Are You Really Hungry? How Do You Know?

You’re out at a restaurant and order an appetizer & entree + you feel full to the max. I mean, bloated full, yet when the waitress asks you for a dessert menu, you say “yes.” You start reading all the desserts: ice cream with a chocolate brownie, molted lava cake, strawberry shortcake and the list goes on.

Are you hungry?

Nope, but you order dessert anyway.

A few reasons why could be:

  • Because it sounded good

  • You had a bad day

  • You’re craving ice cream

  • You’re an emotional eater

Food can serve as many purposes such as a stress reliever, entertainment, a reward, pleasure or even a punishment. Sometimes your relationship with food isn’t always straightforward. But, when it comes to food, it’s so much more than just “tasting” good.. Sometimes, we have emotional ties with food that we didn’t even know about. We use it to soothe ourselves when times are rough and don’t see it as fuel.

When it comes to food, I am not perfect. Sometimes, I eat when I’m not hungry because it looks good. But, it’s rare that that sort of thing occurs because I’ve learned to listen to my body and ask myself if I’m hungry or just thirsty. I mean, if I just ate a big meal and I feel hungry, I know that my body is begging for water. But, many people mistake that cue for more food and instead of stopping while they’re ahead, they keep eating. In turn, this could turn into a habit.

So, how can YOU tell when your hungry? Do you typically listen to your body? Do you follow a strict diet or schedule when it comes to eating?


Want to know my story?

“We’re not going to conduct an allergy test because it wouldn’t make sense after hearing your symptoms,” said the doctor.


Again, another dead end. I was back where I started and felt rather frustrated.

Over the last 6 years, I’ve gone to a total of 7 gastroenterologists. The issue I was having stemmed back to high school. I would eat a dairy product and feel my stomach start to gurgle and then gas would rear its ugly head and I couldn’t let it out because I was in school and felt embarrassed, so there I was spending the whole day keeping it in until I was able to release it. By the time, I let loose, my stomach had already felt like shit and I just didn’t get it.

I tried to avoid dairy, but then it started happening when I ate random food such as pasta sauce, pasta, sandwiches, etc.

In college, it got worse and that’s around the time I told my mother, who took me to a gastro. I’d describe my issues, they’d ask me a few questions, give me a pill and I went on my way. Did those pills work? Hell no!

So, I went to another one and they recommended a cat-scan and an ultrasound and found that I had an ovarian cyst, which they removed. “We’re hoping that that’s the issue,” said my doctor. So was I!

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t. I continued to suffer. I dealt with it for years and then went to see someone else, who gave me another dose of pills. OH, yay!

In 2015, I moved to Tennessee and went to see another gastro, who suggested I eliminate red meat from my diet. And, she was the ONLY doctor who suggested food being the healer, not medicine. A few months later, I went to another gastro, who asked me if I’ve ever had a colonoscopy. Nope! But, I was willing to try it.

They found NOTHING!

It was as if I was a rare medical case because NO ONE could figure out what I had. Someone suggested possibly a slight case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but she wasn’t sure.

When I went on a cruise for my honeymoon, I saw a nutritionist, who put me on an elimination diet. To my surprise, it helped a little bit. He explained that I had many toxins and chemicals in my body and told me to stick to these certain foods to see if my symptoms disappeared. They didn’t totally, but my stomach felt so much better!

In 2018, I started IIN and learned so much about elimination diets and how food IS medicine. Looking back had I known that I should have changed my diet instead of listening to the doctor, I might have gotten rid of my stomach problems. BUT, you live and you learn.

Have a similar experience? Let’s chat:!

Would you ever consider going on an elimination diet?

You Gotta Try Hare & Field -- Like ASAP!

“I have a reservation for 5:30 on our anniversary,” I informed my husband a few days before our 2-year anniversary. I didn’t tell him where, just the fact that we were going out to eat at one of the restaurants we’ve been wanting to try since it opened in March.

It took us 30 minutes to get to Hare & Field in Travelers Rest, but it was worth every ounce of gas.

