Epic Fail Part 1 (or “How I Discovered the Art of Listening to My Body”)

It all began with an out-of-state visit from the National Manager of my company, and a congratulatory glass of Sparkling Rosé to welcome me to the team…

A Glass of Rose to Pair w/the Salad and a Pinot to go w/the Beets.

A Glass of Rose to Pair w/the Salad and a Pinot to go w/the Beets.

And ended with the “Burger of Doom” (which was actually SUPER TASTY) a few days later…

A Brit Burger Smothered in Artichoke Hearts and Horseradish Sauce From Buckley's...

A Brit Burger Smothered in Artichoke Hearts and and Horseradish Sauce…

My first thought, when ordering this meaty, bread enrobed treat was “I’ve only been Gluten Free, Vegan for 11 days.  How much could my body have changed in that time?”


Apparently, A LOT.  Holy hell.

Thursday afternoon, I devoured the burger.  By that evening I was nearly doubled over.  JJ Grey and Mofro was but an annoyance whist I tried to keep myself upright in the theatre.  Sleep was pretty much out of the question.  So at 3am I got caught up on my “Words With Friends” games only to realize that I’m losing several.  Stupid tiles. Saturday was solidly filled with nausea and lots of excess gas (seriously…check this link out), a headache and massive dehydration.  It wasn’t till late  Sunday evening, I was able to breathe without pain and could stand on my own without fear of falling over.

Lesson learned.  Apparently my body is truly liking being free from something.  Be it the meat, the gluten, the fried foods, the fermented condiments, massive amounts of hidden sugars or whatever combination above…my body stated loudly and with absolute clarity that she was NOT happy with my brain’s decision (it’s funny how often those two disagree).  And for the first time in 40 years…I do believe my brain was forced to shut down just long enough to listen.

The next few days were spent trying to clear the pipes from whatever gummed them up

Kale, Spinach, Mango, Papaya, Chia Seed, Coconut Water Smoothie.

Kale, Spinach, Mango, Papaya, Chia Seed, Coconut Water Smoothie.

Pineapple, Papaya, Kale, Banana, Parsley, Almond Milk and Hemp Seeds to "Ease the Trauma Inflicted by the Burger" Smoothie.

Pineapple, Papaya, Kale, Banana, Parsley, Almond Milk and Hemp Seeds to “Ease the Trauma Inflicted by the Burger” Smoothie.

I am truly fascinated by how quickly I have adapted to a meat and gluten free lifestyle.  With the exception of last weekend, I feel really good.  My appetite is significantly lowered and it takes less to satisfy me.  I hesitate to use the word “satisfy” because it somehow implies that I am living a subsistence lifestyle.  On the contrary, I LOVE food.  Like, I will very likely never be thin again because of how much I am attached to eating good things.  I have found that through this change, I am learning a lot about how to cook more diverse types of foods and am really enjoying eating the diverse foods my kitchen is churning out.

Grated Ginger

Grated Ginger

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Pacific Rim Coconut Curry

Pacific Rim Coconut Curry

This week’s menu is:

Hazel Curious About the Curry.

Hazel Curious About the Curry.

OH! And before I forget…my friend, Britney Parker gave me a Kombucha Baby (SCOBY) and as of last week, she is happily eating her black tea/sugar bath and quietly converting that energy into fermented home-grown probiotics.  I’m thinking that by early next week, I’ll be ready to start the secondary “mango infused” fermentation.

Home Brewed Kombucha

Home Brewed Kombucha


Week One Completed With Ease (and energy to spare)!

I can’t say that I was really nervous about stepping in to the lifestyle challenge of going gluten-free vegan for a month.  Secretly, I love doing research.  Like, I can spend HOURS trolling the internet and picking through books to find out what what color the belly of a baby Tangier in Costa Rica is.  hmmmm…I think I may have just given myself a project…ANYHOW.  As of today I am successfully through week one.

Everything I’ve made to date is really good.  I’m especially liking learning about the new foods and spices I get to work with.  Seems that a large percentage of North African, Indian and Thai food is gluten-free and vegan (or can be very easily modified into vegan).  I’ve already learned how to make three different kinds of curries, several variations of hummus and am slowly getting comfortable with using lemongrass and miso!

