Streak With Me: Writing

Streak With Me: Writing ... Every month for the past 3 years I have been doing a “streak”. A streak is a daily activity I do for a certain amount of days to move me toward a healthy habit or something I want in my life. Every month for the past 3 years I have been doing a “streak”. A streak is a daily activity I do for a certain amount of days to move me toward a healthy habit or something I want in my life. Last year I started invited others to join me. I wanted to introduce them to this “baby steps” approach to life that has worked so well for me.

So each month I make a facebook event and invite all my social media peeps to join me in streaking!

The great thing about this challenge is that each individual gets to decide what he/she wants to streak. It can be something in the fitness or nutritional world (like run a mile or drink a gallon of water) or it can be something completely unrelated (like flossing or telling your kids how much you love them).

I have done several different streaks involving all areas of my life.

This month I am doing a writing streak. I have tried this streak several times over the past couple years, and the longest I have gone is 6 days. The week days are very easy for me to schedule things in, but my weekend plans are all over the place and I typically just forget to continue the streak since it’s not quite a habit for me yet.

This time around I decided to shorten my minimum. The first time I attempted this streak, I chose a minimum of 30 minutes. The second time, I tried for 15 minute minimum. The next, 10. This time (after several fails) I decided to go for something there is NO excuse for not completing…5 minutes of writing a day!

Some people would say “what’s the point of writing 5 minutes a day?” It all adds up, baby steps, building good habits, doing small easy tasks each and every day to move toward a bigger goal and ultimately to the life of your dream. That’s the point!

I’m on day 4. So far so good! Got through the first weekend of the month. Today’s streak was writing this post about my writing streak! #multitasking

I lead a “streaking” challenge every month. It’s more fun to streak with friends! What would you streak? What could you change in your daily routine that will make a huge difference in your life over time?

Join our next streaking challenge! Send me your email address…
https://www.facebook.com/KirstenMcCaySmith

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http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/newsletter

STREAK ON!
See you soon!

Plant Powered for Life: Coco Hydrate

Plant Powered for Life: Coco HydrateOf all the facets in my crazy unfocused “squirrel” life, the subject that I get asked the most questions about is being vegan. I am often asked specifically WHAT products (foods) I eat, drink, supplement, train, race, etc with. Instead of constantly running down my list of “the usuals”, I decided to start a list of my faves and write a quick summary of benefits and why I love the product for you to read and decide if it’s a product that will work for you in your life.

The first product I am highlighting is one of my newest additions for my health/pseudo-training/can-take-while-pregnant drinks I have during my workouts.

I have been wanting to like coconut water since it first became “mainstream” about 6 years ago. I tried every brand, flavor, even the real thing fresh in Kona, but hadn’t found one I could stomach. I didn’t like the flavor or the consistency of it. Now I’m all for health benefits, but I won’t stick with anything long term (or short term) that I don’t like the taste of!

I had been drinking a product called “Can’t Beet This” (beet powder) for health and training and LOVED it, but when I found out I was pregnant, I had to stop because it has caffeine and too many herbs in it that my doc said to stop until after I have my baby. So I was on the lookout for something else.

The same company that made the beet powder, Purium, had just come out with a coconut water
powder. I ordered some and crossed my fingers. I already believed in the benefits of the ingredients, just needed to make sure I liked the taste. And I did! PHEW!!

This product is called Coco Hydrate. It’s described as: Organic ecologically responsible Coco Hydrate!

Coconut water is amazing but most brands are not organic and are bad for the planet. Our coconut water is dehydrated on-site after harvesting to reduce our carbon footprint. Hydrate and reenergize with our blend of coconut water, mineral salts and rooibos. The concentration of balanced electrolytes can help promote hydration after a workout, elevation shift or just an afternoon thirst quencher.

It’s made by a company called Purium which is a company that goes back to the original purity standards. No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, binders, fillers, hormones, pesticides, irradiated or genetically-modified ingredients. Just real food. Super food. For super results. Purium offers a solution that benefits our bodies, as well as the Earth.

I like and support the company because the majority of their products are plant-based and they promote a plant-based lifestyle.

I drink this every day at the gym when I am working out. I have also mixed it in my smoothies if I am feeling a little dehydrated or fatigued, which is a common occurrence in my third trimester of pregnancy!

Retail cost of Coco Hydrate is $29.95. I have a $50 gift card you can use for any orders over $75.

To order go to…

www.iShopPurium.com
Use code: vegandivakir for $50 off your order

Join our plant-powered community…
www.facebook.com/groups/plantpoweredforlife

Check out my other fave products…
http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com

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See you soon!

