24 June 2006

Leave the Beetle...take the Hooptie.

Wow, what a day. Steven and I were really in the mood for India food today, so we decided to go to Taj Mahal for their delicious lunch buffet. I rushed out the door a few minutes late as usual, but when I went out to the parking lot to hop inside my beloved navy VW Beetle.......it...wasn't...there.

I admit I've had a few of these moments before. Although we live in a small condo complex where it doesn't take long to recognize the people who live there and the cars they drive, I've gotten a little nervous a few times trying to find my "girl," when she was really only hiding behind the dumpster or the plumber's van. Then there's the time we forgetfully left it at Pei Wei the night before and took only one car home.

Oh, but not today. She was nowhere to be found. I walked the entire parking lot about 3 times, trying not to panic, and then called Steven. We talked through it, going over every single thing I had done since Tuesday to see if there was any possibility it was somewhere else, until we were certain it was really gone. THEN, I panicked. With a sudden lump in my throat, I began to rationalize. Did someone really steal my car? How did they get around the alarm? She does make for a great joyride, but come on?? I didn't leave anything valuable lying around, and I would have given them my yoga mat and old sweaty towel in the back seat if they had just asked nicely!

Steven calmly came to get me, and we stood in the parking lot, wondering why someone would want to steal my car, especially when it has a security system that's flashing at all times, and it's surrounded by like 5 purple hoopties that you could steal in a minute flat with a hanger and an ATM card. I was on the verge of tears. That's when my genius husband saw the sign nailed to one of the buildings boldly stating that all cars that don't belong to residents can be towed at anytime at the owner's expense. There's no way they towed my car out of our own parking lot in the middle of the night when I wasn't even doing anything illegal....right? We've lived here for almost a year. I was just parked there peacefully. Steven decided to call the towing company just to see if perhaps it was true. It was. And it was going to cost $138.30 to get her back. We didn't know why they did it yet; we just wanted to get to AJ's Towing as quickly as possible. I hate to say this, but it's quite possible that I might have dropped an F bomb (or two) on the way there. I don't get angry often, but I was L-I-V-I-D.

AJ's Towing is conveniently located in one of the worst areas of Dallas...pretty much as far as you could get from our apartment while still being considered in city limits. Once we got there, we found out that they had "stickered" my rear windshield as a "warning" at midnight last night because they didn't see our condo's parking permit in the window. They then came back and towed it at 4am since it hadn't been moved. All I have to say about that is a) I would have put the stupid permit on my mirror if it would have fit on my mirror but instead it was stuck under my emergency break because it kept flying around on my dash, and b) I'm pretty sure only a 4 hour warning to move my car IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ON A THURSDAY was not only unfair but utterly ridiculous.

The lady behind the protective glass window at the towing place didn't care as we tried to explain the situation through the tiny metal microphone. Although I really just wanted to stomp my feet and scream "MINE MINE MINE!" like a 2-year-old having a temper tantrum, we were as polite as possible to her given the circumstances. She just poked out the bank drive-thru metal box and left it there, waiting for my license, payment, and any other printed proof that I was indeed the owner of this car.

The next thing we found out was that they took cash and exact change only. Oh great. I suddenly felt like Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail when she's in the "cash-only" line at Zabars: "She has no cash?? She has no CASH. Oh, get in anotha line, lady!" Steven spotted an ATM standing boldly in the dust next to the building but it was broken. And since we're not in the business of carrying $138.30 in exact change in either of our wallets, we ventured further into the bowels of inner-city Dallas to find an ATM. About 20 minutes later with cash in hand, we approached the lady again and made the payment.

Once I had my car back - 3.5 hours, a few gray hairs, and 1/2 missed day of work later - I softened a bit. I hate that it took getting my possession back for me to remember how thankful I am for it, but admittedly, that is what happened. It could have been SO much worse right? My girl could have been stolen and shamefully stripped for parts after a wild joyride. We could have no car at all, instead of two. We could have zero dollars in our bank account and no way to get the car back. Or I could be the owner of the purple hooptie :). I took a deep breath. With my newfound humility and gratefulness, I gave her a nice hearty smile and a wave as I clicked the remote, setting my trusty alarm once again.

09 June 2006

Hand over the apples, and no one gets hurt!

Yesterday my husband and I started The Maker’s Diet 40 Day Health Experience. “Now why would you do that?” you may ask. “Is it actually a diet?” “And are you really going to drink that green stuff?” Please, please, one question at a time, people.

First of all, I’ve been reading The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin lately, and it’s incredibly fascinating. No, it's not really a "diet" in the way that you think of eating cottage cheese and Triscuits for lunch for days on end, but rather a way of reforming your entire way of eating to encompass natural foods in their God-given form. While Steven and I have been doing that for the most part for about a year now, I’ve been convicted that there are still some things I’m holding on to – idols in my life – that are keeping me from being as healthy as I can be. Throughout the past year, it’s been a gradual process of reforming eating habits, incorporating different foods into our diet and actually learning how to make good recipes with these “new” ancient foods. Now, I look at what we’re eating today, and I can’t believe it. I just had flax seed with my breakfast, and my new favorite dessert is frozen hemp milk sandwiched between two hemp cookies. What the?! Might as well start wearing Birks and using henna to dye my hair.

I don’t think I realize how much we’ve changed until I’m in a group of people who don’t necessarily subscribe to the same viewpoint...like last night at a friend's house where we were watching the Mavs game. I’m going to be honest and admit that it’s hard to walk the fine line of not feeling judgmental when a swarm of people enter the room with bags from Sonic and suddenly I'm surrounded by the smell of fast food. This is something I have to constantly keep in check, especially with my perfectionism issues and the fact that I admittedly love me some Chick-Fil-A every now and then! I’m really the one with the problem there, though, because it’s no use striving to glorify God with what I’m putting in my body if I’m having prideful thoughts about it. But there is a positive change in the fact that I can now feel peaceful when I make the decision not to partake of Sonic tots and a banana cream pie milkshake, whereas before I used to feel like an alien. More and more of the time, I’m just not willing to have that 5 minutes of “bliss” in exchange for the negative effects I’ll get in the short and long-term. Thank goodness we still have free reign of the Sonic “rabbit turd ice” * though because man, that’s good stuff.

* I wish I could take credit for this term, but I cannot.

In addition to The Maker’s Diet, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon has rocked my world. This book is an encyclopedia of whole food/natural eating, including TONS of recipes, several of which are actually included in The Maker’s Diet. This lady, Sally, is pretty hardcore. She does not just tell you what to eat; she gives you the complete history of ancient peoples and their diets and medical explanations for why certain foods work well with our bodies and why others don’t. She also explains why people in the diet food industry (the “diet dictocrats” as she calls them) don’t really want to help people lose weight. It makes sense if you think about it…they want people to keep buying diet food! I can’t put it down.

So, since Steven and I have been a little off-track lately with trips and parties and eating out a lot, we decided to start The Maker’s Diet with Phase 1, which is 14 days of a simple diet that helps you to kind of detox and “reboot” your system. For just 14 days, we’re eliminating all grains, certain fruits (except berries and lemons/limes), all sugars (except raw honey), all dairy (except natural cream), and all little piggie products (fine by me). I know it wouldn’t be healthy to eat like Phase 1 in the long-term since our bodies need some whole sprouted grains and more variety in fruits and vegetables. And thank goodness for that (see #1 on the list below).

We are not currently drinking any "green stuff," although I’m not opposed to it, really. I just haven't been brave enough to venture into the “green superfood” realm again since that spirulina algae vitamin caplet exploded in my throat at work one day and my mouth tasted like a pond for the next 12 hours.

Now, for some observations/conclusions I'd like to share, only 2 days into “the diet”:

1. I am hopelessly addicted to apples.
2. ...although I think I can make it 14 days without them (barely).
3. But please don’t ask me to give up chewing gum.
4. There’s nothing you could say that would make me be OK with eating “organ meats.” SICK. Nourishing Traditions has a whole section devoted to organ meat recipes like “sweetbreads on toast,” “sautéed brains,” and “brains in wine sauce.” ‘Scuse me? The only reason I know what “sweetbreads” are is because it was a question on Cranium.
5. I have a lot more energy during the day.
6. I have more of a desire to exercise.
7. I’ve slept like a rock the past 2 nights.
8. Not being able to eat exactly what I want, when I want it, has forced me to put my focus elsewhere – or should I say on Someone Else….hmmmm….perhaps that’s the point?!

We all know that no blog about healthy eating is complete without a few new recipes ☺. So I thought I’d share what we had for breakfast today….

Christine’s Breakfast (or Anytime!) Frittata
** You can use whatever fresh vegetables/seasonings you want, but here’s what the Baileys had this morning…

1 organic ripe avocado
5-6 organic cherry tomatoes
2 slices all-natural turkey bacon
5 or 6 eggs (I use the brown cage-free ones from Whole Foods)
Sprinkle of dried sweet basil
Black pepper & celtic sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425. Whisk eggs with a little bit of water until they're nice and frothy. Heat the pan on medium and add some extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (that’s what I used). Add the eggs until they completely cover the bottom of the ban. Top with the avocado, tomatoes, and turkey bacon. Sprinkle the egg mixture with basil, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium for a few minutes until the edges begin to set. Remove from heat and place skillet in the oven and bake for about 5-8 minutes. Check it after about 5 minutes, because every oven is different. It should be set in the middle but still really moist. Yes, I just used the “m” word.

Remove from oven and cut in pie slices and serve!

Berry Butter
* Steven just invented the name of this – what do you think?

Ripe organic strawberries (however many you want)
About 2 tbs. raw almond butter
A little bit of raw local honey
About 1 tbs. milled/ground flax seed

Slice the strawberries into small bits. Mix the almond butter with the strawberries until they sort of form a paste. Cover the mixture with flax seed and drizzle a bit of honey on top. Eat with a spoon. OH, YUM!

And finally, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite beverage that replaced my coffee this morning: Pixie Maté in the flavor Chocolate Maté Solstice. Due to great design and rather clever wording, the box pops out from other teas on the shelf. The description for the Chocolate flavor says, “Organic chicory and ramon nut do the cocoa mocha mambo.” It’s a party in your mouth, I tell you, and it tastes different – dare I say, better – than the Guayaki Yerba Mate I previously blogged about. Then I visited Pixie's website and fell in love with the company even more. Apparently, it was started by two pretty funny guys in Boulder, CO who wanted to do something different. Their site says, “Some people believe that the future can be seen in the bottom of your tea cup. We couldn’t agree more.” Their goal was to launch a product that slows people down to get them out of the rat race and taking life more slowly. Their maté is certified organic and bought directly from the growers in Argentina. I like these guys. Visit this page to read about all the benefits of maté.

I know it can be quite overwhelming when you really start to get into it and learn about the way we’ve made our lives so toxic as compared to how we were meant to live. Cell phones, microwave ovens, xrays, aluminum foil….I mean, the list goes on of potentially harmful chemicals and toxins that surround us everyday. And I can go insane and become too obsessed with how I'm supposed to live on this earth and forget that this earth is not ultimately my home. However, I still want to try to be as healthy as possible so I can do my best work here.

That being said, I thought I'd close by telling you I've officially gone to the other side of living "granola." The other day, I bought some natural dishwasher detergent and bathroom cleaner for the first time. There’s no turning back when you start washing your dishes in grapefruit extract and orange peel…

I claim my granola-ness now. Perhaps I’ll move to Colorado and wear organic clothes and use solar energy and sleep on buckwheat pillows for the rest of my life. As long as I can have my apples, this girl is happy.