When we walked in, there was a table with a RESERVED sign that was for us, so we sat down. Upon being seated, we were greeted by a friendly waitress, who was very knowledgeable and sweet.

We asked our waitress what she recommended and we were told their Fish & Chips, Shrimp & Grits were popular. But, my husband was in the mood for a burger, so he ordered the Diablo Burger, which he noted was zesty. On the side, he ordered rabbit soup, which he described as having an earthy and flavorful broth. He also ordered a beer. Now, my hubby is not a beer drinker, but he said you didn’t get the rubbing alcohol taste like most beers. Instead, it was smooth, slightly fruity and bubbly.

I went for the “Go To” Vegan Burger with fries, which by the way were TO DIE FOR! The best part about this place is EVERYTHING is made from scratch, in-house and they hardly use their freezer. You can tell the difference between fresh ingredients vs “convenient foods” aka pre-packaged processed foods.

Now, getting back to the the vegan burger, it has the same consistency as a regular burger, but doesn’t taste exactly like a beef burger because it’s made from plants. It was really good, but for people who want beef, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. But, for me, it tasted delicious and had all the toppings I love! And, the FRIES, omg! They were crisped to perfection and again were fresh.


For dessert, we ordered their Smores cake. Ya’ll - I’m partially lactose intolerance, but this cake was so worth a few bites. It was moist, sweet and the filling was even creamier. It was seriously heaven on a plate and I wished I could have more, but I didn’t want to piss my stomach off.


I would HIGHLY recommend making a trip to Travelers Rest to check out this restaurant ASAP! They seriously know how to make good food and treat their customers right! I would go again in a heartbeat.

Cheap Afternoon Date

Five years ago (almost exactly), my husband and I planned to go apple picking, but when we got there, we learned it was way too late in the season, so we were bummed. Well, fast forward to now, I told him I wanted to try again. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t you just try the following year and truthfully, I have no idea.

But, nevertheless, on Sunday afternoon, we made our way to Hendersonville, NC to check out Sky Top Orchard. I heard it was a bit on the pricey side, but at the same time, I also heard the view was AMAZING! Since getting into nutrition, I’ve been avoiding trying to avoid buying apples from the grocery store because I have no idea if they’re truly organic (you can never trust the marketing around organic food) and since apples are listed as #4 on the 2018 Dirty Dozen, I’ve been very careful where I get them from. To ensure there aren’t any pesticides in your apples, I’d advise to buy directly from a farm and ask questions, be curious about how the apples are grown and what soil is used! When it comes to your health, you can never be too cautious.


Going back to the view, it was amazing and I got a bunch of pictures to show for it. And, holy cow, the bags of apples they sell are gigantic! I absolutely love apples, so apple picking is one of my favorite activities. Not only is it a good first date, it’s an inexpensive activity for your family and friends. And, Hendersonville is so close to us that you can get there in about 45 minutes, so it’s also an awesome day trip. The only complaint I had had nothing to do with the orchard itself, but rather, the weather. Holy hell was it hot! Why has fall not made it’s appearance yet? What are we waiting for? I just want sweater weather. I’m so sick of sweating.

For an afternoon treat, we got a caramel apple and apple cider, which were both delicious. My only regret was not standing in the line for an apple cider donut. I told my husband I’ll make it up to him by making them myself! But, overall, it was a nice afternoon activity and was also refreshing to get away from house repairs for a few hours. 👍👍


Charleston on a Budget

This is a sponsored post.

Charleston, SC is known for its historic charm, well-preserved architecture and history as well as its restaurants. It's a clean city where you feel safe walking around at night and during the day. Most people think going to Charleston will break their bank, but if you find inexpensive activities and restaurants to eat at, you'll be well below your budget.

I'm a health and wellness guru, so when I travel to Charleston, I look for healthy places to eat and activities that exercise the body and the mind. Sure, you can walk around downtown Charleston, but you need transportation to actually get you there. This is where Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Co. comes to mind. 

                                               Image from Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Company

                                               Image from Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Company

Whether you're celebrating an accomplishment, a girls weekend or a bachelorette party, this shuttle service is at your disposal. Why should you feel the need to worry about who is driving, where to park and who will be the designated driver at the end of the evening? Lowcountry has you covered on all accounts and not to mention, they’re budget-friendly!

