Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail – The 21-Day Sugar Detox Shopping List


With the 21-Day Sugar Detox in full swing (yep, the official detox started yesterday), and with my standard routine grocery list coming up in conversation more than once this past week (yes, really), I thought I’d share what I keep on hand at all times for easy Primal eats ‘round the clock.

Trader Joe’s. How do I love thee? I used to trek to Westlake when I lived in Lakewood, OH just to stock up on trail mixes and chile spiced dried mangoes. My list looks a little different these days (yikes, those mangoes have a load of added sugar and don’t even bother looking at the ingredients on the cilantro dressing, just don’t get it), but TJ’s does have a lot of great options if you know what to look for (and what to steer clear of). I’m in love with the fact that there’s a brand new TJ in Palm Beach Gardens so that I can stock up on staples and just visit Whole Paycheck Foods for the rest of the stuff I can’t get at TJ (like Japanese sweet potatoes, Rao’s Marinara, G.T.’s Kombucha, and a variety of other cuts of high-quality meat, to name a few). Here’s what usually ends up in my cart at TJ (oh, and, because I like to be OCD super prepared, I organize my list by how the store is mapped out – it’s a simple trick that keeps me from back-tracking or circling the store a hundred times, and I don’t end up leaving without checking off my whole list!):

Produce (usually organic unless they don’t have it):

  • Kale (in a bag)
  • Chard (in a bag)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts
  • Romaine Hearts
  • Cruciferous Crunch (it’s a shredded blend of cabbage, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts)
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Celery Hearts
  • Beets (ready to eat)
  • Portobello Mushrooms or Mini Portobello Mushrooms
  • Granny Smith Apples (if I’m not on the 21DSD, I’ll splurge and get my favorites – Fuji)
  • Bananas (green-tipped for the 21DSD)
  • Sweet Onions
  • Bag of Sweet Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes (sometimes they have mini heirlooms which I love!)
  • Spaghetti Squash (or any variety of squash if they have it – sometimes they don’t)
  • Sauerkraut (in some stores, this is by the meat; others, with the produce)



  • Organic Salted Crunchy Almond Butter – It’s so good! (the minimal amount of cashews – less than 1% – in it make me feel like it’s fine for the 21DSD)
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews (not on 21DSD), macadamias, pistachios… and my most recent favorite, TRUFFLE Marcona almonds (I love the rosemary ones too – YUM!). TJs really has a great selection of nuts but be careful to look for dry roasted if you aren’t getting raw! (This is where the NTP in me is supposed to say… you really should soak and dehydrate your own raw nuts for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption… got it? Good.)
  • Plantain Chips (get more than one bag – you’ll thank me!)
  • Broccoli… Chips? Snacks? What are these things? Whatever, they’re good, and they’re Primal compliant – only three ingredients.
  • Olives
  • Organic broths (beef, chicken, etc – for when I don’t have my own homemade stash supply up)



  • Organic Chicken – breasts, thighs, variety pack, whole chickens, all of it
  • Organic, Grass-fed Ground Beef (these come in 1lb packs – I get a few and throw a couple in the freezer if I need to)
  • Organic chicken sausages (check the ingredients before picking just any package)
  • Organic, Grass-fed Beef Hot Dogs
  • Bacon – definitely the Black Forest (so good!)



  • Cage-free eggs
  • Kerrygold Butter
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Crumbled Goat Feta
  • Manchego (unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese)


Frozen Stuff

  • Mushroom Medley (contains just mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and parsley! And it’s pretty yummy!)
  • Fish – although I don’t get this as much now that I can get it fresh and local, but in a pinch, the mahi is great (um, also, make this amazing recipe!)
  • Sometimes I get frozen veggies just to have on hand for backup, but rarely… because I like the fresh stuff better!

