Friday, August 1, 2014

August Already and Almond Milk

"Fitness on the Rocks" - Denver

Is it August 1st?  Where has the summer gone?  I know we (hubby and I) have been at the beach a lot, San Diego, Denver, and a few other places….. Oh wait, that’s where it went.  We have had so much fun though and the nice part about living in Georgia is we can still go the beach after Labor Day and swim in the water.

I mentioned my husband and I went to Denver.  My husband actually drove from Savannah to Denver with our friend who was moving there.  They packed up the Budget truck (which they named “Van Morrison”), put the car on the trailer, and were on their way.  It took about two days to cover 1,600 miles.  I, on the other hand, flew in from Chicago after all the moving was done.  J

When I landed in Denver, I instantly remembered why my husband and I wanted to move there about three years ago.  It is absolutely beautiful and everyone is extremely active, probably because there are so many options.  On Saturday, we went to “Fitness on the Rocks,” which was a huge fitness event on the Red Rocks.  There were activities all day.  It was supposed to be $20 for entry, but the girls at the check-in tent said people had extra tickets and she let us in for free!  To explain the “Fitness on the Rocks,” their website states the goal of the 2014 event:  “The goal this year is to create not only some kickass workouts in one of the best amphitheater’s in the country, but to acknowledge health and wellness as a whole. If you go through the whole park and visit all of our vendors, you can take in over two miles all while getting free samples and goodies!”  And that is just what we did.  Tried a new workout called “Orange Theory,” did a Crossfit workout with the mountains in the background, did a plank challenge, sampled some healthy treats, watched some tug-of-war, and the rice bag haul in which people carried 50lb bags of rice up and down the steps of the amphitheater.  It was a lot of fun.  

We also hiked a little bit of Dinosaur Ridge, before we headed back to Denver to hit up some of the breweries.  On Sunday, we went for a run at the park nearby, and apparently there was a 5K race…. They probably have them every weekend.  Running was a bit tough though, considering the altitude.  After our run, we walked to the neighborhood coffee shop for some delicious coffee with almond milk and one last game of dominos with our friend.  I know we will be going back to Denver soon.  I was already checking out flight prices.

Okay, so did you read above “coffee with almond milk?”  That’s right, the coffee shops in Denver have almond milk as an option.  That almost never happens, unless I am in a Whole Foods somewhere.  I really really love almond milk…. In my coffee, in my smoothies, just to drink.  I decided to make my own, and I actually cannot believe how easy it was.  I am not sure why I never tried it before.  One thing I will mention is the one suggestion I have is not to peel the almonds, it is a waste of time and it really hurt my fingers trying to get the shells off all the almonds, haha.  I made two batches, one with shelled almonds and one without, and I liked the one with the raw whole almonds (not de-shelled).

Almond Milk

1 cup Almonds
3 cups water (I used filtered Brita)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

1.       Soak almonds in bowl for 12-18 hours (the longer, the better).
2.       After almonds are done soaking, de-shell the almonds by gently pushing the shells off the nuts if you want to try it.
3.       Put water and almonds in blender and blend for about 1 minute (until the nuts are pulverized).
4.       Strain the almond water mixture through a nut milk bag (these are awesome, super easy to clean, and cheap – I purchased on Amazon).
5.       Refrigerate and enjoy (lasts about 3 days).

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal 

Monday, June 30, 2014

It is Summer, Drink Up!!

Officially it was summer about a week ago, but unofficially it has been summer in Georgia since May.  I think there has been one weekend since then in which we did not go to the beach, and we have definitely been having a lot of fun in the sun.

I actually just returned from a vacation in San Diego.  It was beautiful.  My husband and our group of friends rented a house on Pacific beach.  It was absolutely great running on the beach in the mornings, and we even did a version of the Crossfit “Filthy Fifty” on the beach (the first exercise was 50 burpees, gross!).  I got sand in my eyes on that one, haha.  We visited a few different beaches, saw sea lions in the La Jolla cove, tried out a lot of different beers, ate Trader Joe’s cookie butter for the first time (like peanut butter, but 100 times better and certainly not healthy), and enjoyed some really good coffee.  It was an awesome vacation.  But home now and back to reality.

