Ark Elements Review

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I was recently contacted by Ark Elements to try out their meal service and am excited to share my experience with all of you. Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a week of complimentary meals, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.

What is Ark Elements?

Ark Elements is a Portland-based company that creates locally-sourced, well-crafted paleo foods in small batches. Their foods make evolutionary sense and are minimally processed for maximum progress.

They seek true health and sustainability, and created the Ark Elements as a guide. They believe these Elements are the foundation for optimal health:

  • we feel better when we move, so we practice functional fitness.
  • we feel better when we eat well, so we nourish ourselves through whole eating.
  • we feel better when we’re outside, so we play in our world.
  • we feel better when we’re with people, so we build a like-minded community.

To read more about Ark Elements, visit HERE.

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How does Ark Elements work?

Each week, a new menu is posted on the Ark Elements website and you can go in and place an order between Sunday and Friday. You do not need a subscription to order and there are no strings attached. The only requirement is that you order a minimum of $55 worth of food, which is easy to do on your own, but you could also split it with a friend, roommate, family member, etc. After your initial order, you do not need to place reoccurring orders. You can truly order as little or often as you want.

During the checkout process, you select a pick-up location where you’ll retrieve your food the following Tuesday. But, guess what? Starting sometime this month, Ark Elements will do home deliveries, so the process will be even more convenient!

My Experience

I tried the grilled chicken Waldorf kale salad, grass-fed beef meatballs with figs and bacon over yam and zucchini noodles, yam hash with sage apple sausage and a baked egg, red curry chicken over almond and green onion cauliflower rice, and fennel and herb crusted pork tenderloin with roasted seasonal vegetables. I also ordered a batch of almond flour biscuits and grain-free pumpkin seed granola. The online ordering and checkout process was so easy and took me a matter of minutes. Also, all the ingredients were listed online for each menu item and macros too.

Ark Elements hash

When I got my order, all my meals were clearly labeled and in their own individual containers. As I started tackling away at them each day, I was surprised how much food each container actually contained. It looked like a decent amount in the container, but it always amounted to much more when I emptied it into a dish to reheat. It was actually a real serving size and enough food! Often, it seems like these sorts of things can skimp on serving sizes, but Ark Elements does it right. Each meal was satisfying and I didn’t feel like I needed to eat more with it, other than maybe an almond flour biscuit to use as a vehicle to scoop up bites with (those biscuits pair well with everything too).

Ark Elements pork tenderloin

Also, all the food (that needed reheating) reheated very well with no weird taste or texture afterward. I enjoyed all the meals a lot and felt very spoiled with this service! If I had to pick a favorite out of everything I tried though, it’d be the meatballs (pictured below). Those were unbelievable. The pork tenderloin (see photo above) was a close second, but like I said, I liked it all. In case you’re wondering, the granola was nice as a treat and not something I ate as a meal. That stuff is dangerously delicious and pretty darn dense too. I liked sprinkling a couple tablespoons into a small dish of plain whole milk yogurt as a little post-dinner treat.

Ark Elements meatballs

All in all, I would definitely use this service again because the food was incredible. And, really, you can’t beat the convenience. With that said, if you live in Portland, I highly recommend giving Ark Elements a try sometime. You can even buy some of their items directly at New Seasons — the grain-free granola (cereal aisle) and a selection of meals too (in the grab n’ go refrigerated section). So, if you don’t want to commit to placing an order just yet, head to New Seasons and check out the selection.

Ark Elements Curry

The Times They Are A-Changin’

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Photo credit: cityfarmhouse.com

It’s been a year of big change, and it’s only April. As I said the last time I posted, things have been crazy. Finally, there’s a bit of relief and the waters are calming down, but I continue to move forward and open the door to new opportunities. Lots of good is flooding in and more lies ahead.

So, what exactly is new with me? Here are the biggies:

  • Recreate Fitness, the gym I’ve worked at for nearly the last 4 years, closed its doors on March 31. It was emotional, stressful and hard. I am grateful for all the time I had there and the relationships, community and opportunities presented to me.

