New in Review: Fear Foods

I know some people don’t like the term ‘fear foods’. I know we shouldn’t be giving food so much power and control over our lives. But for me, fear foods are just that  — foods I’m still scared of in one way or another, but when I use them to challenge myself, I can take away some of that power.

The thing about my particular list of fear foods is that it’s changed a lot over the years. During the worst of my initial round of ED, I was scared to death of anything with fat in it. I subsisted on black beans, white rice and sugar-free Jell-O. At the beginning of my recovery, there were times that I feared almost any food my parents had me eat, since it took away my control. I remember throwing an apple across the room in anger. It shocks me now that I could be scared of an apple. Other foods have come and gone on my list. I still have fear foods to this day. Today, it’s mostly things I’ve deemed less than ‘clean’. Any added sugar, products with added oils other than coconut or olive oil, preservatives and the biggie for me, gluten and most grains. I eat gluten free not because I’ve been diagnosed with celiac or because I feel better without gluten (though generally I do) but because it’s become a fear of mine.

So for this edition of New in Review, I’m tackling a few fear foods. I can’t promise to take on the biggies but I did try some new-to-me things that still scare me to the point that it took me a few days after buying them to bite the bullet and just eat them.

  • Califia Farms Watermelon Ginger Lime Agua Fresca
Mmm, watermelon.

Mmm, watermelon.

After posting about this a few weeks ago, I honestly thought I’d never get the chance to try it out. But the Whole Foods here is pretty good about stocking new products. So when I spotted this, I knew I had to try it. Of course, I scanned the ingredient list and my heart sank a little when I saw cane sugar on the label. I guess I figured it was 100% fruit juice. Sadly, no, but luckily sugar is 4th on the short ingredient list.

Enough about my clean eating rant. I know you all want to know about the taste. It’s basically like eating a ripe, ice cold watermelon. There’s a little hint of ginger and lime, but the watermelon is the big star. And it’s definitely sweet, so I like to mix just a bit of it with water and shake it up with ice.

Pros: tasty, simple ingredients

Cons: added sugar

  • O’Dough’s Bagel Thins (sprouted whole grain flax)
Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein 'frosting' and berries.

Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein ‘frosting’ and berries.

Let me just start out by saying bagels are one of my biggest fear foods. I think the last time I ate a legit bagel was during my freshman year of college. I used to occasionally go to the bagel place in the student center and order a plain blueberry bagel, and eat half of it. I was still terrified of bagels then, but not nearly as much as I am now.

When I saw these at Sprouts, I knew I couldn’t pass them up. First of all, they’re gluten free AND vegan. It’s hard to find bread products that are both. Most have egg in them or other questionable ingredients. These are pretty standard, and healthy. And second of all, they’re bagel thins. I know I wouldn’t be able to get myself to eat a full-size bagel, but getting bagel thins means I can eat a whole bagel in one sitting. Disclaimer: it still took me three days from when I bought them to actually try them. So…the fear is still there.

As for the actual product, I’m on the fence. It toasted up well and is doughy without being overwhelming or too chewy. But the taste is off. For some reason, it has a slight fishy smell and taste, maybe from the flax, but I’m not really sensitive to the flavor of flax. It tastes fine when it’s topped with something, but I don’t think I’d buy these again because of that.

Pros: gluten free and vegan, 100 calories per whole bagel

Cons: weird flavor, they’re made with soy flour (I generally avoid soy) and have a little added sugar

  • The Gluten Free Bistro pizza crust
I love me some (gluten free, vegan) pizza.

I love me some (gluten free, vegan, homemade) pizza.

I already loved TGFB products before I tried this one. I’ve used their frozen dough to make pizza crust and cinnamon rolls, and it’s got a great texture and flavor. But I’d never seen their pre-made crust until a few weeks ago. This is yet another Whole Foods find, but if you check their website, they do sell them at other natural foods stores, and apparently some pizza places use their crust.