If you're unaware of the things Charleston has to offer, I got you covered! Not only have I compiled a list of my favorite healthy restaurants, I'm also going to suggest some activities to do while you're there.

I'm obsessed with trying new healthy foods. Before I visit an area, I always do my research on what restaurants I NEED to check out. I love supporting local businesses and tend to stay away from chain restaurants. 

1) Basic Kitchen. Whether you’re in the mood for brunch or dinner, this restaurant has plenty of options! With menu items such as Avocado toast, salmon salad, granola bowl, thai spiced turkey burger, beet burger, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re vegan or can’t eat gluten, they also offer alternatives for you.

2) Verde. Craving salad? Head to this hot spot and create your own. Want a wrap instead? They also offer create your own wraps. You pick your base, add protein, cheese, dressing and additional ingredients. It’s a simple and healthy lunch that will fill you up.

3) Five Loaves Café. If you’re in the mood for a good sandwich, head to this café. They even allow you to pick the type of bread you want. The soups are made fresh daily. The best aspects of this café are they utilize locally sourced ingredients, antibiotic free turkey and chicken, nitrate free bacon, cage free and pasteurized eggs.

4) Beech. Acai bowls are the craze right now, so Beech should be your go-to if you’re looking for a pick me up. If you’re craving something a bit heavier, opt for one of their poke bowls. There are plenty of items to choose from and you’ll honesty want to try them all.

5)  Butcher & Bee. This place prides themselves on making everything from scratch. From their pastries, ice cream, coffee and tea, salads, sandwiches to their desserts, all their items are delicious. Have I tried all of their menu items? Not yet!

Even if you try 2 out of the five restaurants I listed above, you won’t be sorry. And, when you’re done with eating an amazing meal, Lowcountry is there to pick you up and drive you to your next adventure.

Rent one of their classic, traditional or modern cars and ride in style. Whatever mood you’re in Lowcountry has your back!

Next, I’m going to move into some activities you HAVE to try. Not all of these activities are health and wellness-based. Some of them are more so scenic.

1) Charleston Tea Plantation. Do you like hot and iced tea? You’ll definitely want to check out Charleston Tea Plantation. It’s the only plantation in the country. Grab your friends and learn about the history of this plantation. Not to mention, you get free iced and hot tea and can buy souvenirs in their shop.

2) Folly Beach. Want to lounge by the beach? Bring some sunscreen, your favorite bathing suit and your favorite girls along with a bottle of champagne and relax at the beach. If you’re in the mood for a workout, there are plenty of exercises you can do to burn some calories. But, if you’re just looking to chill, just bring the essentials.

3) Patriots Point. Do you like history? If so, you’ll love this museum. Learn more about World War II and the Vitenam War. While this might not be an ideal activity for a girls trip, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a history nut.

4) Angel Oak Tree. This tree is said to be 400- 500 years old and is a live southern oak. Take a cameo with your and your best gal pals. It’s worth the drive, it’s free and it’s a must see while in Charleston.

5) Still Soul Studio. Take a class at this studio and work off that brunch. Their classes are definitely budget-friendly and will get your heart rate up. If you’re looking for more of a relaxation session, try their Meditation classes.

You’ll need a service to pick you up and drop you off between the beach, museum and sweating your butt off, so if you’re looking for excellent service, quality prices and a service that fits your needs, give Lowcountry a call today!

5 Budget-Friendly Date Ideas in Greenville

If you're looking for inexpensive date ideas, I have just the ticket for you! You do not have to spend an arm and leg - especially when it comes to Greenville. There are dozens of ideas, but you just have to think outside of the box.  When it comes to dates, it doesn't always have to be super romantic. You can have low-key dates and still enjoy yourselves.  

When my husband and I first moved to Greenville, we didn't have much money, so we spent time researching creative ways to spend quality time together either not spending a dime or a couple bucks here and there. 

