Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day: No clue. A reason to return.

Wow, it's been almost a thousand years since I typed up a blog on here. Hyperbolize much?...meh. It's been a long ass time. But I've recently been looking into something that got me all kinds of stimulated about blogging. In fact, it was another blog I read that got me motivated to blog again. So here we go...

Today I read a review about a company. And it just so happens, I ordered from that company today. And now I am sitting at my computer at work, eagerly awaiting the fresh produce that will arrive at my doorstep...starting next week.

I have been reading Michael Pollan's book, Botany of Desire, for about three or four months now. (Mind you, I've read about four other books in the meantime...I'm not THAT lazy or slow.) In the book, I learned for the first time that there are many farms who will deliver you produce on a weekly/biweekly basis. I never knew this existed. I got really excited when I read it, and then I forgot about it for three months.

Last Friday, I happened to be sitting at the [local news station] building, waiting for my turn to audition, when I picked up a [city in which I reside] Magazine. I was interested in the local restaurants they were featuring, but I happened upon an article that highlighted local farms. It listed a few websites for local produce, which I wrote down quickly.

Today, when I finally had a chance to sit at my computer at work, I checked out the websites (while on hold with the state of Maryland tax department...whom I still haven't reached. Lame.) Although I found out a lot about local farmers' markets (one of which is about 5 min from my house on Wednesdays, who knew?), I didn't see a whole lot about delivery. Yay for Google.

When I searched "local produce delivery [my city and state]" my world was changed forever. I found at least two nearby distributors that have this delivery process, and I chose one to order from. And it was so ridiculously easy that I now resent ever having gone to Whole Foods to sift through the huge produce section searching for local and organic produce. Well, that's shit...I love going to Whole Foods and shopping for ANYTHING. But at least now I know that every other week I will get a mix of 10-11 produce items that were all grown within 100 miles of [my city].

Here's how it works:

-Google search and find a distributor in your area that delivers. Pick one and sign-up.

-Most of them have flat rates for certain "containers" that you choose among. This basically caters towards singles/couples/families and produce/eggs and dairy/bread. You get the idea. You choose whichever container suits you best.
Many farms also have "add-on" options to include meat, fish, dairy, baked goods, etc. that you can include, as well.

-Choose whether you'd like your delivery to come each week or every other week.

-Enter your billing info, and wait!

The distribution company I am shopping from has no sign up fee and allows you to cancel at any time (some farms have you sign up for an entire season). And they deliver food in a box that is all tricked out so that it can sit in the sun for 10 hours and food won't get hot or spoil. Hells yea. Best of all, they ask you to tell them what produce you are either allergic to or absolutely hate. So hopefully I won't have to worry about tons of fruit or carrots ruining my life every week. (I mean, I can tolerate carrots sometimes, but it's rough. And aside from bananas with peanut butter, I'm just not a big fruit person. In the rare occasion that I have a sweet tooth, I want something more sinful than an apple.)

Eventually I hope to have the time and space to cultivate my own little herb and veggie garden. But in the mean time, I am jacked (inside joke, I fucking hate that word) to be able to support local farms and eat from a diverse selection of veggies.

Moral of this story: Go find a freaking distributor and start making a change in the world, your community, and your own personal health! (Unless you already shop at farmers' markets and buy local. In that case, kudos to you!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 128: Do Your Best...

...forget the rest.

Anyone who has joined the p90x cult knows what I'm talking about. High five!

Apparently, I'm the only person in the world who has yet to see an advertisement for p90x. So I am very thankful to my wonderful beau for introducing me to the workout. Because it is incredible...and I'm only one week into it.

My problem with a lot of workouts is that I get bored sooooo easily. I'm not sure where I transitioned from someone who could run around the neighborhood for an hour until I just felt "done" into someone who runs less than a mile before becoming too attention deficit to go any further. But either way, if I get bored with a routine, it's impossible for me to continue...I crave constant excitement and change. A big reason I'm so ridiculously bored with my life most of the time...