Simplify Your Life: Easy Sushi Rice For Lazy Vegans

Simplify Your Life: Easy Sushi Rice For Lazy VegansMost of you know I am constantly working toward simplifying my life. Adding systems, de-cluttering, organizing, tossing stuff, etc, in order to make my life less complicated and easier to handle.

The area in my life that I think I have excelled in this the best so far, is meal planning, prepping, and cooking. I love eating food, a lot of it, and have found recipes that have made my life simple and easy when it comes to time in the kitchen!

I wanted to share with you some of the things that have worked for me!

To start off, in order for any planning, prepping, organizing, etc to work, you have to be willing to make time for it. I am fortunate because I work from home, so I can make things that take a long time to cook (and by long time I mean 30 minutes) while I am working!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose to do this, set a timer on your phone (not the stove in case you leave the kitchen) for when to check on stuff. I have learned the hard way, several times, that it’s super easy to get distracted and forget what you are doing on the stove, and end up with eggs exploded all over the kitchen ceiling (pre-vegan) and a pan melted into the stove, and smoke filling the house. My bad!

Anyhoo…

Even if you don’t work at home, you can find time to prep things that take time to cook. While watching TV, while helping the kids with homework, while you are doing your exercise video (I mean streaming), while you are taking a shower and primping, while you are walking the dogs (short walk only in this case), etc. If something is important to you, you will find time for it!

Here is one of my fave things to prep and have on hand for the entire week…

EASY SUSHI RICE RECIPE!

I love making a giant pan of Sushi Rice because it is simple, inexpensive, and can be made into sushi burritos, sushi rolls, stir-fry, any rice dishes, or even eaten plain. You can make sushi rolls out of any fruits, veggies, etc that you have laying around the house or that you like to eat so it is quick and convenient to have handy. It also makes for a sweet/salty treat for after dinner or after a long workout. It’s versatile and something the whole family can enjoy. It’s healthy and can be eaten warm or cold.

Easy Vegan Rice Burrito Recipe

Here is my recipe…

Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • Sushi Rice (I have used several brands and they all taste the same to me)
  • Rice Vinegar (I have used plain and with garlic and like both the same)
  • 100% Maple Syrup (I have also used coconut sugar when I was out of maple syrup and it was still really yummy, and a little cheaper)
  • Sea Salt

I make a double batch to save on time and have more available for me, so if you won’t be going through that much, make a single batch.

DIRECTIONS:

Cook rice as directed (my double batch makes 8 c of rice)

When you are 5 minutes away from rice completion, begin making the sauce.

In a saucepan, bring to a boil ½ c of rice vinegar, ½ c of maple syrup, and 1 tbsp of salt.

Once everything is dissolved together (about 1 minute of boiling and stirring), pour the liquid into the rice and stir.

You can eat it immediately if you want to make it into something warm (or eat plain) or you can cool it and store it for later use.

I store mine with a lid on the counter because I like it to stay soft (sometimes rice in the fridge gets hard) and have stored it up to 2 weeks.

I love eating it plain! For meals I usually take a seaweed wrap (nori paper) and lay a thin layer of rice on top, spread vegan mayo on top of the rice, and then add whatever veggies I have or want.

My fave is bread and butter pickles and pickles beets with minced garlic and ginger. I wrap it all up into a “burrito” and eat!

I would love to hear your fave uses for Sushi Rice and other super simple kitchen hacks that have worked for you!

To get an easy vegan recipe in your inbox weekly, go to…
www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newlsetter

To see all my throw together vegan meals…
www.instagram.com/throwtogethervegan

See you there!

My Top 10: Reasons I Like Being Pregnant

My Top 10: Reasons I Like Being PregnantWhen I first began to share the news that I was pregnant, after the initial shock from others wore off, I started getting stories of how awful pregnancy is. From morning sickness to being uncomfortable all the time to weird cravings and back pain! Gee, something to look forward to!

Luckily, I know everybody is so different, and I always wait to see what my experiences are instead of worrying from others’ past experiences, so I was still optimistic. Curious and interested to see how the next 9 months of my life would look but had no expectations or judgements about the process.

I followed my “word” for 2018, which is “trust”. I trusted that everything would unfold as it should.

Fast forward almost 8 months…

The question I get most often these days is “how are you feeling?” It’s hard to answer that question because in general I feel amazing, I mean for being 8 months pregnant and 30 pounds overweight!

Am I full of energy and in peak racing condition and emotionally stable and high as a kite? No, but I never am. Is anyone?