If you're in a similar boat when it comes to your finances, don't worry because I compiled a list of budget-friendly date ideas:

1) A coffee date. There are dozens of coffee shops in Greenville. One of our faves is Coffee Underground, which by the way serves dairy-free milk and homemade syrup. Not to mention, you can get breakfast all day long. You can either head there for breakfast for a one-on-one breakfast date or go for a stroll at night and pick up a delicious beverage. Not in the mood for caffeine? They also offer beer, wine and cocktails!


2) Make sammies and head to a local park. We love going to the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson to take pictures + picnic with homemade sandwiches and potato salad. Not only is picturesque, it's family-friendly (in case you plan to bring the kids for an afternoon activity). It's about a 45-minute drive from Greenville, but so worth it and inexpensive! And, if you're not willing to drive that far, you can also check out Paris Mountain in Greenville or Lake Robinson in Greer, which is a hidden gem.


3) Grab a smoothie and walk around downtown. I'm rather obsessed with smoothies, so grabbing a smoothie from Happy + Hale, Southern Pressed Juicery or even Kuka Juice (if you're in the mood for juice. they also have food!) is a cheap afternoon date. Not only are you getting your daily intake of nutrients, downtown is clean, safe and nice to walk around. 

4) In the mood for frozen yogurt? Luna Rosa Gelato CafeCreme Shack, Blueberry Frog are all walking distance of downtown Greenville. There are plenty of frozen yogurt and ice cream shops outside of Greenville such as Pink Mama's Ice Cream Shop & Trucks in Travelers Rest or Dillards Farms Inc Ice Cream in Greer.

5) Go to a comedy show. I know tickets for Alchemy Comedy Theater at Coffee Underground range from $8.00 - $10.00. You can sip on some alcohol and watch a good improv show! 

What are your favorite inexpensive date night ideas? Comment below!

Do YOU look at food labels?

"It's good to eat processed foods once in a while," my mother said a few years back. That was probably one of the most comical things she's ever said. Actually, you should avoid eating processed food because they contain chemicals, toxins, etc and you're more prone to diseases and cancer.

In November 2017, my husband and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon. On the cruise, one of the nutritionists opened up my eyes to all the crap that's in our food.  The rule is when reading the ingredients on food and you can't pronounce ANYTHING on the label, you probably SHOULD NOT be eating it.

After that, my husband and I started looking at labels. That's when our shopping trip began taking 2-3 hours! And, you know what, I'd much rather carefully read every single label then have no idea what is going into my body.

According to Better Health Store, here are some ingredients you should avoid eating:

1. Palm Oil

When a regular fat like corn, soybean, or palm oil is blasted with hydrogen and turned into a solid, it becomes a trans fat. These evil anti-nutrients help packaged foods stay "fresh," meaning that the food can sit on the supermarket shelf for years without ever getting stale or rotting. Eating junk food with trans fats raises your "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers your "good" HDL. These fats also increase your risk of blood clots and heart attack. Avoid palm oil and other trans fats like the plague, and kiss fried foods goodbye too, since they're usually fried in one of these freakish trans-fatty oils.

2. Shortening

Ditch any food that lists shortening or partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, since these are also evil trans fats. In addition to clogging your arteries and causing obesity, they also increase your risk of metabolic syndrome. Choose healthier monounsaturated fats, such as olive, peanut and canola oils and foods that contain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids instead.

3. White Flour, Rice, Pasta, and Bread

When a whole grain is refined, most of its nutrients are sucked out in an effort to extend its shelf life. Both the bran and germ are removed, and therefore all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Because these stripped down, refined grains are devoid of fiber and other nutrients, they're also easy to digest — TOO EASY. They send your blood sugar and insulin skyrocketing, which can lead to all sorts of problems. Replace processed grains with whole grains, like brown or wild rice, whole-wheat breads and pastas, barley, and oatmeal.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup

The evil king of all refined grains is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The amount of refined sugar we consume has declined over the past 40 years, but we're consuming almost 20 times as much HFCS. According to researchers at Tufts University, Americans consume more calories from HFCS than any other source. It's in practically EVERYTHING. It increases triglycerides, boosts fat-storing hormones, and drives people to overeat and gain weight. Adopt my zero-tolerance policy, and steer clear of this sweet "poison."

