creativity: squashed

2 Jun

You know what is one of the things that I love most about being able to work with and hang out with kids? It’s their creativity, their imagination. They come up with the most ridiculous things and I absolutely envy them. For instance, I was talking with an awesome 6th grade boy the other day and he was telling me about all the “secret” items that you can order at Wendy’s and how only VIP customers know about this. He went on to tell me that there are only certain Wendy’s that you can go to that will provide you with these mysterious but mind-blowing items. Restaurants that are “in the know” are the ones that have “back alleys” for their drive-throughs and you must know secret codes to order such as 43762 0072…(dangit, I think I forgot his code) or else they will not have the slightest idea what you are talking about (wink, wink). This newest code is for a mystery flavored frosty, of course.

I mean, who knows? He could be totally telling me the truth on this one, but I have my doubts. I think this is pure imagination rather than fact, but regardless, it’s awesome.

The thing is, I truly believe I used to have as a creative mind as this boy. I know that my mind sucked up so much stuff and I loved to relinquish silly and sometimes outlandish thoughts to whomever. In middle school I distinctly remember talking about llamas  and crazy monkeys a lot and in high school one of my first days at a new school and with a new crowd, a boy said to me, “Man, you use a lot of big words!” I definitely took pride in that, I must say. Clearly I had an extensive vocabulary when I was a mere freshmen, but today I find myself stumbling over my words quite frequently. I can hardly read a book while keeping my attention on it and actually understanding and processing the words rather than just reading them.

So what happened?

I truly like to blame school. It sounds cruel and possibly ridiculous, but when you are in a classroom taught to follow patterns and formulas and always write a paper with a beginning, middle, and end just like this… yada yada yada… your creative side gets squashed. In my experience, barring a few extremely awesome English teachers, very few instances or assignments allowed for students to flourish in their creativity. After a while, when you do actually get the chance to be creative, following all the rules and formulas for so long have been so engrained in your subconscious that you have a hard time just coming up with an original thought.

I think that also the pressures of life, time constraints and being successful in our culture have done their own job of squelching creativity and imagination. We have so much stuff to do in such small amounts of time, that it is so hard to slow down to absorb and pursue fantastic ideas, let alone read a book about those types of things. I think back to college and I was so focused on studying for several different classes and “getting the grades” that I hardly remember half the stuff I was “learning”. I would love to go back and sneak into the back of my old anatomy and physiology class just to listen and really absorb that information rather than furiously writing notes, hoping not to miss anything. Despite that being slightly creepy to the “real” students, I would absolutely love that!

I have a journal from the end of high school and the beginning of college. I look through it and I drew and sketched. Wrote about my passions and fears. Wrote down poems or amusing bumper stickers. I let my mind wander and flourish. These days I don’t do any of this. I feel bad if after a workout while I’m stretching if I let my mind go blank or wander for too long because there is so much more that I need to get done.

Well, I’m taking a stand. I need this. I need some time. It will be hard to let myself do it but I need time for my brain to wander. To dream. To think up a doodle. To relax. To feel free. To be excited and not feel bogged down.

I’m going to try my hardest to do this daily, but really if it ends up being only once a week, it will be a huge improvement.

Do you need more time? What do you want to do more than anything but feel like you have no time, energy, motivation, etc.?

Join me in a revolution.

Make the time.

Set it aside for you.

Because if you’re like me, you NEED it.

I drew this in high school. I was very much desiring to gain power over my life and what I wanted to make of it. This drawing represents this feeling, as well as when I choose God and what He wants for my life, it will definitely be fulfilling, colorful, and empowering.

Kaleigh

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dreams

24 May

When I was younger, I know I had several dreams working around in my squishy little brain. I don’t remember all of them, but I do know that from about first grade to sixth, one of them was that I wanted to be a cartoonist. I’m not exactly sure where this idea came from (probably my dad), but in my spare time I used to love to draw. I had my own spiraled drawing notebooks and second-hand charcoal pencils and doodled random things (mostly Looney Tunes characters), so naturally I would want to be a cartoonist. I remember being pretty good, but that could have all been in my head and/or the effects of the ‘little white lies’ of good parenting, but in reality I may have been very poorly skilled.

Regardless, I kept pursuing art. I took an art class or two in middle school. I had a very cool teacher that was modern with a touch of hippie with flowing and careless dirty blonde hair, and I wished so bad that I could be her. I again, felt like I did some quality work and moved on to high school. I took another art class freshmen year, and then that was that. I’m not sure what happened or why I didn’t pursue this “life-long” dream any further. High school was a strange time for me. Nothing too terrible, but I don’t remember much except the bad stuff. High school is a whole other story for another time, but I don’t have the slightest clue as to why I didn’t want to do anything else with art. It may have been something utterly lame as that it didn’t fit in with my schedule for required classes. It may have been that I started loving science classes more than arts and crafts. All I know is that it slowly drifted out of my focus and I moved on to other things.

