Birthday Week is a Thing

Can’t believe it’s been almost one year since I wrote this post. I was looking forward to my 21st birthday even more than usual, and no, it’s not because I couldn’t wait to drink legally. To be honest, I could probably count on both hands the number of drinks I’ve had since then! I have nothing against drinking, I’m just picky about my drinks (love sangria and white wine and mojitos my mom makes) and I just don’t care to do it often…it’s more of a special occasion thing for me.

Anyways, a year has come and gone and again it’s time for my birthday. The big 2-2. I might be even more excited for this one, because I will finally feel like more of an adult. I’m literally the youngest person at work, and being 22 will mean I at least seem as old as some of my similar age co-workers. And also because it’s my first birthday being away from home. I’ve always loved having a summer birthday, because it meant never having to go to school on my special day and usually getting to do something fun (and outside!) with my family. This year, my family is making the 10+ hour drive to come visit me for my birthday weekend so it feels really special.

Artsy selfies by the pool...totally necessary.

Artsy selfies by the pool…totally necessary.

So it’s officially birthday week, and how am I celebrating? I plan on doing a little something for myself every day this week. Tomorrow I’m probably going to try this new-to-me cafe and get a gluten free vegan crepe. Wednesday and Thursday I have work but after I get off on Thursday I’m going to my favorite juice cafe to get an overpriced fresh-pressed juice.  I want to get the Whole Foods salad bar sometime this week. Of course, I’m hoping to get a couple runs in there because a good run makes everything feel better. And pool time will be necessary. My fam gets here Thursday night and from there birthday week really gets going.

An early little treat.  Mostly because it cost $5.

An early little treat. Mostly because it cost $5.

So that’s life for me right now. I will hopefully be back with a birthday weekend recap next week but in the meantime, I’m stepping away from blogging and social media to just soak in the next few days. See ya later!

Do you celebrate your birthday week? 

 

Advertisements

Currently: July

Wow. That’s all I can say about the responses I got to my last post. I was touched by every single word you guys shared with me and I’m seriously blown away by just how many views it got. It reminds me that being open and honest really pays off, so thanks for every comment, tweet and repost!

Now onto something a little more fun. I haven’t done a ‘Currently’ post very much in the last few months so I thought it was time for an insight into my life at the moment.

Current Book: Does People StyleWatch count? I’m not much of a book reader, but I can pore over fashion magazines. This one’s especially fun because it features celebs and is a little more reasonable than, say, Vogue.

I'm excited to read the latest issue.

I’m excited to read the latest issue.

Current Music: I’ve been loving this brand new song by a new-to-me group, The Griswolds. It’s a fun, summer-y tune.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Spending so much damn $$$ on groceries. Gah. I thought I was getting good at budgeting. The past three weeks, I’ve spent around $100 for a week of groceries. Even this week, when I thought I didn’t have any big purchases (like protein powder) I still spent a ton. I guess those organic figs, stevia chocolate chips and raw cashew clusters add up! I’d like to keep my bill around $80 next week though.

I'm not giving up my produce to save some $$$.

I’m not giving up my produce to save some $$$.

Current Nail Color: Still Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Hot Tamale. I did just score a fun blue sparkly polish from Target for under $2…I live by the cheap-o Sally Hansen polishes because they work just as well as OPI but for a fraction of the price.

Current Needs: I need to find a restaurant for my birthday dinner. It’s a week from this coming Sunday (!!!) and I just happened to stumble upon some menus for some very veg-friendly places here, but for whatever reason, none of them are open on Sundays for dinner. And I’m not sure I can convince my family to make an almost 2 hour drive to OKC for some vegan Mexican food (there’s apparently a very good all-veg Mexican place there).

Current Drink: Other than the usual ice cold water, I finally caved and invested in Chameleon cold brew concentrate. Holy yum, this stuff is good and it should actually save me money on Starbucks trips. I only ever get iced coffees, so this stuff is perfect.

Sorry Starbies, you've been replaced!

Sorry Starbies, you’ve been replaced!

Current Food: I finally got my fix of the Whole Foods salad bar after going at least a month without it. I went to the WF a little farther from home and they had the most killer selection of stuff. It was one of my favorite salad bar boxes to date. And actually cheap — only $6!

The key to having a cheap WF salad bar box is using lettuce from home and loading the box with only the best.

The key to having a cheap WF salad bar box is using lettuce from home and loading the box with only the best.

Current Obsession: My love for running (outside) is still going strong. I generally run 2 miles three to five days per week, but on Sunday, I managed to run 3 full miles! I still take walk breaks at the halfway point, but it really helps keep up my stamina on these days when it feels like 100 degrees out.

How can you not love running when you have this view? These colors are all-natural!

How can you not love running when you have this view? These colors are all-natural!

Current Triumph: Just having a much better body image. I guess writing my last post was really therapeutic for me, because I’m really seeing my body in a very different light than I used to…which is a good thing!

Current Bane of my Existence: This fly that’s been in my apartment for several days and somehow refuses to die. It’s also too quick to swat, so I’ve been just waiting for it to give up.

Current Indulgence: This amazing strawberry snow cone I picked up from Whole Foods on Friday. I haven’t had a snow cone in years, but when I heard WF was making some with locally-made syrups (also free of any processed crap) I knew I had to get one. And it was $2 and perfect for a super hot afternoon.

This was incredible!

This was incredible!

Current Excitement: My family is driving out to visit me for my birthday weekend! I haven’t seen them since April, which is the longest I’ve ever gone without being with my fam. It hasn’t been as hard of a transition as I thought it would be, but I still miss them, and my birthday would be weird without them. So thankfully, I have four days off around the big day in which to show them around my new city, drag them to all the veg-friendly restaurants I’ve been dying to try, go to a concert I’m extremely pumped for and just enjoy their presence. But…that also means getting my apartment ready for their arrival in just over a week. Not sure when that’s gonna happen!

Current Mood: So ready for my birthday!

Current Outfit: I’ve also been buying a lot of clothes lately (but trying to stay within my budget) and my outfit on Saturday incorporated a skirt I just bought from VS Pink. Yes, they have actual clothes there that are pretty cute!

I love mint and tribal, but they're even better together!

I love mint and tribal, but they’re even better together!

Current Link: What is Femme Anyway? This post actually ties in quite well with my last one — basically it’s how I personally define myself as a woman. Some might describe me as high-maintenance, but part of my personality is about caring very much about my appearance and I’m proud of that. And it really spoke to me when it talks about loving yourself, because that’s something I’m always working towards.

What are some of your currentlies? 

Fireworks, Food and Farmers Markets

I love long weekends! Especially in the summer — since I work full-time, it’s nice to have an extended break to enjoy the incredible weather and everything else the season has to offer.

My weekend is still going strong, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my favorite moments from the July 4th weekend. After I got off work on Thursday morning, I didn’t really have any solid plans for my time off, other than to get in my weekly trip to Whole Foods, spend some time by the pool and go for some runs. And I ended up doing all that and more…

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Lots of cold water is necessary after these hot runs I’ve been going on. One perk of having time off is I can go for a run earlier (like around 10 or 11) so it’s not quite as hot.

This is freaking adorable.

This is freaking adorable.

I love how Snapchat celebrates holidays — this was really cute and brightened up my morning (not that it was bad…how can it be when you have the day off?)

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

I haven’t been to the main mall here since Memorial Day weekend (who am I?) so I knew it was time to return. And I scored some pretty great deals. A cute top from Abercrombie & Fitch for $10? Unheard of, except for during holiday weekends. I’m a sucker for giant purses, so I went to ALDO for my fix. And I got a push-up bandeau bra from Victoria’s Secret because I love strapless styles but this girl needs some padding #ACupProblems. I spent around $50 for all this, which is cheaper than both the top and the purse alone were originally!

