Engagement Chicken Incarnate

You all know about Ina Garten’s engagement chicken right? There was a story recently on the Today Show speculating that it might have actually been a factor in the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (I mean, they were are home cooking, right?) I love the Barefoot Contessa, though I must confess I’ve never made her engagement chicken. Which obviously explains why I am still single. ( If you didn’t read that with a sarcastic flair, you are reading it wrong. Though, note to self: start using this anecdote whenever you get the “why are you still single?” question “Oh I’ve never made engagement chicken for anyone” …) though in my defense most of the people I have over for dinner are my friends and their husbands, so making Engagement Chicken for them feels a little weird and potentially home-wreckery… Also I already have a go-to fool-proof chicken recipe…I digress…

I’ve mentioned before that Palm Springs is my happy place. I don’t take many vacations, but for the past several years my college roommates and I have a made a point of taking a long weekend in the desert, full of shopping, sunshine, cocktails and fashion. I’m not using hyperbole when I say that this long weekend is the thing that keeps me going through the entire year. Of course we tend to take this girls getaway in the dead of winter when our PNW skin is almost translucent and our vitamin D is waning… it also happens to fall in the middle of “winter sickness season” and so the weeks leading up to this trip are spent disinfecting all the surfaces at work and pumping myself full of vitamins. It’s around this time I also start incorporating “the elixir” into my daily regimen. For those of you who know me, you know that I swear by the elixir when it comes to cold and flu season. Anytime there is any hint of an ailment, I go straight to the elixir and don’t stop until I’m feeling back to normal. What I love most about it is that it works with your body to boost immunity, you probably already have all the ingredients sitting around, and also the fact that it is MAGIC.

Elixir:

  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • juice from ½- 1 whole lemon or lime
  • honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • pinch of cayenne
  • hot water

Okay, I know it sounds a little gross. Hot garlic water? Yes, I know, but believe me when I tell you that it doesn’t taste as bad as you would imagine, and actually I find the drink to be rather soothing. It’s not like I crave it, but it’s also not one of those things that I have to plug my nose and chug just to get it over with. It tastes better than most health drinks, and is so much more palatable than anything with Spirulina. Obviously I’m not a doctor or healthcare professional so I’m not going to go into the details of what makes the elixir magic work… but as we are heading into the winter months I’d suggest keeping this recipe in the back of your mind.

The other thing I do while prepping for vacation is try to get my eczema under control. ( I know, this is a super glamorous post about immunity boosting garlic tea and weird skin stuff… sexy, am I right?) I’ve had some form of eczema most of my life, and it gets triggered by a change of climate and stress. –This made trips to Montana over holiday break (IE After Finals + family dynamics) SUPER fun- I have distinct memories of dermatologist pulling out a ruler and measuring my neck rash… I’m sharing all of this because after dealing with this skin condition for most of my life, trying out various over the counter creams, and expensive treatments I’ve actually found something that works: Essential Oils. Yes, I use essential oils, but good news for you, I have no desire to sell them to you, or even really discuss them at all other than the fact that I’ve discovered that thyme essential oil is super effective at keeping my eczema flair ups under control. The only down-side is that thyme essential oil has an incredibly pungent scent. I’m an avid gardener and I cook with fresh herbs all the time, so the scent of thyme doesn’t really bother me, but after spending years in the wine industry and as a yoga teacher I’m very sensitive to how scents impact people. I don’t really wear perfume, I don’t use scented body products because the last thing I want is for a customer or a client to be put off or have an allergic reaction or a negative experience due to my personal fragrance choices. Most of the time I remedy this by applying the thyme oil at night as part of my bedtime routine.

That being said, the weeks leading up to vacation, the kid gloves come off. I am in full blown immune boosting, eczema controlling, nothing is going to interfere with even 5 seconds of full blown joy I plan on having on this vacation mode. And thus, last year, two days before our trip, I had the epiphany (while I was in the middle of teaching a yoga class) that in that very moment my personal essence was that of a roasting chicken.

As soon as class wrapped up I sent a text to my friends about how they better look forward to being on vacation with me because my new personal fragrance was that of freshly roasted poultry. Without missing a beat one of my friends replied back that the men would probably love it, and that’s when I realized “Oh my god, I’m engagement chicken incarnate!”

I know, it’s really surprising that here we are almost ten months after this revelation and not one person has proposed to me. (You mean to tell me that hot garlic water isn’t an aphrodisiac?) I guess being the embodiment of this famous dish is not enough.

7 things I’m really into for Summer

It’s June! And surprisingly enough, warm weather has hit Oregon the last couple of weeks, meaning the garden is thriving, spirits are high, and we are all walking around with a premature inkling that summer has arrived (or is at least right around the corner) Evenings are spent wandering around the strawberry patch, sipping beverages on the patio, kicking my shoes off and basking in the lingering light. Yes and please.

Apparently Mercury is heading into retrograde in the next few days and that means chaos is supposed to ensue in the following weeks, interpersonal communication will crumble, technology will fail, (wait all of my work technology already failed this week, please don’t let it get worse!) transportation will be horrid, and overall I will feel misinterpreted… should I just take the month off from blogging? Ha, I’m not that into astrology and only find it mildly curious, but here are a few things that I am REALLY into for the summer.

1) Sassy haircuts: I will immediately start off with a tangent about how when I was in high school my brother told me that boys didn’t like girls with short hair, and I would never find a boyfriend if I cut all my hair off… obviously I cut all my hair off to prove a point, and also I wanted short sassy hair! Ok, at the age of 17 I might not have been “cool” enough to pull off the short look, and sure enough my shaggy bob was less Mandy Moore, and more Oprah in nature, BUT, I’ve always had a tendency to be a little more adventurous when it comes to getting my hair cut. I mean, it’s only hair, it will grow back… or so I tell myself. Because every now and again I see the girls with the beautiful flowing locks, and I start to think about fishtail braids and sock buns and all the amazingly cool things I’m missing out on by having shorter hair, so I start to go through the painfully awkward grow out period, (and somewhere in the back of my head I still hear my brother’s voice telling me I’m never going to find a guy if have short hair… isn’t that terrible?) and a year later I’m just feeling frumpy and not like myself, and still somewhat wistfully dreaming of sock buns, but mostly just feeling so blasé…. The girls with the beautifully long hair don’t tell you about the awful grow out, because lets be honest, they’ve had long beautiful hair their entire lives… and I tend to think of myself as a “keep your eyes on the prize” kind of gal,   But I also know when to cut my loses… and quite frankly, a summer of short and sassy hair is EXACTLY what I need. Goodbye frumpy grow out, goodbye dreams of braids, Hello sass factor 2000. (side note. I’ve been looking at pinterest this week trying to find some hair cut inspiration… apparently pinterest and I have quite different definitions of “sassy hair cuts” But I guess whatever floats your boat…  Also I was supposed to get a haircut today, but it got canceled… SO no sassy haircut yet, but I’m sure pictures will follow eventually)

2) Country Music: Growing up in rural Montana, we didn’t have MTV… we did however get CMT… It didn’t matter, I still hated country music for the most part. Ok, Ok, the first concert I ever went to was Lonestar, and I went to a Toby Keith concert once (and no, my bulldog is not named after Toby Keith. For the record) … but for the most part, I rebelled against the country. I was too busy listening to movie soundtracks and 98 degrees… (Um yeah, nerd alert. But the One Fine Day soundtrack is damn good! In retrospect this probably had a lot more to do with my single status than my Oprah hair…) But Thankfully, I grew up, pop culture no longer intimidates me (well ok, it does a little) and I don’t know if its me going back to my country roots, or just the nostalgia of opening up Red Hills Market on Saturday mornings with country music blasting, but there is something undeniable about the summertime and country music. They go together like tomatoes and basil. If I still had my Toyota I would be cruising around with the sunroof open blasting Keith Urban all the live long day… and you should be do. Because summer is country music time. It’s just so happy, and all about drinking beer, and going to the fishing hole, and getting tan, and having manly men say things like how their eyes are the only thing they don’t want to take off of you and how you make them feel like they want to roll the windows down and cruise, and there is something about listening to it in the summer time that just feels right. (disclaimer… I actually don’t like country music by ladies very much… that might be a little sexist… but its just not as good….)

3) When it comes to makeup, less is more: Don’t you hate it when at the end of a hot summer day you look in the mirror and all of your makeup has melted off your face? And it seems totally unfair, because when I come home at the end of the day and wash my face, I always think about how bright and vibrant I look… why is it that no makeup sometimes looks so much better than makeup at the end of the day? Really the only solution for the summer is to take it down to the basics and go for a more natural look.   This time of year I make my own tinted moisturizer with coconut oil and powder foundation. It is like a magic serum. Trust me. Touch up as needed with concealer, sweep on a little bronzer, nude eyeliner (it is the best thing of all time) , and brown mascara and you are pretty much done. Maybe add a little neutral shimmery eye shadow here and there, and of course leave your options open for lip color.   Let me just say a few things about nude eyeliner. It is a game changer. Unlike darker eye liner you don’t have to spend a lot of time applying it trying to make sure the line is going where it is supposed to, and that you haven’t missed any spots. Sweep it on, no touching up, no fussing and it gives your eyes some definition without being over done. I’m obsessed.

4) A red lip:I know I know, I just got done preaching that less is more… but when your face is a natural looking summer glow, it opens up the opportunity for wearing bold color on the lips without looking like you are on your way to the Red Carpet. I think every woman can rock a red lip and summer is the perfect time. The only essentials are lip liner and confidence. (also the jury is still out, but apparently Men also don’t really like lipstick that much? In other words, I’m setting myself up for romantic success by cutting off my hair and rocking a red lip this season. )

Red Lip

Red Lip

5) Summer scarves: So you know when you have an adorable summer dress, and then you totally destroy the look by putting a weird cardigan over it that doesn’t really go with anything, but you do it anyway because you don’t want to get cold, and then you just look like you don’t quite know how to dress yourself? I do, because I’m guilty of this constantly… Because my fear of being cold far outweighs my fear of being fashionable… Mostly… Only this summer I actually am working in fashion, so I’m kind of on the search for suitable alternatives. Insert, the summer scarf, preferably a blend of cashmere and silk in a solid or ombre color. This week one of my bosses said it perfectly with “a scarf does all the things but you still look cute!” (we had just been having the cardigan conversation) I’m sure I have cardigans that will still make cameos this season, but I’m declaring the summer scarf as my go to for 2014.  ‘

silk and cashmere scarf from Mes Amies

silk and cashmere scarf from Mes Amies

6) Water:As a yoga teacher, I preach the importance of drinking water. And every single day I get up and think “today is the day that I will be a rockstar at drinking water!” and then most days go by, and at about 4:30 I realize I’ve only had 3 sips out of my water bottle. Ugh. But the good news is that yesterday is in the past, and tomorrow is a new day, and there is always the potential for making a change. And I can tell such a difference in my body when I’m well hydrated vs. not. Especially in the summer months. So it’s a constant work in progress, but for now, I’m hopping on my drink water soap box, and preaching the importance of staying hydrated. Throw some mint or berries in your water bottle, freeze some edible flowers in your ice, jazz up your water (or just drink it plain).

Borage blossoms in ice cubes

Borage blossoms in ice cubes

water

water

borage and mint water

borage and mint water

 

7) One Piece Swimming Suits: Is anyone else as ecstatic as I am that one piece bathing suits have made a come back? Ok, I know this kind of happened last summer, but I was still in denial about needing a new bathing suit back then. Now I am fully embracing the trend.