With the “possible” impending rapture I couldn’t help but think about these “other” things. The things that I would have regretted if the world actually were to end. Dreams, per se, that I would really have liked to have experienced in this life.

I want to travel…specifically to Australia and Europe; Italy, France, Greece.

I want to have little ‘uns.

I want to have made more of a difference in this world.

I want to have a bakery with whimsical creations thought up by yours truly and coffee so good that you’ll never want to leave.

Even though my dreams have drifted away from creating masterful pieces of art or simply caricatures for the Sunday funnies or a huge face resembling your own on a teeny body at company picnics, I certainly have fallen head over heels for food. Playing with flavors and textures and new combinations. And even though I am quite far away from opening my own little slice of pastry heaven, I have been able to dream up some pretty wonderful creations thus far…

Dream Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 c ground almonds
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 c dried blueberries
  • 1/4 c dried, unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method:

If you have only whole almonds, which is what I start out with, measure out a little less than a cup of almonds. Place in a food processor and let it whirl until you reach a size resembling a large piece of sea salt. You can let them go further if you like, but I like the almonds a little chunky. Just make sure you don’t start making almond butter! Pour the almonds in a small bowl and set aside.

Place dates in the food processor and let them whirl until they look smooth and start clumping into a big ball. Add remaining ingredients and turn on processor for about 10 seconds. Scrape down sides of the processor and then add the almonds. Turn on the processor for about 10-15 more seconds, or until the ingredients are fully incorporated and they begin to rise on the sides of the processor. When you pick up a chunk of the dough and squish it between your fingers, it should easily stay together without falling apart.

Lay out either a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap on the counter and pour out the dough onto the paper. You can go any way you want from here, but I use the parchment paper to mold the dough into about a 5″x5″ square and then wrap it up. You could mold yours into a brick and cut them later or shape into balls. Do what your heart tells you. Once you have the shape you want, place in the fridge for an hour or so to let the dough harden.

When I want a piece, I just go into the fridge, cut off a bar and enjoy. I would individually wrap them, if I ever had plastic wrap on hand, but I don’t so I just leave the whole disk wrapped in the parchment and cut as needed.

These bars, in my opinion are a heavenly piece of art and better than any other date-nut bar that has come out of a package.

How dreamy.

foggy

16 May

On this balmy evening, with birds a tweet, tweet, tweeting outside our window, I can’t help but feel relaxed.

I felt very stressed and agitated at work today, and when I arrived home, I an overwhelming sense of calm came over me. A couple days ago, I briefly touched on the thought that I really relish the ability to be able to hang around our little home and literally do nothing. As a tried and true introvert (but oddly enough sometimes an extrovert), I need my time to withdraw from the daily stressors and completely unwind. I gain energy from withdrawal. It feeds my heart, soul, body and mind. When I have a chance to set aside time, I often overflow with love and thankfulness.

Once I arrive at this point, I believe this is where I tend to falter. What do I do now? I’m revitalized and bewildered, now what? Do I make cookies? Do I go for a run? Should I make a craft? Finally work on our wedding/honeymoon scrapbook? Develop a new recipe? Go build a house for Habitat for Humanity? Or do the dishes? Read a book? Clean up our house and replace the shower curtain that ripped two months ago?

On one hand, there are so many things that I would like to do. On the other hand, it is now 7:21 pm and I feel as my day is nearly over. Do I really have the time to conquer a task? Indecision takes over and then all of a sudden I feel as though my eyelids weight 50 lbs. each and I can’t see straight anymore.

The past few days this indecision has led me to eat pretty much the same meal for the past three nights (not including Sunday), which is pan-fried potatoes over greens, with avocado chunks and pesto drizzled on top. I must say the combination is rocking my world, but at some point I’m not going to want it. I feel as I may be teetering on that line tonight. Is it that I am being lazy? I don’t know. I feel as though my energy has dropped significantly in the past few days and I am in a serious “packaged food” hump. As we speak I am dreaming about golden Oreos and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they happened to end up in a Blizzard.

So where do I go from here?

Coincidentally, my body seems to crave less-than-ideal foods when I am eating less than ideal foods. Its a vicious circle. I’ve also found that the more carbs I eat (i.e. oatmeal, rice chips) the more my body just wants to hoard all that glucose-y goodness that it can possibly take and deposit in less than ideal spots on my body. Since I have been done with my detox, I have had oatmeal nearly every breakfast. I’m not ridiculing oatmeal, as it is one of my all time favorite foods, but in lieu of fruit-o-rific smoothies for breakfast, carb-o-rific oatmeal has taken over. I think this has led to a snowball effect. I want more and more simple sugars throughout the day. It hasn’t been horrible, but it hasn’t been great. Less fruits and less salads has led to a dull girl.

