Category: Uncategorized

I’m back!… and how ETM will be different in 2018

I took most (ok pretty much all) of January off to travel with my husband. We went to Okinawa, Bangkok and Chiang Mai and it was amazing. Be on the look out for future blogs with some Thai food inspiration and a lesson I learned while mountain biking. For now I want to talk about some new insight I gained this past month, and how it will change Embracing the Mess this year.

Usually around New Years I am back to the work grind with everyone else. I’m not usually big on New Year’s resolutions, as I tend to set goals around my birthday. It feels more like a “new start” to me, but I still usually begin the new year hitting the gym and detoxing from Christmas splendor. This year was a little different as I sat on the sidelines, on vacation and in a different country.

I watched my facebook and instagram scroll by full of “new year, new you” posts full of fitness programs, diets, planners, and other “get your life together now” things. I felt really put off by the message that was getting sent, and honestly almost repulsed. Repulsed that millions of women were heading into the new year cataloging all of the ways they were inadequate, instead of celebrating being alive for what is going to be a fantastic 365 days.

I know I’m a little late to the 2018 party, and most resolutions are probably already forgotten about. There is a reason for that. When goals are created out of dislike for yourself, and fueled by industries that earn more money every time a woman’s self-esteem plummets, they will not be sustainable. And even if your goals are well-intentioned, a complete self-revolution in a month, or even a year, is a tall order. Healthy change takes time and inner work.

I started this blog five years ago to share how I was changing my diet. I figured out that I had the power to make myself healthy and I wanted others to have that same experience. I love food and cooking and always will, but I feel as though I’m doing myself and you a disservice by only showing you how to make hummus and non-dairy mac and cheese.

There’s so much more to health than that, and I have gone through a lot of personal development and internal changes that I don’t share here. Like many other people, I only post on IG when I’m at the gym or proud of the breakfast I made. You don’t often see the other times I’m eating pizza at 9:30 AM (hey, it happens) or having margaritas at dinner. This “highlight reel” effect can be dangerous.

Going forward, you’re going to see more blogs and videos (oh boy, yup) about how I shift my mindset daily and how that is the real fuel for health and change. More tapping (woop!) is coming. More big-picture stuff. No phrases like “guilt-free” or “lose weight fast.” It may mean more clicks, but I refuse to contribute to the “industry” of telling women they aren’t good enough. Still hummus, though. Always hummus.

Much love,


ETM’s 2017 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday shopping is hard, and even harder when you’re trying to seek out good-for-you items that don’t break the bank. Here’s a list of my favorites in every price range. Give your loved ones something they’ll love AND something that will love them back.

1. A Lump of Coal or a detoxifying face soap that will clear even the most problematic skin? The Daily Detox Charcoal Set includes a charcoal bar and charcoal face mask and is a great unisex gift, a $72 value for $52 from Beautycounter here.







2. For the man who has everything: Instead of the usual socks, choose sustainably grown organic cotton, made in Fair Trade Certified factories. They have an array of clothing for men and women at Pact Apparel here. Socks regularly $25, on sale now for $10.






3. Make Christmas coastal with this beautiful palette of 6 eyeshadows, bronzer, highlighter and blush. The looks you can create are endless, $58 from Beautycounter here.








4. For the chef in your life: cookware from GreenLife. Their fry pans have a ceramic, non-stick coating free of PFOA, PFAS, lead and cadmium. You can cook with less oil, and avoid toxic Teflon, 12″ pan $24.99 on Amazon here.






5. Give the gift of easy dinners (and yogurt, and rice, and so many other things) with an Instant Pot. I got one of these a few months ago and can’t live without it. Frozen chicken cooks in less 15 minutes and “slowcooking” takes a couple of hours, Go fancy and get the one with bluetooth for $159.99 on Amazon here.








6. Know someone who could use some relaxation in their life? Give them the gift of yoga, anywhere anytime with a subscription to Rachel Brathen’s (aka Yoga Girl) online platform, OneOEight. Options range from a one month subscription to a whole year. Check it out here.








7. The Universe Has Your Back, and the back of whoever you give this bestseller to. Gabby Bernstein’s book inspires all ages. I recommend picking up a copy for yourself too, $13.90 on Amazon here.








8. When life gets hectic, we don’t always have time for spa days. This Winter Glow Body Duo includes a Lemongrass Sugar Body Scrub and Body Butter in “Citrus Mimosa.” This is a perfect gift for your mother-in-law or busy friend, $55 from Beautycounter here.







9. This Himalayan Rock Salt Lamp is the perfect gift for your best friend or someone who has it all. When heated, the salt crystal lamp emits negative ions that fight against electromagnetic radiation. The naturally-ionized air also helps you sleep better at night, allowing you to wake refreshed, $19.25 on Amazon here.








10. Healthy food can be sexy, and Kris Carr has lots of proof in her bestselling cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Get the hardcover on Amazon for $25.94 here.








Happy Holidays!

