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The last few weeks have just been straight crazy. Luckily, I feel like I somewhat thrive in controlled chaos. Between traveling for work, weddings, side job 1 & 2 and more work travels … the last month is one big blur. The controlled chaos has finally caught up to me (which I knew would, but wouldn’t believe) and now I’m feeling slightly burned out. Should’ve of known, right? I blame my stubbornness for that. I have this extremely fine line of being bored and being completely overwhelmed. I mean, seriously the line is paper thin. I go, go, go (happily) and then, just like that, straight-up energy-dead. 
 
What I’ve know to be personally true in helping aid this phenomena are a few simple, yet often forgotten priorities:
 
1. Sleep. 8 hours or more. (I’m that person that will wake up at 4:30 a.m. and feel amazing for about 3 hours and then crash. That’s also why I go to bed at 9 p.m….) 
2. Breathe and meditate. I’m a control freak by nature/gene pool, and I used to get intense bursts of anxiety when situations would steer out of my control (traffic, unplanned meetings, flights, etc.) I’ve learned to take a moment, breath, rationalize and allow my mind to be “ok” with the situations I couldn’t control. 
3. Good food. Big, hearty breakfast, greens, lots of water and minimal sugar & grains is where my body functions best. 
 
Like I said earlier, I’ve been a traveling machine. Which is quite rare in my position, but there have been some new changes and initiatives that have allowed me to travel to both coasts. To be honest, I don’t like traveling. I hate it. However, I do love new places. Each time I land in a new city, I always make sure to get out and run around it – taking in the city-scape, the environment and the neighbors. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Just recently, I decided to take that run around 7:15 a.m. down Times Square in New York City. Wow. Was that an experience. There’s SO many pedestrians in NYC. It was amazing. We’re lucky to see that many people on the sidewalks during our Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s crazy fun! 
 
Another not-so-fun thing I hate about traveling is the absence of my daily routine. Like most, I’m an extremely habitual person. I like my routine….really, I like my control. And traveling completely strips that away, making you dependent on the unfamiliar location, people and offerings. I’ve had to really plan ahead before I travel to try an alleviate some of this anxiety and it’s really been beneficial. Since I’m allergic to dairy and wheat, I pretty much know that anything handed out on the plane is a no-go (maybe with the exception of peanuts, but even those are a little wearisome considering the seed oils their doused in). I can also bet that the restaurants my colleagues may want to stop at, may not offer anything substantial for me. So, for me I have a few tricks and tips that I use for most of my travels.
 
Katie’s Healthy Travel Tips & Tricks
 
1. Carry-on dry, bulk foods. Think: gluten free oats, almonds, chia seeds or protein powders. These travel really well and are totally acceptable to pass through security. I also travel with a small baggy of cinnamon. 
 
2. Stock up on bars. My favorites are Lara Bars, Epic bars, and Kind bars. These are my go-to on the plane or when I’m starving in a conference and there’s only a bag of chips and hobo sandwiches available. $$ Saver: These bars cost 2-3 x more at the airport or hotel. Buy them before you go and store them in your carry on or luggage.
 
3. Research the nearest health food store before you head out of town. This is always my first stop/first run. I GoogleMap Whole Foods and make a quick trip to equip myself with health snacks and foods for the duration of my travels. Tip: I pack a drawstring or recyclable bag in my luggage so that I can carry it back to my hotel easier. 
 
4. Be best friends with your coffee maker. OH the things I’ve cooked in that little guy. From oats, to eggs to steaming veggies and fish, the opportunities are seriously endless. Be creative. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. 
 
5. Request a microwave and/or refrigerator. Most hotels will accommodate this request. This way you can store your perishables and cook healthy food when you’re in need.
 
6. Bring an empty shaker cup or water bottle. Emphasis on the empty. Otherwise you won’t get it through security ;) – once you’re checked and good-to-go …fill ‘er up.
 
7. Pack a resistance band and jump rope. You never know what the fitness center will be like or if they’ll even be one. Both items are easy to pack and very versatile. Tip: Research CrossFit gyms in the area, most are extremely open to visitors and welcome you with open arms!
 
8. Research nearby gluten-free/paleo conscious restaurants. This will help when the question arises, “Where should we eat?” You’ll be ready with vetted options. 
 
There you have it! 
 
Now…to the good stuff. 
 
Last weekend was Father’s Day and I was asked to bring an appetizer, which totally excited me. I never get to make appetizers, ever.  I did some pinteresting and was inspired by these sweet potato nacho bites. 
 
Here’s my take on this crowd-pleasing, healthy appetizer:
 
Spicy Sweet Potato Bites
 
Spicy Sweet Potato Bites
Serves 5
Paleo-approved spicy sweet potato bites
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 sweet potato
  2. 2 avocados
  3. 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  4. 1-2 tbs Lime juice
  5. 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  6. 1 tsp Garlic salt
  7. 4 slices Prosciutto or bacon (I used this kind)
  8. 5 Cherry tomatoes
  9. ¼ c Pine nuts
  10. 2 tbs Coconut oil
  11. 2 tsp Cayenne powder
Instructions
  1. Slice sweet potatoes into thin discs, oil lightly.
  2. Place in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Bake. Flip discs once halfway during cook time.
  4. Once cooked, let the potatoes sit and cool.
  5. While they’re cooling, mash avocados, lime juice, salt, garlic salt and red pepper flakes together. Set aside.
  6. In a saucepan, place in bacon and cook on medium heat until crispy and brown. Set aside. Let cool.
Assemble bites
  1. Take 1 sweet potato disc, top with 1 tablespoon guacamole, crumble bacon on top and place a halved tomato on top.
  2. Optional: roast pine nuts in coconut oil and cayenne pepper and sprinkle over potato bites for an extra spicy crunch!
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