Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge fan of “What I Eat in a Day” blog posts or others sharing their typical routine of when they workout, how many days they workout each week, the times that they eat and the meals that they consume. I’ll explain why and then my hopes as to what you get out of this post.
I receive these questions a lot:
- What foods do I eat?
- What does my typical breakfast look like?
- What supplements do I take to help with digestion, clear skin or anxiety?
- What foods I tend to avoid because of leaky gut / SIBO / IBS / Anxiety / Migraines?
- How often do I workout? / What are my typical workouts?
- Do I snack?
- How many meals do I eat in a day?
The list goes on and on, but this isn’t a bad problem to have and I welcome the questions! I feel that you are all curious for good reasons because I’ve been through a great deal with my digestion, being in and out of the hospital, having to take so much medication and am very open about my past anxiety attacks, the lack of sleep I used to suffer from, and the constant migraines I would get. You’re interested because you are going through the same issues and you can see how I’ve overcome the majority of them through food, working out, a few lifestyle changes, and other things like how I better manage my stress levels so in turn you want to know what might potentially work, in hopes that it might work for you too!
SO, for this post I want to share things that I do almost every single day in order to feel my best self; little hacks that have improved my digestion, other things that have helped me manage my stress levels, reduced my anxiety attacks, and really allowed me to listen to what my body needs especially in terms of working out; when to back off and when to push myself! Instead of you reading this as, ok she eats breakfast at X time every morning and only eats X number of snacks a day or workouts X times a week & thinking that is what you should be doing to; read the underlining message of how my mindset is towards eating and working out and the things that I am adding into my diet in order to nourish my body so I can sleep better, feel stronger for my workouts, and improve my digestion.
In this post I am going to share what I do each morning, when I typically love to workout, what workouts I gravitate towards during times of stress or when I need to bring some energy into my body, the foods my body craves normally, which ones I try to stick to during the winter months, and how adding in a simple hack like collagen from Vital Proteins has truly made a difference in my overall health!
There isn’t a certain “diet” that I follow, but I do stay away from certain foods that tend to aggravate my already sensitive stomach, but this was found through self experimentation. Listening to what others were doing or eating wasn’t necessarily going to help me since we are all different! I more or less used their suggestions as advice, see if it worked for me and if it did then I would continue on but if it didn’t then I would try something new! Focusing on a diet that is full of lean protein, mainly plant based, mostly vegetables, anti-inflammatory, minimal sugar; I feel that I have greatly improved my gut health. Also since incorporating collagen into my routine every single day, I truly believe that I have been able to add back things into my diet that once were forbidden or caused major issues such as severe bloating, cramping, migraines, aggravated my leaky gut, and completely inflamed my body. These were foods such as grains, oats, certain vegetables, and even certain nuts! I now have more options and more variety when it comes to cooking foods, eating at restaurants, attending social events, anything involving food and because of that my life has changed for the better! There is less stress about what is going in my body, which means a healthier gut and a happier self!
Most mornings, I wake up very early! If I have gotten a great nights sleep, then I love starting my day on the early side; which means getting up around 5/5:30 almost every single morning.
The first thing I do:
I drink this before having my coffee and any food. I tend to not be extremely hungry when I wake up so I don’t find this a problem to wait 30 minutes or so to eat. Also, this has completely helped brighten my complexion and tremendously improved my digestion. Apple cider vinegar is full of enzymes and good bacteria, lemon helps balance your blood sugar levels and helps regulate your PH levels and the collagen can help improve your digestion (IBS, leaky gut to name a few), help with hair growth, stronger nails, and make your skin brighter! This drink really activates my digestion and I can 100% notice a difference in my body when I do not drink this in the morning and throughout the day (1-2x) in how I digest food and how my skin looks and feels. In turn, as it helps my digestion, my energy levels have increased.
With my water, I take 2-4 Spirulina Capsules from Vital Proteins. Within 1 week I noticed that my energy levels tremendously increased, I am now way more productive in the mornings, my skin is brighter, and it is also a great detoxifier for your body.
COFFEE: I love my morning coffee. I’ve tried to give it up and usually try and “detox” my body from it every once and a while. However, when I do have it, I love adding in the marine collagen. Not only does it add in protein but you will also get amazing health benefits like the ones I listed above! Plus, it makes the coffee so frothy! If you aren’t into coffee, Vital Proteins has a Matcha Collagen mix or you can make a turmeric drink (click for my recipe). They make it so simple to add in the collagen even if you order your coffee out because they have to-go packets! It is so convenient.
BREAKFAST: A typical breakfast of mine usually is a smoothie, chia pudding, a loaded toast with avocado & maybe an egg, a yogurt bowl, or a few energy bites on the side with any of the options previously mentioned.
