In the News
Reluctant enthusiast makes it easy to find the path – via the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, 12/27/2016
A reluctant enthusiast at the intersection of nature & health – via The Keene Sentinel, 4/01/2017
Hit the Trails
Hiking in the Monadnock Region – a free online guide I created to highlight the best & brightest hikes in Southwest New Hampshire!
Outdoor Activities in the Monadnock Region – another free online guide to numerous outdoor activities, including trails, lakes, ponds, playgrounds, races & more in southwest NH
Discover the Forest – find a park or forest near you
Recreation.gov – gateway to discover federal lands and plan your trip
Active.com – search for 5k’s, cycling, swimming, camping and other activities near you
Visit New Hampshire – guide to exploring the glorious Granite State
Florida Hikes! – whether you live there full-time or you’re planning a winter getaway, this extensive resource will help you explore the trails across the great state of Florida
Hike New England – detailed descriptions of over 200 hiking trails throughout the region
All About Birds – learn to identify a bird you’ve seen or learn more about one you’ve already identified
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics – teaches all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly
Dance in Your Underpants
Mental Health First Aid – similar to first-aid for physical emergencies, MHFA offers workshops & certification that teach you how to help individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis
Center for Mindfulness – advancing the health and well-being of society through mind-body research, publications & workshops; home of Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Greater Good Science Center – focused on the psychology, sociology & neuroscience of well-being
Beauty Redefined – go-to resource for improving body image
Mindful.org – sharing the best of mindfulness-based practices
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation – committed to supporting ongoing research surrounding mental illness
Oasis Meditation – providing meditation resources worldwide, with guided meditations to help those who struggle to meditate on their own
Move Your Body
Health Calculator – find out how many calories you require in a day to fuel your activities
Tony Gentilcore – teacher of deadlifts & lover of Star Wars, he doles out some of the best fitness advice around
Bret Contreras – your go-to for glute domination
Nia Shanks – a coach, writer & founder of Lift Like a Girl based in Kentucky, she offers strength-training programs such as Beautiful Badass & designed to empower women to achieve their goals (in the gym & in life)
Kellie Davis – FitThrive – previously known as GetGlutes, a vibrant online community offering workouts for all fitness levels
Ben Carpenter – awesome resource for training and nutrition information, as well as a refreshingly honest look at the realities of eating disorders & body dysmorphia in the fitness industry
Examine.com – heavy on the science, Examine is a useful site to learn more about the largely unregulated world of supplements – even the ones you think work wonders
Eat Like You Mean It
Alan Aragon – the most reliable & level-headed fitness nutrition advice on the interwebz
Eatright – the official site of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Choose MyPlate – offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that fits your personal needs
Safe Fruits and Veggies – encourages increased fruit & vegetable consumption by sharing sensible information and assuaging users’ fears about pesticides in their produce
LocalHarvest – locate your local farms & Farmer’s markets
Two Peas & Their Pod – simple, fresh, family-friendly recipes
Gimme Some Oven – simple, awesome recipes & a few how-to tutorials
Pinch of Yum – fabulous food blog with recipes that real people can re-create
You can also visit my Pinterest site for more kitchen inspiration!
Virtual Library – Some of my favorite reads on topics relating to food, behavior change & the great outdoors
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink
Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change by Timothy Wilson
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
Blue Mind by Wallace Nichols
Your Brain on Nature by Eva Selhub & Alan Logan
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
The Outermost House by Henry Beston
Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich
Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America by David Allen Sibley
The Sibley Guide to Trees by David Allen Sibley
Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb & Gordon Morrison
Northern Woodlands – a quarterly production via the Center for Northern Woodlands Education, designed to advance a culture of forest stewardship & enhance an appreciation for the ecological integrity of the region’s forests
Products I love
Workout & outdoor gear
I’m not a big gear-head, so when I head outdoors, I usually keep it simple. For home workouts, I have a few pairs of dumbbells, kettlebells, a suspension trainer & bands, but I don’t have any machinery with the exception of an elliptical.
Flex-Active bands (set of 5) – extremely lightweight, easily portable, great for home, travel or outdoor workouts; creates resistance for sidesteps, squats, glute bridges, etc.
Gold’s Gym Suspension Trainer – hangs over your door at various lengths to allow you to use variations of your own body weight to create resistance
Rubber-coated hex dumbbell – hexagonal shape keeps them from rolling; I prefer the rubber-coated dumbbells but I also have a couple of sizes in cast iron
Cast-iron hex dumbbell – same as above; though I prefer the rubber-coated dumbbells, it’s all a matter of personal preference
Cast-iron kettlebells – a great item for home workouts, you can use them for swings, deadlifts, goblet squats, carries & more; Amazon tends to have the best prices, but they have different varieties. So if cast-iron isn’t your thing, you can shop around to find a different type that suits your liking.