I’m a total pizza snob. You wouldn’t think a clean eating vegan would love pizza, right? Well, in my case, you’d be wrong. I skip the Daiya and other fake cheeses in favor of plenty of fresh veggie toppings. And when possible, I go for gluten free crust. TGFB’s crust is definitely the healthiest GF+vegan crust ever. It’s made of a mix of 4 GF flours (brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat and coconut) which adds a nice hearty flavor, tapioca starch, unsweetened applesauce, yeast, sugar (just to activate the yeast), xanthan gum, olive oil and garlic salt. No eggs or weird stabilizers needed!

The taste and texture are the best too. I much prefer thin crusts, and this one is thin while still being doughy and soft. It tastes a bit like sourdough, but it blends well with all toppings. And it reheats well the next day in the oven!

Pros: minimal ingredients, whole grain and gluten free, tastes incredible

Cons: a little expensive for just a crust

As for how I’m tackling these fear foods, the verdict is mixed. I used the pizza crust this weekend and got three solid dinners out of it. The juice I bought two weeks ago, and I’ve gotten about 1/4 of the way through it. And I’ve eaten one bagel thin so far…hopefully I can get myself to finish the rest. Luckily, they’re frozen so I don’t have to worry about them going bad before I can finish them. But I’d prefer not to toss them out  — I’ve already done that with far too many things in the past!

Do you have any ‘fear foods’? 

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My Food Biography

The credit for this post goes to the lovely Kaila, who always has the most creative post ideas! She shared her food biography recently, and it inspired me to think back about what meals have become memorable over the years. I’m going to be sharing 10, but I thought of a lot more!

You can read more about the idea behind a food biography here, but I think it’s a really cool idea. Food is such an important part of our lives, from the social aspect of it to the fact that it’s necessary to sustain life. For me, my food biography isn’t necessarily my favorite foods, since those change all the time, but rather is the foods I most associate with certain memories.

  • Einstein Bros. bagels with cream cheese (specifically the asiago and chocolate chip flavors)

Growing up, on some Saturday mornings my dad would wake up early and grab us bagels from Einstein Bros. Getting to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of the usual cold cereal was such a treat. I remember leisurely mornings around the table with my family, newspaper spread out (we’re big newspaper readers!) and enjoying either a chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese or an asiago bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. They had the best ‘shmear’ flavors and paired with the doughy bagel, it was just bliss. I haven’t had a bagel in years (major fear food) but I remember this special childhood treat.

  • Soy chocolate gelato at Gelazzi
One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi--the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi–the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

When I first tried gelato (sometime in early HS) I was hooked. Even when froyo became a big thing a few years later, I stuck with gelato. We had one or two local places, but when I went on a college tour of the college I ended up going to, my dad and I just had to try Gelazzi, the gelato place in that town. I remember ordering the soy chocolate gelato and absolutely falling in love. That moment is significant for me because at the time of my college visit, I had recently started recovering from anorexia. I still feared most foods, and going out to eat was really hard for me. The fact that I could order gelato, a dessert, and enjoy it was huge. Since that first experience, me and my family have returned many times to Gelazzi and I’m sad that I can’t go there anymore since I moved away. P.S. Gelato is the reason why I’m only 99% vegan!

  • Teriyaki steak on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, my mom made teriyaki steak for dinner. Basically it was flank steak marinated in a teriyaki sauce with lots of green onions. There was a brief time during my childhood that I was obsessed with steak (as long as it was well-done) and I always looked forward to this dinner. Even though I don’t eat steak anymore and I don’t plan on it ever, this meal just reminds me of Christmas Eve–going to church with my family, coming home and enjoying this meal, and then reading Christmas stories before going to bed early.

