Monthly Archives: August 2012

Weird Dreaming: Time Travel, Trucks, and Tunnels

Alright here’s another update for the HappyLass Weird Dream Journal:

I find myself standing at a large intersection yelling across the street to my mom who is yelling into a sewer grate to my aunt who is apparently waiting down there for a train. This must be a very high-speed, walk-on-water, need-no-fuel kind of train because it will, I assume, take her home to Australia.Then, because she can’t hear me, she pops her head out of the manhole cover and yells that she loves me, and she’s off!

I guess my family had been traveling together but now, I’m transported a few days ahead and everyone is gone. I’m in a different city than anywhere I’ve ever been and I’m standing in the middle of about five people frantically planning in the last hour before a big party. I have a big crisis about what I’m going to wear. I don’t have anything nice in my tiny suitcase!

While I’m getting dressed in a semi-suitable but really cute dress (I actually own it in real life) I watch the party setter-uppers construct this really long, really awesome pedestrian bridge/tunnel across the yard. It goes from nowhere to nowhere. All of a sudden I hear a bunch of honking and, for some reason, one lane of traffic has been diverted through the party yard. Every car manages to dodge the various obstacles but a huge semi appears on the lawn and screeches to a halt. It fishtails straight into the tunnel! NO! Its ruined! How will we make everything look good before the party starts in the hour? I have a flash of happiness that I don’t have to worry about it because it’s not my party.

Then I hear music. Its our radio alarm clock.

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Yummy Breakfast in 10 minutes

This morning I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm. So instead of dawdling like I would normally, I made Mike and I a delicious “to-go” breakfast.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

3 potatoes, chopped to home fry size (this leaves enough for leftovers)

1/4 onion, chopped

handful of spinach

splash of milk (I used almond milk)

coconut oil (most other common cooking oil, including olive oil, turns rancid at high heat)

salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat pan with a little bit of coconut oil. Saute onion and spinach on medium heat until spinach is wilted. While that stuff is cooking, beat together eggs and milk. When spinach has wilted, add eggs, salt, and pepper. Scramble in pan until eggs are cooked. Put the eggs in a Tupperware and cover but don’t bother washing the pan yet (it’s a waste of water).

Heat pan again to high heat with approx. 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add chopped potatoes. Fry them in the pan until cooked just a little crunchy on the inside. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other spices you think would taste good (I learned to smell the food cooking then smell the spices; if the smells combine well, so will the spices). Add the mostly cooked potatoes to the Tupperware and cover. The moisture in the Tupperware will saturate the potatoes and make them soft when you’re ready to eat them.

It’s yummy to reheat but I try to avoid microwaves because they suck all the nutrients out of the food. So maybe just eat it at your desk when you get to work?

Hope you’re all having happy days!

Time for Design!

If you’ve checked out my “About Me” page, you know that health is not my only passion. I recently got my Masters in Architecture and I love anything to do with design. Building, furniture, walls, structural, ANYTHING! So when my boyfriend and I moved to our new apartment in Peoria, I was pretty stoked to decorate. Our only restrictions were that we couldn’t paint the walls and we had almost no money (which was a problem since we also had no furniture).

Over the last several weeks we’ve been scouring thrift stores, garage sales, and soliciting free stuff from friends and things are turning out pretty well. I’m also really proud of how creative I’ve gotten with a lot of the spaces we had to inhabit. So I’m gonna post every once in a while about design, maybe it will inspire some of you!

^We drove from Boston to Peoria on a budget so we had to sleep in the back of the car. I put down a foam mattress topper and it was surprisingly comfortable!

^We literally had NO living room furniture, aside from Mike’s giant new TV.

^ We picked up this awesome IKEA bed and mattress for $200 from a friend back in Boston. Then sold my old, ugly one on Craigslist for $220. Profit!

Stayed tuned on how all these rooms morphed over the last several weeks.

ps. Keep smiling! They’re contagious.

Some Inspiration

I’m back in Illinois! It’s so wonderful to be back with my man but I woke up this morning to a head full of jet lag, a computer full of work, and a desk full of bills. Also, my finances suffered greatly this month from me being away. I’m seriously struggling to find some inspiration so I turn to a great book my friend gave me as a graduation gift. Here is one of the quotes in it:

“Nothing has to happen for me to feel good.

I feel good because I’m alive [and healthy]!

Life is a gift, and I revel in it.”

