Weekend of Family, Food and Fathoming

Again with the alliteration! Sorry guys, just can’t help myself sometimes…even when it is a little cheesy.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I love that it was basically an extended weekend for me–I went to my internship Monday and Tuesday, and I had Wednesday through Sunday off to do as I pleased. Some grocery shopping, workouts and the typical daily stuff happened but it was definitely a weekend to remember!

Family

Fox Run Park was perfect for picnicking on the 4th.

Fox Run Park was perfect for picnicking on the 4th.

My family had originally planned on heading to a nearby town for their annual 4th of July parade. Apparently it’s one of the longest parades in the country (lasting over 2 hours) and we’ve gone a few times in the past and enjoyed it. However, after the nearby fire from earlier in the summer, a lot of people planned to go to this parade to show support for the local firefighters…so basically, parking was nonexistent, and we couldn’t even take the shuttle buses going to the parade because the line waiting for the bus was like a mile long. We ended up driving to the south side of town to see if there was anything going on down there for the 4th (there wasn’t), made a quick stop at home for some picnic supplies, the fam stopped at Subway for sandwiches (I munched on cold watermelon and a whole champagne mango) and then we headed back up to one of our favorite parks. Luckily, not many people were there so we had our pick of tables and after lunch, we played a bunch of outdoor games.

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I love spending time with my family, and I appreciate it more now that I’m so close to being a real adult (aka out on my own, with a job and without their financial support). Even though things didn’t go as planned (and it rained later when we wanted to eat dinner outside, boo!) we still had a great 4th of July. Oh, and we also didn’t get to see the fireworks because we didn’t feel like braving the crowds downtown at the park, so we tried watching them from the hill near our house but they were blocked by another hill. You win some, you lose some!

I forgot how much I love swings!

I forgot how much I love swings!

My sister and I took the opportunity to play around on the playground like we were 5 again. I’ve been realizing more and more that being spontaneous and just having fun (even if you look silly while doing it) makes life that much more enjoyable.

Speaking of spontaneity...

Speaking of spontaneity…

The whole fam partook in our almost annual water balloon/water gun fights. Filling up and tying those water balloons wasn’t so easy, but getting to enjoy some simple fun with the people I love most was worth it. Unfortunately, no photographic evidence of how soaked we got, but let’s just say we didn’t need to shower the next day πŸ˜‰

Food

July 4th breakfast: banana softserve blended with frozen cherries and chocolate Sunwarrior. Topped with homemade raw cacao nut clusters and raw brownie bite.

July 4th breakfast: banana softserve blended with frozen cherries and chocolate Sunwarrior. Topped with homemade raw cacao nut clusters and raw brownie bite.

Snackplate. Mostly watermelon and raw zucchini slices topped with garlic gomasio.

Snackplate. Mostly watermelon and raw zucchini slices topped with garlic gomasio.

Friday's lunch. Snackplate of carrots, homemade bean dip, homemade raw 'goat cheese' dip, zuke with garlic gomasio. Side of leftover berries.

Friday’s lunch. Snackplate of carrots, homemade bean dip, homemade raw ‘goat cheese’ dip, zuke with garlic gomasio. Side of leftover berries.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m obsessed with fruit. And raw zucchini slices. And garlic gomasio (basically a seasoning blend of sesame seeds, garlic and sea salt…super addictive). And banana softserve for breakfast, errryday. I’m becoming more of a creature of habit when it comes to my food, and that’s ok. My weekly Whole Foods trips have been looking similar lately: lots of fresh produce, flax crackers, raw chocolate, raw nuts, beans, olives. Makes things easier for sure!

Fathoming

Free stuff is always nice!

Free stuff is always nice!

I’ve been thinking more about budgeting lately, and how I’m going to handle a much stricter budget when I’m on my own. I’ve recognized that I have a love for going shopping, whether it be for food, clothes or beauty stuff. I don’t buy something every time I go, but it’s hard for me to say no when I have the funds necessary. I want to save up for things that really matter, and not go hog wild on little purchases here and there, and I also know that I might not be able to afford only shopping at Whole Foods when I have my first job. I have a few other health food stores I like that are cheaper, I just have to make it more of a habit to shop there instead of always Whole Foods. Gotta say though, getting free stuff from coupons/gift cards (like the Bath & Body Works stuff above) is always a bonus.