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  • Since closing, I started renting space as an independent contractor at a private training studio not far from where Recreate was located. I am grateful that all my existing clients came with me. This is an opportunity for me to really build my business, which is scary and exciting at the same time.
  • Through a client of mine, I got acquainted with the strength & conditioning coach of the Portland Thorns FC (our professional women’s soccer team) and started helping him with a local gym he’s taking over in Lake Oswego. So, I’m going out there 3x/week and coaching semi-privates, and have been doing so since the end of January. No, I’m not training the soccer players. There is room to grow out here too, if I choose.
  • I’m going to NYC at the end of this month for the Yoga Tune Up® Breath & Bliss immersion. I loved NYC when I was there in the fall and need to keep moving forward with my Yoga Tune Up® studies, so it seemed like a win-win. I need continuing ed credits now that I’m a licensed teacher and wanted to do it regardless. After all the chaos that’s ensued since January, I am greatly looking forward to this getaway + learning experience!

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my life. One door closed and another one opened, but in-between, it was quite hectic. Extra work, networking, planning, looking for a space to go, emotions, etc. As hard as it was, I’m relieved to have the gym stuff behind me. Change is hard, but also good and I am not worried. Everything will be great.

Meanwhile, if any of you live in the Portland area (specifically NW Portland since that’s where I train clients) and are looking for a personal trainer, feel free to give me a shoutout. Now that I’m not teaching 11 strength & conditioning classes/week at Recreate, I have more room in my schedule and am taking new clients. Visit my contact page to get in touch with me.

Cheers and happy weekend!

Cottage Pie

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Wow, it’s been over a month since I posted, though it feels like it’s been even longer than that. Life has been a bit crazy for me so far this year — changes, growth, opportunity and lots of things to think about. Seriously, the month of January alone felt like it was a year long. In reality, it’s all good — it’s just been a bit exhausting and slightly chaotic. Anyway, onward and upward!

Meanwhile, I never really knew what the difference was between cottage and shepherd’s pie, but apparently, cottage pie is typically made with beef and shepherd’s pie made with lamb (not sure why the whole shepherd and lamb thing never occurred to me). So, I guess I’m naming this one appropriately. I do have other variations of shepherd’s pie/cottage pie/whatever you want to call it in the archives as well. Check those out HERE and HERE. One is made with ground turkey and has a winter squash topping, and the other is made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and has a cauliflower mash topping. All three versions are a little different, but all delicious!

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potato and russet potato pieces in a steam basket and bring to a simmer on the stove. After 5 minutes, add the cauliflower florets and steam for another 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
  2. Add the cooked vegetables, butter, sea salt and black pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping sides down as needed. Set aside.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1.25 cups chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tube tomato paste (~5 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 12 oz bag frozen green peas
  • Paprika for topping, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. If you’re using leaner ground beef, add a little bit of fat to the pan (i.e. butter, coconut oil, etc.). If you’re using fattier meat (like 85/15 or 80/20), you won’t need any additional fat in the pan, but may want to drain off a little bit of the fat after browning the meat, otherwise the filling can be too runny/greasy. Brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the chunks of meat.
  3. Next, add the carrots, dried thyme, cayenne, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, add the broth, vinegar and tomato paste, and stir well again. Once mixed together, add the arrowroot starch and stir until dissolved. Finally, add the green peas and let cook for another minute.
  4. Pour filling evenly into a 9×13 pan. Top evenly with the cauliflower-potato mixture and sprinkle with paprika, if using. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  5. After baking, cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and then serve.

Yields: 6 servings

Sun Basket: Healthy Cooking Made Easy

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I was recently contacted by Sun Basket to try out their meal delivery service and am excited to share my experience with all of you. Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a complimentary Sun Basket box to test out, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.

What is Sun Basket?

Sun Basket is a new healthy meal kit service that delivers organic ingredients and delicious, easy-to-make recipes for cooking at home. Sun Basket makes it easy to cook healthy, with Paleo, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options, plus healthy breakfasts. Get 3 recipes per week for 2, 4 or 6 people, delivered to your door in recyclable packaging that can be shipped back – free- for reuse. Recipes are created by Executive Chef Justine Kelly, formerly head chef at James Beard award-winning restaurant The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

My kitty, Frankie, was curious about the Sun Basket box.
My kitty, Frankie, was curious about the Sun Basket box.

