Jenna Tanenbaum of Green Blender on Startups, Green Smoothies + Self Care

Jenna Tanenbaum of Green Blender

Well! Here’s something a little different! In the past few months of growing my coaching business, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. There are a few subjects that I’m particularly passionate about: startups and entrepreneurship, hearing stories of fellow female founders, and learning about the self-care rituals and daily habits of people who are successful at business. So here’s my first little interview here on the Second Lunch!

Jenna Tanenbaum is the founder of Green Blender, a green smoothie kit delivery service based out of New York (with deliveries expanding across the country). Before starting her own company, she most recently worked at the fitness startup ClassPass, and is a fellow FitFluential ambassador.

For full disclosure, I asked Jenna for the interview after trying a free week of Green Blender so yes, I got a free box of organic vegetables and goodies to blend and taste, and the picture below is of one of the smoothies that I tried. Each box has ingredients for a weeks’ worth of smoothies for two people (or one hungry one – five different flavors. If you are interested in trying your own box, click this link (or code: LUNCH) and a 20% off coupon will automatically be applied to your first order!

Green Blender via The Second Lunch

Before getting down to chatting, I got a little virtual tour of the test kitchen, and got a sneak peek at some new featured ingredients – mandarinquats! One of the pleasant surprises I had trying the service was the variety of fruit and ingredients. Not just your average bananas and spinach! 

So.. Green blender. You had been working in startups for a while. How did you hit on your big idea? Were you just testing things out? Did you know you wanted to work on a startup? Or were you just making smoothies one day and…?

Yeah, I think it just kind of came together organically, no pun intended! My boyfriend and I were living together, and he was in between jobs, and I was working at ClassPass at the time, and I got a Vitamix. I was really into making smoothies, and as you know I’m just really a big health and wellness freak. And he just isn’t at all. He’s not interested in, like.. working out, he’s not interested in, you know, eating healthy. He’s just not into it.

So I started making smoothies, and giving him some smoothie in the morning, just as he’s waking up. And he started realizing that starting the day with something healthy he started changing the tone of his day, choosing healthier lunch options, and dinner options. And feeling like he had more energy. And wanting to do healthier things just because he started doing healthier things. It’s the power of inertia.

Yeah! I just revamped my morning routine, and I feel it. Like, if I start with one good decision, it takes one thing… and everything else is better.

Yeah, and that’s kind of the whole philosophy of Green Blender – it’s this idea of positive nutrition, which is all about incorporating really healthy, delicious foods into your day, and not really fixating on the bad foods that you may be eating at this moment. Because if you just focus on enjoying, you know, a mandarinquat, or something very cool and unique, and making an experience out of the food that you are eating, there’s just not going to be enough room for the bad stuff, and you are going to just start craving healthier things. It’s kind of a cyclical thing.

Yeah.

So I think, as we started exploring this idea of Green Blender, it kind of came out of this frustration that I have with the health and wellness scene, where when you are ready to make a healthy change – there’s two things that happen to you – you go through this extreme set of extremisms. Which you are like.. I have to do a three day juice cleanse, or, I have to do these crazy extreme things for a short period of time. And then you start having this guilty list of “no foods” and you get fixated on that, and it’s this horrible relationship with your food and how you eat.

It’s like.. a lifetime of healthiness is what we are trying to promote. And small healthy changes are really important. So we wanted to create a company that kind of encompasses that.

So I assume you are drinking your own smoothies every day, but what kind of things are you yourself doing – so I’m an entrepreneur, and I know I have to do all kinds of things to keep myself going and on top of my game. And you’ve now done this for a little bit…what does your self care regimen look like right now?

Yeah. I think that it ebbs and flows. Especially in the beginning it’s like an all encompassing thing, and just because you work in a health and wellness company doesn’t mean that you are healthy!

I mean, I make and drink smoothies every morning. I think that it’s important that one of my self care regiments is just like you know…

I’m a really big runner. I like to take time to kind of clear my head and run by myself through the park.