Ex. Yogurt bowl:
Dairy free yogurt, 1-2 scoops marine collagen, cinnamon, ground flaxseeds or chia seeds, a roasted sweet potato or butternut squash, cacao nibs, a scoop of nut butter, handful of granola etc!
1.5 cups almond milk, handful of spinach, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1-2 scoops marine collagen, cinnamon, 1 frozen banana, 1-2 scoops cacao powder, 1 scoop peanut butter or nut butter of choice.
I typically workout later in the evenings, but if I am taking a morning class they are usually around 9-9:30. If that is the case, I will stick to the morning water mix, coffee, a few energy bites, and then eat immediately when I get home.
Working out later in the evenings has allowed me to be more productive during the day, avoid a 3 PM crash, and honestly I enjoy my workouts better! Even though I wake up very early and can make a morning class, my body still hasn’t had time to adjust and when I rush in the mornings, I notice that my digestive system is completely thrown off. Also, I have a hard time relaxing in a morning yoga class or HIIT class because I am thinking about everything that needs to get done for the day. In the evenings, it is a break that I look forward too, I can fully check out, and I know that after my workout is done I can fully relax when I get home. It has also helped me sleep better at night, which I know can be the opposite of others, so you have to figure out what works for you! A 5:45 or 7:30 yoga class, calms down my body, mind, stretches me out, and allows me to unwind from the day! Or a HIIT class can be exactly what I need to release built up tension or stress that I had been facing all day. I figure out what I need that day, how my energy levels are, and what will be the most beneficial for me, my sleep, and mind. I usually sign up for a class the day before or the morning of so I stay a bit more committed to going.
Working out that late in the evenings, I find myself staying motivated by remembering how I feel when the workout is done! Endorphins are real! Depending on the workout that I have picked I normally feel calm, more balanced, less stressed out, strong, and appreciate all the work that my body just did for the last hour or so. I know that I am doing something good for my body and mind and understand that it will allow for more of a productive day the following day, because I will mentally feel more focused and clear. Also, I never take classes that I don’t like, even if that means I have to go alone sometimes, if all my friends are working out somewhere else. I have found a few that I love and stick to those. That obviously makes it 100x easier to go and I stick to a few of the same instructors. Finding instructors you vibe with, their music, their style can really make all the difference in you going or not. Working out releases stress and keeps my anxiety levels down, which makes for more a healthier gut for me! I tend to hold all of my stress in my gut so not only adding collagen into my diet, but keeping a consistent exercise routine has been very beneficial.
Throughout the day, I like to continue to drink another 16oz glass of water, collagen, lemon, and apple cider vinegar. I will either keep it the same or switch up the flavor of the beauty water. This keeps my skin hydrated, especially during the winter, keeps me alert instead of reaching for a second coffee, keeps my digestive system active, and hydrated in general so I can have a good workout in the afternoon (or beneficial if you worked out in the morning!) This is probably the one thing that I have noticed that has made a huge difference in my digestion! I make sure to always have this after a night out, if I am tired, if I feel bloated, cramps, or might have eaten something that caused any type of stomach pain or just felt off. It always calms down my stomach, reduces bloating, helps gets things moving, and just makes me feel so much better!
For lunch there are so many ways to incorporate collagen into your meals and you do not have to stick to just using the collagen, they have a bone broth too, which is great for things such as soups or mixing into salad dressings.
Here are a few typical lunch recipes that I make ahead for the week that all use collagen!
You can also do something as simple as make a huge stir fry for the week and add 1-2 scoops of the collagen or the bone broth right into the WOK or sauce plan with the sauce, mix it up and then continue to add in the veggies. I do this a lot, it is simple and just requires one pan and usually lasts me for the majority of the week!
If you have to eat lunch out a lot, which sometimes that happens to me; I bring the to-go collagen packets and mix them into the salad dressings that I get OR bring my own homemade salad dressings with the collagen already pre-mixed in! If you are getting a smoothie while out, you can mix in the collagen after the smoothie has been made for you! Most places probably will not have collagen on hand, so it is easy to keep a few with you in your bag and Vital Proteins makes it super convenient with their little packets. This way, if you have to eat lunch out the majority of the week, you know you are sneaking in collagen into your meals; keeping your gut happy/healthy, joints and immune system strong, and continuing to brighten your skin and continue to feel amazing. I try and do this a lot, especially when I am eating out because you do not often know all the ingredients in your meals, no matter how healthy a place can be.