On the plus side, I have started developing a nasty little habit of waking up at 4:45 am to go work out. It’s a little scary (only because I am paranoid) but once I am done I just loooove it! I’ve found that it’s a hopeless cause to try to get myself to workout after work. Therefore mornings, when the sun is just about the get woken up by the dogs howling at fire engines, oh no, thats us…. …when the sun is just about to peak its warmy goodness over the horizon, seems to be the only time that I can get a jaunt in. I need to continue this as it is going to be my second golden ticket to harnessing more energy and hopefully a little less foggy brained. For some reason that phrase immediately reminded me of Foghorn Leghorn. What a strange character.

And then there’s meat… As of recently meat has made me develop a rare and never before seen aversion. Fish is even kind of pushing it. As we speak I am marinating some chicken breasts in what should be a delightful combination, but the thought of actually eating it makes me want blow my Foghorn in a Leghorn, and not in a good way. I’ve thought about going vegetarian. Several times actually. Even vegan, but that was quickly reproached as I am a true lover of eggs and if I’m going to cheat on my diet, I tell you what, its going to be on this ice cream. Even with having my nutritionist background, I am still trying to determine what is the best diet for me. I certainly I have deducted that the majority should be minimally processed foods and limiting refined carbohydrates is ideal. But I still haven’t quite figured out the balance of fats and proteins for me. Its a work in progress. Just like everything in general. Our marriage. My faith. Who I am. What I can be. What I should eat. That’s life.

So I will continue tinkering and resting and then waking up quite early and hopefully I will get out of this foggy little slump.

Kaleigh

absent-minded

14 May

For some odd reason I have withdrew from writing a post in quite some time. It must be that I have been busy at work with my new position or that once I get home, I get so lost in reading other people’s blogs and entranced by old House episodes, that I completely forget that we have a blog as well.

Well here are few things that I have been thinking about while I’ve been absent (minded):

1. SprinklesI’m not sure what is going on lately, but I have been dreaming about many foods that typically necessitate sprinkles i.e. donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, oatmeal (I mean, why not?). I’m not sure what is going on with this whole obsession but I do know that it has led me to make several of Katie’s single lady cupcakes in the past week.

2. The beach– I really really would love a vacation… preferably one that includes perfect weather and the sound of crashing waves. Kyle and I went to California for our honeymoon nearly two years ago. Since then, we haven’t had a vacation for nearly two years and I definitely hear the sandy beach beckoning us.

3. Jelly
Another unusual obsession, but again I’ve found that I need a dose of it everyday…especially in my oatmeal. Ideally I’d like to have a warm buttery english muffin to slather it on, but our grocery store was out of the ones that I really prefer.

4. The desire to eat really delicious food but a waning desire to actually get creative in the kitchen and make it. It would be ideal to just eat out every night here… but sadly the funds just ain’t there. It’s shocking how much of a difference (monetarily speaking) it makes to eat out several nights rather than go to the grocery store and buy food that lasts you a couple weeks. I personally feel that even with the prices of food going up, we get a whole heck of a lot more out of our grocery bill than going to Chipotle and Old Chicago’s a couple nights a week.

5. I’ve realized how much I generally love to sit around and do nothing. I feel like I am often running around like crazy, especially at work, so when I get a day off to relax I truly love to laze about and piddle around in our apartment. My personality definitely requires me to rest and withdraw and it brings me pleasure to do so.

6. The rain– it has been so rainy here the past few days and it has led me to the conclusion that I really love the rain. I love hearing it at night as we are falling asleep. I love how it makes you slow down. I don’t think I could handle it nearly every day as some states do, but living in a state that averages 300 days a year of sunny weather, its nice to have a change.

7. And speaking of changes– I sense change is coming. Especially with my new position at work and spring popping its head up in full bloom. I’m super excited about it too. I have a subtle sense of adrenaline pumping and my heart seems to be aflutter.

Happy Rainy Saturday 🙂

Kaleigh

Cravings

14 May

Sometimes I feel like I am a pregnant woman.

Stay with me here, I’m not trying to freak you out but sometimes I have serious cravings for particular food.  It’s like if I can’t eat three sprinkled donuts in the next five minutes my stomach may eat itself and my head may explode.  This got me thinking what is going on?  How come I can crave a cheeseburger while I am eating dinner? Why are cravings assaulting me irregardless of time of day, or hunger?  Is it the full moon?  Am I some mutant human that craves various foods at various times, morphing me into a über unpleasant person with only one goal in mind?  While I would be ok with that if it gave me X-Ray vision or the ability to fly to the nearest donut shop, I don’t think this is happening.  So I decided to do a little research.