This year I started to read physical books again. All my fiction is going to be physical books. Just so I have some non-screen time. And some time to just sit and not think about work. Of course I listen to tons of like business books and self help books, but I usually listen to those while I’m running, because I’m an efficiency freak!

Yay I love it!

I decided to carve out some time that’s not thinking about the business and not doing self-improvement. Just kind of BEING.

I have a whole stack! [of books]. So, I am also on the reading train. I have a goal of 100 books, so…

Wow that’s really good!

This is my next one. Oh, it’s upside down. Here: ‘On the Move’ – Oliver Sacks? It’s really good!

Oh is it? I haven’t read it. That’s awesome. So I think that, part of my self care regimen is also making sure that it fits into my day. So in the morning I don’t feel overwhelmed. Because sometimes I go into these sprees where I’m turning the self care regimen into like… checking things off the list, so I’m like okay, I’m waking up, I’m drinking a glass of water, I’m doing 10 minutes of yoga, I’m doing 10 minutes of meditation. I’m journaling in the morning.

And then it’s like… you are waking up too early! It’s stressing you out just to get these things done! And you’re supposed to just, you know, you’re supposed to have fun with that part of your life!

So I kind of make sure that I – it’s the same idea as Green Blender – I just make small iterative changes in my day and life, to allow this to fit into a holistic view of my life. I’m a big workaholic, so it’s easy to backslide into like emailing for 12 hours a day.

Ohhhh. (Groans.)

But I make sure I wake up and I drink a glass of water. And on my commute to work, I meditate. I use Headspace for ten minutes.

Me too!

Yeah, I love it! But like, the thing is, I was really into Headspace, and I was trying to do it before I was commuting, before I was going to work, and then I’d feel guilty when I skipped it. And then I was like…just do it on the train! It’s like… not a big deal. You are already sitting there for 10 minutes.

Yeah. There’s also the idea too.. once I realized it didn’t have to be a perfect session… like I didn’t have to block out the entire world? I could just [breathe] sit, and BE? You know? Yeah.. the train meditating. That’s actually a really good idea.

Yeah, I mean it’s like you are already sitting there. I think I kind of follow the same issue – or have the same issue with you – where I was like.. I feel like I have to do things perfectly, and I can’t break any of the rules. But like… there are really no rules! And there’s no right way to do anything. You should just do it. It’s better to do it, and maybe not in ideal circumstances where you are sitting on top of a mountain and listening to the waterfall, but…

… that would be nice!

It’s better than not doing it at all! So that’s what I try to do. I try to .. I definitely take time for myself, and I do it in ways that are like meditating, drinking enough water, and running.

So I see you’ve been doing a lot of speed work. Do you have a particular goal you are training for right now?

I really want to get my half marathon time to under an hour and thirty minutes. So.. that’s a reach goal! I think my PR of a half marathon is like.. an hour and forty minutes?

Yeah, that’s a big jump!

I have to up my speed by a minute almost per mile. But that’s okay! I can do it!

[Editor’s note: you can do it, Jenna!!]

Yeah! I am a turtle runner. But my thing is running.. I like running distances, and I do triathlons. So I’ve been sort of expanding the distance? But I..recently.. as I started down this entrepreneurial journey – um.. came to realize that my focus on endurance is actually kind of a [personal] acceptance of mediocrity? So… now.. because I can do speed work. There’s no reason why I can’t. Because.. it’s hard, so… I should actually focus on it!

I know! And speed-work – that’s why I joined the track club. It’s kind of something you need to do with someone with a stopwatch watching you? So you are not like.. okay, well I did 3×800’s and not 4×800’s… that’s good enough. You need that peer pressure to like push you through. ‘Cause that last lap is like..where the work is actually done. You know?

Yup!!

But, yeah. I have like a love hate – I mean I love it – but it is painful!

(We both laugh). Alright, so maybe one more question about smoothies – so you have all of these unique recipes, and you said you are doing new ones every single day which is terrifying to me because I write recipes and it takes forever to hit something great. What is your favorite right now? And before you answer that, I’ll liked the peanut butter banana with jicama. Maybe because it was the most dessert-like, but was really good! And like, jicama? Who knew?