AND since I know you’re curious… here are a few sweet treats I like to have on hand when I’m NOT on the 21DSD… keep in mind, they’re still considered part of the Primal Blueprint, but just something I like to keep OUT of the house if I’m trying to curb my sugar cravings (because Lord knows I can eat an entire bag of Honey Mints in two days!):

  • Just Mangoes (the organic, dried ones with no added sugar)
  • Honey Mints (um, if you don’t know what these are – you’re welcome. And I’m sorry, because you will soon be addicted!)
  • Dark Chocolate – any bar I can find that is 85% or higher
  • Lara Bars
  • Fruit Leather
  • OCCASIONALLY I grab a bag of Coconut Cashews because I’M HUMAN… but be forewarned there are some not-so-gut-friendly ingredients in those bad boys. I try not to get them often because they are so delicious that Tim and I can eat an entire bag in a day. Or, just I can. Do yourself a favor and ration those puppies if you dare make the splurge.

And there you have it! I usually make one trip a week, and I don’t always get EVERYTHING on this list, because it’s a lot. Buuut, we do eat a lot of protein and veggies! Like I said, I will get the bulk of what fills my fridge at TJs, and then hit Whole Foods or Fresh Market for some special items or for better meat options. Stay tuned for some good ideas of how to prepare this stuff!

Happy shopping & detoxing!

xx e


2014: Living Intentionally

2014-01-07 10.23.46

Hi friends, we’re a week into resolutions… how’s it going?  I’m only one day behind on my gym schedule, so I consider that a win. ;)

If you read my last post on setting goals for the year, you’re familiar with the concept of a 30-day-challenge-a-month-challenge, as inspired by Danne from Twelve Months of Lent.  As a former employee of lululemon athletica, the concept and structure of setting goals is now second nature to me, but what I realized on December 31, 2013 when looking back over the year is that I need a little boost when it comes to accomplishing those goals, particularly now that I’m no longer surrounded almost 24/7 by a support group of people whose culture deep down to their bones consists of setting goals and crushing them… basically killing it at life left and right. 

Let’s back up for a minute.  I did some amazing things in 2013.  In January, I completed 30 consecutive days of yoga in various studios back at the beginning of the year; my head was clear and I seriously felt more aware than I ever had (not to mention my shoulders were lookin’ preeeetty hot).  In June, I finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training… an experience I will never forget and one which gave me my first true sense of community and acceptance and belonging as an adult… wow, I mean, if I had to have a Groundhog Day experience and could choose 3 months to live on repeat for eternity, it would be those!  I rode my bike 17 miles through the Everglades in the middle of the night under a full moon, something I was terrified to do but felt safe and adventurous surrounded by some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and STILL talk about what a cool experience it was – a reminder that getting outside of my comfort zone once in a while is, well… where it’s at.  (P.S. Yes, we saw alligators up close and personal.)  In September, I bit the bullet and finally decided to get certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner after looking at the program for over a year, one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Over the course of the year, I made trips to California and Connecticut, and took long road trips to Ohio and North Carolina… all of which served to show me the beauty of other parts of the country and to scratch my ever-present itch to explore.

I’m proud of all of these things and know that I can do even better.  That is why, this year, I’m choosing to live with more intention than I ever have before.  There are things I want to accomplish, places I want to see and things I want to do, and BIG goals toward which I want to start working… starting this month.

I sat down this past weekend with my trusty goal sheet and revised my 10-year vision and my 1- and 5- and 10-year goals (a process I revisit once every few months or more often as necessary).  Then, I opened up excel and got to work creating a calendar for the months of 2014, breaking down my longer-term goals into mini-goals, personal, health and career-related, which I will accomplish each month to make progress toward the BHAGs (ahem, that’s short for Big Hairy Ass Goals – and no, I did not come up with that on my own, people).

So what are a few of these goals and mini-goals I plan on accomplishing in 2014? I thought you’d never ask.

  • I work my way up to meditating 30 minutes every day.
  • I fill in the holes on my website and work up to blogging 5x/week.
  • I complete a 21-day Sugar Detox.
  • I take a month of minimalism – I get rid of 5 things every day and wear the same 6 pieces of clothing for 30 days
  • I become a morning person by sticking to a new evening/morning routine every day for a month.
  • I grow a scoby and make my own homemade kombucha on the reg.