Note: Some of these items I just love, and some of them are affiliate links. This means I may get a small percentage of your purchase at no cost to you.



Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry

This is the first recipe I made in my instant pot! I adapted an old slow cooker recipe and it came out so good! I think I am really going to love having an instant pot. It does everything and so fast! Enjoy!

Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry

Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry


  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 onion, yellow or white, diced
  • 28oz canned, organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp organic tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust as desired)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of coconut milk, unsweetened, regular
  • 3.5 cups broth, water or a combination of the two (I used 1/2 chicken broth, 1/2 water)
  • 3 tbsp thai curry paste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Juice of one lime
  • Rice & cilantro for serving (optional)


  1. Put all ingredients in the instant pot
  2. Close lid, turn switch on top to "sealed"
  3. Press "bean/chili" button
  4. Add 18 minutes to the timer
  5. The instant pot will take some time to warm up, usually about 10 mins, and then the timer will start counting down
  6. Wait until the timer is finished and "L00:00" shows up on the counter (this is warming time)
  7. Do a "quick release" by turning the switch on the lid to "venting" and wait until ALL of the steam finishes releasing before opening the lid
  8. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro if desired!
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Step Away From the Diet


Today is a great day for a couple of reasons, a. it’s the first day of June, the best month of the entire year and b. it’s the second day of the Hay House World Summit. If you haven’t heard of the summit, it’s a week-long event that Hay House produces once a year where they share all of these amazing interviews from their authors and speakers. I highly recommend that you check it out. You can get a ton of material for free, or pay $7 for even more great stuff. There are different interviews displayed each day of the week. The website is

This morning I watched an awesome interview with Julie Daniluk that really resonated with me. Julie is the author of a couple of books, including Meals that Heal. The fact that got my attention immediately:

65% of people on a diet, regardless of whether they lose weight initially, gain all of it back PLUS MORE.

Does that sound like a good strategy to you? Diets DO NOT work. Calorie restriction does not work. Low carb does not work. Low fat does not work. Eating only grapefruit for a year does not work.

You have to make a lifestyle change based on whole foods. That is really the only long-term, life-sustaining option.

The biggest part of that is cutting out highly refined and processed food — This means no white flour, no white sugar (you know from previous blogs that this is my demon), no dyes, chemicals, artificial flavors, or anything fried. If you’re buying something in a box, you need to read the label very carefully.

We all know that white bread and cookies have no nutritional value. But you also have to consider the fact that the body still has to convert these foods to ENERGY, and to do that it has to deplete the nutrient store that you do have. These foods literally rob you of nutrients.

Then replace all of that with what you KNOW is good for you. Lots of vegetables, whole grains, and (organic if you can) proteins.

I know that these are not easy habits to kick. Trust me. It takes work to find good healthy substitutes. The first few times I went to the supermarket to get all of these new foods and crazy things like agave I almost lost my mind because I didn’t know where anything was. But it is so worth it. Many experts like Julie are starting to suggest that the thing that you crave most often (hello CUPCAKES), the thing we’re addicted to, is actually the thing that we are most allergic to. Most sensitive to. Most intolerant of. Whatever you want to call it, eventually it’s going to do you some good to call it quits.

Side note: White sugar has recently been linked to heart disease. This is not just about a bikini.

But wait — that’s not it. You also have to ask yourself the question “When did I really start to feel uncomfortable in my body?” There is an emotional component to your weight loss. And until you really work through the reason that you started gaining weight, you will not see long-term progress. I promise you.

Go see Julie’s whole interview. You will not regret it.

Until next time,




Does your mood new a boost? (Part 3)

Hey friends,

Now you know I think food is important, and delicious, and worthy of much attention. It can be a powerful medicine and have profound effects on your mood and therefore your life. But there are other aspects of your health that are not to be ignored, especially when you need a boost.

Enter a man named Tony Robbins (look him up!). I watched one of his talks a couple weeks ago and something he said really clicked with me:

One of our greatest scientific discoveries has been that you can change your emotional mood by a radical change in your ‘physiology.'”

Now there are many ways you can do that, but the easiest is exercise. I’ve been feeling a little lost these last couple weeks, so I decided to put my money where my mouth was. I have been religiously following the traditional recommendations. You know — a pretty intense hour of cardio or weights, three or four times a week. This is good, but it leaves a solid four days every week of days where I was not doing anything to improve my mental state.

I made the decision to do some sort of movement every day for at least 30 minutes. There are some days when I cannot even fathom a hard work out, and that is totally allowed. But I still do my 30 minutes by going for a walk or doing yoga. There’s a great app for android and iphone called Daily Yoga that has different videos every day. It’s excellent and a total life-saver after a long work day.

This got me thinking about how I’m using my time during the week, and have also added a 20 minute per day house clean. I usually pile up dishes and clothes all week and then have to spend hours one day cleaning because I just cannot take it anymore. Unnecessary stress you say? Why yes, I think I would agree. So now I set a timer and clean something in my house for 20 minutes.