I know! When I found the jicama option in smoothies, it just opened up my whole world. And right now I’m testing with sunchokes – which is this similar consistency, but people don’t think about adding sunchokes or jicama or things like that in smoothies. Which, you know, I want it to be exploratory. I mean I use a lot of yellow squashes and zucchinis. I call it “healthy fillers” because they don’t really taste like anything, and they’ll cut down on the sugar. So instead of putting two bananas in something, you just put a yellow squash and a banana.

So, I think right now – last week we had a creamy orange carrot smoothie and it was delicious – it was pretty simple – but it was really good. It had like carrots, oranges, some cashews, goji berry, and coconut water.

Ooh that’s good! I do a similar one – with carrot, orange, cashew, ginger and lime.

Mmm! That’s good! That sounds really good.

Um, so…all things considered, you have healthy living down pretty well. But is there one self care ritual that you know you should be doing more of? Or could be doing a little bit better with? That you are maybe starting to think about or would like to pursue?

Yeah, I think I want to start journaling more. I feel like I need.. so I’m working on meditation. Which helps you kind of like.. not tame the mind, but just be more aware of your mind? And I think that if you pair that with like day journaling, you can kind of start thinking about – articulate more of the things you are feeling. In a way that’s like easy to digest. And kind of just organize it into one sheet of paper? So, that’s what I would like to work on.

You should do it! So, I have a moleskin, and I do my.. I do morning pages?

– my sister does those – she swears by them.

It’s.. you know what, for me? I (chuckles).. it lets me put a lot of anxiety out onto the page. So I like.. don’t even have to deal with it during my day. I know it’s there, and I’m like ready to go. And I also turn it into my to-do list. And I’ll like, tape little things in there during the day. Or like, receipts, or if I’m working on a project… so.. yeah. You should try it!

Yeah, I definitely have tried it, and when I do start morning pages or some sort of journaling, for like five minutes straight or something like that I feel way better, and I feel clearer. But it’s one of those things, like…how many things do I have to check off my list in the morning before I walk out the door? It’s about finding balance. But that’s definitely something I want to incorporate more into my daily routine.

Okay, so one last question… do you.. I’m cracking myself up.. I don’t know why, this is not that funny.. but do you ever wake up and think – I don’t want a green smoothie, I just want to go to Shake Shack and get a concrete?

Yeah! I mean, that’s like..Yes! First of all, if I don’t have my Green Blender box – there’s no way I’m making a smoothie. Cause it’s too much work to think about all of the things like.. okay but what am I going to make today? And that just opens up a whole can of worms, and you have to go get the ingredients, think about it, pull everything out, it’s just not something that I’m interested in doing. I’m definitely someone that needs to plan. And then once I have the plan and everything down, I’ll follow it to the T. But if I don’t, then I’m not going to.

I mean, I feel like I’ve struggled a lot with relationships with food and feeling guilty with what you are eating. Like, oh.. I was really strict paleo for a long time, and feeling really guilty just going out to dinner and having pasta – I didn’t eat pasta for two years straight, which is SAD! And should never happen! So I’m really focusing on going with the flow – and you know, making smoothies every morning. But if I don’t, and I want to have a croissant, I can do that! And allowing myself to feel fine about that.

It’s hard! I mean I think, especially, I mean, I grew up, like, I wasn’t always on a diet, but I was just always around people who were just so restrictive, or it was just always on people’s minds – and it’s hard to shake that.

Yeah, and I think that was like.. food and eating, and if I was eating properly or “not properly”, it was like my whole life from like.. I don’t even – like.. eleven? Or ten years old? Until like.. last year, when I started the company as a realization of like, you know, I’m just like, I like doing extremes, and I think that’s why I do endurance running and things like that, ‘cause, I like to stay on a regimen and I like to put myself through hell [we both crack up], and I like to know exactly what I need to do, but that kind of comes at a price when you are dealing with food because it’s like you kind of give up some experiences or you don’t feel the experiences fully when you are feeling guilty that you are eating a non-paleo cake, or whatever.