Black Diamond Trekking Poles – adjustable poles that I use on hikes where I know I may need some extra leverage and/or when my knees are giving me trouble. They’re lightweight & sturdy, and you can also use them when you want to engage more of your core & upper body during your hike for a full-body workout.
Marmot PreCip Windbreaker – a great lightweight jacket that I usually keep in my pack just in case I get chilled or it rains unexpectedly. I don’t know that it can handle drenching downpours, but it’s good for drizzle & light rain.
17-ounce stainless steel water bottle – I love the stainless steel water bottles because they keep your water cool for long periods of time & don’t gather the condensation typical of plastic bottles (or Nalgene). They’re the only kind I carry with me anymore.
Food & food prep
I do most of my food shopping on Friday and/or Saturday, and most of my food prep on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. I also keep plenty of protein bars on hand for snacks or in my bag so they’re handy while I’m out.
Nutri-bullet Pro – my must-have for smoothies & smaller quantities of butternut squash and the like. Sometimes I wish it were smaller for certain things, but overall it does a great job breaking foods down so you don’t end up with any rogue, large pieces.
Hamilton Beach 10-cup Food Processor – for homemade hummus, falafel, butternut squash, black bean brownies & more; the bowl scraper comes in handy so you can keep it going rather than having to stop, scrape & start again.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (10.25 inches)
Clif Bar Coconut Chocolate Chip – basically an awesome coconut chocolate chip cookie in bar form (that you don’t have to bake yourself)
Clif Bar Blueberry Crisp – try it heated if you haven’t already!
Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie – try it heated & topped with some vanilla Halo Top ice cream
Luna Bar Honey Salted Peanut – one of my favorite bars, especially if I’m on the go. It reminds me of peanut butter rice krispy treats. And if I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll eat it with some extra peanut butter on top.
Detour Smart Apple Cinnamon Bars – a smaller bar with slightly fewer calories (~130 per bar), it has a decent amount of protein, so I eat them when I need something small to get me through until my next meal.
Nature’s Intent Chia Seeds – I usually get these at Costco, but you might have your own favorite brand at your local store; the price on Amazon is also pretty competitive if you’re looking to buy in bulk and cut back on your in-person shopping
Bob’s Red Mill oat bran – though I’ve tried other oat brans, Bob’s is my favorite. It’s lighter & “flakier” rather than chunky, so it goes well in baked goods, pancakes & homemade oatmeal. You can also add a bit to pre-packaged oatmeal for an extra boost of fiber & protein. Though not all stores carry it, you can also look for it in bulk locally.
Bob’s Red Mill Whole Spelt flour – my favorite flour, which offers a nice whole grain quality without the strong, sometimes bitter flavor of whole wheat. I often go all-in with spelt, but I also cut it with oat flour in pancakes and sometimes muffins. Just keep in mind that they can get crumbly given that there’s less gluten in spelt (and none in oat flour). Spelt flour also calls for less liquid than your usual all-purpose flour. Amazon’s price is pretty competitive, though you might be able to find it for less in bulk where you shop locally.
Bob’s Red Mill Oat flour – offers a great flavor, as well as extra fiber & extra protein to your dishes. It doesn’t contain gluten, so I tend to cut it on a 2 to 4:1 ratio with spelt flour or unbleached flour when I use it. You can also make your own from quick or rolled oats if your food processor will grind it that fine.
King Arthur Unbleached Flour – usually cheapest when you find it on sale locally, it’s by far my favorite flour if I bake with white flour or when I’m using bread flour. They have a number of other fun flours & flavorings on their website, or in person if you have a chance to visit their Cafe & Baker’s Store in Norwich, VT.
Camp Mix seasoning – I get the original flavor & put it on just about everything – roasted chicken, roasted vegetables, potatoes….you name it! I don’t know if you can purchase it everywhere, but it’s made in Hollis, New Hampshire, so I know that you can buy it in most stores around here.
Good Bean roasted chickpeas – I love the Sea Salt or Cracked Pepper varieties on a salad, or the Cinnamon on smoothies or yogurt. They’re also a great add to homemade or even store-bought trail mix.
Seapoint Farms – their dry-roasted edamame (sea salt), crunchy edamame (sea salt) & dry-roasted black edamame are all awesome as a crunchy topping to a salad or in a trail mix.
Halo Top ice cream – a bit pricey so I only eat it on occasion, but DAMN IT IT’S DELICIOUS! Especially for only 240 to 280 calories per pint, lower sugar, and high in protein & fiber. My favorites are the vanilla & chocolate so far, but lemon cake was also good if you’re into citrus flavors. I didn’t care for the birthday cake flavor, but many other people claim it as their favorite. If only they carried cookies & creme where I lived, I don’t doubt that would be my top pick.
Nuts from Sunnyland Farms – I looooove their pecans & macadamias, which are the BEST EVER. I don’t know if you can buy them in stores (at least not up north), but you can buy online.
The Reluctant Enthusiast is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I earn a small commission on items that you purchase through the Amazon links included above, which does not cost you anything additional but helps support my work on this site.