-Tony Robbins

I’m just gonna keep that in my back pocket for the rest of the day. Maybe you should too?

Airport Eating

Today I am slowly making my way back to Peoria from San Diego. Yesterday we spent 8 hours in the car driving from Santa Cruz and today I will spend 11 hours on planes and in airports. Those of you that can’t afford flying direct everywhere you go will understand how time-consuming travel can be. I feel like I could have driven to Peoria faster!

Anyone that has traveled through airports knows how difficult it can be to make healthy eating decisions. Everything is either very unhealthy or very expensive. The other problem is that you never know when you will have the chance to eat again. What, if anything, will be offered on the plane? What if my flight is delayed and I don’t have time to check out eating options during my layover? I’m not particularly hungry now but what if I get ravenous  in the middle of my five airborne hours?

Here are some facts that we all know but don’t much think about when we’re stressed and getting ready to fly:

– there will ALWAYS be food available

–  you are going to be hungry during the flight but it may just be because you’re bored

– it may just be necessary to choose the lesser of the evils

I am a little ashamed to say that I completely forgot all of these rules this morning. I was in a big rush before I left the house so was forced to get breakfast to eat on the plane. Instead of grabbing a piece of fruit to stave off the hunger until my next layover, I chowed down a croissant with egg, cheese, and ham. On the plus side I felt like crap within ten minutes and remembered, as I have to every once in a while, that its better to be a little hungry than put that gluten, dairy, and processed meat into my system.

So I have forgiven myself for that little slip up and here are some tips for you (and me) to follow from here on out:

1. Try as hard as possible to pack some easy food in a Tupperware to bring on the plane. It can add bulk to your carry-on but it only gets smaller as your day goes on! Also, it’s so much cheaper. For example: chopped raw veggies, popcorn chips, raw nuts, a sandwich (I do Udi’s gluten-free bread with almond butter and natural jelly), and a couple of pieces of fruit.

2. If you can’t pack food and are in a big rush, grab a few quick, unprocessed (if possible) things from whatever places are available. Stagger them throughout your trip so you’re never too full and never really hungry. For example: a salad or veggie platter if you can afford it, raw almonds, popcorn chips, fruit, etc. The closer to raw, the better.

^ There is always a news stand to pick up some quick eats.

 

^ The lesser of the evils but they always come in huge packages! Make sure you eat them in small portions and just save some for home.

3. If you’re having a long day of travel and want to sit down for a meal, choose something green and leafy, or if you just aren’t in the mood for salad, make sure whatever you eat is not fried. Also include some protein in there. For example: greek salad with grilled chicken, burrito bowl (no tortilla), non-dairy based soup, a burger minus the bun (a lot of places will wrap in lettuce so you can still manhandle it).

 

^ A typical airport meal is often the same price as a few packaged goods from the news stand.

It takes a lot of will power to do these things. With so many options for deliciously bad food and a great seat to sleep for multiple hours, it can be very tempting to chow down. But you will pay for it in more ways than just lethargy and its never really worth it. Being healthy feels so much better than food tastes. And I love food!

Questions: How many of you have struggled with this recently? Did you succumb or hold out? How did you feel after?

Vacation Exercising

At this very moment I’m staying with cousins of my mom’s in Santa Cruz, CA. Mom, Dad, and I have been up here for several days while my dad trains for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Million Dollar Challenge (MDC). I am absolutely not in the right shape to join him and his friends for the 60+ miles, 5,000+ feet of climbing they did for the last three days so I’ve had to find other way to exercise.

If you exercise regularly at home and don’t go on vacation very often, it’s usually a good idea to just relax while on vacation. Take a break! Letting your muscles recover can often do more good than training every day. I’ve heard a lot of different recommendations but I stick to the breaking for one week out of every six or seven. By breaking I mean no exercising but continuing to eat a healthy diet with perhaps fewer calories so that it’s not too hard to get back into a routine the next week.

However, this summer has been completely varied in opportunities for exercise so I’ve been trying to get it whenever I can. The workouts I do, like my ones at home, pretty much stay under the 30 minute mark. I do a workout with Zuzka (see below), go on a 3 mile run, a brisk 3 mile walk (which takes a little longer), or practice some relaxing yoga, which is not just exercise but relaxation.