So that’s something that I struggle with, and it’s something that I try to definitely work on, to just like, shed the guilt around the food.

Well, thank you for sharing that. No, no.. I mean, that’s tough. And that’s, I mean, maybe that’s why a lot of us get into the food and fitness industry in general? We’re kind of sort of trying to find that balance?

Yeah, I think so. I mean it’s hard to, I mean, you can go, it’s like a balance always, and it’s annoying when people say it’s “moderation and balance” whatever, but because you can go either way – you can go to the extreme, of like extreme clean eating – or you can go the other way, of just eating junk food. And it’s really like a balance, and you really have – for me at least, I have to really keep myself in check. To be like.. it’s okay to have some pizza! It’s okay to you know, it’s okay to want to eat clean, and it’s okay to have ice cream.

Right. That’s why, I don’t know, I like the idea of Green Blender, because you start the day, right – you start with the good decision. And then if you want to make some bad decisions later, or not even “bad” decisions – if you want to make decisions that don’t necessarily support your health in the most optimum way – that’s, that’s fine. But you have that good thing to start though.

Yes. Yeah.

Woo! That was fun! Thank you, Jenna! If you are interested in trying out Green Blender, click this link or use the code “LUNCH” for a 20% discount on your first box!

Did you like this interview? If there are any awesome entrepreneurs you know who I should meet, please let me know in the comments, or send me an email! I love meeting new people, learning from them, and would love to help share their stories!

Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe? 

Blue Apron: A Comprehensive Review

Blue Apron Review The Second Lunch

Disclaimer: this review is *not sponsored in any way* – I paid for a series of Blue Apron meals with my own hard earned moolah, and the giveaway is sponsored by me!

After several months of ordering Blue Apron boxes, I thought it would finally be appropriate to hop onto the Second Lunch and share with you a detailed review, organized in an FAQ format (warning, it’s long). TL; dr: I’d recommend Blue Apron if you are interested in a meal kit, with reservations that I’ll get into below.

I started using Blue Apron for a few reasons:

  • A friend gave me a free week of meals, and I rarely turn down free food. It’s *very* easy to sign up for the service, and they have a great acquisition model that allows you to give your friends free meals after you’ve ordered a few boxes.
  • I got a new puppy who dislikes alone time, and didn’t have the bandwidth to do my preferred daily shopping – I actually love going to the store, but needed another practical option for last minute meals that wasn’t delivery.
  • I was interested in seeing if my partner would enjoy cooking if I were to step out of the kitchen and let him do his thing with the Blue Apron directions // or if this could be something that we’d enjoy doing together.
  • My obsessive love of food can be exhausting. Sometimes food needs to well, just be food…A meal kit where someone else chooses the recipes and buys the food for me is startlingly refreshing.

There are many meal kits on the market, but Blue Apron is one of the more established ones – they were on the ground early, consistently iterated on their product, and have added features such as wine pairings, a well-curated store (overpriced, but great for ideas!), and cookbooks. They also have a particularly well designed app AND web app. With a 2 billion dollar valuation, $135 million in their series D funding, Blue Apron is likely to be on the scene for the long term.

I’ve tried a handful of different services, and I’d definitely consider trying more – maybe you’ll get a little series here in the future? Noted competitors include: Plated, Hello Fresh, and the vegetarian Purple Carrot – now with Mark Bittman on board. This space isn’t a surefire bet for a new startup – the logistics of operations are challenging. There are equally as many companies who have started a box and shut their doors.

What kind of meals does Blue Apron provide?

Blue Apron is an omnivorous box – with options for vegetarian meals – although their strengths (in my opinion) are their non-vegetarian dishes. They source wild caught seafood, organic meats when possible. Our favorites have overwhelmingly been meat- and fish-based.

Some of the dishes I’ve tried and loved (links to recipes):

Yup, that’s a lot of cod!

What if I am… vegetarian? Gluten Free? Dairy Free? What if I hate fish?