After lunch, I continue to work on projects, emails, blog posts, or may have to teach classes. My days are pretty A-typical and usually my days aren’t the same. It is hard to plan so far ahead, because things always pop up, which is why I feel that it is extra important for me to stay healthy and keep my stress levels low. I do that by trying my hardest to follow a healthy diet or making sure I am adding collagen at least a few times a day, keeping my exercise routine consistent (or backing off when I need to and sleep!!), and making sure my gut is healthy. If my body does feel off, it is harder for me to be productive, teach, sleep, and find the motivation to workout and do just about anything! That way, when things come up unexpectedly such as more work, a night out with friends, holiday stress, or I am sick, I know exactly what I need to do in order to get back on track since I am pretty in tune with my body and know what it will need in order to feel better.
Since I stopped working out in the early mornings, I don’t find myself crashing in the afternoon. However, I do always have a snack since I need to eat something before I work out as my dinners will be later in the evenings. My snacks always consist of my homemade energy bites, yogurt mixed with a scoop or collagen w/ ground flaxseed, nut butters, granola etc or maybe a small smoothie or chia pudding depending on the time I am working out. It is usually a balance between healthy fats, carbs, and protein; something small but substantial that will hold me over until my workout is complete.
Depending on how I am feeling mentally and physically greatly determines the type of workout that I do in the evenings. I usually stick to do things: yoga or a HIIT type of workout that involves a combination of cardio (running) and weights. Whenever I feel stressed, frustrated, anxious, tired, sore, low energy, or really just any emotion; yoga is the choice. It calms down my anxiety, reduces bloating or the tension that I’ve held in my gut from the stress, relaxes my body, helps clear my mind, allows me to re-appreciate my body, and have a restful night sleep! There are so many poses that help with a good night sleep. A few months ago I wrote a blog post about different suggestions to help with anxiety and getting a restful night sleep, including in yoga poses, foods to it, and personal suggestions. Click here!
If I am feeling pretty energized, stressed out, more social, or just have had a hard/bad day then I usually pick more of an intense workout to blow off steam. Often times, these workouts can keep me awake for a little bit longer because they are high energy and it takes my body a little while to calm down. Because of that, when I come home I do a few things:
Re-stretch my body
Take an Epsom salt bath
Depending on how hungry I am I will either eat dinner before or after, the above. I suggest, eating dinner before, then doing the above. It will be more relaxing, then you can go right to bed after. I only do these workouts about 2x a week in the evenings! One thing that I have found super interesting to note is before, for a while I struggled with doing intense workouts because my body would always feel very inflamed and I felt that I had a hard time recovering from them. I swam competitively my whole life, but since developing digestive issues such as leaky guy and SIBO, intense workouts such as running, only seemed to cause more problems! I remember writing a blog post about it a year ago saying I had to stay away from these "hard on your body" workouts, but now, since taking collagen regularly, I don’t find that to be an issue anymore!! That has been a very big improvement and positive impact!
My dinners are usually the same as my lunches and tend to be lighter, but I do always have a snack before bed. My lunch meal is the biggest meal of the day because I have found that works better for not only my digestion but the way that I sleep. I have a hard time sleeping on a full stomach.
Realistically, I try to go to bed around 10 or so most evenings, but that isn't always the case and might stay up later because of work or whatever reason. I do not need a solid 8 hours of sleep to function and actually am better with about 5-6 hours. One thing that I do, do before bed is fill up the 16oz glass with the lemon water, apple cider vinegar and collagen and keep it by my bed or in the fridge. That way, I won't forget to do it in the morning if I get caught up or I can drink it throughout the night if I wake up at different points.
The biggest take aways from this post, are just ideas as to how simple it can be to start incorporating Vital Proteins Collagen into your everyday routine, with all of the options they have to offer and how this one change has made an impact on my overall health, but more importantly my gut health:
1. Improved digestion
2. Helped improved leaky gut
3. Allowed for more variety of foods, helped with overcoming food intolerances
4. Helped with IBS symptoms; bloating, cramping, etc.
In turn, since my gut is able to stay more regular, balanced, and healthy my skin is clear, I can think more clearly, my anxiety is reduced, I can better manage my stress levels, and my sleeping patterns are more regular!
I don't always incorporate collagen into my diet EVERY single time I am eating, but I make sure that I have it in the morning with my drinks and always in the snacks that I make! However, by sharing the recipes that I have, you can see how simple it is to add it into your meals without changing the taste or really anything about the dish at all!
As you can see there isn't a timeline that I follow every single day as to when I am eating, what time I am working out, and how many times a week that I workout. I don't like to watch the clock to determine when I am hungry, I just listen to when I want to eat or not. Some days I eat more than others because of my activity levels and other weeks I may workout more or less depending on how my body feels, what I have time for, and what I am in the mood for. I almost feel that is how you should base your days/weeks on, set goals as to what you want to do for the week but don't push yourself if things pop up or you can't reach one or two and obviously not fall into the comparison trap of what another person is doing. The more you focus on taking care of what your body needs, the better you will be able to understand what it is asking for.