1: eat right)

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Okay, so how are you going to get started on your wellness journey? That answer is individual to you. It depends on what your main goals are… and what your greatest strengths and weaknesses are. But whatever your goals are, I’m a firm believer in the importance of good foundations. If you don’t have a good foundation, you have nothing to build on! So, over the next couple weeks, I’m going to give you a brief overview of five healthy lifestyle foundations, along with a few pointers to get going in the right direction with each of these.

Remember, even baby steps are steps in the right direction.

Foundation #1: Eat right

The food we eat is what fuels our bodies, so it makes sense that the first foundation is eating right! I always think of the food I eat as supplying my body with the raw materials it needs to carry out its thousands (even millions) of internal functions daily. Quite truly, what we put in is what we will get out of our bodies. If we eat junk, we will feel like–well, junk. The human body is incredibly resilient and can survive on the most extreme of diets. But we don’t want to just survive, we want to thrive! Further, many ailments are simply nutrient deficiencies–which makes sense. When your body is lacking the raw materials it needs, it can’t function the way it’s meant to! Here are a few healthy eating tips that you can put into practice today:

  1. Remember that healthy eating is all about choices. When I was in college, I refused to buy cookies when I went grocery shopping. If I didn’t buy them, I couldn’t eat them! Instead, I chose the healthiest options I could manage to make in my dorm room with my mini fridge & my hot plate. If you can choose to eat healthy food 80-90% of the time, you’re well on your way to a healthy lifestyle! Choose a goal that is realistic for you. I love Big Star burgers just as much as the next girl–having the freedom to choose whatever I want about 10% of the time, makes it much easier to choose the healthy option the other 90% of the time. (Check out this post if you need a little guidance on what healthy eating looks like, anyway.)
  2. Think about how you feel after eating. Nobody enjoys feeling weighted down or bloated following a meal. Give thought to the connection between the food you eat & how it makes you feel, and you will be more drawn to the healthier choices that leave you feeling energized & ready to take on your day.
  3. Two words: Meal prep. Convenience is sometimes a necessity in our busy lives, so investing an hour or two of time to prepare healthy meals for the week is so worthwhile. Preparing meals ahead of time makes healthy eating convenient! If you don’t feel like you have the time to meal prep, remember: when you give your body the fuel it needs, you will be more energized and productive with the time you have. Healthy living is all about investing!

    Bonus: Take supplements. Even with a well-balanced and healthy diet, it is difficult to get all the nutrients our bodies need to thrive. Soil depletion and a host of other factors leave the food we do get less nutrient-rich than in past times. (Disclaimer: That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to eat well! As my friend Dana says, the food you eat will either feed disease or fight disease, so you’ll want to choose the food that’s going to help your body fight.) It is important to choose a multivitamin supplement that is of high quality and comes from whole food sources so that your body can make the most of it. I absolutely love dōTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality Pack. To put it simply, it makes me into a functioning human being!

Choose today how you will put these principles into practice. I guarantee, as you begin to incorporate these healthy eating habits into your lifestyle, you will feel so much better, and it will become so worthwhile to you.

I’d love to hear your favorite healthy eating tips – leave a comment below!
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paleo low-carb gluten-free vegan whole30.

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It seems every time you turn around, there’s a new trend in healthy eating. Now don’t get me wrong—there can be merits to all of these. Most of the time. But with some of these plans, it seems like one side argues all the reasons their food is the best and healthiest, and all other food is horrendously destructive to the body; while the other side is arguing entirely the opposite. Talk about food fight! To make matters worse, research itself seems to swing back and forth all the time. Dangers of eating this food, benefits to that. Pretty soon there is nothing left that is able to be consumed! So how is anyone supposed to figure out what is healthy, anyway?

I truly believe there is research to support all sides, so to make a choice here, I’m just going to step back a minute and look at all of human civilization. Food varies so widely across cultures. Entire civilizations have thrived with rice or flour as a staple, or on a hunting and gathering diet—so it seems the human body is highly adaptable and able to thrive on a variety of foods.

So, then, it seems the best way to eat healthy is to eat with variety. Unless, of course, you have a specific health concern prompting a special diet, there is a happy balance in eating all of these wonderful things we have available to us as food. Food as a whole is so fascinating! It’s so much more complex & involved than the food pyramid we grew up with or even the nutrition facts label on the side of the box.

I do think it’s safe to say these new trends pop up all the time because the standard American diet, as a whole, is generally not what we should be eating. This is apparent, as the average American is not thriving! The diet is so full of processed food and refined grains. Why is that not good for us? All this processing removes parts of the food we need to digest it well, like fiber and enzymes, and adds other ingredients that aren’t so good for us, like preservatives and artificial dyes and too much sugar. It depletes the nutritional value of food that is otherwise healthy. This is why you’ll hear most health recommendations to avoid processed foods, or at least to consume them at a minimum.

So if we can agree that the standard American diet is an example of what is not healthy, then a good, healthy diet should look like, well, the opposite. What you want is a variety of whole foods. Fruits and vegetables, minimally processed meats, a variety of grains, nuts, seeds, organic dairy—just keep it balanced. With this in mind, I like to incorporate low-carb or paleo or Whole30 recipes as a way to add variety to my diet. These eating plans are full of nutrient-dense foods and provide a great variety, especially when it comes to grains. For example, I prefer ancient grain gluten-free pasta because of the taste, and I know I’m adding variety to the foods I’m eating.

More variety means more vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, phytonutrients, and more—all the raw materials our bodies need to function well and to thrive.

So switch things up. Eat the rainbow. Keep variety and balance in your diet for healthy living.

And relax—healthy eating should feel like an exciting adventure, not a stressful discipline! Find the foods you love and always be sure to e n j o y .

amazing breakfast cookies. (gluten-free)

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The best thing to come out of my kitchen yet – and my first attempt at improv baking. yep.. I’d say it’s a success.

I literally can’t call them anything else. These cookies are just as delicious as they are nourishing for you – protein packed, full of all the goodness that you need to keep going in the morning. (Flax, chia, and hemp seeds supply essential fatty acids & amino acids. Dark chocolate for antioxidants and deliciousness.) But they’re like dessert. I almost didn’t take enough photos because I kept eating them. So let me cut to the chase – here is the recipe for the most delicious, amazing breakfast cookies I’ve ever eaten.

Amazing Breakfast Cookies

  • Servings: makes about 3 dozen cookies
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Protein and nutrient packed cookies that are just slightly sweet and full of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbs coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ tbs vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs coconut oil, warmed to melt
  • ½ c almond butter
  • 3 tbs raw honey
  • 1 c oat flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 c rolled oats
  • ¼ c chia seeds
  • ¼ c hulled hemp seeds
  • ¼ c ground flax seeds
  • 1½ c dark chocolate chips/chunks (the darker, the better)
  • ½ c chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with coconut milk until frothy.
  3. Add mashed bananas, vanilla extract, coconut oil, almond butter, and honey. Beat until well-blended, being careful not to over-beat.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, sea salt, baking powder, and spices.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet mixture, stirring with each addition. Add seeds, oats, walnuts, and dark chocolate, and mix well. (If mixture seems too dry, add a little coconut milk. If too wet, slowly add more oats. It should be a little wet, but not runny.)
  6. Spoon dough balls onto greased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown.

There you have it. Feel free to substitute any other nut butter for the almond butter, and you can sub additional flax or chia for the hemp seeds if you don’t have any on hand. These are gluten free, as long as you use GF labeled ingredients! Refrigerate or freeze extra cookies for later.

Did I mention, these are perfect with coffee?? Good luck eating anything else for breakfast. Enjoy!

dark chocolate.

Recently, a health-conscious friend of mine was lamenting to me how she just can’t give up having a sweet after dinner every day. My solution for that is always dark chocolate. She was overjoyed (as any reasonable chocolate-lover would be). Yes – you can still enjoy sweets when you’re eating well! Dark chocolate in particular is pretty incredible because… well, it’s chocolate. Duh. Okay, but really, it has lower sugar content as sweets go, and some great health benefits as well!

I was reminded of this incident while grocery shopping and looking at, of all things, soup. I’m currently on a no-added-sugar eating plan, and I was shocked to find that most of the soups had at least 8 or 9 grams of added sugar in a serving! Sure enough, “organic cane sugar” was the second ingredient. But surely, if supposedly healthy soup contains this much sugar… there can be no problem with a little dark chocolate!

If plain dark chocolate is getting a little boring, make your own chocolates by melting some dark chocolate down on low heat in a double boiler (I like to use a Pyrex cup, since it is heat-resistant, in a saucepan full of water). Stir in a drop of peppermint essential oil, a handful of chopped almonds or walnuts, dried cranberries… the possibilities are endless.

and remember: dark chocolate is always the answer.

cleanse.

Hey, Tribe. As you may have noticed, I have been on a mild hiatus here – so sorry, friends! The good news is I’ve learned tons of new wellness info to share with you! So I do hope you’ll forgive my absence. 🙂

Here’s the rundown: I’ve had some mild breathing issues and other random, minor but literally weird things going on lately. Earlier this month, it escalated to the point where I could no longer keep the breathing problems at bay with essential oils and other natural remedies, so I decided it was time to go see a health professional! Thankfully, there is an integrative doctor in my area who specializes in asthma. If you’ve never heard of integrative medicine, it basically incorporates conventional (allopathic) medicine with various natural and nutritional medicine, seeking to get to the root of the issue and heal it, instead of just “managing” illness & symptoms. So I was very excited to get to the root of what’s been going on. I tend to be very in tune with what’s going on in my body, and I was ready to find out what was causing the ailments I knew to be connected.

