Episode 14: AJ ‘Falls’ for Keto All Over Again

Ma’am, please put down the avocado. That’s not how you keto, ma’am.

Seriously, keto? Again?

Less “again” and more like #ketober! Yes, that’s a thing. Look it up.

It works out because when the weather turns cold, my appetite yearns for heavier fare, more meats and cheeses. Which is why I think of the keto diet as a seasonal choice. Maybe one day I will graduate to lifetime keto. But for now, a low-carb lifestyle works for me … when I’m willing to “work it.”

Anyway, I posed #ketober to Hillary. After her eyes unstuck from rolling, and after I ducked the Real Housewives-worthy face slap, we decided this wasn’t the right time for her. At least that’s how I’m translating it. There were a lot of eff bombs to wade through.

For me, however, fall means ditching the fruits and the splurges of the summer for a more structured eating in the fall.

Don’t get me wrong; I eat low carb 80% of the time, year round and usually only go whole-hog-high-carb when I’m on vacation or at the occasional holiday party … and every other Friday because PIZZA. 

Don’t judge me! How very dare you! The scale is doing all the judging that I can handle right now. And I have been found wanting. As in, wanting to “GET A GRIP” before I explode out of my skinny jeans and need to buy a whole new wardrobe and maybe rent a crane to get me in and out of my house. Thanks, COVID!

Those of you who’ve been with us for a while might recall our first episode was Keto for Realz, and we were both low-carbing it at the time. We were also both younger, less jaded. It was a different time. It was pre-COVID.

Let’s face it, during “these unprecedented times” [insert eye roll] many of us have let ourselves go and turned to the comfort of fuds and boozes. Turn away! Put down the doughnut, AJ!

Have I convinced you? Care to #ketowithme? Do it! Do it! Fifty days until Thanksgiving! No pressure!

If you decide to join me and others who are keto all the time, review the keto diet rules, consult you physician, re-listen to our first episode for some good tips, and join in. Post your favorite recipes on our FB along with your favorite keto tips.

Keto Prep Checklist

  • Clear pantry and refrigerator of high carb snacks and foods
  • Stock up on keto-friendly foods
  • Review guidelines
  • Discuss dietary changes with your physician
  • Purchase electrolyte supplements
  • Plan meals ahead of time
  • Know thy enemy: Keto Flu
  • Prepare to fight cravings the first two to three days
  • Carry keto friendly-snacks for cravings in the early days

What about you? Are you trying any new or previous eating plans this fall? What’s your plan for success? Tell us about it in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Episode 12: The Dirty Dozen-ish Things We’ve Learned

dirty hands covered in grease
What it looks like after anyone tries to touch AJ’s soul.

Yes, dear listeners and Feed Me followers, we have somehow managed to string together 12 whole episodes. No one is more shocked by this than AJ and Hillary.

In honor of our twelfth episode, AJ and Hillary decided to put together the dozen things they’ve learned over those past many episodes. … Or at least, that was the working theory. AJ says there are more like eight things. Hillary cannot believe that’s correct. But she was a journalism major, so math was never really her strong suit.

Regardless, here are a handful of things the yahoos running this show have learned and some links in case you’d like more details. 

  1. Hillary: Keto isn’t too bad, but I probably don’t need to do it again.
  2. AJ: HIITHigh Intensity Interval Training — should only be done two to three times a week.
  3. Hillary: Writing every day helps level out my emotional ups and downs.
  4. AJ: I need structure and accountability … or I don’t just go off the rails. I eat the rails.
  5. Hillary: Aadam from Physionomics is a wise fella.
  6. AJ: I gotta get my workout done in the morning.
  7. Hillary: Progress is not a straight line.
  8. AJ: Cat and minimalist videos are OK and help me to get my zen on.
  9. Hillary: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  10. AJ and Hillary: It’s tough to reach people with our vast knowledge so we can make money so we can help them on their journey OR being Oprah is harder than it looks.

OK, so there were like 10. Although, No. 10 was something both AJ and Hillary had in common. Oh, and AJ didn’t get the chance to talk about how MUD/WTR doesn’t taste like mud. So, like 11. Close enough to 12. 

Also, to No. 10’s point, we need your help getting the word out.