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I’ve seriously worn these shorts every July 4th since I got them a few years ago. I love them, and I had to take advantage of the fact that I wasn’t going to work, so I could wear weather-appropriate clothes.

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

My breakfast wasn’t totally patriotic, but the cherries made up for it. By Friday, I was seriously running low on food, especially produce, but I made it work. These were the last of some super cheap cherries I found at Sprouts 2 weeks ago and they were incredible!

As for my July 4th evening plans? No photo evidence because it was dark, but I drove to one of my coworkers’ homes to watch the fireworks from his place. He invited a few other people I knew from work, as well as more crazy TV people from other stations in town. It was fun to hang out for a couple hours, but the parking situation and traffic coming home was insane. It would have been an easy commute about 15 minutes up the street from me, but most of that road was blocked off and even when I was leaving around 10:45 (an hour after the fireworks wrapped up), I got caught in traffic jams on another street. Also, I had to park a couple blocks away from his house, which was fine, but walking back in the dark had me a little on edge, especially after some recent assaults across the city. But I made it safe, and my car wasn’t towed, so yay!

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

My July 4th dinner was totally ‘Merican, but with a healthier twist. I had a weird craving for potato salad (which I don’t even like), so I decided to whip up my own version using a sweet potato, coconut ‘bacon’ and a homemade mayo made with hemp seeds/water/olive oil/spices. It turned out incredible, so I’m sharing it!

Hemp Mayo Potato Salad (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small wedges (can use white potato if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic granules, to taste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum, to thicken
  • 2 tbsp coconut bacon (optional, but really good!)

Place cubed sweet potato in medium pot and pour water about an inch above them. Bring to a low boil; cover pot and lower heat and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until potato is fork tender (but not too soft). Drain water and set aside to cool. In a food processor, blend hemp hearts, water, salt, garlic and ACV. Add in xanthan gum if you want to thicken the mayo. Once potatoes are cool, pour mayo over them and stir in coconut bacon. Makes 1 serving. 

I'm obsessed with the farmers market.

I’m obsessed with the farmers market.

Saturday morning started early (well, if you think 8 am is early). But for good reason — I had plans to go to the farmers market! I usually only get to swing by after I get done with work, and by that time, most things are sold out. Getting to the market an hour earlier meant fewer crowds AND better selection. I got some organic potatoes, blackberries (!) and an incredible gluten free vegan cookie. I love supporting local farmers and restaurants and I hope to keep doing so throughout the season. And I WILL be back for more of those cookies 😉

Saturdays are for selfies.

Saturdays are for selfies.

No description needed…

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

And after the farmers market, it was on to Whole Foods! I made my weekly restock trip, and yes, it was more expensive than I planned on, but only because I needed to buy protein powder. I actually got a good deal on that — 2 pounds for $25, when it’s normally over $40! So my grocery trips for the rest of the month should be cheaper. Doesn’t it just feel so good to have a full pantry and fridge again though?

Picnic-style leftovers.

Picnic-style leftovers.

After restocking my kitchen, Saturday’s dinner was a repeat of Friday’s but this time with some watermelon and avocado oil potato chips. If you haven’t tried these, you may not want to…because they’re addicting. I usually prefer sweet potato chips, but these are still healthy because they’re cooked in avocado oil instead of unhealthy canola or sunflower oil and the only ingredients are potatoes, avocado oil and sea salt. And paired with some picnic-style sides (the above homemade potato salad and vegan firecracker coleslaw from Whole Foods) I totally fit in with all the other people enjoying traditional July 4th meals. Except, you know, vegan and gluten free!

That's hot!

That’s hot!

My run on Sunday felt hot, and now I know why! I went around noon, and while the breeze helped, I was still a sweaty mess afterwards. When I checked my phone later, I saw the heat index was 104 degrees! Luckily it wasn’t super humid, so I spent some time poolside both Saturday and Sunday. But check it — today is supposed to be 100 degrees, so who knows what the heat index will be!

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

I have my dad to thank for getting me into Dave Barry probably a good 10 years ago (that makes me feel old). If you’ve never read him, he’s freaking hilarious and you’re missing out. I enjoyed some of his work while chillin’ on my porch waiting to Skype my parents. Best way to end my Sunday!

Is it any wonder July is my favorite month? The 4th is one of my favorite holidays (#historynerd), it feels like the essence of summer and my birthday is at the end of the month. And this year, I’m really looking forward to that. My family is driving out here for a few days and I can’t wait to be with them again after nearly 4 months without seeing them and to show them around! T-minus 20 days til the big day…

How did you enjoy your weekend? 

Week through my iPhone: Part II

Well, it’s been almost a week since I last posted, whoops! I have some time off coming up so maybe another post will make it in there somewhere. I can’t make any promises though. I love being busy though — it makes time fly (which is sometimes good, sometimes bad…like when my weekend ends too soon).

I freaking love the heat. But the humidity, not so much.

I freaking love the heat. But the humidity, not so much.

It hasn’t technically hit 100 degrees here yet, but the heat index has been in the 100s on some days. I only hate it when I’m trying to push through a run or when it messes up my hair. Humidity+me = super sweaty hot mess. Is it any wonder I want to move to the desert?

Aforementioned sweaty selfie.

Aforementioned sweaty selfie.

Running has been going well. Still running between 2 and 3 miles, but trying to run almost every single day, even if it’s just a mile on the treadmill mixed with walking. I ran in the drizzle one day last week, and it was the best. I was basically alone out on the trail, and it wasn’t too hot. The above picture was from a very sunny, 90+ degree run.

Figs+coconut butter. Just do it.

Figs+coconut butter. Just do it.

I’ve been shelling over $5 for figs on the reg at Whole Foods and I’m not mad about it. Especially not since I discovered the best flavor combo ever — figs and coconut butter. The coconut butter formed a little shell on this fresh-from-the-fridge-fig and it was so creamy. Why do I have such expensive tastes? At least I never eat out!

 

A sense of my immature humor at work.

A sense of my immature humor at work.

Work is…work. Some days I wake up at 2 am ready to hit it and other times I think “I wish I could lay in bed forever”. But having little moments like this makes it better. Some videos on the NBC feed are really…weird? Yeah, I think I’ll pass on running a package about overactive bladders in my newscast, thanks.

Nautical AND nerdy.

Nautical AND nerdy.

And I’m trying to find work-appropriate things that work in the summer. The station is air-conditioned, so that means cardigans are a must (and I can’t get away with tanks anyway). I also got called out for wearing a dress that was ‘too short’ so I’ve been more cautious ever since. The dress code is casual, but apparently a dress that is more than an inch or two above the knees is not okay (but basketball shorts and a T-shirt are?).

My baby is almost at 100K.

My baby is almost at 100K.

It’s official — Alejandro is getting old. Okay, he’s only 5 years old, but he’s almost 100 K miles. Whattttt? He’s seen me through two years of college and now my new adventure in Tulsa…maybe another move on the horizon in a year? I just hope he holds out that long — Hyundais are pretty reliable!

 

The best chocolate in the world.

The best chocolate in the world.

On my last trip to Whole Foods, I was upset when I walked through the baking aisle and my beloved stevia-sweetened chocolate chips were nowhere to be found (aka sold out). I basically live off those things, so I was devastated. But when I finally spotted the new flavor of my favorite chocolate bar brand I decided to buy two bars. Well, I should have bought more because this stuff is incredible. It tastes exactly like chocolate-covered espresso beans but it just has three ingredients — cacao, fair trade coffee, and cane sugar.