 

Sun Basket food:

  • Organic non-GMO produce from the best West Coast farms
  • Sustainably sourced, hormone-free meats and seafood
  • Easy, healthy 30-minute recipes designed for minimal cleanup
  • Recipes developed by an award-winning San Francisco chef
  • All recipes are approved by our in-house nutritionist

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Sun Basket meal plans:

  • Healthy meal plans including: Paleo-friendly, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options, plus breakfast
  • 3 recipes per week, with meal plans for 2, 4 or 6 people
  • Choose any meals you like each week. You can even double or triple up on a recipe. Currently shipping to CA, OR, WA, CO, UT, AZ, NV and ID

Sun Basket packaging:

  • Carefully packaged to stay fresh in the box for 8 hours after delivery
  • 100% recyclable packaging
  • Free delivery and free return shipping so we can recycle and reuse the materials

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My Sun Basket Meal Review:

Naturally, I opted for the paleo meal options, which included kale, butternut squash and Italian sausage soup, braised chicken arrabbiata with celery root mash, and steak with purple sweet potato and roasted red pepper sauce. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced a meal delivery service and I must say, it was awesome. Everything was delivered in one organized box and it was all fresh! Ingredients were already measured out for recipes and in individual bags (meat was separate though), so it was easy to keep track of everything.

Kale, butternut squash and Italian sausage soup

All the recipes were delicious, especially the soup and chicken arrabbiata. We were actually surprised how incredible they tasted — even better than we imagined. I’ve actually made the soup again on my own since then. The sweet potato and steak meal was alright, but we both had a lot of grizzle on our sirloin steaks, especially Jesse. I think it would have been better with a different cut of beef. The roasted sweet potatoes and mushrooms were great though.

I can totally see myself using this service again. I enjoy cooking and creating on my own, but this is so handy and a nice break from having to think about what I’m making for dinner. It’s also great for getting new and easy recipe ideas. For those of you with extra busy schedules, lack of direction or motivation in the kitchen, not knowing what to eat, poor cooking skills, etc., I highly recommend trying this out. Sun Basket makes it so easy. And, it’s good! The meals actually look like the pictures too!

Interested in trying Sun Basket for yourself? Visit HERE to learn more and sign up now to receive $30 off your first box!

For more information, please visit https://sunbasket.com/home or Facebook, InstagramPinterest or Twitter.

Whats In Your SunBasket DiptychWEB

New York, I Love You

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Grafitti I spotted in the Lower East Side.

I recently got back from an incredible trip to New York City and am still feeling high from all the excitement and energy. I’m almost at a loss for words as to how amazing this trip was. I went for a wellness/self-care/inspirational conference called, “I Can Do It!,” with a good friend (two other friends also joined us for the conference piece), but had extra days before and after to explore. The entire experience made me feel so alive, revived, grateful, loved and more connected to myself. I came out of my shell a bit, learned a lot, observed, wandered, bonded and reminisced. It was also the first time that I really took a girl’s trip and I realize that it’s something I need to keep doing. It was amazing. Also, I totally loved NYC and am definitely not done with that city. My friend and I are already planning our next trip back, but we plan to stay in Brooklyn next time. We’re shooting for late September or early October of next year. Meanwhile, we did and saw a lot on this trip, and there was no shortage of amazing food and drinks.

Oh, and the first night we arrived, I found out that I passed my Yoga Tune Up® written exam! It was an awesome way to kick off my trip, especially because I worked so hard on it. If you recall, I did the week-long, in-person piece of the teacher training back in October. Anyway, I’m pretty stoked about all of this and what’s to come!

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Grand Central Terminal. This place is magical.
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Flatiron building.
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More cool graffiti in the Lower East Side.
Dinner at Cookshop after the first day of the conference. This place was incredible.
Dinner at Cookshop after the first day of the conference. This place was incredible and came highly recommended by a friend of mine who recently moved from Manhattan to Portland.
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Rockefeller Center. The tree is under that construction on the right. They were getting it ready!
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NBC Studios
Got to reconnect with this great lad who now lives in Brooklyn. We go back to high school!
Got to reconnect with this great lad.