No, not so we can become filthy rich and fabulously famous. (Though we’re not opposed to either of those things.) Just so we can help other people on their own journeys.

It can get lonely if you think you gotta do this all on your own or you’re the only person who’s ever encountered a certain health obstacle.

So, if you see something that tickles your fancy that you think other people would enjoy, make sure to share it. Sharing is caring. … Yes, that’s cheesy, but it’s true, too. 

How about you, our lovely followers and listeners? What have you learned during this wild and crazy ride. Tell us all about it in the comments!

Episode 11: Is MUD/WTR Worth the Hype and Expense?

Hand holding a can of MUD/WTR with list of ingredients shown.
You gotta give it to the MUD/WTR peeps. Their marketing and packaging is on point.

You ever drink out of a mud puddle as a kid? You know, you’re playing outside, the older kids in the neighborhood dare you, it’s hot out, you think, “what’s the worst that could happen.”

What? No, this is not an anecdote from Hillary’s childhood. Shut up.

Anyway, as an adult, your mud puddle drinking days are probably behind you (or not. Hey, we don’t judge). 

MUD/WTR packaging that reads "Started from the mud now we here."
Dammit, that’s clever.

But see, there’s this new thing called MUD/WTR.

Normally, we’d have hyperlinked that “MUD/WTR” reference to their website. But damn, the MUD/WTR people like them some tracking cookies. And that shit will follow you around the web until the end of time. 

So, you can find a lot of their details and story here: https://mudwtr.com. But we recommend you copy that link and open it in an incognito window unless you enjoy being stalked by a health drink.

Speaking of, that’s basically what MUD/WTR is. It’s billed as an alternative to coffee for people who react negatively to coffee’s caffeine side effects. 

MUD/WTR unboxing with product shown inside.
It’s a bit like an Apple product unboxing.

The ingredients are pretty simple and include:

So, basically, four types of mushrooms touted for their health benefits and then some other ingredients that are generally also believed to be good for ya. It’s worth noting that the studies done on the mushrooms were mostly animal studies, so it’s unclear if they carry over to humans.

OK, so, yeah, it’s probably good for you or at least not harmful. But does it taste like mud?

On this, both Hillary and AJ agree that the taste is pretty good. It’s a lot like chai tea or a cup of unsweetened hot chocolate. And you can add in your own sweeteners or creamers so that it matches your taste preferences.

MUD/WTR is billing itself as a coffee alternative that somehow magically gives you steady energy despite having only 1/7th the amount of caffeine. 

So, does that claim hold up?

MUD/WTR whisk
The whisk it a neat little tool and all, but it is waaaayyyyy too powerful, unless you enjoy licking MUD/WTR off your countertop.

Hillary is the coffee drinker of the dynamic duo, and because she loves you all, she actually gave up coffee for … OK, she made it like four days. It was hard, OK?

For her, no, MUD/WTR is not a magic elixir that provides boundless energy and focus and causes magic fairies to sprout from the couch cushions and clean your house for you. It’s just a nice drink that tastes good. 

AJ disagrees and says she noticed more mental clarity and focus. Plus, she really started to look forward to her morning cup o’ mud.

There’s also the cost factor. MUD/WTR is not cheap. It can run you anywhere from $40-$125, depending on how many servings you opt for.

So, it’s healthy and tasty and spendy. 

Stickers from MUD/WTR that read "support your local sunrise," "f*ck your coffee," and "MUD WTR VIP."
Ooo, sassy stickers. You can never go wrong with sassy stickers.

But is it worth it?

AJ is all in. She’s planning to start a subscription package and plans to drink it for the long haul.

Hillary is “meh” on it. It’s tasty stuff, and she enjoys mixing it in her coffee, like a dirty chai. But the cost is too great for her, especially since she didn’t see the benefits and loves coffee just too much.

What about you? Have you tired MUD/WTR? Yay or nay? Other coffee alternatives you’ve tried and love. Give us the dirty details in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Wanna get dirty yourself? The MUD/WTR people approved our request to be an affiliate. So, if you feel like ordering yourself something dirty, use this link.

(Note: As an affiliate, we might make a small profit anytime anyone uses our link to make a purchase. Thanks for your support!)

Episode 10: Walk It Off or Walk On? Whatever You Do, Just Walk This Way

man and woman sprint away from walking in the middle of the road
“We have to move immediately, for we are strolling down the middle of the road like a pair of idiots!”

Is there a less sexy exercise than walking? Sure, it’s got health benefits galore. But its appeal factor is somewhere between “limp, two-week-old broccoli” and “watching golf on TV.”

You’re likely not going to get “shredded” by walking, though your legs might get toned. If you want a heckin’ calorie burn, you’re gonna need to walk for eh while. (You don’t burn as many calories as you’d think with exercise anyway.) And it’s unlikely you’re going to see Russell Wilson or LaBron James shilling for those dead-sexy white walking shoes with soles the size of phone books.

But honestly, tramps like us, baby we were born to … walk. (Deepest apologies to The Boss.)

What walking really needs is a brand ambassador, one of them fancy influencers who will somehow make the most basic and yet one of the most beneficial exercises you can do totally, like, rad. Or whatever the cool kids are calling “good” these days.

If you’re still not convinced walking is “hard core” enough, consider some of these bitchin’ bioproducts of putting one foot in front o’ the other:

  • Good for your ticker
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Lowers your blood sugar
  • Can help with depression
  • Good for your joints
  • Helps you live longer
  • Kicks your creativity into high gear

There are also some ways you can incorporate gamification into your walking regimen. If you have a fitness tracker, it’s probably got you shooting for 10,000 steps a day, although the science behind that magic number is a little “meh.”

What ways have you embraced the humble walk? Where are your favorite places to walk, and what have you learned as you’ve walked on? Lay it all out for us in the comments.

Further Info and Deets

HIIT that walk hard, yo!

Outside Magazine: The Extraordinary Power of Going for a Walk

Put Your Money Where Your Foots Are with the Stepbet App

Who Put the Woo Woo in Achoo?

Bearded man daintily dabs at his nose with a tissue — credit to Brittany Colette from Unsplash
Even for a stock photo, sir, this looks super staged.

Is the air trying to kill you? Does every season change bring feelings of dread as first one nostril, then the other, shuts down for business? Do you pop Claritin or Allegra or Zyrtec by the handful while praying for a merciful death? Do your eyes look redder and wetter than the latest loser on “The Bachelor”? Do you … 

You know what, we forgot where we were going with this.

Oh. Right. 

Allergies.

If you’ve got ‘em — whether they’re seasonal, caused by dust or pet dander, or any of the myriad environmental causes that make your life miserable — you have our deepest sympathies.

AJ herself is a longtime allergy sufferer and tried all of the conventional treatment methods. That included the over-the-counter drugs, the skin pricks that made her back light up like a Christmas tree, the shots. 

And here’s where this post starts to sound like an infomercial full of some next-level bulljive. But try to keep an open mind. We swear we wouldn’t try to sell y’all on something that was bogus or harmful. Also, we’ve got no affiliations with any of the practitioners, and we ain’t making a dime off any of it. So, there that is.

Anyhoo, in her quest to reduce her allergy symptoms, AJ stumbled upon a couple of alternative options, NAET and AAT.

As a quick explainer, NAET — or  Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques — is a “non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.”

Yeah, it’s getting a little woo-woo-y up in here. But stay with us.

AAT — or Advanced Allergy Therapeutics — “works directly with the relationship between the major organ systems and overreactions to harmless substances.”

AJ’s allergies are both seasonal and food-related, and she found that both NAET and AAT were incredibly helpful in eliminating her symptoms. She also has allergy-suffering friends who found the same to be true.

Keep in mind that neither treatment is usually covered by insurance. However, both are fairly inexpensive treatments. So, if you’ve tried typical allergy-relief methods and found them wanting, maybe give NAET or AAT a try. Just make sure you use a licenced practitioner of each.

And now, over to you. What have you all found especially helpful in treating your allergy symptoms? Spill the tea in the comments.

Further Info and Deets

More details about AAT: https://www.allergync.com/aat

A handy playlist about all things allergy-related

The Unexpected Healing Power of Cat Videos

Sad, short-eared cat
Somebody get this poor animal a nummy immediately!