Among other things, he suggested I likely have candida overgrowth and need to do a cleanse (I will be sharing more on that, but for starters, you can read more about candida here). Well, I was already on that page – I had just started a great, supplement-based cleanse & reset with dōTERRA. (more on that, soon!) However, the candida issue wasn’t something I particularly had focused on – in fact, the thought didn’t even occur to me that could be the issue, since the two biggest indicators, in my mind, are skin issues & digestive issues – which I don’t happen to have.

Which brings me to the reason why I’ve been briefly MIA. I’ve been doing lots of research on candida & what foods to eat & what foods to avoid. And quite frankly, there is so much I must avoid – so I’ve been having to shop and prepare lots of food from scratch! No grains (literally, none), no sugar (not even fruit), no dairy. Thankfully, though, there is a decent variety of foods I can eat on this cleanse – avocados, chicken, quinoa (it’s not a true grain), eggs, oatmeal, lots of veggies – to name a few. I can bake with almond flour and coconut flour. In fact, I made the most incredible pancakes with coconut flour and eggs! I made a whole chicken for the first time AND made bone broth. So, I most definitely will be catching you up on my kitchen adventures over the next few weeks.

And, as always, one of my aims is to help you make healthy living easier, so I will be sharing my recipes and refining my technique a bit – so if you decide a candida cleanse is right for you, you’ll have some tools to get you started in the right direction. Stay tuned!

fast food.

This is what “fast food” looks like in the Matykiewicz household.

Wild-caught mahi mahi fillets that I bought in the frozen section at Costco, brushed with olive oil and seasoned – and baked according to package directions. I buy plain ones and add my own seasonings so I know what’s in it – plus, it makes life more interesting, since I can switch it up! These have sea salt, coriander, turmeric, garlic & onion powder, and black pepper sprinkled on top. I dropped a little lime essential oil on them, too, just before serving!

Quinoa – sooo easy and full of protein!

Fresh grape tomatoes – no-prep veggie! Wash & serve.

Quick & easy whole food dinner! Prep time was 10 minutes tops, ready to eat in 20-30 minutes.

five minute spaghetti sauce

You heard me right.

Five minute spaghetti sauce.

Homemade… from scratch… using the finest ingredients. In five minutes.

What had happened was… I was going to make spaghetti. I had ground beef (grass-fed goodness!) already made in the fridge from earlier in the week, and we were in a time crunch, and I knew I could quickly and easily whip this up.

I started the pasta (my favorite, super tasty DeBole’s Ancient Grain rice, quinoa, and amaranth pasta. 💕💕💕 See, none of the grocery stores I shop at carried it anymore… and I found it a few days ago. Best day ever. I digress.) … only to realize I didn’t have any spaghetti sauce on hand.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned well, it’s improv cooking.

Not a moment to lose.. Grab the diced tomatoes & the tomato paste in the fridge from last week. Need to add some water… oh, I can use essential oils to flavor this one! I actually don’t often use essential oils when I cook because I love the colors and textures of ground spices. But in this case, essential oils would instantly permeate the sauce with savory notes, which was perfect since I didn’t have time to let spices simmer out their full flavor.

I find there are two secrets to improv cooking. One, don’t be afraid. You can always find a way to fix it if you mess up – Google is your friend. Two, cook with your nose. If it smells good, it will taste good. And with that, I chose oregano, marjoram, rosemary, and basil for my sauce. A drop of each goes in. We’re a garlic family, so now a generous portion of garlic powder and a sprinkle of onion powder into the saucepan. A dash of sea salt to bring out the flavor.. and in goes the ground beef.

You guys. This is heavenly.

I’ll do my best to reiterate the ingredients as a recipe for you here. (I’ll fine tune measurements and make an update to this recipe in due time.) But for now, here is the rough recipe so you can whip up your own five minute pasta sauce. Feel free to sauté a couple minced cloves of garlic & half a chopped onion in place of the powdered versions – if you have more than five minutes!

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Five Minute Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

1 jar diced tomatoes (about 18 oz)

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup water

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

Essential oils

(be sure to use only dōTERRA or other high-quality essential oil suitable for internal use)

1 drop oregano

1 drop marjoram

1 drop rosemary

1 drop basil

Directions

Combine ingredients (except water) in saucepan over medium heat. Add water to desired consistency, starting with roughly 1/4 cup. Add cooked ground beef, ground turkey, or other meat if desired. Once sauce is heated throughout, stir in essential oils and serve over pasta.

Enjoy!