  • I learn how to climb and take two trips to the mountains with Tim to actually do it.
  • I learn to make my own homemade skincare and household cleaning products.
  • I practice yoga in various studios in our new city (when we move) every day for 30 consecutive days.
  • I take a trip with Tim to Acapulco and teach yoga there at an all-inclusive resort.

las brisas

  • I ride my bike every day for a month.
  • I learn how to operate my camera and use it every day for a monthly challenge.
  • I build a raised bed in my backyard and cultivate an organic vegetable and herb garden.

how to grow a garden

  • I combine and put my creative writing degree and background in wellness to good use and submit articles to Mind Body Green.
  • I re-learn to play the piano.

Seem like a lot?  This is just the beginning.  That’s only 15 things, and if I begin by tackling one a month (hence my spreadsheet mapping it all out), that means I only have to double up on three months.  Besides, setting goals doesn’t mean you have to accomplish every single one.  I like to imagine how great I am going to feel at the end of the year looking back at this list (which I will probably revise, add to and subtract from, more than once over the course of 12 months) and seeing that I accomplished a LOT of the things I said I was going to accomplish.  As for getting started, there’s no time like the present!

I hope this inspires you to get organized with your resolutions goals so that you can set yourself up for success and live 2014 with intention!  Tell me, what will you accomplish this year?

What I Learned From Failure

Good morning, people.

I love the days when Tim does a little work from home.  He makes important phone calls and taps away at his keyboard while I quietly go about my morning routine, which, as this morning would have it, included prepping a beef chuck roast and veggies to dump into the crock pot (a recipe from my new paleo cookbook, Against All Grain), making a quick visit to the chiropractor, doing a few loads of laundry, and whipping up a quick breakfast of poached eggs in marinara sauce over leftover delicata squash rings for us (YUM!) before sitting down to type up a blog post for your leisure-reading pleasure.

A slow-cooker pot roast and poached eggs in (sugar-free) Rao’s Homemade marinara over roasted delicata squash rings?  I must be the queen of the sugar detox, am I right?  Wrong.  Don’t let today’s menu pull the wool over your eyes, my friends – things were not so perfect just days ago.  Let me paint a picture for you…

Four days into the 21DSD (because I’m a cool kid now, I can use the acronym), we had friends visiting from out of town, friends we hadn’t seen in over a month since their wedding in another state, friends who (like us) really enjoy drinking wine and when the four of us get together, well, let’s just say, with all the talking and laughing and losing track of time, we’ve been known to polish off a bottle or… seven.  Luckily, this past weekend, we only made it to six.  While I feel like I held it together somewhat on the food front, passing on dessert and steering clear of starchy carbs, the aftermath of the wine the following day left me not wanting to cook and weak enough to give into the temptation of Sunday afternoon NFL advertising…


Sure it was delicious.  But was it worth the cold sweats, body aches, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal distress, and poor sleep that followed that night?  Or the sore throat and headache in the morning?  No. Freaking. Way. I had to take a cold (and I mean cold) shower that night before going to bed I felt so sick.

So there you have it.  And my reason for sharing this slip-up in today’s post is threefold.

FIRST, to express to the world that I am not perfect, and I’m okay with that.  As a yogi, and a yoga instructor, it is  often  assumed that I must have it all under control, that my life is rainbows and butterflies and that nothing bothers me because I am breathing, I am calm, I am yoga.  Well, that’s just ridiculous.  I NEED YOGA because it helps me stay balanced.  Of course, I would love to be in a yogic state of mind 24/7, but for me, that’s just not realistic (not yet, at least… there’s always room for improvement, which is why it’s called a yoga practice!).  Life is always going to be crazy, some people are always going to drive me crazy, and I’m probably going to get the urge to lay on my horn in (Miami) traffic from time to time.  But having a regular yoga practice helps me to keep my mind clear so that I’m better able to deal with situations as they arise that would normally throw me for a loop.  AND, when I DO get thrown for a loop, I know better than to beat myself up about it – I’m only human, and the only way to treat myself, especially when I’ve experienced what most would consider failure, is with loving care.  So in that aspect, failure teaches me to love myself.