I’m so thankful my dad took the time to cook meals with me when I started getting interested in cooking. We’ve cooked together many times, but this one sticks out to me in particular. I’ve actually since made vegan eggplant muffulettas with him as well! I remember going to the store and picking out fancy olives and good bread and then coming home and making the sandwiches on the panini press. I enjoyed picking out a recipe with him, getting a little cooking lesson and then getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

  • Chili lime pasta

Another mom-made meal that I became obsessed with. When a Williams-Sonoma came to our city, my mom would always take me there to browse all the cool kitchen stuff. One time she found this chili-lime seasoning, thought it sounded good, and bought it. She used it on grilled chicken I think, but what I remember most was her chili-lime pasta. Basically it was a sauce made of olive oil and the seasoning with grilled shrimp, grilled peppers and pasta all tossed together. It was really simple but totally delicious and satisfying.

  • Snack plates
So much good stuff.

So much good stuff.

I still enjoy these to this day, but I was first introduced to them when my family would go camping. We camped a lot during the summers (something I really miss) and on Saturday (and Sunday if it was a 3 day weekend) we would always have snack plates for lunch. I always called it ‘feast’ because it really was–we would have stuff like crackers, veggies, cheese, summer sausage and fruit–and just enjoy a random sampling of it for lunch. Now I always crave a bunch of different flavors, so I still love snack plates for snacks and meals.

  • Root beer popsicles 

Popsicles were my jam in the summers growing up! I always ate the Popsicle brand, since it had the best flavors. Anybody else remember those firecracker pops? Now they have a whole bunch of crazy varieties like Jolly Rancher and Yosicles but when I was a kid, there were just the classics. And my favorite was by far the root beer one that came in the variety pack with banana and lemon lime. I remember the jokes written on the popsicle stick and eating them out on the porch with my little sister on hot days.

  • Jelly Bellies on Christmas

Another Christmas tradition in my family was Jelly Bellies. So random! But one year for whatever reason, we bought Jelly Bellies as a stocking stuffer and the idea stuck. I remember going to Target with my dad and sister a week before Christmas and filling our bags from the different flavored bins. And then my sister and I would tear into our bags on Christmas morning and eat Jelly Bellies before breakfast 😛 They were one of my favorite candies, and I was obsessed with certain flavors, like the strawberry cheesecake and orange creamsicle.

  • Mini cereal boxes

This was another camping staple. My family has always been a cold-cereal-for-breakfast bunch, and when we went camping, that didn’t change. But my mom would give in and let us have those fun, sugary kids cereals (we normally ate healthier cereals like Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats). My sister and I would fight over the Lucky Charms and the Cocoa Puffs and the Trix and leave the boring Honey Smacks and Corn Pops to our parents 😉

  • Hummus pizza at Poppy’s
So. Good.

So. Good.

After our camping days came to an end, we made an annual trip to Estes Park for a week spent in a cabin–by a pool, in the mountains, hiking and of course, enjoying the local restaurants. Estes Park is one of my favorite places in the entire world–I’m going to miss going there every summer but I hope I can eventually make it back there more regularly. Anyways, on our first night, we’d always go out to eat at Poppy’s, a pizza place by the river. We always sat outside, listening to the sounds of the river and live music. When I was younger, I’d get weird pizzas with shrimp and green olives (seriously, they had so many topping options) and then for a year or two during the height of my ED, I ordered a plain grilled chicken sandwich because I was scared of pizza, but after that time, my go-to order was the hummus pizza, which happened to be vegan (even before I was vegan). The dough was perfectly soft and chewy and the right thickness. The hummus was homemade and super creamy. The olives and the sundried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts and the spinach were matched perfectly and made it the best pizza I’ve ever had. Last summer when we were in Estes, I tried to order it and they said they’d gotten rid of it 😦 So unfortunately, the pizza legend does not live on. But I still remember how good it was, and how much I enjoyed just being in that beautiful place.

What foods would be in your ‘food biography’?

Adventures In Raw: How Anyone Can Eat More Raw

As I’ve been mentioning in my posts all week, I’ve been wanting to talk about how easy eating raw is and how anyone can do it. Now, eating high raw or 100% raw is quite an undertaking and involves a lot of planning and dietary changes for the average person, but you don’t have to eat fully raw to reap the benefits of raw food!