During my trip, I also got to spend some time with my cousin, Carol who lives in Brooklyn. My friend and I dined with her on two different occasions and she also gave us a little driving tour around parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Additionally, I was able to catch up with someone I was very close with in high school and part of college (we also dated for a long time), who also lives in Brooklyn (he’s in the pic above). Visiting with him was definitely a trip down memory lane and we shared so many laughs. We were both much younger and in a different place in our lives the last time we interacted, but it almost felt like time hadn’t skipped a beat — except that we’re both in a much better place now. It was very special.

A misty walk through Central Park.
A misty walk through Central Park.
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My friend, Heather, me, and my cousin, Carol at Extra Fancy in Brooklyn (Williamsburg, specifically). This is where my friend works and he whipped us up some amazing cocktails.
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Katz’s Deli! I ate some awesome pastrami and pickles here. It’s a nuthouse inside, but the pastrami is epic.
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Chelsea Market.
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Getting ready to dine at Hu Kitchen.
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The Highline. A city park up above, on old railroad tracks. It’s really cool.

Meanwhile, below you’ll find some awesome stuff I jotted down at the conference, and there’s much more too! All the speakers were incredible and I gathered so much from each and every one. The conference was seriously chill-worthy. The picture below is of Dr. Christiane Northrup during her talk. I also got to hear from Cheryl Richardson, Nancy Levin, Mike Dooley, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Kris Carr, Nick Ortner, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Gabrielle Bernstein and Dr. Barbara De Angelis. Dr. Wayne Dyer was also supposed to be a presenter, but as some of you may know, he passed away a few months ago. There was a touching tribute for him on the first day of the conference though. Anyway, I hope you enjoy what I have to share below.

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Dr. Christiane Northrup at the I Can Do It! conference.
  • Sensitivity is a great gift. Protect it! It’s okay to be sensitive. Care for it, so it can flourish and bring even better art to the world. Desensitizing does not support our creativity.
  • Internal conversations get passed down generationally.
  • When you ask the universe to support you, take action when it does. Set intentions and act on them!
  • The voices in our head keep us small. The voices in our head want to keep us “safe.”
  • Our present moment choice predicts our future. It’s our crystal ball.
  • Give ourselves space to be with the unknown. It’s in the unknown where opportunities and possibilities exist.
  • Our belief systems are put into place by the age of 11!
  • Age is just a mindset. It’s constant thoughts. We need to step out of the “age cage.”
  • The moment you believe you’re a victim is the moment you lose power.
  • You are a master of your genetics. You are not a victim of your heredity.
  • If people are in harmony with you, then your energy and their energy entangle. This = good vibes. Bad vibes = losing power, energy is out of harmony with your energy, energy is weak.
  • Vibration is the primary communication between all organisms.
  • Change the picture in your mind and your mind is completely changed.
  • Life is uncertain and in that uncertainty is where we find joy — where the magic is.
  • Say yes to your life. Say yes to your passion. Say yes to using your voice.
  • Life is not something that happens to us — we happen to life.
  • If you don’t address traumas, they’re going to keep coming up in your life. Traumatic events get locked in the body. We need to go back and rewrite the events. We need to heal. “If you want to clean the house, you have to see the dirt.”
  • All the negative aspects we think are previously coded events.
  • We think 60,000 – 70,000 thoughts in one day. 90% of those thoughts are from the previous day.
  • By the time you’re 35 years old, you’re on autopilot 95% of the time.
  • Miracles are natural and when they’re not occurring, something has gone wrong.
  • Live the path of choosing again moment-to-moment.
  • Sometimes, spirit shakes us awake with things that get our attention. This is out of love!
  • We are wired for greatness, for maximum capacity, for maximum light. Our circuits get unplugged and we forget to plug back in. It’s not because we’re not capable.
  • Shift from thinking of things you’re doing as good or bad to, “what’s the vibrational impact?” Cultivate expansion and eliminate contraction. Think to yourself, “what am I choosing in this moment? What’s a more enlightened choice I can make right now?”
  • Be a force of love.
  • The hardest thing about change is not making the same choices you did the day before. It’s gonna be uncomfortable.
  • Be defined by a vision of the future instead of a memory from the past.
  • Lean towards joy and you will be led. If you’re ready to create more success in your life, make joy a priority. Be deeply grounded in that joy. Joy is your birth right!
  • Show up for your light.
  • The greatest gift we have is giving voice to our truth. And, when we do, there is no wrong way to live our life.
  • Whatever you didn’t get from your mother and father, you’ll probably try getting from your significant other.
  • We draw people that reflect back to us.
  • Reclaim what we’re not taking responsibility for in ourselves. Every time we point a finger, there’s three fingers pointing back at us.
  • You always have the strength to choose how to engage. Be open for what’s coming.

Halloween Essential Oils Promo

Halloween essential oils promo

Hey friends! I want to let all of you know that I am currently running a sweet Halloween deal and it’s one that won’t rot your teeth or your gut! Through October 31st at 11:59 p.m. PST, anyone that joins Young Living as a member and signs up for a Premium Starter Kit with me will receive a FREE 15 ml bottle of Clove essential oil, plus $20 worth of reference materials. Clove is a wonderful oil to diffuse during the fall and winter to support the immune system, and can even be used for cooking (pumpkin pie, anyone?). Its aroma is spicy, warm and comforting.

To take advantage of this promo, please email me at paleoinportland@gmail.com with HALLOWEEN typed into the subject line. Do this once you checkout and confirm your Young Living order. For detailed instructions on how to sign up, visit HERE. Or, if you’re ready to sign up now, visit HERE. Make sure my Young Living member number, 2225243 is in both the enroller and sponsor box when you sign up. Also, if you’re not already in my secret essential oils Facebook group and want to be, join HERE.

Please note, this deal is for U.S. residents only.

August Essential Oils Promo!

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*THIS PROMO HAS NOW ENDED!*

As some of you may know, I’m a dedicated user and lover of Young Living essential oils. I love that I’m able to use them to make my own products (cleaning, beauty care, etc.) and support whole body wellness.

With that said, if any of you are interested in getting started with Young Living essential oils, there is a great deal going on right now. Now through August 31st, if you join Young Living as a wholesale member and order a Premium Starter Kit, you will receive $10 off your kit! This new and improved kit is valued at over $300 and you can get it for $150 (with the home or dewdrop diffuser option). This literally never happens!

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This is a rare opportunity in and of itself, but I am sweetening the deal! If you sign up with me, use the promo code AUGUST31 to receive the following welcome gift:

  • A beautiful diffuser necklace! Put a drop or two of oil on a slice of cork or a leather disc and enjoy the fragrance all day long.
  • Abundance Roll-on. Contains Orange, Frankincense, Patchouli, Clove, Ginger, Myrrh, Cinnamon and Spruce. Open up the possibilities that life offers, and supports digestion, respiratory health and immunity.
  • $20 worth of reference materials. This will teach you how to use your oils in your daily life.

August YL incentive

These FREE bonuses are worth $40. Factor in the $10 discount on the kit, and it’s an incredible deal!

Step-by-step instructions on how to sign up to get your discounted kit and my bonuses are below.

If you’d like to learn more about Young Living and the Premium Starter Kit, visit the essential oil page on my blog.

How to sign up for your Young Living Starter Kit:

  1. Go to the Young Living sign-up page.
  2. Select “Sign Up As: Young Living Wholesale Member” (This will get you the discount). Fill everything out and create your password and pin.
  3. Pick the Premium Starter Kit and choose your diffuser. Skip the Essential Rewards stuff for now unless you’re really ready to do it.
  4. Confirm your order. I have had many folks miss this step and end up not fully checking out. To confirm, the tool will log you in and show you your order again, and will then make you enter your payment information again.
  5. Once your payment is confirmed, send me an email at paleoinportland@gmail.com with the promo code AUGUST31 in the subject line. Then, I’ll get your goodies sent to you right away!

Remember, this offer is only good through August 31st! Sign-up now before it’s too late! 

*Please note: deal is for U.S. residents only.