Bubbly or Bust

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I just looked at the calendar to see when my Whole45 is finished and I have exactly 2 more weeks to go! I have been a little distracted with the past week and a half’s events to really notice how many days are left (I wouldn’t recommend people getting in car crashes and breaking their elbows just to help pass the days along in their Whole30). The Whole30 has certainly contributed to my easygoing attitude and peace of mind throughout all of the insurance company phone calls, bank visits, car down payments, medical specialist co-pays, etc, etc, etc. I haven’t really been paying too much attention to my elbow. I sometimes forget that it is still healing…that is until I extend it too far or too quickly. My body promptly lets me know that I’ve overdone it. I am able to use it more and more each day. Today I could rotate my arm further than I could before. I can also extend my arm a little bit more….although it still won’t unbend and straighten all the way. I’m making progress though! My next appointment is on the 30th; so I have plenty of time to unbend my elbow by then 🙂

I’ve also been able to get a fair amount of exercise in. If I’m not able to do an actual workout, I am making sure I am at least walking a few miles at lunchtime. I was able to modify the T25 workouts this past week and it felt so good to sweat! I wasn’t able to attend a spin class this morning at the gym because I had to work today. I am going to try and attempt a run outside tomorrow. The running will require my arms to move around a lot, so I will just have to make sure I ice it afterwards. I’ve been icing it about once a day or so and it has really helped with the swelling and the soreness, especially after a workout.

On my way home from work, I was really craving a Kombucha. I didn’t have anymore at the house and did not want to drive to the grocery store and shell out 4 bucks for one. The sunny spring day just had me itching for something bubbly to quench my thirst. After walking Lady and eating dinner, I was still unsettled. For a second, I instinctively thought about grabbing the nut butter and bananas when I realized what I really wanted was something bubbly to soothe my hankering. I then remembered I had a leftover can of La Croix from a case I bought months and months ago. It was in the deepest corner in the back of the fridge.

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In spite of the many months it has rested in my fridge, It totally hit the spot! I am noticing that my need for bubbles has been frequent with the warmer sunnier weather. Looks like I need to stock up soon since we are nearing the end of April. I bet it would be delicious mixed with Kombucha. That reminds me! I have a co-worker who makes her own Kombucha, and she is going to help me make my own. I am super excited to grow my collection of do-it-yourself experiments.

Beet It

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Remember that one time I tried beets for the first time? I had no idea what to do with the cute little root that came in my CSA basket, so I just ended up roasting them in the oven. I wasn’t crazy about the taste; however, I ate them with the skin on which could have added to their very “earthy” (dirty) flavor. Not dirty like “these beets taste gross and disgusting” but more like they literally were a part of the farm to table movement (literally). The fun thing about them was their beautiful hue. And also their lingering surprise days later whenever I had to empty my bladder….Yep, I Wikipedia’d it to make sure I wasn’t dying.

So, anyway, I thought I’d give them another try….store bought and plastic packaged without any skins and already flavored. I purchased a fancy little pack of vinegar-infused beets made my Love Beets at Whole Foods for $3.99. The only two ingredients listed were organic beets and organic mild vinegar. Have I mentioned how much I love vinegar?! I had myself a winner!

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I opened my beet-box yesterday afternoon when I got home from work looking for something to tide me over until dinnertime. The beets looked like adorable little plum-balls. They had their beautiful deep red color and the slight smell of vinegar was not too pungent (not that I think vinegar has a strong odor anyway….or maybe I do think that but I like the smell anyway!).

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I picked up my first beet-ball and popped it into my mouth. The vinegar definitely gave it a different taste than my roasted beets…..for a second.  That earthy tang crept right back up into my taste buds and wouldn’t go away…no matter how nice the infused vinegar added to the flavor (which it did).

Oh well….so I’m not crazy about beets. I like Brussels sprouts, kale, and mushrooms….Hell, I like every vegetable I can think of! I don’t have to like beets. So I won’t pretend that I do. I’m glad I tried! It’s not even that I don’t like them….I’m just not crazy about them.

I’ll stick to using beets as a natural lip stick  😉

Kombucha-Ha-Ha

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That post title was supposed to go something like this “Kambucha…[evil laugh]”

Last week my local Whole Foods store was hosting a Kambucha tasting. I’ve always wanted to try Kambucha but I was hesitant to buy a $3 bottle of it without knowing if I’d even like it or not.. I have browsed the Kambucha selections before, specifically focusing on the added ingredients to make sure it was Whole30 compliant or not. I had a hard time finding a brand without any added sugar. Although I have recently learned that GT’s Kombucha brand is Whole30 compliant.