I have had ups and downs, cried a few times, gotten down on myself, felt elated, and pretty much everything in between. I have had “perfect” eating days and shitstorm eating days. I have had great workouts and cleaned the house and worked on my bizes and been super productive one day, and then sat on my lazy butt and watched 8 hours of “Grey’s Anatomy” the next.

But this is exactly how my life has been the past 45 years, so really, not much has changed!

I will, however, say I don’t mind being pregnant at all! It’s been much easier physically, mentally, and emotionally that I had imagined. From stories I have heard, I am having a very easy pregnancy. I know I have several weeks to go, and I know I will be growing exponentially over this time so I prob shouldn’t put this in writing, but as of now, I would say being pregnant is a walk in the park!

Here are the 10 things I like most about being pregnant…

10: When I over eat I can say “I’m eating for two”
9: I can forget anything and say I have “baby brain”
8: When I want junk food I can blame it on pregnancy cravings
7: I can have sex and not worry about getting pregnant
6: Any excuse to go shopping
5: Motivation to eat healthier and exercise
4: It’s a great conversation starter
3: A way to connect with others I formerly had nothing in common with
2: Feeling her move around inside of me
1: I have the honor and privilege of bringing new life into this world

I am grateful you are in my life to share this journey and adventure with me!

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O.M.G!! Dave Ramsey Baby Step One…AGAIN!

O.M.G!! Dave Ramsey Baby Step One…AGAIN!So I thought I was DONE with Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Step 1” which is saving $1,000 to start an emergency fund. Dave Ramsey is a financial guru who gives very “common sense” and “sound” advice on finances, debt, and building wealth. He has been on the radio answering finance questions for the past 25 years. He has a general financial plan with 7 “baby steps” to help everyone get out of debt and gain more control of their personal finances.

Baby step 1 is to start a small emergency fund of $1,000. I have already written several posts about my struggle and journey of getting started and finished with this first step. Here is the last one…HELP! Baby Step 1…AGAIN…UGH!!

The last time I wrote about the baby steps, I was on baby step 4, which means I had already built up a full emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses, for me that was $12,000. So imagine my disappointment in myself, when only 1 year later, I am back (yet again) to baby step 1, and working on building up my starter e-fund. RME!

It’s not a shock why I am here, I chose all of it, and to be honest, I wouldn’t change anything that has happened in the past year, but I am ready (New Year’s resolution) to get my finances back on track, and I have to start somewhere…baby steps!

So here I am, back to square one, at 45 years old, starting over, AGAIN!

Only this time I am a different person. I have not once told myself how stupid, irresponsible, immature, lazy, or unfocused I am. I haven’t labored over how much I hate money and finances and budgeting (which I don’t anymore). And I have only shed one (maybe two) tears when I have felt anxious or overwhelmed at where I am because of the choices I have made.

So what has changed? Maybe it’s getting older and wiser, maybe it’s loving myself more, or maybe it’s just that I know I am capable of starting over no matter what, because I have done it so many times before. My guess is that’s it’s all three!

I have a plan. I have it written down. I have shared it with those that support me. And I am excited to focus again on making money and building a future for me and my family!

Is there something in your life that you really want and have tried several times to have/get/do/be and have failed more times that you care to admit? Guess what? It’s OK!! You are OK! You are actually amazing! And resilient and powerful and forgivable and worthy. If it’s something you really want, get back up and go for it.

I challenge you to do one thing today to move toward what that is. You can keep it a secret, or you can share with me, I will support you no matter what!

Today I will follow up with at least 50 past customers in my Pure Romance biz to see if they need anything. Any money I make from any orders that come in, will go straight into my new emergency fund…baby step 1.

And then I will celebrate!!

Here is Dave Ramsey’s program…
http://amzn.to/2DduYgE

Here is our facebook support group…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FinancialFreedomROCKS/

And here is our community of like-minded kick-ass peeps…
https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun/

WE GOT THIS!!!

See you soon!

Race Report: Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI 2017

Race Report: Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI 2017I was just going through my 2017 posts to put together my annual “top posts” post and I realized I never posted my race report from the biggest race of my life! WHAT??? I must have gotten distracted with the 900 changes that were going on in my life when I returned from Hawaii at the end of October.

I just wanted to send an extra shout out to my bf, Matt, who miraculously got me a hotel room near the race start the night before and after the race to make my life easier, my gf, Ashley, who turned her Hawaiian vaca into helping me have a successful pre-race week.