J. Crew Grid Dot Swimsuit

J. Crew Grid Dot Swimsuit

 

Anthropologie Basta Surf Swimsuit

Anthropologie Basta Surf Swimsuit

 

Anthropologie Seafolly Swinsuit

Anthropologie Seafolly Swinsuit

Let’s just take a moment to talk about body image…

 

photo(13)

 

Lets just take a moment to talk about body image… Because it’s something that resonates with everyone… Even if it’s not something that you personally struggle with, you probably know someone who does… These days there are movements and initiatives, foundations and the works all about building self-esteem in young girls and empowering the next generation. There is constant controversy about how the media is portraying  beauty ideals and promoting a warped view to young girls… And whether we went through a chubby stage in middle school (check), gained the freshman 15 (check), or have watched our bodies change with age (check) its a topic that dances in and out of conversation, and has lingering effects.  Full disclosure, I gained about 12 pounds last year, and I could write several excuses about how I was working in a restaurant, how a broken toe f’ed up my running routine, how I have no self control when it comes to things like Chantilly cream and full fat dairy, but the truth of the matter is, I made the choices that I made, and I’m in the body that I’m in, and I’m totally ok with that. Was I more comfortable in my body 12 pounds ago? Probably. Am I spending countless moments throughout my day fretting about my size and how my clothes fit and how I look? No.  Because 12 pounds isn’t worth the negativity. I simply think “this is where I am today, and I’m going to make choices accordingly.” When I look in the mirror every morning I see myself, just the way I am, and sure, I have those fleeting thoughts of  “I should go for a run” or “I need to move my person a little bit more” because everyone has those thoughts from time to time, but I think the important thing is to recognize them without dwelling on them.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that having a positive body image is something that I’ve struggled with for years and years, because really, I haven’t. I’ve always been comfortable with who I am, and how I look… and yes I have fat days, and bad hair days just like everyone else. I have days where I wish I had less cellulite and better abs. I have moments of being unhappy with my body, but they are just that, moments.  They aren’t something that hinder my self-esteem, they don’t affect how I live my life, how I see myself… and I realize that I am incredibly lucky in this regard. ( I have other hang ups, its ok).

I DID go through a pudgy phase when I was younger… (didn’t everyone?) I don’t remember ever feeling like a fat kid, though I do remember my mother encouraging me to go outside more and maybe jump on the trampoline… And I vividly remember a few years later when  my pediatrician came up to my mom and said “wow, Tayler was so beautiful in the recital! I remember her being kind of chunky!”  I of course also gained some weight when I went to college, and have this somewhat horrific memory of coming home for Christmas and one of my “friends” actually pinched my cheeks and loudly announced “Look at these! I’m so glad you are getting fat like the rest of us!” Can I just say that sometimes girls are the worst? I mean the worst.   And the older I’m getting the more I’m realizing that there seem to be two types of insecure women… the type that put others down because they are insecure, or the type that put themselves down. And really, both make me so sad.  Now that I’m in my late 20’s I can look back on adolescence and of course recognize the mean girl mentality, the bullies who were constantly spewing negativity about other people  because they were struggling to feel good about themselves… But when you are in the thick of it, when the negativity is coming your way, and you are 14 its almost impossible to be objective and say “well really, she is just insecure, so she is trying to make me feel bad.”

But, what I have discovered recently, is that women of a certain age are almost as bad as middle-schoolers, only they take all that negativity and insecurity and turn it right back on themselves. I can’t even tell you how many women I come across who are a size 4 and have hangups about their arms, or think they look too fat in something and then turn to me and say “you don’t have these problems, you are tiny.” and I’m thinking “Well thank you, but I’m actually 3 sizes larger than you, and my arms are like 6 of yours put together…”  And then you have the mothers who are looking in the mirror who are verbally berating themselves, saying how fat they look, how they hate their legs or whatever, as their daughters sit there observing their behavior. And it’s interesting because it seems like these days there are so many movement about building self esteem in young girls, programs that are trying to teach you that uniqueness is beautiful, that individuality should be celebrated, that curves are ok, and I think that these programs are great, but there is a part of me that wonders if maybe we also need these types of programs for our Mother’s generation. Maybe we need to be helping the women who have been dealing with years and years of negative body image see themselves in a different light.

So now I have to tell a story that is going to horrify my mother… (its ok, she has been warned… Also, she is my mom, and we love each other, so there is that. )  Last week she was in shopping at the boutique and one of my bosses was there, as was my best friend.  My mom was asking an opinion about a shirt she was trying on, and we started to tell her how we had just been talking about body image, and how we really thought that women should be celebrating their curves and dressing the bodies that they have, and not the bodies that they wish they had, or the bodies that they think they have… working in a clothing boutique this is something that we see everyday… and my mom was like “Really?” and we told her “Well, we want you to be wearing something that you feel good in, and that also looks good on you, so if it’s something that just doesn’t work, we will tell you.”  And then we were talking about curves and body shapes and dressing them, and I said in passing “yes, I have curves, and I’m not self-conscious about them, I kind of have a belly and its fine! ” and then I stuck out my stomach for full emphasis… and without missing a beat my mother was like “Yeah I KNOW you do, I see it all over the place.” … OK MOM!

The moment was a little shocking, my boss was totally taken aback, and my mom did follow up with something about how I think she doesn’t have a filter… (case in point… I’m at a fairly new job, and she just made a comment about my belly fat in front of my boss and my best friend while I’m working… yeah, there is NO filter) And the thing is, I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t embarrassed… I was sad. Not because of the offhanded comment,  but because I was sitting there witnessing my mother subconsciously succumb to the mean girl mentality. I could feel her trying on this top and not feeling 100% great in her body and there was a group of us, and without meaning to and without being aware of it she took all that insecurity and directed it at me. She put me down around my peers. We talked about it later and I totally called her out on it, and we had a good conversation, she felt terrible, she wasn’t trying to be mean, and legitimately we are fine… I’m not telling this story to embarrass my mom, or to make her out to be a bad mother, she isn’t. She is human, and she has her hang ups just like everyone else. And though it would be nice if those hang-ups didn’t manifest at my place of work, I did also realize that, as a mother, she was feeling insecure and in an back-handed way she was trying to be helpful. Like when she corrects my posture… because she wants me to learn from her mistakes… She sees things in herself that she doesn’t like, and so she points them out in me, not to be hurtful or a pain in the ass, but because she wants what is best for me. She wants  me to happy and healthy… and sometimes it comes out completely wrong. Sometimes it drives me absolutely crazy, but I do know that it comes from a place of love… And at the end of the day, I’m very familiar with intentions being lost in translation…