Well, you are sort of out of luck. I think this is the biggest reason not to order the service – while the omnivorous meals are usually delicious, most of the vegetarian dinners have been overwhelming duds for us.

They don’t currently offer gluten-free options or dairy free options, although for a dairy free (or Paleo) eater, I have found that the recipes are often relatively customizable to eliminate dairy and obvious gluten. They don’t have a specific paleo option, but if you are willing to make some concessions, you could still order the kits.

Are Blue Apron meals healthy?

Generally speaking, they fit well into a whole foods focused lifestyle. The meals are relatively well balanced, and most come in at about 700 calories a serving. I usually find these to be ample portions to satisfy my (voracious) appetite, but I do feel that many are lacking in green vegetables. I’ll often supplement with my own extra vegetables.

There are listed calorie counts for the recipes, although they say “about 700” and don’t list macros or any other details. If you are tracking these things however, it’s relatively easy to calculate out based on ingredients, and several meals have been calculated by users in apps like MyFitnessPal. (I’d assume that some users have also calculated out WW points, but I haven’t seen this myself.)

How flexible is the service? How far in advance do you have to order? Can you cancel Blue Apron easily? Put deliveries on hold?

This has been a big bonus for us – you can fairly easily pause and unpause the service without being charged. You get charged when it ships. There have been multiple occasions where I’ve decided to hold off on a kit, and even unpause when I’ve changed my mind close to the cut-off.

There are clear cut-offs on the website (and app) for the changeable by date.

Blue Apron Meals The Second Lunch

Tell me more about their web and app!

One of the strengths of Blue Apron is a well designed app and web app. Believe me, it’s really easy to do one well, and one poorly – but the company has an overarching UX that is consistent through app and web. I actually didn’t download the app until about a month or so after consistently getting kits – and I ended up using both.

Once you make your meals, you have the option to rate the recipes on a five star scale, which you can do from phone or web. On web, you can also see the comments of other subscribers who have cooked the dishes. I’ve found that this has been useful to pre-emptively tweak a recipe if the crowd suggests something might be off.

As a subscriber, in addition to the boxes, the Blue Apron app has a great archive of previous recipes you have access to. You can access these from web, but the app has a searchable gallery that is easier to access. I’ve actually found myself on the phone app at the grocery store recreating some of our favorite meals with the convenience of a recipe in hand. This alone has been useful for last minute grocery shopping.

Are the recipes good?

I’ve spent a good amount of time testing recipes professionally, and used to manage a cookbook store – the written and visual instructions on the recipe handouts are well designed and useful. They have clear notes about ingredients and steps.

Blue Apron Recipe Card The Second Lunch

Flavor, and recipe success has been another story. They excel at certain meals, and not at others. The dishes inspired by global cuisines tend to have shortcuts and fall a little flat, and I haven’t been wowed by any of the vegetarian recipes that I’ve tried. There have also been meals where the time recommendations have been woefully off – cooking root vegetables comes to mind.

At the end of the day, the boxes seem to be somewhere between a 60-80 percent success hit rate for me, and I have only flat out disliked a few dishes. This is actually good enough for me to order the kit again. I know if something seems like it might really be a dud, I can always riff off of the box ingredients. If you have very high expectations, or are completely tied to a recipe at all costs, you might steer clear.

How much chopping is there, really?

So. Much. Chopping. My typical home cooked meals take 15-20 minutes at most, usually the length of time it takes to cook my protein. With Blue Apron, I find myself routinely spending 35-50 minutes cooking, and I’m not sure that the results match. That said, I’ve found that cooking these meals have actually encouraged me to branch out with my other meals. I’ve become much more likely to take a little bit extra time to prep.

Blue Apron Meals The Second Lunch

Is Blue Apron worth the money?

Maybe. The kits end up coming to $60 for three meals for two people. There are larger family-size kits as well. $20 dollars a meal would be high if I were trying to seriously budget for our food, but actually can be lower than if I were to head to the store before dinner to purchase meal ingredients – and end up with the ten other items mysteriously in my cart. It’s a decent price for the meals with organic meat or wild seafood, but strikes me as high for the vegetarian dishes. (Although Kenji’s recent post makes me consider my own biases about the cost of vegetarian dishes).