San Diego

Every summer, I start to get really tired of drinking plain water.  I am not sure why it does not happen in the winter… maybe because I can drink a lot of varieties of hot tea.  Anyway, water is boring sometimes, so I googled “water recipes.”  After I pressed Enter, I felt pretty dumb…. Water recipe, really??  But Google knew what I really meant, and returned a lot of recipes for homemade infused water.  I decided to try the lemon cucumber mint one since I had all those ingredients in my fridge.  It was delicious.  I took it to the beach with me on Saturday and it was extremely refreshing.  The combination of the cucumber, mint, and lemon was just right.  This will definitely become a regular beverage of mine, and it is super easy to throw together.

Lemon Cucumber Mint Infused Water

4 cups water
1 lemon
1 cucumber
½ cup mint


  1.  Slice up the lemon into thin pieces.
  2. Cut the cucumber into small pieces
  3. Throw the lemon, cucumber, and mint into the pitcher of water.  Refrigerate overnight or at least for a few hours.
  4. Enjoy!
~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Monday, June 16, 2014

Haters and Cauliflower

That is quite a weird title, huh?  Yes it is, but because this is my blog and you have the CHOICE to read it or not, I can title it whatever I want.  Everyone has choices every day, what they eat, drink, wear, whether they exercise or not, who they talk to, what they talk about, etc.  And yet, there are haters everywhere who want to tell people what they should or should not do, think, talk about…. Hell with the haters, I do what I want!
Seriously though, why do people waste so much of their energy trying to persuade others to change their ways??  I think they need to take a couple of yoga classes and refocus their energy internally.  But hey, that is just my opinion, and no one has to follow that advice, because they have the CHOICE to do whatever they want.  I post recipes, rants, advice, and just general thoughts on my blog.  If someone finds a new recipe to try or a new workout, that is great.  However, if they do not like my recipes, rants, or workouts, that is okay and 100% acceptable.  Go visit another of the 1.3 billion blogs on that thing known as the “internet.”

Okay, enough on haters.  Let’s talk about cauliflower….. odd transition??  Haha.

I love cauliflower.  It is best when fresh from the farmer’s market, but sometimes I buy frozen and it is still pretty versatile.  Mashed cauliflower, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower hummus, there are so many different things you can make, even cauliflower tortillas.  Yesterday, I tried making cauliflower tortillas, and they did turn out pretty yummy.  I added some garlic and jalapenos for a little kick.  I will say this though, they are really annoying to make…. Possibly because I did not follow the instructions on the various recipes I looked up, that step of squeezing out the water.  After I steamed the cauliflower, it did not seem watery, so I skipped that step.  When I baked the tortillas though, they were very difficult to flip.  Maybe next time, I will try squeezing out the water and see if they are a little easier to cook.  They were still delicious though.

Cauliflower Tortillas


1 head cauliflower
1 egg
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt, pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Put the entire cauliflower into your food processor, stem removed.  Pulse the head until it looks like rice.  You may need to do numerous batches to process the whole head of cauliflower.
  3. After you have riced the entire cauliflower, cook the cauliflower in the microwave for about 6-8 minutes.  
  4. When the cauliflower is done, try to squeeze out any excess water.  (A lot of recipes have said to do this with a dish towel, but I think the cauliflower would stick, so I skipped this step)
  5. Mix egg, oregano, salt, and pepper in with the cauliflower.
  6. Using a ¼ to ½ cup measuring cup, place small balls of the mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (grease the parchment paper with olive oil).  Softly, press the balls down into tortilla shapes.
  7. Cook for approximately 10-12 min per side.  Keep an eye on them and let them get a nice golden brown on each side.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bikram Yoga: Not what I expected

For the first time in about 6 months, I actually was home the entire week, no work traveling, no weekend traveling, just home for 7 straight days.  It felt weird.  I actually had time to exercise, prepare all my meals, and try a few new things.  First, I want to say, I love when gyms/studios give “intro deals.”  It allows newcomers to try something new without thinking they are wasting a ton of money. 

