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23 April 2018

Road Tripping Essentials with Southern Breeze Sweet Tea

This post is sponsored by Southern Breeze Sweet Tea. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

As you guys know, we've been attempting to stay on the Keto diet for a few weeks now, and I'm happy to say, we've had great success with it! However, this past weekend, we took a road trip to the beach, and I was more than a little nervous about how to keep my carbs and calories down with tons of temptations along the way. After all, road trips are usually synonymous with junk food, amiright? 

To keep things on track, I was determined to set myself up for success. I knew a few fast food and gas station stops would be happening, so I made sure to pack a few items that would help keep me excited about the trip as well as maintaining my healthy ways.

Snacks like nuts and cheese were a given, but when the idea to pack a few mason jars and some packets of Southern Breeze Sweet Tea struck me, I have to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself. It's never occurred to me before to pack my own beverages. I always just stick to water when we travel. Of course it helps with hydration, but it also is readily available at every stop. However, I also know myself well-enough to know that I would definitely feel a little less strict about my sugar, carb, and calorie intake on vacation, and may or may not be tempted by a soda or two. After all, vacation is an excuse to let loose a little in every sense of the word. 

Before hitting the road, I rounded up a few mason jars. I kept them empty on the trip, but had a little plan in mind. Each time we hit a fast food chain for breakfast or lunch, I'd ask for a cup of ice and a bottle of water (a cup of water would work too!). Then, I'd add my Southern Breeze Sweet Tea cold brew tea bag to the mason jar, fill it with ice and pour water to the top. The tea would steep as we were getting back on the interstate, and once I got all of the food squared away with my chauffeur (aka husband, the driver), I would return to my tea, stick a straw in, give it a stir, and enjoy!

I've shared with you before my love for Southern Breeze Sweet Tea. Over the past few years (I was first introduced to them in 2015!), I've gone from liking their products to absolutely LOVING them. And that is in large part due to their Half and Half cold brew flavor. This tastes exactly like the Southern sweet tea you grew up enjoying, but it's better for a few reasons. One, it's single serving which means if you're in the mood for tea, you can make just one glass! Two, it's zero calories and zero carbs making it a healthy alternative. (Note: if you're doing Keto like me, be sure to make decisions for yourself about which sweeteners you want to incorporate into your diet. Since I drink 95% water, I don't mind treating myself to different sweeteners from time to time. Southern Breeze is made with just 4 ingredients: Black Tea, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, and Sucralose (sweetener).) Three, it's cold brew, so no boiling water required which is perfect for road-tripping! 

Once I was done, I'd simply put the lid back on and move it to a different cup holder. I didn't have to worry about it spilling or immediately removing the jar at the next stop. Reusable cups FTW!

In addition to this little travel hack, I also packed a few things to keep myself occupied. I always make sure to have a good read, and even after having this Emily Giffin book for a few years, I still had not read it, so it came along for the ride. I also grabbed a few old issues of Southern Living that I wanted to read. I packed my good headphones that go over my ears for catching up on the latest podcasts, too. I don't know about you guys, but the tiny earbuds aren't comfortable for me, so these are a must when I know I'll have them in/on for a while.

Other road trip essentials that are a must have for me are cute but comfortable clothes. We started our weekend with a stop along the way for me for work, so I couldn't arrive in my usual Lululemon attire. I chose a stretchy pair of white jeans from Old Navy, a cute striped tie front shirt from J.Crew Factory, and some thrifted espadrilles I picked up a few years ago. Note: if you take a look at the top online, it says that it's red, but I definitely think it reads pink which in my opinion, is way more fun for spring. 

If you're heading on your own spring road trip this season and want to avoid those sugary beverages found at every fast food joint or roadside stand along the way, consider incorporating my mason jar/Southern Breeze hack. If you're curious about trying the half and half flavor (or any other kind for that matter!), I have good news! First time purchasers can can use the code APRILSHIPFREE for  free shipping now through April 30, 2018.

And finally, Southern Breeze is having a pretty spectacular spring picnic giveaway that you can enter, too! Click the graphic below to be taken to the page to enter.

Any other road tripping essentials that I'm missing? Or vacation diet hacks I should know about? Let me know in the comments! 


04 April 2018

Keto follow-up: your questions answered

Whoa. Over 500 of you read Monday's post about my results with Keto. For someone who has kind of fallen off of the blogging bandwagon, that's a lot of people! I love that the post struck a chord with you, and that you had questions you wanted answered! I wanted to go over a few of those questions today - again based on the premise of what's worked for me. If you want even more in depth answers, you know what to do: order Simply Keto (it's available on Prime and can be at your door in 2 days)!