If you have determined that you want to workout while on vacation, decide on how frequently you will do it before you even fall asleep the first night and then stick to it. I decided that I would workout every other day but left the type and length of workout for the morning of. It’s good to still feel like you’re on vacation from exercise by giving yourself options. For the most part, while were still in San Diego, I went on a run or worked out with Zuzka but if I was having an especially rough morning, the yoga was enough. Now that we’re in Santa Cruz, however, I’ve been doing long walks on the beach. It doesn’t feel like exercise at all!

^ who wouldn’t want to take a long walk here?

And if your spending your day in transit, always take the stairs! You’d be amazed how much you can actually burn by skipping the escalator or elevator. < this is a personal rule of mine for everyday living.

Here is a list of the workout sites I frequent:

1. Zwows with Zuzka Light – some amazing, quick, body weight workouts that mean you NEVER have an excuse not to workout: http://www.youtube.com/user/ZuzkaLight/videos

2. My Yoga Online – cheaper and more comprehensive than any other yoga option I’ve seen. If you aren’t comfortable posing without an instructor, it’s a good idea to take a few classes first: http://www.myyogaonline.com/

3. Map My Run – a great way to track your running and walking from anywhere in the world: http://www.mapmyrun.com/

4. Map My Ride – same interface as #3 but for bikes! http://www.mapmyride.com/

And don’t forget to keep a smile on your face! They’re contagious.

Gluten and Other Food Sensitivities

When my brother was 11, my parents because so confused and frustrated with his lethargy (he never went outside, just sat and played video games) that they took him to the doctor. Every one of the five western medicine doctors they spoke to told my mom that it was “just puberty.” But she kept at it. Finally, through some string of conversations with friends, she was led to Acacia Wellness Center in Solana Beach, CA. They specialize is chiropractic and natural medicine and, as soon as my brother walked through the door, diagnosed him with gluten intolerance.

Gluten is a protein found in processed wheat and related grains. Research is still emerging but, in laymans terms, Gluten intolerance is much milder than Celiac disease but causes a lot of the same symptoms. For the real breakdown, the Wikipedia page is very accurate and comprehensive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity

After administering some tests, the naturopathic doctor concluded that my brother didn’t have Celiac but did have a serious gluten sensitivity. A lot of times, if one family member has it, so do the others.  After more visits and more testing, we found out that every one of us four kids as well as my dad are gluten intolerant. This was when I was 16. So my mom, being incredibly devoted to the health of her family, converted our entire house to gluten-free territory. Pasta became rice pasta, bread was now sprouted wheat bread (like Ezekiel), and baked goods had to be made from scratch from some very expensive ingredients.

^ this is the GF (gluten free) cake my sister made me for graduation. Now there are a bunch of cheap, easy, GF cake-from the box, it’s so delicious.

Thankfully, gluten intolerance has become somewhat common place and most grocery stores carry an array of goods to make our lives easy (the best, by far, is Trader Joes). Cutting out gluten meant that instead of sleeping 12 hours a day like I did in high school (no exaggeration) I could get by on 8 hours. It was incredible! I also lost a ton of weight and gained better muscle function so I was better at sports! But my digestion was still really off. I was still fairly bloated and got cramps after eating certain meals. My mom has a great nutritionist so I went to see her but you can find out what you’re allergic to by keeping a food journal and working to eliminate foods that may be causing your symptoms. My nutritionist and I came to the conclusion that I am also intolerant to cow dairy, red meat, soy, and refined sugar.

That was two years ago. Since then, I’ve pretty much cut all of those ingredients out of my diet although my sweet tooth makes the sugar thing very hard. My apartment is only stocked with food I can eat so my boyfriend get the residual benefits too. In general, he doesn’t mind because I’ve become a pretty good cook. We don’t really eat out too much at restaurants (it saves so much $) but when we do, I usually get a rice based or poultry dish. Contrary to what you may be thinking, I don’t really love salad. I eat it when I feel like something light and to stave of hunger, but I consume my vegetables through juicing, blending, and chopped up snacks mostly. But that’s another post entirely.

^ this is one of my lunch time snacks. Almond butter (the sea salted kind is the best) and Nutella (a little too sugary but that’s all I had) on rice cakes and some salad leftover from last nights dinner. Surprisingly filling and yummy.

But that is another subject that I’d like to have frequently in this blog, eating for specialized diets without feeling like you’re missing anything. It was hard at first but now I actually love my food better than all that processed stuffed! Get excited because there are more recipes to come.

Question: Is anybody else gluten-free? Or suspicious they are? Is anybody interested in trying but not sure how to start? Just ask!