At the sample table they had three different offerings of Kombucha brands. I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass and go behind each table to scour the ingredients of each brand of Kombucha, so I picked the one less crowded and started up a conversation with the woman filling up my cup. She let me be a pain in the ass and pick up all three bottles to make sure they were all compliant. Luckily they were! The brand I tried was Buchi, which is actually a local brewery based out of Asheville, NC. I sampled their “Fire” and “Seed” flavors. Both were very different but pretty dang delicious. I bought both and had my first one this afternoon with lunch.

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I had the “seed” flavor this afternoon. The listed ingredients included: “Organic Raw Kombucha, Organic Apple Juice, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Pineapple Juice, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Black Sesame Seeds, Perilla Seeds, Organic Tumeric Root and Organic Natural Flavors.”

It also had fun informative facts on its bottle like “Contains Live Probiotic Cultures” and “Preservative, Additive, Gluten, Dairy and GMO free!

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I poured the Kombucha into a glass to see its color. The soapy head instantly reminded me of beer, which felt really fun-like I was flirting with the black and white lines of Whole30. The beverage was immensely flavorful. The up front taste reminded me of apple cider vinegar (which is one of my favorite flavors ever!). It was bubbly, tart and sour yet it was balanced with sweet fruity flavors. It was also probably the most carbonated beverage I’ve drank since I gave up soda months ago.

All in all, two thumbs up! Especially after reading more and more about Buchi’s company. Not only are the local but they are also very dedicated to sustainability. Plus, they even distribute their Kombucha to local cafes, restaurants, pubs, and grocery stores that offer it fresh on tap! How cool?! Looks like I need to plan a trip to Asheville. Cheers!

Super Powers

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I’m so glad to report that I am finally getting back into my healthy rhythm! I woke up today feeling better than I have in a week. I played catch up at work all day today, but it wasn’t too bad since it made the day fly by. I skipped out on the afternoon workout session because I didn’t want to overdo it. Instead, I took a 35 minute walk outside in the beautiful 70 degree weather.

I have been really tired tonight! I just remembered it was Daylight Saving’s yesterday though. I haven’t even set my watch yet to the correct time. I usually wait a couple of days to do this…I have no idea why!

A yummy little meal I’ve been making while  I’ve been sick these past few days has been a super healing salad. I made a big pot of soup that I was eating often and I was getting a little burnt out with it so I decided to make a salad.  I chopped some of my ginger root and minced some garlic clove and added them to a bed of lettuce. I then drizzled some apple cider vinegar on top.

It was perfect! I am so mad I didn’t take a picture! Garlic has been used medicinally for ages and almost always tastes good in any recipe (even if it requires me to brush my teeth right after consuming). Ginger is equally valuable to recipes as well as to medicine men. And I don’t mean the ground stuff-get the root! It is so zesty and fresh! As far as the vinegar goes, I know not everyone is a fan, but I could literally drink it by the bottle! I pour it on my salads and go trough bottles pretty quickly. I’m honestly not too knowledgeable on how beneficial vinegar is, but I have heard people say that it helps. Helps with what? I don’t know. There’s probably a good balance of folk tales vs research out there regarding vinegar. I do know that I use organic, raw, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Bragg’s product website claims their Apple Cider Vinegar is “rich in enzymes and potassium, supports a healthy immune system, promotes digestion, helps soothe dry throats, and helps remove body sludge toxins.” Well, there ya go!

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So, for a super healing and delightfully tasty alternative to soup and hot tea when you are hungry and sick toss some ginger, garlic, and apple cider vinegar together and you will find yourself on the road to recovery with satisfied taste-buds.

Top O’ The Morning

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Happy March!!! I love the first day of a new month. A blank canvas with new holidays and changing seasons. Hopefully Spring will peer its head out of its shell sometime by the end of this month. It also means I get to put the V-Day themed decor (in my case, pink-colored beer bottles I use as flower vases) and bring out anything shamrock-shaped or somewhat green tinted. I married a Bostonian, so I have become exponentially more Irish in the past 6 months just by changing my last name. Although in my defense, my mom has always told me I have a mix of German and Scotch-Irish in me (I just described myself like a dog breed, didn’t I?)….so there! Plus, I hosted the Irish Staff Luncheon last March before I married. I’m hosting it again next week, so get ready for some sweet-potato-filled Irish recipes.