  • Add in more fresh fruits and veggies

I know some people can’t handle certain veggies raw, and that’s okay. But many veggies are more nutritious when eaten in their raw state, and personally, I think most taste better raw. I’m obsessed with raw cauliflower and I prefer eating my greens and carrots fresh. Even things like sweet potatoes can be eaten raw (if dehydrated) and you’ll definitely be getting more nutrients out of them when they’re fresh. As for fruits, it’s even easier to go raw! And while you’re at it, why not try some new fruits and veggies when you’re making a grocery list? You’ll never know what you may love if you don’t try it.

This should be the basis of everyone's diet--fresh produce!

This should be the basis of everyone’s diet–fresh produce!

  • Sprout and soak your grains and legumes

Beans and grains can be hard for some people to digest, and for good reason. They contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause lots of problems in your body. No wonder the paleo people are so against grains and legumes! But you don’t need to give them up…just follow in the footsteps of traditional cultures who always soak and sprout their grains and beans. Soaking and fermenting not only eliminate the issues with these foods, but they also unlock the nutritional properties of them, so you get more bang for your buck. Take some time to prepare these foods properly, and your body will thank you…and so will your wallet, because buying dried beans and grains is cheaper than buying them canned or pre-packaged.

If you eat wheat, and love bread, make the switch to sprouted grain products like Ezekiel. Their breads are different than most, since they’re made from whole sprouted grains instead of nutrient-poor flour. I don’t eat this anymore since it’s not raw, but it’s a good transitional product!

I miss these sprouted sunflower seeds...so good!

I miss these sprouted sunflower seeds…so good!

  • Buy from the bulk section.

I love getting my dried fruit and nuts from the bulk section at Whole Foods because then I can buy only what I need. Whole Foods in particular has a great selection of raw nuts, sun-dried fruits and even things like raw granola so it’s perfect for the raw foodie. Some of my favorites from this section include Medjool dates, hemp hearts, Living Intentions sprouted sunflower seeds and greens, raw mixed nuts, rawpumpkin seeds and Turkish figs.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you’re striving to be high raw, like I am, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be ‘perfect’. The thing is, it’s okay to eat cooked foods if that’s what your body (or mind) wants. If you stick to plant-based meals, there’s no reason to feel guilty. Just remind yourself that you chose this lifestyle for a reason, because it’s so nourishing and healthful, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat ‘perfectly’ all the time. In fact, I’m going out to eat with my parents tonight for Valentine’s Day (hot date, right 😉 ), and while I would rather stay in and make one of my delicious raw meals, I’m going to enjoy a cooked meal tonight and then get back on track with my regular lifestyle!

I might be eating a cheeseless vegan pizza like this and even though I'd rather eat a raw dinner, I'll still enjoy myself.

I might be eating an artisan, organic cheeseless vegan pizza like this and even though I’d rather eat a raw dinner, I’ll still enjoy myself.

What’s something you prefer to eat raw instead of cooked?

Insta-January

We’re already over a month into 2014–craziness! Just over a month post-graduation, and I’m still trying to figure things out. Ah, such is the life of a (currently) unemployed 20-something.

I wanted to start a new kind of post as a way to look back on the previous month, and with my love for Instagram, what better way to do that than through the filter of my Insta account?

New-to-me Uber bar flavors, scored for $1 at Target.

New-to-me Uber bar flavors, scored for $1 at Target. #funfoodiefinds

Clothes shopping makes me happy...and shopping the sales makes my wallet happy.

Clothes shopping makes me happy…and shopping the sales makes my wallet happy. #shopsmart

Homemade grain free pizza  >>> delivery. Quick, vegan, healthy and tasty makes this a winner.