What about the quality of ingredients?

Generally speaking, there have been good quality ingredients – decent welfare meats, wild seafood, and good produce. The produce is not all organic – which is something I typically strive for in my own purchasing, but the quality has been consistent, and I like when they source from smaller scale farms.

Blue Apron Recycling Situation The Second Lunch

Does Blue Apron really create a huge amount of trash?

Before ordering my first kit, I heard complaints about the waste. Unlike my assumptions, they don’t actually have little bags for everything – most of the produce is whole, although they do occasionally have pre-portioned produce, and fresh herbs are in bags. Each meal has a “knick-knack kit” with little containers of things like soy sauce or cream cheese, or bags of rice. This is undeniably waste, but rarely more so than if I were to purchase the same ingredients on my own unless I were consistently buying bulk. They also have ice packs (so that the ingredients stay fresh in the mail and don’t have to be unpacked immediately upon delivery.)

Blue Apron does have a recycling program – if you regularly order boxes, you can save them up and then send the recycling back. I have yet to use it, because it still seems like a PITA.

The biggest problem for me is keeping up with the larger recycling – the cardboard boxes are annoying to break down, and there are big ice packs which you could purportedly empty into the sink, but I feel highly uneasy dumping the gel down the drain.

Blue Apron Recipe Instructions The Second Lunch

Can anyone cook a Blue Apron meal?

I do think that the instructions are usually clear enough that anyone can make a go. That said, there have been several meals where the instructions have been woefully off or simply did *not* work for me – I’m an accomplished cook, but the first time I made a bechamel (according to their instructions, not my experience), the flour completely clumped and then the sauce weirdly broke. I laughed it off, went back to my fridge, and made my own version successfully, but I could see this being completely demoralizing and anxiety inducing for a novice cook.

Other times I’ve noted that the cook time has been significantly less than needed – be it for cooking onions, roasting potatoes, or cooking squash on the stovetop.

I do find that I’ve had to seriously amend seasoning to my own taste at times – I’ve ended up playing a sort of “Chopped Blue Apron” game for several of the meals.

What are some of the problems with Blue Apron?

Not enough green vegetables. I find myself consistently supplementing our Blue Apron dinners with more vegetables. There are never enough greens for me. Please, please give us more vegetables.

So..many.. onions. I like onions, but I find the recipes to be supremely onion heavy. I reduce to my taste, usually by about half. On the plus side this means I never have to buy onions or garlic, because I always have surplus?

Vegetable spoilage. Like with any delivery service, I’ve had ingredients that were at the end of their prime, but generally speaking this hasn’t been too much of an issue.

Occasionally the sauces/liquids are put in containers that might be sub-optimal, and I did have a tamarind paste explosion in one kit that ended up making a serious mess.

How is Blue Apron’s customer service?

On that note (the tamarind explosion), I found that customer service was generally helpful – I emailed asking what brand/type they used so I could get the proper replacement at the store, or figure out a substitute. While they didn’t email me back immediately, when they did, they not only provided a helpful suggestion, but did give me credit for the meal.

Who else is cooking Blue Apron?

One thing I was really surprised to find out is how many of my friends were cooking with the service. I started to notice familiar dishes on social media. This might not be odd, but my general group of friends includes quite a few food professionals who were using Blue Apron – quelling some of the general shame I had around using the service. I’m someone who makes recipes, meal plans, and has been in the industry. But so are they!

I’ve also enjoyed scrolling through the #blueapron hashtag on Instagram. It’s an oddly pleasant sense of solidarity seeing people cook the same meals as you, plus, it occasionally gives me ideas of ways to amend or improve upon dishes. (If you aren’t following me on Instagram – I’m @alphaprep – I’d love the follow!)

And now some final personal thoughts….