The current state of the world has a bit of a — oh, I don’t know — tire-fire quality about it, no?

Like everything is ablaze around us, and there’s just no putting it out, right? (Incidentally, for those who were really hoping we’d start this blog post with some song lyrics as we’ve done so often recently: Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was a strong contender.)

Anyhoo, even in the best of times, the world can get a bit gnarly, and that can wreak havoc on your emotional state.

AJ and Hillary find this to be true quite frequently. As such, over the course of time and trial and error, they’ve developed some strategies to make everything a smidge more bearable. 

The podcast tied to this post will talk in a bit more detail about some more well-known tips and tricks (so listen in and tell a friend!) like walking or getting yo’ ass outside.

But here are some lesser-known ideas that have worked for AJ and Hillary that you might want to consider the next time you’re a little blue.

Oh, ho’d on though: To be clear, these are tips for when you have a bad moment or day and have a temporary case of the blahs. If you’re struggling with depression, suicidal or self-harm thoughts, or something that’s impairing your ability to function, we are not advocating you only watch cat videos. Please find a way to get yourself some professional help. 

Say It’s Name

As odd as it may sound, the simple act of naming how you are feeling can help you to lessen the negativity of that emotion. (BTW, that link mentions “name it to tame it,” and Hillary has never been so pleased by a rhyme in all her days.)

Try a Little DBT

Dialectical behavioral therapy — a term Hillary can rarely remember the name of — is usually done one-on-one with a counselor or in group therapy. But there are tons of tools that you can also use when you’ve just hit a rough patch. One such tool is to describe your emotion. It’s similar to naming how you’re feeling, but it goes into a bit more detail, like drawing a picture of your feeling or visualizing what your feeling looks like. You can see a step-by-step explainer here

The Title of This Post Contains the Phrase ‘Cat Videos,’ So We’re Pretty Sure You Can See Where This Tip Is Going

Links to the cat videos are in the “More Info and Deets” section below. Oh, and AJ loves her some minimalist videos too, so there are links to those as well.

Try a Mishmash of Things

Now we need to hear from you. What do you do when you’ve got the blues? Sing us a sad song in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Some of these cats are dicks. … We love them.
Don’t like the snek throw you. There’s some real gold here.
Not all kittehs are that bright.
Why is this so soothing?!
Just slid of my chair in a deep state of relaxation …

You HIIT that Workout, and You HIIT It Hard!

Smiling woman seems to slap man
No, no, no. Not THAT kind of hit! Sheesh.

“HIIT me with your best shot! Come on and HIIT me with your best shot. HIIT me with your best shot! Fire away!”

Are all of these blog posts going to start with very obvious song lyrics? Probably. Do you know how hard it is to come up with an original intro every. single. time? It’s hard, m’kay. Very hard. (That’s what she said.)

Anyhoo, today’s hot topic is High Intensity Interval Training. And if you haven’t guessed it by now, that term is generally abbreviated “HIIT.” Prepare for an obnoxious amount of plays on the word “hit.” You’ve been warned.

According to this very helpful definition we completely stole from Precision Nutrition’s Ryan Andrews, who has a bunch of Very Important Sounding Letters after his name and thus Must Be An Expert, a HIIT is “when you alternate between high and low intensity exercise(s) or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.

“For example, a short sprint up a flight of stairs followed by a walk back down is interval training. Or a set of burpees followed by bodyweight rows.”

When you’re doing the hard work of a HIIT, your heart rate should be pretty high, like 70-90% of your max HR. (This is all under the assumption you’re a relatively healthy individual. And you already know this, but check with your doctor before embarking on a new workout regimen.) 

As another example, something AJ does, you could jump rope for say 20-30 seconds, and then do 20-30 seconds of squats before resting for 10-15 seconds, and then start the whole sequence again. You’d want to do that for a number of rounds, say 10-15.

The sky’s the limit when you want to HIIT that. Sprinting, biking real hard, body weight exercises, weight lifting (with good form, ya meathead). Most exercises will work for HIITs. 

Why would you want to HIIT it up? HIIT is good for your cardiovascular health or when you’re short on time or when you just wanna shake up your regular routine.

