Wednesday, January 15, 2014

daily outfit: hibernation

Self-care has been on my mind today.
coat: old navy; scarf: target; polka-dot tights: the limited; boots: dsw
We had an unexpected family emergency a few days ago, and while things seem to be okay for the time being, it gave me pause. I had to take a step back and look at where my priorities have been-- and as a secondhand result, it made me re-evaluate just exactly how much I've been (attempting to) balance on my plate these last few months. I've been saying yes to every commitment, filling every spare minute with more work to do, failing to prioritize sleep and calm and slow and man-- am I feeling it. Isn't that the way it goes? 

I think about something my wise yogi sister told me once-- that we humans are meant to hibernate in winter. Our most primitive instinct is to huddle up, safe from the elements, and slow down while the world pauses and freezes until springtime begins poke its head through the melting snow once again. Of course, we don't have to hibernate anymore, what with things like electricity and coffee and fleece-lined leggings (hello, lover). But, she tells me, it's still rooted somewhere in our human nature, and I believe it. Why is it that we can seemingly run on no sleep and nothing but beachside breeze to fuel our days in the summertime, but come winter, our tanks seems to empty no matter what we do? It's probably because the only way to fill it is to let ourselves hibernate every once in a while.

And so. Last night, tank feeling bone-dry, I canceled a night out. I stopped by the library for a new book on my way home from work, taking extra care to thoroughly crunch through the freshly fallen snow as I headed back to my apartment. I roasted a tray of carrots with dinner and cuddled up on the couch in front of two new episodes of Girls. I lit as many candles as I possibly could before our neighbors started to fear our apartment had gone up in vanilla-scented smoke. I finagled my hair into some sort of ridiculous scarf-covered top knot and actually took the time to oil-cleanse my face instead of hap-dashing my makeup off with a quick swipe. I made a cup of tea. I flossed. And I was all cozied up in bed before my roommate even got back from her last-minute nighttime Target run.

And lo and behold. I woke up this morning and didn't automatically reach for a cup of coffee to start my day. I hopped out of bed instead of rolled. I ate breakfast. And it wasn't in my car. My tank feels a little more full than it did yesterday, and sure enough-- I plan to continue to keep filling it a little bit every day. I have no intentions of running on empty again anytime soon.

These pictures were taken on a winter-y walk with a friend the other day, when the temperatures had just barely risen above freezing to the point that I almost began to believe spring was on its way. And I know that when it does, I'll gladly trade in my wool coats for bare legs and beach breezes, tank magically filled on sunshine and vitamin D. But until then, I'm realizing just how nice it feels to hibernate. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook

It's confession time: I... may have overindulged a little bit this holiday season. Now, don't get me wrong-- compared to my pre-paleo, pre-celiac days, this was still an incredibly clean holiday. But still. One too many ugly sweater pub crawls (coconut milk eggnog, you tasty little stink) and gluten-free christmas cookies did me in. Typically when I'm about to start a sugar detox, I'm excited but always a little nervous to begin/say goodbye to my beloved dark chocolate, but this time-- I'm so ready for a reset I can't even tell you. Farewell, sugar crashes! I won't miss you, insatiable cravings and funky sugar-brain! Hellooooo, roasted veggies. Welcome, winter-y pot roasts and spicy breakfast bowls of zucchini soup. I think we're going to get along juuuust fine this January.

Of course, if you've been around a little while, you know this January marks the first anniversary of my very first 21 Day Sugar Detox (hop over here to read more about that) and coincidentally, the latest and greatest book from 21 DSD genius Diane Sanfilippo was released just in time! Last time, it was the official guide, this time, it's the companion cookbook. I've been eagerly awaiting this release, given how much I loved the first book (see my review here), so of course I was thrilled to be sent a copy for review.

l to r: cabbage-wrapped pork dumplings, the book!, zucchini noodles (zoodles) with creamy tomato sauce
Every time someone asks me for my advice on starting a sugar detox, my number one tip is to have plenty of good recipes for delicious food (that you'll actually want to eat) on hand. Nothing staves off a craving for cake like bacon, amirite? That's why I'm kind of in love with this cookbook. Every single recipe I've made has fit my three requirements: delicious, simple, healthy. So far, I've made the cabbage-wrapped pork dumplings (pictured above, and insanely good), zucchini noodles with creamy tomato sauce, kombucha jellies, butternut squash pancakes with vanilla bean coconut butter, 10-minute sliders, roasted garlic parsnip mash, and creamy cucumber salad. And you guys, this is just the beginning. Grain- and gluten-free pot pie is up next and I can barely handle myself. I've been so incredibly pleased with every single thing I've made so far.

But Mary! you're saying. Both of these books look so great, but what's the difference? Should I buy one? Both? What to doooo? Don't worry, I've got you covered. 

The guidebook is for you if:
  • You're a 21 DSD newbie who is looking for all the info on how to do this thing, all in one place
  • You want meal plans and in-depth explanations of the dietary benefits of a sugar detox
  • You're looking for details on the lifestyle components of a sugar detox
  • You want modifications for pescatarianism, breastfeeding, athletes, autoimmunity, etc.
  • You want a solid base of recipes in your wheelhouse & would prefer to not to be too overwhelmed right away
The cookbook is for you if:
  • You're looking for tons (100+) of delish, sugar-detox-friendly recipes
  • You're a detox pro and less interested in the background how-tof details and more interested in recipes
  • You're interested in meal plans with more options
  • You're looking for a way to clean up your diet (possibly without committing fully to a detox!) and want a solid source of healthy, delish recipes that won't wreck your healthy progress
  • You just like to eat good food, man (ding ding ding! Join the club.)
Honesty time-- had I not been sent these books for review, I would've immediately bought the cookbook with my own dollars and waited a bit on the guidebook, since I've been around the detox block a few times and felt like I didn't really need the introductory info as much anymore. However, knowing what I know now about both books, I would absolutely re-purchase both on my own in a heartbeat. While the food is the key for me, the information in the guidebook has been invaluable and so, so helpful in figuring out my own modifications and understanding for my best health. 

As always, if you have any questions about sugar detoxing, please feel free to shoot me an email! I love chatting with you all, especially about something that I feel so passionately about/has had such a positive impact on my health. You know where to reach me :) 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

No-Spend January: The Plan

Starting January 1st, 2014-- I'm done spending money.
Okay-- maybe not entirely. But guess who's got two thumbs, an insatiable wanderlust and her very first student loan repayment looming on the horizon? Ahh, this girl. In an effort to reset all of the indulgences of the holiday season, I thought January would be a great time for a reset. I'll be doing another 21 Day Sugar Detox to reign in this little sweet tooth I've developed, and a little bit of a wallet detox to reset my bank account. Plus, now that school is... um, done (what!), I've got a to-travel list a mile long, and the only way any of that is going to happen anytime soon is if I start pinching pennies yesterday. And so begins my first no-spend month! Still with me? Let's Q some As! 

How's this gonna work?
I'll still be paying all of my fixed expenses and living expenses of course, but nothing above & beyond. Any food purchased will be from the grocery store and cooked in my tiny but cute apartment kitchen. Which, let's be fair-- is much more fun anyways. I love love looove to cook, but have found myself grabbing a quick dinner out with friends or swinging through Chipotle on my way home much more frequently than necessary-- time to put the kibosh on that.  It's tough to eat out anyways since my celiac diagnosis, and add a sugar detox on top of that and I can almost guarantee I'll be eating better at home than I would be out & about anyways. 

So you're just gonna be a hermit?
If you know me-- you know this doesn't mean I'll just hole up in my apartment for the entire month of January. I'll be focusing on exploring the free, fun things to do in my lovely little hometown and using this time to focus more on spending time with my favorite people (and myself!) rather than spending money

What happens if you have a spend-y emergency?
Obviously, I'm accountable to only myself here. Which frankly makes it feel all the more important for me to be really committed. Purchases will be categorized into wants/needs. Ingredients for a delicious, nutritious, not-too-spendy dinner to be cooked at home? Need. Big ole' cuppa joe on my way to work? Want. Make it at home, Mary. Make. It. At. Home. 

Why do we care?
Well, you don't have to, I suppose. Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings if you decide my adventures in banking are kinda boring (they are). But of course, because hello, it's me-- I'll still be writing about my progress and the things I'm discovering along the way.

Above all else, this is a practicing in simplifying. Taking out all that white noise from the background of my life-- that manifests in things like a $6 burrito bowl here and there or a $9 sweater on sale at target because nine dollars-- and reminding myself what remains in the space in between. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next!