All the insanely generous peeps who contributed to my www.gofundme.com/kirtokona campaign, and everyone who took time out of their own busy lives to track me, text me, send me good vibes, and share their love and support with me through social media.

Anyhoo…here it is…

Without the never-ending love and support I get from those around me, I would have never had the amazing race and experience I did in Kona.

I am forever grateful!

Thanks for being part of my life!

To watch any of my other race reports…

www.youtube.com/fitnessdivakir

See you soon!

My Top 11 Blog Posts from 2017

Top Blog Posts From 2017The reason I started my blog about 3 ½ years ago was to share my life experiences and hope that they would help others going through the same stuff. The reason my blog is all about food, fitness, finance, and fun in your 40s is because those are the 4 issues in my own life I struggle with the most. I know there have got to be others like me out there, so I am putting my life out there in hopes of connecting with other like me. We are not alone!

My favorite part about sharing is when I get a message from someone saying how much they appreciate what I wrote because it helped them in some way. My mission in life is to inspire others to be better just by being myself. This is how I can do that!

So THANK YOU for loving me for ME and not because I have accomplished something or did something amazing, but because I am human and flawed and need love and connection as we all do!

I was reminiscing about 2017 and looking through my posts from the past year. I wanted to share with you my top 11 of the year. The reason they are my faves is because they are the ones that gave me the most response from others that they appreciated the post. And the reason there are 11 is because 11 is my favorite number!!

So without further ado…

MY TOP 11 POSTS FROM 2017…

Transition to a Plant-Based Diet with Ease
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/transition-to-a-plant-based-diet-with-ease/

Daily Dose of Hope
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/daily-dose-of-hope/

Baby Steps: Love Yourself More
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/baby-steps-love-yourself-more/

Homework: Plan Ahead For Success
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/homework-plan-ahead-for-success-myfitnesspal/

My Friends ROCK!
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/my-friends-rock-sending-kir-to-kona/

Race Report: 2017 Ironman Boulder
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/race-report-2017-ironman-boulder/

One Day At A Time
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/finance/one-day-at-a-time/

Homework: Share Your Story
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/homework-share-your-story/

Suck It Cosmo!
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/suck-it-cosmo/

Haters Gonna Hate
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/business/haters-gonna-hate/

Homework: Let It Go
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/homework-let-it-go/

Thanks for being a part of my amazing life!!

I hope you decide to make 2018 your best year EVER!!!

Stay in touch!

www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/newsletter

See you soon!

My Next Big Adventure!

My Next Big AdventureI tend to set big goals and work towards accomplishing giant feats. And since I have gotten in the habit of announcing all my goals and dreams and plans to the world, when I get done with one thing, people always ask me what’s next!

I usually have a plan and a plan after that plan! But last year after my 2 year goal of qualifying for and racing the ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii, I didn’t have a plan.

I had no idea what was next for me. Throughout 2017, my year of transition and change, when people would ask where I was going to live or what I was going to do for money and other “easy” questions, I didn’t have an answer. Instead I would say time and time again, “I’m open to what is next for me.”

And I was.

I didn’t make many plans or set many goals throughout the year. I took one day at a time, one moment at a time, and learned to live in the moment and be grateful for where I was right then and there.

It felt uncomfortable at first, but over time, I truly began to be open to what was next for me. I took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me, even if I had no idea where it would go or what it would do for my future.

And by the end of the year, when people would ask me what was next, I could say with 100 percent certainty that I was open to whatever was next for me. I would take on whatever was presented to me, and make the very best of it, knowing that that was where I was supposed to be in my life.

So although I was very VERY surprised, I was not scared, when I found out six weeks ago that I was going to have a baby.

I stated over and over again that I was open to what was next for me in my life, and this is what the universe gave to me.

As a 45-year-old, who was not trying to get pregnant, who had been on birth control the majority of my adult life, and rarely had a period to begin with, the chances of me getting pregnant were less than one percent. So I know this baby really really REALLY wanted me to be her mother.

So that’s it! That’s my new adventure for 2018. I feel excited for this new chapter of my life, and I know without a doubt this is where I am supposed to be right now and this is what I am meant to be doing.

P. S. It’s a girl!

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See you SOON!

My Fave Vegan Cheeses

My Favorite Vegan CheesesThe number one reason people tell me they could never be vegan is because they could never give up cheese. I get it! It took me months to give up milk and eggs, but literally years to give up cheese.

I’m not an expert on the science, but I do know there are ingredients in cheese that act as opiates, which are highly addictive. So basically, it’s not our fault we can’t kick the cheese habit! BUT! If you have a strong enough reason to give it up, going “cold turkey” is the only way to kick the addiction.