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I busted out the new kitchen digs. I’m still working on some classy beer bottle decor. Rogue has an awesome Irish Lager we used to have a long time ago, but it lost its way when we moved last year (maybe back to the homeland?). Anyway, just looking at that cute little leprechaun-belted mug of coffee made me want some right away. I grounded my current favorite coffee beans and waited patiently for it to brew.

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I found a jar of Artisana Coconut Butter for a steal in my favorite section of a T.J. Maxx store a few weeks ago-the gourmet food and kitchen aisles! I put a tablespoon of delicious flakey coconut butter and stirred until it dissolved. And then I sipped and savored.

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See, now you can tell from the bed head how much I needed it. I promise I have washed and brushed my hair since drinking this coffee. 🙂 I don’t usually fancy up my coffee since starting the Whole30; I have just been drinking it black. I never thought I’d enjoy the taste of black coffee, but I’ve really come to love it. However, it was a nice treat adding a little something-something to it this morning. Happy March!

Week 3 Recap!

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I can hear the birds chirping outside this morning! I hope they are giving the groundhog a big middle finger and singing little birdy songs about warmer weather coming soon. I really would love to get a nice run in today and keep up my Sunday running streak. We will see! Now that I have just typed that out, I will hopefully make myself do it!

This week has been full of the most energy I have felt since starting. There are no spikes or drops in my day, I have been able to push myself in workouts even if I have felt a little tired before starting them, and I feel like I’m able to be more productive and clear headed at work.

  • Energy: I know I just described how great my energy has been this week, but this topic definitely deserves its own bullet point to elaborate. When doing day-to-day things like going to the grocery store or walking from the office to my car I crave running or jogging. At work, I sometimes have to remind myself not to run in the facility in front of visitors because one of our rules to the public is no running in the building. Oops! With this said, I actually have not been on a legit run since last Sunday (with the exception of treadmill sprinting for 10 minutes on Tuesday night). I am curious to see how my endurance and pace changes (hopefully for the better) on my next run.
  • Body: I am definitely noticing changes in my body. The other day I reached for something in the kitchen and my hand brushed by my other arm and I was surprised to feel muscle definition there- without trying to look for it! I have some ab definition finally coming back into sight after months of bloat. In a gym class the other day I noticed how my quads were looking more defined too. My finger nails are growing faster than ever and aren’t chipping like they usually would after growing past a certain length. I trimmed a little bit off of my pointer fingers earlier last week and they are already growing back in. One other awesome thing is that I don’t feel sore the next day after hard workouts because my body is recovering quickly. And, I have absolutely no tenderness in my right ankle! I’ve still been able to run on it, squat on it, jump on it, and lunge on it which were the higher impact exercises to do without it throbbing or swelling. I haven’t really even been checking if it has been inflamed or not because it feels fine and I forget to do so!
  • Sleep: Sleep has been great all week. I am pretty much fighting to stay awake around 9ish and in bed by 9:30. Some mornings I wake up earlier than others. Yesterday I woke up at 6 in the morning to feed Lady and couldn’t go back to bed, but I was happy to be up considering I still got 8 hours of sleep. Today I slept until Hubs woke up to walk Lady at 7 and I still got around 9 hours of sleep last night. The self-sabotaging binge dreams have subsided for now; however, my dreams are still pretty active and vivid. I had a crazy one last night that involved drug smuggling in a movie theater.
  • Attitude: I feel happy. I feel like myself again. I reflected a little bit about this in my last post, but I had a crazy year in 2013. I just got engaged, became a first time homeowner, was still getting comfortable in a new full time job position, and all while planning a wedding. I had so much on my plate and wanted everything to be perfect that my eating habits and overall well-being plummeted. After the wedding was over and we returned home from the Honeymoon, I thought I would instantly go right back to my old self. Instead I actually fell into a depressed funk. I suddenly didn’t have any creative outlet like a wedding to plan and I felt super sad that all the family and friends that had come to visit us for the wedding were now gone. I felt guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with everyone. This funk lasted for a few months, really until I did my first Whole30 right before Christmas. I didn’t want to wait until after Christmas because I was sick of not feeling like myself. I’m so glad I did it right then and there. And I’m so glad I’ve decided to do it again! Yesterday’s visit with my mom really gave me perspective on how far I’ve come. This whole experience is truly an eye-opener on how much food can have an overall effect on me.