Here’s some images from this week’s adventures:

The fixen's for Rockin' Morrocan Stew.

Rockin' Morrocan Stew.

Rockin’ Morrocan Stew.

Traditional Chickpea Hummus with a Kick

Traditional Chickpea Hummus with a Kick

Banana, Almond, Coconut, Cocoa Breakfast Smoothie...so gooooood.

Banana, Almond, Coconut, Cocoa Breakfast Smoothie…so gooooood.

So far I have not made it into the gym for a “formal” workout.  Yes, I’m lazy and bad.  BUT, I have gone out for several 2+ mile dance-walks to Owl City and Carley Rae Jepson (no ribs on my music taste…it’s eclectic and I like it that way).  I also throughly enjoy spinning on my indoor bike trainer while watching “Once Upon A Time” or “Revenge” on my laptop.  Once I get back into the gym, I’ll step on a scale and see what’s happening.  For now, it’s all subjective.

Overall, I’d say I’m enjoying my experience.  No real cravings or feelings of loss.  Well, except for sushi.  I really REALLY miss sushi right now.  No hunger.  In fact, I am LESS hungry than usual.  My energy level is up and I am sleeping well.  I’d like to note that I am recovering from a solid month of illness.  So, who knows if my increased energy level is related to the food choices, or the fact that I can actually breathe through my nose again and am able to sleep with my mouth shut.  Oh, sweet divinity…

On the menu for this coming week is:

On a side note, I have some interesting challenges in the upcoming weeks.  For those of you who do not know, when I am not venturing into the world of the gluten-free vegan foodie, I am selling wine.  Yes, you read it correctly, I get paid to play dress up and drink (except for this month).  Overall it’s a pretty friggen cool job.  Here’s the thing, though.  All of next week, the owner of our small distribution company is going to be in town.  I have been tasked with the job of taking him out for niblets and entertainment. The following week, I am hosting a wine maker and have the same job of feeding him and hosting wine tastings and wine dinners.  Shit.  This means that for the next two weeks, I’m either going to have to call ahead to my accounts and request special items be made for me, suck it up and eat what’s on the menu or eat lots of nuts in the car and just sip seltzer water while I snack on the mixed green salad.  I’l keep everyone posted on what bridges I decide to cross and which ones I opt to avoid.  Could be an interesting experiment to see how my body feels after not having had something for a little while…or it could just make me sick.

As always, feel free to leave comments, suggestions, words of wisdom or (more importantly), words of silliness and mayhem.

A Fitness Assessment, Then Off I Go!

Beginning April 1st, 2013 (yes, I know it’s April Fools Day.  No, this is not a joke), I am going Gluten-Free Vegan for the entire month.  I’ve spent the last several weeks researching what not to eat, how to eat well and throughly enjoying reading about food.

About a month ago, I got sick.  Nothing terrible, just a lingering cold that left me feeling continually tired and congested. Last weekend, I managed to contract a particularly vicious strain of Strep Throat and it did quite a good job of kicking my cold into high gear again.  Basically what I’m saying is: I haven’t been able to breathe out of my nose comfortably for almost a month and sleeping has become my new hobby.  I’m cranky, coughing, discombobulated and a general hot mess.

¡Perfect time for a full body cleanse!

So, I stopped in to SNAP Fitness near my house yesterday.  They were kind enough to give me a “Fitness Assessment” so I would have a physical baseline from which to work.  If you are a member of this club, it’s totally free and from what I understand, you can get them whenever you want as often as you’d like.  I was thinking it would be interesting to see, at the end of the month, if there are any noticeable physical changes that happen as a possible result of my April Lifestyle change.

