Monday, April 29, 2013

Life Lately :: what I'm loving.

This life lately is a little different.  Alli and Hayley are no longer doing their link-up, but I'd love to keep this bi-weekly post going.  I'll be continuing my life lately posts with my instagram life (amongst others) plus links that I'm loving lately.  I'm not much for weekly features (aside from Food and Beer Fridays which I can barely keep up with sometimes), so this is my way of giving you a little something different?  Maybe?

Just when I thought I didn't have much going on between Whole 30 and my injury, these pictures (or lack thereof) show that I really haven't been up to much at all... 

 [While I may not understand it's real purpose, I really like Kombucha.  Not to mention, it's a great mixer...]

 [Getting up early never quite seems to get easier, but it definitely makes it a lot better when I'm able to have time between the gym and work to indulge at my local coffee shop.]

 [Seriously.  This is cauliflower crust pizza, and I'm obsessed.  Don't doubt, you'll get a recipe one of these days.]

[After hoping so hard that my injury report following my MRI would be positive, things were sadly negative (think crutches and a scooter right on the fringe of my upcoming Chicago trip), so I wallowed and laid up for a bit this weekend.]

Lately I'm loving...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Food & Beer Friday :: In honor of Earth Day.

In honor of Earth Day last Monday, I knew this beer was the perfect choice.  It's another Terrapin!  Get ready, this is different than any of the other Terrapin beers I've featured.  

While I was rocking the Whole 30, I didn't partake in this delicious brew. My first time trying it was on our trip to the Outer Banks.  I drank the hell out of this beer while we were there too!

Terrapin Tree Hugger Ale is technically an altbeer, but you might be more familiar with amber ales.  This brew is light with only 5% alcohol.  While it's brewed with malts and hops, there is definitely not a bitter hop flavor coming through.  Tree Hugger is so easy to drink.  There's nothing crazy special or out of the ordinary about this beer, but that's why I like it.  This brew is light-bodied and simple.  

Why is this beer Earth Day friendly?  When you drink a Tree Hugger, you're helping support the Dogwood Alliance.  Terrapin partnered with the Dogwood Alliance and a portion of the proceeds from Tree Hugger go to supporting their cause:
"Dogwood Alliance mobilizes the public and exposes the truth about forest destruction to inspire individuals, communities, corporations, and government to take action. At the same time, we work collaboratively with industry leaders to put innovative business solutions to work that result in more protected Southern forests."
You can learn more about the Alliance and their mission here!

Let's finish with the most perfect beer pairing!  Go out and find this easy drinking beer as soon as possible!

Link-up and head over to Sarah's blog to see what beer she picked this week!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My truths.

I've debated not writing this post.  I want and need to be honest though.  Our own worst critic is really ourselves, right?

[via hellolucky]

Last weekend was hard.  Really hard.  In light of the chaos going on in the world around me, you would think something monumental happened.  It didn't, but sometimes we just need time to wallow and feel a little sorry for ourselves.  To be honest, I don't get that feeling a lot; however with my injury and lack of running it's crept back all too often.  Between the injury, D's travel schedule, and Whole 30, I just haven't felt myself.  I think that's ok.  I've accepted that and need to change it.  


I need to talk about my Whole 30 truth.  This is my second round of Whole 30.  I did the first back in July 2012.  Back then I didn't complete the full 30 days, but the experience changed the way I eat forever.  I am still a huge advocate of Whole 30 and what it can do for you.  That said, 30 days is not realistic for me. I got to day 18 before I cheated with alcohol (which is actually an amazing feat).  I cheated because I got bad news about my injury and felt alcohol would help me feel a little better there isn't a good reason.  I was the strictest ever with this Whole 30.  I worked my ass off.  To break it down, this is why another Whole 30 is likely not realistic for me.
  • I didn't/haven't lost any weight.  While Whole 30 is not and does not claim to be a weight loss method, cutting out bread, dairy, beans, & alcohol should lead you to some loss.  I have lost nothing even while continuing to work out.  
  • 21 days in and I haven't felt a significant difference in myself like I did after the first W30.  I was sleeping better, but then I got sick (sinus gunk).  This had me not falling asleep quickly and waking up often throughout the night.  Clear skin?  Nada.  The only difference I've noticed it sleep.
  • The money spent.  Last weekend, D calculated that we've spent approximately $500 in groceries during W30.  That is entirely too much considering D has been traveling much of the month, I don't buy a lot of meat, and nothing (with the exception of maybe a cucumber and some scallions) has gone bad.  This is an insane amount of money for 1 and a half people to eat for 19+ days.
  • The energy spent made me unhappy.  In combination with the other seemingly negative things in my life right now, the time and energy spent shopping, cooking, and spending money has got me down.
My decision is that I will go through the remainder of food we have here.  When it's gone, W30 is done.  I'm going to keep alcohol kicked to the curb for the remainder of the 30 days.  I'm going to try my best to transition dairy in slowly and see how it affects my body.  Then transition bread.  I did think this Whole 9 article giving six reasons why W30 didn't work was informative.  Maybe my expectations were too high?  I found out that a full 30 days just isn't necessary for me.  I'm still interested to see how dairy & carbs effect my body.  If I get too comfortable with carbs, sugar, and cheese again, I just need to take a two-week sabbatical.  