In my Week 2 Recap I never listed any of my favorite things from that week. So, I will post a few now for weeks 2 and 3:

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I found these little packets of Artisana butters at my local Co-op. At first I thought I’d buy them and then research what recipes to use them in but then I just ended up eating them by themselves. They were the perfect emergency on-the-go “snack.” Holy Hell, if you haven’t had coconut butter yet, you need to try it ASAP. My other favorite was the Pecan Butter. I’d like to use more cashew butter in recipes; I think it would be delicious in a chicken stir-fry.

Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Walnuts & Almonds, Natural, 0.56 Oz, 7/Box

These little packets of walnuts and almonds have come in handy! They save me time on dividing out a bulk bag of nuts to take with me for pre or post workout meals. I don’t really trust myself yet with eyeballing a proportionate serving size of nuts with my meal (I’m scared I will just end up eating the entire bag), so the fact that these already come in a serving size are perfect for me. They are also the perfect addition to my meal before band rehearsals on Tuesday evenings since I won’t get home to eat anything until after 9 PM.

I’ve been reading Robb Wolf‘s book The Paleo Solution these past few weeks. I rented it from the library to give me another perspective on the paleo diet that is NOT written by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. Don’t get me wrong, It Starts With Food was such an important read for me and became a huge asset in the success of my first Whole30. However, I am nearing the fourth week of my second Whole30 and I want to be able to transition more easily this time around into a paleo lifestyle afterwards. In fact, I have been thinking about rereading It Starts With Food sometime again, but for now Robb Wolf’s book is just what I’m looking for. I am not even halfway through (I don’t get too much down time and if I try to read at night, I fall asleep!) but it is really helpful with reiterating some of the more science based facts on why nutrition is so important. Plus, Robb Wolf was an inspiration behind the Hartwig’s Whole30 concept. Hopefully I’ll finish it before the library sends me some nasty-grams via email.

Oxo Plastic Avocado Slicer - Green

This bad boy is pretty self-explanatory. It is a 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer. It splits, pits, and slices! I received it at my bridal shower and I have never used it so much! However, you must note that it only works well when the avocados you buy from the grocery store are ripe enough to actually slice. I hate buying avocados that look ripe enough and end up being duds! Why must they be so fickle?!

Alright, well I am all blogged out for today. I’ve got to start my Sunday routine which includes lots of grocery shopping and food prep in the kitchen. Hopefully a run will make somehow make itself in there too. Here’s to a great start to the fourth week!

Week 1 Recap

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I’m so happy to have made it through week 1! I obviously wish I was further along, but I am learning to appreciate the journey and have gratitude for the present (Wow-that sounded like a first class Yogi…I don’t do yoga that often, but I do like a good hot session every now and then).  So, here are some notes from my first week:

  • Sleep: I’ve been sleeping like a baby. I had that one little hiccup Friday night where I had a hard time falling asleep and I stirred a few times in the middle of the night, but that has been it so far! After reviewing my day on Friday, I remembered that I also had some tea in the afternoon that had “mild caffeine” in it (whatever that means). My sleep pattern definitely could have been affected by the caffeine in the tea since I don’t consume any except for a cup of coffee in the morning. Last night I got 9 hours of sleep! Another interesting mention is my dreams have been very vivid, specifically dreams where I am eating non-compliant foods. I remember reading a lot about this with other  Whole30ers. Two nights ago I dreamed that it was Thanksgiving and I woke up very upset because the dressing I ate had wheat germ in it. Wheat germ?! I’ve never in my life intentionally eaten or purchased Wheat Germ so that was pretty interesting. I also woke up this morning feeling guilty over what I ate in my dream last night, although I couldn’t tell you what it was. Anyway, I am glad that in reality I did not eat what my subconscious apparently wants me to. Maybe I should keep a dream journal?!
  • Energy: My energy is definitely back. The first and second day I felt like a lazy bum but I am definitely more energized. I woke up this morning feeling sore from Saturday’s workout but I still wanted to get up and take Lady for a walk right away. I’m also writing this post standing up because I feel like I’ve been sitting around too much. I’m also itching to try a run outside-speaking of running, that brings me to my next point.
  • Ankle: All the tenderness and throbbing I felt in my ankle not even an entire week ago has already vanished– along with most of the inflammation as well! My ankle has always had a little puffiness around it compared to its counterpart, but I’m hoping it will completely disappear with a consistent diet post-Whole30. That said, I have not yet ran on it this week, but I have done a bit of higher impact exercises, so I feel pretty confident to take it out for a jog.
  • Bloat: Even though my body feels a lot less bloated than it did a week ago, I still feel a bit puffy. Hopefully the bloat will only continue to decrease in the next coming days and weeks!
  • Attitude: I feel really happy! It is amazing to see how dependent my overall personality and attitude is to the food I eat. I seriously felt depressed during the week-long break I took after my last Whole30 and before starting this one. I think I skipped the “Kill All Things” day this time around, but it may still be coming for me…..Who knows?! This experience is never uniform for anyone.

