Monday, January 28, 2013

January: Month for Improvement

I have definitely been a bit boring and quiet on the blog front here. Mostly, I am busy trying to establish some healthy habits, experimenting in the kitchen, and watching a whole lot of television series via Netflix.

Here's the low-down on a few things....

1. January "resolutions"
  • writing down something positive that happens each day, no matter how small it may seem - this has included a perfect green tea latte, an amazing episode of "Bones," and volunteering at the World Beer Fest
  • drink water - I have a really, really hard time drinking a significant amount of water so since Christmas time, I have been trying to drink as much as possible and have been pretty successful with getting at least six glasses each day
  • balancing my diet by including a lot more veggies/fruit to counter act my incredible sweet tooth
  • reading at least a few pages each night before bed
  • build a more professional, grow-up wardrobe - have been doing a whole lot of ebay-ing lately since the thrift stores around here are a little lacking
  • listening to my body about what I really need (early bed time, a nap, water, deep breaths)
These are things that I have been able to accomplish! They may not seem monumental but they have made a big impact on how I am feeling. I have also been waking up earlier to shower in the mornings rather than at night and hopefully I can start doing some small exercise in the morning as well.

2. Volunteering at the World Beer Fest was great! Yes, there were a whole lot of drunk people but it is amazing how nice people are when you have something they want--beer! I was pouring Henry Weinhard's Woodland IPA, Private Reserve Lager, and Redwood Amber (if I ever get tired of higher ed, I know a nice little profession I could fall back on...) and it was great to try some of the other, especially local, beers.

3. I have been fully addicted to these hummus quinoa cakes. Like, I made them three times in one week! They are super easy and flexible; I changed up the veggies based on what I had on hand AND serve them with a dollop of Sabra's cucumber & dill greek yogurt veggie dip and some sliced grape tomatoes. SO.GOOD.

4. Final food obsession: homemade crunchwrap supreme. I loved Taco Bell back in Michigan (well, in general) but the closest one here is a good 15-20 minute drive which never seems worth it. Once day I had some extra taco shells and thought about how delicious a crunchwrap supreme is. I looked through my fridge and came up with this little combo:

  • 1 flat-out wrap of any flavor
  • 1 crunchy taco shell, broken in half
  • shredded cheese, enough for your liking
  • some sort of protein (I used Boca crumbles the first time and then black beans the second time)
  • sliced tomatoes
  • mashed avocado
  • any other taco toppings

I folded the flat out wrap in half, filled it with protein and cheese, and then put it in a pan to get it all melty on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. After things were good, I opened it back up and put in the crunchy taco shell that had the avocado spread on top and then sprinkled the other toppings on top. Closed it on up and sliced it in half. It is definitely a meal but damn, so good!

5. I became a pescatarian.

From wiki: is the practice of a diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals. A     pescetarian diet shares many of its components with a vegetarian diet and includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, and dairy, but unlike a vegetarian diet also includes fish and shellfish

I typically don't eat that much meat, especially red meat, but my love for animals in general combined with this documentary, Vegucated, in particular, made the change necessary. I think that if I was in a financial and more accesible position to buy meat that was locally and humanely raised (going back to my Portland upbrinding) then I would go back to eating meat. Right now, I have some meat substitutes on hand for when I am lazy but fortunately, I have been so interested in the healthy blog movement that I am well-educated in getting my nutrition from fresh foods and also keeping in mind which vitamins and nutrients I need to stay healthy and strong. I am going to keep seafood in my diet for now because I rely on tuna for easy protein with lunches and salads, I rarely buy any frozen processed fish products, and I enjoy eating seafood when I go out to restaurants (occasional activity).

Every time that I have reconfigured the primary things I eat (protein, sweets, beverages), I always get a new perspective on what really factors into my food choices: emotions, hunger, boredom, ritual, etc. When I gave up chocolate for almost a year, I noticed immediately the abundance of chocolate around and the difference between quality chocolate and just regular old candy that was never worth the calories. Now, I notice the limitations of some restaurant menus but also notice that abundance of wonderful options in grocery stores. Sure, there are tons of unhealthy vegetarian and vegan products but going outside your comfort zone to explore new foods and flavors is really exciting!

So now, as February is coming (speaking of chocolate and beverages), I hope to continue these goals from the #1 slot, continue experiencing more fun events like in the #2 spot and experiment even more in the kitchen like #3 and #4 showed. Can we say vegan brownies of amazingness? Oh yes. 

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