I'm kicking myself for not ordering anything from here!

I’m kicking myself for not ordering anything from here!

My mom and I went to VegFest Colorado on Saturday. I love how supportive my mom is, despite her being an omnivore who has no intentions of giving up animal products. I’m glad she went, though, because I hope it opened up her eyes to some of the needless suffering animals go through to be on her plate. She did buy some free range, organic chicken the other day, so that’s a step in the right direction. I hate to get all preachy, because that’s not who I am, but going to VegFest made me realize that I’m vegan not just for the health benefits, but for the animals. It made me realize that I’m very much against animal suffering, and that I need to do something else to show that I am. I already avoid all animal products when it comes to food…why don’t I try to start buying only cruelty-free beauty products? One of the speakers we saw said something that struck me–he said all creatures deserve to feel loved. That is so true. We all seek out love in our lives, why wouldn’t animals do (and deserve) the same? I’m certainly not saying everyone needs to go vegan, but just making small differences in the animal products you choose to buy and consume can show the animals that they are loved.

Other than the amazing message, the food was great too. I got to try several new-to-me products that I loved (namely locally-made raw chocolates and a chocolate coconut hot fudge sauce) and I got to seeΒ theΒ Chef AJ do a cooking demo. A lot of what she said struck me as well. She’s really focused on unprocessed foods, which I am all for, but she mentioned that oil, salt and sugar are all unnecessary evils in our lives and we really don’t need them to cook delicious things. I have to say, I feel that’s a little extreme, especially as a recovering anorexic who’s still challenging old food fears, but I get what she’s saying. I try to use the most natural, unprocessed forms of all of those things, like coconut oil, sea salt and maple syrup/raw honey and I feel like that’s a good balance for me. But the desserts she made for us without sugar (a PB Larabar-esque bit, black bean brownies and muesli) were really delicious and inspired me to try to use just dates like she did as a sweetener in my desserts. I do agree that Americans tend to eat way too much sugar, salt and oil especially in their more processed forms, so any step in the direction of eliminating them is a good one.

Her cooking demo obviously got through to me, because when it was time for lunch, I ended up passing on the delicious-looking vegan waffle sandwiches from the Waffleganger food truck and just got a salad from Qdoba on the way home. As much as I’d like to say my eating is way more free now, it isn’t always. I worried about all the gluten and sugar in the waffle sandwich but now I’m mad that I didn’t just jump out of my comfort zone and at least split one with my mom. Luckily, the waffle truck is based in Denver so I’m planning a trip to visit it for brunch on my birthday in 3 weeks!

How was your weekend? How do you feel about cutting out all sugar, oils and salt?

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12 thoughts on “Weekend of Family, Food and Fathoming

  1. It’s hard to get rid of those things because your body is so used to having them it freaks out when you deny it them. Budgeting is hard.

    • That’s so true, and I think that’s why so many people can feel addicted to those things. I think moderation is the way to go, though, if you don’t have to cut sugar, salt or oils out for health reasons.

  2. P says:

    Your 4th sounds like it was awesome! Water balloons are always fun :)!
    VegFest sounds like my kind of event. Too bad about Wafflegaenger, but at least you can look forward to it as a birthday treat :)!

  3. That VegFest sounds amazing! I’ve actually met Chef AJ multiple times (because I worked one-on-one with her best friend- Julieanna Hever- as my nutritionist) and she’s such a sweetheart! Her recipes are amazing. I’m glad to hear that your mom is so supportive of your vegan lifestyle. It makes such a big difference!
    Have an amazing week, girly!