Here are my results:

  • Height 5′-2″
  • Weight – 144lbs
  • Body Fat – 32.9%
  • BMI – 25.9
  • Bi/Tricep Circumference – 11.5″
  • Chest Circumference – 37″
  • Waist Circumference – 29″
  • Hip Circumference – 39.5″
  • Thigh Circumference – 24.5″
  • Cardio Fitness Test: 80% Tile = Good (3.8 @ 5 incline, for 5-min on a treadmill: 144 bpm heart rate)
  • Flexibility Fitness Test: 5% Tile = Poor (I believe she recorded this wrong, as I am able to bend at the waist and place my hands flat on the floor. If you asked my boyfriend, he’d say I’m pretty flexible….going to talk to someone next time I’m at the gym)
  • Muscle Endurance Test: 70% Tile = Good (28 sit ups in 60-seconds)
  • Muscle Strength Test: 5% Tile = Poor (10 Chest Presses @ 30lbs.  Again, I don’t think she explained the test correctly.  From what I can tell, this is based on pressing your max weight, but she did not ask me to do that…going to check with another staffer when I ask about the Flexibility Test).
Measurements from SNAP Fitness Fit Score Program

Measurements from SNAP Fitness Fit Score Program

So now I’ve got a physical baseline, a stack of cookbooks and a binder of recipes, friends who are excited to eat my culinary experiments and a blog in which to keep track of it all.

Tomorrow is my first big cooking day to get ready for the week.  I’m making a Rockin’ Moroccan Stew, Baba Ganosh, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Quinoa Tabouli.

Inputting Information From Cardio, Strength, Endurance and Flexibility Test.

Inputting Information From Cardio, Strength, Endurance and Flexibility Test.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I’m up to.  Remember, if you’ve actually found me and would like to contribute to the conversation, feel free to leave a comment, a recipe, a helpful suggestion or a friendly hello.


Priming the GI Pump

A two week herbal cleanse began today. In an effort to get my body ready for the MAJOR dietary shift in April, I thought it might be helpful to push some of the extra toxic stuff out.



So far, I’m feeling dehydrated (the packaging says to drink 8-12 cups of water a day), I am peeing A LOT (that’s probably due to all the water I’m drinking to keep from turning to dust), am a little nauseous (there was a warning that this might happen) and slightly dizzy (maybe the glass of wine I had with dinner was a bad idea).  Going to give it a few more days to see if my body adjusts to the onslaught of herbs.  Right now, I gotta be honest when I say that I’m not lovin’ this.

On a brighter note, I spoke with a woman at the gym around the corner from my house.  We’ve set up a date, March 29th, for me to go in and get a quick body analysis done: measurements of waist, arms, legs, bust, etc, BMI, basic cardio and strength.  Should be interesting considering I haven’t even really even been to the gym since I started my new job about a month ago.  Come to think of it, this may be the motivation I need to start a workout routine again.  Anyhow, this will give me a base line from which to compare my “before” and “after”.  If only they had something like that for the mind…


The Adventure Begins


It all started last fall really, when I decided that I needed to make some positive changes in my life.  Hmmm…no, scratch that.  It all began about a year and a half ago, when my life took a dramatic twist.  Nope, that’s not entirely accurate, either. The adventure began about a decade ago back, when I drunkenly signed up for a 500-mile bicycle ride at 2am.  Grrrrr….friends reading over my shoulder, are chuckling that it goes back much, MUCH farther than that even.

Okay.  Here it is:  I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit and the idea of taking on new challenges, biting off more than I can chew and making major productions of almost everything I touch is apparently a part of my genetic coding.

So, after hearing from several friends about their various gluten-free, vegan, no sugar, no alcohol completely “taking the body back to neutral” cleanses over the past year…well, I decided I needed to see if I could make it happen for me, as well.

So, here I sit.  New blog in lap, Pinterest board “30 Days of Gluten Free Vegan” is filling out nicely and a veritable forest of reading material is sprouting before my very eyes.  The research has begun and I gotta say, I’m pretty pumped.  In just about 2 weeks, I will begin a one month journey into the depths of “living clean”.  I am cutting out all meat.  Removing alcohol and sugars. Eliminating the evil that is gluten and staying as raw and fresh as I can.

This blog will be a record of what I am eating (the recipes and maybe even prep/cooking tips if I’m feeling so inclined to share), how my mind and body are feeling (the positive, not so awesome and probably a weird in there, too) and random blips of whatever else I want to share with the nonexistent following I currently have.  If there is anyone actually reading this, feel free to comment and get involved.  There is always something to learn out there and I would love to learn it from you!


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