If anything, the whole situation made me appreciate my mom, and my upbringing. I can only imagine how her life was 60 years ago.. growing up I was told I could be whatever I wanted to be (ok, ok I was told once that I probably shouldn’t be an artist… in retrospect, that was probably very good advice.) I was allowed to do activities that I liked, I was allowed to develop my own interests, I was uplifted and supported and loved… not to say that my mother wasn’t, but our upbringings were VERY different. Being in Generation Y my entire childhood  was pretty much a self-esteem building exercise, I was allowed to make my own choices, make my own mistakes, and become my own person without any preconceived notions. And as a result, I don’t seem to have any of my mother’s hang-ups  (as I said, I have plenty of my own!)

I guess in a way, this blog post is a Thank You to my Mom.  She has her moments, for sure, but overall, I think I turned out the way that I did because of her, and not despite of her… Thank you for raising me to be comfortable in my own skin. Thank you for not passing along any of your hang ups, and for wanting what is best for me always, and Thank you for putting up with me and letting me tell stories about you on my blog.

And to all you ladies out there who ARE struggling with body image, I hope you can take a moment to just settle into your own skin, even if it’s just a moment.  Celebrate your curves (or lack of them) appreciate where you are right now, and give yourself permission to not dwell on your flaws.

A follow up on my juice cleanse: some observations from last week, and a few more tips

obviously the only thing to do when your friends are drinking wine and you are on a juice cleanse is bring your juice to the wine bar and ask for a glass. (I love small town life)

obviously the only thing to do when your friends are drinking wine and you are on a juice cleanse is bring your juice to the wine bar and ask for a glass. (I love small town life)

I thought I’d write a follow up on my juice cleanse experience and keep everyone updated on the progress. Firstly, I took a fair amount of photos, however my phone committed suicide on Sunday (or I dropped it and it died, whatever) so I lost all of my pictures from last week. I did post a quite a few of them to instagram, so if you’d like to see some pictures of things like beet juice, you can find my profile here

The cleanse was pretty amazing actually, and somewhere around day 4, I was I decided to extend the experience for two days and just do a full week. I mean if you are juicing for 5 days you can juice for seven, so why not? I had an excess of produce (though I did have to buy more carrots, cilantro, apples, and 1 pineapple), an excess of energy, and thankfully I was working some shorter shifts, so I had plenty of time to juice.

I woke up on Monday and felt like I could do anything. I just went for an entire week without eating solid food, caffeine, added sugar, meat, dairy, and alcohol. I was 100% plant based, and I didn’t get hungry once!  I was pumped. You know that song from The Sound of Music that the crazy old nun sings? “Climb Every Mountain!”  This was  playing in my head on repeat like my victory chant on Monday morning… (though I just looked up all the lyrics, and not just the first verse that has been on repeat all week, and it doesn’t really so much apply, because its about finding your dreams and chasing rainbows and stuff… Eye of the Tiger might work a little better… but maybe if I just stick with “Climb Every Mountain!!!” over and over again  it accurately portrays how I felt on Monday morning.  Though I just sang it out loud right now for emphasis, and the dog looked at me like I was bat shit crazy.)  Needless to say, You go for a week without eating real food, and you pretty much feel amazing, and its an empowering thing. So sing yourself some sort of victory song.

Here are some other observations from last week. (I’m making these as I remember them, they are in no way in order of importance/ interest)

Firstly:I lost seven pounds, can I get a what what!? I wasn’t doing to cleanse to lose weight as much as I was to hit a restart on my metabolism, but the weight loss was an added bonus.  I could tell by day two that I was less bloated, and people (ok my dad) told me my face looked thinner.  My jeans… well they fit exactly the same (how is that possible? I blame my dryer) and I’m sure a lot of what came off was water weight. I felt like I was going  pee about every 45 minutes, but hello,  it was a 7 day liquid diet.

Secondly:  My fears were confirmed and I’m 95% sure I have an allergy to gluten. People have been telling me years that my eczema might be gluten related, and I’ve only sort of listened to them, because who wants to have a gluten allergy? No one. Croutons are practically one of my food group, and bread and butter is like manna… I suspected that coming off gluten would do some good things for my body (ie goodbye belly bloat) but I was also thinking that an obscene amount of toxins would be seeping out of my pores, so I was mentally prepared to be an eczema covered, pimply version of myself last week.  Surprise! My skin looks great, and by day two, there were no signs of dragon skin. My eczema was 100% gone. It’s bitter sweet. I mean how awesome that I was able to fix the problem… but I’m still not ready to let go of my gluten addiction… Don’t get me wrong, I’m cutting way back, and opting for gluten free on a lot of things (have any of you tried the gluten free pizza at Red Hills Market? It is insanely good… like even the chef tends to eat gluten free pizza rather than regular.)   Anyway, I’m cutting back on my gluten intake, and we’ll see how it goes.

Surprisingly enough my skin didn’t break out either. I’m choosing to believe this was because I was oil pulling and all the toxins were being pulled out of my mouth before they could erupt through my pores. I have nothing to back this up, and I could be full of shit,  but I’m sticking with my theory anyway. That, and the fact that I was drinking a ton of water, which his always good for your skin.

Thirdly: I have no idea why, but my lips have never been so chapped in my entire life, it seems like an odd observation, but my juicing buddy noticed the same thing… it might be a coincidence (and weird since we were very well hydrated) but maybe keep some lip balm on you if you are starting a juice cleanse.