Homemade grain free pizza >>> delivery. Quick, vegan, healthy and tasty makes this a winner. #nograinsnoproblem

Dawwww it's little blonde baby me! #TBT

Dawwww it’s little blonde baby me! #babypictures

 

Banana softserve all day errry day! Blended with PlantFusion for a protein boost and topped with PB+stevia chocolate chips to make it dessert-worthy. #heaveninabowl

Banana softserve all day errry day! Blended with PlantFusion for a protein boost and topped with PB+stevia chocolate chips to make it dessert-worthy. #heaveninabowl

Iced coffee in January? Why not? #bejealous

Iced coffee in January? Why not? #bejealous

Where do I get my protein? From this delicious bowl, of course. #proteinpacked

Where do I get my protein? From this delicious bowl, of course. #proteinpacked

Snow is the bane of my existence...but it is really pretty. #ohtheweatheroutsideisfrightful

Snow is the bane of my existence…but it is really pretty. #ohtheweatheroutsideisfrightful

What were some of your favorite moments (Instagrammed or not) from January?

Currently: January

I’m writing this post from my tablet since my laptop decided to freak out on me and not turn on. All I gotta say is, thank God this didn’t happen last year when I had to write papers and I’m also glad I got a bluetooth keyboard for Christmas. It makes post-writing on a tablet a little easier!

Current Book: Ha, me read books? When I’m not in school anymore? I’ve been taking a much-needed hiatus from all books since finals week but maybe in a few months I’ll relearn how to read for pleasure!

Current Music: I’m back on the alt music train after Christmas. I’m really loving Tennis Court by Lorde. Yes, I know everyone’s still gaga over Royals, but lets be honest, that song came out on Alt Nation last summer and was only recently picked up by the masses. I prefer some of her lesser known songs.

Current Guilty Pleasure: So Delicious brand no sugar added chocolate coconut-milk ice cream. I know, I know, who says sugar free ice cream is a ”guilty pleasure”? Honestly, it’s not really other than the fact that it costs $6/pint at Whole Foods and is sweetened with erythritol (which is better than most fake sweeteeners). Really though, it tastes like the fudgsicles from my childhood and who wouldn’t want that?

Current Nail Color: Actually not the color I’m wearing now (that would be Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific blue) but before this, they were an OPI red covered with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear gold glitter.

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Perfect for Christmas!

Current Drink: Waterrrrr. How boring can I get?

Current Food: Homemade PB&J and protein raisinet (raisins+chocolate protein powder+cocoa powder) balls, grain free vegan pizza, romain lettuce+dates, raw jalapeno sunflower seeds from bulk bins at Whole Foods, eggplant, peanut butter+melted coconut oil.

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This is way better than delivery!

Current TV Show: The Newsroom, as usual. My dad and I only have one more episode of the 1st season left on Netflix 😦 Then we have to wait awhile til season 2 comes out on DVD.

Current Celebrity Crush: Mila Kunis. She looked stunning at the Golden Globes (when does she not?) and she’s always an amazing actress, whether in funny movies like Ted or more serious ones like Black Swan. Plus I love her voice–it makes me feel less self-conscious for havng a low(er) voice.

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So gorg!

Current Wishlist: More blazers (I have a newfound obsession with work-appropriate AND cute clothes), more money left on my iTunes giftcard so I can buy more songs I’ve been wanting for awhile, for it to be spring already (I’m already sick of winter and we haven’t even gotten it that bad yet), for my doctor’s appointment next month to be helpful (there is probably some serious underlying issue that will explain my skin problems/digestive woes/lack of period for almost 9 months).

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I have an addiction...to clothes shopping!

Current Triumphs: Keeping up with applying to jobs (more on that below), trying to reconnect with my sister (we got in a huge fight last week and I’ve been trying to show her how much I care
about her, even if she doesn’t have time for me right now), working on feeling confident in myself in various ways.

Current Bane of Existence: Not hearing back yet from ANY of the jobs I’ve applied to. I know it’s only been a few weeks or even days for some of them (the first application was sent out on December 28) but I dunno, I was expecting to at least hear something, at least confirmation that the stations I applied to received my resume/cover letter. My dad said it may take a few MONTHS to even hear anything, which is discouraging. I’m going to keep plugging away though and applying to at least 3 TV stations each week. I’m just so impatient–I want a job NOW!

Current Outfit: This was actually from when I went shopping in Denver with my mom this past weekend. The sweater is new, from Christmas, and I love the slightly cropped length and lace detail. The jeggings are my new favorite, black, from American Eagle and scored for only $13!

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Monochromatic but still cute.

What are some of your currentlies?

WIAW: Fall Favorites

I’d like to get back into a more regular WIAW groove, but for now, doing it every once in awhile is working best for me! Check out the rest of the weekly party and let’s get into some of my latest favorites…

Homemade vegan chili fries...aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam 'fries' (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

Homemade vegan chili fries…aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam ‘fries’ (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

What’s fall without some chili? Unfortunately, the one pictured above wasn’t so great–I had dreams of making a chocolate chili like my favorite restaurant offers but my recipe skills (aka throwing things together and hoping it’ll work) didn’t work in my favor this time. It was edible, but not super flavorful. You win some, you lose some. It was pretty good as part of this chili fry creation–I’ve been loving on the homemade root veggie fries lately!

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

I’ve still been mourning the loss of my beloved summer fruits (and figs, which for some reason have been absent at my Whole Foods since early October…why?) but I’ve been drowning my sorrows in the jewel of the fruit world, also known as the pomegranate. These have still been a bit pricey as the season is just beginning, but I managed to score 4 organic poms at Sprouts the other week for $2.99 total! Quite a deal, considering one pomegranate is going for $2.99 at Whole Foods. These juicy little gems are definitely worth the work and the mess it requires to prepare them and they’re definitely my favorite fall/winter fruit.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Despite what I might portray on here, I am not a frequent drinker by any means. I have an adult beverage once or twice a month, and I always stick to one drink because this petite girl can’t handle any more than that! When my parents were up visiting this weekend, they took me to Luscious Nectar, this cool juice bar in Old Town that offers vegan tapas and cool alcoholic drinks all made in-house. I love that because then there’s no weird additives. I got an apple daiquiri, which was a frozen blended drink made with green apple liqueur, lime and rum. It was good but super strong–I got a ‘short’ which was apparently 10 ounces, and I was only able to drink half before I started feeling it. I would definitely come back to try some of their other drinks though–they had an awesome sounding pumpkin cocktail–and their vegan tapas sounded incredible (we had the chips and guac to share, which were decent).

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

I like experimenting with grain free recipes because I love the nutritional benefits of almond flour and coconut flour. Grain free recipes without eggs don’t always work though–but these bagels are an exception. They’re definitely not quite the same as regular doughy bagels but they have a similar chew and they’re a lot healthier. I adapted the recipe from here and they’re pretty straightforward and one of the few baked goods that actually turns out right for me. I have the worst luck with baking, because I usually make a ton of changes to recipes and I’m at a high altitude so everything’s different and nothing ever rises. These are definitely a recipe I recommend if you want to try making some healthier bagels. Oh, and they’re definitely a lot smaller than regular bagels–they’re more like mini bagels, but mini things are always cuter!

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

When I was home a few weekends ago, I went to the Whole Foods near my house and found these pre-packaged fry cut yams in the produce section. I love making homemade sweet potato fries, but cutting the sweet potatoes can be a pain, so I just had to get these to make fry-making a little easier. These worked so well for making fries and I wish the Whole Foods near school would stock these!

Natural Grocers mini haul.

Natural Grocers mini haul.