There you have it. It’s an attempt to start some small habits that contribute positively to my mental state. Only 50 minutes a day! One less marathon episode of Chopped. A reasonable sacrifice. What is something small you could add to your daily routine that would drastically improve how you feel? Think about it, and try it for a few weeks. You might surprise yourself.

Until next time,

♥ Stephanie

Does your mood need a boost? (Part 2)


So it’s part two of our mood boosting series, and this time we’re going to talk supplements. Yes you can get all of the vitamins you need eating a well-rounded diet with lots of variety and in the right combinations. Do all of us do that? Or even know how? Not quite. The good news is that if you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, there is absolutely nothing wrong with supplementing with some vitamins. Not only is it okay, it is oftentimes ESSENTIAL. And even if you have all the vitamins you need, and still are not feeling 100% there are some great supplemental herbs out there that could help.

There are some great multivitamins out there, but if you’re feeling especially anxious or depressed there are some things you can focus on:

1. B12 – This is ESPECIALLY important for my vegetarians out there. B12 is only found naturally in animal products, so if you aren’t getting enough it could mean serious problems for your psyche. Low B levels have been linked to memory loss, mood changes and depression. The average adult needs 2.3 micrograms daily.

2. Gotu Kola – helps circulation to the brain and helps break down scar tissue, while balancing the nervous system. It contains chemicals called triterpenoids which have been used to calm anxiety. There are also claims that it has many other health benefits, such as healing wounds and scars, treating varicose veins, and reducing insomnia.

3. St. John’s Wort – an herb that has been taken for many years for “nervous disorders” and has anti-inflammatory properties. Medical professionals don’t know exactly how it works, but it has been found in some studies to perform much like the RSSIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) usually prescribed for depression and anxiety. A word of caution on this one — DO NOT take it with prescribed anti-depressants, and make sure it does not interfere with other medicines you may be taking. Ladies, it is well known for decreasing the effectiveness of birth control.

4. Melatonin – this is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain and is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycles of the body, and balancing your mood. Lack of quality sleep will quickly deteriorate your brain’s ability to focus and regulate serotonin. If you feel you aren’t sleeping well, or have a hard time falling asleep, take 2-5 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before bed.

5. Vitamin D – This applies to not only people struggling with stress and other mood disorders, but a majority of the U.S. population. There are studies that claim 3/4 of U.S. teens and adults do not have enough of this vitamin. Vitamin D occurs naturally in some animal products, like fish and eggs yolks, and is also produced as the skin reacts to sun exposure. There are several different parts of the brain with Vitamin D receptors and it is instrumental in various brain processes, making it a likely candidate for contributing to depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. The recommended dose is 600 IU/day, unless you are deficient in which case your doctor will usually order up to 1000 IU/day. I found out that I was significantly deficient a few months ago in a routine blood test.

Here’s a look at my current lineup:

photo (3)


Now I want to make something very clear before I leave you all to your vitamin quests. I take mood disorders very seriously. Yes I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression, but so have many of my family members and my dearest friends. I would NEVER tell them to stop taking their medications in favor of these approaches unless they didn’t have severe symptoms and were feeling generally functional. Sometimes you’re not ready to jump off the conventional medicine bandwagon and I 100% encourage you to follow your intuition.

If you try any of these, let me know if they help!

Until next time,

♥ Stephanie

New Beginnings!

Hello new friends!

It’s snowing like crazy here, so I thought it would be a good time to sit down, have some tea and introduce myself. I’m Stephanie, and this is my blog, Carrots & Cubicles. I’m an engineer by trade, but as of late I have been very interested in nutrition and how it affects our bodies and our lives. You may ask, did this interest just pop out of the blue? And the answer is no. While I had always dabbled in “natural health” (mostly by pinning things on pinterest) it wasn’t until last year that it became more than that. Over the course of 2012 and 2013, I had to have three surgeries to remove my very ill appendix. I was pretty appalled after every surgery that none of the many surgeons or doctors I was seeing every day had no advice on how I could make my body stronger and avoid another bout of hospital stays and open surgeries. They basically said, “all we can do is hope that it won’t happen again.” Well that wasn’t good enough for me, and I began to incessantly research what I could do to heal my body from the inside, with the food and supplements I was taking in every day.

That is where this blog comes in, because I want to share all of this neat stuff I’ve learned, and will continue to learn, with everyone who needs it. And I want to show that it can be done while working 40 or more hours at a “real” job. Too often our healthy role models are people that dedicate their whole lives to living this way, and while that is amazing, it is not the only way to integrate great practices into your already full life. You just have to get curious as I have done and dig in to all of the information that’s out there (as you can see I took some inspiration from my tea bag there). Hopefully I will help. At least once a week I’m going to share some great info, recipes and personal stories with you to get you going.

P.S. — my choice tea today is an organic chamomile and lavender. Everyone knows that chamomile has a calming affect, but did you also know that it has been proven to boost immunity, help fight infections, and calm cramps? Drink up! 🙂

photo (2)

<3 Stephanie

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