Cleanse Day 1

The day started with a plate of eggs- One whole Omega 3 enriched egg and three egg whites, sprinkled with basil. For someone who has routinely eaten egg whites only, I forgot how wonderfully satisfying a whole egg can be. Although a carton of egg whites is convenient, fast, and requires no clean up, the yolk, does add a completely different flavor to the eggs. It gives you the typical mouth feel of fat, which is satisfying to the taste buds. Even if you take out the yolk to use just the egg white, you can still get that flavor. Once again, the real food beats the convenient packaged food. hm.

Also I forgot how great just basil tastes. It tastes so … natural and pure.

I think that is another aspect of this cleanse. Not only are you cleansing the body but by eating foods in their natural, simple forms you are restoring your taste buds to identify the natural flavor of foods. No added sugars, salts, chemicals, etc.

After such a protein-rich breakfast I went out for my daily run. I did about 10 miles. The weather here is just absolutely gorgeous, I did not want to go inside. But I did….for Whole Foods.

I met my dad for lunch. I chose the Whole Foods in West Orange because they have the biggest salad bar selection and always have a little station for plain proteins, which I needed to top off my mountain of greens and raw vegetables. But….for some reason…today…the protein station turned into a hummus, baba ganoush, feta, and grape leave station…it was hard to walk away from that. I had to go to the counter to get a nice little piece of salmon. Any time I know I am having salmon, my day is immediately made. I do not think I can put into words how much I enjoy grilled salmon. I will never understand those that don’t, I just cannot fathom it.

Dinner was similar and I saved my snacks to have before bed while watching Saturday Night Live. I just love a bedtime snack and cannot replace it without a fight.

Also I on this cleanse you have to drink tons of lemon water and green tea. Green tea is extremely good for you and a huge aspect of this diet. It’s antioxidant profile cannot be matched and it has been proven to aid in weight loss, let alone piece of mind… But, I hate green tea. Well, it is ok. I just think it has a weird taste when it is hot. So, I brewed a large mug and chilled it in the fridge. Then I drank it cold and used the tea bags in my water bottle for some water flavor. Not bad, not bad.

So today is pretty much going to be the same eating schedule. I will admit, I cannot wait for the cleanse to be over because the meals look delicious.

My internship is getting closer and closer, and I am getting more and more nervous. Commuting to the city is pretty intimidating…I think on Tuesday I will have to do a “practice run.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

Think Positive, Eat Positive.

http://www.nutritiouslife.com/

This year I have made the decision to become a “Positive Thinker” and have succumbed to the theory of the “Laws of Attraction” which implies that the things you think about the most are the things that are attracted to you. Seems pretty simple? NOT. It is amazing how many times we, or maybe it’s just me, automatically and almost subconsciously think negative thoughts. When I am late for class, I immediately assume I won’t get a parking spot, that the traffic will be crazy around campus, I will hit every red light, that I will have some sort of mishap preventing me from getting there on time, and further delaying my morning. And guess what, all those things always happen. Shocker? Not really-I wished the frustration upon myself. From that moment on, I am in a bad mood and my day is ruined; everything that happens to me from then on gets a negative spin and suddenly I am counting down the hours until I can go to bed and the day is officially over. It is only when I envision positive scenarios that I have my best days-hitting every green light, finding the perfect parking spot, walking positively and quickly to class with nothing standing in my way but beautiful sunshine. ahh, serenity. Once I started seeing situations in a more positive light and actually became grateful for my surroundings, my life became more enjoyable. Instead of waiting for something bad to happen, I have started expecting good things to happen, and not just “good” things, the things I want, the things I work hard for, the things that truly make me happy. It too is amazing how positively people react to kindness as well, making the things you want that much more attainable.