I’ve been doing so well lately with grocery budgeting. It’s been kind of a necessity, since I’ve been running low on funds and I’m gonna need a little help from my parents as the semester wraps up, but I’ve been consistently spending around $60 or less at Whole Foods each week. Who says it’s called Whole Paycheck? This week, I actually spent just over $66 for my entire week’s worth of groceries and that was shopping at 2 stores and buying a couple splurge-y items. I got a few things at Natural Grocers I’ve been dying to find, like the Silver Hills gluten free bread (the slices are small, but it’s the best GF bread I’ve ever had) and the black bean spaghetti (literally tastes like regular pasta, but grain free and 25 grams of protein PER serving!) and I also got a great deal on some persimmons that were actually ripe. I also have 2 persimmons chilling in my produce bowl that have been there for almost 2 weeks now and they’re still not ripe…what’s up with that?

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

When I was last home, my mom and I stopped at Live Basil when she was taking me back home. We’ve been there I think 3 or 4 times and it’s definitely our favorite pizza place–they have fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and make the pizza right in front of you. Nothing like that Pizza Hut crap at all! Anyways, I usually get a make-your-own option so I can get it with tons of veggies and no cheese, but this last time, I saw they had a vegan option right on the menu. It was topped with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes (ick, but I could deal), onions (which I swapped for Greek olives) and mushrooms…oh, and vegan cheese. I am NOT a fan of most vegan cheeses (other than cashew cheese) but I figured that since they had so many other quality ingredients, the cheese couldn’t be too bad, plus I was thrilled to finally be able to order straight off the menu so that’s what I got. Ummmm…big mistake! The rest of the pizza was great (even the tomatoes were alright) but the cheese was straight up nast. I’m not sure what kind they used, possibly Daiya since it was melty (and for the record, I’ve never had Daiya before) but it was tasteless and gooey and just gross. I tried to remove what I could, but it was so glue-y and goopy that I couldn’t really fix it. It definitely ruined the rest of the pizza for me, and reminded me that I just don’t like vegan cheese. Sorry not sorry, but cheeseless pizzas are where it’s at!

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

I’ve been embracing lentils lately…in the form of lentil flatbread! Basically what you do is blend dried lentils (I like red ones because they aren’t as strongly flavored) until the form a flour, and then add in water, ground flax, sea salt and spices. Then you pour it in a pan on the stove like you would with socca, and cook away. I love the nutty flavor and how it’s packed with protein and so easy to make. I made one for dinner the other night and topped it with some sweet toppings, and served it alongside some homemade carrot fries (not quite as good as sweet potato fries, but really tasty) and bread & butter pickles made fresh in my Whole Foods prepared section. It was the perfect quick dinner after my 3 hour evening class on Monday night!

What are some of your fall favorites?

On Fullness, Rest Days and Intuitive Eating

You might be thinking right now, “Wow, 3 super-taboo blog world topics in one post? This girl is cray.” I can’t necessarily dispute that last statement 😉 but as much as I think these issues have been discussed to death lately, I needed to provide my own views on the topics. Amanda had a great post on this last week and it really got me thinking about how bloggers put too much emphasis on what they’re putting into their mouths and how much they’re moving their bodies. Health is important of course, but not when it becomes obsessive.

So first, my thoughts on feeling full. I have to admit, I don’t have the best relationship with this feeling. I have always had a small stomach capacity, so I’ve never been able to eat much without feeling fuller sooner than others. I’ve mostly resolved this issue by eating 5-6 small meals every day and this works for me. But, I still experience very negative emotions when I do get full. Generally, I only feel truly full after meals out, since restaurant portions tend to be larger, and even if I don’t eat the full amount, it can still be overwhelming, no matter what it was I ‘filled up’ on. Let’s look at two examples from this weekend. On Thursday night, my family came up to my apartment because my sister had a college visit at a college nearby and they wanted to save money on a hotel. We went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants up here, and I had a delicious, individual-sized pizza with kale, garlic, figs and grilled onions on thin crust. I ate 4 out of 6 slices, along with a small orange cream vegan and gluten free cupcake following. After eating, I felt satiated but not too full. Usually, I would feel quite full for maybe half an hour, and feel some guilt over eating ‘that much’ but we ate fairly late and I hadn’t had much to eat in a few hours. However, the following day my mom and I got Qdoba for lunch. I had my usual, the naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and lots of guacamole. I ate most of the salad, and when we ran errands afterwards, I could sense that I was full, and it messed with my mind for most of the afternoon. Why was I feeling so full after basically just eating lettuce, beans and avocado? I felt guilty for eating most of my lunch, even though it was healthy and balanced.

