Relationship + Menu

In our macro-beginners group course we not only want to reach our goals, but we want to help create a healthy relationship with food and ourselves. Often times food is seen as bad or good when it is just-food. I never think of food as a reward or bad for me. Counting macros has helped me foster this relationship.

I never feel guilty for eating cake, cookies, chocolate, or having a drink, all of which are usually frowned upon. Some foods make us feel better than others, but if you want a “treat” then have your treat. I like to tell my group to plan for those treats or just readjust as they go. You never know when your company will treat you with a hot chocolate bar or doughnuts in the breakroom. If you want to partake in the spontaneous “thank-you treats” then you will simply need to adjust as you go the rest of the day. If you eat a doughnut with your morning coffee, then skip the rice with your lunch or supper. No need to feel guilty, but there is no need for overeating because you decided to have the doughnut. Your day is not ruined.

One of our coaches is in our macro group and wanted to encourage the members to not focus solely on the number on the scale or BF number. It is important to listen to your body on its physical accomplishments, as well as how it responds to the food that you are eating. I thought what she said was important to share with our group and everyone that reads my blog. This is what she sent to me…

Happy Sunday Friends! For those of you who don’t know me, My name is Emily and I am a full-time CrossFit and Conditioning Coach at Elev8! I just wanted to take a minute to say amazing job to every single one of you who are taking the next step towards a healthier lifestyle! You’re making an effort towards fueling your body for success and that deserves some recognition! 

I know a lot of this class is about hitting numbers: macros, weight, BF%, and everything in between; however, I just want to ensure that this is NOT what we want the major takeaway to be from this class! We want you to use the information Jackie is giving you to build healthier habits as well as a healthier relationship with food all around. Not just the “good” foods but the “bad” foods too, as well as negating the need to define them as “good” or “bad”, it’s all just-food. And we shouldn’t feel guilty or the need to “make up for it” if we do decide to eat that cookie or brownie.

Each type of food has a different effect on our bodies and fuels us in different ways as well as playing its’ own role in our lives’. Food is fuel but the food is also community, emotions, and so much more. This is an opportunity to learn more about that in a way where you don’t necessarily have to focus on restricting certain foods but focus on trying to eat more of what we know makes our bodies FEEL amazing and run at tip-top shape. There are so many more amazing things to celebrate than “Oh look the number on the scale went down”, or “Oh yes I’m this much closer to meeting my BF% goal”. Which are both amazing things, don’t get me wrong, but focusing so intensely on small picture aspects like these can cause a few problems.

#1 We miss the chance to celebrate our small victories. “Wow I felt so much stronger in the gym today and I’ve been 4 days this week or my energy levels have been so great, I never feel like I’m exhausted or crashing anymore.”

#2 It makes us forget that each of us has different circumstances: genetics, time to workout, stress levels, and so much more that can change or have an effect on our bodies.

#3 It creates an opportunity for us to fall into the “comparison trap”. When we compare ourselves to other people, especially those like fitness and IG models we’re creating a narrative in our minds as well as reaffirming the one society created that is “the perfect body” and it’s what all people should look like.

Well, who decided that? When we compare ourselves to others who may have 30+ hours a week to put into the gym or professional photographers and editors we’re setting ourselves up to feel less than. My advice? UNFOLLOW any account that makes you feel negative at all or makes you feel like it’s giving you unrealistic expectations or goals of what your body “should” look like. Also, separate yourself from people who make you feel bad because of your body, or if they do, don’t be afraid to be confident, you are amazing. How we talk about ourselves has a direct impact on our mind and body, as well as those around us. Be the light you wish others were in body positivity.

With all of this being said, Jackie and I will use numbers like weight and BF%  as TOOLS to help us know what your body needs, but they do not define whether you are succeeding or failing. We are here to help you reach your goals and act as accountability and support when that feels tough! We have a lot to learn over the next few weeks, and how to give yourself grace and love the body that you’re in is absolutely one of them! Let’s work together in building a healthier body, mind, and narrative for ourselves!

Emily Oliver


Deer Stew

 Broccoli Soup + Pork Loin Chops

Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Baby Spinach, Mushrooms + Pine Nuts + Grilled Vegetables

Pulled Pork Sandwich

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde

Deer Stew

When deer season and cold weather around, deer stew is always something that I like to make. I am not a fan of fried meat anymore, french fries heck yeah, but I just don’t like my meat fried. I searched and searched for recipes with cubed steak that did not include flour and grease/oil. It took me a while, but

I found a few good ones that I have stuck to. I don’t recommend using cubed steak in fajitas, it just doesn’t hold up, but this recipe is a great option. If you don’t have deer meat, you can always use any thin, low-fat strips of steak.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3-4 Potatoes
*8-9 New Potatoes 
3-4 Large Carrots
*16 ounces baby carrots 
1 Onion 
*1-2 cups
*1/2-1 cup 
*1/4 stick 
*4 slices or 6 ounces 
Cubed Steak or Thin Lean Steak

Broccoli Soup + Pork Loin Chops

Right now it is cold and raining outside which just makes me want a good soup and a fire in the fireplace. I love the simplicity of this soup and its macros. The last time I made this soup, it was six servings of 101 calories, 2.7 grams of protein, 16.9 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.4 grams of fat.

I have not made this soup since last winter. My sister made it for me when I gave birth to Scarlett to have some food in the fridge when I got home and it has held a special place in my heart since then. Scarlett and I came home to an empty house. The guys were quarantined with the flu at my father-in-law’s house. It was a precious time with just her and I, but it still wasn’t the same without all four of us together. Luckily my sister had cooked and cleaned for me. My mom stayed a few extra days to keep me company, which I needed. Scarlett will be two very soon, so this soup is extra special this time of year.