A local Bikram yoga studio had such a deal and so I decided to try it this week.  I would not consider myself a Yoga newbie as I have been taking yoga classes for about 16 years now (my mom liked to bring me to classes while I was in high school) and have been teaching for about 5 years.  However, I have never taken a Bikram yoga class and thought it would be interesting to try.  I honestly assumed it would just be a regular yoga class in a really hot room.  Well, the really hot room part was correct, but everything else I assumed about the class was totally incorrect.  The lights were left on in the room and there were mirrors all over the walls.  We started out with breathing exercises, and then proceeded through standing, balance, and seated poses.  We did not do a single downward facing dog!  The class was 90 minutes long and it flew by.  I really enjoyed it and will be attending as many classes as I can before my traveling starts to pick up again.

One thing I realized while taking the Bikram yoga class is I want to be amazing at everything.  I want to run really fast and win races, lift really heavy weights, be super flexible in every yoga pose, take the time to eat good food, excel in my career, and be a great friend, daughter, and wife.  But then, my reality set in and my mind had to accept the fact that I cannot be amazing at everything, but I can work on the things that are important to me, and the things that make me happy. 

Mike Rowe (well-known for his role as the host of “Dirty Jobs”) recently responded to a fan letter asking about finding the “right” job and finding happiness….. I loved his response. 

“Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.”

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Eat the Yolks: A Book Review

I don’t know about you, but I have heard so many contradicting statements regarding healthy eating over the past few months, that at this point, I am just going to do what I want and eat ice cream and chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Okay, maybe I will not go that crazy, but seriously, with so much contradictory information being thrown at us about what is and is not healthy, who really knows the truth?  Is there one truth?  If so, what is it and how am I supposed to figure it out?

If you have all those same questions, I highly recommend you read the book “Eat the Yolks” by Liz Wolfe.  Although Liz does support a paleo lifestyle, she makes sure to emphasize that each and every one of us are different and we need to listen to our bodies to decide the most optimal way to eat.  In addition to what we should and should not eat, she discusses other aspects of our lifestyles (i.e sun exposure, taking vitamins, supplements, etc.).  If I had to summarize the book in a few sentences, it would be these:  Be a responsible consumer and know where your food comes from.  Listen to your body and use that to gauge what your body wants and needs.  She has a section of the book – “Nutrition in 100 words” that I recommend you print out and put it on your fridge – refer to it frequently and stop stressing over everything you eat. “Seek real, nutrient-filled food, as close to its natural state as possible: whole, unprocessed, unmodified and unrefined.  Pretend the modern supermarket doesn’t exist.  Choose foods that could be hunted or gathered – food that has always been food.  Support local, responsible producers.  Eat vegetables and fruit.  Eat meat and fat from properly raised animals, eggs, and seafood.  Enjoy cold-pressed oils and plants rich in healthy fats, like coconut, avocado, and olives.  Drink water.  Incorporate superfoods: fermented vegetables and beverages, homemade bone broth, and organ meats (if you dare).  Above all, ditch obsessive behavior and “diets.”  Question conventional wisdom.  Eat real food.” - It is 100 words exactly!!

Throughout the book, Liz gives a lot of little bits of advice and words of wisdom.  Here are my top five favorite ones:
  1. "Real, unprocessed foods – including animal products – are the fuel that makes us awesome, and there’s no substitute in a box, bag, or capsule.  We don’t have to fear real food."
  2. "Opposition to hunting, is, at the core, a symptom of our extreme privilege and disconnection from the skills needed for survival, the skills that many traditional cultures – some living in remote corners of the world – still employ with a “waste not, want not” ethos."
  3. "If we truly believe that no living thing should have to die for our dinner, we shouldn’t eat at all."
  4. "We are what our animals eat.  We are also what our plants absorb from the soil.  When there’s nothing in the soil, we aren’t consuming nutrients, whether we eat the plant itself or the animal that ate the plant."
  5. "There is nothing good in grains – including fiber – that we can’t get from vegetables and fruits with more nutrition and less baggage."

Read the book and let me know your top favorites.

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Welcome Back to Me

I am not going to count the last days since my last post, because it has truly been forever.  I know I mentioned in my last post starting a new job and traveling every week, and that has continued.  However, I have decided to dedicate April to getting back on track with healthy eating and exercise, and thus blogging.  I have been pretty lax on those items over the past few months and I definitely have noticed changes in not only my body, but also my mind.