Fourthly: Hello energy. Like crazy amounts of energy. I was already a night owl, but I felt like I could come home after work and actually be productive. I was waking up in the morning and not feeling groggy, I was 100% fine without having coffee! If you know anyone in my family, you will agree that this is a shocking thing. Its not a matter of if we are going for coffee, but when we are going for coffee.  Its practically pumping through our veins… add to that the fact that RHM serves stumptown and one of our work perks is free coffee with every shift… I’m almost never without it.

I’m going to go off on a little tangent here and say that I do not want to have children (bear with me, I’ll bring it back around.) I’ve never really had the desire to grow a human. I reserve the right to change my mind someday, maybe… and its perfectly possible that I will meet a man, and decide that I’m baby crazy and want to have a gaggle of tiny humans (only probably not, because the only way that more than one is coming out of me is if they are twins or whatever). For example if say Ben Jacobsen decided that he wanted me to be the mother of a child to inherit his salt empire… I might consider it… We’d probably have an adorable ginger baby.  (I will stop there. I don’t know Ben that well, and we are having dinner next month, and I don’t want him to think that I’m a total creeper who is blogging about having his babies…  I want him to think that I’m a witty, well adjusted, total not creeper who is blogging about having his babies… sometimes people don’t get my sense of humor OR my sarcasm… All I can say is, they are not my people.) Anyway, I am all for other people having babies, and to all of my friends/relatives who have recently had offspring, and who are planning on reproducing I DO really like your kids/ will like your kids… and I like some other people’s kids… but not most other peoples kids… ok before I dig myself into an even deeper hole, I’m bringing this back around to say that one of the reasons I have such a strong aversion to growing my own tiny human (there is a really long list of aversions, this is just one of many) is the whole giving up caffeine thing. *

I always assumed that it would be nearly impossible for me to do, and that it would be a slow and painful process in which I wanted to die, and was planning on taking everyone else down with me… Turns out, it wasn’t that bad, I only got two headaches, and I was off it for 8 days! (“Climb Every Mountain!!!”)

Fifthly:  I’m not craving sugar anymore.  Mostly I’ve been more of a savory person anyway, but over the holidays I was doing my fare share of indulging in hot chocolate, caramels etc.  The juice cleanse really helped me to quit the sugar, and now my body is craving more greens and whole foods than ever before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still planning on making a trip to Sprinkefingers next week, and eating handfuls of gumdrops (it’s a good fantasy) but the important thing is that I’m no longer craving the sugar (fantasizing and craving are two entirely different things.)

Sixthly:  I noticed a lot about my eating habits, and how a lot of the time I eat when I’m not hungry… I really enjoy eating, I think most of us do, but sometimes I do it out of boredom, and sometimes it is honestly just a reflex. I can’t tell you how many times I went over to my parent’s house an instinctively went to reach for a handful of almonds… not because I was hungry, but because that is what I always do when I’m over there because there is a bowl of them on the kitchen counter. I do this at work all the time too with cookies, salads, spoonful’s of whipped cream… it’s a habit, and hopefully a habit that this juice cleanse was able to break. I’m now much more aware of what I’m putting into my body, and listening for when I’m actually hungry. I’m also being better about guzzling water anytime I feel that snack grabbing reflex kick in.  It’s a little change, but awareness is half the battle.

I did forget a few pieces of advice in my post last week about gearing up for a juice cleanse, so here they are now.

1)   use the buddy system. It is so much easier to stay accountable and on track if you are juicing with a friend. Especially when you work in a restaurant surrounded by delicious things, and some of your co-workers are jerks and keep eating things like bacon jam in front of you.  Yes, your family probably supports you, and in the end you are doing it for your own reasons, but there are always going to be the people out there who are a little bit annoyed at your for not eating, who don’t understand it, and who sometimes say dumb things like “well it’s your choices not to eat!” or who try to get you to fall off the wagon.  Its really helpful to have someone else who is going through the same thing that you are, and who will actually be 100% over the moon for you when you finish strong, and will whole heartedly share in your success. (because “Climb Every Mountain” should be sung as a duet. Duh) A huge shout out to my co-worker Lindsey who did the first five days of juicing with me, who lost 8 pounds, and who did it all while still feeing her husband and children, and also working all five of those days in the restaurant. I’m pretty sure I would have probably faltered/ at least had a handful of chips or something if I had all of those factors involved in my juice cleanse.

2)   As much as you can, try to get rid of “Temptations” from your fridge and pantry beforehand. Sometimes it is unavoidable, and sometimes you still have to cook for your family etc. But I cannot tell you how nice it was to come home and know that I didn’t have bags of chips, or cartons of leftovers begging me to eat them.

3)   Hazelnut milk saved my bacon.  I think one of the reasons my juice cleanse was so successful, and why I didn’t have any hunger pangs, and didn’t feel like death for the first few days (minus that caffeine headache on day one… I didn’t wean off early enough) was that my last “juice” of the day was actually home made hazelnut milk. I think protein is vital, and having a relatively thick and delicious treat like beverage every night was pretty amazing. Hazelnut milk is super easy to make (it just takes a little time.)

 

* I know that not wanting to give up caffeine is not a valid reason to not want to be pregnant. I also know that a lot of women drink caffeine throughout their entire pregnancy, and their babies are normal, and caffeine isn’t as bad as some other things. Considering my family, my offspring would probably be addicted to coffee at birth anyway, I think its genetic anyway, so I’d probably be fine slurping cold brew by the gallon…   I also know that I’ve been watching a whole lot of Mad Men, and seeing all the pregnant ladies who are drinking gimlets and smoking cigarettes, and I’m starting to wonder how there isn’t an entire generation of completely f*ed up people.

5 tips for at home juicers

 

$141 worth of produce

$141 worth of produce

Here we are, day one of Juice Cleanse extravaganza 2014 (It’s a working title) I’m going to spend the next five days not eating solid food, living off of juice, water, tea, and coconut water! Hooray! (no really, I’m excited) This will be my 3rd juice cleanse, and by far the longest, and though I’m a little nervous (I work in a restaurant surrounded by amazingly delicious things all the time… hello temptation) I’m mostly just ready to get this show on the road.