The meal that made me feel more self-conscious about fullness.

The meal that made me feel more self-conscious about fullness.

Basically, I just have guilty feelings associated with being full, no matter what I got full from. I don’t think this is a healthy relationship to have–I’m not saying feeling full after every meal is necessarily good either, but it’s okay to feel full from a meal every once in awhile,  especially if you enjoyed it while eating. And some days, we just aren’t as hungry, and can get filled up from even little meals, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

I didn't get in any tennis this weekend, but I was ok with taking a rest day on Friday.

I didn’t get in any tennis this weekend, but I was ok with taking a rest day on Friday.

About rest days. I’m bad about taking them myself, but I absolutely believe they’re essential for everyone, from pro athletes to casual exercisers. Since I’ve been exercising regularly (for about the past 2 years), I’ve rarely gone a day without some form of a workout. There were a few days when I was out all day and didn’t get in a traditional workout, but I was on my feet all day running errands or shopping and I counted that as my workout, since it was pretty strenuous after a full day. But even on the days when I exercised a little less than the day before (usually because I was too busy), I freaked out. I would love to say I work out just for the good feeling it gives me, but that’s not entirely true. I also do it for the calorie burn, and because it makes me feel okay with eating. Sad, but true. But on Friday, I worked on my exercise guilt. Since my family was up here, and then we headed back to the Springs after my sister’s college visit, I couldn’t fit in a lifting session or even a quick ab workout. I wasn’t completely sedentary (my mom and I ran errands around town for an hour or so) but I didn’t do much other than that, and surprisingly, I was kinda ok with taking a rest day. Sure, I got right back into my routine on Saturday, but it helped me realize that a rest day here and there isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it might help with exercise burnout, and in preventing overuse injuries. I’m not sure if I’m ready to take a full rest day every week, but I’m hoping to get there soon.

Finally, onto intuitive eating. This one has been discussed so much lately, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here. But I do think it’s been misconstrued a lot. I think moving away from calorie/macro counting and measuring is a great thing (and something I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year) but not when it turns into something that isn’t intuitive at all…orthorexia. I know, because I’ve fallen into it myself. I’ve become more hyper-focused on the ingredients in the foods I’m eating, and it’s been obsessive at points. It might seem healthier than calorie counting, but it can be just as destructive. When people start saying they’re eating intuitively, yet still stick with ‘safe’ foods, that could be a red flag for orthorexia. When someone’s obsessed with clean ingredients to the point that they get anxious about eating foods they don’t know the ingredients for (I’m guilty as charged), it could be a sign of orthorexia. Intuitive eating isn’t about stuffing your face with cake or ignoring all healthy eating guidelines, but it isn’t about eating ‘clean’ 24/7. It’s about being flexible, sensing fullness, enjoying your food and not letting it rule your life. I feel like I was pretty good about eating intuitively this weekend. I had everything from fancy vegan pizza, to nori wraps, to Larabars, to a vegan gluten-free cupcake, lots of guac and roasted veggies to protein smoothies. I ate pretty balanced everyday, enjoyed all of my food, didn’t freak out too much when I felt a little fuller than usual and didn’t overthink my choices as usual. I know this is something I’ll still struggle with, but feeling more free is a great thing!

A healthy weekend option, balanced by vegan desserts and pizza!

A healthy weekend option, balanced by vegan desserts and pizza!

What are your thoughts on fullness, rest days and intuitive eating?