I discovered that the body is really freaking cool.  According to a Discovery Health article, hunger comes from the body while cravings come from the mind.  When you are hungry a hormone called ghrelin is released and tells your mind, specifically the hypothalamus (a really awesome thing that regulates a lot of body functions) to “GET ME FOOD!”  The hypothalamus then tells the rest of the body, “Hey let’s go get some food…” and you can figure out the rest from there.  But when you have a food craving your mind takes over.  It was believed that cravings were your body’s way of getting a specific nutrient, but scientists have recently decided this isn’t the case.  Instead, according to this article, food cravings follow a similar neurological path as drug addiction.  The same part of your brain is used, usually pulling a particular food from a memory and then urging you to get this food.  Once you eat it (usually something sweet in my case) your brain rewards you with dopamine, which is the “feel good hormone.” According to the article “Neurologically speaking, that fast food joint isn’t much different from a person selling drugs.” Hmmm I guess that makes sense, whenever I think about In and Out Burger I do get pretty ravenous and start freaking out that I can’t get it.  This probably helps explain why so many Americans are overweight! Instead of being addicted to drugs, the majority of Americans are addicted to greasy, fatty fast food…and maybe some drugs.  Hey me too! On the food part, not the drug part, unless coffee is a drug, which I am beginning to think it is.

Anyway back to the brain and cravings.  It turns out your cravings and taste preferences for different foods are created in the WOMB! That’s right, if you hate tomatoes, thank your mom.  During the second trimester your sense of taste and smell develop based off what your mom was eating.  And if your mom was more adventurous while she was pregnant, eating a variety of food, when you born you were probably more open to trying new foods!  Crazy.

It turns out another big portion of cravings come from memory.  After all you can’t really crave something you have never had.  I think you can crave a combination of foods you have never had, but that bacon and ice cream combo you are thinking of is made up of two different tastes you already know and love.  That is why I crave In and Out Burger I think, because every time I have had it I was on vacation.

So what are the consequences?

Well food addicts, like drug addicts constantly increase the amount of their given vice to get that “high”, meaning every time you give into your food cravings for donuts, or cheeseburgers you are lifting your threshold higher so next time you will need to eat three burgers instead of two to get the same content feeling (dopamine).  I don’t know how true this is though because every time I give into a donut craving I can still only eat 2-3, not 4-5, but maybe I don’t give in often enough to make a difference.  It is crazy to me that food = drugs for some people.  Actually not some people, most people.  It is a vicious circle too because the foods we crave are so easily/quickly accessed and so cheaply purchased. I am blessed by the fact that I get to be married to a nutritionist, who has totally changed my eating habits, and made me more aware of what I am eating, too bad everyone couldn’t be married to one.  I think it also helpful to be active, it is hard to survive a long training ride on donuts and cheeseburgers.  I think I would die.

So what does all this mean?

Well for me it means that food cravings are normal.  Everyone has them, it just varies from person to person on how often you indulge.  Kaleigh is always saying “Everything in moderation.” To try to live your life without ever giving into your food cravings is just plain stupid.  You will be miserable.  In fact if you are on a diet or trying to lose weight giving in every once in a while will make you more successful in the long run.  Think about it this way, if you can have one snickers bar a week then you will be less likely to break down one day and eat a gallon of ice cream.  It also means that the body is AMAZING! There are so many complex reactions and processes going on every second it makes it hard for me to understand how people can’t acknowledge that some greater power is responsible.  It all works to perfectly, at least in my opinion.  Lastly it means Kaleigh’s teachings are rubbing off on me.  Before I met her I wouldn’t have cared what I ate as long as it tasted good, but now I am reading labels at grocery stores and am trying to get rid of processed foods…except for the occasional donut!

LIFE

11 May

I’m back.  I know it has been like 15 years since my last post, and honestly it is because I have been LAZY! If you know me, you know this isn’t a huge surprise. Unless I get myself super motivated to do something I probably let it drift on by, and lately that is what I have been doing in regards to this blog.  Plus Kaleigh is killing it with posts, so I figured I would fade into the background for a while.  But hopefully that is all going to change now, I have a few ideas in the hopper on what to share with you all and my creative juices are starting to flow again.  This may be in part because my left shifter has broken on my bike.  I think it is just old, but this creates a void in how I have been spending my time, since I haven’t been able to ride my bike (Being able to shift is important it turns out) I have been filling up this spare time with other activities.  By taking some time off the bike I feel like I have discovered that I really want to do A LOT of different things everyday.  Working 40 hours a week, I usually get two days off, so how I spent those two days turns into a constant debate, usually I would spend a good 5-6 hours on my bike, but since that isn’t happening right now I have started to look at other things.

I’ve decided that I really want to learn how to rock climb.  Living so close to the mountains, I feel like it would be stupid of me not to spend more time in them doing things.  I really would love to get good at climbing and take a trip to another country to climb (I think this inspiration comes from a friend of mine who was able to go to Patagonia and climb a few years ago).  More realistically though I feel like I want to climb all the fourteeners in CO.  My best friend and I have been talking about this all year and hopefully soon we will begin our quest.  Along these same lines, I want to do some backpacking this year.  I love being outside and being able to get away from everything even if it is just for a few hours is so therapeutic.  Kaleigh and I really want to get out there this year, take advantage of being young and healthy and see what we can find.

I also really want to become a photographer.  After we got our sweet Canon for Christmas this year it has opened my eyes to how much fun taking pictures can be.  Again this is an expensive hobby, and realistically I probably won’t ever become super skilled in the photographic arts but I would like to be able to take some great pictures for our house, family and friends.  I wonder if there are any good books to help me figure out what I am doing, because let’s be honest, I have no idea what all those buttons and dials do on my camera.  I’ll have to look into that.

I really want to read…a lot!  I am kind of have ADD when I read, and I am constantly in the middle of at least three books, while purchasing more.  Take my current situation as an example…I am currently in the middle of Traitor to His Class by H.W. Brands, about the life and presidency of FDR, Better Off by Eric Brende, about living life without modern technology, and Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, about Lewis and Clark.  I also have recently purchased and am eager to start Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and April 1865: The Month That Saved America by Jay Winik.  All of this doesn’t even take into account the numerous magazine articles that I am constantly reading from Mental Floss, Outside, Backpacker, and numerous cycling magazines.  It really is overwhelming when you think of it.  There is so much information out there and some many ways to get it, that even if you spent all day every day reading you would never get close to reading everything on your list.  Oh well one book at a time, or three in my case.

It seems like life is flying by.  Today is one of my days off and it is already half over! I don’t know what I have accomplished, pretty much nothing besides getting milk and watching stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia.  It’s a rainy day today and it seems like a good day to just sit down and read.  I have already had two cups of coffee but I feel like I want more.  Coffee really is addicting.  Kaleigh and I will be married for two years in July! That is crazy to me. On the one hand it seems like we have been married for much longer and on the other hand two years seems like a long time.  I wonder what year three will hold.

I am going to turn 25 this year.  I don’t quite know how I feel about that. 25 is halfway to 50, but it really doesn’t seem that old, I still feel like I am 21 or so though.  I have been thinking a lot about what I have done with my life so far, and what I still want to do which must mean I am getting more mature, although I wouldn’t bet on it.  It’s amazing how quickly life can end. You never know what is going to happen when you wake up, in fact you really don’t know what is going to happen when you go to sleep (I have been watching a lot of House with Kaleigh lately so I am well aware of various diseases and general medical weirdness). I guess the only way to live is in the moment, not to worry about tomorrow because who even knows what is going to happen in the next half hour, let alone tomorrow.  That’s how I try to live my life, in the moment. I guess it’s worked so far.

Anyway there you have it, a kind of random post about nothing really, but I am back to the blogging world and in fact there may be multiple posts in the works for today.  Thanks for reading.

a few completely random, and possibly useless observations

2 May

I woke up this morning (keep in mind it was 3:20AM) and thought, “is this really my life?” I guess I never really pictured myself where I am and what my life is currently like 10 years ago, let alone two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed about my situation…but on the other hand there are certainly things that can and need to be improved. Regardless, it was one of those moments where you have a little epiphany that life is fragile, you are living it and it certainly is never what is expected.

our fragile rosemary plant...c'mon baby, don't give up!

Where did our “1/3 c” go? One day, it mystically disappeared. It seems as though it was sick of being under-utilized compared to the 1/2 c and 1c and just decided to pursue other avenues. Meanwhile, I regret all the time I spent away from it because the past few days I’ve really needed him, or it, or whatever. Folks, its true; you don’t know what you have until its gone.

It has perplexed me in the past few days (only because I have finally resolved to clean our shredded and under-appreciated bathroom) just how dirty our apartments’ walls can get. I mean, how does this happen? It looked as though someone was scrambling eggs for an amazing omelet whilst in the bathroom and yet were startled by a flying squirrel or other exotic animal, and the because of the rush of adrenaline managed to fling the scrambled eggs mixture all over the wall. In reality, it was more likely that the “flying squirrel” was a hairball rolling around in the corner from Molly rather than an actual living entity.

Why must Reese’s peanut butter eggs be so unbelievably mind blowing, and yet so unbelievably wretched for your body? It is so unfair.

I don’t really miss cable (we got rid of it because, well, they were ripping us off). I only really miss watching HGTV. That Sandra is just so sassy!