Q: Can I have cheat days on Keto? / Is it a lifestyle?

A: Nope. You really, truly cannot cheat. It will knock your body out of Ketosis (read more about that in Simply Keto). For example, we took Easter off and definitely noticed a change in our bodies/results. And that was just ONE day with a few pieces of candy and some potato salad! Honestly, a few sugary foods weren't worth all of the hard work I had put in over the previous four weeks. Bottom line: don't cheat. You won't get the results you want. In fact, you probably won't get any results.

While I hate the word "lifestyle," I think it's more along those lines than a traditional/typical diet.

Q: How is Keto different from Whole 30?

A: Keto is very different from Whole 30. I am a BIG supporter of doing what works for you. Whole 30 is an elimination diet that focuses on helping you identify the foods that do not work for your body. It's a total reset for your insides! It's also not for me, and that's okay. 

Keto might seem counterintuitive after years and years of being told fat is bad. And for transparency's sake, I'm not convinced putting ranch on anything that sits still is totally healthy (lol). But if that means I choose a salad and get excited about it AND lose a little weight, I'm all about it. 

Before you dive in, do your research and discover what might work for you. You might prefer dabbling with Whole 30! 

Q: Can you eat fruit on Keto?

A: Yes! You definitely can, but you have to be smart about it. Fruits (like bananas) tend to be carb heavy. Choose raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries for lower carb choices, but watch your portions. Again, read about this in Simply Keto. I also look at it like this: if the choice is a cookie or a banana, having a banana is the better choice. My ultimate goal is to be happy with my weight and body, so I can get back to noshing those healthy foods, no matter what they are, regularly.  

Q: Do you only eat chicken salad for lunch?

A: No, not necessarily. However, I do LOVE chicken salad, so I tend to gravitate towards it. It's also almost always available on menus for when I go out to lunch. Finally, it also is an easy way to hit protein and fat goals for macros. 

Other great options for lunch that I've found that I love are poke bowls (skip the base all together & double up on the veggies down the line - and the mayo-based dressing), Jimmy John's unwiches, pimento cheese, and burrito bowls (no rice, no beans, but all the cheese). 

At home, I'll make a quick Cesar salad or deli roll-ups (with Simply Keto honey mustard!). 

Q: How did you kick the coke habit?

A: This one was hard for me, but not as bad as I was expecting. I tried the sparkling water thing (gross), so what has worked for me is sticking with water with lemon during the week or water with some form of low-carb flavoring (I like fruit punch Mio). 

And at the end of the day, I look at it like this: if I have extra carbs, I can spend them on wine, and I'd MUCH rather have wine than a coke! 

Q: What are your must-have pantry staples for Keto? 

A: There are a few things that I make absolutely sure to have on hand every week, especially so if creativity strikes, I don't have to run to the store. Our pantry/fridge staples are:

- Lily's Sea Salt Chocolate Bar (Found on the candy aisle at Publix for those chocolate cravings that kick in at 3 PM - I have one square!)
- Wright's Bacon - it's the best and worth every $8.99 penny 
- Eggs
- Heavy Cream
- Cream Cheese
- O'Charley's Ranch (always and forever)
- Hothouse Cucumbers (to dip in the ranch, duh) 
- Head of Butter Lettuce (for making "sandwiches") 

Q: What are your favorite Simply Keto recipes? 

A: I love this question because I have so many favorite recipes from the cookbook! Out of respect for the author, I can't give you the recipes themselves, but you can visit her blog or this post for more specifics. Here are my favorite recipes according to each section:

- Honey Mustard
- Easy Alfredo

- Sausage Casserole 
- Waffles (these are a pinch dry, so add your favorite sugar-free nut butter & sugar-free syrup) 

- Chili 
- BLT wraps 
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops
- Bunless Burgers

- Chicken Parmesan
- Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad
- Chicken Cordon Bleu 
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Skewers
- Chicken Alfredo Bowls
- Parmesan Chicken Wings 

- Fauxtatoes
- Twice Baked Cauliflower
- Creamed Spinach 
- Zoodles (they sell these ready made at Publix!) 

- Lemon Cheesecakes
- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
- Brownies (add homemade sugar free whipped cream)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Let me know if you have any other questions! I am happy to keep answering them for you!

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