As a nutrition major, I decided to take this approach with food. People automatically associate a healthy diet with restriction of the foods they enjoy, or the “fun foods” leaving them with a boring, bland, miserable life.  A little extreme? Maybe, but maybe not. When you think about all the crazy fad diets out there, it is a natural association. Think about it, almost every “new, hot diet” eliminates foods and most often entire food groups in the name of losing weight. Since when is that healthy and yes, that is miserable? The food pyramid plate, was not invented to incorporate half of the food groups, neglecting those some as you please. No, it was invented because the USDA identified ALL the foods that should be incorporated into the diet to maintain a healthy, happy body. (for more information (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/).   Instead of thinking “elimination” why not think of the “addition”? A healthy diet includes new foods that many people do not eat. A healthy lifestyle incorporates activities that people never considered trying. Imagine how much you can grow by modifying your life in small ways in the name of becoming “healthy?” Healthy diets and healthy lifestyles are not boring, they are exciting! How can living longer be a bad thing? It might be if your sick from an unhealthy lifestyle.

Well, that is pretty much Keri Glassman’s view in her new book “ Slim, Calm, Sexy Diet,” which, oddly enough, I came across in the midst of my positive thinking revolution. Granted, I also landed an internship with her for the summer and was asked to read it, but none-the-less, the book was attracted to me. In Keri’s book, she urges her readers to feel good on the inside to look good on the outside, and we accomplish this through food! Since I think this book is the link to a happy, healthy person I thought it fitting to start her diet and document it on this blog, hopefully encouraging more people to adopt this lifestyle as well. Although it is a six week diet plan where in that six weeks Keri gives specific instructions on what to eat, how to cook it, and when to eat it, the great thing about this book is that it takes the “maintenance” aspect very seriously. In the book she teaches you how to live a “Slim, Calm, Sexy” life, which is the most important part of any “diet” or lifestyle change. It really is a book that will change your life, for the better.

A big part of the book incorporates managing stress, and while I do not want to give away her whole book, I will mention my stress-turned-diet downfalls and what I am doing to manage them. This year has been a very stressful year and without getting too personal and gloomy, the stress was not only causing me to question where my life was going, but it took a major toll on my skin! I rarely if ever had pimples in high school and this year it seemed like every week I had some sort of whopping cyst pimple on my chin, which was unsightly and painful. Not only was I getting pimples, but I had dry skin to boot! Like, how? Usually oily skin leads to pimples, so why was I suffering from dry AND pimply skin? Input stress and it’s hormone cortisol. Not only does stress affect our appearances but it also affects our food choices and most times causes us to eat those fattening, yet comforting foods to compensate. For me, the stress has calmed down since I have been home from college and am opening my mind to all sorts of possibilities for the future. Through Keri’s book I identified myself as a “starve yourself” person, meaning I would go all day without eating, or eating a great breakfast, but as the day got stressful I would temporarily forget to eat or allow the stressors in my life to take over and almost starve myself until I got everything finished and figured out. Once I got home, once everything I needed to do was done, I would “reward” myself with a hearty dinner and always, always dessert. While, I never consciously thought I needed to starve myself for the sake of weight loss, I did use it as a coping mechanism for the stresses of my day. While I was choosing the most nutritious foods, I was being very unkind to my body.

With Keri’s help, I am going to eat when I need to and when I am hungry, to create a balanced life, both hormonally and nutritiously.

The diet begins with a three day detox in which you still eat, you just are eating very nutritiously and purely to clean out the digestive system and also the mind before you the six-week plan. I have debated the detox, just because, I run/workout a lot and the calorie count each day is while healthy, very low. Also, I am a very healthy eater in general and usually eat tons of fruits and vegetables. But, don’t get me wrong, like everyone else I have my downfalls.

If I do start it, I will tomorrow, so that by Monday I can start the six-week plan which looks absolutely delicious!

For ordering the book or more information on Keri Glassman and her Nutritious Life practice go here:

http://www.nutritiouslife.com/

Has anyone subscribed to the Positive thinking trend?

What do you think Positive thinking can do for “dieting”?
 

Blog Rally.

First and foremost, let us discuss the fact that Alabama can go to the National Championship, as of last night with Iowa’s win over Oklahoma.
roll Iowa roll
Roll Tide Roll!