But p90x not only gives you constant change throughout each (approx.) 1-hour workout, but also with the order of workouts...so I feel like I might actually stick to this (which is good, considering my AmFam membership is up on May 20).

So far I'm only 1 week in, and I feel amazing. Not only do all of my muscles ache, but my energy is high during the day and I have been sleeping harder than ever. And anyone who knows me or stalks me on facebook can tell you how awfully I've been sleeping for the past few years.

As for the "diet" portion of the system, I'm not even looking at it...mostly because I already eat really healthy and don't have junk food cravings but once in a blue moon. However, I have started eating more nuts and seeds to fulfill my body's protein needs.

And speaking of junk food...this weekend I forgot how much I fucking LOVE buffalo wings. It's basically the only version of chicken I find worth eating (chicken bores the shit out of me...if I'm going to indulge in meat, I'd rather have steak or lamb...cooked rare, thank you). But holy hallelujah, chicken with skin on the bone that's been deep fried and tossed in a concoction of butter and hot sauce...then dipped in fatty ranch dressing...it's like the obese woman inside of me has escaped from prison and is full of glee. I only ate one...but now that my inner fatty has had a taste, it's gonna be hard to suppress the urge. And I have a feeling that there is no vegan version out there that's going to satisfy. Damn.

Anyways, for a complete topic switch...I was thinking the other day while I was in the shower (annnnnnd now you can get that visual out of your dirty mind, thanks)...a lot of people don't buy organic because it's too expensive. And I agree that some products tend to be rather pricey...but I'm a good shopper and I know how to eat organic on a budget. I also cook, so pre-packaged process foods aren't necessary--and that's what's the most expensive anyways, organic or not. Anywho, I understand that many low-income families have this problem. But there are a lot of people out there who would rather spend tons of money on technology and up-to-date "stuff" than on their own well-being. And it's kind of sad to me. Because our bodies are the only real instrument, the only real tool that we have...and once our bodies fail, there's not really anything left of us (unless you're Stephen Hawking). That was my thought of the day, feel free to ponder.

On another note, next Thursday is my birthday! Yippy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 114: Sunny Side Up

I'm writing this post with no specific motivation or topic in mind...just an inexplicable need to rant. So we'll see where it goes.

First of all, the office has smelled like dirty feet for TWO days now and I think I might lose my mind. Perhaps this is the cause of my overwhelming need to rant right now.

Um, hmmm...food...health...exercise...ohhhhh something inspire me!

Exercise. Exercise is a bitch. I can't wait until I have a yard where I can grow vegetables and herbs and get most of my physical activity from doing yard work. I hate working in the yard now, but I feel like I'll enjoy it by the time I have a yard to do it in. I mean, nobody fucking had gyms back in the day...their exercise was physical labor! Instead, my job is to sit at a desk. In a smelly office. Where half of the track lights decided not to work today so it's kinda dark. (The dark, rainy weather outside only exacerbates this issue).

That got way off track...oops! But seriously, I cannot find any motivation to go inside of a gym now that it's spring! If the weather is nice, then I either want to be outside getting physical activity or in my living room working out with the windows open and sunlight pouring in. American Family has tons of windows, but no matter what, as soon as you go inside it's like you're in this mechanical, fluorescent world where nature ceases to exist.

I'm not sure when I started becoming one with nature, but now that I've started I just can't stop. I hate working out at the gym...I want to be outside. I don't want to be in a stuffy room doing Body Combat with 75 other women, most of whom I can't help but make fun of in my mind (even though I know it's wrong.) But I'm sorry...at least have two levels of the class so that those of us who want to work our butts off don't have to trip over people who are standing there "punching" as though the invisible punching bag is just a balloon.

And while I'm ranting about AmFam classes, I swear to god I cannot even GO to Body Flow anymore without my zen being completely destroyed. Either a cell phone (or two) goes off, the class is too full to have any space to move, or the instructor won't shut up during Savasana (the final relaxation pose...where it's supposed to be fucking SILENT!). It's a shame, because I really used to love that class...mostly for the meditation and mental relaxation.