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low, SugarTwin), and sucralose (Splenda) may be even harder on our metabolic systems than plain old sugar. These supposedly diet-friendly sweeteners may actually be doing more harm than good! Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners trick the brain into forgetting that sweetness means extra calories, making people more likely to keep eating sweet treats without abandon. Nip it in the bud. Scan ingredient labels and ban all artificial sweeteners from entering your mouth.

6. Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate

These preservatives are sometimes added to soda to prevent mold from growing, but benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked with serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Don't risk it, people

7. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

BHA is another potentially cancer-causing preservative, but it has been deemed safe by the FDA. Its job is to help prevent spoilage and food poisoning, but it's a major endocrine disruptor and can seriously mess with your hormones. BHA is in HUNDREDS of foods. It's also found in food packaging and cosmetics. BHA has many aliases. You can look them up. Or you can follow my advice and DITCH processed foods altogether.

8. Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites

No that's not a typo. These two different preservatives are found in processed meats like bacon, lunch meat, and hot dogs. They're some of the worst offenders, and they're believed to cause colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. Protect your health by always choosing fresh, organic meats.

9. Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow

The artificial colors blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. Always seek out foods with the fewest artificial chemicals, especially when shopping for your kids. Look for color-free medications and natural food products that don't contain artificial colors like these.

10. MSG

So, around that time, we vowed to make our food from scratch. If we did that, we knew exactly what we ingredients we're consuming. And, we stick to that to this day and will continue on the same path. I'm so thankful to have found a man who likes cooking and making homemade meals just as much as myself.  When it comes to cooking, we usually switch off. One night he cooks and the next night I cook. 

So, I highly recommend looking at labels and choosing what you want to put in your body. Processed foods make you feel like crap anyway. There is nothing like a home-cooked meal. The way you feel after eating that versus a meal from McDonald's is a complete difference. I know that not everyone has time to cook meals, but once in a while, I suggest at least paying more attention to labels.

Challenge yourself next time you go grocery shopping!

5 Dairy-Free Brands You Need To Try

Since I'm lactose intolerant, I'm always looking for dairy-free meals, cheeses, coffee creamers and desserts. Recently, I came across someone asking for dairy-free foods and figured I'd suggest some brands I tend to buy at the store.

  • Natural Bliss Coffee creamer.

This brand has three different flavors: vanilla, sweet creme + caramel. The sweet creme is made from coconut milk while vanilla and caramel are derived from almond milk. I've tried all three flavors and have to say my favorite is vanilla. You can't go wrong with choosing any of the flavors.

  • So Delicious.

I love So Delicious! Even though it does tend to be a tad pricey, the cheese tastes amazing! If you're plant-based or lactose intolerant like me, in my opinion, this cheese tastes practically like cheese derived from milk. You're not missing anything! They offer mozzarella, cheddar + cheddar jack. Don't think they just have cheese! Some other products this brand possesses is ice cream, coconut milk, yogurt, coffee creamer, as well as other frozen desserts. 

  • Kite Hill.

Since I'm unable to eat ricotta cheese, I decided to look for a substitute. To my surprise, at Whole Foods I found Kite Hill's ricotta cheese so I could make Eggplant Manicotti. It consisted of almond milk, salt, enzyme, tartaric acid + cultures. If you can read all the ingredients in a product, then you know it's pretty natural. If you're unable to pronounce most of the ingredients in a product, that might not be something you want to put in your body.  And, the best thing about this brand is they don't just sell ricotta cheese, they also offer dairy-free yogurt, cream cheese + two types of ravioli!

  • Daiya.

From cream cheeze, pizza, shredded cheese, cheezecake, cheezy mac, greek yogurt, dressing to sauce, Daiya has everything you could every want - and a tad more! According to their website, Daiya makes dairy-free eating a joy. From the ooey gooey goodness of a grilled cheese to the rich and creamy taste of fruit-kissed yogurt, all our products taste great. And that makes you feel great. With their variety of options, you can't go wrong with trying any of their products. 