For the past, four months a ton has gone on, other than blogging and of course big changes has been made. For one, I moved to a MUCH better apartment complex that Megan also lives in! So, I get to see her a lot more AND run with her a lot (naturally). My current obsession is school and have learned so much in the past three months that I feel like I have new brain. Currently, I am applying to the Coordinated Program here and JUST took the admissions exam yesterday afternoon. I also handed in my application a week prior. The CP program would be an unbelievable opportunity for me, as I will have the opportunity to obtain a internship through UA’s Nutrition Program, at a hospital in Alabama. At the same time of course, I will be in classes. I want this more than anything up to this point in school and it is extremely out of my comfort zone to share this, but here it is. I am putting it into the atmosphere, I WANT TO GET ACCEPTED TO THE CP AND IT IS A MAJOR GOAL OF MINE! Oh, that is another thing that has changed, I have taken a positive outlook on life and on accomplishing my goals. There is no “I don’t think I can’s” or keeping my dreams on the dl to avoid the disappoint of not getting what I want. s’ovah it

Oh, and I no longer run for Alabama. It was a decision I made to make time for my new passion, Graduating. And also, the CP schedule will not work with practices and races. I will say, that not being on the team has made me fall in love with running all over again. Plus, I still race and train, but on my time after schoolwork is taken care of.

Basically, life is good.

For now, I think that is all that has changed. So I will proceed to the foood.

A weekend or two ago my Dad visited and, in an attempt to be a good hostess, I made him a home-cooked dinner, with the help of my good friend Megan!

The Dish: Turkey Chilli
The Source: My Mama!
The Accomplice Roasted Veggies, by Megan

For the chilli, I bought ground chicken from good’ole Publix, as well as one red pepper, diced onions, kidney beans, a can of crushed tomatoes, and a can of whole tomatoes (I was looking for stewed, but failed). I also bought some smoked paprika for flavor, that I added to the veggies once they were piping hot in the pot.

For the recipe, I just browned my chicken in a pot, added the veggies, diced, with some garlic and paprika, with a bit of stock to wet it up a bit, then I added the canned products, brought to a boil, then simmered for forty five minutes. It was such a comforting dish to have in the mix of the Alabama change in season weather, which gave us a 30ish degree night.

For add-ons, I made a fresh salad with spring mix lettuce, hearts of palm, beets, and tomatoes.

And then Megan brought over her wonderful roasted fall vegetables, which I could not stop eating.

Of course I put out some pita and hummus, which my fridge is was fully stocked with a legit hummus collection.

I honestly surprised myself with how well the chilli tasted. Most the time, what I make borders on the bland side, but the chilli was so flavorful. It was probably the least amount of seasonings I ever used, too. I suppose the garlic and paprika make a rockstar combo. It was also a surprisingly thick chilli, as well. The tomato-y sauce perfectly tenderized the vegetables and such, while the proteins rich chicken and kidney beans gelatinized the dish. Needless to say, it was very filling and I loved every bite. Definitely, a dish to keep in the recipe box.

This is actually my last weekend in Tuscaloosa before Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is such a good holiday to try out new recipes, cook with family, bond over home-made meals EXCEPT that my mom told me this year it WON’T be at our house -which it has been since as long as I can remember- AND it will be catered by The Inne which my grandfather calls to cater EVERYTHING. Honestly, they are nothing special and they just try to make every dish weird, fancy, and pretentious. So much for traditions. Of course I am still excited to go home and see my family. I miss them a lot and love them dearly. I guess I could study more since I won’t be worried about making any nice dish or cleaning the house with my mom. Funnily enough, that sounds reallyreally good.

Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference Recap: day 1.

Now that I have made it home safely, And have a few free days workfree I can fully review my weekend, conference and non conference fun!

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Day 1 started with an amazing run. I have to say that although I was told I would love Colorado, I never truly believed it until I got out there and pounded some pavement-er, trails.

Just two miles up the road, I hit a woody, trail. Suddenly I am in a forest and off the hard cement. Two miles later I am climbing a mountain, literally. It is so natural, it looks
synthetic. I have never been so close to nature. Being the least adventurous person of my friends and family, this Sounds incredibly unappealing. Yet, I am obsessed with what I had experienced. There were runners, bikers, and walkers everywhere with muscular, lean frames, smiling faces and gracious attitudes. No one passed me with out a wave and a smile. It wasn’t annoying either, it was….sincere.

After an hour of such purity, I got back to the hotel, showered and went to breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant JW’s. Usually, traveling is kinda stressful when you are allergic to such a common ingredient, yet still have to eat enough to be properly fueled and energized. But, the Boulder Marriott made it pretty easy for me. On the menu was an egg white fritata filled with fresh veggies, over top of grilled tomatoes, and topped with a mini oil free salsa. Delicious. I didn’t have to ask for anything special. Needless to say, this was my meal for the following morning as well.

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Mom and I did a little shopping before the registration began at 12. Probably a mistake, but we did find a wonderful famers market just around the corner. We picked up some fruits and veggies for snacking and lunch.

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Finally, it’s 12. I met Allen, who gave me this opportunity in the first place, grabbed my name tag, and started socializing with the sponsors of the Conference.

Instinctively, I walk to the table with the wine bottles. Apparently, not only does this group have a Fitness conference, but they have had many Wine Blogging Conferences as well. Talk about meant to be….I knew I liked these people. Zephyr Wine adventures are wine tours all over the world. The trip involves healthy activities for wine and fitness enthusiasts while getting the opportunity to explore various cultures. The coupon is a large picture of a wine bottle, that offers 100 dollars off a trip. The trips are pricey and if I was not a college student, I would not hesitate to book a trip. Someday

The table following this was two more obsessions of mine, dried fruit and Lara bars. Behind the table was Devon Metz, an RD and MS, handing out nutritious dehydrated apples and strawberries, Yumyumm as well as bite size Lara Bars. These bars are honestly my favorite gluten free energy bar for many reasons: the first is the simplicity and authenticity. There are four ingredients almost all flavors Peanutbutter and jelly being my fav which include two dried fruits, a nut/protein, and a natural flavor such as plain, untouched dark cocoa.

If I ever made a bar, that would be exactly it! No fake gluten, fillers, artificial anything, and most importantly, no wasted calories. The bar is simple and the body can do nothing, but digest and be properly nourished.

Next up was a table with something that is also simple, natural, and satisfying…Water. The company: CRT/tanaka. Mission: to communicate about health and bring Whatcanbe alive for health and wellness organizations. Basically they connect the products we use in our blogs to our blogs. The give away was brainstorming cards and what looked like a mini water filter? I will have to research this more online, and figure out a way to use this to my advantage.

The next table may have been the star of the weekend: Driscoll’s berries. Side by side were trays of beautiful blueberries,strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The entire group of us Noshed on these through out the three days. Honestly, they were amazing. They were sweet in a natural and satisfying way and held their own as the perfect snack to keep the mind focused on the events of the weekend.

Next stop: a table of protein powder and fresh shakes. BigTrain is a company that has developed protein powders that when mixed with water, create shakes to refuel and repair muscles after a workout session. On display were their new line of no sugar added, low carb mixes. The mixes are not only shakes, but they are mock coffee treats you would find at a Starbucks. Let me just say, they were more than yummy and honestly could stand up to any signature frappe Starbucks can put out. Not a coffee drinker? Try their vanilla chai no sugar added tea, with the same concept as the coffee. All you have to do is add water. More simplicity.

The next table was one of my favorite giveaways, and surprisingly had nothing to do with food. DegreeWomen deodorant sponsored a lot of the Conference and thank God they did. They gave each participant a mini makeup bag with a mini sample of their newest deodorant … The MotionSense stick is activated not upon the release of moisture (that may be to late for some…cough cough) but the moment of movement. They are one step ahead of the body and you are freshly scented before the body has time to perspire. Talk about being prepared! I tried it out before my run the next morning, and may or may not have had the chance to shower before the conference started…oops… LUCKILY, the only thing I smelt was fresh scent of the deodorant. It works. It lasts. It’s a miracle in disguise. Everyone, go get some or learn more At their Facebook page here: Facebook.com/degreewomen

Last but certainly not least was the Chocoalte Milk Refuel station. A runners best friend is chocolate milk. If you are a runner and are not drinking chocolate milk, you are missing some serious recovery your body deserves and needs. Why? Chocolate milk contains the optimal ratio of carb to fat that the body needs after an hour or so of training, where muscles are being torn to rebuild into bigger ones and energy sources are being depleted and pushed to the limit. The protein in milk is an appropriate energy source to rebuild into lean muscle, ideal for runners. This company has optimized this research into a product that only enhances the frame of an athlete. In just one bottle, you are given carbs to fuel muscle, protein to build muscle, electrolytes to replenish what is lost in sweat, and fluids to rehydrate. All this, while maintaining the mot natural form it can. It is literally “nature’s recovery drink.”

After breezing through the tables, it was time to pay attention to the various speakers devoting their time to educate us on the proper ways to blog and discuss hot topics in nutrition and health. I learned so much at the conference and I cannot wait to start using the techniques I have learned here! changes soon to come.

After such an educational day, the entire group walked to Whole Foods on Pearl street, where we had a catered dinner waiting for us outside on the patio.

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Recently, Whole Foods has formed a campaign called “Health Starts Here” and abbreviated HSH. This campaign is devoted to low fat, natural recipes and products families can have access to in attempts to literally start a healthy lifestyle made easy by Whole Foods. Each recipe is oil free, as well as free from processing and chemicals. Each recipe is nutritient dense without being energy dense, but also flavor dense haha and satisfying.

tray 1 : roasted sweet potatoes with lemon and rosemary. By now you all should know me well enough to know I was in love/obsessing/in heaven right now. It was amazing.

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Tray 2: tofu spring rolls. Two things I never ever get to eat. Tofu-not something I eat regularly, because I can eat meat, and have no need for it. However, tofu is not just for vegetarians, it can stand on it’s own as a lean protein star of any meal, including this one. The tofu was sliced with various raw veggies and wrapped in bok choy. I think it was flavored with a little Terryaki/Miso sauce that the tofu just absorbed. Not once did I miss the meat or grain this type of dish usually contains.

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Tray 3: A zucchini wrapped salad with lettuce and vegetables with a simple ginger dressing. It was perfect, light, and flavorful. On the down side, I would never be able to recreate this at home. I give the chef some serious plate designing props.

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Tray 4: Tempe and polenta stacker. This was so popular by the time I got to it, they were gone, but not to worry, I got some later. The bloggers around me didn’t like this one too much, but I really enjoyed it. The Tempe was certainly not from a package as you were able to easily cut through it with a fork. It tasted a little nutty, perhaps there were some chopped almonds in it? Over top the creamy polenta, the dish blended well, where one was dry the other was wet, where the Tempe was spicy the polenta was creamy and savory to balance. I loved it.

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The drinks were something to rave about. They had little glasses of fruit purees with just some sparkling water, no sugar-None. I didn’t even have to ask, I just knew. Instead of being overly sweet it was thirst quenching.

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After dinner, it was time to shop. Considering this is a post on it’s own, I will have to write up on it later. But let me just say, the Whole Foods on Pearl Street, Boulder Colorado is undoubtedly one I will go back to.

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check out the view we got during our fancy feast.

Colorado, here we are !

Long time no talk, huh? I guess it is entirely my fault that we have not been in touch, seeing as this IS my blog and all. An explanation is necessary, but there is not any more I can tell you short of what you already know. 

Home. Computer less. No new Whole Foods (within 100 miles) – I practically live at the one in Ridgewood.

Thankfully, my life gets better. More exciting. New adventures.

Duhduhduhduh….. Finally without further ado, my mom and I are on our way to Theee Fitness Bloggers Conference in Boulder, Colorado.  

First experience number one: a 3+ hour flight (currently being experienced).  A little bumpy, that  might have something to do with the mess of storms in the tristate area. Luckily, we are flying away from them.  

Even though I have been Whole Food-boring lately, I had a Whole Foods-like experience at the airport. Some how some way, Whole Foods seemed to follow me right to the gate at the JFK Jetblue terminal. What more can an Obsessed girl ask for ? Whole Foods style, there were three hot bar stations of freshly made dishes.  Trays of humus, tuna, salmon, vegetables, salads, and more filled the air, smack dab in the middle of a Dunkin Donuts and various restaurants. Am I dreaming??? Nope. I made myself a plate of steamed vegetables, tuna salad (sans dressing) over mud Aline greens and balsamic vinegar. The blend of sweet and tangy balsamic saturating the dry but also sweet texture of the tuna gets me every time. It’s similar to the way tomato sauce brings out the sweet notes in any seafood, mainly crab or tuna.   My mom made herself a chickpea salad topped with baked salmon, in clear tomato-like sauce.  Had I been giving more time, I would have inquired about the salmon, to make sure there was no gluten any where, but in times of hurry I need to rely on what I can see is gluten free.  But I am definitely not disappointed, rather satisfied and content. My mom, raved about the salmon, so the entire plane knows she enjoyed hers. 

This is where I normally would plop a pic, but like I said, a busy airport is no where to be snapping photography .  Sorry all.  

I am sure you are all wondering what in creation I am typing on if I am computer less …. Well that leads me to what I have been up to in my absence.  Recently, among bags of WF groceries, I got myself a little ipad, mainly for the convention. I have to say, it is truly proving to be quite the nifty gadget. I can not only blog, but I have been checking emails and of course Faceboook. I was able to pay all my bills, whilst finding out my apartment was with out power.  Whoops.  And of course, I got a chance to book my flights and plan this here trip. 

Also, while on my hiatus, I truly got the opportunity to think about my blog and where I wanted to take it. I have been researching many blogs, all of which are centered around the days consumption of food by the bloggers. While I do enjoy these types of blogs, the nutrition lover in me that is, I do not want to be just another healthy food blog. Surprise to my family, I also don’t want a blog to be that much centered around myself.  My about me says it all.  I am obsessed with Whole Foods, the store and the improper noun. I want to focus my time, efforts, and energy into exploring the options for both to touch the lives of every day people. So, while this blog will focus around food, it will not be what I am eating only, because honestly,who cares? It will mainly be about my quest to visit all the Whole Foods in the world, mixed with nutrition and fitness topics affecting the world today. Because, that truly is what matters, not each and every meal I consume. If I find some dish or better yet, make some outrageous dish, I will tell you all about it.  But really, I would much rather talk about hot topics in nutrition and fitness, as well as Whole Foods, duh. Seriously, those are the things I deal with on a daily basis, and if am being even more honest, I barely have time to plan my meals let alone record them, prepare, take pics, then blog them.  

Not to say I find anything wrong with blogs that do center there posts on their daily eats.  In fact, I consider them one of my obsessions. But I would rather do things a little different. That way, I won’t feel guilty when I miss a post here and there.  

Any way, it is time for some of The Real Housewives of NYC (another obsession) – yes on the plane- God Bless you, Jet Blue.

We will be landing late so I may not post hotel pics ’til morning, especially since we have  a 7 AM hike with some bloggers.( I hope I remember to charge my camera).  Considering the convention is centered on blogging, we will be in touch.  
 
One new experience I am worried about is running in Colorado.  I have been warned by many about the elevation and it’s difficulty on breathing.  Thankfully tomorrow is my off from running day but, there is still Saturday.  Wish me luck.

Night loves, 
LiveWholeRunHard. Always. 

Peaceful Obsessions.

Current Obsessions

Grapes. other than my very open admission to my preoccupation with wine, for some reason lately I keep poppin’ dem grapes….once you pop you just can’t stop!

Ice Cream. it started at Red Mango…I don’t see it ending any time soon.

Pureed Butternut Squash. I have talked about pureed pumpkin and applesauce replacing fat in baking, but recently at Whole Foods I found canned squash next to the pumpkin….I ain’t lookin back.

Naps. they have been mandatory this summer.

Lucky for everyone (mostly me) I get to discuss an old obsession, with a NEW Whole Foods. Last night my Dad and I went to the Whole Foods in Millburn, NJ.

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After what seemed like an absolute journey, mostly because of rush hour traffic, we arrived at what turned out to be a noteworthy place. The first thing I saw when we pulled up was what looked like a mini restaurant–at a first glance. In actuality, it was a little wine bar and restaurant. gasp.

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Although we did not have time to get any wine … tear*…. I will most certainly be back for a glass. It was really quiet in there and nice. It seems like you can bring your hot food bar items in there and dine, but I also saw some menus so maybe this means you get table side service. I don’t know if anyone is aware, but NONE of the Whole Foods near me in NJ have their liquor license…thus NO wine. This alone deserves a second trip.

This is what you are greeted with when you walk through the doors…

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Produce….Lots and Lots, barrels and barrels, tons and tons…of produce. The inside is just absolutely huge. This aspect makes the place look so neat, organized, and clean. Not that any Whole Foods I have ever been to was dirty, it just is usually jam packed with so many outstanding products that you cannot focus on one thing. Here, everything is organized and I don’t feel a loss of control/panic that I won’t be able to see everything. This ultimatelyleads me to feel overwhelmed and I usually forget what I need to buy, list or not. There was a sense of peace here, and I delightfully wondered throughout the store, which what could have been ten minutes or three hours, I can’t even tell you.

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A little ways past the produce is this stellar juice bar. I wish all the Whole Foods had this because a lot of the time I will visit straight from a workout in which case I am always craving sweets. Fresh juice or fruit would really hit the spot. This was very, very impressive as was this…

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Sangria mix…’nuff said…

Right to the right of this station was the “bulk” aisles. Here they sold bulk grains and nuts, oh and my fav….

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Dried fruits….

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My favorite brands.

The most impressive part of the place was the one and only hot food bar. I did not take a picture of the area mainly because it wasn’t really what it looked like that made it so unique, it was what it had. Though the self serve bar was standard, the prepared foods behind the counter were amazing. I ended up ordering plain grilled eggplant, zucchini, squash, and peppers, with an amazing poached salmon for that night. I could NOT, however, resist ordering the vegetable gluten and noodle free lasagna (layers of vegetables including sweet potatoes with beans and sauce) for another night this week. My dad ordered a lamb dish that he talked about the whole hour ride home. I never did get to take a pic of my meal because I did not actually eat there (although my dad ate while I shopped). I ate home with my brother, sis, the baby, Scott, and my mom. Conversation distracted me.

More than just food….this place had an amazing section of beauty care products, natural/holistic jewelry, medicines, soaps, and such.

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Some of the fabulous soaps, notice the umbrella light….I stared at that for way to long….fascinating.

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I bought one of these soap sprays but I have yet to try it….I will let you know how it goes soon.

Then another OLD obsession of mine, that I don’t ever talk about on my blog, but my friends certainly know about me (and really anyone who has visited my apartment).

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Incense and candles. I actually bought a peace candle…it fit the mood.

Not only was I greeted with produce here, but also some gaw-gous flowers!!!

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The colors were just breathe taking. It made me want to buy tons and tons of flowers for no reason. Now that I look at the pic, I regret not getting at least a mini bouquet.

And last but never least…
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It was absolutely HUGE! and again…everything was in place and organized.

When my mom saw the pics, she asked if anyone was in the store, because it looks vacant. But actually the store was busy, with mostly families. But you would never know by looking at the pictures because everyone was peaceful and courteous of everyone around them. No one hit into me because they were too enthralled in what the needed to get to say excuse me or look up. No one cut me off to grab an item ahead of me. No children were running around and yelling about. It was so pleasant. The atmosphere was indescribable and something I have never experienced in any food store, ever.

I will be back here….some how some way.

Ya don’t know what ya got til it’s gone….

The oldest cliche in the book…and a pretty annoying verse in a song

But it seems to hold true for me these past few days in my daily life and of course my many food adventures. We can start with the silly stuff, of course. I know in Alabama NONE of the Real Housewives seasons are a big deal because regular cable packages do NOT include the BRAVO network. I don’t really know how I survived…to say I didn’t realize what I was missing is a lie because, and Megan can vouch for this, I complained about it a lot. However, it was not until the premier of The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 3 last night that I remembered how much I enjoyed the absolute nonsense. It made me not only miss being home to embelish in this guilty pleasure, but it also made me miss being in Alabama and far the hell away from these psychos. But, I do love the series and SOMETIMES I feel a bit of pride to have been raised in the same area as these very strong willed women. At the same time, if I ever doubted the decision to move so far away from this state and overall atmosphere, I just confirmed my decision and feel pretty damn good about it. Sorry for the language, but it is kind of our culture over here. If anyone missed the pure insanity that took place last night……

That is a little shout out to us southerners. I am NOT born a southerner, as you surely know, but I consider myself southern especially after watching this. Reason being is that I got EXTREMELY defensive and oddly proud about the athlete comment….but here is a taste of the crazy…

I would skip to the 2:30’s area, during the party scene…you will see…

I will not comment more on any of this since….it has absolutely nothing to do with my blog. It just ties into my theme by making me both miss and hate NJ.

I also have not realized quite how much I miss the UA aquatic center. Today I hit up the pool at the YMCA. I really just wanted a nice easy swim since I was completely sore from yesterdays workout. Well, an easy swim was all I could get since the HUGE Olympic size pool was halfway taken up by a six membered Senior Aqua-size class. The Y CATERS to the senior citizens to the point where they make the pool un-swim-able. I will stop commenting on this as well to avoid sounding rude and insensitive. Let me just say, the UA Aquatic Center was filled with actual swimmers, keeping a nice draft to the pool where sharing lanes was easy and natural.

Now to the food. As the years have gone by, I have made many attempts to recreate Asian dishes. As mostly stir fries, this type of cuisine is easy for a Celiacer to just substitute some brown rice for the white. Well, there was ALWAYS one major flavor component missing that I never thought was that big of a deal since it was just one ingredient. As it turns out this one ingredient makes a huge impact on Asian style dishes and can literally take a dish from drab to fab with a tablespoon ….ya i just said drab to fab….i may have been watching a little too much Bravo…gaspppp….

duhnduhnduhnduhn….
SOY SAUCE!! Anyone who does not have a gluten allergy is probably confused. Soy sauce actually is made with wheat, which I think is fermented a little like beer, to make this distinct flavor soy sauce contains. A flavor I have not tasted in years and never knew I even missed until I made a dish with….of course….gluten free soy sauce.

It was hard to figure out that this was gluten free soy sauce, since it does not advertise it in bold letters/flashing lights…hmm sounds like someone I know… Needless to say, I liked the discreet quality it has.

The feature meal was from the Recipes on the Whole Foods website. It was a marinated shrimp and noodle bowl. To get the recipe, click here…

Instead of those noodles, I used these yummy soy noodles called Shiratake Noodles. They have like, not a thing in them and DO NOT count as a grain!!! They are a good white rice noodle substitute due to their blandness…but they have no nutritional value. the future dietician in me speaks…That said, get your grain in somewhere else during the day when making this meal.

The shrimp actually gets marinated in this soy sauce creation that you make. Usually I cannot have any marinades/sauces/dips unless I make them myself because wheat is a common thickener ingredient in these recipes. Finally, however, I get to taste some FLAVOR!

Soy Sauce adds this, salty, nutty, tangy combination that really cannot be replaced. It has been the missing ingredient in every creation of Asian food I have tried to make. I only wish I had my wok to truly enhance the soy sauce experience.

Because it does look a little Italian with the tomato paste looking a bit like marinara sauce, the flavor was purely Asian and a bit cajun….(went a bit heavy on the spices, which in my house is ALWAYS acceptable). For more Asian flair, I sauteed some sugar snap peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and water chestnuts on the side.

I adored the final dish and I do not even care what my mom and brother thought. Come to think of it, Neil never mentioned a taste difference in soy sauces and I don’t think I ended up telling him about it! This says a lot because Neil loves different cuisines of different cultures and he is a pretty tough critic. My mom on the other hand, is great and loves everything I make, good or bad. I try to tell her to be honest but, she is my mom, after all, and a very biased judge….=]

Welp, that is all for today. It is so rainy and stormy that I think it seems very fitting to have a nice bowl of soup….which btw is my new obsession….posts to come!

And last but not least….I found out about this awesome giveaway on a blogger’s blog that I follow on twitter. She is giving away Rocco Dispirito’s new cookbook!!! I love him and he keeps showing up on all my favorite morning talk shows! … i.e. Rachel Ray, Regis and Kelly, GMA….etc. Here is the link!

wish me luck!