I wrote out menus for each day, made a grocery list, and made a few decisions about what sort of cleanse I was going to do.  After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to try and do all organic. I’m not about to get on my high horse and preach the benefits of organic eating, but eating organic whenever possible makes a lot of sense to me, and especially when juicing. Juice allows the nutrients to enter into your blood stream rather quickly, because your body doesn’t have to break down any fiber etc. Call me crazy, but it seems like anything that is essentially going to be directly entering your blood stream should be organic (I know my logic is flawed. But so what!)

And even though I’m on a tight budget I figured I would let myself splurge on organic. After all, I don’t have a family to support, I won’t be going out all week, and I won’t have expenses like coffee, takeout, and sadly I won’t have Wine Wednesday.  I set a budget for myself, and shopped around a little and tried to find the best bargains. This was a little labor intensive, and I ended up going to 5 different stores, but overall I was successful.  (I know five stores sounds like a lot. I could have narrowed it down, but I knew some stuff I wanted to get in bulk, some stuff I could only find at Whole Foods, some stuff I knew Trader Joe’s had at an excellent price… This is why planning is key. ) I couldn’t find organic grapes, and I opted to get a case of Meyer lemons at Costco rather than conventional organic lemons. I also did not buy organic fennel bulb ( I feel like I’m confessing my sins… but its my blog, so I’m not going to justify why I bought the fennel that I did..) And I was able to get everything I’m going to need for 5 days (and then some) for $141. I This breaks down to $28/ day.  Manageable. (my professional juice cleanse ended up being about $50 a day including delivery, so I’m thrilled with $28).

 

super delicious OM juice from Portland Juice Press

super delicious OM juice from Portland Juice Press

golden beets, meyer lemons, ginger and turmeric root, kale.

golden beets, meyer lemons, ginger and turmeric root, kale.

I’m not planning on eating anything, though I might supplement with chia seeds, coconut oil and, depending on how the first few days go, nuts.  I’m also going to practice oil pulling while I’m on my cleanse. I haven’t done any research about a combination of the two, but it seems as though they would go hand in hand. (you can read more about oil pulling here.)  I know that my hardest day will likely be Tuesday, since I’m working a 10 hour shift. If I can make it through a day at the restaurant, and a staff meeting where everyone is drinking beer and eating cheese, than I can make it through anything.

I thought a bit about what I wanted to say in this post, and decided that I’m not going to ramble on about how wonderful juicing is, why I’m doing it, the health benefits, the pros and cons etc. I’m not a nutritionist /doctor/health coach/ expert in any sense of the word, and there are about nine gazillion other websites and blogs you can visit to get menus, facts, benefits etc. I really like the way juicing makes me feel, and after the holidays my entire life feels like it needs a mini-detox.

I am going to offer up 5 pieces of advice for anyone who is embarking on, or thinking about embarking on a juice cleanse, and hopefully these little nuggets of information will help make your life a little easier.

1)   Do your research. Whether you are going to be juicing at home, or juicing through a company, you need to spend a little time looking into things. How much will it cost? Do they deliver? what kind of juicer are you going to get? How long will the juice last? Do you have time to juice?  These are all pretty basic questions, and all things you should probably have a pretty good grasp on before you commit to a cleanse.   My first 3 day cleanse was through Portland Juice Press, and I really cannot say enough good things about it. They were so wonderful to work with, they offered a group rate, delivered it all the way to us in Dundee, and the best part is that there is no mess. You don’t have to spend hours a day making juice and cleaning up, you just open up your fridge every few hours and reach for the juice. They even tell you what order to drink them in. The flavors were really interesting, the juice was satisfying, and the entire process was pretty much painless.   From there I became a little addicted, and since I’m an hour outside of the city, I decided to invest in my own juicer.  There are countless different brands, makes, and models out there, so again you really have to know what it is you are looking for in a juicer. My priorities were juice quality, and easiness to clean.  I ended up with the Omega 8006 juicer, and I’m so in love. A little on the pricey side, but it has 15 year warrantee, is super easy to clean, and it is what they call a masticating juicer. Essentially it crushes the juice using a very slow rpm, which helps keep the juice from oxidizing, and it maintains more of the healthy enzymes and benefits. Juice from a masticating juicer also has a longer shelf life, so you have up to 72 hours to drink your juice (other types they recommend consuming the juice right away or within 24 hours) This type of juicer is perfect for doing a cleanse because you can make juice for a couple of days in advance. Once you know what you are wanting out of a juice cleanse/ juicer it is easier to commit. Also keep in mind that juicing is not a quick process. You are going to need to block off some time to make the juice (its like cooking) you have to chop everything, juice it, clean the juicer etc… If you are going to be juicing for the entire day, it could take up to two hours ( including all the prep and clean up…masticating juicer do go a little bit slower, but they also extract more juice.)

2)   Make a Plan: sit down and write a menu. Seriously, treat it like you would a dinner party. List out all the days and exactly what juices you are planning on making (you can always switch it up) and from there make a grocery list. Its easy to see exactly what you are going to need once everything is listed out, and once the grocery list is made its easy to write out notes about where you are going to look for each item. Spending 15 minutes making a menu and grocery list will make it so easy once you are actually out shopping, especially if you have to go to multiple stores, you will know exactly what you need to get.