Here are some of my favorite things from this past week:

Southwest Ranch - 10oz

Tessemae’s makes dressings and marinades that are all Whole30-compliant. I picked this one up from my local Whole Foods store, but I only try to get them when they are on sale because they are pretty pricey. I love this flavor because it is vinegary and spicy–two of my favorite things! They also make Whole30 Ketchup and Hot Sauce, which I have not been able to find in my store, but you can order from their website. I’m not a big Ketchup girl but I do love hot sauce! Luckily, the Southwest Ranch flavor is spicy enough so I’ve been adding it to my salads and eggs!

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NC coffee!!! I love any local NC products I can get my hands on, especially if it is coffee. Especially if it is local NC coffee that has collaborated with The Avett Brothers. Especially, if the collaboration is a fund-raiser for a good cause. If you don’t know now, you will know that my favorite band is The Avett Brothers. We used their song lyrics to quote our program at our wedding. My first dance with my husband was to them. In fact, I knew that my husband was “the one” because on our first outing I saw one of their CDs on the floor of his car (I let the fact that it was on floor of his car slide). Okay, I’m getting really off track now. Anyway, Counter Culture coffee has collaborated with the Avett Brothers to make a new coffee that gives proceeds to St. Jude’s. And you can buy it online! I bought two bags because I had dreams of getting one of the bags signed by the Avett Brothers on their New Years Eve concert, but that didn’t really pan out (by the way, did I mention I actually already had their autographs from when I met them back in 2008?!). Okay, so back to Whole30: I am not really sure on what the clear policy is on flavored coffee. I’ve read that certain flavors like hazelnut and/or vanilla are probably okay, but I’ve also read horror stories that Dunkin Donuts puts crap in their flavored coffee (sad news because their Pumpkin Spice coffee is delicious). So, I’m trying to just stay as close as I can to natural coffee beans that I grind myself–at least for these 30 days. I’ve also realized that I actually really enjoy the taste of black coffee. Good news for me!

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Prosciutto from Trader Joe’s! This stuff is a great little go-to snack if I need something right before or after a workout. It’s also a good snack to keep me satiated if I notice any hunger twangs. Even though Whole30 strongly advises against snacking, it is hard in the first week to figure out how much and how often to eat. Usually my appetite is either all over the place or very much lacking during the first week depending on the day. Plus, prosciutto is really salty so it keeps me from getting cottonmouth which is another “symptom” Ithat  acquire over the 30 days, usually later in the month. Another great thing about it is that it can be used as an alternative to bacon since bacon is really hard to find without any added sugars. It doesn’t get crispy if you fry it in the pan, but it can give a lot of flavor to recipes.

Get Lost” is a caffeine-free Rooibos tea from The Republic of Tea. The “Get Lost” name comes from its description of apparently contributing to weight control; however I am far past buying weight-loss products and I just really enjoy the taste of the tea. Rooibos is really flavorful and it is the perfect post-meal pick-me-up, especially during the first week when all you want to do is eat something sweet after lunch or dinner.  Plus, it is caffeine-free and won’t keep me buzzing all night.

Another thing to mention about this past first week is how I’ve really enjoyed blogging about my experience this time around. It has not only given me a creative outlet, but it has kept me accountable for my choices. Plus, I enjoy pretending that I have a following of readers that may actually care about what I’m writing typing. My Hubs is definitely enjoying the meals I cook, but it is hard trying to get him to understand why doing all of this is important to me. He is supportive though even if he doesn’t truly understand and for that I am thankful. Now, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine before Superbowl meal prep!

**After going on a run I totally remembered some parts of my dreams last night. Not any food eating parts but I remembered that I dreamed I was hanging out at the Avett Brothers’ house (weird, after writing about them huh?) and that I took a pregnancy test and it came back “maybe.” Ha! I’ll take the first one and leave the second. **