Why is it that whenever you get really excited about… say an idea or a big purchase and then suddenly you see or hear about this thing everywhere. For example, if you are considering buying a VW bus, when you are driving or if you are a “good green” human being, walking, you see a VW bus everywhere you go. Or if you learn the meaning of a new word that possibly you always thought you knew what it meant (but didn’t), and just kept saying it cause it makes you sound really intellectual (just an example, of course), then suddenly you begin to hear people say it every day, on the radio, read it in a book (or on twitter), at work, at a poetry reading…etc. I like that about humans, but then I kind of don’t. To me it somehow shows disinterest in others and the world, unless it pertains to yourself.  But hey, we’re all busy and cracked up on media, so there is only a finite amount of brain cells that can be spent on the trillions of other stimulations around us, right?

***Sidenote: I think I am very quippy and slighty sarcastic right now because I’ve basically been watching House for two straight days. He’ll do that to ya, just sayin.

Do you have a personal bubble? Well I do. I don’t think that it is too big, at least not a 10 ft. diameter. More like 9 3/4″ (I kid!…kind of) but lately I’ve noticed at grocery stores, the people shopping there have no concept of this. Or for that matter, that I am a person (HEAR ME ROAR!) and I am in the same store that they are in. Meaning that they don’t care that I am there and really wish I wasn’t in their way of getting a couple avocados or a 50 lb. bag of dino shaped chicken “nuggets” (a mere example, of course). To quote George Costanza, “We are living IN A SOCIETY!!!!”

I love oats. Correction: I adore oats. Especially baked oatmeal. I find myself day-dreaming of oats lately, but not night-dreaming. That’s saved for a warm brownie with ice cream on top, and possibly for Top Chef quick-fire challenges where I have to make a souffle while trying to uncover kitchen utensil conspiracies of rogue “1/3 c” cups. Maybe some day I will win that quick-fire challenge and be reunited. But seriously, if it doesn’t happen in the next week, we’re buying a new set of measuring cups.

If we had free-flowing funds right now, the top 3 things that I would buy at Costco would be:

1) 3 lb bag of walnuts

2) food production grade saran wrap and

3) a Vespa (they sell those, right?).

And no, I’m not in the least bit concerned about where my priorities lie.

more of a necessity, rather than a "want"

It would be a great idea for me to be running on a treadmill right now, but give me a break, will ya? I was up at 3:20 this morning looking for a bitter “1/3 c” and fighting off grumpy Costco shoppers while trying to buy some eggs for a souffle and haggle for a VW bus.

Oddly enough, I think I may make an omelet for dinner (or oatmeal for the second time today).

Watch out for hairballs….

Kaleigh

my apologies

26 Apr

There are just certain songs that make you feel free and mysterious (Pink Moon by Nick Drake).

There are just certain holidays that you can’t help but reminisce about your childhood (Easter reminds me of: Little Debbie Nutty Bars in my basket, frilly church dresses and tights and a jelly bean scented stuffed bunny I got one year).

There are just certain smells that make you feel so unbelievably comfy, cozy and utterly content in that very minute (fresh brewed coffee).

There are just certain sounds that make me think of fresh cut grass on a ball field and early morning games with my dad (an aluminum bat being dropped on the ground outside of our apartment).

There are just certain times that you can’t get everything done that you wanted to (finish my detox blog posting, among other things).

With all that has been happening with my job (getting promoted) and trying to relax and make delicious food, I just have not seemed to have a lot of extra time to pursue wrapping up this whole endeavor!

We last left off on day 20:

Breakfast that morning was my new favorite, the Cashew Cream smoothie. I really love this smoothie!

It is so milky smooth and white. It almost seems like you’re having a milkshake from a burger joint!

While at work I had a surprisingly great Larabar, one of their new flavors, Blueberry muffin. I’ve heard a couple people say that they did not like this flavor, but this was the best Larabar I’ve had in a long time!! I worked a long time before I went for lunch so I also had some rice crackers and hummus. 

Lunch was, (surprise, surprise!), another choco-cherry smoothie. I didn’t feel like scooping this one out so I made it more smoothie-like rather than an ice cream texture. 

In this beautiful cup was:

  • 1 c frozen cherries
  • 1/2 c apple juice
  • 1 serving Amazing Grass chocolate GreenSuperfood
  • 1 T Barlean’s Mango-Peach Fish oil
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • Vanilla Clearvite
As I got home, I was having a sweet tooth attack, and I really just wanted a little something decadent.

What this equated to, was a gluten free english muffin. One side was topped with Sunbutter and dried blueberries and the other had a smidge of Earth Balance soy free spread and a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon…. yuuuuuum.

Dinner was AmaZing!! I got the idea from another blogger, but did a few twists. I made a sweet potato and kale frittata. With some grapes on the side, it blew my mind. I even went back for seconds!