 

I can't tell you how much I love these new glasses.

I can’t tell you how much I love these new glasses.

I generally wear contacts because it’s just easier (especially when I’m running) and I’m lucky that my eyes can tolerate them, but sometimes you just gotta wear glasses. Or in my case, you use them as a fashion statement. I’ve been lusting after hipster glasses for years, and finally got some (real ones) of my own. These were $50, lenses and all, because I took advantage of a first pair free deal on Coastal.com. They arrived in my mailbox within just a couple days and they’re basically perfect. No, I promise I wasn’t asked to write a glowing review (or any review, period), I just really loved my first experience with Coastal.

Random bowl of deliciousness, coming right up!

Random bowl of deliciousness, coming right up!

More randomness thrown in a bowl and called a meal. This was my favorite homemade sweet potato hash with added in spinach, hemp tofu, cauliflower and topped with homemade hummus, coconut ‘bacon’, sprouted salted nut mix and spicy peppers. Colorful, balanced and oh so tasty. And easy. I haven’t been in the mood (or had the time) to make anything complicated and that’s fine with me.

What’s been going on in your life lately? 

Keep It Simple

I feel like I haven’t posted a recipe on here forever! I could blame it on my crazy work schedule (which is true), or the hot temperatures which have kept me far from the oven, but really, it’s just because I’ve been embracing simple foods lately.

My work meals are easy to throw together — Sunwarrior chia puddings+toppings (raisins, stevia chocolate chips, raw nuts), Kit’s Organic bars, fresh fruit, flax crackers, carrots+homemade hummus. Basically anything I can eat at my desk while writing stories for 8 hours. When I get home, I get my workout in and then throw something together for ‘dinner’ (if you can count a meal eaten at 4 pm as dinner…that’s life when you work early mornings). No more elaborate recipes requiring special ingredients. It’s all about things I can make from my pantry staples and put together in 10 minutes or less.

Keepin' it simple at the farmer's market. Locally-grown mini zucchinis and local-made smoked hummus.

Keepin’ it simple at the farmer’s market. Locally-grown mini zucchinis and local-made smoked hummus.

So what have I been eating?

Sweet potato hash.

Sweet potato hash.

Sweet potato hash. Aka heaven in a bowl. Basically I take a sweet potato, peel it, and then chop it up into fine chunks in my Ninja, and blend it with spices (pink salt, nooch, garlic, cayenne). And then I dump it into a pan heated up with a a little coconut oil, add in some spinach and hemp ‘tofu’ when I have it and let it cook up til it’s crispy. And then I top with hummus (either local from the farmer’s market or homemade) and raw nuts and seeds.

Pan-roasted cole slaw (cabbage and carrots) with kelp noodles, spices, hemp seeds and smoked hummus.

Pan-roasted cole slaw (cabbage and carrots) with kelp noodles, spices, hemp seeds and smoked hummus.

Pan-roasted veggies. The spices are really what makes these so craveable. I’ve done it with both cauliflower and cabbage, and both are really good. My go-to spices are pink sea salt, garlic granules, cayenne powder and nutritional yeast. And I just cook the crap out of the veggies over a pan on the stove, because ovens are overrated and I love having a gas range that heats up in seconds.

It's gotta be greeeeeeen.

It’s gotta be greeeeeeen.

Banana softserve. Some days, I really wanted a cold dinner that was more on the sweet side. Enter banana softserve. I think you all know how this works, but I blend a frozen banana with greens (spinach or romaine), some Sunwarrior protein powder and a little almond milk. And then I serve with raw nuts and dried fruit on the side.

Snack plates. When all else fails, and I’m feeling like eating a bunch of random stuff, I go for the snack plates. While my combinations vary, I always include…A) a veggie (usually romaine hearts drizzled with spicy mustard or carrots), B) fruit (berries or watermelon), C) hummus or salsa, D) raw nuts or seeds, E) dried fruit/stevia chocolate chips.

