Monday, Monday

Made this little beauty this morning, in my own home, with my own blender.  We are back from our trip, however on our last morning in Napa I stumbled on a little juicing place and had one of the most enjoyable electric green concoctions I’ve ever tasted.  I will share the recipe of “The Queen’s Greens” as soon as I can replicate at home.

Now, for this morning’s  breakfast:

1/2 cup Rice Dream

1/2 cup water

1/2 frozen banana

1 squirt flax seed oil

1 1/2 scoops Vega – Vanilla Chia flavor

2 TBS raw Cacao

Below I’ve included a correspondence I had with Vega – the maker of my preferred protein/nutrition powder.  There are so many things on the market and most of them are crap, when you find one you like you might want to double check with the company to ensure you are getting what you hope for.  A couple things I want are: no sugar, as raw as possible, if not raw as lightly processed as possible.

“Thank you for your inquiry.

I am a huge believer in checking the manufacturing procedures for products and companies that I really enjoy so I am glad you’ve contacted us. I’ll try and give you a bit of background as to the manufacturing procedures, please let me know if you have any further questions.

As it is our effort to provide the cleanest, most natural and minimally processed products you will see this reflected in both our ingredient choices and how we prepare them for consumption.

Several of our ingredients are raw, and utilize a jet spray process to dry them into a powder. This includes the chlorella in our WFHO and the green vegetables in our Shake and Go. Jet spraying literally involves soaking the plants, and then spraying them at a velocity that evaporates the moisture, while not heating the nutrients. There are no chemicals added, it is purely a mechanical process.

The hemp protein we use is also raw. It is produced by cold pressing the oil from the seeds to produce a dense hemp “cake” that is milled (at low temperature) and then screened to extract the protein.

Our flax is micro milled and flash pasteurized to remain shelf stable and digestible, all while not allowing the oils to become rancid.

Our pea protein and rice protein are not raw as they do experience friction in the milling process which brings them to about 130 degrees, which is slightly higher than the 118 degree threshold for raw. They are produced by a series of washing and sieving steps as well as isolating the protein through a (non solvent) process of dropping the pH. Again there is no hexanes, or solvents used to complete this.

Our maca root is gelatinized which is a cooking process to release the starch bonds concentrating the nutrients (glucosinolates and alkaloids). Maca must be cooked to be digestible.

Typically our Vega products are about 20-25% rawly weight, and no additives or preservatives are used in any stage of the manufacturing. All our products are tested by a third party laboratory to ensure quality, freshness and nutrient density remains and is viable.”

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What my “bottom” looks like

We can talk about my rounded backside another time, today’s “bottom” refers to a low point.  Anyone familiar with 12 step programs might have heard this term, “hitting bottom” – it typically signifies reaching a point so low that you cannot help acknowledging that a re-evalution of sorts is in order.  Kris Carr once wrote that she had on occasion picked a sugar-laden treat out of her trash can for ONE MORE BITE. She would then thrust her drug of choice back into the trash can and dose heavily with Windex to insure there was not a repeat performance.  I share this because I am a coward and it is a beautiful example of some of the crazy things we do in life.

You may have read my declaration of war on sugar.  After writing that post I somehow spent the next two weeks filling myself with as many sweet treats as possible.  Perhaps because of my guilty Catholic upbringing I feel compelled to share, consider this my confession or my version of binge and purge.

Picture this – a kitchen table, morning light streaming through the window, a big empty Bouchon box, a cup of coffee and me – sitting in a sugar tinged daze, trying to reconcile my breakfast choice.

So, what was in the box you ask?  1 Coconut macaroon, 1 peaches’n creme macaroon, 1 caramel macaroon, 3/4 monkey bread, 1 O’noyoudidn’t (Thomas Keller’s version of an Oreo-like cookie), 1/2 croissant.  Now, before you go judging, keep in mind I have 4 people in my family and I let the other 3 smell everything in the box before I shoved each one into my mouth.

Right now I could let the rationalizations begin to flow, I’m on vacation, it’s my birthday month, we are going to start our detox soon – it’s like Fat Tuesday, it was cold this morning….but truly the fact that this was my BREAKFAST leaves me little wiggle room.  I’m a poster girl for the morning smoothie – typically of the green variety.  Yes, it’s time to bring this party to a close and break out the Windex.

Now about my bottom….. presently it resembles the doughnuts I had last night for dessert.  Booo-ya!


Always pack a bathing suit

And other travel thoughts.

1.  Always pack a bathing suit, even if you think you’ll never need it, pack one.

2.  Have the kids draw a picture of their favorite part of the day while making or waiting for dinner.  The pictures were often very surprising to my husband and I , especially considering they often depicted moments when all I seemed to hear from them were complaints.  Moral of the story…..don’t listen to your kids.

3.  For our 10 (turned 12) day trip I packed sturdy outdoor clothing knowing we’d spend our days hiking, fishing, working outside, etc.:  2 pants, 3 shirts, boots, sneakers, pj’s, work-out stuff.  Given our dirty, active adventures next time I’ll nix the work-out stuff, no one wants to get on a treadmill after a four hour hike.  I would have killed for a comfy, dinner appropriate outfit though……and a bathing suit.

4.  Road snacks – a piece of gum can transform a car tired child into a happy bubble blower.  For my husband and I, sparkling water with a fresh slice of lime at a rest stop was more rewarding than any drive-thru coffee.

5.  Audio books – movies in the car are great and we did have them in our bag of tricks for the kids but I loved having us all enjoy the adventures of “The Magic Treehouse” together. (Thanks A.G.)

6.  Take a nap or embrace a mellow half-day.

7.  Take your dog.  While it seems like a pain in the ass, for a couple of introverts like my husband and I, the dog added to our fun and bringing him was cheaper than boarding him!

8.  Sneak in quickies with your spouse, it’s like a glass of red wine, everything runs a little smoother.

Happy trails.


White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

Grandmaster Flash might have been singing about another white substance, but for me it’s sugar.  I’m a total addict.  After an exceptionally indulgent month I’ve OD’d and need to give my body a break*.

Guess what the recommended daily allowance is for sugar?

ZERO.

That’s right, we have NO need for refined sugar.

What do we need?  Glucose, which our bodies get from fruits and veggies.  Since knowledge is power I’ve become well acquainted with the harmful effects of sugar but it’s still not stopping me from dipping into the cookie jar.

Back when I was a smoker I made a plan to quit – I enlisted the support of a nicotine patch and distraction techniques and I made some life changes, like no alcohol for a year (alcohol was my will-power destroyer).

With my sugar addiction I plan to follow the advice in this article.  However, step one will be to play detective among my food choices, while cigarettes are pretty easy to identify and therefore avoid; sugar hides and can be trickier to thwart.  It disguises itself under different names on labels, it can hide in foods until digestion – I know who you really are white rice, pasta and bread.  Common culprits range from milk (even the nut varieties from the grocery store), to jarred pasta sauce and almost everything that comes from the middle parts of the grocery store.

*If I’m perfectly honest, I plan to further abuse this addiction until our end of summer/fall detox – spoken like a true addict, right?!!

P.S. For you sweet ones who were unaware of sugar’s addictive personality, here’s a little tidbit from Dr. Mark Hyman during an interview concerning sugar:

“One study out of France, presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, showed that when rats (who metabolize sugar much like we do) were given the choice between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, 94% chose the saccharin water. When the water was sweetened with sucrose (sugar), the same preference was observed—the rats overwhelmingly chose the sugar water. When the rats were offered larger doses of cocaine, it did not alter their preference for the saccharin or sugar water. Even rats addicted to cocaine, switched to sweetened water when given the choice. In other words, intense sweetness was more rewarding to the brain than cocaine.”

P.P.S. For more on sugar (and kids) check out Jamie Oliver’s Ted talk.


Journal entry of a Marfa-phile

What’s so great about Marfa?  For me?  Everything.

When was the last time you gleaned inspiration from a mini-bar?  And yet here at the Thunderbird you have a thoughtful assortment that is not only an aesthetic delight but a testament to what makes a guest comfortable.  What you want vs. what you need…or both as exemplified by their basket of offerings.

Thunderbird Hotel mini-bar

As we were headed to Cloudcroft, NM after 9 days in Southern Arizona enjoying the “nature show”, live, in 4-D and surround sound we decided to change our course.  Although Cloudcrot with it’s 9,000 ft elevation would provide a welcome change in temperature, I realized I wasn’t ready to give up the feeling of wide open spaces.  Enter M-A-R-F-A on the navigation, add 2 hours of driving time and suddenly we had a car full of smiles and anticipation.  My kids love Marfa, my husband loves Marfa, it seems even the dog is a fan.

So what is it about this place?  Truth be told, I don’t love Marfa for it’s art.  When we visit we almost never check-out the amazing galleries or must see installations.  However I love looking at all of the people who ARE drawn to Marfa because of the art.  These folks have style, they’ve created looks for themselves….so I guess in a way it the art draws me as well.

I love Marfa for the Food Shark and The Get Go.  I love the cowboys eating alongside the hipsters.  I love that a town with the population 2121 has a restaurant with a $33 pasta.  The real thing I love is how I feel in Marfa, my thoughts don’t feel like ideals, they feel like attainable, tangible, do-able things!  I think it’s the balance of things, there is more land visible than the evidence of man.  It’s easy to remember the thing I call my life, with my iPhone reminders, meal plans and scheduled activities are mainly distractions from the actual LIVING part of life.

How can a place feel like home when I’ve never lived there?  There was a moment when I thought I would, live in Marfa, that is.  But I’m scared I’ll ruin it.

P.S.  Thanks to the Thunderbird’s mini-bar I’m kinda in love with this product.


%*#$@&!!

Ever feel like your brain’s gone to mush or you’ve lost your mojo (I can’t believe I just wrote “mojo”)?  I keep writing things, erasing things and wondering where all my interestingness has gone!  So in the spirit of knowing “when to fold ’em” and for anyone else in touch with the emotion of hitting your head against the proverbial wall, I give you this:

“Tomorrow is a new day.  You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson