Hey there!

Nice to see you here — and thank you for your patience as I study for school, cook healthy meals, work my day job, try to be a good mom and wife, see friends, exercise, visit my parents, work on my novel, vacuum up the incessant dog hair, try to get a decent amount of sleep but stay up way too late reading The Twelve anyway… and then squeeze in a blog post.

I bet you’ve been even busier, probably getting less sleep, trying to shoehorn more into your days and nights. And you’re probably trying to make it all happen while dealing with that cold that has been circulating around.

How did we all get so busy?

Remember what it was like when we were teenagers? We were soooooooooo bored. Nothing to do, nowhere to be. Do people even have time to be bored anymore? Sounds like it might be kind of nice from time to time.

I haven’t done a Happies post in awhile, so I thought I would check in on that front:

#1. Dance dance dance dance. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Zumba choreography workshop with Meli Mastroeni-Kirkwood. I’ve been licensed for awhile now, and am still looking for a cool space to teach classes. In the meantime, I love working on new choreos. And workshops are a blast — a bass-thumpin, high-octane, 3-hour dance workout. Heaven!

zumba - jam session

#2 My alma mater’s football program doesn’t suck anymore. I’m kind of a secret Notre Dame alum, or “Domer.” I don’t know why. Maybe I don’t talk about it much because I live all the way out here on the West Coast, and I haven’t been back to campus in years. Or maybe it’s because when people find out where I went to school, they often feel obligated to tell me how much they hate ND. Or maybe it’s because our football team hasn’t, shall we say, lived up to expectation in recent years? Well, I’m pleased to note that the Irish are (finally!) doing quite well. Hooray — I can hold my head high among all of Duck and Beaver and Michigan fans around me. Go Irish!

notre dame - leprechaun

#3. My plant-strong parents. My parents recently made an impressive transition to a mostly plant-powered, Forks-Over-Knives, Dr. Joel-Fuhrman-inspired diet. As a result, my Dad has been able to resolve his blood pressure and cholesterol issues through nutrition, ditch the meds, lose some extra weight, and power through his 10-mile walks with tons of energy. This wasn’t an easy transition — my Dad loves chicken wings and steak more than anybody out there — but my parents were committed to make, as Hippocrates once famously said, food their medicine. I’m so proud of them for changing their lives in such a dramatic and positive way. Take a look at their dinner: a plate full of raw and steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, beans, a drizzle of homemade dressing. And the best part is hearing about how great they both feel. Good work, Mom and Dad!


#4. One step closer. I passed the second of my nutrition school exams this week. This makes me officially mid-certification, which means I can now start seeing clients. More on that later… in the meantime, I’m excited to start my wellness coaching practice, and am already planning a series of workshops: Sugar Blues, Juicing for Newbies and Smoothie Alchemy. Stay tuned!

nutrition books

#5. My bro. Today is Erik‘s birthday, and although I would much rather wish him a happy birthday in person, it’s a little challenging to make spontaneous trips down to Miami. So, I’m sending my birthday wishes and love from afar, and am thankful for having my fun, funny and kind brother in my life. I’m so proud of him — being there to see him lead the HEAT to the NBA title in June was amazing, of course. And I’m excited he earned an early birthday present, when the HEAT beat the Celtics in their home opener Tuesday night.

Erik Spoelstra

But I’m even more proud of him for being such a great son, brother and friend. He is also an incredible “Tio Erik” to Alonzo, in spite of the fact that we live on opposite ends of the country.

Happy birthday, Erik!

erik and monica in chicago

Those are Happies — what are yours?

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Maui Vacation and the Spo Smoothie

maui sunset

Maui! Sigh…

Vacation has been over for a couple weeks now, and I’m already counting the days until next summer’s family trip to Maui.

Even my blender misses Maui.

maui - goji smoothie

Yup, that’s right. Took my blender. Best “extra baggage” fee I’ve ever paid — only $20 on Alaska Airlines.

maui - hike

This annual vacation is especially important to my family because of the fact that my brother’s job as an NBA coach means he’s often working on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Alonzo - Erik

Since he’s away from us and working during traditional vacation times, the August trip has become the best opportunity for us all to get together for some quality time.

Which this year meant keeping Alonzo entertained and giving him many outlets for his abundant energy.

Alonzo got lots of soccer practice with “Tio Erik”…

erik - alonzo - soccer

Followed by plenty of belly-flopping…

alonzo - swimming

And an opportunity to perfect his Coach Spo sideline impersonation.

erik - alonzo - impersonation

Surprisingly, this year’s vacation ended up being one of our healthiest. In the past, my brother (with his enviable metabolism) has talked us into huge lunches, extra appetizers, chicken wings and Barefoot Bar burgers-and-fries. Which is why we usually come back bloated and at least five pounds heavier.

This year, though, it seems everyone was drinking the Healthy Living Kool-Aid (what would that be — wheatgrass juice?).

maui - salad

For starters, my dad has adopted an impressive Forks-Over-Knives style, lowfat vegan diet in pursuit of optimal health. We all started our days with green smoothies or oatmeal, actually used the workout clothes we packed into our suitcases, made lovely salads with local produce, took a vinyasa class at a great local studio — and we didn’t order chicken wings. Not once!

And — I even pulled off my first real headstand, out in the open and away from the usual safety and security of my yoga studio wall!

monica spoelstra metz - headstand

Erik spent the week perfecting his own green smoothie recipe and brainstorming ways he can incorporate healthier food options into his busy NBA work and travel schedule.

Here’s the result — a collaborative effort made possible by a trip to the local Whole Foods (Maui’s store boasts 45% inventory from local growers and suppliers — the highest among all Whole Foods stores) and a packet of powders and superfoods I brought from home.

Whirl one of these up for a nutrient-dense, satisfying breakfast — Erik says it’s the perfect post-run meal, and it keeps the hunger pangs away all morning.

peter metz - erik spoelstra

Coach Spo’s Green Smoothie (serves 2; raw, vegan)

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach (sometimes he adds kale as well)
1 banana
2 tablespoons almond butter (Erik likes to use the nut butter machine in the bulk foods section)
1 tablespoon of raw, unsweetened cacao powder
2 tablespoons of chia seed
1 tablespoon of hemp seed
1 serving of your favorite protein powder
2 tablespoons of dried goji berries
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (my Mom has been incorporating this anti-inflammatory powerhouse into her kitchen for years)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (helps with blood sugar stabilization)
1 cup of ice

Place ingredients into high speed blender, adding ice last. Process until creamy and smooth. Serve immediately or store some in fridge for later. Salud!

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miami heat - parade


Hi — I’m back! Life got a little hectic there for awhile. I’m back in school, working towards my nutritional counseling certification and learning all sorts of super cool things I’ll be writing about in future posts. I also had some work deadlines to take care of before we went on a last-minute vacation to […] Read more »