Here are the 2 reasons I wanted to give up cheese:

Health:

Cheese is highly inflammatory. As an endurance athlete, I create so much inflammation in my body already, I don’t need the added joint and muscle inflammation. To compete at a high level, I need to recovery quickly from each workout, and inflammation delays that recovery.

Animals:

I used to think dairy wasn’t cruel treatment of animals because I just figured “cows needed to be milked”. The more I learned about the dairy industry, the more I was repelled about the practices of most dairy farms, and didn’t want to contribute to the abuse of animals anymore.

Once you have decided you want to give up cheese, you are on your way. Unfortunately, it’s not easy! Fortunately it is easier for you NOW than it was for me 10 years ago!

WHY? Because non-dairy cheese subs are 1,000,000 times better than they were even a year ago!!! They are healthier, have much better consistency, and many even taste like cheese!

I have tried pretty much ALL non-dairy cheeses, here are my 3 faves…

Slices:

I am a grilled cheese fanatic! For my grilled cheese I need a cheese that melts well and tastes like “American”, “Cheddar”, or “Provolone”. Follow Your Heart brand slices have all 3. I love the flavors, consistency, and meltability of all their slices. These aren’t in most grocery stores, but are in most health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.

Shreds:

For meals like pizza, lasagna, and enchiladas, I like to use shreds since I’m pretty lazy and don’t even own a shredder. My fave shrerdded “cheese” is So Delicious brand “Mozzarella” and “Cheddar Jack”. These melt easily, taste great, and are stringy and gooey like real cheese! These are newer and harder to find. The So Delicious website has a store locator for you. I found them at Whole Foods.

Blocks:

This was the biggie for me. For years during my quest to give up cheese, I was fine with the slices and shredded options, but couldn’t find a block with the flavor AND consistency that I loved about cheese. So every once in a while I caved and chowed a block of cheese.

Along came Follow Your Heart Blocks and I was FINALLY able to give up cheese 100%. I love the consistency (hardness) and flavor (mozzarella and provolone are my faves). I can cut up pieces to have on crackers or just unwrap and take a bite directly out of the block with 100% satisfaction! You can find these at any health food store and Follow Your Heart has a store locator on their website as well.

I hope these are helpful! It took me years to find cheese alternatives that were good enough to help me give up the real thing, but once I found these, the rest was history! I haven’t eaten cheese in 3 years and don’t miss it AT ALL!!!

To be a part of our Plant Powered Community…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/plantpoweredforlife

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http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

Or text FFFF to 22828

Enjoy your new “cheese”!!

See you soon!

Why I Love Native Foods Cafe

Why I Love Native Foods CafeWhen I was in Hawaii last year, I met a fellow vegan, who is also from Boulder, and we started talking about our favorite vegan restaurants in Boulder.

I told her that I loved Native Foods Café, which is a chain restaurant that mostly serves “fake” meat meals such as hamburgers, steak sandwiches, meatball subs, Rubens, chicken salads, and stuff like that.

She told me that she hated Native Foods because it’s just a bunch of fake meat and not a real vegan restaurant.

I completely disagree. And here’s why…

1. I love Native Foods because I can take anyone there with me whether they are vegan or not, and they will have a positive experience, a delicious meal eating plant-based food. This is really important to me because I am passionate about being vegan for the animals, the environment, and my health, and I want to share and spread that message will all the peeps I love in my life.

2. I would love as many people as possible out there to be eating more plants and less animals. I think the world would be a more compassionate peaceful place if more people ate more plants.

3. The majority of people who are giving up meat and dairy are not ready to eat a dish like lentils and Bulger.

4. Most people already love nachos and mac and cheese. I feel like we are going to get more people to consider the plant-based lifestyle, when it easily fits in with their current lifestyle, believes, and way of living. And what’s already comfortable for them.

So are chicken wings made of tofu the healthiest vegan option? Probably not. But the average person would much rather eat vegan chicken wings than blocks of tofu mixed in a kale salad or something similar, which is what many vegan restaurants serve.

Plus, it’s always fun for me every once in a while to have a giant plate of nachos or a buffalo chicken salad with ranch or something fun that I’m not used to having or that I won’t make it home.

So I’m all for these “transitional vegan” restaurants such as Native Foods Café. I think they play an important role in introducing the plant-based vegan lifestyle to people who typically wouldn’t even consider eating this way.

What are your favorite vegan restaurants??

If you want support in your plant-powered lifestyle, join our community here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/plantpoweredforlife

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http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

See you soon!