  • Go Veggie.

Go Veggie offers dairy-free cheese, Parmesan + cream cheese. Their products are lactose and soy free as well as vegan. GO VEGGIE® provides a variety of products and flavors to satisfy every cheese-lover’s craving. With more calcium, equivalent protein, less fat and less calories compared to ordinary cheese – and free from cholesterol, lactose and gluten – you can now enjoy all of your stretchy, melty, cheesy foods without all the guilt, according to their website. Try one of their food items today.


Whether you're looking for cream cheese, dairy-free ice cream, yogurt, cheese or coffee creamers, any of these brands above will suffice. I've tried all of them and they all taste similiar. They all satifiy my craving for cheese. Even before I was lactose intolerant, I was never a fan of milk, so I really don't miss drinking cow's drink. I'd opt for almond, cashew or coconut milk any day! Let me know which brands are your favorites!

Why I Chose A Healthier Lifestyle

Two years ago, when we went on our honeymoon, we met two nutritionists who changed our perspective on what we put in our bodies. We were told that most people do not take the time to read food labels on the back on items. If we wanted to lose a few inches and reduce the toxins in our body, we needed to follow this diet for a few months. 

So, we abided.

For a few months straight for breakfast we ate hard-boiled eggs, chose lunch and dinners items such as salad, whole grains and avoided certain foods such as molasses and citric acid. BTW - did you know that citric acid is one of the main ingredients in some of the foods we consume day in and day out? I didn't - until I met with that nutritionists a few years ago.

That's why I opted for a healthier lifestyle. That's why I check ingredients in the foods I eat, That's why I only order from scratch-made, local restaurants around the Upstate.  That's why I bring my lunch to work every day. That's why I'd rather sit across from my husband at our kitchen table eating a home-cooked meal than go out to eat. That's why I'd rather spend 2 1/2 hours in a grocery store making sure I know exactly what I'm putting in my body.

When I wasn't educated about the foods I ate, I'd often bad about my choices and myself in general. Whenever my co-workers order food, I usually always say no because the places they choose are fast food joints or places that serve processed foods.

Now, if you like processed foods, I'm not trying to put you down or change the way you eat. I'm simply stating why I've opted to choose a healthier lifestyle. Processed foods make me feel crappy. Processed foods make me feel hungry, yet empty at the same time. 

And, if you'd like to challenge yourself, instead of grabbing a quick burger at Mickey D's, why not make you and your family a burger. In my opinion, it will be healthier + better for you! Not to mention, you can add all the fixings you want and know what's IN your food.

Let me know your favorite foods to cook!

5 Best Websites To Look for Healthy Recipes

Instead of spending time at a restaurant, my husband and I usually opt to stay home and make our meals from scratch. Not only do I know what goes into making it, I also know what ingredients are included. I'm lactose intolerant and very ingredient-conscious, so I'm constantly checking food labels. In fact, my husband and I tend to spend 3-4 hours grocery shopping because we're always looking on the back on whatever we buy. 

Right before we go on our bi-weekly shopping trip, I usually browse through various recipes to figure out what our weekly meals will look for the week ahead. I usually check different sites, but the following are my go-to's.

1. Minimalist Baker Though she's primarily plant-based, I tend to check out her recipes because they're usually healthy and turn out well. I make her dairy-free cheese meals and I love playing around to see what I can conger up that will exude a similar taste.

2. Good Housekeeping Okay, this one might be a bit bias considering I used to intern for GH, but nevertheless, they have some great healthy recipes!

3. Well Plated by Erin Erin is dedicated to making healthy and scrumptious recipes such as Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Bacon (I sub turkey bacon), coconut flour pancakes, strawberry oat bars (which btw were out of this world) and much more!

4. Sallys Baking Addiction Sally specializes in both cooking and baking! She creates dishes with plenty of flavor without the added chemicals.

5. Though Delish might make meals that aren't always what I'm looking for, but I usually go to them when I want to be creative. Their Goddess bowl, which is packed with plenty of protein is amazing!

These are just a few of my favorite websites. What are some online sources you use when searching for food recipes?