Note that although you’ll feel like you’re burning thousands upon thousands of calories because you are HIITing it so damn hard, you likely are not.

As our good friend Aadam over at Physiquonomics (fine, we’re not friends. Not yet anyway.) noted, a recent study looked at how much energy overweight women expended during a BodyPump class versus a typical strength training workout. According to the study’s results, both groups burned about the same amount of calories. Bummer, dude.

If you’re just hitting a HIIT for the first time, maybe start with just one workout a week to see how you feel. As your body adapts, you can adjust the workout length or the number of days you do a HIIT.

But if at any point your workouts or sleep or mental capacity or general well-being start to suffer, you should probably back off the intensity, length of workout, or number of days you’re HIITing it so hard.

What’s your favorite way to get in a good, solid HIIT? HIIT us up (OK, we’re done now. We promise.) in the comments!

Info and Further Deets

I must be because my abs look nothing like that guy’s.

Aspirational … ‘cos damn, those legs tho.

She looks so happy and not at all like she wants to die.

Fun one for beginners, and it’s just four minutes.

Elliptical or treadmill (scenery and timer). … Yeah, but they look waaaaayyyyyy too happy, like someone spiked their smoothies.

WTF is IF and Is Intermittent Fasting for You?

empty plate after meal
Wow, I ate that SUPER fast. … Wait, is that not what we’re talking about here?

If you hear the word “fasting” and immediately picture Gandhi on a hunger strike, you’re not alone.

Well, you and Hillary aren’t alone at least.

Fasting — especially intermittent fasting — has less to do with social activism and more to do with health and oftentimes weight loss. 

Although everyone fasts multiple times a day (anytime you’re not stuffing your piehole, like when you’re sleeping, you’re technically fasting), intermittent fasting is a bit more deliberate. 

Different people opt to IF (yes, that’s how the cool kids abbreviate it) in different ways. Some people find it easiest to skip eating from around 7 p.m. until the following day at 11 a.m. That’s a 16-hour fast or a 16:8. So, 16 hours fasted with an eight-hour “eating window” (you’re damn right there’s gonna be a quiz. Also, no, you do not eat a window. Try to keep up here.). Other folks forgo lunch or dinner.

No matter which route you take, the usual objective is to shorten the aforementioned eating window.

But why in the name of everything holy would anyone want to skip eating a meal?

In lots of people, fasting has shown myriad benefits, including better sensitivity to hunger signals, improved blood sugar levels, increased mental clarity and focus, decreased appetite, improved insulin sensitivity, and more. 

So, is IF the magic bullet that everyone should start trying immediately OMG why are we still sitting here we need to stop eating for days at a time right this very second eeeeeee?!

Yeah, maybe not.

If you suffer from low blood sugar, IF might not be for you. Also, although the benefits of intermittent fasting in men tend to be fairly universal, that’s not always the case with women. Some women might actually see their blood sugar levels get worse. Or it can disrupt their menstrual cycle.

This goes without saying (but we’re gonna say it extra hard and loud for the people in the back), but if you do decide to try intermittent fasting — especially if you have lady bits — you’re gonna want to check with your doctor. And keep close tabs on how IF makes you feel and if it has any negative effects on your body or your sleep or your mood, etc. 

What about you? Have you tried IF for any length of time? Seen the benefits? Suffered some not awesome side effects? Tell us about your IF experience in the comments!

Further info and deets

Episode 5: Do You Even Ride, Bro? Or How to Live Your Best Two-Wheeled Life

bicycle bell shaped like a hamburger
The more you ride, the more burgers you can eat. Those are the rules.

BIKES!!!1

To understand that reference and why Hillary kept saying it over and over again on the podcast, you have to watch this clip of Tom Segura.

No, go ahead, do it now. We’ll wait. 

You’re welcome.

We’re living in the age of the bike, man. There are bikes at pretty much every price point and for every activity imaginable. Even snow. Yes, snow. Or sand. (Fair warning: That link gets a little technical, so don’t get too bogged down in the details, m’kay? Good.)

If you’re not sure the two-wheeled world is for you, you’ve still got options. Check with a local bike shop near you to see if they’ll let you check out or rent a bike for the weekend. If you think you’re ready to buy but don’t want to blow hundreds or thousands of dollars, shop around at pawn shops or garage sales. Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s List can also be good options.