I used to be so concerned about getting tons of variety in my diet, but now I honestly just go with the flow and eat what I crave. It’s so freeing, and it makes for easier grocery shopping trips. I literally buy about 20 or so of the same things every single week, with a few changes here and there. And of course, I still get plenty of variety in the produce I eat…and I’ve been a produce monster this summer so far! I spend about half of my grocery budget on fruits and veggies and I can’t get enough.

Giant produce haul (mostly organic) from Whole Foods.

Giant produce haul (mostly organic) from Whole Foods.

What have you been eating lately?

Week through my iPhone

Ever notice how everyone always apologizes for ‘crappy’ iPhone photos? Ummmmm, crappy? Maybe it’s just because I came from an Android with a lame camera, but I love the iPhone 5 camera. Sure, it’s not like a DSLR but it takes gorgeous photos for a smartphone and who wants to drag around a huge camera everywhere? I know I take a lot more photos now that I have a nice phone.

So here’s some highlights of my past week, as seen through my iPhone lens.

My work outfit on Saturday. I love the pink+brown combo.

My work outfit on Saturday. I love the pink+brown combo.

I’m getting back into taking outfit selfies when I’m wearing something I feel cute in. This was my work outfit on Saturday and I only regretted it when I stopped by the farmer’s market after work and it started pouring. Sheer shirts+rain don’t exactly mix.

Homemade sweet potato hash.

Homemade sweet potato hash.

I don’t have time for elaborate meals anymore, so my “dinners” are usually thrown together things like snackplates or this sweet potato hash. This tastes incredible, but is really simple. I take a sweet potato, remove the skin, chop it up small in a food processor and blend it with sea salt, garlic powder, nooch and cayenne pepper. Then I throw it in a pan with coconut oil, spinach and hemp ‘tofu’. Then I toss it in a bowl and serve it with raw seeds and local hummus. I don’t even know how it’s so good, but it is.

Sweaty selfie after running my first 5K.

Sweaty selfie after running my first 5K.

I haven’t talked about it much yet, but I’ve started running in the past month. I just love living so close to an awesome running trail right by the river. I’ve been doing a walk-run approach because I’m still working up to running consistently, but I love it. My Achilles’ was also injured for about a week but buying actual running shoes has helped. I ran my first unofficial 5K on Monday and I’m so excited for my running future. I can finally run about 10-12 minutes at a time with no walking breaks!

My huge produce haul from Whole Foods.

My huge produce haul from Whole Foods.

In the summer I spend SO much on produce. Like, this was literally half of what I spent at Whole Foods this weekend. I’m basically obsessed with watermelon, fresh berries, lettuce and cauliflower at the moment. All devoured straight from the fridge. That yellow ball up front is a new melon I spotted called a Fonzy melon. It’s really soft and sweet, like a subtle cross between honey and vanilla.

I have a thing for jumpsuits now.

I have a thing for jumpsuits now.

I’m getting more adventurous with my fashion choices and I don’t hate it. I never thought I could pull off a jumpsuit, but it helps that I found one that doesn’t drown me and has some cute ruffly details to add some interest. The fact that this was $13 at American Eagle is even better. Now I want #allthejumpsuits.

This deliciousness was consumed within 15 minutes.

This deliciousness was consumed within 15 minutes.

I stopped at a cute little juice bar near the outdoor shopping center where I got my jumpsuit. I’ve been dying for some fresh juice/smoothies since it’s been so hot and humid here. I got the “Summer Love”, which has blueberries, grapes, pineapple, peaches, dates, vanilla, chia seeds and coconut water. Basically all of my favorite things. It was kind of a cross between a fresh-pressed juice and a smoothie with a thicker texture and I loved it. I can see myself making more stops here in the future. The fact that it’s less than a 10 minute drive from work sweetens the deal.

What’s been going on in your life lately?

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’?