  4. First of all, I am glad you enjoyed your long weekend with your family; a water balloon fight is always a blast. It’s too bad that you didn’t get to see the fireworks, but like you said, things don’t always go the way you planned them to! It sounds like you had fun anyway, and that is the important thing. That garlic gomasio sounds interesting; I will have to try it out sometime. I think it’s good that you are working on budgeting–that is a very useful skill to have in the future. Most stores are set up in such a way as to tempt people into buying products they don’t REALLY need, so it is important to keep that in mind when shopping. That Vegfest sounds like so much fun, and I am glad that your mom is supportive of your choice to be vegan. The main reason I became a vegetarian in the first place was for ethical reasons–I couldn’t stand to indirectly support the cruel meat industry by eating animals.As for Chef AJ’s statement on oil, salt, and sugar…I think you are 100% correct in saying that it is too extreme for some people, especially those recovering from an eating disorder. Yes, many Americans rely too heavily on refined oil, processed sugar, and table salt. And yes, food without those ingredients CAN be delicious. But I don’t think it is necessary to eliminate them entirely from your diet, especially if it will lead to restrictive eating habits. I can’t see myself giving up olive and coconut oil. maple syrup and raw sugar, or sea salt anytime soon. I do agree we shouldn’t consume such products too often, since they can lead to health issues in large quantities. But for certain people, it simply isn’t safe to stop eating them completely, IF it will cause unhealthy eating habits or mental stress. That’s too bad that you weren’t able to try that waffle sandwich, but I hope you will be able to convince yourself to eat it next time the food truck comes around. It sounds like it would be delicious! Sorry for the novel-length comment; I know I tend to ramble sometimes…

    • No worries, I love your long comments! It always gives me a lot to reply to!

      I think what you said here about the oil/sugar/salt issue is spot on, and exactly how my mom and I looked at it when we discussed it afterwards. I think the problem with these things comes when people consume them too often, or in place of more nutritious things. But cutting them out altogether, especially if it follows some disordered eating or thinking, isn’t healthy either and I think most people have to find a balance with those things to be at their best.

  5. i’m totally in love with vegetarian festivals! tho i am not a vegetarian, i think vegetarian dishes are often super interesting and the foodie in me loves getting together with others passionate about fresh, healthy foods. a veg fest is an ideal place to do just that. i’m glad you had fun!

    • I love that vegetarian fests can bring together all people, especially non-vegetarians/vegans! It really is about the passion for fresh foods and it definitely shouldn’t exclude non-veg people at all–I’m glad my mom went so she could understand why I eat the way I do!

  6. Sounds like you had such a wonderful weekend!! I have a bad habit of wanting to buy aaallll the things at grocery stores too haha! I make up for it by having simplified my beauty products (coconut oil, baking soda, ACV, and henna are basically all I need for lotion, face wash and hair dye etc.).

    I love VegFests, we have had them in Sac for the past 3 years or so and its so much fun! I really want to go to Portland’s and San Fran’s this year! I also love Chef AJ! I’ve met her a few times, and help her out in her cooking demos when she is in town -she is just so funny and nice (and she gives me extra brownies when I see her πŸ˜‰ )! Yes, the SOS free thing can be very restrictive-but also very helpful. See, a lot of people go vegan for the health benefits and there are many plant based doctors who advocate this diet. SOS free has cured cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many other life altering sicknesses–Chef AJ herself has had a really hard time with her health -and has struggled with disordered eating herself-and has found that ultimately this is the best diet for her. My mom is PCRM certified, and teaches cooking classes along these lines and has helped many people. We don’t necessarily follow SOS free at our house and still enjoy stuff when we are out, but yeah, it has changed how we, as a family, eat. A lot more whole foods based, natural sugars and fats from the source-not extracted so much. But yes, we still eat some processed foods. There are so many extremes and the key is finding your own balance. Any diet can be restrictive or full of variety -it depends on how you take it. Because while you can eat 100% clean for health, true health is in a life you enjoy too. Just the same as you are never fully dressed without a smile!

    So I think the key is don’t go overboard on the junk-but enjoy that wafflewich while its there! You don’t eat one every day! Shoot-maybe I’ll come visit you to try it too!

    • I need to meet Chef AJ so I can get in on those free brownies πŸ˜‰ But really, I love what you said here. Looking back on it now, I think I was a little harsh in saying the SOS-free lifestyle is strict and restrictive, because I understand that it’s necessary and helpful for many people. Personally, for me, I already eat mostly whole-foods based so enjoying some maple syrup or extra virgin coconut oil sometimes doesn’t phase me because I’ve researched their health benefits and I find them to be more healthful than other alternatives. But I think a lot of Americans should learn more about what they’re really eating, focus more on eating whole foods, and choose more natural sources of sugar and fat, but still eat processed things on occasion if that’s what keeps them healthy and happy! And I’m glad you and your family have seen benefits from eating this way–I wish I could get my family on board with it!

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