Your budget is going to be a huge piece of determining what kind of ride you get. But make sure you also know what kind of riding you plan to do. So, if you want to mountain bike but end up buying a road bike, you’re probably not going to be super happy.

Once you’ve decided what kind of riding you want to do, research the shit out of that type of bike. Read reviews, check out comments other riders have made about the type of bike you’re interested in, talk to your local bike shop peeps to see what they recommend or what stories they’ve heard.

For Hillary, a huge factor is how much a bike weighs. You might not think there’s a ton of difference between a 28-pound bike and a 34-pound one, but you might feel differently when you’re going uphill against the wind. Typically, weight isn’t as much a factor for cruiser bikes and the like if you’re just riding flat surfaces for a handful of miles at a time. But still, odds are the heavier your bike is, the less likely you are to ride it, unless it’s an e-bike.

Speaking of e-bikes … yeah, they’re pretty awesome. They get hella spendy. But when you are going uphill against the wind, they make a world of difference.

Once you’ve got your new two-wheeled best friend, it’s time to accessorize! (If you read that sentence in your most Karen voice, you did it correctly.) But seriously, you’re gonna need a helmet and a lock. Also, padded shorts or seats can be a huge help making sure your butt is only kinda sore. (That’s what she said.)

If you’re a biker chick now, what kind of ride do you like best? And if you’re not a two-wheeled convert, what’s holding you back? Drop some truth on us in the comments!

Further info and deets

Beginner biking tips

Inspiring Women Cyclist Videos 

Best Facebook Group: Look At My Bike Leaning Against Stuff

Episode 4: Working Out During a Pandemic When the Siren Song of Your Couch Is Oh-So Strong

Chubby seal on a beach
What? I’m doing a side plank.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it … and I feel fiiiiiiiiine.”

Or maybe you don’t echo R.E.M.’s sentiments (regardless, you’re welcome for that earworm), and the pandemic and subsequent quarantine have got you a little down and a little off your game. 

Well, that’s pretty much to be expected, no? After all, you’re a human being and not a robot, and a global health scare and the surrounding fallout can be more than a little frightening.

So, cut yourself some slack if you’re not handling all of this like a fully functioning adult and find yourself embedded in your couch cushions, bingeing so much Netflix it’s now a member of the family and you’re considering claiming it as a dependent on next year’s taxes. 

Anyhoo, when you’re ready to re-emerge and start chasing down some exercise-induced endorphins, give these tips a shot:

  • Shoot for 30 minutes of cardio a day. Whether that’s house walking, regular walking, running, biking, yoga, hiking. Just something to get the ol’ heart rate up.
  • Aim for two sessions of weight-resistance training a week. That can be bodyweight workouts, workouts using resistance bands, using items around your house like cans of food or your kids or your pets. There’s even a thing called the Makeweight that lets you hold canned food like a dumbbell. If you’re looking for some bodyweight or resistance band templates, Aadam over at Physiqonomics has a handy-dandy spreadsheet at a killer price. 
  • Search for workouts you can stream online. AJ’s a fan of Dance Church.
  • If you’re an app head, try ones like MyFitnessPal or Fitbod. AJ and Hillary use both, and they’re useful for workouts and/or food tracking if you find you’ve packed on some quarantine weight and need to drop a few pounds. 
  • Find a friend or loved one and force them ask them to be your accountability partner. Text each other your workouts or use an app to share your exercise routine to stay on track.
  • This bullet is where Hillary yet again plugs THERACK despite not receiving any royalties other than the sweet, sweet satisfaction of watching this guy lead the workouts and the chance to TYPE A PRODUCT NAME IN ALL CAPS!!!!1
  • Ropeless jump ropes are not sex toys despite the fact that they look like sex toys. IDK, ask AJ. This is her bullet point.

Do what you can where you’re at, and don’t force yourself to do anything that’ll raise your stress levels any higher than they already are. Exercise will likely help you feel better because of the aforementioned endorphins and such.

Be kind to yourself (and others), wash your hands, take deep breaths. This situation’s a real bitch, but we’ll manage. We’re adaptable like that.

Further info and deets