Which brings me to my second point, which is: when I stumble and fall flat on my face, I don’t just lie face down in a puddle of self-loathing and self-pity and misery.  No.  I get up, I brush myself off, and I move forward… maybe just keeping a closer eye on the path and watching out for those potholes… because Lord knows they sneak up on you!  Failure not only teaches us to love and be gentle with ourselves but to learn from the failure itself.  It had been so long since we indulged in pizza, I could only remember how glorious it tasted and had no concept of what it would do to my body after eating a clean diet for so long.  After the way I felt Sunday night and Monday morning, there will be no forgetting!  After I got myself together on Monday, I immediately planned our clean, paleo (sugar-free!) meals for the rest of the week and made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and protein.  Twenty-four hours later, my crazy flu-like symptoms have subsided and I’m beginning to feel like myself again, not to mention savoring every delicious morsel of clean, nutritious food with which I’m fueling my body and nursing it back to health.  I’m so grateful for the slip-up so that I could be reminded of how amazing a clean diet can make you feel!

THIRD, this weekend also indirectly brought something else up for me, and that is that only I can control what I put into my body.  The same way I choose the clothes I put on in the morning, what I eat is my own decision, and no one else’s.  If it is socially acceptable for a person eating a vegetarian or vegan diet to make special requests at restaurants and to make their diet known to their friends and family so that meals can be enjoyed together as they are meant to be and not become a cause of conflict, then why should it be any different for someone following a paleo diet?  This is the diet on which I feel my absolute best, and, as I am learning in my Nutritional Therapy coursework, the diet we are designed to consume for optimum health! I shouldn’t feel obligated to eat something that I know will make me feel less than my best, and I’m ready to make that commitment… to myself, my family, and my future children.

And, as I expected… it feels so good!

Stay tuned for some recipe reviews… these cookbooks are preeeeetty awesome.

Let’s Detox!

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a field day earlier this week exploring a bunch of paleo-foodie blogs in search of inspiration to kick it up a notch in the kitchen.  What I wasn’t expecting was repeatedly coming across bloggers mentioning a mysterious code: 21DSD.  In the cases of PaleOMG and Against All Grain, even devoting whole pages to this mystery.  After a quick google search of 21DSD, I came across a million other posts from other blogs and websites, Pinterest boards and pins.  What does it stand for?  The 21-day Sugar Detox, created by Diane Sanfilippo, author and holistic nutritional consultant.  How timely, since I am studying blood sugar regulation!


As I mentioned, I try to stick to Paleo at least 80% of the time, but I’d be lying if I said my diet hasn’t been including more treats lately in the form of fresh and dried fruits, natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, and even the occasional (ahem – nightly) few squares of 90% dark chocolate.  I KNOW, it doesn’t sound bad – all of that stuff qualifies as Paleo, it’s natural and fine for you, right?  Well, yes, but when it gets to the point that you’re craving something sweet at any given time of day, that’s when you know you might have a problem.  And I’ll admit it, I have a problem.

I’m ready for a change and that change starts today (well, yesterday).  I thought it would be a piece of (sugar-free) cake, but as I experienced yesterday, wow, it’s going to be a challenge.  I’m committed, though, and I’m armed and ready with the arrival of my new cookbooks.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and if you’re interested in joining me on the detox, head over to Diane’s site Balanced Bites, where you can load up on information about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, get one of her books, and even sign up for daily emails throughout the 21-day stretch!

If you’re thinking ahead about Thanksgiving (Um, what? I would like to enjoy a slice of Paleo pumpkin pie, thank you very much!), don’t sweat it.  If you start your 21DSD today, you’ll be done JUST in time to enjoy a Paleo holiday treat without wrecking your progress, and you’ll be much less likely to trip down the slippery slope of the dessert table temptations because your sugar craving will be virtually nonexistent by then!

Let’s do it!