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I am still a huge advocate of Whole 30 and what it can do for you.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Let's eat :: Homemade salsa.

While Whole 30 is really getting to me these days (I'm just so tired of cooking and shopping), one good thing to come from this round is this salsa.  I already bragged on this last week.  Since the first batch went so fast, it was time to make another.  My recipe is adapted from this one over on Whole in 30.

  • 2 cans whole tomatoes, drained really well
  • 1/2 to 3/4 a can of jalapeƱos (depending on how spicy you like your salsa)
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut into pieces & peeled if you prefer
  • 1/2 lime (or if you forgot to buy it, teaspoon of lime juice)
  • 1 garlic clove or teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Teaspoon of sea salt
  • Teaspoon of cumin
What to do:

Combine all ingredients in the food processor or blender.  Process to your liking (I prefer my salsa thin, not chunky).  I find I prefer the salsa to be refrigerated for the flavors to meld a bit, but I also have no problem eating it straight out of the food processor.

This recipe is Whole 30 approved.  I found that unsweetened banana chips are a great (albeit much smaller) alternative to tortilla chips.  As Whole 30 would prefer, crispy veggies like cucumbers and carrot slices are also great for dipping!  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Food & Beer Friday :: Not those kind of pills.

I'm still in the midst of my Whole 30 (woohoo day 17!), but I tried this beer back at the end of April.  Oddly enough, my co-host Sarah tried out an Oscar Blues beer for her first Food & Beer Friday!  I love a good pilsner!  My first featured beer was Victory Prima Pils (which also means I'm quickly approaching the one year birthday of Food & Beer Friday!).  Spring is finally peaking through, which means we're on the brink pilsner season!

Oscar Blues Mama's Little Yellow Pils is a smooth pilsner.  It's brewed like a traditional Czech pilsner with German malts and hops.  Unlike Prima Pils, it's not very hoppy but still lends some of the hop bittnerness that comes with the beer style.  It's definitely a light beer that I would suggest for those who want to transition from those boring "lite" beers to something in the craft beer realm (read: with flavor!).

If I was drinking while doing Whole 30, I would have paired this beer with these Paleo/Whole 30 Asian Meatballs (I subbed venison since it works for my flexitarian rules).  They're not spicy, and Mama's Little Yellow Pils would wash them down perfectly!

Tell me, do you have a favorite pilsner?  Then head on over and check out what beer Sarah has picked for today! (And don't forget to link up any beer, drink, or food post from the week!)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Travel Thursday :: Outer Banks.

Remember back at Easter when D and I headed to the Outer Banks?  We stayed two nights in Kill Devil Hill but spent the remainder of our time on Ocracoke Island.  OBX is a huge tourist spot on the east coast, but Ocracoke is something really special.

To get to Ocracoke, you have to board a ferry (it's free!).  The ferry is about 45 minutes to an hour from Kill Devil and Kitty Hawk.  With the hurricanes that have blown through recently, the ferry time has increased to about an hour and fifteen to get out to the island.  Trust me, it's worth it.

Most people chose bicycles as their mode of transportation around the small island (which is maybe 2-3 miles long and even smaller wide).  Due to my lame injury, we scored the golf cart as our ride around Ocracoke.  While it wasn't as healthy as a bike, I can't deny that it was fun.

The days were a little chilly and windy.  The clouds went in and out.  We didn't time at the beach, but there was no boredom involved here.

Eduardo's is a delicious Mexican food truck on Ocracoke.  While most places close down in the off season on the island, Eduardo's stays open!  I got delicious vegetarian tacos (double-shelled with cheese in between the shells, beans, avo, etc.), and D got a chorizo burrito which had egg in it.  Delicious and well worth a visit!

We spent most of our free time at Zillie's Island Pantry.  This is the perfect addition to the island.  There's plenty of bottled beer and even a draft system.  I kept eying the snacks: meats, cheeses, locally made goodies (think cheese biscuits/crackers), chips, etc.  You can't forget the necessities you may need for staying on an island away from the mainland: wine, wine glasses, liquor mixers, Nutella, olive oils, candles, and more!  We weren't worried about much more than the beer though...

We were able to find one of my favorite beers and paired it with Belgian chocolate-dipped Oreos.  For the remainder of the time, I drank the new Terrapin Tree Hugger beer that they had just tapped.  I don't think that beer will ever get old to me.

D also got to do a free tasting event on our last day at Zillie's.  They do lots of beer and wine tastings, although we didn't get to try another.

We loved starting our mornings off at Ocracoke Coffee Co.  While Monday morning was packed (although likely coinciding with the beginning of spring break), it was well worth the wait.  They have a delicious variety of coffee drinks, smoothies, teas, and foods.  The staff was friendly, nice, and made you feel like they wanted to make you something you would love.

They have an awesome outdoor area which we were able to enjoy both days before the rain came.  

When you miss the first ferry (FYI -- locals get first come, first serve on the ferry.  If there's a lot of them, they load first and leave tourists to catch the next if they're too far back in line), you get to see a gorgeous sunset.

While the below pictures are technically from the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC beaches are my favorite.  I think they're some of the most perfect beaches.  While the water isn't as clear as in the gulf, the waves are amazing.  The water temperature is perfect in the summer (um, I don't think that type of water exists on the west coast and it certainly doesn't in Florida).  My favorite thing to do in the summer, on our day trips to the beach, is to take my big, pink inner tube (because I might still be a little scared of the ocean and going out too deep) and ride the waves.

A little blood orange on the beach with a book.  Perfect end to a mini vacation...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why veggie, why?

I've wanted to talk for a while now about why I chose to go vegetarian, or "flexitarian."  Since I'm in the middle of a Whole 30, I'm constantly reminded of how Paleo enthusiasts advocate for meat eating.  Why do I continue to remain a {mostly} herbivore?

Disclaimer :: This post is in no way meant to put down those who eat meat (D still does!) nor convince others not to eat meat (although I'd love you forever if you said I convinced you!).  These words are meant to merely explain why I chose this lifestyle.


Back when D and I lived in Athens, I began getting interested in vegetarianism.  I have some friends who are vegetarian, and the idea interested me.  My first order of business was read and research.  In 2009 (!!), I read The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter.  The authors, Peter Singer and Jim Mason, do a wonderful job of breaking things down.  It's evident that they did their research.  The descriptions and imagery of slaughter houses and living conditions of animals was appalling.  That stuck with me.  While this book changed my perspective and outlook on eating meat, I still wasn't ready give up sausage bacon meat.  D and I did start doing an annual "No Meat January," but it was more of a health initiative.  Nonetheless, those words always hung in the back of my mind whenever I would eat meat.

After moving to Raleigh in 2011, I was continually aware of what I was eating.  I stopped eating most chicken (unless I bought it from Whole Foods) but couldn't deny my love for bacon and sausage.  The guilt, those slaughterhouses and killing of animals that never got to live a real life, always lingered in my mind.  I kept reading and doing research until I finally made my decision.


In January 2012, I decided to take on a flexitarian lifestyle.  I've heard this term thrown around before.  I don't follow a strict no-meat or fish-only diet.  My vegetarian rule is to "not eat any animal raised for slaughter."  More specifically, I eat fish and venison (hunted in the wild by D's dad).  After my research, this was what worked for me.  This was the choice I could live with and not feel guilty.    

Personally, I couldn't come to terms with pigs, cows, and chickens being killed for me.  These animals are all smarter than most people think.  They have a sense of family (I use that term loosely) and definitely have feelings (just in a different way than humans do).  Morally, eating animals feels wrong to me.  To be honest, I still struggle with buying dairy products as most are made from cows living in the same terrible conditions I read about (the research regarding baby calves to maintain mother cow's milk production is heart wrenching).


Since I love food and travel, my only "free-for-all" times are beer dinners and traveling.  Why beer dinners?  Chefs take special time in preparing dishes that pair perfectly with specific beers.  I want to have that full experience (not to mention most vegetarian substitutions are not paired appropriately or consist of my nemesis, bell peppers).  Why traveling?  I still deserve to be able to try traditional, well-known, or renowned dishes within the areas I travel to.  To never be able to try a Philly cheesesteak?  An NYC hotdog (although I haven't!)?  In-N-Out burgers?  Blasphemy.  Do I go on a crazy meat binge when I travel?  Nope, but I don't deny myself or feel guilty if meat creeps into the mix.

No matter what the benefits of the Paleo diet, I don't think that guilt would leave me (at least not for longer than a brief trip).

So tell me, are you vegetarian?  Pescatarian?  Flexitarian?
Why or why not?  

And while I don't think I can express as wonderfully as Katie and Meghan did about being a runner and the tragedy in Boston yesterday, I'm so grateful that Alex and her family are ok.  Christin couldn't have said it better, and I'm even more motivated to run a marathon because of Alex.


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