I’m likely not the target market for Blue Apron or any meal planning kit – or maybe I am? I like cooking, I’m interested in trying new meals. I have a busy schedule and like the convenience of the service.

The real benefit to me? Someone has taken the choice out of three of my meals for the week (when you dream of food all day long, sometimes the hardest part is simply choosing something), and there is definite convenience to having the ingredients show up on my doorstep.

You’ve made it to the end! If you are interested in winning a FREE Blue Apron delivery, I’m giving two lucky readers a chance to win! To enter, simply comment below (let me know either a) why you want to win, or b) if you have any questions about the service) by 4/1/16, and I’ll use a random number generator to pick two lucky folks!

Back In Action – And The Weekly Meal Plan

Palm Trees in Florida

Every spring, I take a trip with the same group of incredible friends – it’s a tradition that I truly look forward to, and I highly recommend! Some years we stay local, last year was London! This spring we took a week long trip to Disney World to run the Princess 5k. We ran the 5k – and it was fabulous! – but our real endurance event was a four day park hopper – we were averaging 12-16 miles a day! Florida was warm and sunny, which was just what I needed. I also picked up a new pair of Sanuk yoga mat flip flops – a great find!

Now that I’m back, there is much on my mind, and much work to be done! I’m feeling energized and rejuvenated. Here are some of my current adventures.

:: I’m expanding my strategy work with businesses – helping companies think up creative ways to drive business in the digital space. I’m also bringing my experience as a project manager to my consulting projects to help teams optimize internal systems.

:: I’m expanding my photography work to do more of what I love – portraits, product photography, and pitching some new brands for partnerships. I’m working on building out my portfolio – a fun challenge. How do you choose which work represents you?

:: I’m taking a six week fitness boot camp with Amanda Tress, incorporating carb cycling into my diet. (A week in – spoiler – I’m eating more food, more whole food carbs, and I have more energy for my workouts. I’m hoping for a better transition into triathlon training – I wasn’t feeling the motivation this winter.

:: I’m turning Secrets of Self Care into a self-guided e-course. I’ll still be offering group sessions and individual consults, but I’m building out the program so that folks can take it whenever they want on their own time, so I can reach more people!

:: At the same time, I’m working hard to build my (still un-named) corporate wellness startup. The company is focused on “not-so-corporate” wellness, for startups and mid size businesses. I don’t have a name yet, but I’m building out a beta program right now – if you know of a company (maybe yours?) that could use my services, I’d love setting up a call to talk with you. In the short term, I’ll be using my expertise in health and wellness (coupled with my experience in building internal programs / mobile health and fitness apps / environmental studies and architecture) to do corporate wellness audits as I build out our services and programming. These are smaller scale assessments of your current business, benefits, and recommendations for quick wins and building systems for ongoing company wellness programming. Beyond the one-off step challenges!

And that’s the tip of the iceberg!

But of course, most importantly at The Second Lunch, I had some great meals planned for this week! Here’s what I’ve been eating. Yep, I planned to post this Sunday, and it never got up!

:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of March 6th, 2016 ::

This week’s prep: cook chicken sausage, ground beef and cabbage, roast butternut squash. Boil a batch of Rancho Gordo beans, roast potatoes.

Sunday: baked chicken and cabbage, with mashed potatoes. This was another Blue Apron meal that I adapted to fit my nutrition goals.

Monday: shakshuka with spicy chicken sausage. I also got some Kite Hill almond ricotta that I planned on spooning on top, but it ended up being a little too tart for my taste.

Tuesday: Devon had a show at the Middle East so had some stuffed grape leaves before the show. I had my eye on their mjudra (lentils) or their lamb shank, but I forgot to take some home with me! I ended up eating hummus and fried eggs for dinner.

Wednesday: scallops with rice and peas. This was just comfort food! Light, healthy, goodness in a bowl.

Thursday: roasted sweet potatoes with beef and tahini sauce, and broccoli. Inspired by Jules Clancy’s recipe on Stone Soup. I’ve been meaning to make this again for a while. So delicious!

Friday: out! or as we do these days – takeout and an On Demand movie at home.

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