Day 21 went a little like this:

Breakfast was a Dreamy Creamy. I just couldn’t help myself. The last day had to end with it!

After eating this, we got ourselves and the pups ready to head out for a hike in Boulder. As we drove there I told Kyle that Boulder will always have a special place in my heart. It is where I first fell in love with Kyle, where I took my SAT’s (really bad score), and where we got married, among other great memories. It was a beautiful day for a hike! Unfortunately our dogs were not all that well behaved (they just get so excited!) and instead of really getting to enjoy the park, we instead had to deal with our unruly pups (which equals an 2 angry people). After about and hour and a half hike, we moved out. On the way home we snacked on some homemade trail mix, sunflower seeds, dried apples, dried blueberries and almonds.I was really craving a hummus and veggie sandwich on the ride home, so that is exactly what I threw together!!

This baby rocked my world!! The sandwich included:

  • Gluten free english muffin, toasted
  • hummus
  • tsp mayo + 1/2 tsp dijon mustard + a light sprinkle of curry powder, all mixed up
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • spinach
  • carrot ribbons
On the side I had the rest of the carrot and black olives…a PERFECT lunch!!
I can’t remember eating a snack, or if I did that afternoon, it went undocumented!
The rest of the day was spent taking a little nap, reading and then heading off to a Denver bar and grill for dinner. I cheated a smidge and had a “gluten-free” hamburger with guacamole and fries… which that basically meant, “no bun”. I was a little taken aback by my bun-less wonder, but it still was delicious and a bit of a splurge after 21 days. After dinner was a special treat….LET’S GO ROCKIES!!!! We actually left early because it was ridiculously cold and we just couldn’t hold out any longer, and they lost, but it was still great to get to go see them!! We’re both looking forward to more games that are much much more weather friendly.
So there you have it!! 21 days of detox meals! I promise a more in-depth recap of how I’m feeling and where do I go from here. I just think this has been a long enough post for now, and I hear sweet nothings coming from my pillow…
Kaleigh

my favorite detox powder

23 Apr

I thought I would give you all a little information about the detoxing protein powder that I have been using. I have been using Apex Energetics ClearVite-SF.

I have heard some people say that they really dislike the taste of this powder, but I absolutely LOVE it. Not to mention that the nutrients in this container are completely unparalleled, well at least in my travels thus far. I’ve tried to find other products that are similar but I just can’t. It is a little pricey, but since you don’t need to be detoxing every day, but more like 2-4 times a year, I personally feel it is totally worth it!

Not only do I love love LOVE the taste but this protein is practically a multivitamin in itself. It’s not super extensive, but it has the standards such as Vitamins A, the B’s, C, D, Biotin, Calcium, Magnesium, Selenium, Manganese, Zinc, Phosphorous, etc.

But the benefits continue: it is made up of an easily digestible rice protein.  Plus it contains digestive enzymes and probiotics, medium chain triglycerides, and compounds good for immune support like quercetin.

But that’s not all folks! There are several herbs and amino acids in this powder that really help detoxify your body.

  • L-glutamine: clearing toxins, liver and digestive system support, improves mental activity
  • Milk thistle seed extract: protects liver and kidney from toxins
  • Marshmallow root: aids the body in expelling excess mucus and fluid, soothes and heals tissues
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine: a powerful detoxifier
  • Taurine: important building block of bile, which helps digest fats and remove it from the body
  • Jerusalem artichoke: provides a good source of fructo-oligosaccharides which helps build good bacteria in the intestines.
And I have not even listed everything that is in there! So as you can see this baby has some pretty awesome attributes. If you’ve been following me the past month you would have seen that it is also quite versatile taste-wise.
Apple Kale(igh)Green SmoothieReally, the possibilities are endless!! I will do a more in-depth re-cap of my detox, but I will say that I have felt so much better than I have in such a long time! I’m just sad that my powder is almost gone!
Congratulations to Jamie, as she was randomly selected as the winner of the Safeway $25 gift card! Congrats my dear friend! I’ll be sure to get it in the mail to asap!!
Kaleigh

information overload

21 Apr

Eating food.

Having a meal.

A quick snack.

It sounds so simple but unfortunately the recent surge in information about ‘healthy’ foods, what kind to eat, which to avoid, trans fats, organic, low glycemic, antioxidant etc. etc. etc. It’s turned out to be so much more confusing than it needs to be. It really is simple but the whole concept has been so convoluted by our own doing.

For example, the other day I saw a picture of a berry-flavored 7up and the subtitle on the bottle was “Antioxidants!” What this tells me is that this company is banking on the fact that putting this nutritional buzz word right on the front of this bottle is going to get the attention of the common buyer that seeks to be healthy, but may not have the real motivation to do it and in turn they will purchase the product hoping that drinking a new and improved soda with antioxidants will get them a little closer to their goal without having to sacrifice too much. Brilliant! But my question is, in what bizarre world has soda ever been considered a healthy option?