3)   Plan Ahead (this goes hand in hand with Make a plan).  Though I’m sure there are people who just jump into a detox like this, I think you will be a lot happier with the results and the entire process if you take a little time before and after the cleanse to make some minor changes to your diet and lifestyle. For me the biggest things to cut out in advance are alcohol and caffeine.(  Of course it is recommended to cut out dairy, meet etc. beforehand, and to try and eat a clean and unprocessed diet at least a few days in advance) All I know is that I drink a lot of coffee, and the last thing I want to do is be on a juice cleanse while suffering from caffeine headaches. Save yourself the headache (sorry, couldn’t resist) and get off caffeine a few days before you start. I switched to tea about a week ago, and stopped caffeine entirely two days before.  Look at your calendar, because the last thing you want is to be in the middle of a juice cleanse while you are out at a birthday party, wedding, or other social engagement. I mean its fine, its not like you are on house arrest when you are juicing, but if everyone around you is drinking, eating, and having a grand old time, you will probably hate your life a little bit, and be tempted to cheat.   Also, clean out your refrigerator before you go shopping.  You are going to need to place to store the produce, and all the juice, and it takes up quite a bit of space.  How are you going to store your juice? (I personally use mason jars, they are the perfect size for one 16ish oz serving, and they fit well in the fridge) Are all your jars clean?

4)   Drink so much water. Seriously. Drink it. You are essentially releasing a ton of toxins from your body, and they need to be flushed out. They are looking for any way to get out of your body, and chances are they are going to be flooding out of your pores (breakouts, and bad breath are common side effects of juicing because of this) drink water, drink water, drink water.   (this is probably the hardest part for me. Especially when I’m at work, and literally have to get someone to cover my station every time I go to the bathroom. Its not like I can discretely slip away and have no one notice, I actually have to tell someone, sometimes multiple people “hey I’m going pee, cover the front”  On normal days this is fine, but on busy days there are lines out the door, and sometimes abandoning your post, even for a 2 minutes bathroom break, just isn’t happening. )

5)   Make your own rules, and give yourself a break.  Juicing is hard, and you know your body. If you need to eat, then eat. You have just stocked up on all this great stuff to put in your juice, if you absolutely need a snack, then eat one of the oranges, have a handful of nuts, do what you need to do, and don’t judge yourself for it. I always carry a handful of almonds in my bag when I’m doing a juice cleanse, just incase I need a little boost of texture and protein.  Maybe on your juice fast you juice during the day and have a healthy meal at night. Maybe you eat nuts and solids all day. Maybe you are just juicing as a supplement. Find what works for you. Also have fun, try some new ingredients! Have you juiced asparagus? Tumeric root?

*Side Note:  Because I feel like it has to be addressed, because everyone always asks me in person: Does a juice cleanse make you poop a lot/ give you the runs? Though it seems of-putting to be talking about brown-towning in a blog about juicing/ being healthy, I get why people ask that question.  My simple answer is: everybody poops. Lets just think about it… you are drinking liquid for days… what do you think that would do to your bowel movements? Everyone’s bodies and eating habits are different, and I think if you eat enough fiber on a regular basis you aren’t going to really notice a big difference.  Some days were looser than others, and I’m just going to leave it at that. I never felt like I had to stay close to a restroom, or like I couldn’t go out and do things, there were no emergencies.

 

And just because I don’t want to end a blog post with everyone thinking about bowel movements here  is a recipe for one of my favorite juices .

5 carrots

¾ of a red bell pepper

1 apple

1 inch of turmeric root

 

cranberry, orange, fennel bulb, pomegranate

cranberry, orange, fennel bulb, pomegranate

 

golden beet, carrot, orange, fennel bulb and ginger juice

golden beet, carrot, orange, fennel bulb and ginger juice

Accessorizing my oatmeal: a little healthy breakfast pizazz

I wouldn’t say that I’ve been on a health kick necessarily ( yeah, I’m still eating bacon cookies and cheese pizzas at work with some frequency) but over the last few weeks I have been trying to make a conscious effort to cook and eat healthy while at home. The green smoothies are evidence of that, and as my work days get longer, I’m realizing that the best thing I can do is set myself up for a successful day with healthy food. There are an onset of 12 hour days in my future, and I’m also training for a half marathon… IE my body needs to be fueled appropriately… ( sometimes with pizza & bacon cookies ok! )

This morning I came home from a run and was racking my brain as to what I should eat for breakfast. I was laying on the floor next to the pantry and glanced up into the shelves to see if I could get some inspiration… Quinoa? Cheerios? Toast? And then my eyes fell upon a mason jar full of oatmeal. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had oatmeal, but on this overcast morning something warm and filling sounded perfect.

I decided immediately to add a little pizazz to my breakfast, and immediatly went to my freezer and pulled out almonds, walnuts, and flax seed, blended together with a dash of cinnamon, this created a nutrient dense and delicious topping. I then took it a step further by adding in some chia seeds and coconut oil, and just a splash of agave for some sweetness. Can you say power house breakfast? Loaded with fiber, protein, omega 3s, B vitamins etc. ( ok yes, also a fair amount of fat from the coconut oil & the nuts… But it’s the good kind! ) this was just what I needed to fuel my body post run/ pre-yoga.

I might not always eat as healthfully as I should, or as healthy as I would like, but you have to start somewhere, and today I started with supercharged oatmeal.

Recipe:
( I pretty much just eyeball everything, so use your best judgement/ make to taste)

1/2 cup oatmeal prepared normally

Topping:
Small handful of walnuts
1-2 TBS golden flax seed
2 TBS sliced almonds
Cinnamon to taste
1 TBS chia seed
Spoonful of coconut oil.

Blend flax seed, walnuts & almonds together ( I used the magic bullet, but a food processor or coffee grinder would work) add in cinnamon & pulse a few more times.

Add topping to oatmeal, along with chia seeds & coconut oil.

Mix & enjoy! ( add milk or soy milk if desired)

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Green smoothies, Healthy choices, and some personal anecdotes about my addiction to gluten.