I like to add a little bit of hot sauce to each serving, just for a little bit of extra flavor.

Since we are stuffing a pork loin this week, I am going to use part of the loin and cut it into chops for us to eat with this soup. I love eating pork, but very little takes up a lot of calories. I always try to plan a low-calorie side with pork chops so I can eat plenty of meat too.

*Changes I make based on my macros

2 bunches broccoli
*4 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
*spray with olive oil 
1 onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 russet potato, peeled, cut into 1” pieces
*18-22 ounces 
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 

Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Baby Spinach, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts + Grilled Vegetables

Pork loins are on sale this week, so we are going to stuff part of one and make chops out of the leftover piece. Normally anytime you stuff something, you don’t think it could possibly be healthy, but this recipe is very healthy. I spray olive oil when I brown the sides of the pork, so I don’t waste my calories on invisible fats.

I really enjoy this stuffed loin because it is low in calories when compared to other pork loins. I do not rub down my loin with olive oil or mix any into the stuffing. The mushrooms let out enough water that you do not have to add any oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. If you lightly spray the pan you will be fine. I go easy on the pine nuts or omit them altogether because the loin will have a layer of fat that you need to account for. If you do not eat the fat from the meat, make sure you weigh it after your meal and subtract that from what you had accounted for.

Making sure that this meal is 100% accurate when tracking is difficult because you cannot control how much stuffing is in each piece. I make sure that I track all the ingredients in the stuffing and make a recipe with that and the total weight of the loin after the center has been cut out. Don’t throw out the center that you have cut out, cook it, and keep it for a healthy snack throughout the week! You want to make sure the pieces of stuffed loin are the same size/weight, which is harder than it sounds. You might have some pieces that require you to add or take some away from to ensure they are all the same weight. Often times the ends are more meat than stuffing, so those are not ideal pieces to eat if you are looking for the most accurate.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for the pan
*spray with olive oil 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
*8 ounces mushrooms total
1 (5.0-ounce) package baby spinach
*2 cups
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt divided
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
*omit for lower fat
1 (2.0-pound) center-cut boneless pork loin roast, butterflied
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

Grilled Vegetables:
3-4 zucchini 

Pulled Pork Sandwich

There is no link for this recipe because it is so simple that you don’t need anything to guide you. I love being able to get a pork butt to cook it one way and make two completely different meals. Usually, I will have a sandwich and tacos or a pork bowl on the menu.

I used to cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. Now, we smoke the pork butt on the RecTec util it is to temperature and season with the honey bacon bbq seasoning from Meat Church. Delicious. If you can’t get that seasoning, what we used to put on our meat is a great go-to basic seasoning that can be used for any recipe.

To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard, then season with preferred seasoning. Once the meat is in the crockpot I add soy sauce and apple cider vinegar so the meat does not dry out and soaks up some extra flavor. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, let it cool and then separate the meat from the fat. It really does defeat the purpose of healthy tacos and sandwiches if you leave the fat in there. Plus it is just gross.

I do not add the BBQ sauce until I am ready to eat each serving. I make sure to weigh out my sauce for every sandwich before I put it on the bun. I make sure to get a low carbohydrate sauce, so I don’t over waste too many of my carbs on the sauce. Simply put the bowl on the scale, weigh out the meat and the sauce in grams or ounces, depending on the nutritional label. Toast your bun, top with the meat, and pickles, and enjoy!

*Changes I make to meet my macros 

1 Boston Butt 
honey bacon bbq spice 
Yellow Mustard 
Onion Powder 
Chili Powder 
Garlic Powder 
1/4 cup Soy Sauce 
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Brioche Bun 
Low Carbohydrate BBQ Sauce

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde

This recipe is pretty identical to the 20-minute shrimp tacos I have made, which are delicious. If you haven’t made them yet and you have some shrimp on hand, run and go make them now! Seriously, one of my favorite salsas yet. The shrimp version had more ingredients in the salsa, but I like that this recipe is a bit more simple. This is my go-to bowl when I want to use pulled pork in a taco or rice bowl.

The only thing to really track in the salsa is the pineapple and tomatillos. The tomatillos are awesome roasted with the other ingredients. If you can’t find tomatillos, you can use a jar of premade Verde. Add the Verde, garlic, jalapeno, and spices to a mixer pulse together until blended well.

These fajitas always turn into rice bowls for me instead of tacos. I love this salsa so much and the macros are so great that I can have a lot of it. If you are going low carbohydrate, then skip the rice and just eat in the tortilla or alone. Some fresh cilantro, lime, and maybe avocado to top it off and you are set!

I interchange pork and chicken breast in this recipe often. Since I am making pork sandwiches this week, I will have extra pork on hand. Pork is probably my favorite way to eat this bowl, so I am really looking forward to this meal.

*Changes I make to fit my macros

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips 
*chicken breast or pulled pork
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
*Spray with oil 
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder 
2 teaspoons smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder kosher salt and black pepper 
2 bell peppers, sliced 
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 
6-8 small flour tortillas, warmed 
*High fiber/Low carb tortilla or rice 
crumbled cotija or shredded cheddar cheese mashed avocado and limes 
*Omit cheese OR avocado
6 small tomatillos, husked 
*verde if you can’t find tomatillos 
1 jalapeño 
4 green onions 
juice of 1 lime 
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 
1-2 cup diced pineapple
*1/4 -1/3rd cup per serving

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