I feel like there is a huge marketing conspiracy going on here. The information we currently have about how to eat “healthier” is so free flowing and abundant, but yet we are still getting more obese and therefore, less healthy. I went to a seminar a few weeks ago and the speaker noted that some studies have shown that in the “beginning ages” the average man was at the health level of a modern triathlete we think of today, and that was just the average dude! Look at today; the majority of Americans are soooo far away from that! Modern conveniences have made us more dependent on technology and fast food joints which has made us lazier and less dependent on having to seek out and obtain our own food (hunt and gather). This (im)perfect storm has led to us being extremely unhealthy.

So where do we go from here? Well to be honest with you I highly suggest reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food if you haven’t already. The key foundations of this book are simple and exactly what I believe. They make complete sense to me, and luckily he doesn’t leave out his intelligent and slightly sarcastic quips to make the book even more entertaining.

If you don’t feel like curling up to a book, here are the ways that I decide what to eat. Most of these are pretty similar to what Michael Pollan states in his book and most operate on the basis of generally sticking with what our ancestors knew and how they survived.

For instance, they ate whole foods. Whole fruits and vegetables, handmade bread, full fat dairy. Minimally processed, real foods. I rarely eat pre-packaged foods. When I do, I aim for them to have a very short ingredient list and it is all in a language that I can understand. Basically the focus is to make as much of my food choices “whole foods”, or foods that are in the original form that they were grown.

Have balance and variety. It’s never good to have too much of one nutrient in your diet and not enough of another. For example, eating way too much protein or only ever eating one kind of fruit. When I decide what to eat, I try to have some protein (in the form of either animal protein, beans or legumes) some veggies and/or fruit and a little bit of carbohydrate like brown rice, crackers, etc. Plus, I try not to have the same foods every day. This insures that you are getting a variety of nutrients and vitamins necessary for all the processes your body needs to perform. Along with balance comes…

Indulge… but not too much. You have to treat yourself every once in a while. And you know what, if you make a meal out a few brownies every once in a while, then that’s fine too. You just can’t make this a daily habit.

Don’t stress about food too much. Once you get to a point that you have your “go-to” foods, and you know you like them and that they are minimally processed and of good quality, try not to obsess about food so much. I struggle with this one myself, but it’s not healthy to be worrying about food constantly. Like I said, if you are getting the variety and focusing mostly on whole foods, then you should not have to worry about your sporadic indulges. I will catch myself worrying about indulging too much or how I can’t have this or that but it really does me no good. As long as I mindful about what I am eating, listen to my body, I will know exactly when to eat, what to eat, and when to stop. 

If you choose to model your lifestyle after how our ancestors lived, this also includes activity. They had to hunt and/or work for their food. We definitely do not. It is just plain true that your body works better when you have regular exercise. To maintain weight and health 30 minutes 3-5 times a week is perfect. It doesn’t have to marathon training, but light jogging or walks everyday. I speak from experience. I’ve been on both ends of the work-out spectrum and things are just better to have regular activity.

If you can’t remember what I or Michael Pollan have advised, there are several companies and even grocery stores taking helpful and NOT confusing steps to help consumers out. If you haven’t noticed, Safeway has put together a new program called Simple Nutrition. They contacted me to see if I would be interested in checking out one of their stores and how the program works. I stopped into a local store and right away in the front I was met with a big stand alone sign that had in-depth information about the program. Several folks at the company did a review of all their items and judged them on a list of requirements. The items that made the cut that were “low in sodium” or “gluten free”, etc. are now labeled throughout the store to make shopping healthily even easier. With all my current restrictions in diet, I absolutely found this helpful. They even have a whole 4 ft by 8ft (?) section completely set aside for gluten free items! This program would be very helpful to a person who is starting out on a completely unfamiliar way of eating. Be careful though, because just because the tags say “low in sugar” does not mean that it should make up the whole basis of your meals, remember, BALANCE!!

The kind people offered me a Safeway $25 gift card to give out to readers to get you guys out there hunting down your own healthy meals! To be entered to win this little card of sunshine, you must leave a comment on this post telling me a simple step you can take to improve your health! To leave a comment, just click, “Leave a comment” on the bottom of the post. I will randomly pick a winner by Saturday 10 am (MST) and will mail it to the winner.

Good luck!!!

I’m off to clean our disgusting apartment and hopefully make some of my own deliciously healthy eats!!

Kaleigh

OH and P.S. This card can be also used at the following: Vons, Pavillions, Genuardi’s, Dominick’s Carrs, Randalls and Tom Thumb 🙂