I'm not really in a bad mood today at all, even though I'm sure it sounds like I'm about to rip someone's head off. I slept better last night than I ever do (unless I'm with the boy or I'm really sick). And even better, I get to see the boy tonight and play dodgeball with some kick ass friends! Honestly, it's the fucking smell of the office that is making me go off right now. And I can't open the door to let fresh air in since it's raining. And I think I might be going slightly insane because of all of this.

On another note, I'm happy to say that my body is finally back on track after that week of dairy that ruined my insides. Oh, and the most exciting part of my week: I learned how to cook an artichoke AND I made homemade aioli (not vegan...it uses an egg). The thing is, I don't measure...so the aioli (a rich sauce, sometimes called "garlic mayonnaise") could have been a disaster, but it wasn't! And it was the perfect dipping sauce for the artichoke petals.

I really need to go to culinary school. Like now. Anybody wanna front the tuition for me? :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 112: Let's Ketchup on the Past Month

Holy guacamole, I have not written a blog in over a month. I'm so bad at this whole blog thing...I tell myself every day that I need to write and then I just don't. Oh well, I'm doing it now, right?

Okay, so in the last month or so...

I went completely vegan for Lent (well, as far as food is concerned...I'm not counting animal products in clothing, etc. that "true" vegans avoid). I cheated a tiny bit: I didn't buy all vegan wines and I took an Irish Car Bomb on St. Patty's Day. I don't feel guilty about these decisions.

I did NOT go completely gluten free for Lent, but definitely scaled down on bread and such (ie: no eating a bag of mini-bagels throughout the course of a day...)

And I did not work out nearly as much as I wanted to...but I did work out more than I usually do.

I ended Lent a week early, after running the Monument 10k. Boyfriend (gave up red meat) and I both decided that we weren't going to deprive ourselves of delicious brunch after running 6.2 miles. He had bacon, I had Nova salmon lox...yum! *Note: I hurt my hip running the 10k, and after 2.5 miles, I had to power-limp the rest. It was so painful, and embarrassing since I was crying. I was too ashamed to go through the finish line with such a horrible time (I ran it in 71 minutes last year), but I did finish.

And now, a post "Lent" catch-up:

The salmon from brunch didn't upset my stomach, thank goodness. I was worried. And I didn't work out very much that week. At least my hip is all better now...I could barely walk that night!

The weekend where Lent actually ended was another story for my tummy...

I got drunk way too quickly at the boyfriend's house when we were having a cookout (now that my body's all clean, I've lost almost all of my alcohol tolerance). I drunkenly ate cheese in the middle of the night (vague memories of this the next morning when I looked into the fridge). Felt gross on Saturday...hardly ate anything and still felt really full. Then my aunt gave me some of her amazing Pasta Salad (w/ Feta Cheese) and that was my dinner Sunday night. Felt even worse Monday than I did Sunday. So what do I eat Tuesday while I'm at a friend's house watching Lost? Some amazing habanero cheese...I can't turn down something spicy, what can I say? And if I wasn't making myself feel sick enough, I ate some artichoke and spinach dip from Crapplebees Wednesday night after dodgeball.

So basically...I had stomach aches and liquid poop all week (sorry to gross you out, but it's true). Apparently dairy all kinds of fucks up my digestive system. I thoroughly enjoy delicious cheeses, so I'm going to have to save my indulgences for special occasions. Did I mention that my favorite dessert is cheesecake?

And throughout all of this:

I've been looking into Natural Chef programs (very few, mostly in Cali or in the Mid-West). The one I've fallen in love with is in NYC...and of course, it is the most expensive.

Until I can raise $20 grand and convince my boyfriend to move to New York with me...which I feel might take a while...I've been reading and learning as much as I can on my own.

Michael Pollan has written several books on food, eating, and where our food is coming from. His philosophy is this: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He also calls the processed stuff that's on our shelves today "edible food-like substances." Love him.

Also, I received two comments last weekend that I look thinner. But not in a sickly, unhealthy way (like the comments I received when I was plummeting down to 96lbs). I apparently look more toned. And after a recent doctor appointment, I've apparently lost 6.5 pounds. The crazy thing is, I'm not dieting. I'm not depriving myself of food, I'm just eating the all-natural versions of it. Same calories. I'm not working out more (probably working out less, actually). I think either I'm getting rid of toxins or my energy is better spent now that it's digesting properly. Who knows...either way, I feel GOOD.

Anywho, that's a quick little summary of what I haven't been blogging about for the past month or so. Sorry to be so boring.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 67, It Does a Body Good?

How many celebrities in a mustache does it take to convince Americans that something is good for them?

Well, according to Wikipedia, at least 277 celebrities have endorsed the campaign. What campaign? Why, the "Got Milk?" campaign of course! And even on their website, www.whymilk.com, there are currently 28 celebrities donning the infamous milk mustache.

So that means it MUST be good for you right? Because all of these celebrities would never endorse something unless they totally and completely believe in it...

Hahaha, sorry...everyone needs a chuckle once in a while.

Let's get real.

This blog began last night, when one of my roommates mentioned that she thinks she might be lactose intolerant. My other roommate mentioned how her mother became lactose intolerant as she got older. And of course, this began a whole conversation for me.

Why do you think so many adults are lactose intolerant? (I won't even go into why I think people have allergies to soy and wheat...I'll save those blogs for another day.) How is it that such a large number of people can have an allergy to one particular food group?

My opinion...it's because our bodies are not meant to eat it! And yes, many people's bodies have adapted and become accustomed to dairy. At least they think so (note: stomach aches, diarrhea, cramping, acne...they don't just happen on their own. Not saying it's necessarily because of dairy, but it could be.)

Humans are the only animals to continue to drink milk after being weaned. No other mammal depends on dairy for strong bones or other minerals/vitamins. They get these by eating plants and grains. Humans are capable of getting their nutrients the same way. But we all know how hard it is to get children to eat their vegetables, so lets just give them some naturally fatty/sugary milk. They don't like that either? Add chocolate. Problem solved. Right...

Breast milk is designed so that it is fatty and contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, hormones, etc. Because milk is designed to aid a baby in the first and biggest growth spurt of their life! After they've been weaned and are capable of digesting real food, they don't need milk anymore.

And what about all of those adds that say kids need milk to grow strong bones? I call BULLSHIT!!!

First of all, there are people in other countries who consume WAY less dairy than we do, and guess what...they actually have less percentages of osteoporosis! Our bodies will absorb calcium, we don't need to overload it.

Okay...so plenty of research is out there to prove this, yes? Yes. I'll post some links at the bottom of my post. But what about the research that says we DO need dairy? Hmm...

I'll answer that with a story that seems unrelated. But it's not. I promise.

My boyfriend gave up red meat for Lent this year. Before he did this, he wasn't sure if he needed to give up pork or not. After some research, he learned that pork is, in fact, red meat. Whaaaaat? But isn't pork "the other white meat"??? Oh the power of advertisement!!!

In the 80s, due to a general perception that chicken and turkey were healthier than red meat, the US National Pork Board began the advertisement we all know and remember, which calls pork "the other white meat" to boost its consumption. And by god, it worked! Sales went up like crazy! Yay for marketing.

How does that relate? Because the milk campaign does the exact same thing, just in a different way! They market it so that you will buy it. They don't do it for your health, they do it for their wallets.

What about all of the research on their website? I truly do wonder who funds it.

Unfortunately, I do not have the money or resources right now to do an extensive background check on who funds the research for milk, but having seen a ridiculous amount of documentaries, I feel it is safe to say that there is a high probability that a dairy foundation is behind that funding. Which means Milk has a lot of control over how these studies are run and what information is being released.

A lot of research has been done to test the accuracy of the milk campaign studies, and a group of researchers even found that several of these studies had to be rejected because they didn't have adequate controls. Research has also shown that our bodies absorb the calcium in dark green leafy vegetables better than the calcium in dairy. (We absorb the same amount of calcium in a cup of cooked kale as we do in a cup of cow's milk). Not to mention, dairy protein can actually keep you from absorbing calcium.

And now, to try and sum up this ridiculously long blog. Milk and dairy can affect you negatively, and it is not absolutely necessary for one to consume it after one has finished breastfeeding. (Note: I have not once said that milk is bad for you or that you need to stay completely away from it--unless it does affect you negatively and you know this about your own body.)

Do I love cheese? Absolutely. Has cottage cheese been one of my favorite foods since high school? Totally. Is ice cream one of the most wonderful treats in the world? Fuck yea. Have I personally given up all dairy forever and ever amen? Hell no.

Enjoy it in moderation! A little bit here and there! Because if you're going to eat it, you may as well eat it as naturally as possible (ie: no fat free junk that's filled with crazy ass fillers...they don't taste as good anyways, right?). Which means it's going to have fat, which means you should be eating it in moderation to begin with.

But a glass of milk a day? It isn't necessary. And just think, you're feeding the pockets of a huge, greedy corporation a lot more than you're feeding your own health.

On that note, try to buy organic. And be sure it comes from cows that are grass-fed. Otherwise you're likely ingesting all kinds of pesticides and hormones and crap that you really, really don't need.

To finish, I love my roommates to death and fully support their dairy habits (along with all of my friends/family) as long as they're healthy and happy!

Some links:

http://www.pcrm.org/magazine/gm05spring/milk_myth.html (A great article with great research to back it up).
http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2001/feb/feb2001twarner.htm (Another great article with more great research).
http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2009/06/sometimes_science_makes_me_sick.html (A funny blog that helps prove my point about marketing and research).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 49: May I Borrow Your Catholicism?

No, I am not Catholic. And that is the extent of information that I will tell you about my spiritual/religious beliefs. This blog is about health, which includes a connection between the mind, body, and soul...but that's about as much of it you're going to hear from me. K, thanks.

Moving on...I write this blog the day before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). And I write this blog, because come Ash Wednesday, a friend and I have challenged ourselves to go completely vegan and gluten free until Easter--as well as make a pact that we will be physically active (work out) at least 5 days a week. (It just so happens, that this 40-day period is also the time of year when Catholics are known to fast, called Lent).

Many people, including myself, typically associate Lent as a time to "give something up." From my understanding, the true tradition of the holiday actually comes from the fasting that Jesus took part in for 40-days in the wilderness. I have found that "Lent" can mean a lot of different things to different people...whether it is giving up a vice, giving up certain foods/beverages, or giving yourself up completely (to God).

To all Catholics and spiritual friends out there who practice this holiday with full religious intentions, please do not be offended about anything I say in this blog. In no way do I mean to show disrespect to your beliefs.

But for me, personally, Lent is a challenge. A challenge to better myself, my body, my soul, and my mind. It means making an honest change within myself when all is said and done. When I gave up my addiction with soda in high school, it became so much easier to continue giving it up. Giving up superstitions was an honest change as well (trust me). And while, yes, I could do this any time...Lent is a time where I can make my change with the support of others around me who are also making sacrifices.

This year, I am going 100% vegan. I've written in my past blogs that I want to go vegan, and I've managed to change my diet for about 85% of the food I eat in a week. However, when going out to eat or dining at someone's house, I still maintain that I do not want to be a complicated guest (not to mention, I love sushi, seafood, steak, cheesecake, chocolate...) <---See how hard this is going to be?

On top of going vegan, I will be giving up gluten. While I don't believe I necessarily have an allergy to wheat products, my partner-in-crime for this endeavor does. Not to mention, I do become very addicted to them once I start. Which means, instead of eating rice and veggies, I chow down on bread. And only bread. All. Day. Long. Not so good.

Finally, the third part of the challenge will be to work out (or take part in a physical activity, such as Dodgeball!) 5 out of 7 days a week. And that means 30 minutes+ of intense, constant exercise or 1 hour+ of mild exercise.

Writing down my goals on this blog has helped me so far. I rarely get stomach aches like I used to, I rarely feel lethargic for no reason, and most nights I have been sleeping better. Not to mention my clothing is fitting better, my energy is up, and I feel freaking GREAT!

So now, I'm kicking it up 10 notches and working my way to being even healthier, more energetic, and sexier in that little black dress!

And I'm sooooo excited that one of my closest friends will be doing the same thing right along side of me!!! (Hopefully we won't do too much damage tomorrow when we celebrate Mardi Gras and watch Lost!) And I will be even more excited if one of my favorite ladies follows through with her plan to give up all meat, and my favorite man gives up red meat (or some kind of junk food?)! The more people, the more motivation!

Are you giving up anything for Lent? Or do you need some motivation? Let me know!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 37: Soul Food, Anyone?

Dear Internet,

In my first blog, I mentioned why I have never kept diaries: I have a way of getting into trouble with the words that come out of my mouth (or pen). But I forgot to mention the other reason I never kept diaries: I'm really, really bad at keeping up with them. Hence why this is my first post since January 15th...I'm such a slacker. I know.

Thankfully, I have friends who keep telling me to write another blog (my friends fucking ROCK!) so here I am! Back on the blog, and no idea what I'm going to say.

A couple people have requested that I write a blog where I rant about health insurance. They probably think that if I blog about it, I won't bitch about it out loud as much. Sorry guys, but if I blog about that right now, it's all I'm going to be able to talk about for days/weeks. (As of now, I am uninsured, and pending approval from another insurance company because Anthem SUCKS ASSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!). <---See, you don't even want me to get started right now.

I could blog about how I'm still trying to eat mostly vegan, but there really aren't any stories to tell right now. I eat vegan about 85% of the time. Blah blah blah...

I could blog about my lack of physical activity lately due to ridiculous amounts of snowfall keeping me stuck inside, but talking about what I'm not doing isn't nearly as entertaining as talking about what I AM doing.

So then, what am I doing?

Right now, fucking nothing...and I hate it.

Anyone who has ever known me will typically associate me with the word "busy." Whether I'm busy working, rehearsing, performing, going to various organizational meetings, cooking, busting ass at the gym, socializing, or any of the other million things I love to do...as long as I'm busy, I'm happy.

But lately, I've realized that I've got a lot of time on my hands, and I don't like it. My calendar is not nearly as full as I'd like (there are empty spaces, for crying out loud...what the hell???). And what's worse is that, as hard as I look, I can't find the right things to fill in those spaces!

Don't get me wrong, I love that I have time to go to the gym and hang out with my boyfriend and friends. And I'm sure this is better for my mental health and all (what...did you think I was going to neglect the fact that this whole blog idea is about my journey to a healthier lifestyle?). But sometimes I wonder if a little bit of stress isn't actually good for you.

The thing is, when I'm not keeping myself ridiculously busy (or even moderately busy), I don't feel very accomplished. And when I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much, I feel unmotivated. Having a full calendar keeps me pushing forward, makes me want to wake up early to work out, gets me to USE my energy instead of just letting it lay idle.

Do I want to give up my time with friends? Absolutely not. Do I want to give up my nights in the gym? Hell no. But I need something more...

So how do I find balance in this? (If you don't already know, Balance is my personal mantra.)

How do I find balance so that I don't have too much free time, but also don't lose all of my free time? Where do I find activities or a 2nd job that will fulfill that need to go out and DO something, that will allow me to interact, to move around, and to make good use of the energy building up inside?

Because right now, I feel like my soul is being unfed...and I'm just waiting for the opportunity to take a big, fat, delicious BITE out of life!!!

Side note: I would love any and all suggestions. Just remember that I'm broke, so activities that cost money are OUT...but activities that make money are IN!!!