So I’m back on the green smoothie band wagon. Not that I every really got off of the bandwagon… But when I’m working 11+ hour days, I’m realizing that I need a boost of something healthy, raw, and green to keep me going. I’m on my feet pretty much all day, and though I do get fed while at work, one cannot sustain on breakfast sandwiches, woodfire pizzas, and cookies alone.  (though one might often try…) At the end of the day my energy is so low I sometimes contemplate trying to go gluten free, and seeing if that makes a different… I contemplate this for literally like a tenth of a second before snapping back to reality. Hi my name is Tayler and I’m pretty much a gluten addict… I know that gluten free is kinda trendy right now…(my dog is even gluten free for crying out loud) but I’ve never been much for trends…  This morning I made a salad to go with my croutons… that is right. I didn’t make a great salad and then later think “you know what this needs? some croutons!” no, in fact I did the opposite. I made croutons, and then decided that I couldn’t just eat croutons for breakfast (though I don’t know why not, I’m an adult, I can eat what I want!) so I made a salad to go underneath…
And now for a slight tangent about gluten, but we will get back to the smoothies I promise. Back when I was a kid, long before there was all the hype about gluten intolerance, gluten free etc, I had a bread route. And when I say I had a bread route, I mean my brother and I baked bread every Friday morning, and then went around to our regular customers, most of whom were co-workers of my parents at the local hospital, or people like our piano teacher, and we sold small loaves of whole wheat bread. We actually had a stone flour mill, and we ground the wheat ourselves… mostly on Thursday nights, my parents would be watching ER, and I would run upstairs to the kitchen to grind the wheat during commercial breaks…. (yes, our kitchen was upstairs, and yes, I’m not making this up… Its amazing this didn’t make it onto a college submission essay somewhere…I should probably blog about this in further detail…) Anyway, back when I was eight years old, and baking bread every week, it didn’t seem strange to me that we actually had a little pouch full of gluten in our freezer that we would add to each batch of bread… We were following the recipe, and it sold damn well, and as far as I knew, everyone had pouches of gluten sitting in their freezer for baking purposes.  Needless to say, back then we never had any requests for gluten free bread, and we had probably never even heard of gluten free bread… and laugh all you want at this weird little story, but I was able to buy myself three American Girl Dolls with my bread earnings, and a whole lot of accessories for them… and I can promise you this… freshly baked bread sells better than lemonade any day of the week.
I really have no desire to give up gluten at all… (though I no longer keep pouches of it in my freezer) I know all these gluten free people who tell me how much more energy they have, how much better they feel etc. and I’ve even had people suggest that my eczema might be gluten related… but here is the thing… I don’t feel bad, and I’m terrified that if I give up gluten, or dairy, or any of my other comfort foods I will feel great. (stay with me through this train of thought)  I know that sounds dumb, I’m terrified of feeling great? Not really, but mostly I’m terrified of how bad I would feel if I ever stopped eating these things, and then slipped and went back on them…. I don’t feel bad now when I eat cheese, or gluten, and wouldn’t it just suck, to suddenly feel terrible after eating these things? I think it would… anyway, I try to stick with “everything in moderation” and overall I think its working for me… am I still talking about gluten? ok back to my original topic.

I’ve been taking my smoothies to work to sip on during breaks, or while I’m in the office, and naturally I get a little bit of flack from just about everyone. I get all the usual comments “what are you drinking?” “What is in there?” or “why don’t you just eat a salad?” The answer is, because who has time to eat salads these days? I mean I do, but not at 5:30 in the morning when I’m running out the door to get to work by 6AM for an 11 hour shift. I do, however, have time to drink things from a straw while doing my hair, driving, or any of the other countless* things I have to do to get ready in the morning.

(*A list of things I can do while drinking a smoothie that I cannot do while eating a salad: water the garden, chase the dog around the yard, curl my hair, put on makeup, make my bed, put on shoes, empty the dishwasher, drive a car, empty the trash, put on clothes, do calf presses/ wall squats, vacuum, paint my finger nails, dance around.)
Green Smoothie, ready for the morning time

Green Smoothie, ready for the morning time

Everyone is taken aback by the color, but I think it is mostly awesome… and its not like anything gross is going into the smoothies themselves, it is just often an interesting combination of things… (though if some of you green smoothie drinkers out there could call my parents and tell them that I’m not actually a weird-o/ lots of “normal” people drink these, and this is not just one of my yogi/mountain-muffin/ health kick phases.) My ex used to be totally grossed out by the idea of green smoothies, and some of my co-workers still are… but mostly I think people are used to me showing up to work with jar full of green-ness. I’ve gotta stay healthy somehow! I’m working, I’m running, and I need to fuel my body… and this body needs an obscene amount of kale.  Sure, a salad might seem a little more delicious to some folks, but right now, with my schedule, veggies through a straw makes the most sense. (and its actually pretty delicious) Its especially great on the days that I have to work really early, because I can make a smoothie the night before, pop it in the fridge, and its ready for me first thing, its a grab and go meal that is 100% healthy, and easy.

My recipe varies a little bit, just depending on what ingredients I have on hand, but my smoothies usually consist of spinach, kale, celery, half a granny-smith apple, half a cucumber, a banana (or a pear) coconut oil, chia seed, ground flax seed, mint leaves, and water.  Its super basic, but the banana pretty much masks all of the overly green flavors from the kale, and the coconut oil and mint make everything really palatable. Sometimes I add coconut milk for a little extra creaminess, and I’m sure this summer I will be adding various berries as they begin to come in from the garden.

Look at all of that goodness

Look at all of that goodness

This last round of groceries, I got a huge bag of spinach, and actually pureed it and froze it in ice cube trays, which has worked magically and has saved a lot of time and money. I can almost never use the whole thing of spinach before it goes bad, and this way the smoothies are extra cold. I’m contemplating trying this with kale as well, though I did just plant kale in my garden, so hopefully I will not have to buy as much.

I’ve been pretty consistent in my smoothie consumption (I’d say at least 4 per week) but this week I’m going to try for 7 days of smoothies for breakfast…. the busier I get, the poorer I tend to eat/ the more I tend to over-eat, and I think I owe it to myself to start my day off with an über- nutritious breakfast. Anyone else want to join me? 7 days of green goodness starts now! (or tomorrow, since I did eat that bowl of croutons for breakfast… there really was lettuce and kale underneath it though!)