#ChallengeSF: My favorite detox plan

As many of my friends know, I'm obsessed with Barry's Bootcamp here in San Francisco.  I never considered myself an athlete at all until I came to this place and worked with the trainers here.  Honestly, I'm that girl who would consider running a 3.0 pace on the treadmill a "hardcore workout".  Thank goodness this place forever changed my outlook on fitness for the best. Outside of being one of the best workouts I've ever done in my life, one thing that makes Barry's in San Francisco stand out from the other studios is how much the team there cares about their clients, aka #FitFam.  One of my favorite trainers there, Erica Stenz (hay 2014 Racked Hottest Trainer SF !) loves to go above and beyond to make sure her clients think about their fitness holistically by challenging us to eat healthier.

Living in San Francisco is tough because we have access to some of the best restaurants in the world, which can lead to bigger waist lines and less money in the bank from going out all the time.  So when Erica and fellow Barry's trainer Tommy Stracke (who is also her bf, I know #powercouple) put together #ChallengeSF, which consisted of choosing one of the following 1) No Sugar 2) No Alcohol and 3) Whole30 - I decided I had to go big and went for the Whole30 option.

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For those of you who don't know what Whole30 is, it is basically a slightly more extreme Paleo style diet.  Without going into too many details you basically eat protein (meats), vegetables and fruits and you can cook with approved oils.  Yes, say bye to all grains, legumes, dairy and obviously sugars.  If you want to learn more, check out their website.

Participating in this challenge for two weeks was no walk in the park.  I'm not going to lie and say that it was really easy for me to adhere to this diet change because I am Asian and LOVE rice and noodles, which I obviously could not eat on this diet plan.

However, I purchased the Whole30 recipe book to help inspire me so I wouldn't be stuck eating boiled eggs everyday.  Let me tell you, the book is well worth buying.  You can find it online at Jet or Amazon for around $18.00.  Trust me, it's worth purchasing. The authors Melissa & Dallas Hartwig provide some creative ways to diversify what you eat when you're on Whole30.

My favorite recipe from the book is the Chicken Cacciatore (my attempt below).

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The recipe is really easy and the dish is pretty filling and hearty, so it's a great meal to try out when you're first starting your journey on Whole30.  Since this is an Italian style dish, I decided to use my spiralizer and make zucchini noodles and pre-pack both my lunch and my husband's lunch for the week.  This meal was full of protein and also replaced my need of having carbs with my protein.  I bought my spiralizer from Sur La Table.  You can find a range of them in different styles and prices here.

Another indulgence of mine is iced coffee.  I love to buy iced coffee from all the coffee hot spots: Blue Bottle, Sightglass, Four Barrel etc.  However, I know 1) It's an expensive habit 2) Some of these places add cream/whole milk and sugar to their coffees and that is why they taste so damn good.

So, in order to satisfy my need of delicious iced coffee, I invested in the Hario Cold Brewer.  It's really easy to use, however it does take time for the coffee to steep.   Here is a great tutorial to watch on how to use it.   

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These are just a few things I did when I was on Whole30 for two weeks.  I know, it is supposed to be for a whole 30 days, but hey, at least I stuck with it through out the entire duration of #ChallengeSF!   I seriously felt rejuvenated and amazing and my sugar and carb cravings have subsided.

In addition, eating this healthy and working out I lost a few lbs along along the way! The dress I wore to the San Francisco Ballet Gala last night fit like a glove!  (Thank god because I didn't have any back-up dresses that I was willing to wear)  I am not quite at my goal weight, but doing this challenge was a great start.

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Bonjour Bon Marche

I'm definitely the type of person who is willing to wait in long lines to wait and try a new hot-spot that just opened up in San Francisco. I know, typical San Francisco resident right? IMG_0854

Well, when Bon Marche opened up, my friend Katie and I decided to try and visit early to beat the crowds and went right when it opened for happy hour on a random weekday.

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Bon Marche is located inside the Twitter building in Mid-Market/SOMA.  The interior makes me feel like I'm in France at a cute cafe or bistro with the white french windows, the attire of the staff and the cute little flower shop inside.  Yep, you read it right.  They have a resident florist inside just in case you need to buy some last-minute flowers for a hot date of yours.  I decided to let the bartender pick my beverage and I was happy I did because what I drank was what I like to call a pineapple horchata.  It was AMAZING!  I think I drank about 5 of them.

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Rose Apple Tarts

I made these for my friend/co-worker Gabrielle for her birthday.  She's a creative one and also a major foodie, so I knew I had to bake something that was visually impressive and also tasted very good.

I know everyone has seen these rose tarts all over Pinterest. They are absolutely beautiful, delicious and surprisingly very easy to make!  Thank you to my friend Robin for introducing me to these when she first made them!

I followed this recipe from Still Cracking with a few modifications of my own.  First, I did not include any fruit preserve.  It's not that I don't like the stuff, I just didn't have any readily available at home.  Instead, I made a salted caramel/walnut type of pesto mixed with the butter as a spread to give it some crunch and sweetness.  In addition, after they were fully baked, I ended up lightly drizzling the left over salted caramel at the top to finish it off.

These were definitely a hit!