Most exciting things first…. I ordered a Vitamix!!  I cannot wait for it to arrive.  I ordered it last Friday and it has yet to arrive.  Hopefully it arrives soon, because I have pinned about 33 recipes I want to try.  I plan on letting you all know how they turned out once I have tried them, and also if all the hype around Vitamix blenders is truly warranted. In addition, a few friends and I, including my husband, are going to attempt to make April alcohol free.  With summer quickly approaching, we all want to have nice clean mind and bodies going into it, because when summer starts, there will be a lot of days at the beach.  Those days are sure to be filled with some adult beverages.

Also, I have been running a bit more, and will be trying to get back down to my 5K PR times.  I have a 5K race on May 3, 2014, so still plenty of time to train and get my pace back down to where it used to be…. Well maybe not that low, but hopefully pretty darn close.

Anyways, so as I said, I have been traveling about every week.  In my travels, I have learned a few things about attempting to stay healthy on the road.  Here are my five top pieces of advice:
  1.  Pack before you go.  - I fly everywhere I go, but I am still able to pack healthy foods – tuna packets, veggie/turkey balls (recipe coming soon), nuts, fruit, herbal tea, etc.  As long as I am not packing liquids, TSA has no problem with all my food.  I also bring two Tupperware containers which I use throughout the week to pack my lunch.
  2. Find a grocery store near the airport or near the hotel and shop. – As soon as I land, I head to the grocery store and stock up on spring mix, spinach, eggs, almond milk, avocados, etc. 
  3. Book a hotel with a fridge and microwave - I always make sure the hotels I stay in have a fridge and microwave so I do not have to eat out every night and day.  I can microwave eggs and spinach in the morning, and am able to keep all my groceries nice and fresh.
  4. Work out when you have the chance. – Hotel gyms are not always the best for the workouts I want to do.  Sometimes, there will be a Crossfit gym close to where I am staying, and I will do a drop-in.  However, most of the time, the hotel gym is my only option.  So I make sure I work out all the days I am home, so I don’t feel bad if the treadmill in the gym hotel does not work.  Another option is to find another gym and ask if they allow drop-in visitors.  Most due and if you are traveling for work, a lot of companies will reimburse you.
  5. Bring your own water bottle – Most of the airports have fountains specifically for your reusable water bottles, or just use an old fashioned water fountain.  I always make sure I have my water bottle full before I board, just in case you have delays and/or the flight attendants are stingy with their water.  It is crucial to stay hydrated…. My water bottle is always by my side.

Snacks in the Hotel
My Hotel Fridge

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Friday, November 1, 2013

Airport Food

I started my new job, and since then, I have been one busy bee.  I travel every week and not to the same place.  I was in Ohio, then California, then Texas, and someplace new next week.  I am enjoying the new challenge, but eating healthy on the road can be very tough.  I am doing well though.  Preparation is the key!  Usually, when I fly out, I pack turkey burgers, grilled chicken, tuna packets, hard boiled eggs, and some vegetables.  I can bring them through security, because nothing is a liquid.  Once I have landed in my destination, I will try to find the closest grocery store and stock up on some healthy items: water, salad, salsa, guacamole, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.

The hardest part of traveling has probably been when I am returning home.  I am tired, and do not have food to pack in my bag, and thus, only have airport food to turn to.  Although I must say at a recent layover in Atlanta, I had an orange salad that was amazingly delicious.  I tried to replicate it.

Orange Salad with Toasted Almonds

4 Medium Oranges
1 cup dried dates, chopped
½ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. While the oven is heating, peel oranges, ensuring you remove the pith.  Cut the oranges into thin slices.
  3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and lemon juice.  Whisk to combine.
  4. In the preheated oven, place almonds on a greased cookie sheet in a single layer.  Place in oven to toast (be sure to check on them every couple minutes, you do not want to burn them!).  Toasting should take between 5-10 minutes.  You want a nice golden brown color.
  5. After the almonds are toasted, combine oranges, toasted almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, dates, cinnamon and cardamom and toss lightly.
  6. Enjoy!

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal